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Drive to Missoula, MT

Fully engaged into the road and what it had been morphing my mind into, I was onto the lengthy drive to Washington with another small bit of Idaho and the world was my oyster.

July 24th, 2014

“Bright and early, I’d checked out and was on the rode to Seattle, Washington.  Eastern Washington is boring.  As I ventured towards the Pacific, the state opened wide and it got more and more incredibly sprawling and massive.  Still feeling delirious, I continued the long haul there.  I made good time due to the time change, but I entered the city at a chaotic time of day, mid festival. ”

Seattle was by far the worst traffic I’ve ever encountered, comparable to Fort Collins, CO and Los Angeles, CA.

“The bridge the GPS was suggesting I cross to get to Erin’s house,  was covered edge to edge with over 200,000 people celebrating the Summer Solstice.  Naked bike riders, people dressed as everything under the sun mixed into a slew of horrendous traffic, I sat in the line of cars and attempted to get the GPS to redirect me.  Driving as far as I could passed my supposed turn, I was able to find another bridge I was able to cross, to get to the designated neighborhood I was headed towards.  It was incredible to see Erin.  It had been years since our days working together and hanging out in when we both lived in Brooklyn.”

Traveling with the best grass in the planet called Thunder Fuck from Alaska, I naturally had the urge to hid it, due to, well the law.  I somehow deemed it a good idea, to put the bag inside another bag, inside of a jar of peanut butter.  Erin watched and laughed as I made a mess of my hands on the lawn attempting to remove it.  Erin is now transitioning from male to female and I am so thankful we still stay in touch, so we can give each other support along the way.  Erin is one of the best humans I have the pleasure of knowing and it was like no time had passed.

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“We shared a beer on the back porch, caught up as the trickle of roommates returned home from the parade, dressed as mermaids, sea creatures, gnomes, etc.  We all shared conversation and a hot meal of rice and veggies.  They had decided to return to the parade and Erin and I stayed home to continue catching up.  I went to the trunk for my bartering whiskey and we toasted with Paul Simon and a game of Lawn Ball. We shared laughs and grew sleepy as the clock grew old and we did loads of laundry , eventually falling asleep while watching the Wonder Years.”

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Laundry and hot showers are such a luxury.  A road trip or bout of homelessness will give you a solid reminder of this, making each one that follows a joyous one.

“I drove to work bright and early and headed next door to a diner for a bite to eat before getting on the road again.  It was ok.  After breakfast I headed back to Fuel, were Erin was working, to say goodbye and fill up my coffee tank. Bought a pound to go, got an incredible soy latte, thanked my host and was back on the road.  My shortest drive of the trip.  I was wearing a new pair of comfy pants I acquired in Seattle.  Next was Portland”

I had been super eager to get to Portland to see some old friends and to get a few days off of constant driving, it was my halfway point and ,my turn around.

“On the way south the 5 into Oregon, onto Portland, I saw three things that are burned in my memory.  One was the incredible was Rainer looked, it brought tears to me eyes. Second was a sideways tractor trailer that looked like an old burnt match stick, blocking what looked like 1,000 cars into a solid gridlock.  Third was a man standing on a bridge on the 5 with no car, no bags, not hitching and lifting himself onto the rails with his arms, looking over the edge.  There is still no closure in my life on what happened to that man.  I checked the papers.  The drive was visually mind-blowing, in a way that way totally unique.  When I arrived my buddy Paul had not yet arrived at our meeting spot where he was staying.  Having to use the bathroom and not wanting to pee my pants I searched around, there was a construction site across the street with a port-o-potty.  I have never been happier to see a toilet.

Waiting for Paul and Ryan (a mutual friend of ours from LA) to arrive, I used the time to rearrange my gear and clean out the car.  They arrived and I was thrilled to see more friendly faces.  The house belonged to another friend of ours who lived with his girlfriend at the time, both of whom shall remain nameless.  As his lady had not come home yet, we discussed plans, caught up and drank a beer in the back yard and I brought out my bartering whiskey.  As I soaked in some rays and took a load off, things began to get really strange.  Paul drank all of my whiskey as quickly as he possibly could.  No more bartering with it, I guess.  It made me sad and then the situation turned upside down.  Having just ordered $40+ worth of pizza for everyone, for allowing me to crash and to calm to weird vibe of all my booze being instantly gobbled up adding to the odd exchanges between my buddy and the homeowner, his lady arrived home from work.  This women was not only apparently not ok with me staying there, someone I had joked with on and off via text message for over a year but had never met, she wouldn’t even turn her head to look at me.  After seeing how insanely unwelcome not only I was but also my buddy who invited me to stay and his friend visiting him from LA, I packed up my things and packed them into the car and headed to a local bar.  Here I started pricing out hotels and such, finding nothing in my price range and nothing close.  I finally met a couple I’d known through Paul and penpaling for years, Kate and Boone.  They were gracious enough to let all three of us crash there after some chess games on the porch and some bad action movies.  It was awesome to be cozy, safe and be able to shower, though the whole situation was trying for how planned it had initially been.”

That’s part of the charm of road trips though, things come up and change and you have to find a way to rectify them.  These situations teach you more about yourself than anything.

“Paul, Ryan and I took off early in the morning, I drove him to work at Powell’s Books and stopped next door to grab some Stumptown and fill out 1,000 more postcards.  After a quick chat to check in with the woman renting me the Yurt I was next headed for in the next state we were off to find a good breakfast and we failed.  The restaurant was so odd.  The old man hosted, took the orders, cooked them and ran them back out.  This was not a small joint, it was huge and clearly understaffed.  The food was awful and Ryan had lost his wallet in his travels from LA, so I was funding what I could. We sat and talked to a traveling kid who Ryan later referred to simply as “The Trans Vampire”, she was bound for Seattle and had a flair for dark lipsticks.  I told her that I’d just come from there and wished them well.

We shopped around for a bit getting jewelry, knick knacks, gifts and most importantly donuts. I opted for Blue Star instead of Voodoo, mine was maple bacon.  It was delicious but it ended up wrecking my stomach.  We met Paul at work and I shopped for books, later he met us in the park.  I ran some errands, exchanged gifts with Paul (we penpal it cross-country, so we saved a stamp or two) and then drove Ryan to the train station, to get to the airport and catch his flight back to LA.

It was then that I received an unexpected response from an old coworker Sam, in my last ditch effort to find lodging, since mine had fallen through.  Upon arrival, I come to find he was living with a couple I knew from Buffalo as well.  Small world.  It was very random and a tad awkward, but lucky. After relaxing on the porch I gabbed with Megan and Josh all night, until falling asleep on the couch.  I was up with the sun the next morning, checking my fluids, tires, etc in the rental and heading to fill the tank and refill my cooler.  Into the woods I went.