Tag Archives: plans

Walla Walla: travels to and from

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Thanksgiving evening on the side of the freeway in Grants Pass.

We spent Thanksgiving hitch hiking through Northern California. The night before we got a hotel room in Eureka. We were trying to get to Eugene but called it a night in Canyonville, after a trucker dropped us off at a truck stop near the casino. We made it to Roseburg the next day via a local bus and took Greyhound from there – Casper to Eugene and me to Portland.

Foggy mountain morning

Foggy mountain morning

It has been 15 days since we left Humboldt County. In those two short weeks we have seen a lot of extended family – me in Olympia, Seattle and Walla Walla and Casper in Eugene – and we are exhausted from the combination of transition, travel and visiting.

My parents reside in Walla Walla and I came home with them the weekend after Thanksgiving. Casper joined us a week later via Amtrak from Eugene.

That was four days ago. Tonight we board an Amtrak train headed east. Saturday morning my sister will pick us up in Minneapolis and yet another life begins. We will descend into yet another world.

And that is what we do, you know: we place ourselves over and over in new worlds. We watch and listen a lot; don’t speak as much as you might think.

And right now we’re thinking that we want to do more of that.

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On top of a parking garage in Roseburg, Oregon.

My mom will join us out in Wisconsin for Christmas, and a good friend of Jess’ (who we met when we visited her in Texas last year) is coming right after Christmas. She is house-sitting a little house in the same valley where we grew up and our own self-built house still stands.

Sisters are magical; I expect great beauty and growth for all present in the next three weeks. Also there will be a lot of really good food and my sister’s beautiful laugh which is contagious, particularly for me.

After Wisconsin – January? February? – Casper and I are flying to Mexico City! “Another white dash,” I think when I contemplate our latest leap of faith into a new world – and “once more with feeling”. Pack the bags. Reconsider your few belongings: what is now superfluous that last week was essential? what new items have taken top priority? We leave behind the ripped sleeping bag that was our only blanket this summer and trade out Casper’s threadbare backpack for a big duffel bag. I get to pack dresses, my paints and brushes, more than one pair of shoes. Every item we use regularly is re-examined for its worth in our new situation. Every possession is chosen.

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“Please understand I have been waiting to leave ever since i figured out there were roads willing to take me anywhere i wanted to go.”

In Mexico, we plan to live in Xalapa. We know what we want to do with our time and just need the space to do it so cheap rent and foreign culture beckon us. We are excited, though this morning our minds and hearts are caught up in the present transitions of leaving Walla and arriving in Wisconsin and the dreamy travel-time of Amtrak in between.

Oh, and I’m making solstice cards and I want you to want one. Send me your address in the next week or so for best results. <3


San Francisco…

California dreamin’!

…is full of beautiful people and small dogs.

…smells like piss (or worse) <i>everywhere</i>.

…has ultimately been very kind to us.

We’ve been here – what? A week? Something like that. It’s been really wonderful. It’s the first big city we’ve been to while traveling by thumb and it has treated us well. We happened to be out of money while here, too, and so the plethora of downtown meals made our lives much, much easier.

A few weeks ago we got a ride into the city on our way south so we only spent a few hours here. We then spent a week and a half south of Santa Cruz – absolutely dreamy! – and then came back up to San Fran for a real visit.

We spent a day on Haight Street – great anarchist infoshop and we counted double-digits of head shops! – and today were in Castro for the first time. Golden Gate Park has been wonderful, too. We’ve been to four different libraries and traveled on three of four kinds of transit.

Tomorrow morning, we are hoofing it over to the Golden Gate Bridge to hitch hike north. We remember fondly our days in Garberville and are greatly looking forward to a shower/swim. We’re ready for warmth, too, as even the nicer days in Santa Cruz and San Francisco have been windy because of the ocean.

We have a few different ideas of what to do once the weather gets too cold to live in our tent. These ideas include Washington, Oregon, Wisconsin, Texas, Louisiana and Vera Cruz!


