August 25th – Hey We Made It!

We woke up to noisy children, as is so often the case in these developed campgrounds. I miss our secluded spot in Stanislaus. Months ago, we’d set but a single point on a map as a destination, trusting the journey would happen whether we planned it or not. That point was Portland, and today we would ride the remaining distance there. It felt like the beginning of the final chapter as we packed up that morning, and got on the road.

We ended up riding back towards the coast before heading further north along the 101. A nice brisk ride through the woods is always an amazing way to start a day, and by the time we hit the gorgeous Oregon coast, I was feeling pretty good. We stopped in at a little diner perhaps an hour into the morning’s ride, and filled our empty, growling bellies. We’d been in a bit of a hurry to leave the campground that morning, and had not taken time to fix breakfast before hitting the road. It’s not that the spot itself wasn’t nice, but the camp host was definitely kind of a dick, and would just drive his golf cart around the grounds continuously. It really impeded the feeling of freedom I seek when I go camping. While we were at the diner we sent out yet more couchsurfing requests in Portland, and gave a call to the guy who had agreed to host us tonight, to let him know we were en route. Also, we’d gotten an acceptance for another place to stay after the weekend. Things are looking up.

An hour or so later, we departed the diner full of eggs and bacon, looking forward to a warm dry place to stay for a little while. I’d been through Portland once before, and it has a distinctly similar feel to Austin, which has me really curious to experience it for a longer period of time. We rode up the coast for another hour or two before heading east towards Portland. This is seriously an incredibly beautiful ride. There is so much forest in Oregon, and the massive rocky cliffs along the coast are quite the sight.

It was late afternoon when we finally rode into the city. Driving through the hilly neighborhoods of old houses and creative landscaping reminds me of home. It’s immediately obvious the green movement has a strong foothold here. We arrived at the house, a big multistory thing housing about 10 people, I think. They had a pretty extensive food garden, in addition to raising chickens and goats. This is the sort of urban homesteading project we’d hoped to encounter while on this trip. We helped water the garden, and met some of the other couch surfers staying there. Overall, seemed like a chill place, though we were definitely a little younger than everyone else, and definitely smoked a lot more weed.

Our host kindly shared some rice and Thai curry with us for dinner, before we all headed to some of their friend’s place for a potluck. We played catch with a squash for a while, and it was overall a fairly enjoyable small party. Though all of our friends had taken their bicycles there, we had taken the motorcycle, since it was a little far to walk. Still, it was definitely close enough that I felt guilty using motorized transportation to get there. Portland is a very small city by land area, and it’s really well set up for bicycles, as we would continue to discover throughout our stay here.

When we went to bed that night, we were excited to have actually made it as far as we planned. There had been several times we’d almost given up, but our conviction had finally brought us to our destination. We had a solid 2 weeks to explore the city, but a frighteningly short 2 weeks to sell the bike. The place we were staying was exactly the look at Portland we were hoping to get, and it was unfortunate that we’d have to leave after the weekend.

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