Friday, May 19, 2017

The Grand Gallivant: Arriving in Portland

(Before I get started, here’s a little preliminary info about our budget for the summer. Like my Epic Trip Out West in 2011, the basic budget for each day of travel is $10 per person. Unlike the ETOW, this budget is caused by necessity rather than choice— and as such, we’ll be willing to spend a bit more using “cheats” such as money from family and friends, old gift cards, and so on. I won’t be posting daily counts, although I hope to post a general budget at the end of the trip, seeing how our finances turned out, for those who are interested in such things. The main focus of the trip isn’t the budget, but maximizing our experiences with the resources we have.)

Our trip began with a delayed flight. We arrived at the airport in plenty of time to wade through the lines to check our bags, tossing our backpacking packs on the conveyor belt, along with two huge suitcases that we were checking on Christian’s behalf (he was flying standby, and arrived in Portland several hours before we even reached the airport). It felt weird to have so many bags! Even without Christian’s luggage, we were packing heavier than I’ve packed since I traveled solo for the first time. But our trip is going to encompass so many different kinds of activities— namely, camping and farmwork— that we ended up packing what feels like an obscene amount of stuff. But now it was all packed away, and it was time to sit in the airport and wait. And wait.

We dined like princes, budget-style: almond-and-m&m trail mix from home, quesadillas cobbled together from some of the last ingredients in our fridge, and Starbucks coffee thanks to an old gift card. 

The days leading up to our departure had been so harried that the excitement hadn’t hit me at all; I was lost in a flurry of details, just wishing that the packing and planning were over. And now at last, here they were.

Our first flight was an hour delayed, and by the time we arrived at our layover in Las Vegas (11:30pm central time), we were both exhausted. We soon realized that our second flight was delayed by an additional two hours.

And so I slept in an airport for the first time! I tied a bandana over my eyes, snuggled into Zach’s jacket (the air conditioning was blasting in there), and curled up on the carpet, tuning out the sounds of flight announcements and the rattle and bing-bang of slot machines. Turns out I was able to sleep for nearly an hour.

We arrived in Portland at 2:30am Pacific time (4:30 central), and Zach’s dad Gary woke up in the middle of the night to come pick us up. We crashed hard that night!

Yesterday, despite being kind of sleepy and out of it, we (Zach, Christian, and I) managed to pack in a lot! We hung out with Zach’s family, then took a hike up to Multnomah Falls. all the way to an outcropping of rock called Angel’s Rest, where we caught a great view of the Columbia Gorge. Christian sprained his ankle on the way down from there, but we met some nice women who gave Zach and me a hitch back to our vehicle so Christian wouldn’t have to walk the last three miles on the road. (He’s been icing his ankle ever since, and we have high hopes it’ll be back to normal in a couple days.) 

Today is our errand day, where we buy a month’s worth of shelf-stable food and some last-minute supplies, although we’re hoping to make some time to show Christian around Portland a little bit. Then tomorrow we head out for Yellowstone. I can hardly wait!

Hope you have a wonderful week, and I’ll write again when I can.



  1. I wish you were coming out to the coast....maybe on another trip!

    1. We are gonna be in the Oregon area for a while, depending on our July plans... so we may make it out yet! I haven't seen the ocean in ages...