November 4, 2014

Leaving Alaska

Portland, Oregon won't build a mile of road without a mile of bike path. You can commute there, even with that weather, all the time.
- Lance Armstrong
It's been a while since my last post, not because nothings been happening but because so much has been happening that I just haven't had time to stop and recount it all. Even my journals have become bullet points rather than fully formulated thoughts, something I scribble on the floor of my tent under the fading light of a headlamp. That being said, this update may be in multiple parts.

The Mountains Over Anchorage
But now I have time to sit here with that journal, safe and sound and back in the big city. The fire alarm in my hostel went off at 5am which gave me a wonderful excuse to get up and get writing, and sometimes that's what it takes.

On October 1st I left the mighty Yukon River of Alaska after five months in the interior. It was a memorable experience living with eight other employees in the middle of nowhere and I can't say I regret any of it. My mother use to say about albums and cookbooks that if you get just one really good recipe/song out of it than the purchase was worth while. I think that goes for experiences and friends too and I got a few really good friends out of the deal. So I left the river and with two of those now good friends headed to Anchorage for a few days. We saw the sights, rented a car and visited Seward (which is beautiful and highly recommended), and then flew south to Seattle where I stayed at the Green Tortuous, a great Hostel right downtown, which my friend Emy visited family while promising to meet in Seaside Oregon the following week.

Lan Su Gardens
Seattle was cool, some nice little parks and their Museum of Art [SAM] (my litmus test for most cities) was pretty good if slightly overpriced for what they offered. I was excited for their advertised Impressionist Exhibit which turned out to be one wall with only one or two noteworthy pieces, but their display of Greek art was beautiful and worth checking out. My main accomplishment in the city was to stop at the REI headquarters and buy a sleeping bag called the Cat's Meow. Why a sleeping bag, you ask? Well I was planning to hike the OCT with one of those good friends from Alaska. We figured it would take about a month from what we'd read and, while we understood that Oregon in October would be a bit soggy, we were very excited to have a whole month of camping.

After a day in the city and a day with a friend I caught the Bolt Bus heading for Portland. I'd never used Bolt before but it cost about $16 which is hard to beat, and the driver was friendly and on time. 

Powell's Bookstore
Now Portland I could live in. The city itself is full of dense parks, tall trees, statuary (including the second largest bronze statue in America), and they have an amazing art museum [PMA]. I wandered around for hours eating from food carts, getting lost in Powell's Bookstore, strolling through the Lan Su Chinese Gardens and generally having an awesome time. I stayed in a beautiful little neighborhood outside the city with my cousin Pheobe and her husband who had moved there from San Francisco a few years earlier and agreed that Portland was just as awesome as I'd believed. 

Pheobe's friend Pam has a house in Cannon Beach and offered to drive me to the coast, so a few days later we were on the road, bumping along in her pickup without much of a plan for what I would do once I got there. Staying in Pam's little cabin was a great start to the trip and the following day we drove to Seaside to pick Emy up at the Seaside International Hostel, which she tells me was very pleasant. We got a night, one wonderful night at Pam's before heading south, and it wasn't that we didn't understand what we were getting into, but there is a difference between knowing something and knowing something

To Be Continued...

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