Goodbye for now

All the jumbled feelings of losing someone, even when it’s expected. She was younger than me, with teen kids and a husband and friends without number who will feel her absence sharply. She was sicker than sick at the end, having fought the evil that is cancer with all that she had. 

My memories are a mixed bag, full of all the complexities and challenges that come with such sharply different personalities, and also with all the warmth of familiarity that comes with having been in each others lives, though mostly at the periphery in our adult lives, for – well, forever from our small perspectives. All her life, all but a year of mine. Certainly as far back as we’d remember. 

Sometimes we found each other challenging, but there was still always love. 

I am sad, even more so for closer family and friends. Also I am relieved for her, and the end of pain and sickness. Touched to see how many she inspired in her battle. Thankful to know true perfect healing is hers now. Hopeful that we will see each other again, by grace, when we are both made perfect and are full and joyful in His presence. Happy for her, that she is there today. 

Have fun with Jesus, Lora. Say hi to Mommom and Poppop for me. Give Kelly a hug. Love you. 

And amid this, because there is not quite enough emotion in the day, my parents closed on their new home. It’s great and exciting and happy and feels so strange amid the other news. And even this happiness comes with just a hint of gray, that it means the days of having them here with me, sharing my place, are numbered. 

It’s a day of feelings. Quite the range of them, actually. 

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And then there were none

I’m at the hotel at the airport for my last night, so I’m up and out early for my flight. Flights. Which will take all day, when you factor in the time zones. 

been there, loved that

In all, I saw 3 states, 2 that were new to me, and thereby completed all 50 states. In the process I drove 2156 miles. Filled the tank (or let someone fill it for me, thank you Oregon) 8-9 times, and saw more beautiful things than I can even say. 

And I’m thankful. 

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Final full day

I’m not a big breakfast person. I wouldn’t have said I was a B&B person. But Karen at the Carlton Inn makes me a convert. 

i dont eat eggs, so Karen plans a menu of homemade yogurt, homemade graniola, fresh fruit, fresh OJ, lemion pancakes and crisp local bacon. all this and a comfirtable night’s sleep too!
As pretty as it is, I have distance to cover today, bypassing Portland in this trip (the only part of my original itinerary that I cut) to see the Columbia River Gorge.  

Horsetail Falls
Multinomah Falls

I consider trying to trek back to Mt Hood before heading to my hotel, but by that time it’s rush hour in Portland. Just another thing I’ll have to come back to see up close. 

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Wine country 

As I head north, on my 4 hour drive north into Oregon wine country, a hot air balloon is floating in a perfect blue sky. 

Then I head into mountain passes with clouds nestling into the mountain, my phone providing the eclectic soundtrack to my trip. The Beatles (incongruous because they’re the recalled soundtrack to my first trip to Hawaii), Gin Blossoms, Teshima, Morrissette, Swift, Maroon5, and on it goes. 

It’s lunch time when I pull into the driveway of my B&B, too early to check in but the innkeeper, Karen, doesn’t mind if I park there and walk into town. 

Carlton, OR is in the heart of wine country. On the way there I must have passed signs for 100 different wineries, and in Carlton you can’t swing a stick without hitting a tasting room. Which is fine, as long as you stay in walking distance. 😊🍷

after an excellent wine tasting at Seven of Hearts i realixze i havent eaten and stop for delicious food next door at the Horse Radish

I visited a number of tasting rooms, saved by the fact that I’m not as much of a Pinot Noir fan as the area warrants. But it’s a great day and then a wonderful (and peaceful) night back at the picturesque Carlton Inn. 

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Crater Lake

It’s 41 degrees when I leave in the dark, though it will rise into the 80s by the time I return. 

Crater Lake is a little more than an hour north and east of me, and I’m anxious to get there.  

Scenic outlooks (saved for the way back) with natural bridges and waterfalls. Solo drives through silent forests. The road perfectly eastward glowing gold in the reflecting sunrise. 

But most of all, Crater Lake:


Big trees

This BW has mugs that look like they’re from this century, and more importantly for my purposes, to-go cups. I get a cup of coffee and head just down the road and into redwood forest. 

Pictures won’t convey the massive size of the trees, the awesome peaceful stillness, the strangeness of feeling as if one is surrounded forever by this forest, only to turn a corner and be back at the open shoreline. 

hard to convey size, but the knot in the tree there is considerably bigger than my hand

I visit a couple of the state redwoods parks and scenic drives, one a single-lane, barely-paved road that hugs the cliffsides over the coast. Both gorgeous and harrowing, which has been something of a trend in places along the way. 

