Tag Archives: traveling

Puerto Freakin’ Rico!

Less than a month ago, we didn’t know where we were headed next. We had our eye on Vera Cruz but Casper’s passport was not going to be ready in time.

Yesterday we bundled up in warm clothes at 3am and Jess drove us to the Minneapolis Airport. A six hour layover in Philadelphia (we planned to get out but ended up napping on the floor of the terminal instead) & then a five hour flight south. It was dark so we didn’t see any of the ocean.

The first thing I did when we got to the hostel is take off clothes – out of pants and a t-shirt and into shorts and a tank top. And then we slept.

Now I’m sitting on the back porch/balcony of the hostel listening to bird song & feeling the trade winds on my skin. Plans for today include me getting to the beach, Casper getting to the cathedral for Ash Wednesday, & finding transporting to Guanica for tomorrow. It’s dreamy.

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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!


Folklife

We had such a good time at the Oregon Country Fair that we’ve been looking for other festivals and fests of all sizes. Being in northern California puts us in the hotbed for this sort of thing, too, it seems.

So Saturday we got up at sunrise, packed up our gear and headed to the highway. We caught a ride right away with a videographer also headed to the the free day of the local Folklife festival. It was only 8 miles a way and quaint and amazing. It was held in a historic building. Two stages, one in a natural grass amphitheater, and and vendors and free workshops.

We went to the Beatles Sing Along workshop and joined 40+ people of all ages singing along with a guitar, bass and sometimes piano. The room was so crowded I sat on the floor inside the circle. It made me think of my childhood and other similar gatherings – WWFOR at Seabeck, Not Back to School Camp, etc.

We saw Lyndsey Battle perform. She was absolutely adorable up there on the stage – a big grin throughout while gazing out on the audience sitting on hay bales.

Check it out:

We also heard was Good Company. They did traditional Celtic music – everything from instrumentals to ballads and drinking songs. They were super laidback on stage – made me think of the band at a contra dance.

The festival went on until 7:30, but we decided to leave around 5. I wrote ARCATA on the back of an envelope and we walked to the highway. A tiny gray Porsche picked us up, saying, “If you’ll fit…”. I climbed in the tiny backseat and the rear view window right by my head made me think of being in a space ship but I was seeing cows and green fields instead of stars.


St. Paul/Minneapolis: The Duluth Adventure

I met Mar in high school, though he went by a different name then, and said hi to him when we crossed paths in college, but I’ve actually only hung out with him a few times. Yet, he feels like a good friend. He was headed to Duluth to help a friend of his mom’s move across the company. It was so good to see him. Casper and he immediately hit it off, too, which allowed me to relax socially.

Mar was hungry, having been traveling most of the day, so we headed to the Mall of America. It’s just a tram ride away from the airport and we already had our passes because we’d parked at a park and ride and ridden the train into the terminal. (So cool!) I had considered just taking us to our car since we had some food there but thought MOA would be easier and more fun. Boy, was I wrong.

Mar didn’t have too much luggage so Casper took my purse, I took Mar’s suitcase and he carried his backpack. Before going into the Mall, we smoked a couple cigarettes and he bestowed upon me the following:

The last few lines of Bukowski's "Alone with Everybody", the second poem of his I read and what convinced me to borrow the book.

We strode quickly through MOA searching for decent food. It was late – 8ish – and not much was open. All we could find were ice cream shops. At 8:07, we gave up and hurried back to the tram. We got on, but it just sat there for quite awhile before finally taking off towards the airport.

It felt like my birthday! At Peggy’s, I acquired a book of Rumi, too, so I am in poetry bliss at the moment book-wise.

Mar’s shuttle was scheduled to leave at 8:45. We arrived, after running up and down escalators in the airport, at 8:47 and the shuttle was nowhere in sight.

I had promised Mar that, if we missed the tram, we’d drive him to Duluth. It was no big trouble for us – we didn’t have any plans for the night, we love to drive, and it gave us more time with Mar.

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St. Paul/Minneapolis: Leg #3

I’ve been feeling burdened by this blog as of late and I blame that on forcing myself to write about weeks past, trying to catch up. I have a few more posts like that queued up for the next few days, but I’m going to focus more on writing about today, this leg of the journey, the here and now. ‘Cause the here and now is pretty cool.

Since leaving Peggy’s, I’ve felt a definite sense of this being the third leg of the journey. Arriving and being in Chicago felt like the first; our time in Wisconsin – Milwaukee, Madison, Downing – felt like the second; and now, in the past few days, we’ve made the transition to the third leg.

Mostly, the shift was caused by a really awkward (and crappy) couch surfing experience.

