Thursday, August 25, 2011

Last night in Port Townsend, just got back from the coast

I took a nap while Sam and Spencer made an amazing meal
A whole bunch of harvested food- mushrooms (Chantrelles, Winter Chantrelles and Hedgehog- I'd never had Chantrelles before but omg, LOVE!)
Amazing sunset Wednesday night... beautiful!

Cleaning the mushrooms
Sam made an awesome ramen... We seriosuly ate like royalty... PNW royalty!

The air in the Pacific Northwest has a distinct smell. The smell of the ocean and the plants is something I haven't smelled anywhere else. I love it. So freaking happy to be back in the PNW!
Spending 2 nights at the cabin out on the coast was the perfect end to my two weeks in Port Townsend. Tomorrow I'm heading up to North Vancouver, BC to hang out with some friends who I just saw at church camp... and some friends I haven't seen in more than 10 years! Yay PNW! Love you!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Port Townsend with a quick jaunt to Seattle

Saturday in PT was the uptown street fair which we stumbled across when we were going for the farmer's market. It was pretty awesome. The Uptown Pub had set up a beer garden in the closed off street by stacking hay bales and pulling all their tables and chairs out front. We ended up hanging out at the beer garden for the whole afternoon then went to see our buddy Ben in the Shakespeare in the Park production of Hamlet. He was awesome, as usual :) After the play we went back to the Uptown cause Ben's dad's band was playing. We didn't stay too late because we were going to Seattle Sunday morning.

We caught the 8:40am ferry on Sunday morning after picking up Sam in PT. I dropped the boys off in Ballard and went to brunch with a friend. After brunch we watched The Social Network, it was a good movie but Justin Timberlake's character, Sean something, weirded me out. What was his deal!? After the movie and some Futurama episodes, I met up with a friend who happened to live nearby. We met at a pub with like the slowest beer pouring service ever (granted there were like 10 other people there including like 4 kids)... I'm not bitter :P Then BBQ in Queen Anne with my friend from NY who moved to Seattle about a year ago, then up to Ballard and met up with the boys for a little house warming party. The house was awesome, with a hot tub! We played Beirut (Beer Pong's official name) and I was decidely the MVP, it was awesome cause I'm not always awesome at it but that night I was! Joss and I finally won the game (when there was only one cup left on each side and Sam got our cup, I got his cup and we had a 3 cup showdown and I got all 3 of 'em!) then we went in the hot tub. Hot tub! Such a sweet place! We stayed the night there and in the morning slowly, groggily got up and headed back to PT. I slept for like 12 hours last night, it was great and now we're getting ready to head to the coast! I think if Colorado doesn't pan out for the long term I'll move to Seattle... the list of people I know there is growing
and the city is growing on me the more I visit it! On Friday I'm heading to Vancouver BC... funny how there is never enough time to do everything in a town even when you go for 2 weeks!!
Off to the coast!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Happy birthday, I'm sore!

View Larger Map
I don't remember the last time my body ached this much! On Wednesday Spencer and I and two of his buddies went for a one night backpacking trip. We hiked in 3 miles along the Dosewallips and took the trail to Lake Constance. The hardest 2 miles in the Olympics, yay! I had no idea what I was getting myself into but I soldiered through it. Lake Constance is at about 4600 feet, and the hike from the main road is 2 miles (supposedly) and 3400 feet up! It was soooo steep! A lot of the hike was more like climbing than hiking, hand over hand, finding placement for your feet. Then ducking under fallen trees... all this with a pack on. It took us about 4 hours to climb the 2 miles (this was after the steady incline of the road). I was bringing up the rear of the group (I haven't been backpacking in a couple years!) and Spencer left me a trailmix bar on a little stand he made with branches, that was a super sweet surprise to come upon. There was a part that was pretty vertical and Spencer helped me out and carried my pack up for me so I could scramble up. The trail runs parallel to a creek that is pretty much a waterfall the whole way up which hints at how freaking steep it was! We got to the top together and Spencer's buddies were already up there and had set up camp on the north side of the lake. We walked around the east side of the lake which included walking on snow... snow! There were spots where the snow was melted away from the rocks on both sides and it was a skinny little strip of packed snow, I was very nervous! I just tried to step where all the boys ahead of me had stepped. After we crossed the snow, and a log bridge there was a huge field of rocks we clambered across. The lake is polluted and kind of stale (no real movement in the water). We had Spencer's mom's water filter which was good cause there's no way we could have carried enough water up! I was pooped when we got there so after I made ramen with dehydrated veggies for dinner I was laying down. Spencer and Joss went fishing and caught fish right away, like in 10 seconds he got a bite! Spencer's buddy Ben is a cook and he cooked up the 4 fish in my little frying pan. I wasn't really very hungry but Spencer was making me eat because we'd just burned like a billion calories and I needed to force myself to eat. I had a little taste of the fish, it was fatty and delicious. The fish are pretty small up there; Spencer's dad said that's because there isn't enough food in the mountains for the fish to get very big.

