Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Eurovan

Not surprisingly, writing and working while driving cross country is almost impossible. This wouldn't have been the case if the entire country had 3G coverage. But, considering that I spent the last ten days in Mt. Hood, eastern Oregon, Idaho, and Wyoming, Edge networks were the norm. Whenever I had a fleeting hour of time at a cafe with Wifi, I furiously typed emails that had been long in queue. And just as soon as that hour seemed to have begun, it was over, and more driving along empty highways was imminent. So, back in the van and on the open road I'd go. A few emails left in the dust ... and no time at all for a blog post.

I hope the explanation suffices for my lack of posting during this trip. And I hope that you noticed I mentioned "van" in the last paragraph. While spending a week in Mt. Hood, it became apparent that the little VW Rabbit was just too small for our purposes of driving cross country with half our possessions in the backseat. Luckily, Oregonians use Craigslist, and we did a quick switch. Goodbye Rabbit and hello Eurovan!! Yes, we bought a Eurovan. I never thought I'd have an RV, and I never thought I'd like them. Well, I like to believe that this is the bunny rabbit of RVs so no big deal.  Yet, the roof pops open, two beds can be made inside, there's a stove, a refrigerator, a sink and enough space to do a whole ashtanga series in the backseat. Also, with those big captain seats up front and the most enormous window a van could ever have, we can view the USA in all its glory as we chug our way down the 80.

I started to love the van so much that, in a momentary lapse of sanity somewhere in mid-Idaho and 95 degree heat, I became a bit sentimental and realized that the Eurovan was my first home. My first wholly owned sink, refrigerator, cabinetry and ... a little more heat later, enough room to birth a child, and even a place for him or her to sleep (up in the bed by the pop-top). Luckily the air cooled down at night and I regained my composure. No worries, we're ditching the van once we get a house somewhere.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Portland Day 1 and 2

We've been on the road for a few days now, and have made it to Portland. The driving was pretty intense, mostly because it took us a bit longer to pack than we expected ... to be exact, eight hours longer than we expected. We also had about two times more stuff than we'd originally thought. This forced us to spend three hours buying and installing a roof rack and cargo box on top of my little VW Rabbit in the REI parking lot during our first day in Portland. Anyway, within a day and a half of hitting the road, we had made it to Ashland, Oregon, town of Renaissance Fairs, Shakespeare Festivals, and funky park yoga. It's almost the type of place we'd love to live in - beautiful homes studding a hill overlooking a valley and an earthy yet upscale downtown - but it's far away from everything, unfortunately.

By midnight on Thursday, we had found ourselves a hotel south of Portland by Lake Oswego. From a quick walk around and a momentary check-in to the farmer's market down the street, we realized it's  yuppy in this southern corner of Portland. This was confirmed later at a friend's housewarming party in NorthEast Portland where they consider their neighborhood to be up-and-coming. The NE may be a little too much on the early side of gentrification for us, but we definitely saw the potential.

The mix of people at the party was the perfect melange of Portlanders, or so they said. Everyone was brought up elsewhere - Tennessee, Mexico City, Massachusetts, Michigan. Everyone had made their pilgrimage to Oregon and stayed, citing the openness, the easy access to "nowhere," the perfect combination of the calm and the fun that the area provides. Everyone had at least one visible tattoo.