6300 Miles - part 2

8.05.2015 -
"The more I traveled the more I realized that fear makes strangers of people who should be friends.” - Shirley MacLaine
I couldn’t have read a better quote to perfectly fit part two of my road trip. For the first place fear felt like the driver and for the second place fear felt completely absent.

I got to Seattle, Washington mid afternoon on a week day and ended up just staying one night. All three meet-ups and photo shoots with people I had planned in this city fell through so I found myself driving and walking miles alone discovering and taking in and exploring. Seattle was the most uncomfortable and out of my comfort zone place I went my entire trip. I didn’t know what to expect of this city I had heard quite a bit about. I found it leaving me cautious and disappointed but I still have an open mind even still about it thinking perhaps it was because of the areas I was in?...
I drove into downtown was immediately greeted by unnecessary honking horns and cars running red lights, non stop hills and what felt like elbow room between cars and buildings. I noted people didn’t look at each other much. I noticed there was many types of cultures and the first time I rounded a corner and almost ran into a muslim woman looming like a black ghost her eyes barely showing my heart did leap out of my chest in surprise and I watched her walking away, my heart aching and soaking in the unknown sight. I wasn’t prepared for the crude men standing on the street corners with vulgarity towards and about woman written on signs and smack talking and cat calling and asking to sleep with every female that walked by. I wasn’t prepared for the fact there felt like there was as many cops as civilians. I wasn’t prepared to have a homeless man I hadn’t even seen come after me cussing at me talking in nonsence because he thought I had taken his picture. It felt like a little planet of hurt people wallowing in fear and pain and misery. It felt depressing. But then I found the public market and it was my favorite place I visited in this city. I think it was because here is where I met the artistic people and where the streets were crowded with tourist from all over the world. Where artists were performing everywhere and would stop playing to chat with you while you petted their dog. Where you could buy giant bundles of fresh flowers for $10 and the booth sellers were waiting to put samples of fresh juicy fruits, tasty jams and smoked meats in your hands. The fisherman at the fish market were loud and boisterous throwing fish around to entertain passerbyers. It was fabulous. I was here for hours that first day. Wandering around the famous gum plastered walls and graffiti drowned streets nearby.

I had a hard time soaking in and relaxing on my stay here. I kept thinking maybe this is just the part of my journey that doesn’t go as I had planned. My cross country photo shoots and meet ups I was excited about having fallen through, I was uncomfortable, I was being stretched out of my comfort zones, I guess I was getting to put into practice the art of, “Just keep walking. Clinch your fists and just keep walking,” and I lost track of how many times I had thoughts like, “I wonder if I punched a good one on this jackass if I would get arrested”. I had trouble sleeping that night because it got hot while I was there and the hotel had no AC. Yes. A complete shock to this Oklahoma girl who is used to triple digit summer temperatures and lots of AC to subside the misery. I left Seattle earlier than I had planned the next day to move on to exploring the rest of the state. I felt stressed leaving...

But I say I think my open minded self needs another shot at visiting this city. Maybe with some friends that know the areas next time. Because my personal experience left me feeling it left much to be wanting and I didn’t get to explore around anywhere in the cities besides the heart and downtown of Seattle. Perhaps I missed much…I feel like I most likely did...

My biggest goal and excitement this visit to Washington state was to visit Cape Flattery. I wanted to go as far to the corner, to the edge of land, as I could possibly physically go. I headed west along the water dividing the US from Canada. Stopping in Port Angelo for a break and to walk around the piers I ran into a white haired lively woman, perhaps in her mid 50’s and we struck up conversation. She was on a road trip by herself from LA exploring before her business meeting the next day. Next thing I knew we were eating smoked salmon together and planning where we were going to go explore. She decided she wanted to hike to Cape Flattery with me so off we went car caravanning through the drop dead gorgeous lush greenery winding back and forth and all around towards the point. Stopping to see beautiful lakes and hidden away cottages and chat.

