and all the roads that lead us there are winding

I am sitting in Mike’s car driving highway 20 from Newport to Albany? 

All this new fangled technology has allowed me to charge my phone and update my blog at the same time.

We left Seattle and made our way towards highway 101 which is the highway which takes you down the breathtaking Oregon coast.

As Mike and are both unfamiliar with the area, I prefer to proceed with caution and my companion is a cowboy on the range, riding his steed with rifle in hand.

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I wanted to be sure that we were on the same road and after changing the tone in my voice..just a bit, we pulled over. The lady in the gas station told us how to get to the 101 and we took her advice and soon found ourselves going in the completely opposite direction.

I did the unthinkable and activated data on my phone, I’ve already began the process of chewing my left arm off to pay Rogers when I get back.

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THe soothing voice of my GPS application guided us to the correct road and it turned out that Mike was correct and we should have stayed on the #8 hwy.

You win this round Docherty.

I drove today, it was nice to go the speed limit. I don’t want to incriminate my friend..but he has a lead foot. We’re going 70 right now.

As we make our way through Aberdeen WA and south to Astoria Oregon and beyond, I notice how many empty buildings and homes there are. An entire apartment building was abandoned with closed stores along the once busy roads.

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People are still struggling here. Church signs seeking salvation and American flags lining the streets of nearly every community is a reminder I come from a very different place.

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“It’s like that Simpsons where the kids stay with Flanders,” said Mike, “It’s almost the same.. just different.”

Interesting metaphor..I would consider Canadians to be the Flanders.

We left Wa and arrived in OR via a long assed bridge!

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Astoria OR is where The Goonies was filmed. It actually reminded me of a larger Queen Charlotte City on Haida Gwaii. 

A lot of beautiful rustic homes along the coast line. We stopped at McDonald’s for a couple of cheese burgers, some small town American hospitality and free WiFi! People there were very friendly, I think the girl at the counter was hitting on me, we have too much in common though..

we both like men.

Highway 101S is a snake of a road, winding its way down the coastline. To your left is thining vegetation carefully left behind in an attempt to hide the clear cut logging and to your right is the Pacific Ocean and it’s constantly waving to you. Come in!! Come in!!”

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We took  pics at many of the view points and the day was starting to get a bit long. I wanted to have the tent set up before dark and I HAD to see the sun set. When I worked on cruise ships, it was my favourite part of the day. 

I took this picture in 2003 on board the Adventure of the Seas:

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We arrive in Lincoln City and Mike’s Google map was telling him where to go. I notice a sign that says “Devil’s Lake State Park,” and there was a sign showing that camping happened there.

Mike assured me that he knew the trail. “Okay John Wayne..”

We arrive at our destination which is a dead end.

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I had become rather agitated at this point. I was not sure of anything and wanted to know where we had to go. We drove down Devil’s Lake Road for a while and when Mike suggested to turn around I said “We’re stopping and will figure out where we need to go before just driving more.”

Yeah, I was being a bitch but I hate wondering aimlessly. I turn to my trusty GPS and soon enough we’re at a familiar intersection turning right and hitting up the campsite.

Mike and I have a chat back at the camp. I just want to seek clarification in the light of confusion. I think it’s silly to just keep driving if you don’t know where you are.

We’re different people and that’s why I love him.

Mike cooks five cheddar smokies and asks if I want one. “Nope,” I reply. DO.NOT.WANT.

A raccoon made its way to our camp. I kept cool..on the inside I was like “PLEASE DO NOT BITE ME!!!”

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In true cowboy fashion, Mike and I slept under the stars, okay.. so I didn’t put the fly on the tent.

I brought a luxurious 1″ (yes one inch) pillowtop foamy and mike brought nothing.

Horrible sleep but I slept most of the night.

On our journey I noticed that parts of America are struggling but you do get a palpable sense that people are trying. We saw many signs that said “Homeless, will take any job.” 

These people are proud of who they are and their convictions and I think Mike is right when he says “I wish Canadians were more like that.”

I do too.

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Inspiring moment of the day. We passed through this tiny little community along the highway and we saw a group of young people protesting military action against Syria. They know it takes small groups of people to change the world.

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Oh and in case you were wondering, I did see the sun set.

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***

 

Okay, so I had meant to blog more vigourously but time gets away from you so here’s the entry to cover the 3rd of September and Today.

