quick update

Ok, I know it’s been a long time since we’ve posted anything. I feel bad about that, because I know people are checking back wanting to read something. I’m sorry. It’s partially because we’ve been on the road or camping, and it’s difficult to write or post from a tent. It’s partly because we’re at Lost Valley and I want to experience as much as I can of the community while I’m here. And partly, it’s out of laziness.
Here’s a rundown of what we’ve been up to over the past month.

After the visitor days at Lost Valley, we returned to Portland and spent a few days with April’s friend Maggie. Unfortunately, her 1.5-room apartment was too small for four people to comfortably inhabit, so we moved to a hostel for a few days. We visited Powell’s, the “largest independent used and new” book store in the world, a couple of times. It kicks Half Price’s ass. There are lots of local microbreweries in Portland, one of which is McMenamin’s. They have a theater called The Mission where we saw Howl’s Moving Castle for $3. You can order food and beer during the movie. It’s like the Alamo in Austin, only without the wait staff, and only one screen instead of several. We also spent several hours hiking through Forest Park, which is the largest within-city-limits park in the U.S. Maggie taught us to knit before we left town.

After Portland, we drove up to Seattle and stayed in a hostel there for a couple days while we checked out the city. The hostel was really posh - a super nice kitchen, pool tables, TV room, library, etc. We got a tiny private room for like $60/night (I can’t imagine what the hotel prices would be like). The hostel was downtown, right next to the Pike’s Place market, so we were able to walk everywhere, although an unfortunate side effect was that we had to pay for parking for 2 days. While in Seattle, April made a pilgrimage to Kurt Cobain’s house and adjacent park. We also had a very nice fancy dinner to enjoy the fresh seafood (which was fabulous).

After Seattle, we headed up to Vancouver. We camped out at Porteau Cove which is 38 km (about 20 mi) north of the city and, as it’s name implies, is right on the water. We knew the weather was going to be rough, so we set up an A-frame with our tarps over the tent to provide some extra shelter from the wind and rain. When we woke up the next day, our tarps, car, the ground, everything was covered with snow. Some of the highlights from Vancouver were Stanley park and the Vancouver Aquarium, and the old-growth rainforest at Lighthouse park, which we visited at sunset. After camping in the cold and (most of the time) rain for 5 days, we had had enough. We didn’t get to see the island or Victoria because of time and money restrictions, but I guess that just means we’ll have to go back again!

We drove back through Washington and spent a night at the Seaside hostel on the Oregon coast, did some laundry, and spent a night inside on a bed for a change. We then drove down the coast, looking for a camp site for the night. We found the Nehalem Bay state park. This place must be totally packed during the summer, they have like 60+ camp sites, and all of them are a 5-minute walk from the beach. The last time I went to the beach was a trip to South Padre over a weekend that I took with Justin, David, Will and Lisa (am I forgetting anyone?). The beach was the same I guess — sea water, sand, etc. except that in South Padre, you’re surrounded by skyscraper hotels and tourist crap shops. Here, it was just us and the ocean. On the other side of the dunes was pristine Oregon forest. Yummy! We got some great pictures at sunset. When we ventured out onto the beach later at night, the tide was out and it was like being in another world. I have developed a sense of respect for certain places. They seem to have their own character. Something is going on there which cannot be fully comprehended with human senses. It’s the kind of thing that sounds silly until you experience it.

Unfortunately, our first breach of trust occurred while we were at Nehalem Bay. We leave our car unlocked at night, because 1) we don’t think anyone will steal from someone at a camp site and 2) we are sleeping 15 feet away in our tent. I had slept without earplugs for the first night, but decided to put them in for the second night. April also had hers in, so I guess we slept through whatever happened. Go fig. So someone got into our car, rummaged through our stuff and took: 3 out of the 5 pairs of my good $10-a-pair hiking socks, half of April’s CDs (the ones which were NOT burned copies of her favorite CDs), her toiletry bag (after dumping it’s contents), a small bottle of camp suds, all our stamps (a roll, probably 50+), and any number of other things which we have not yet discovered. On the bright side, things they did NOT steal included: my laptop, my MP3 player, the registration info for the car, our passports, checkbooks, or credit cards. Stupid criminals. I guess if we had to learn the lesson that we should lock our car, this was a not-too-bad way to learn it.

And that brings us to Lost Valley. I have too many things to say about this place to relay here. It really deserves it’s own post and it’s late and I need to get up early. I will say just a few things. The view out our room is of the forest - trees and shrubs. But we still have running water and a heated room. In a meeting yesterday, one of the community members said “When I step out of my house onto my back porch, I hear the birds singing, the sun is shining, and I see trees everywhere. It’s like something out of a sci-fi story.” There are so many things like that here - I never imagined that a place like this could exist. It gives me hope that maybe I’ll find what I’m looking for out here. The air smells so sweet out here. It’s the kind of thing that you forget about when you live in the city.

Miss you all * sending lots of love your way.

P.S. Sorry about the partial video post earlier, the campfire message is now complete.

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