We arrived in Portland four ( or was it three?) days ago and my body has finally caught up with with rest and is no longer in a state of complete fatigue. I don’t even notice how utterly spent every cell of my body is until I have had some time to re-energize it. Some very restful nights,a variety of Portland’s tasty selection of mirco brew beer and amazing food truck scene (!!!!!!) has been a very cozy treat after being in a completely different, rawer world only a few days ago. I always find myself caught somewhere between these two worlds; the culture, art, diversity, progressiveness and ability to find a like-minded community within a city are elements from my experience can be limited in spaces where human populations are in smaller numbers. On the other hand my connection to nature and the land, my spirituality and what I would almost call an addiction to being in the elements has sprung forth from not having been in a city for the better part of my life. I guess it is finding that balance of the two and taking from them what I want and how to go forth with that in my life; to carry what I cherish and to leave behind what is not helping be to grow or allowing for my heart to be open.
Being on a bicycle for 5-8hours a day (anywhere between 40-85miles) leaves a lot of space for thought and allows for complete freedom from everything in life. I will not have to barter my life away for the next few months in order to pay bills. I guess I just haven’t found that “dream job” that doesn’t feel like exploitation or completely ridiculous or like entrapment ( the 9-5, two weeks vacation, . There are no distractions out here and thus there is no escaping ones thoughts or emotions, testing the waters of one’s positive and negative. It is helping recognize and see in myself parts that have not been apparent before and hopefully becoming a better human being in the process.
Cycling through a variety of landscapes in such an manner leaves one in a complete state of awe almost always; the sweet smells of the various trees, the wind cooling you, the sun warming you, the descent down a mountainside highway that puts you in state of ecstasy because it feels as though you are soaring. The turn of a corner that unfolds an unending horizon of ocean and it’s power or the understory of a rainforest covered in immense growth and life. Wow. Even multiple days of rain have their silver lining as they give a greater appreciation for fair , sunny weather. We are all one in the same; the water in the ocean, the minerals in the rocks, the rings of life in a tree. It is beautiful and humbling.
I often have thoughts of what this land could have possibly felt and looked like before colonialism dug in it’s talons a few hundred years ago; before capitalism , before the real beauty of this landscape was ripped away for industry, before the genocide of the people here. The knowledge that the “New World” under my feet was founded this way and is leaving ditches full of trash and broken beer bottles for it’s legacy is unsettling to say the least.
This is the first time, ever-ever, that I have traveled with someone so extensively and so far. I went alone in a vehicle across the landscape to Halifax about five years ago and traveled to Spain and Morocco as a lone backpacker three years after that. It has been nothing short of extraordinary to share this adventure with someone so compassionate, understanding, patient and caring. To find someone, let alone a partner, to see me through all ( and I mean all) the emotions and landscapes . To know that we will always have these shared memories and experiences, whether we are together for a while or not (” as long as it feels good for both of us”. No vows of lies, legal property of each other or speaking for our future selves.) is something pretty special and lovely.
So far we have traveled through the rainiest part of the states and well as the most remote ( until we make the final decision to hit the desert), we wore dish washing gloves ( my trick!) to keep the heat in out hands when regular cycling gloves just had our hands turning into icicles, drank water we sourced from a glacial lake, sneaky camped in campgrounds along our route and in random areas in the treeline, climbed mountain side roads with heavy, heavy loads saddled to out bikes and made it into the city of Portland after two tires going flat that day. This is only the beginning of it.
I just wanted to thank Otis and Timmi for their rad help! Otis helped us connect with a place to stay while in Portland ( the cheapest stay otherwise is a motel that feels isolating, smells of something funky and has excessive cigarette burns on all the furniture and sheets). Timmi helped to connect us with Tryon Life Community Farm and people there! You two are gems!
Oh, I also wanted to openly ask my friends Mike Erwood and Tom Stoops why you would ever cross the Astoria-Megler bridge from Washington into Oregon at night? You crazy bastards. Atleast you didn’t tell me it was one of the greatest parts of the trip ( Aaron!) when in fact it was a stressapoloza of constant wind gusts, sandwiching between vehicles ( plenty of logging trucks and a guard rail and a body intense focus to not weave at all because it would mean your utter doom.
Take care everyone! We are alive and well and plan on staying that way.
Apologies for my grammar and spelling if it was horrid, I had no time to edit with limited computer access time.