My sojourn to the Northwest was not my favorite part of the trip so far.
I actually love the northwest, but this time around it was not where I needed to explore.
You might notice, from an earlier post, that on a deep level, I was aware of this. Yet I persisted. Because there were so many people that I wanted to see.
A few miles west of McMinnville, Oregon a woman who was not paying enough attention to the realities around her, pulled out in front of me. Now, I’m a good driver but I have to admit that I even impressed myself with my ability to avoid colliding with her car. And, to avoid colliding with the guardrail. However, my extreme maneuvers, while enough to avoid vehicle to vehicle contact, were not enough to keep me from slamming myself into a ditch.
A witness was ecstatic when he stopped “That was some of the best driving I EVER saw! You avoided that like a pro! Are you okay?”
The woman did stop and took full responsibility for her mistake, and her insurance company is covering all costs that come from this. But it was really a bit of a wake up call for me. I’m not supposed to be here.
But now I had no choice for a few days.
I transferred all my belongings to a rental car while mine sat at a body shop awaiting attention in the form of getting the rocks out of my tires/rims, re-mounting and balancing, and an alignment.
So I went on my way north. The events of the afternoon caused me to miss a planned dinner with some of my favorite people in Portland. (Will her insurance company pay me for that? I think not.) I stayed one night with my dear friend Hank there, then went to Olympia, Washington next day to stay with a wonderful old friend Andrea and her awesome husband Robb.
On Sunday the three of us went further north to watch the Super Bowl with one of my favorite people in the whole world. It was great to hang with Dana and her fabulous family and watch Seattle trounce Denver. I’m not much of a football fan but to be in Seattle when this went on was highly enjoyable.
As Monday rolled to a close, spending time talking with Andrea by the fire all day, it began to sound like my car might be ready the next day. I was looking forward to that reality and knew I wouldn’t come north again once I got my car back. I REALLY wanted to see the restaurant of my grade school friend Bob, so to make sure I didn’t miss that opportunity, I blasted up to Seattle to have dinner at The Wurst Place in Seattle and reacquaint myself with a hometown friend. We took the ferry to his house on Bainbridge Island, drank some wine and talked about what the world is like now. I’m so glad I made the time to do this.
Next morning I was on the road again back to McMinnville to get my car. (It’s safe to drive but there will be cosmetic fixes ‘ll need to address later.)
I was supposed to go back up to Portland to stay a bit – see the people I missed last time around, and see a friend I haven’t seen in maybe 25 years, but once I got my car my entire being screamed – GO SOUTH – get the eff outta here!
So I did.
I told myself that now that I was headed south I could take my time. Visit all my friends in Eugene, Grant’s Pass and Redding. Then I’d cut over back to the coast and see everyone in Northern California that I’d missed on my way north. But that wasn’t what the songlines had in mind. Plus the weather. Threats of snow loomed and I was in no mood for snow – hell, that’s part of why I’d left Connecticut when I did.
So Eugene got only a quick drive-by hug with one dear friend (Lonnie it was great to see you – wish it could have been a longer visit!), Grant’s Pass got dinner. (Hey Corin, thank your lovely boyfriend for making up the guest room for me, sorry I couldn’t stay…)
Everything in me was pulsing “Home. Home. Home.” (In this case it didn’t mean Connecticut, it meant Timmy’s house in Vallejo. Some places just ARE home – ya know?)
And snow was coming next day. So I drove and drove, through the mountains, through the night – home, home, home.
So many of you, I missed.
Tim and Patti – I love you guys, it’s been too long. Kim that was a most awesome invitation for a day on the water – maybe some summer? My cousin Lisa, whom I had hoped to surprise. Kelly in Gig Harbor – it would have been wonderful to stop and say hello. Bobby – I really wanted to step into your world for a visit – maybe next time? Sachita – it’s probably good that you’re on vacation, yes? Paul – we’ll reconnect. Steve and Kathy I appreciate the invite and sorry I didn’t get there. Chewie – ah Chewie! Big love and hugs my friend – stay well and keep smiling. Bob and Marie and Ginny – I smile even now to think how I was going to surprise you. Laura – thank you so much for the invitation to crash at your place. Steve – I’ll have to catch you next time – I love you lots and lots – I really do! Lisa, I wanted to meet your daughter and see your smiling face but I just didn’t get there. Bernie, Bernie, Bernie – it would have been SO fun to visit with you! Breck – have I missed you completely, I hope not. Brice – I wanted to come see the llamas and meet your boys.
So I hope you’ll all love me anyway and forgive my not visiting.
I’m just gonna sit here in the Bay a bit and enjoy the rain before I start to work my way home.
We drank almost as much wine as we did in kindergarten and SHOULD have opened the second bottle. I hadn’t seen you in over 20 years and it was like talking to you yesterday. A best night after The Wurst Place. I can’t wait to hear about next Hollie adventure. Until the next time my friend!
I really wish I hadn’t been so hurried. I would have truly loved to spend a few days drinking and baking and talking with you.