August 27th through September 8th – Portlandia

My stay in Portland was a strange one, and I didn’t particularly enjoy it for a broad spread of reasons. The city is extremely similar to Austin, which normally would make me totally love it. However, we arrived here as the last stop in a very difficult journey. It’s similarity to Austin mostly made me homesick. It was akin to being in Austin, except all my friends had disappeared. Continue reading

August 26th – Tryon Life Community Farm

We were staying very close to Alberta Street, which is kind of similar to South Congress here in Austin. Lots of cool little shops, more coffee shops than makes any amount of sense in that much space. While we have “First Thursdays” here in Austin, Portland has “Last Thursdays”, a nearly identical event held on Alberta Street. It was close enough to walk, so we did, and got ourselves some coffee and a pastry. I could help but be amused by the “Keep Portland Weird” stickers on people’s cars, and the absolutely astonishing number of bike racks and bicycles. Looking around, it seemed as if car parking was both scarce and expensive. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

August 24th – Gardens, Dunes, and Douchebags

Kids get up really early, and they suck at controlling the volume of their voice, so we got up really early, too. I was only annoyed until I made it out of the tent, and was reminded what a beautiful part of the country I was in. We fixed breakfast, took a walk around the campground, and then returned to pack everything up. Have I mentioned I love the forest? Continue reading

August 23rd – Finally into Oregon

We had the bike back, and it was running well, but there was still no way we could reasonably expect it to survive the trip back to Austin without further repairs, given how frequently it had broken down so far. It was a difficult decision, but we decided to try to sell the bike in Portland, which we were still determined to make it to. After that, we’d just fly home. Of course, plane tickets are much cheaper if you buy them a bit ahead of time, so we sunk most of the rest of our money into plane tickets home from Portland on the 8th of September, and put an ad up on portland.craigslist for the bike. Continue reading

August 22nd – What is Home?

The new alternator belt was due to arrive at the bike shop today, which meant I should get the bike back either late today or tomorrow. Despite how amazingly gorgeous the wilderness around here is, we hadn’t really made time to go properly hiking yet. Sure, we’d spent arguably most of our time walking around, as the town is small enough that you can reasonably walk everywhere in it. Walking around in town is really no substitute for nature walks though, so we decided to dedicate our last day here to giving the redwoods a proper walk. Continue reading

August 20th and 21st – Humboldt Fog

If I’m being totally honest, the order of events of our remaining few days in Arcata are a little blurry to me as I sit and try to recall them. I was really, really stoned the whole time I was in Arcata. Rather than try, and likely fail, to form a coherent narrative, I’ll just try to convey a bit of the heart and soul of Arcata, and why it’s one of my favorite places on earth. Continue reading