Arcata and Garberville

We spent four or five nights in Arcata. Setting our tent up after nightfall and packing it up at 6am as the sun rose. What a practice! Building our home each evening, taking it down each morning. Working together. Handling every single pack of belongings every single day.

We keep getting rid of more – a shirt, nail polish, a book. I just finished my first Hemingway – The Sun Also Rises. Loved it from start to finish but got nervous near the end as I saw there was not going to be any great climatic point (at least compared to other stories) and wondering how the hell he was going to pull it off.

And he did. One line – that Casper knows by heart and spoke to me just as I set down the book, wide-eyed – and he explains who he is. All this describing place and people and dynamic leaves the reader wanting to know who the watcher, the writer, the observer is. And then boom. Sigh. I am still high on that last page.

After a few nights in Arcata, we hitched down to Garberville. Two rides with less than a half hour wait. We climbed a hill behind a KMart and read and napped in between the rides, a midday rest. Such luxury! We are soaking it all up. We live very limited lives in some ways, but it clears up so much time to enjoy simply!

Our next plan…we’re not sure. Sacramento was the idea but man it is hot over there! Garberville has sun that in the heart of the day is way too hot to be out in, but there’s a beautiful clear river that is just the depth and speed for cooling off. And shade is relatively easy to find.

After cloudy, windy Arcata we thought Sacramento would be grand, but we find we’re liking this 70 degree weather just fine and plan to leave the 100+ heat to other fools.

Next, we think, will be Laytonville to get ready for Gaia fest! We may even score a job helping a vendor so we can get on the inside. Michael Franti is playing!

Maiden Moon blessings to you all. Don’t forget to look at the sky today!


Eugene: a day (or at least a few hours) in the life

Here’s an adapted and illustrated journal entry from June 10…

11:30am – library – Eugene

Casper at church. I woke up alone at Shady Pines to the sound of a woman orgasming somewhere in the house. I think in the basement.

I pulled myself thankfully out of a vicious-cycle dream of guns, disappearances, strangers gathered around a lake on a steep grassy bank, and broken glass pipes. Rolling up our bedding and setting it out of the way, I gathered all our other things lying around before leaving the room.

Gritty punk lady housemate perched on the front porch railing with dreadlocks, all black clothes and a friendly dog named Rosie. The door was pulled open leaving only the frame of a screen door. Elegant metal work framed the overgrown yard as I looked out from the dark hallway.

Dining room kitchen looking out the front door at Shady Pines.

Then I took lots of photos of the space because the house was empty of people and full of sunlight and shadows.

Shady Pines kitchen

Dining room/kitchen spray paint wall art.

In the car, I put some things here and some things there and ended up bring with me: computer bag, headphones, journal, sketchbook, city map, empty water bottle, car keys, phone and, because I forgot to take it out of the back pocket of my overalls, rose petal witch hazel.

I wore the headphones as I walked, the plug-in tucked inside my pocket so I could sing to myself and not look crazy.

Casper had left me a note underneath my blue traveling lizard who was tucked inside my set of car keys. The note was written in bleeding red ink in Casper’s usual unschooler scrawl. “I’m at church, I’ll meet you at the library after 1, or if the library is closed the bus station.”

Summer!

It is going to be a really good day.


Portland, the woods, Salem

Portland was sucking our souls – for unknown reasons – so we cooked up a bunch of rice and veggies and headed out to the woods last Wednesday.

Spent three nights in the Mount Hood National Forest east of Estacada. Up on a forestry development road in our tent for the first time. All day for reading, writing, walking, drawing, cuddling, stretching, playing cards and chess. I finished “The Good War” by Studs Terkel, started and finished Welcome to the Ark by Stephanie Tolan, and am now reading One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey. It rained the last night but the car kept us comfy the next day as we waited for the sun to come out before packing up.

Me and Brutus. He freakin’ adored carrying that plastic pumpkin around.

Now we’re on day three at Casper’s half-sister’s place in Salem. She’s been working but is coming home tonight. They haven’t seen each other since they were little kids and Casper only vaguely knew of her before she found him on Facebook last year. She’s got a two year old who we’re watching this morning while her husband goes and picks her up at work (it’s, like, six hours away) and a playful pitbull named Brutus.

