Postcards from the road.
Skate boarders, hipsters, panhandlers, buskers, high end shoppers, protesters, lots of women in yoga pants. Firemen in full regalia, boots to helmets, jangling heavy gear-festooned coats, clomp past awkwardly. Knights errant in full armor. A false alarm – no fires, or earthquakes, today.
Chilly in June in the shade, then hot in relentless sunshine under brittle blue skies. Always, always blue skies. The young man in the long green tie-died sarong next to me says his name is “Nature.” This the view from a coffee shop in Santa Cruz on a Thursday afternoon.
Took an all night sleeper car on the train from Portland, after a week spent there. Drove down US 1 from Oakland a week ago. The photo above from the drive.
Some boating scattered throughout, of very different sorts, and hiking. Quite a West Coast odyssey.
Still traveling. More later.
Again more storms and no wind, but drama in the sky every couple of hours. Went for dinner back on the salt marsh and got chased home in time for the light show.
A cold front is crawling southward, arriving sometime today. We’ll head for Charleston to explore a bit (with raincoats) while it works its way through. It may finally blow things out some. Sunday looks promising.
After the storm, Skull Inlet
We’re spending a week near Beaufort, South Carolina (beyoo’fort. not NC’s bo’furt), and hope to do some sailing in the sounds and inlets while we’re here. A Stationary Front has stalled over the coast, though – little or no wind, hot and steamy. Small popup storm showers wander the horizon like grazing cattle. Not much good for sailing, but great for cloud watching.
Postcard from the Road:
Somewhere over the Midwest at 33,000 feet
The plane passes right over Hood River, and I think I see Emily’s house. The Columbia Rover Gorge, so beautiful and majestic yesterday, from here looks flat and uninteresting. Fog fills it to the rim, adding to the effect. Skim milk spilled on a table. Mount Adams and Mount Hood yesterday rose up from the Cascade Range like mythological giants. If appearance made a sound, theirs would be booming thunder. But from 30,000 feet they’re just small, mute protuberances.
Oregon. Idaho. Montana. Nebraska. South Dakota. Minnesota. Iowa. There’s the Mississippi, frozen and still. Wisconsin. Illinois. Before the sun touches the mountains I’ll be in Virginia.
A couple of times during the trip, I checked the dash cam to see it was working as intended. It’s pretty amazing to see. Many handheld photos, taken throughout, show a remarkable landscape, changing dramatically from moment to moment. It’s a big country.
It will take some time to winnow through. Clear blue skies, rain, snow, wind storms, dust storms, white outs going through high mountain passes; forests, farms, prairies, deserts, rivers and cities. It’s all there. It’s still there.
Postcard from the Road:
Left Emily in Hood River this morning. Not an easy thing,
But she has a bunch of friends already, and a job, and a place to live, and a vigorous sense of adventure. She’ll be better than fine.
Back in Portland, met up with Doryman, who was on his way to Port Townsend to deliver a boat. We spent hours talking philosophies: Eastern, Western, Personal, purely conjecture. It was good to see him. He’s thinning the Doryman fleet, paring down, preparing for a new phase of adventures of his own. So much suddenly becomes possible when you cut all the lines that keep you moored.
Leaving at 5am to catch a flight back East. In the coming days I’ll start backfilling details and photos. There’s an awful lot of story left out — so much you just can’t get your head around when you’re moving so fast, let alone get down in any coherent fashion. Epic indeed.
For now, this is tonight, my last night in Oregon, in Portland, in a group house hostel in the arts district with a bunch of twenty-something’s, in the fog:
Postcard from the Road:
The aisles of Powell’s City of Books in Portland, which
takes up several floors of a full city block. And then some.
We drove all the way across Oregon in the rain along the Columbia Gorge. Passed through Hood River in the dark, arrived in Portland exhausted. Decided to head straight for something familiar and comforting – a bookstore.
Sometimes Portland felt like being on a movie set – everyone was in character.
Ok, an enormous bookstore. But from there we knew we could set up a quick base camp and figure out what to do next: get out of the rain, get out of the car, and get access to wifi.
Still raining, cold and hard. Just parking was a big hassle, and the idea of getting back in the car had zero appeal. Found a hotel close enough to walk to, just a couple of blocks away. Pricey, but anything in the city would be expensive, and we were ready for a little R&R. And food.
Got checked in, and realized we needed to bring the car around to the hotel. Then realized it wouldn’t fit into any nearby garages with that humongous luggage rack on top. On a tip from the doorman, we ran back for the car in the rain and grabbed a spot that opened up right out front on the street. Emily decided it was worth it to get up early to feed the meter. No other options, really. We’d be heading for Hood River by lunch, anyway.
I got a plane reservation and arranged for a rental car for me, and a place to stay for at least the next night.
Still buzzing from the road neither of us could get to sleep right away, but when we did we crashed hard.