Two Cousins Meet in a Toyota Corolla…..

Sleeping in Reststops, Meeting Deformed Deers, and Couchsurfing a Carnival

Best story of my cousin (and first one I tell if I get the chance) involves my sister thinking he is the cutest of all the cousins (which is saying something as there are like 30 of us or something).  She lays on her back, holds him over her head, and tells him this fact.  His reaction?  He throws up directly into her mouth.

That story gets me every time.

So that and a handful of other childhood memories are pretty much all us two kids have of each other.  Therefore, when I got the news from my aunt that Patrick has just sold all his belongings, stuffed the rest in his Corolla, and set off up the California coast to “find himself”, I knew we needed to talk.

Let’s keep it brief.  June was a rough one for me.  My dad died, I quit my job, left my belongings in San Fran, and am just….floating in the pool all day, crying, and wondering what to do next.  All of sudden Patrick and I have this amazing conversation about his journey and equally about mine, and we realize, we need to be together for this.  Fast forward two weeks, and we are sitting in a Denny’s outside of Sacramento, downing cup after cup of cheap coffee, and chatting so fast and so excitedly it’s as if the world knew we needed this.

To follow is a photo (and caption) journey of our month being Bummin’ Cousins’ from California to Washington to rest stops to tree houses.  It was rad, it was weird, and it was very very needed.  For both of us.

Denny’s in Sacramento –> Apartment in San Francisco

Jived on too much bottomless coffee, we say fuck it and head to my apartment in SF that I’m currently subletting.  Two fuzzy days in the Mission later….

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ohhh how I miss my apartment on Clarion Alley

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the symphony playing at Dolores Park, because, why not???

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cousin telling a tale….something about lima beans and our grandfather….

San Francisco –> Mount Shasta

We need to camp.  Get us out of the city.  Unfortunately, we don’t dig paying 20 bucks for camping, so Shasta lasts for all of two days….

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Shasta –> Ashland, Oregon

Sometimes I forget how much of a hippie I have become, and my cousin is quickly becoming.  Then we hit Ashland, and find the mecca of clean, pretty, happy hippies.  It becomes clear immediately we just may belong here, and are both having a hard time leaving this place.  I mean, we both walked into the natural grocery store and separately met eyes with our potential future mates.  So…..yes, it was hard to leave.

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Ashland –> Eugene –> Huckleberry

In true roadtrippin/cheapo/hippie/awesome fashion, it is time to ‘Rest Stop It’.  Really, pretty comfortable, with clean bathrooms and a warm sleeping bag.  Oh, and a bottle of rum to drift off to sleep with.  From there, we end up camping in a free and remote drive-in campsite outside of Crater Lake called Huckleberry.  Beyond the greatness already mentioned, this is also where we meet Larry the Deer (aka our deer/dear friend Larry).  He’s one of God’s very special creatures…

IMG_0489 IMG_0498 IMG_0504Crater Lake –> Portland

We part ways with Larry after cracking some pretty great jokes at his expense, and severely hurting his feelings and already faltering self-confidence.  After leaving the poor dear in a state of depression, we enjoy the beauty of Crater Lake.  From there, it is time to surf some couches, and perfectly we have plans to meet up with a fun sounding mandolin player up in Portland.

IMG_0511IMG_0534 IMG_0535 IMG_0557 Portland –> More Portland

Heaven.  Our couchsurfer literally leaves his door open, welcomes a rotating door of international travelers, and compliments us by hosting us as his first domestic CSers.  Our whirlwind of Portland includes tree houses in the backyard, beers at a river hangout for two days, the city’s international beer festival, and learning dutch words in the presence of a handmade pirate carnival bar.  Feel free to read that sentence again….

IMG_0560 IMG_0562 IMG_0570 IMG_0575 Portland –> San Juan Islands, Washington

We somehow loose an immeasurable amount of time in Portland, and after swearing we will be back one day, head to the remote and serene San Juan Islands up at the top of the Washington/Canada border.  After splurging on a seafood dinner and a foggy ferry ride, we are welcomed by a beautiful hike-in campground to detox and reflect, and just be in nature…..