The hike back down took longer than the hike up. It's hard to "get in the zone" the way you can when climbing because every step is thought about when it's such a steep slope. There are roots and big rocks and skinny trail ledges with very steep slopes. This is not the time to be cavalier! I ended up doing a crab walk and butt scoot down some parts cause my legs were too tired to stand. As I'm recounting the whole trip I'm really proud of myself! I didn't really fuly grasp what I was getting myself into. I hadn't hiked in a really really long time and jumped head first into a super difficult climb.

The 3 mile walk out (which might be a bit longer because of the trail that takes you around the part where the road washed out a couple years ago) was hard on the legs but way easier. My body was pretty sore but I was mentally pumping myself up thinking about putting on my flip flops when we got to the car! Then the motivation was a chocolate bar I was going to get at the first place we went. Post-camping hike outs are all the same... conversation turns to food inevitably. We were dreaming of pizza and burgers and ice cream and chocolate. Haha, so unhealthy! We stopped at the place Spencer had hoped to eat but they had just shut the grill off like 5 minutes before we got there so we bought chocolate bars (yay!) and went to the next place down the road. I drank many beverages (2 hot chocolates, a glass of water and a Henry Weinhard's root beer- the best!) and had a cheeseburger. Then we headed back to Port Townsend. We got back to Spencer's parent's place around 9 something, chatted with them for a bit, showered and passed out. While I was waiting for Spencer to finish in the shower I nearly fell asleep, it took a lot of motivation to stand up and shower! Today the plan is Epsom salt bath. I've never taken one but I hear good things so that should be nice! I can't find my camera cable at the moment, so photos will come later...

Oh, and it's my birthday today! I'm 28... I'm pretty sure :P

Monday, August 15, 2011

Port Townsend

Last night I picked up Spencer at the Edmonds Amtrak station and we hopped over to the ferry and arrived in PT about 11:30pm. It was nice to sleep in a real bed (with a memory foam mattress topper!) after being at church camp all week!

Today we took the bike path to town, went out for coffee (where when you get drip coffee to stay, they heat up your mug with hot water... dang that's service!). Then we went to the park which was beautiful, hung out on a big rock on the beach for a bit, played on the swings, rode to uptown and had a snack. Ben came and met us in the park with a frisbee so we hung out there for a bit, then got some pizza at Waterfront Pizza which was super tasty and came back to have dinner with Spencer's parents. We also gathered some berries; we were hoping for blackberries but found loaded bushes of evergreen huckleberries! Now we're just chilling doing computer-y things. A very nice relaxed day. Tomorrow I think we might get started on Spencer's cabin's kitchen. All these other plans for hikes and parties and jaunts to the coast are coming up so I don't know how much work we'll actually be able to get done... and there will be huckleberry tarts! I'm thinking I'll do it the homemade poptart way cause those are tasty! I'm also looking forward to getting a fire going so I can roast giant marshmallows again :)

I will be here in Port Townsend until next Friday when I'll head up to Vancouver BC to hang out more with the people I was just hanging out with at church camp!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

