PNW 1.5

Guest Blogger: Alvin Goeser

Halfmoon Haven on the Sunshine Coast, BC brought well needed peace. Although many days were a constant mix of rain and sun – more rain, the place felt like a retreat. Being that it was our first WWOOFing stint we did more “retreating” than actual farm type work. Actually none! We did a mix of landscaping, light construction, cooking, beach combing, and jaunts up and down the coast to scope out the scenery. A couple days before we departed Jenn gave us each a Lomi Lomi massage. During mine I had a vision of swimming in the bay. I described it to her and she encouraged me to fulfill the vision and to cleanse the extraineous personal burdens attached before we go. The evening before we left I entered the ocean with intention to release the mental and personal baggage then experienced the beauty beneath the horizon and the weightlessness of Neptune’s world. Oyster beds, Dungeness crabs, sand ripples, saltwater was the simple remedy to reboot my physical and mental state. To me, the ocean truly has magical powers.

With half our travel day spent on the road  we decided to take a bit of time to check out some of Vancouver. The Kitsilano district had the big city vibe with a quaint community feel. We stopped at Patagonia to check out its scene and snag the obligatory sticker. We took advantage of Chris’s gift to The Float House. Here, we experienced sensory deprivation in a capsule with enough Epsom salt to float a human, and depleat audio and visual sensations. Great mind expansion could happen, or relaxation, or paranoia, or monkey brain. All were part of our experience. Later that night we landed in Renton, Wa; the home, and parking lot of Northwesty. We needed internet, to pick Kirk’s brain about Westy’s in Baja – specifically ours, to sell Valhalla, and migrate to Oregon. Tending to straggling emails and very necessary legal documentation such as my very expired drivers license, updated license plates, and a copy of our van’s title kept us surfing a coffee shop all morning. Just happens that coffee shop was across the street from Jimi Hendrix’s memorial, so we paid him a visit. 

Looking for a rad, hole-in-the-wall vegetarian/vegan bar, well, Georgetown Liquor Company is the place. Kirk invited us to meet him and his pilot friend Katie for this experience. The “meat” is procured from Field Roast and vegan cheese from Diaya. There’s a grip of local craft brews, and cupcakes that remind me of every birthday cake (German chocolate) my mom lovingly made from scratch, but heavily frosted…and vegetarian.

One of my greatest fears is driving over suspension bridges. I begin to sweat, clutch the wheel, and become hyper-focused soon before crossing. Even the thought of pre-traversing works up the psuedo rigormortis. The bridge over the Columbia River on highway 104 is one of these bridges. Without much exasperating dialogue, I was scared but Alexia coached me through. Upon touching terra firma we saught out Rogue Brewery in Astoria to celebrate entering Oregon…and a successful crossing. With nerves contently subdued we filled a growler and headed south along the Coast. 

Staying at an overpriced state park; we are considered an rv, so those hookups whether you use them or not still cost. The key is to stealth camp. Recon places while there is ample light and decide if it’s safe to raise the top. If not don’t stay, or at least don’t lift the top. We discovered a great little city park that happened to be next to a state park with a convenient site to the city park. However, the city park closed at midnight, and the state opened at seven a.m., so there was a bit of shuffling around which was not ideal. Obvious stealth camping. 

The chum were running up the Kilchis and I was going after them. Alexia decided to stay in the van to knit and stay dry while I became soaked and stoked. Among the reel fisherman I was the only one pursuing the behemoths with a fly. To no avail, the few hours spent in the water among the beautiful scenery of the valley, I caught nothing. I was graced though when a steelhead swam between my legs at which I promptly tried to cast in its departing position. Alvin none, fish…free! 

Out of Tillamook we set our bearings east for Gales Creek, a recently unincorporated town; the corner market which also had the post office closed. It also happens to be where Doss Family Farms is located, the Mangalitsa pig farm where we will be on a true farm WWOOFing. The seveny-five miles on the scenic yet fast paced route of highway 6, with a slight merge south on 8, dropped us at the Gales Creek Tavern. Without any contact with the Dosses, we ordered beers and the largest, and cheapest nachos ever to touch our mouths. Eating, drinking, and socializing with the locals, we heard from our hosts and migrated up the mountain, to the very top of the mountain, you know, one with a 360°  view. Meeting the Dosses, walking among a few places on the farm and discussing a bit of their expectations and our skills and contributions, we bid good evening and set up our 80sq foot home on wheels for the first night on the mountain. 

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