Monday, August 28, 2006

Vagrant in the Northwest

A few months ago I gave Dearing, one of my good friends, my Green Pass for her birthday so we could go on vacation. We eventually decided that a nice little tour of the Portland and Seattle area would make for some good viewing and maybe some adventure.

We set the date and started making plans.

So if you've been wondering where I've been for the past week, lost somewhere in the Northwest would be the answer.

We experienced a lot and I don't want to skip out on anything, so I'm taking this one day at a time. So be sure to check back often to keep up with the whole story.


Last Sunday Dearing flew from Nashville, met me in Chicago, and we both hopped a non-stop flight over to Portland. Upon arrival (on time, I might add) we headed down to pick up our compact rental car.

I'll be honest, I was hoping for a free upgrade to a Subaru Outback or Forester or something, for they are superior backcountry vehicles, but unfortunately we were stuck with a small gray Dodge Neon. I might add that it had a spoiler attached, so it was THAT MUCH cooler.

I mentioned to Dearing that this trip was going to either make or break our friendship. A week with anyone will do that.

Starving, we stopped at the nearest Burger King, then hit I-84 that runs along the Columbia River, through the Gorge, up to Hood River, our final destination for the day.

We hit a backroad on the way to Hood River, searching for a waterfall called Multnomah Falls.

As we headed up I-84, we stopped at a small town grocery to buy the essentials for the week: Trail Mix (Mixed ourselves with peanuts, cashews, raisins, and M&Ms), Peanut Butter, Bread, and Kix. yes Kix. Kid tested, mother approved Kix. It would be our life sustanence.

We found hood river in early afternoon and stopped at a small outdoor shop to find directions to a good campground nearby so we could set up our tent for the evening. Little did we know that they also offered Wind Surfing lessons out on the Columbia River. If you don't know, the area is renoun for world class windsurfing and kite boarding.

We left the shop with directions to a campground up the hill and reservations the next day for Windsurfing lessons. I was ecstatic. Dearing was nervous.

We wandered around town looking for our campground, and about an hr later finally found it. It was nestled up against a river, which i don't remember the name of, and we spent the extra 5 bucks to get a campground near the river.

After getting all settled in at the campground, we split ways for about an hour to wander (me) or reflect and write in journals (Dearing).

This would be a common theme for the week. On the first day we both admitted our travel flaws. Dearing's is that she has to use the bathroom every 10 mins (ok thats exaggerated, but it was often) and mine is that I go a million miles an hour. I'm not very good and stopping to smell the roses. So periodically we would split up and go our own way for a bit.

Heres what we had already noticed about the area. From town you can see 2 mountains: Mt Hood and Mt Adams. But they are strange in that they jut up from nowhere. Theres no mountain range around them, save for hills, that lead up to them. And as you drive along, one moment they are there, the next gone. Both 12,000 feet high, it was very bizzare, and I can't really explain it.

We met back up and headed to town for the evening to get some food. On the drive down is when Dearing, looking in the rear-view mirror in the direction of Mt Hood, mentioned that it looked "Fuggie." It came out wrong, but she was thinking it was looking muggy and foggy. And at that moment the name for our little Dodge Neon was born.

We ate at a small pub that seemed like it would be a popular place, but there was barely anyone there and the food was overpriced and not very good. So we ate up, enjoyed the evening weather as we ate outside and discussed our feelings about windsurfing the next day.

After dinner we headed back to our campsite, and settled in for the evening. Camping with us were a slew of vagrant I wanted at some point to see a sky full of stars, but tonight was not the night. We slept with the rain fly off, but I only spotted 2 or 3. I fell asleep about 30 mins later to the sound of the rushing river only 20 feet away.

Tomorrow..or whenever I get the chance...Dog Mountain, WindSurfing, and the Hostel.



Adrian said...

Jeremy, I am slightly jealous! Everytime we go to Oregon, Kevin and I make big plans to go to the Columbia River Gorge and then to Portland. But the plans always fall through for one reason or another and we spend a week in his hometown in eastern Oregon. Maybe one day we will make it further west- but for now it looks like we will continue to fly into Boise each time we visit.

Brown Sugar said...

you and your adventures......i have no more to say