Let’s be honest. There are some things that, when I was young, I never thought I’d do. After multiple torturous road trips with my parents to Klamath Falls, Oregon, just beyond the border of California, I never understood why anyone would want to live in that farmville of a state. And here I am, living in Portland, Oregon, and loving every bit of it. After several more agonizing experiences being locked up in a car with my parents within California, I swore on my grave I’d never spend more than an hour with them in a vehicle again. Again, I stand corrected. As they get older, I appreciate all my folks have done for me and look forward to spending time with them, even if arguments are inevitable. After all of the horror stories I heard growing up about hitchhiking, I never thought I’d get into a stranger’s car for a ride. Oh my, how things have changed. How travel has changed me so…
Yesterday morning, I got up at 6am after having gone to sleep around 3am, packed my bag, took a shower, ate a slice of bread, drank what was left of a two-day-old pot of coffee. Tired as hell, I hit the pavement to wait for the bus. Normally I’d be cursing life, but I was stoked to be hitting the road again. Travel = Life. And I love being alive, exploring the unknown, taking risks, and just seeing where the universe takes me.
I met up with my ride at My Father’s Place off of SE Grand, witnessing a horrible car crash as I was walking up Burnside, and ordered a mimosa at the bar. I sat down a couple stools down from the ride I’d found on Craigslist- a chill, southward bound, bearded musician- watching the Golden Girls and chatting about the Malaysian Airlines plane recently shot down.
We piled into his station wagon, met his friendly dog, and hit the road. Aside from listening to Bob Dylan and the Grateful Dead cassettes, and seeing some odd shit on the highways, I slept on the drive down. I couldn’t help it. The dog woke me up a couple of times, howling in my ear, climbing onto my lap, and licking my face, but time warped quickly. I was in downtown Klamath Falls. The place I loathed as a child. But I was excited.
Soon enough, I was meeting up with a family friend, whom I hadn’t seen in almost ten years, at the Daily Bagel. We went back to her house, where we chatted for a couple of hours, munched on hummus and pita chips, and I retreated into the guest room to read No Touch Monkey: And Other Travel Lessons Learned Too Late, by Ayun Halliday. I must have read two sentences before my eyes closed shut.
Today my parents showed up at the house. It was a good day filled with conversation, laughter, eating tacos, drinking margaritas, my parents expressing how stupid I was for getting tattoos, taking photos of my family friends’ rabbit and flowers in the backyard, and trying to reconcile plans.
Tomorrow, we head to Crater Lake. As I stated before, I will see all of Oregon’s wonders.