It’s been three weeks since we last slept in a real bed. It’s pretty rad.

I’m busy working, dealing with body pain, struggling with depression, making anatomical drawings, studying astrology and watching Casper interact with family for the first time. I’d like to get the last few month’s worth of photos online soon, especially the ones from our time on Vashon.

Our plans are to head to Eugene this Friday, possibly with a stop out in the woods again because we loved it. In Eugene, our focus is to get me studio space so I can work on a series for a show Casper has hopefully secured for me next month!

In case you haven’t been bombarded on Facebook, I am also selling my art for the first time: igart.tumblr.com. You can check it out on Facebook, too. Yay!


We’re back!

Our winter hiatus from travel is nearly over and we are just about ready to start this blog up again. We’ve spent the colder months burrowed in a small, cozy room on Vashon Island in the Puget Sound. A 20 minute ferry ride from West Seattle, we’ve spent most of the past six months on the island and inside our house.

I believe we last left off as we were leaving Bozeman, Montana. Of course, that was over at a different URL so those posts aren’t on this blog. However, we’re sticking to this blog now. I think. I guess. We’ll see.

We had a lovely time in Bozeman last fall and then took our time driving to Spokane. We spent a lovely day on a secluded mountain trail somewhere really high up in Montana or Idaho. Absolutely gorgeous.

That was August or September 2011. We spent a month in Walla Walla, Washington, living in my parents’ basement. They have two puppies who we are absolutely in love with. My paternal grandma had a stroke and died while we were there. My sister flew up from Texas to attend the funeral so my whole family (plus Casper) were in the same house for a few days there!

We left in October planning to travel the West Coast down to Eugene at least. We spent a week or two visiting my dear friend Sean in Chehalis, bopped down to Portland for a day to pick up a friend who was looking for a ride to Seattle, and then headed for Vashon Island.

Our plan was to spend a few days on Vashon visiting some of my old friends from when I was 14 and 15. We spent a week in our car near a lovely Seattle library doing writing work so we could afford the ferry ride to the Island.

Once on the Island, it was about a week before we decided to take the room they had available. It measures something like 14’x10′ and has lots of storage-like shelves up high. The walls were kind of beat up so we painted them boldly with quotes and art and the like during our stay. It very quickly became a cozy little home for us. We called it the Bunkernest.

Our roommates started out being Ben and Cosmo, folks I know from when I was younger. It’s a four bedroom house. A guy named Matt joined us November 1. Kyle kept sleeping on our couch while walking from town to a house south of us so in January he decided to move in. He sectioned off half of the living room with beautiful tapestries and I’m not actually sure what he was sleeping on for a bed back there… Brian, a friend of Kyle’s, started sleeping on our couches regularly sometime in March, I think. An older couple, Heather and Thom, took Matt’s room when he left in February.

As of April, the four bedroom house was home to seven housemates, one couch friend, three cats and over a dozen computers.

Right Now: Octavia
For the first time in a year and half, Casper and I are apart for more than a week! I’m in Wisconsin with my sister and he is back on Vashon.

My sister became known to the Vashon household because she stayed with us for a week after getting knee surgery and then at other points as she was flying to and from Texas. On the last visit, she was thinking she would need a second round of surgery so I offered to drive to Wisconsin with her to take care of her post-op.

We spent a few days with our parents in Walla Walla, picked up her dog Oso who was staying there, and then up to Spokane to visit our brother. The car, a rickety little thing named Antonia who has been through some stuff, was packed to the gills. I had a backpack and a bag and the rest was Jess’ worldly possessions and dog.

One of those possessions was a yurt she built. We set it up the first night on the road at some BLM land outside of Billings. It was easy to set up but bloody cold. We ended up in the same sleeping bag and full of giggles at 2am as we froze our asses off.

