Thursday, July 11, 2013

On the Road Alone Again...

It seems like not too long ago I was happily writing fire side at Yellowstone National park, but so much has really happened in the last few weeks between here and there that I find myself struggling to begin.  I know I've been a little silent on the writing recently, but I want to just chalk that up to the amazing company I had.  Yes that's in the past tense.  I dropped her off at the end of her part of the journey today at noon at the airport.  We were both a little stressed with the whole flying thing, and I even managed to get a little snappy because of it.  Truth is though we really had the best 8 days ever.  We were perfect traveling companions balancing out each others extremities, and adding to the overall experience immeasurably.  No doubt her plane is landing as we speak, and though I already miss her, I can't help but think about the incredible part of the trip we shared.

Portland was absolutely amazing.  I picked Magzy up at the airport at 10pm so we walked around the city the next day for ages, though we could have easily spent a few days in the gorgeously clean and quirky city of roses.  And a bed of roses it really was as after getting two incredible doughnuts from the world famous Voodoo doughnut shop, we then made our way to the second biggest bronze statue in the US: the Portlandia.  With her hand reaching downward towards the onlookers you could really almost feel like she was reaching out for you saying "Yeah Portland is weird, but stick with me and I'll show you what makes it great!".

After that we took the last suggestions from my friend Iaen who we unfortunately didn't actually get a chance to see, and made our way to the breathtaking International Rose Test Garden.  This was by far the highlight of the day as it was nothing but hundreds of rows of the most beautiful roses I've ever seen.  Having over 100 different varieties it had the perfect color, shape, and scented rose for even a non-flower lover like me, but at the end I was truly converted.  Set in a spectacular park on the hill the views were incredible, the roses enchanting, and the end of our site seeing perfect.  Sure 8 or so hours in Portland was by far not enough time to truly get to know the city, but it was just enough time to fall in love.

We left that afternoon to make our way to the coast taking one of the most scenic drives through the most perfectly groomed fields I've ever seen.  An hour or so later we were there.  On the pacific coast ready to head south and see what the famed Oregon coast had to offer.  Now I know I tend to use this phrase a lot but to say it was anything other then epic would be an injustice.  Winding our way down the coast we fell in love with each and every mile, twist, and cliff all the more excited to be sharing it with each other. 

On the ferry ride from Anacortes to the outskirts of Seattle I managed to get a hot tip from a couple on a bike much like mine on a free campsite.  Since starting the trip one of my goals had been to do what I call Bandit camp, and in the dark around 9 o'clock we actually managed to find the dirt road pull off.  Quickly setting up camp to my surprise Magzy refused to do anything other then head to bed.  To be honest and fair seeing the spot in nothing but pitch black was by far the creepiest thing of the entire trip.  Every sound made us jump, and not knowing what was around us in the woods even 10 feet away due to the total dark didn't help at all. 

To our immense surprise we woke up the next day to by far the most beautiful campsite I had ever seen with no one around for miles except cars rushing by in the distance.  It had a beautiful waterfall and creek running through the site, and on further inspection we found numerous other areas were people had previously set up camp as indicated by the fire rings made of stones found in the forest.   This was rustic amping at best, and I even celebrated by taking a bath in the frigid pool formed by the waterfall. 

The next day we made our way further down the coast completely blown away by the sheer magnitude of the cliffs, the endless ocean, the waves crashing hundreds of feet below, and the immense beauty of it all.  Finally later that day we found a decent priced motel that was surprisingly clean despite its appearance and spent the night in comfort after roughing it Bandit camping,

Now in the last post I indicated another disaster, and at the time this seemed to be by far the worst more from the timing then the break itself.  We woke up the next day, packed up the bike, but on starting Saphira to get her warmed up I instantly felt the throttle cable snap!  Calling local shops I found no help from them as it was the 4th of July, they couldn't get to my bike for a week despite my desperate pleas, and they couldn't even get the part delivered by Monday (one day before we were supposed to be 850 miles south in San Francisco when Magzy was supposed to leave).  To say the very least I was scarred shitless, finding my only sanity in beginning to take apart the bike and keeping moving.  It was at least a three day drive, and being stranded in the little town for Magzy's entire trip was not something we wanted either. 

I know full well that there are a lot of bad people in the world, or good people who do awful things depending on how you look at it, but that day the awesomeness of the  human race proved itself to me yet again.  Two brothers volunteered their help and expertise and in no time using countless zip ties, Teflon tape, and other unusual methods we finally managed to connect a Honda something or other throttle cable to my Suzuki.  Since then I've traveled about 800 miles and my Frankenstein bike has worked perfectly!  When no shop would help me despite the promise of a good sizes bonus, we managed to beat the odds and rig something up.   Too cool.

As you can tell from the beginning of the post we made it to San Francisco, and had an incredible time exploring the somewhat dirty yet beautiful city.  We gorged ourselves on fresh sea food, we had our minds blown in the Bayside Aquarium, and walked endlessly around checking out the sites.  Their was a few parts to the city that even I wondered if we should be walking through, but overall it was incredible.  Getting Magzy to the airport I couldn't help but feel that although it was sad, a better time just couldn't have been possible.  Even the breakdown gave us an extra day to hang out and witnesses the moat spectacular 4th of July fireworks shows we've ever seen.  Sure it got a little difficult at times but at the end of the day thats what adventure traveling is all about.  If mount everest would have come equipped with a handy set of stairs what would be the excitement in making it to the top?  We made it to the top of this part of my journey, looked out at what we had both accomplished and realized that there was so much more to come, both for me in this journey and in our future.  It was an incredible time all around, and I'm pretty sure by the end I made good on my promise that it would be worth every single dollar.  Hopefully I won't find any comments to the contrary after I post this at my next hostel in Las Vegas, but I'd wager everything I have left that I won't. 

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