I didn't know it at the time, but a last minute decision to head to Portland, OR would be the last road-trip I would make with my roommate, Patrick. No, Patrick didn't die. After four years of trying to make it happen in Seattle, he decided to move back home to Oklahoma. On second thought, maybe he did die, well at least little bits of soul.
Patrick and I originally set out for the Olympic Peninsula to hike across the Vance Creek Bridge. If you are unaware of the Vance Creek Bridge, I have included an image below. Pretty cool right? It is a steel bridge originally constructed for mining and logging operations. It was closed and is no longer in operation, but with the rise of Instagram it has found new popularity. Unfortunately, too much popularity, citing safety concerns, the bridge has been closed to the public. This means anyone caught trying to traverse this steel slice of heaven is subject to a fine. Heading south out of Seattle, Patrick and I tried to convince ourselves we were brave enough to try and sneak across. Right before the turn to Highway 101, we chickened out. Instead, we decided a day in Portland was in order.
This last minute decision was more than fine with me, because I am in love with Portland. The city has a vibe all its own; a pace unlike any other American city. As I walk the streets, I feel at home here. On more than one occasion, I've thought perhaps I should have chosen this place over Seattle. Of course, this thought enters my mind as a tourist, not as a resident. There is a big difference between visiting some place and trying to make it your home. Seattle was and is everything I have needed it to be. It has fulfilled my needs and desires in previously unimaginable ways. My hope is that it continues to do so into the distant future, but if change comes calling once again I know Portland is always a viable option.
One of things I adore about this city, is its Urban core. Within walking distance of downtown is everything you need; food, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, clothes, and more. The city is clean, friendly, and progressive. It is not without the challenges plaguing most major cities. Homelessness and the exchange of drugs is evident, but no where near the problems facing downtown Seattle. The next time I visit Portland my challenge will be to escape the downtown portion of the city and work my way into the outer neighborhoods. Here is where cities begin to reveal their character.
So, I have started a new game. With each city I visit, I try to track down the local Church of Scientology. Now, before you begin to form prayer circles and try to rescue my soul from eternal damnation, you should know I have no intention of joining. Instead, I am on a quest to quench my fascination. Like most people, I didn't know much about the "religion" (I use that term loosely) before the HBO documentary, "Going Clear." After two hours of shaking my head and thinking to myself, "What the Hell!," I decided to dig deeper. So, I signed up for a bunch of blogs, started doing some research, and now I find myself looking for local churches wherever I go. Based on what I have discovered and read, I love to strike up conversations with the members/workers inside. My goal is always to ask them impossible questions and catch them in some sort of half truth. If you focus and can hold their attention for long enough, you will find yourself shocked. The Church of Scientology in downtown Portland and its members, were friendly, talkative, and believable, but like most things concerning the church, you have to take it with a grain of salt.
Looking back on the day trip, I am thankful for every moment I got to spend with Patrick driving to some trail, city, or some special event. Like most things in life, it was not necessarily the destination, but the journey. When two people are forced to be in a car together for a long period of time, great conversation, truth, and our real selves can be revealed. On these trips, I learned more about Patrick, his life, and his family than any time spent in our living room. As he attempts to make Oklahoma home once again, I wish him the best of luck. No matter where he is in this world, he will always have my love, support, and admiration. My sincere hope is that we will find the open road together once again.
Be good to each other,