I learned my lesson yesterday and don’t check my phone when I wake up. Instead I walk into the Walmart store and do some groceries. I’m out of clean socks and don’t know when I can do laundry yet, so I’ll get some new ones so that I’m covered for another week. When I’ve done my groceries Ana is sitting behind her laptop at a table by the food corner to upload some pictures. I get my laptop from the car and join her to update my blog. Then we drive to a campsite and have breakfast again at the backside of my car.
Starting the day by having breakfast with a friend is a great start of the day. We continue driving along the coast until the point where we planned to go east again in the direction of Portland. I decide to make one more stop at the ocean and we walk together at the beach for a moment. Then we drive further to the point where our ways depart. We say goodbye and like Ana says: it’s good to keep in mind that it’s probably not goodbye for good. You’ll never know when you’ll meet each other again. Even though I feel sad for a while after I see her little car exit the Innerstate. I’m bad in goodbyes, I hate them. I just try to keep in mind that without goodbyes you’d never meet new people, but still I don’t like it. Fortunately I have a nice destination on the map today: Mutnomah Falls. It are huge waterfalls just out of Portland. I plan to hike there, but when I arrive there is a ranger telling me that all the hiking trails are closed because of a big fire last year. It’s still nice to see the enormous waterfalls and I sit down for a while to write and to enjoy the view. Where it was cloudy and misty along the coast, here it is sunshine and blue skies. I think I’ll go to downtown Portland this afternoon.
I drive to downtown Portland and park my car next to a coffee place. I chat with a friend back home for a moment and she recommends me to go to Powell’s bookstore. That turns out to be a great idea. It’s one of the largest bookstores I’ve ever seen. I walk around for about half an hour and meet some friendly people from Missouri. They tell me that there is almost nothing where they are from. I think I drove once through Missouri once and can remember that it were just farms there. We hang out for a while and then I walk further through downtown. It’s a busy city and there are lots of homeless people here. There are also some cool looking breweries here and there, but I won’t drink beer now, because I want to drive out of the city tonight. I walk back to the bookstore once more and then return to my car. I have to say that I’m quite impressed with myself for not buying a single book this time. What probably helped is that I know I have to carry it with me back home and my luggage was already too heavy on my way here.
What’s interesting is how things change in a couple of years. I had high expectations of San Francisco but that city disappointed a bit this time and the same with Portland. Where I had no expectations of Los Angeles and I got to really like that great city. It was nice to visit Portland, but I don’t need to stay here longer than one afternoon. Last time I liked Portland because it felt a bit like a European city, but this time it just feels like a crowded city with more people living on the streets than I have ever seen somewhere else. I wonder why there are so many homeless people here. Visiting that huge bookstore was fun, but now it’s time to go out of the city and back into nature again.
I drive further North to Olympia to the house of my parents friend Darin. Just after sunset I arrive, but he’s not home yet. His children open the door and when I tell that I’m the friend from the Netherlands they let me in and we hang out until Darin and his wife Angie come home. It’s so nice to see him again. Last time I saw him was at the kitchen table in my parents house, I think about a year ago. Back then he invited us to come over and now I’m here. We talk about my journey and about all kinds of things until it’s bedtime. I’m happy to be with friends again and to be able to take a shower and sleep in a bed. Tomorrow I probably spend the day with Darin before I continue traveling to the National Parks in this area.