Then I track back up to scenic 199 north into the heart of Oregon. I make another twisting sidebar to Oregon Caves. I stop in Ashland and have an excellent dinner at Standung Stone Brewery (foregoing a play in light of my schedule for tomorrow) before heading to the HI-Medford for the night. Which feels like the height of luxury after my last two hotels 


Coastal drive, part 2

Did I mention the walls are paper thin at the BW-Lincoln City? If the neighbors’ conversations last night were irksome, their morning activities are more bothersome. 

Time to hit the road. Seriously

Or so you’d think if the breakfast area had a single to-go cup and didn’t smell of old eggs. Or any eggs, actually. Blech!

I leave and head down the road, diverting to get coffee (1st cafe not found, 2nd cafe closed, 3rd nonexistent … Oh I  I a foul mood in short order)

But then I stumble into an open restaurant and decide that a proper coffee stop can only help me to reset this day. 

yes. exactly.
Friendly service and a delicious breakfast (and coffee, oh, COFFEE) later, I resume my southward trek. 

A few miles down the road I stop (as I always do) at the scenic outlook and find that there’s a whale passing by. You know, just swimming by off the shore right in front of me. So cool!

The Oregon coast is, in short, breathtakingly beautiful. 

Late in the day I cross into California, and overnight at the BW-Crescent Ciry. It’s more a motel than hotel, and I find myself compelled to stack my bag in front of the door for my own peace of mind. (Stop laughing at me Sis, I know I’m odd). But it faces the water, and is mere minutes from redwood forests, my first goal for tomorrow, which makes it just fine for a night’s stay. 

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Coastal drive, part 1

This time zone thing is a mess; I’m up at 5am again, but manage to get myself to sleep in until 6:30.  The DT doesn’t offer free coffee so I hit the road, stopping off for coffee and gas before I reach the Pacific Coastal highway (101). Or is it byway? Had to say. It’s all very scenic either way. 

Incidentally, being on a tsunami evacuation route, or passing in and out of tsunami zones, is really very unsettling to an East Coast gal. 

and then i crossed into Oregon

The day starts out drizzly but turns bright and beautiful, against all forecasts going into the trip and in answer to prayers. 

Cannon Beach. Cape Arch. Lunch (burger) in Rockaway Beach at the Sand Dollar. It’s a nice day through and through. 

Along the way I follow mostly 101 with the occasional detour along any coastal byway I pass en route. I have all the time in the day and a desire to see all I can. Meanwhile Google is insistent in trying to route me off 101 and back to a highway. Until, for some reason near my night stop in Lincoln City, it routes me around a lake for no real reason. But hey, scenic

It’s technically the end of the season so relatively few dinner choices, but finally I settle on Mo’s, where the halibut in the fish and chips is so good it makes me ignore the fries. Which says something. 😉

Check in at the BW, as that’s the only recognizable chain in the area. The staff is friendly, even if it’s a bit dated and the walls are paper thin. 

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Mountains and seas

Southward again, timed in hopes of getting through or around Seattle before rush hour. There is no such thing as before Seattle rush hour, apparently.

Rain comes down on and off through the drive as I go to Rainier National Park. Aptly named, regardless of how you pronounce it.

solitary. roads give way to solitary unpaved roads – my car was filthy ever after

Incidentally, I suppose when I was in Hawaii I drove on volcano evacuation routes. Logically reasonable, but still unexpected to me when I encountered it. 

Visibility is low, so after the somewhat harrowing drive, I reverse and head east to the Olympic peninsula, rounding halfway on a wonderfully scenic drive to visit Olympic National Park.

After the shortest of hikes, I backtrack to Olympia, to a delightfully spacious room at the DT-Olympia, a delicious meal at Anthony’s, and another day of driving planned for the day ahead.


Tuesday morning, Friday Harbor

Up dark and early, in the early morning mist, due east to the San Juan Islands. The roads are empty, as I’ve mistimed the ferries. But I find parking in the upper lot, and meet a deer as I walk down to the ferry landing. 

It’s cold and wet on the ferry, leaving me nervous about what the day might hold. 

When i get to Friday Harbor, I circle the town once then stop in for breakfast. 

There’s a thing they have up here for breakfast. It’s hash browns with cheese and bacon. Which amounts essentially to potato skins for breakfast

Yes. A resounding yes.

By the time breakfast is over, the sun has come out and the island shines with promise. I take the motor tour the complete island circuit, loving the mix of history, beauty and quiet solitude available. 

This is another place I’d love to visit again.