Friday, November 27, 2009

away with you

half moon breaking
breathing in blues
the empty wildness
is still.
grey hues of fog,
the mist off the mountain
together alone, in the cold
watching breaths in puffs
watching pee steam
in flashlight stream.
I wanted to be away
and I am away with you,
away with you
away with you.

stillness, silliness
coffee and soup


City of Roses

We spent most of yesterday cooped up inside a cafe due to the ceaseless rain. At least we found a nice little anarchist spot with free wireless and an "anti-Thanksgiving" Star Wars marathon. In hindsight, we should have sought a free turkey dinner a little harder but the late night dumpster run yielded a few holiday treats. Brussel sprouts! I love them.

Portland is a beautiful city with a unique spirit. So many locally owned shops and cafes, grassroots organizations and feelings of true community. Although this did work against us last night when we parked on a dark street to sleep and were greeted by a bearded man with a flashlight telling us to leave on account of the neighbourhood watch. We moved over a few blocks where some frat types were partying loudly and no one bothered us.

I think I am finally hitting my stride in terms of living in the van. My clean freak tendencies have to be suppressed a little but I still feel like it's really important to be observant and conscientious in such a small space. Watch what you put where and especially when all surfaces double as food prep areas.

Today we are after a public pool for showering. Hopefully we are not thwarted by the holiday... And because of the sunshine, we will ride bikes finally.

Next, Cannon Beach and the open sea. Dreamy...


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Entering Oregon

We tried to go to Mount Saint Helens and got pretty close but it was too cloudy to see it. Oh well, we did find some beautiful views on back roads.
We are now in Portland where we plan to spend a few days walking and biking around looking for cool stuff / cheap foods. We made chili last night in the van with 69c beans we got a dollar store outside of Olympia. I don't want to eat it again tonight but have no choice. :( So far we've had good luck finding free food. Jay got a tip that Trader Joe's dumpsters are good and they are! He found cake(!), Joe's Os cereal, waffles, and organic olive oil in Olympia.

After Portland we're going to go to Cannon Beach on the Oregon coast because we've been told it's totally beautiful and worth it. I've also never seen the open ocean before, so it should be pretty breath-taking. And then on to California down the 101. We plan to be at the first farm on December 1st.


Monday, November 23, 2009

Hearts of the NorthWest

On Saturday night we connected with our friend Liz. She was going to see a band called Mt. Eerie at this tiny gallery, Cairo. They were hosting a three night "Expo" of Seattle & area bands and also had a community installation going on. The installation was a 8'x 10' map of Seattle's incestuous music community past and present. Attendees were welcomed to add connections and bands to the map. We stood and examined it for a while and I was pretty determined to add something to it. I finally came up with "Dillenger Escape Plan" to link to Mike Patton whom was linked to Faith No More and I forget the connections after that...

I don't really know anything about music, I'm just a really good listener. Everything I know about music and musicians I learned from friends, I've never sought that information myself. Occasionally though, a good one gets through and I end up seeing a band I really like for only $3! (Jay is really good at politely talking people into giving us things for cheap.) Well, the full band wasn't there, it was just the singer/songwriter, Phil. But it was great. His music was so emotive and conjured intense nature imagery in the lyrics and textures of sound. Songs that could have easily been cheesey (well, that's going too far...) if played on an acoustic guitar were made atmospheric and stormy with the use of amplifiers and feedback. You could almost feel the whale in the room, the harpoon in your heart.

Adding to an already lovely night, Liz gave us the key to her place along with directions. We got on the I-5 and managed not to die getting there, it was raining so hard.

This morning we woke up to a view of Puget Sound and the warmth of the gas fireplace. Jay made breakfast and finally mastered making coffee in our second-hand percolator. We walked down to the seaside, past a marina and admired all the boats, big and small. I like the tradition of naming a vessel, I think it's important to the journey. That's why I painted Elwood's name on his hood; invoking a tenacious persona.

Tomorrow we plan on heading to Olympia for a day and after that some camping at the foot of Mt. Saint Helens. Then on to Portland, hoping for good weather on Friday the 27th so we can ride in their Critical Mass.

-Janet, written on November 22nd

November 22nd

Today is the fourth day of our adventure. It's already shaping up to be awesome, as I knew it would be. Flying by the seat of ones pants is the best way to travel. So far we've slept in a church parking lot, a random fancy ass neighborhood, and for the last couple nights we've been put up in a super chill studio suite that belongs to a friend of Janet's.

After sleeping and living in the van for a couple nights, and on friends floors for the two weeks previous it's a welcome change. Janet and I have been finally able to spend some real time together. The apartment we're in overlooks Puget sound so the ocean is the first thing we see upon awaking. There's also a gas stove that provides ceaseless and lovely heat. The van is rad, but the steady rain of the pacific northwest winter can dampen even the hardiest of spirits.

The greatest challenge to van life so far has been cooking. It can be done, but it's cramped. I'm sure we will figure out a better system as time goes on but as of the last couple days Janet has been sitting in the passenger seat chopping veggies on the center console while I kneel in front of our pantry shelf and cook the food on our trusty coleman stove. Despite the cramped nature of cooking in Elwood we have not been dissuaded from eating well. Scrambled eggs and coffee provide a steady breakfast while our large supply of brown rice and lentils guarantee a healthy dinner.

There are plenty of benefits to van living and they certainly outweigh the hardships. Being upwardly mobile is by far the best. In the last few days we tend to make camp wherever we can pick up a free wireless signal. The internet is what separates man from the beasts after all. If I can't shower regularly or take a dump in my own toilet I damn well better be able to check my facebook.

Now I'm going to return to editing my digipics and reading enders game. Till next time dear friends.


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Last night we drove around until we could find an unsecured wireless connection and set up camp on a residential street. I chopped veggies and Jay started the rice and lentils on the camp stove. The result: curried lentil and rice soup with potatoes, carrots, onion and garlic. Delicious, though somewhat salty.

Today we walked down to the waterfront and Pike Place Market. There's a sweet little book store called "Left Bank Books" that we checked out last time we were here in Seattle. We bought some patches for sewing and asked about cool stuff that's around.

We also found the Seattle Public Library. A very weird and amazing building with many extreme colours inside. That's about it for today. We're gonna go find a place to cook and then meet my friend Liz at a show. We shower tonight! I hope...


Thursday, November 19, 2009

On The R(o)ad!

Here we are, finally. It seems like we've been planning this trip for about as long as we'll be gone but we're on the road at last. I totally misspelled that as "on the rad", which I think is entirely suitable.

We left Vancouver around 4 this afternoon once we finished all of our last minute errands and hit massive traffic along the way. Rain pounding and darkness falling, we made our way to the border. Our homeland security assistant was entirely without humour and immediately pulled us over for inspection, of course. C'mon, look at us. Total terrorists.

After some explanation of our "intent" in their fine country, we sat and waited. He must've performed only the most cursory of searches on Elwood (the van) because the whole process only took about half an hour and mostly consisted of Officer Rodriguez consorting with his co-workers over the legitimacy of "WWOOFing". Thankfully, we had our wwoof book and that pretty much explained everything. After asking one last question regarding the likeliness of our return to Canada, we were sent on our merry way with an "enjoy your experience".

Now we are sitting in the parking lot of a Lutheran church in Bellingham, Washington accessing the unsecured wireless of an unsuspecting neighbor and drinking ridiculously cheap beer. Soon we will watch a dumb movie while the wind rocks us to sleep.