What a great week

Church camp was great. It was great after not having been since 2006, to reconnect with friends and make new ones. Now I am back in Seattle, going sailing with a buddy tomorrow then heading over to Port Townsend for the next couple weeks where I will be hiking and helping my buddy with some construction on his cabin. After PT I'm going up to Vancouver BC, to see some old friends I haven't seen in YEARS and hang out more with some of my buddies from camp :)
After a week or so in BC I'll head to Portland and see friends, meet babies, like you do when you go home... high school reunion on the 10th, then drive down to hang out with my brother for a couple days and then off to Colorado! Planning to arrive in Vail around maybe Sept 15th.

My road trip is taking a turn to be less road-trip and now it's more like visiting people back in my home region before I move to a new place. Not so much touristy, more, hanging out with friends :)

Friday, August 5, 2011

Missoula > Seattle

I stayed at the only hostel in Missoula, Hutchins Hostel, where I met Michael from London who is biking across America (his blog)! I also met a couple from Clinton Hill, Brooklyn (the neighborhood I lived in for close to 7 years) and they were biking from Missoula to Glacier then over to Washington and down to Portland. I had no idea Missoula was such a biking destination! Michael and I went to a pub trivia night (team name Mustard), we did alright in the first two rounds but not so hot in the end. It was fun though, I will totally do another trivia night!

Thursday morning I started driving, heading to Seattle. I was super tired so pulled off the road somewhere in that sliver of Idaho and took a nap. I think I only napped for 15 minutes but it was like a quick recharge for my batteries and I continued on feeling much better!

BB up on the lift

I stopped to get gas in Eastern Washington and when I got back on the road, I noticed the Check Engine light was on. I pulled off I-90 to Moses Lake and did a quick google search for car repair shops. I found Woodward Auto & Truck and called to see fi they were open because my clock said 6:17. The guy who answered said, of course we're open, where are you? You are calling from New York? I explained that I'm on a road trip and my check engine light just came on and I just got off the freeway in this town. I headed over to their shop and the mechanic (whose name I didn't catch, I'm terrible at remembering to catch people's names!) plugged in the digital diagnostic machine. It was an o2 sensor that needed to be replaced (he showed me on the diagnostic). I asked if I could make it to Seattle and was told yes, but it will burn more fuel so you should get it replaced asap... and you'll pay more in Seattle! So I asked how long it would take them to fix it. Bill, the guy in the office, said it was more about hte part and then about 30 minutes of labor. So Bill called up some place with parts, they had it in stock, drove it over, the mechanic (who I had a nice conversation with about design, he's an aspiring Industrial Designer) replaced the part, cleared the warning, test drove it to make sure it was still good and I was done! I was in, diagnosed, fixed and out within an hour! I arrived in Seattle at 9pm! As far as car trouble go, that was a pretty lucky situation!

I'll be spending today in Seattle, hopefully catching up with one of my old roommates from Brooklyn who lives here now, and tomorrow heading to my Unitarian church camp at Seabeck, WA... arriving in time for the 2pm all staff meeting. This means taking the ferry to Bremerton! Yay ferries! I think today I'll go for a bike ride, my friend lent me her awesome bike map of Seattle and there are a few paths nearby, she lives on the West side of Green Lake for those of you familiar with Seattle.

Oh, I forgot to post a final picture of the finished root cellar! (Well, it needs a little paint and more soil on top and around it, but I had to go West, so hopefully my uncle can sort that out!)

Isn't she lovely :)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Pictures from Minnesota to Montana.

I'm in Missoula, Montana at a coffee shop, catching up with the internet and my laptop which I haven't used in like a week... So here are pictures! Check out my photo album for even more pictures.
The view heading towards Glacier in Western Montana... I was so happy to see mountains!!!!

The St. Paul farmer's market is super colorful!

I love Weeping Willows! These giant beauties are in Montrose, MN.

Root cellar... I should have a final picture somewhere...

Glacier National Park, along the Going-to-the-Sun scenic road. It really was beautiful.

I have named my car! Oh, and bears.

