We had a bit of a lazy morning today. Last night lasted longer than expected, because hanging out around a campfire cleanses your soul. The comfort of sleeping next to my sweet little dog and my best friend made for a deep sleep. We were all well rested, and ready to get some miles under our tires. The van has acquired some new noises that we had to check out, but it looks like the exhaust leak is coming from a spot that is easily rectified, and the removal of the air-conditioning belt will alleviate the other, so all will be well tomorrow. This van is taking care of us. He is a beast, and I have complete faith in the love he is giving back to me.

I am ashamed to admit it, but I forgot how absolutely beautiful the Oregon coast is. But it is also windy as F! There were numerous times I thought I was going to fly into oncoming traffic today…but being pants shitting scared was a fine trade off for all the mesmerizing terrain. Part way through the trek, we asked about road conditions, and we found out Highway 101 was closed and we would have to back track from California back into Oregon. We were now going to have to miss the Redwoods…Super bummer, but our eyes were rewarded with the Rouge River. The turquoise water was flowing roughly, and the road was winding. It wasn’t the worst detour. We ended up in Cave Junction. I now have a hot toddy in my hand, and my pals are cooking up some curry, and we have the river flowing by outside the window…we will sleep well again tonight.

Day 1 - Portland to Coos Bay

A Portland misty morning greeted us as we tried to get motivated early this morning. Leaving was harder than I anticipated. Not only because I have a sore throat and got no sleep, but just because leaving here is always hard. Every time I spend more than 5 days around home, I start considering moving back. Now it has a whole different feel though. The layer of guilt I have for being drawn back here now that my dad isn't here anymore is thick. It sucks to think about living here without him. I feel like I abandon him almost 10 years ago when I moved to New York, and now I feel like I'm ditching out on my mom for a second time. I don't even know if I want to be in New York anymore, but now I've missed the window with getting to spend time with my dad. I wish I had the chance to hangout with him as the person I've now grown into being. We could have made so much cool shit together.

There's more than my blood family pulling at me to come back. There's also my chosen family. Two of which are traveling with me right now. Kelley, my best girl, is doing a ride along for a little over a week. She's been with me through some major roller coaster parts of my life, and I think it was just meant to be she could be with me for this one. Yoro is following along caravan style for 3 days on his way to California. He's been working on the van with me since the beginning and I'm not sure what I would do without him. For more reasons that his van knowledge, that is. They both made today awesome. Leaving these two, and all the others that have just been so open and loving to me, well, always really, but even more so during this time home, is breaking my heart.

None of us are in a hurry, and we only planned to drive for around 5 hours anyway, so we took our time. The van is not giving much of a choice anyway...he tops out at about 60! (Exhaust is leaking from somewhere, and the starter is seeming to be a little worn, but he's still a runner!) Clementine has found her happy place and has been snuggled in fluffy blankets for miles, with the hum of the engine lulling her to sleep.

The Oregon coast is so beautiful, the road was so winding, and the tunes were 70's rock. We are in our own little time warp here!

Prelude to a Journey - April 23rd, 2017

I should have started this when I knew this road trip was what I needed to do. At first, it was just an innocent Craigslist search, but it revved up to a full on life mission very rapidly. I had to have a van. I had to call in someone special to make that happen. Gracen is a great friend of mine, and he's a van dude. He loves Dodge vans, and he knows how to find them. Word spread through his gear-head community, and he started sending me prospects. One caught my eye, but it was a six hour drive away. We planned on going up to check it out, but the swap meet was coming up that weekend, so we hoped something would come along. The tale of a sweet camper van was creeping around the track, but Gracen couldn't get eyes on it. Later in the day, Curtis, a guy that knows a solid deal when he sees one, finds it. He bought it, hoping to have at least a week of kicking around in it, but it was meant to be mine. The second I saw it, I was smitten. I gave him a spin around the track with Curtis, and that was it.I couldn't live without him. I showed him off to a couple members of the Rolling Death van club and was even more encouraged to make the most irresponsible/exhilarating decision of my life. Curtis and I talked a little business, and it was a done deal. I've now spent two weeks getting to know the newest love in my life. Gracen and I went to Wildcat Mopar to find a few bits and pieces to complete my ride, and I got a few snaps of all the Dodge magic in the yard. I stayed out at 'VanCamp' under the St. John's Bridge as often as I could, (Yes, in a van, down by the river...) and now, me and my little squishy faced co-pilot are ready to pick up my best friend Kelley tomorrow, and head to our first destination: Coos Bay, Oregon. We're going to take it nice, and slow...