We hit the road at daybreak and managed to get all the way to the Twin Cities. It was, like, a 12 hour driving day. Jess did most of it; she’s a rockstar. We spent the night at an apartment in Minneapolis where some of our childhood friends live, though we didn’t actually see them at all because we got in after midnight and then slept in late.

In the past week, we’ve been housesitting outside of Menomonie, Wisconsin, for some old friends (actually the parents of the people with the apartment mentioned above!). It turns out Jess just needs a lot more physical therapy and not surgery so we’ve just been enjoying ourselves! This has included eating delicious gluten-free things that Jess makes, setting up her yurt in the valley where we grew up, yoga and tea on the front porch, talking about how cute her dog is, andmore. We’ve also been working a bunch on her midwifery business stuff – business cards, advertising, medical forms, licensing, tools of the trade, etc.

Right Now: Casper
I am leaving Wisconsin on May 2. Casper has been a rockstar, judging from afar, about getting our car ready for the road, our belongings packed and the bedroom walls painted. I am taking Amtrak out west and will meet him at the Portland train station on the 4th!

The Plan
The plan now is to do the West Coast. Anyone who has been told of our “plans” before, though, know how much these things can change! We go as the wind blows us, seeking bliss and adventure.

In our future: Portland, Salem, Eugene. We want to spend time on the coast, in ghost towns, on friends’ couches, and deep in BLM land. We’re excited to be back to moving again. Those four walls on Vashon were a comfort but by March were starting to feel like chains. We want to be away from people for awhile, not living in community and living instead by our daily whims.

And this fall? Europe. One way ticket, friends. I am so excited my feet have trouble staying in the socks they aren’t wearing! So far, I know how to say “yes” and “no” in Icelandic and am feeling really good about my future plans!


St. Paul/Minneapolis: Couch Surfing Awkwardness

Nomming on Casper's amazing garlic bread.

We left Peggy’s on the 8th, a day before the Twin Cities Couch Fest’s first event. Our first Twin Cities host was going to let us stay four nights. We arrived and the place was great: newly remodeled, lots of space, a private sleeping area, an air mattress. We sat in our host’s living room and chatted with her for awhile.

Casper cooked spaghetti and the most incredible garlic bread I have ever had and we shared our dinner with our host. Casper and I played chess (still no win for me) and then went to bed. The next day was the early bird kickoff for the Couch Fest. We left the house around noon, after a lot of much-needed cuddling, in search of wifi and a grocery store. We spent quite a bit of time online and, afterwards, drove to Joe’s Garage, for the kickoff.

We were some of the first guests to arrive, but within an hour the place was fairly full and we had made some friends. We spent a good deal of time talking to a fantastic lady named Roseanne. She just joined Couch Surfing and has yet to have her first guests. 2010 was a hard year for her, she told us, and she was ready to make 2011 a joyful year.

We also met a few other folks, two of which were from Philadelphia and around our age. I forget their names, but they encouraged us to come to Philly some day and we definitely plan to. After a couple of hours, we were peopled-out and needed to head to the airport to spend a few hours with my friend Mar, from Washington. He had just flown in from Seattle (via Phoenix) and had two hours before he needed to catch a shuttle to Duluth, in northern Minnesota. I promised him that we’d get him back in time for his shuttle.

But I didn’t. In short, he missed his shuttle so we drove him all the way to Duluth. Details on that adventure (because that, as most of my mistakes end up being, is exactly what it turned out to be) shall be told in another post.

It’s three hours each way to Duluth so we didn’t arrive back in the Twin Cities until 5am. We hung out at a coffee shop for a few hours before ringing our host’s doorbell. We had texted her the night before that our plans had gone awry and we wouldn’t be home until the next day. We also tried texting and calling her before doing the door ringing.

We had obviously woken her up but she didn’t seem too upset. I took a shower and then we went to bed immediately. We slept until 3pm. At that point, the awkwardness began.

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Chicago Memories: Downsizing Possessions

Chicago, as seen from the greatest Whole Foods in the world.

The night we left Cincinnati we knew we needed to get rid of a lot of our stuff. The car was packed to the gills even though we ended up throwing out a bunch of stuff at the last minute. It was heartbreaking!

