in the pacific northwest

[5-13 September, 2012]

After a brief overnight in Eugene we went right on to Portland, Oregon. Incidentally, this was our fifth Days Inn on the trip – I highly recommend them if you are traveling with a pet. Their pet policy varies a little from place to place (sometimes it’s free, sometimes it’s a small extra fee), but it was great to be able to keep Midori in the room without having to be sneaky about it. Most other lodgings in a similar price range are decidedly pet unfriendly, or only allow dogs.

We went on a somewhat traumatic two-day last-minute-shopping blitz in Portland, taking advantage of tax free shopping at fantastic stores including Oregon Mountain Community, the Danner factory store, where we both got some awesome boots, and the new Icebreaker store downtown. We were able to hit a couple favorites including Powell’s Book Store and Waffle Window. Sadly, no Mission Kontrol or Voodoo Donuts this time around. Finally, we were set to go up to my parents’ in Washington and begin final preparations.

Up at my parents’ we hunkered down and wound up having no time to see our friends in Washington. My parents did arrange a lovely dinner at Ivar’s Salmon House for my close family who we wouldn’t be able to see during the holidays. It was good to get that family contact in and I’m looking forward to some more quality time with friends and family in Washington when things are less hectic on our return.

The bulk of our time was taken up with finalizing our gear for the trip, mostly via multiple lengthy visits to REI’s flagship store in Seattle. The Container Store also provided some useful items. More on gear in a later post.

Heather adds: It was a really rough week for both of us. My experience of it was a mashup of great comfort and support with the extreme stress of gear decision burnout, death, human overexposure, computer upgrade discomforts, and problems with my glasses that had me facing most of the cruise unable to see or read clearly. I was questioning the point of all this, especially when I snapped my prescription goggles (the only specs I could see clearly through) in half during my all night pre-departure packing frenzy, triggering a spectacular meltdown. We pulled it together and felt mostly ready when it was time for us to head up to Vancouver where we would catch our ship the next day.

I can’t say how much I appreciate my parents’ ground support. They’re holding onto a few of my irreplaceable items, taking care of my car, and are also handling some admin things for me that I can’t do from the Internet. I worked out how to do 90% of the things I need to online, but every now and then it’s awesome to have someone who can make a phone call on my behalf so that I don’t have to stay up til 3am. Thanks, Mom & Dad.

We were on the road for 2.5 months tying up loose ends and saying goodbyes in America. It was a roller coaster of joy and stress, and we are profoundly grateful for all of the love and hospitality and support. Now onward, to Vancouver, Canada!

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