I feel more empowered than I ever have to create the life I want to have. Casper keeps encouraging me, telling me that people really do like spending time around me. I often need reminded of this, particularly regarding people who I want to be friends with. Until now, I’ve pretty much just had lovers and acquaintances – another example (and there are many) of how I rely far too heavily on extremes, black and whites. Casper and I keep a count of “friends” I have: people who I like, who like me, and who I have established these facts with. A friend (apparently!) is someone who I don’t have to feel like a burden to, who I believe enjoys my company and who I have respect for. So far, I have four “friends” and it’s exhilarating! And new and exciting and empowering and validating.

I mention this because another part of our Twin City adventures so far has been reconnecting with my friend Mar, in unlikely and slightly unfortunate circumstances.


Winona, Part II

A beautiful day in Winona, MN.

Casper woke up in the car in the McDonald’s parking lot in Winona around 9am. He joined me in McDonald’s and we talked a bit, found directions to a Walgreens for my meds and located the public library.

The Winona public library is the cutest thing I have seen in quite awhile. It has three or so levels – it’s hard to tell. There’s a basement and a second floor that lead off of the entrance on the ground floor. And there are books everywhere. Metal staircases tucked into corners lead to the different floors. The basement rooms, where fiction resides, look more like a book store than a library. So compact! So adorable!

The Winona public library.

We left Winona around 3pm and arrived in my hometown a couple hours later. Our first stop was the Acoustic Café, where I have been enjoying hoagies since before I could see over the counter. We got the corned beef hoagie, because that is what I always get, and a lemonade because Casper is a big lemonade fan and my sister loves their lemonade and she’s a connoisseur of the ‘ade as well.

Then we drove out into the boonies. We stopped along the road and played chess. Casper was freaked out by getting his first tick. Upon him winning (I’ve never beaten him, but I’m getting better), we drove a mile to the valley I grew up in. It was an exquisite day and the green and blues of the Wisconsin landscape were freakin’ out of the world. Perfectly blue, smooth sky with pure white clouds. I freakin’ love this part of the world.

We arrived at Peggy’s, hugged, unpacked, ate, talked, set up our bedroom, slept. Salem loves it here!


On the Road to Chicago: Part II

A can of applesauce I went at with a pair of scissors and a spoon and a beautiful butterfly sculpture outside of the Michigan City library.

We woke up feeling rested around 6 or 7. We packed up and drove towards the dunes. It was still dark so we couldn’t see the lake or the dunes, but we did see two adorable raccoons and a bunch of deer. We headed back to town and looked for a diner with no luck. So we headed back to the dunes and, with the sun up, were awed by the incredible blueness of Lake Michigan. I had to reeducate Casper in the fact that rivers and lakes do not have tides, only oceans, seas and Lake Superior.

We pulled over to the side of the road just to sit and look at the lake and, though we felt alert, I quickly fell asleep on Casper’s lap. A state patrol woman woke us both up about half an hour later, telling us we couldn’t sleep there. We apologized, grumbling to ourselves that we had seen maybe one car since parking there so it wasn’t like we were blocking traffic, and then got back on the road.

Now on the 12, we again returned to Michigan City, finding the actual city this time instead of just abandoned factories and the terrifying nuclear thingy (the first one either one of us had ever seen in person). We found a pretty library and spent several hours online, sharing Casper’s laptop. I cut up old magazines, tried in vane to walk to a grocery store, and ended up eating a stale-bagel-with-peanut-butter-and-a-carrot lunch in the car while Casper read news online.

When it was my turn, Casper read Atlantic Monthly, tried to drive to a grocery store (also in vane) and created some sort of lunch out in the car. I looked for couch surfing hosts, when the Chicago Fellowship of Reconciliation was meeting, work for us while in town, and lots of other things to do and see in Chicago for free.

Lake Michigan!

Around 4pm, we departed, first finding a grocery store at long last. We snacked on oranges and Reese’s and Casper drove us all the way into Chicago. Our first stop was the FOR meeting. After some struggle, mostly caused by wanting to stay off of freeways, we finally found the place. We made sure Salem was fed and watered and then went inside to meet the chapter and watch that night’s feature: William Stafford. This was Casper’s first experience with FOR and I was pleased to see he enjoyed the lack of pretentiousness that keeps me coming back to the group. The meeting was only about seven people, all at least 40 years older than me, and we ended up grabbing our speakers from the car to help out.

Before and after the movie, we all sat around in comfy chairs and discussed the Chicago chapter’s actions, my experience and news from the Western Washington FOR chapters and Osama Bin Laden’s capture. I continue to feel completely safe, at home, appreciated and inspired by every FOR event I attend.

Earlier in the day, in Michigan City, I had contacted several Chicago couch surfing hosts and one responded nearly immediately. Her name is Abby and it is from her home that I type this. Even though we have yet to be verified on the couch surfing website, she invited us into her studio home right near the lake. We arrived at her home around 10pm. She gave us a parking pass for her street and we immediately felt at home. We have many shared interests and the evening was spent trading stories and discussing books.

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