Friday, February 10, 2012

Over the holidays, we took a vacation to Oregon.

My lover and I are ready to relocate.  We want to settle down, start a family, but we're living in an area of the country that is both ultra-conservative and environmentally polluted--not exactly where we want to spend the rest of our lives.  In our discussions of the future it goes something like this:

Me or him:  "We could move back to Illinois."
We blink at each other as visions of blizzards and our crazy families swim in our minds.
Me:  "Let's not."
Him:  "Indonesia?"
I shudder.  "What about the Northwest?"
We blink at each other some more, because neither of us has been there.

In the hopes that we could settle the debate, we took our holiday break and went out the explore Oregon.  We didn't have many expectations, but we wanted to see if it was a place we could someday call home.  We decided to couchsurf, so that we could maximize our time there and meet Oregon residents who could give us the scoop on living in the Northwest.  We had a few amazing hosts, and a great experience.  The weather was cold and rainy (surprise!), but the people were fun, the foodcarts were plentiful, and Powell's books was, of course, my mecca.

We started in Portland.  The town was dolled up for the holidays, and there were too many things to explore in our short time there.  We made food a priority.  The street food was amazing--I was able to gorge on Thai food by walking up to a stand, paying $5, and walking away with a steaming dish.  We also hit up Voodoo donuts, which blew me away.  The line outside stretched down the street, for good reason.

Pad See Ew Gai--my absolute favorite Thai dish. 
Bacon Maple Donut from Voodoo Donuts.  The best donut of my life.

Downtown Portland lit up for the holidays.
After several days, we rented a car and drove up and down the coast.  The ocean made me feel both small and infinite.  I wish the pictures could do it justice.

A stop on the Oregon Coast

Close-up of the Pacific

We drove down the the Redwood Forests, where we saw the giant trees that once owned the coast.  Our camera refused to work in the woods, but I wanted more than anything to be able to remember the feeling of standing next to something so tall and so alive.

Redwood Forest
On the forest preserve, we also encountered a herd of elk.  This, too, was documented.

Real, live elk.

I'll post the conclusion to our adventure tomorrow.  We went on to explore both Bend and Eugene before the trip was over, and had a harrowing New Year's adventure.  All in all, I couldn't have loved the Northwest more.  Will we move?  Well, from all accounts, the economy in that region is hurting, so we might not be able to move in the near future, but it's on my list of places I would love to live.  Someday.

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