Fresh Northwest

 
 

The Vanajeros are finally on the move! Seven days into our U.S. leg, we’ve made stops in Missoula, Coeur d’Alene, Seattle, Port Angeles, and the Hoh Rainforest. Our friends at Peace Vans have put us up for two night in their shop in the middle of the industrial SoDo district in Seattle. Tonight we’ll catch up with friends in Portland, and after that the distance from Portland to San Diego is a pleasant question mark.

Port Angeles recently, for better or worse, had its name dragged through all the Twilight hoopla—yes, the sparkly vampire books. Port Angeles and the nearby town of Forks (where the books are set) have enjoyed a tourist bump from fangirls/guys apparently coming to wander around the woods, eat at the cafe where Bella ate, and see if they, too, can find a vampire boo.

Bizarre tourism meccas aside, the campground we posted up at for a few nights was a blessing amongst drive-in campsites. We were surrounded on three sides by water (salt water!). The Strait of Juan de Fuca is a shipping lane, and huge barges and cruise ships passed by all hours of the day.

One thing we’re working on is not being a complete shit show the moment we step into a store. We’ve improved since our trial run in Moab, but inevitably something is forgotten and then remembered halfway to wherever we’re supposed to be. This time it was firewood. We went to go bother our camp host, and we were glad we did.

Connie was an absolute gem. I’ve never been so charmed by someone who yelled so much. Short, wiry-haired, and the mother of four sons, Connie had been a camp host there for 21 years (lucky woman), and she was very proud of it. Parker and Aidan did the sweet-talking to convince Connie to sell us firewood after hours. Even with her proclaimed zero tolerance for bull shit policy, I think she liked getting up to help us out. And when she talked about maybe causing us physical harm, it only made us like her more.  

It’s difficult not to dive in headfirst with meandering thoughts about personal revelations. I did have one of those already while sitting alone by the sea (spoiler alert: I’m elated to not be landlocked). But instead of putting my heart on my sleeve I think it’s best to let the road, the people, and the things we’ll see open me slowly.

We’re getting there. All of us are shifting and settling with tangible and intangible: sending home boxes of clothes or exercising mental strain about how we present ourselves to the rest of the world. This is what the U.S. leg of the trip is for. Chasing creative bliss requires a daily dismantling, examination, and retooling of our expectations and honestly, our own maturity. It’s easy to resist fluidity, but once you’ve accepted it, it’s hard to imagine going back to any other way of thinking.