You know how you feel when you are coming to the end of a really good book and you just don’t want it to end? That’s how I feel about my weekend. I am always happy to come home, but I think I left a bit of my heart back in Oregon. I spent the weekend in Salem, where I traveled to visit old friends and to witness the marriage ceremony of Stephanie, a young lady I used to babysit for. (I’m going to pretend like I don’t feel old having said that).
I left early Friday morning. I’m talking early. As in awake at 2:38 and out the door at 3:27. Not that I was paying attention to the time at all. I was just amazed at my ability to keep both eyes open without the assistance of toothpicks. My logic in leaving that early is that the first 80% of the drive is pretty dull so best to get it out of the way. Plus, it’s an 8 hour trip to get there and I wanted to have enough of the day left to enjoy with my peeps.
The first 5 hours were pretty uneventful (and dark) and then I reached Bend and began the drive over Santiam Pass. There the landscape shifted from desert to an almost mystical forestland (aided by fog and light rain) and made for such a beautiful drive that I actually slowed down, turned off the stereo and lowered the windows to smell the air.
This part of the trip triggered a Zen-like, spiritual connection with nature in me, and I wanted to pull over and do the whole “be at one with creation” thing. But, as I was on a schedule, I pushed on and promised to myself that I would be back someday to fully appreciate that area.
After I arrived in Salem, I met up with Sarah and Suzanne (sisters of the bride that I also used to babysit and who are now permanently warped because of it) and proceeded out to the Champoeg State Heritage area (pronouned “Shampooey”, go figure) for a big ol picnic and also to set up camp with everyone else.
Yes. I camped. But it probably doesn’t count because there was running water, flushing toliets and actual showers. Exactly how I like it.
We took in a fireworks show late that evening and then fit in a whole 4 hours of sleep before heading back to Sarah’s house Saturday morning to get ready for the wedding. I played the role of Wedding Singer which went off better than I expected (i.e. no one threw tomatoes and booed) and the ceremony was sweet, simple and beautiful. (Yes, I cried. I’m a dork)
Afterwards, I did a little sight-seeing, here and here, and actually made it to Mass here, before convening back at the campgrounds for more great conversation, reminiscing (apparently I was the best baby-sitter ever…mostly because I kept coming back, but still), and re-building of friendships. What they say about old friends is true – they are pure gold.
Around midnight I weighed my options and decided that the call toward home was stronger than the call of sleep and hit the road. Bad-ass that I am, I made it all the way to Troutdale (a mere 90 minute drive) before having to pull over and snag a nap in a parking lot. My “nap” turned into a little over 2 hours and I awoke feeling rummy and scratchy eyed. So I took the only logical course of action and bought 2 bottles of Diet Pepsi Max and a shot of 5 Hour Energy drink and headed east.
It was a long, boring, somewhat ugly drive that was only somewhat redeemed by the dawn sky:
Before I knew it, I was back at home, smooching on my man and gearing up for the work week. <Sigh> I miss Oregon. I love the people that I left there and can we just talk about the weather for a minute? I mean, I got to wear fleece people. In JULY. I don’t think it passed 72 degrees the whole time I was there. How can I just walk away from that?