Most of the stuff we decided to get rid of was clothing; nice clothing in particular. So, one day in Chicago while staying at Abby’s, we sorted out all the clothes we thought might sell at Buffalo Exchange and then hauled a huge tub of clothes to the store.

Unfortunately, they only wanted a few things. Apparently, our things were either too wintery or too “wash worn”. We put the clothes back in the car and put getting rid of them on the back burner. Then, one sunny day while we were at the kosher house, we decided it was time for a complete car reorganization session and drove to a nearby park.

It happened to be near a school and all the kids who passed stared and a bunch of them asked if the stuff was free or for sale. We took everything – and I mean everything – out of the car and put it on the lawn. We went through our clothes again, keeping things we’d only put in the giveaway pile because we thought they’d sell. We still had a huge pile of give-away, though, and were planning on taking it to a thrift store when a woman walked up and asked if anything was free. We looked at each other and then pointed to the pile of give-away clothes. She ended up taking quite an armload and we felt quite pleased.

Though it broke my heart, we got rid of Stu, the computer Garrick left me when we broke up. Garrick had built that computer for his sister a few years ago and then reclaimed it when she didn’t want it anymore. And then he left it for me when he moved home. It was the second computer that I’d ever been able to call my own and it was the first good one. But desktop computers are huge and by Chicago I knew it was rare that I’d ever want to set him up and use him. So, goodbye, Stu. Or, goodbye computer case. We kept the new hard drive we’d put in back in Cincinnati.

Getting rid of him opened up a lot of room in the trunk and by the end of our reorganization, the car was so much more livable. Salem had more room, everything was better organized, we had less stuff in general, and things we actually planned to use regularly were easily within reach.

Plus, getting rid of so much stuff was us making a bigger commitment to our life on the road, too.


Commence

Packing up on our last day in Cincinnati.

Today: cleaning the apartment, Casper is off doing errands, then we leave. Tonight.

Casper is dropping off a 1957 Encyclopedia Britannica set (found in a church basement) at his church – the Church of Our Savior on Hollister here in Cincinnati. He loves Anglican mass and the female priest at this place in particular. The Pearl was in the shop over Easter and Casper walked the two miles to church Friday, Saturday and Sunday that week. He always comes home so calm, centered and optimistic. He met a guy there who is willing to take the encyclopedias.

Salem hiding from all the commotion.

Our roommates from our first house here in Cincinnati, Alex (music major, 27) and John (libertarian, 24) came over for a goodbye dinner last night and it went incredibly well. They brought forks (we didn’t have any) and Casper made this incredible meal: Roman meatballs with oats topped with yogurt; chicken legs; Spanish saffron rice with peas; and stir fried bell peppers. We drank water from old peppercini jars and sat on big pillows (found on a curb last fall) around a small table with a sparkly tablecloth. We held the plates on our laps and served ourselves from the big pots of foot on the table. Somehow, the conversation just took care of itself.

My dream for this trip is to feel like I belong in this world and also to spend lots and lots of time doing “nothing”: sewing, drawing, painting, stretching, singing, playing guitar, lying in the sun, swimming in rivers, building forts, petting Salem, reading books, journaling, dancing.

Here’s to the road.


The Home Stretch

Today, Casper is out and about taking the car to the shop (for it’s second repair this week; luckily we have just enough money) and doing a computer gig for a guy who found us via Craigslist/this blog. I’m attempting to clean the apartment but some of it is just too nasty – clearly a Casper job.

Casper and I last week at the Free Store Food Bank.

I have managed to sort and pack a bunch of stuff. My desktop computer, Stu, will be out of commission on the trip, tucked away somewhere in the car. I am not looking forward to not having my own computer and am getting all my data ready to be transferred to a separate profile on Casper’s laptop.

Tomorrow, we will clean the apartment, the car will be repaired, we’ll take a massive load to Goodwill and then we’ll host a goodbye dinner for our previous roommates.

Saturday we pack up and…(oh man)…leave.

Toledo here we come!


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