Posts/May, 2010/

To Portland and Back With a Load of Crap

Sunday, May 23rd, 2010

On Tuesday, J and I flew to Portland to finally reclaim all of our worldly possessions. For two years and at a cost of $1700, they had been stacked high and waiting for us in a 7×10 foot space. The whole time we were gone, we didn’t miss most of it.

Small building and art car on Alberta.

The Tyrannosaurus hood ornament.

Clover field.


After visiting with J’s uncle’s family in Hillsborough, we picked up the 17 foot U-Haul truck on Thursday morning. In two hours, it was loaded. For lunch, we went downtown and tried out Thai boiled chicken and ginger sauce from one of the numerous food carts. I think it is the only place in America were you can buy this delicious dish.

Portland was sunny and beautiful for the first moments of our visit, but soon rained and hailed for the rest.

Despite our short time up there, we had a fun time visiting family and friends. The city was beautiful and green, though a lot smaller feeling than we remembered.

On Friday morning, we began our journey to San Francisco. For all of Oregon, it rained on us. The truck struggled up the hills, appearing even more underpowered than a fully loaded 18-wheeler. Our gas mileage was a cringeworthy 10mpg, and I was tempted to measure distance not in miles but $25 increments.

We reached the California border in the early afternoon. The sun came out. We laughed.

By early evening, we were only 200 miles from San Francisco. Endless flooded rice fields and orchards surrounded us for miles. We decided to see how close we could get before we got tired.

At 10:30PM, we were a bridge away. But instead of struggling to park the truck in town and unload the air mattress, we found a motel in Mill Valley. Our room was massive, as was our exhaustion. We slept soundly.

Within an hour of waking up, we had crossed the Golden Gate Bridge and had begun unloading the truck. In two hours, despite having to haul everything up two flights of stairs, we had finished moving. And boy were our arms tired.

Golden Gate Bridge from the roof.

The moon.

Sun sets over the Marin Headlands outside our window.


We are missing key pieces of furniture, but already our new apartment is feeling comfortable. Unpacking everything yesterday and today made me nostalgic for the past and optimistic for the future. These limited artifacts from my life don’t really mean much on their own, but they were worth keeping. After two years living either in a guesthouse, beach bungalow, hotel, furnished apartment, or family home, I forgot what it was like to have a place that feels my own.

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