 

Tuesday was a long friggin day.

 

We hit the road early and drove for 10-11 hrs down the I-5. Mike drove to the California border and I drove to our hotel.

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The scenery in Southern Oregon into Northern California is breathtaking. I have NO breath.

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We just burn down the highway making very little stops. We stopped at a Walmart so I could get some scratch and Mike was looking for postcards. 

Have you ever seen a sign like this in front of your Walmart? Yikes!

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Remind me to show this to folks in Kamloops when I get back.

Finally we make the turn off to San Francisco and it’s really setting in that we’re arriving at one of our destinations! 

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We are making our way into San Fran and the GPS lady is sending us in all kinds of directions. When we were booking the hotels, I booked us one in Oakland, “oh it’s just a hop skip and a jump away from San Fran!”

NOT QUITE!

We arrive in a ghetto. The houses on the way to our hotel have bars on the windows and doors. People sketching our around us and then we arrive at the Bay Breeze Inn. Mike is mortified and in some strange way, I’m always balancing him out. The more freaked out he is.. the more chill I get. 

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We check in and make our way down the road to get some beer. The first place we go does not sell it and he asks:

“Do you really need beer tonight?” 

So the short answer is YES!

Long answer is “YES! DON’T JUDGE ME! I AM ON VACATION!”

We get back to the hotel and I try to update the blog but the internet is slow like MOOOLASSEES!

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Mike suggests calling a cab company to arrange a delivery of beer but abandons the plan after a language barrier with the first cab company.Image

 

It’s 9:00 and I want a friggin beer so I decide to take a walk to a store and get some. I wasn’t too freaked out walking the mile to the store. The area is a mix of Hastings and New West. Some people try and talk to me and I just say “I’m good.”

My voice dropped a bit lower and I kept my hands in my pockets as I walked. Even though I was trying to play tough..I felt like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DljE-t3E0tY

I get back to the hotel and Mike and I watch Stigmata, have beer and go to bed.

This morning we made the drive from Oakland to San Fran.

8 minutes after we left the roach motel we arrive at what can only be described as an REM video shoot.

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We park the car in the “Tenderloin” area of San Fran which is a rough spot of town which borders a really nice part of town and walk around. 

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We get breakfast and decide what to do. The plan was:
Alcatraz, Golden Gate Bridge and the Full House Park

I’m a little on edge in the morning, I like to be prepared and just get on with things, waiting around or handling people who aren’t, in my opinion, prepared..I get a little pissy.

 

We walk to Fisherman’s Wharf and try to get tickets for Alcatraz. It was sold out today so we’re going tomorrow as part of a package tour which granted us a 24 pass on a great bus that took us on a tour of the city.

We toured about:

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We get off the bus to view the “Full House” homes or the “Painted Ladies,” as they are called. 

The park is partly a dog park and we couldn’t see the homes. I start getting sarcastic, “NOT ME!!!”

I feel bad for the people who own the homes. They’ve probably never opened the curtains since 1987. The  park is full of people on a knoll taking pictures of their homes. I was one of them!

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We continue on to the Golden Gate Bridge.

That was a great experience! The view was so wonderful:

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Arriving at the hotel at about 4:30, I decided to get something to eat and then do this blog.

I’ll write more in a day or two.

Alcatraz and a Giants game tmrw for sure and everything else is gravy.

One thing I’ve noticed is that Mike and I take pictures of different things, here he is taking a picture of something I wouldn’t take a picture of.

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We’re going out….NAOW!

Take care.

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I saw the constellations reveal themselves on star at a time.

Last year Mike and I made a pact to go on a road trip.  

At first it was a bit of cloud talk, “hey we should..” “wouldn’t it be great if?” 

“Screw it Joey! We’re doing it baby!” said Mike. 

Suddenly it was September 1st and he was knocking at my door.

The drive to the border was quick and the entire time I was giving a silent prayer to a God I don’t believe in, “oh please let me get across the border.. oh please let me get across the border.”

You see, I am an Indian, or at least my good half, and according to the Jay Treaty of 1794 says the following:  “It is agreed, that it shall at all times be free to His Majesty’s subjects, and to the citizens of the United States, and also to the Indians dwelling on either side of the said boundary line, freely to pass and repass, by land or inland navigation into the respective territories and countries of the two parties on the continent of America, (the country within the limits of the Hudson Bay company only excepted) … and freely carry on trade and commerce with each other.”