"Nobody can discover the world for somebody else. Only when we discover it for ourselves does it become common ground and a common bond and we cease to be alone." - Wendell Berry

It was far out, deep in where the roads weren’t well marked and there wasn’t many people. The hike was easy to follow and breathtaking. It felt like a rainforest. Mossy, green, lush, unbelievably beautiful. I had never seen anything like it. And thenI started to see the ocean peaking through and hear the waves crashing against rock. And then…
I found myself standing at the edge of a cliff. Dropping off into the rocky jags below where the ocean so majestic, so dangerous, so terrifying, so thrilling rolled in and roared against the wall of rock. I cried and laughed at the same time. That feeling…it’s unexplainable. Like feeling love, wonder, terror, amazement, glee...all the same time. Lori, my new hiking friend whom I had just spent a good hour talking to about life, and God, and religion, and eqality, and us humans, and hearing her become vulnerable about her life, stood beside me cussing and laughing. It made it all the more an amazing experience. I yelled into the coves listening to the echoes off the walls and caves. To the north you could see the silhouette of the Canadian coastline through the faint fog and to the south ocean, rock edges…majestic beauty as far as the human eye could see. It felt right. It felt perfect. It felt like something that was so real and good that even when I’m sitting here writing about it those emotions and feelings are flooding back over me all over again. There is some connection I have with the ocean I can’t explain…

…and I have never seen a shore line like the Washington and Oregon coast. I fell absolutely in love with it. Even more so than the sunny bright shiny warm sandy beaches I have visited or known. It felt so familiar to me; relatable to life. It could be cloudy, it could be sunny, it could be cool, it could be warm. The shorelines were sand but sometimes rocks and boulders and looming tree-lines, while other times pebbly and other times still covered in driftwood. The waves were more huge than any I had ever seen; terrifyingly so. Breathlessly gorgeous and yet so dangerous. Sometimes there was fog hindering the view of just how endless the ocean was. Sometimes there was sun coming through the cloudy cracks to kiss your face. It was in one word...therapeutic. The roaring crashing waves making you feel warmth and want to close your eyes and smile but at the same time made you feel anger and deep pain and caused tears and gut wrenched screams to come busting out of your being.

"Sometimes the strength within you is not a big fiery flame for all to see, it is just a tiny spark that whispers ever so softly, "Keep going. You got this."

Let the tears come, scream if you need to then be quiet and listen. Listen to the love crashing around you. Let it soak through your being and fill you to overflowing.

After I parted ways with my short lived travel buddy I spent the most time along the Washington coast. One day I lost track of time completely and spent over 4 hours by the water's side until the darkness setting in forced me to head back up to find my car.

But then…I found the place my heart had the hardest time leaving. To my shock and surprise even over California. Besides Santa Barbara it was my second favorite place I visited on my trip. I never thought much about what Portland or Oregon would be like. Didn’t know much about it. We had friends that lived there that never stopped talking of it’s wonders and awesomeness but I had never gotten to experience it. Oregon, hands down, was some of the more beautiful nature I saw on my trip. Green, gorgeous, lush, rolling mountains and then the ocean. It in my opinion had the best of all worlds in one.
But Portland…I met some of the nicest most genuine people here. Where you walk into the stores downtown and people treat you like a friend they haven’t seen in years and feel like they genuinely care you are there. Where you pass people on the street with smiles and chatting and meeting their dog. Everyone had a dog. I mean the stores had dog bowls of water in front of their doors! I got to spend my time with some of the best people we know too since we have people that feel like ‘framily' in Portland. Sam’s best friend and his family just moved back there, our friend Kylar lives there and I got to meet up with a quickly newfound friend that I hadn’t seen him or his family in over 15 years at least. Hikes and deep conversations and getting filled up to overflowing with life and fight and relationship. It’s such an indescribable feeling. I realized how much I had truly been craving, deep, I mean DEEP connections with open minding, growing, thriving, fighting souls.

We roamed the markets, walked the streets, went into the largest dang bookstore I’ve ever known to exist, and I remember thinking I could keep on soaking up the lively happy night street life late into the night as we walked back to part ways for the night. I loved this place. The Saturday morning market…I want to travel out there every Saturday just to go. The food carts, and venders and excitement and city but with some of the seemingly nicest people…what was this place. I almost caved and cut out the next day on my planned route towards California and stayed on my heart yanked so much towards here.

Another "not a coincidence" experience was stopping off at a coffee shop on the Oregon coast for a last minute meet up Dylan, a friend of a friend, writer and pilgramer. Talk about deep conversation and stretching your thinking and opening up your mind. I wish this guy the best on his journey's. I left Oregon feeling full to the brim. From relationships with the kinds of people I get to call friends I feel like are so rare. From the beautiful city and interesting, unique people that seemed to fill it. Any stress was long gone. So much pain, joy, deep thinking, and tears had been released into the waves of the shorelines and washed out to sea.

I have never wanted to stay in a place so badly in my entire life…

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