I officially moved to Portland in October of 2011 after four seasons of work in Denali National Park, Alaska. I had spent a few winters here before the permanent move and I had fallen in love with the city. Prior to settling down I had been moving every 5 to 6 months as a part of the seasonal life and trying to travel when I wasn’t working. Though I had many amazing experiences in that time from two separate trips backpacking in Central and South America, and took two cross country road trips in my trusty little car I named Little Skittle (documented in previous blog posts in 2009 and 2010), I needed a home and a community. I was becoming very lonely with the constant uprooting and had an urge to do something more meaningful with my life. I knew my love for adventure and travel would never disappear and expected I would leap back into exploring the world after a good rest.
|Singing for an event on Mississippi Ave in my friend's patio lot.|
|Jamming with Closely Watched Trains and friends at the food carts|
|Toucan Sam and the Fruitloops playing Uke-O de Mayo|
|One of our last shows in downtown Portland|
|Favorite spot in the Columbia Gorge|
The outdoors was my other love that rooted me deeper in Portland. I spent the summers hiking and biking and playing in parks or along the waterfront. You could find me biking the vast trail systems of the city, riding to commute, or riding with the crazy themed rides of Pedalpalooza in June. I even biked the rim of Crater Lake last summer which was 33 miles long and did my first mini bike tour of the San Juan Islands off the coast of Washington. I hiked numerous trails through the Columbia Gorge, Mt. Hood, Tillamook Forest, and all along the coast and had the honor of summiting Mount St. Helens and Mount Adams last summer. I even snuck in a 10 day trip to Glacier National Park and a week long adventure hiking the Lost Coast in California in the summer of 2013. I never took a vacation day for any of these adventures (the only benefit of working three 12 hour shifts a week, sometimes 6 days in a row to get two weekends back to back).
|Top of Mt Adams|
|Top of Mt St. Helens|
|The Lost Coast, California|
|Portland waterfront on the day of bike adventures, summer of 2013|
You can see how it would be hard to leave a life filled with all the things I love. But all good things come to an end. Last fall was harsh. The ukulele band retired in July, the food cart where I played was bought out and in its place an overpriced apartment complex was built. A lot of my music friends moved away or drifted into new projects. I began working 50 hour weeks to make more money to afford this dream of traveling again which burned me out and made me too tired to go out and see friends. It was a very cold and dark winter where I kept my house at a brisk 50 degrees and wore fleece and thick wool sweatshirts with hoods to sleep at night. I lived in an old house where the heat leaked right out the walls and it wasn’t worth our money to try to keep the heat higher, just high enough for things not to freeze. Portland’s glory days were over and I realized this is the right time to move forward.
|St. Helens Mother's Day hike in dresses, a long standing tradition|
The next two and a half months John and I moved out of our homes, selling off most of our things in the process, and took up a temporary residence in the heart of SE Portland with John’s friends. In that time we fixed up cars (his), sold off a car (mine), sold our beds, big furniture, my beloved instruments, and began to say our goodbyes. Instead of spending our weekends that were typically enjoyed on mountains, in the gorge, or on the coast we instead spent that time preparing for our journey with said car repairs, trailer building, re-boxing things, and tedious tasks all geared toward leaving Portland for the long term. It was hard of me to let a lot of things go, like my electric piano that my parents bought for me when I was in high school to encourage me to write more music. My upright piano which I felt like a right of passage for me to own. It was my very first real piano that I owned and I chose it carefully for it's rich sound, it's lighter action, and the varnishing on the wood. It was absolutely beautiful. (I sold it to a wonderful friend who's life is full of music so I know it will be loved). I also got rid of things I had carried with me from childhood as a means to whittle down on the amount of things I owned. Often times I was on the verge of tears as I watched possessions I had grown to love over the years disappear into the hands of others.
|Tree posing with Mt. Hood in the background|
(John is doing the flying crane pose)
|Biking around Crater Lake|
|Lunch Counter part way up Mt. Adams looking out towards Mt. St. Helens|
|Our campsite at lunch counter at 3am just before we trekked up to the summit|
|The top of Mt. Adams, I joined a spontaneous 80s dance party. Mt. Jefferson looking quite lovely in the background|
|Part way through our bike tour of the San Juan Islands (off the coast of Washington, that's Canada in the background)|