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IMG_0607 IMG_0614 San Juan Islands –> Seattle –> Home

I shall be flying out of Seattle.  We eat oysters, take a spin on the ferris wheel, and laugh about Larry some more (he has now become my cousin’s Spirit Guide, dubbed thusly in Portland)…

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IMG_0630 IMG_0636And from there I depart.  My cousin has decided to move to Portland, and ends up living with our Couchsurfing host and continue carnival life.  I have decided to return to Arizona to enjoy life there and plot slowly my next move.  And who knows?  Larry, my cousin, and carnival couchsurfing may be part of my life again sooner than we all know….

Life can be rough, but it sure does know what it’s doing.  One minute you can be crying in a pool in Arizona, the next telling a deer to get a life, followed by highfiving 10 new friends in a treehouse.

From there….?

Sweets, Sweatpants, & Sand Dollars

Takeaways from a Week in Seaside, OR

Seaside, Oregon

“It’s time to get the heck out of dodge”

I look over at my mom one Sunday night, as we are sitting around reading and drinking wine.  And she is right.  We have been sitting in these same chairs for the last week, a case of wine bottles fills our recycle bin, and, not to mention, it is 115 degrees outside in summertime Arizona.

“Well, where?  And when?”

48 hours later we are on the plane.  My mother’s answers to the above questions now resloved as we head to a small town on the coast of Oregon.  Seaside won out for

Seaside, Oregon, Bloody Marys

6am Flight Blood Marys (a necessity)

two simple reasons:  it is somewhere cool and it is somewhere we know absolutely no one.  What ensued was a very pleasant week of lounging beachside in Seaside.  Below find a few takeaways from a last minute summer getaway to coastal Oregon.

Enjoying the drive:  Starting inland in Portland and heading out to the coast is an awesome way to go.  Summertime means lots of roadside sales by the local farmers.  It alsoooo means lots of the wild growing fruit.  We snatched up blueberries, honeysticks, and raspberries right off the vine.

Roadside Sale, Blueberries, Oregon

Early rising:  Seaside is beautiful, in a very melancholy way.  That does not translate as particularly depressing, but more as peaceful and meditative.  The colors of the town are all muted and pale, with light greens, blues, grays and tans dominating the vistas.  Early morning walks become a daily ritual, and I had times that I walked two hours down the beach and come across maybe one person….maybe.  It was wonderful.

Seaside, Oregon

Seaside, Oregon

 Beachcombing:  I’ve never seen so many sand dollars!  One morning run I collected 10 in about 20 minutes, and that is nothing.  It is funny how quickly you get used to seeing these sea skeletons.  I’m not one for travel souvenirs, but I still have one small one I brought home with me.

Beach Combing, Crab Claw, Seaside, OregonSand dollars, Seaside, Oregon

Sweatshirts, sweatshirts, and more sweatshirts:  Two reasons:  A)  It gets chilly and B) Everyone has one!  It is actually quite hilarious, realizing I can wear what I slept in the last two nights out to lunch and dinner, and fit in quite well.  I mean, I usually do this, but I’m the minority.  I even buy one that says Seaside on the front with a little green sand dollar underneath.  Cheesy, but awesome.  I have a feeling I will wear this in Arizona…

Avoiding/loving the kitsch factor:  “Downtown” Seaside, or the center of the boardwalk, is, well…..touristy?  It’s a little annoying if you are anything like me, but if you stay towards the end of the boardwalk you will be able to take a 20 minute stroll down to this area.  Do this when you are in the mood for good ole americana summer.  The kitsch factor is high which also can make it fun; we enjoyed salt water taffy, carousel rides, and of course, lots of little kiddies.  Again, stay farther from this to get the freedom and beauty of Seaside, but do cruise down here for a little giggle and sugar rush.

Seaside, Oregon Seaside, Oregon

Day trip it up:  There are numerous wonderful day trips all around Seaside.  We hit Ecola State Park, Cannon Beach, and another little unnamed beach all within 30-45 minutes of where we were staying.

Ecola State Beach, OregonEcola State Beach, Oregon Ecola State Beach, Oregon

 So have fun!  Seaside is a great getaway.  It’s entertaining to people watch, but also is so beautiful on its own.  It is still a mostly undiscovered gem of the Pacific Northwest coastline and unlike any west coast beach I have seen.  I have a feeling I will be back……