I  chose not to get a passport because I didn’t want to pay for one and I was so lazy that I waited until the very last moment to apply for one and in the end said SCREW IT!

We arrive at the Sumas border crossing and the guard asks the usual questions and then we are asked to park our cars and head into a little office. 

A gentleman on a motorbike was also in the office and while he was being questioned, he was asked to enter a door and suddenly he was in handcuffs.

“GULP!”

The officer asked us how we knew each other, asked to see our itinerary, which Mike had carefully printed, stapled and collated.  

“You don’t work on cruise ships anymore?” asked the guard?

“Oh, no..I guess you guys would have all that info on me hey?”  I said. 

“What kind of info should we have about you?” he responded.

After a quick body cavity search, Mike and I were on the road (*)

We drove down the I-5 and while Mike is a competent and capable driver.. my subconscious mind was screaming at him to GET IN THE FUCKING HOV LANE! 

I did give him a passive aggressive suggestion to get in the HOV lane, which he did. 

I have been to Seattle before and I remember it being beautiful, but something about driving by the Space Needle with the sun in my face, my best friend beside me and 90’s dance music playing that made it serene. 

After a quick stop at our hotel we got on the light rail system and made our way to Pioneer Square. 

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We leave the station and Mike’s face changes. Outside the station is a rougher neighbourhood and we weren’t prepared. I just played it cool, poor people are my people. 

We end up at some Irish pub called Fado’s and Mike sits at the bar and says “Got and specials?”

“No, we don’t have any specials..” she retorted. She offered to sell Mike a beer for $5.00 and I paid the usual $6.00.

I am in customer service, so I understand the pressures and annoyances of dealing with customers but this lady was rude and could have been a bit nicer to us. We’re good people. So.. sure we were douchey sports fans talking about how the game fell apart in the fourth period of play and coach has his head up his ass..but we can talk about other interesting things. 

We went to a second pub and met four people from Ohio, where I used to live. Hearing them speak with their mid-west accent caused me to speak like them. “Oh gash margie, get the pap for the indians in their teepees.”

 

They were talking about adopting Alaskan Indians because of the grants and free healthcare..

“If they wanna feel at home, we’ll just get them a teepee.”

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Heading down to some docks Mike is reminded of how much he loves the smell of the ocean. I am reminded of how much I hate the smell. Seriously, there are areas of the waterfront that smell like a bathroom on cruise ships.

We met some nice girls from Switzerland and we’ll be travelling to the same places. “If I see you in San Fran, I’ll buy you a drink!”

On the way back to the light rail station we were looking for a 7-11 and a man with a dog appeared. 

“Excuse me, can you tell us where we can get beer.” He crossed the road and told us the general direction. He had a friendly face and a Labrador retriever. I’ve met this man before many times at music festivals, in crowded coffee shops and bank line ups. He is the Good Samaritan…his name was Trevor. 

Trevor walks us to the store where we purchase a delicious IPA and he invites us to his home to hang out with his girlfriend Kendra. I can trust the Good Samaritan and Mike, by this point, is too wasted to care. 

We arrive at Trevor’s apartment, it’s absolutely beautiful! 

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We’re introduced to Kendra, Trevor’s girlfriend and she’s frigging awesome! She’s reminded me of the girls I would go to the bar with when I was younger.. just quirky and awesome. 

We make our way to their rooftop patio and have beers, a smoke and converse about life. 

 

Trevor makes soap, Kendra works with people who have special needs and they share this view of Seattle:

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It was a surreal experience. 

Mike reminds me that we gotta make waves. We part company with Kendra and Trevor and make  beeline to the light rail station. 

In haste, we get on the wrong train and go in the wrong direction. We’re waiting for the train, sobering up and Mike is stressed about getting back on time. He was trying to hide it, but I think his feelings can be summed up in this picture:

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We made it back in time and are just preparing to hit our second destination, a campsite on the Oregon coast. 

What an amazing first day. 

Trevor and Kendra, THANK YOU! I have undying faith in humanity and it’s people like you who keep the flame burning strong. We should all be so generous to invite strangers into our homes to show them compassion and fellowship. 

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I’m so happy and it’s been a while since I could say that and actually mean it.

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Indeed.

Oregon, here we come!

Follow me on http://www.twitter.com/joeyjack for updates.

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