Her name is BB, and it stands for Budda's Belly. I find myself rubbing her for luck or encouragement when we are climbing big hills or driving for long stretches down questionable dirt roads.

I am in Polson, Montana tonight. (On the map I kept thinking it said "Poison" and I wondered who thought that was a good name for a town.) So many campgrounds are full so now I am calling ahead when I have a destination in mind. Tomorrow I will dip down to Missoula and stay at a hostel for hopefully some more interaction. Driving solo is fine but it really is nice to have people to talk to! In the overflow camping at the KOA on the East side of Glacier last night I met a really sweet couple from Edmonton. We ended up talking and drinking rum and cokes until midnight. It was great!
Today I took the Going-to-the-Sun road through Glacier. There were some super beautiful views, lots of construction and plenty of reminders that it is bear country. I stopped at Sun Point, there was a sign for a .2 mile hike I thought I could do quickly and I got about two yards onto the trail and there was another sign reminding me about bears with the caution that "hiking alone is NOT RECOMMENDED". I'd already been a little weary but that sealed it that I was too uncomfortable hiking solo in bear country.
Wishing I had companionship in the form of a human or dog right now. So while Glacier was beautiful from the road... It wasn't exactly what I had been excited about. I really miss camping and hiking...hopefully there will be a chance to camp and hike on the Olympic Peninsula when I'm with friends later this month. Taking in scenery on a two-lane highway when you are driving is a very delicate task, I just stopped at pretty much every pull over area.

I am really getting excited for camp, I haven't been in about five years. The problem I'm having now is that I'm so close, I could feasibly make it to Seattle tomorrow and stay there with friends until camp on saturday but that wasn't the reason I gave myself a week to relax and meander...clearly I have issues doing this. I like projects and destinations and straight lines from A to B. So I assigned myself the next destination of Missoula, and stuck with our even when the other part of my brain resisted and whispered "friends in Seattle, friends in Seattle!"
Does this mean I'm growing or something? Probably only if I remember that this is how I am when someone asks about how flexible I am! I consider myself flexible within boundaries and I like to have goals, milestones, destinations...spreadsheets :)

Hopefully the hostel will have the internets, then I will upload photos of how beautiful Montana is though you should really just come here.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Quick update, more in depth update later

Writing this on my phone at Lions Park rest area in the middle of Montana on Hwy 2. I can't believe I only left the farm yesterday! I made it all the way across North Dakota which was beautiful. Rolling hills just like Brandon said there'd be. I was especially in awe near the western border of ND driving through Madora, The Painted Canyon and Theodore  Roosevelt National Park. When I got there the sun was beginning to set and I thought about staying afterall, I was almost to Montana... My goal for the day. Instead, because I was still alert and not tired of driving I continued on to Montana.
Looking at my awesome atlas I decided to split to the north at Glendive and take 252 because it looked more direct... Famous last words. There was one sign that said I was on the right road and shortly after that...the pavement ended! The sign said I was going the right way so I suck out out, keep in mind this was about 9: 30 pm. The road kept narrowing and looking overgrown like I was about to hit a dead end. Despite the cows in the road, the big ruts, the overgrown narrow passes, lack of cell phone service and lack of any other cars, of kept going. (I'm sure my mom is super nervous reading this bit!) I could only go about 25 mph because the road kept turning and peaking. The air smelled of sage, grass and grain; I drove with the windows open.

I finally reached the end and turned north on 24. I decided to camp out and hunted down a camp ground at Fort Peck. Tent pitched by midnight. There was concern about my traveling solo and being a heavy sleeper but I sleep pretty light when I'm camping solo, and when it's hot. I woke up at 3: 30 and saw distant lighting so I got up and put up the rain fly. It was hardly worth it for the tiny splatter of rain! I was up and packed up by 7: 30 this morning and heading down hwy 2. The views and colors are inspiring me to paint, they cry out to be described by a brush.

I should be arriving in Glacier tonight!

Pictures of my bumper after that dirt road midnight adventure and the sedimentary slopes of Madora.