An ironic post title, since we have no home. We have stuff in four homes on two continents, but are once again presuming on the kindness of friends to provide beds to sleep in at night. Portland’s not really home anymore, but then where is?

Note to self: do not write posts after yet another fruitless afternoon spent trying to find someone who will rent a decent house for a decent price to really good renters, stable people who like to garden and who take good care of property, a family who will be here for 10 months. 10 months is good. It is wrong to think that renters have to sign up for a whole year, or to say that if the good, stable renters leave after 10 months you will make them pay $2000 that they really don’t have.

Sigh.

Last time I posted, we were in Crescent City, California—near to the Oregon border. It was Saturday night. In the morning, we got up bright and early. Breakfast wasn’t provided, so we needed to leave the hotel earlier than usual in order to make it on the road by our usual 10 a.m. Donn was secretly determined to make it even earlier, but he was defeated.

You may wonder why we never seem to make it any earlier. Part of the problem is the trunk. A family of 5 went to California for 2 weeks in a Dodge Intrepid. We had 2 suitcases, a camera bag, a baseball bat and ball, a bag of books, jackets, a bag of toiletries, damp swimsuits in a plastic bag, a very full backpack with books, paper for art, paper for airplanes, coloured pencils, and a scarf for dressup, and misc other small things. Donn, who is talented at jigsaw packing, had to redo the trunk every morning, not to mention re-strapping his surfboard on top. It took probably 20 minutes every morning just to do the trunk.

Once the trunk was packed and I had gone through the hotel room two extra times, just to make extra sure that we hadn’t left anything tangled in the sheets or behind the bathroom door, we set off to find breakfast. We went to a place where the typical omelette had 4 eggs, but they allowed you to order a “petite” serving. I went with that option, and had a yummy two-egg omelette with ham, green chilis, swiss cheese and salsa. It was plenty of food—I couldn’t quite finish everything.

I asked the waitress if people in general, normal plump good-healthy-appetite people like me, actually manage to eat 4-egg omelettes with hashbrowns and toast and a wedge of cantaloupe, and she said yes, and they finish everything. That’s one thing I’m still in shock about—the size of the portions in American restaurants. Friday night, when we ate in a trendy coastal town while searching for a vacancy, I ordered a “small” size of pasta, and it was more than ample—I could barely finish it. No one has ever accused me of having a small appetite, except Mauritanians who are being polite. But I can’t finish my plate at most American restaurants—or more accurately, I do then wish I hadn’t. Why are the portions so big? My theory is so that people feel they’re getting their money’s worth. Any other ideas? Anyway, I’m not complaining—the twins have healthy appetites and they split a normal-sized plate and were full.

So yes, it was 10 a.m. when we hit the road, tummies full and trunk perfectly packed, heading into Oregon. Finally, we could get Ilsa to stop asking when we were going to get to Oregon! We triumphantly pointed the sign announcing this milepost.

The Oregon coast looks like what I think a coast should look like. There are rocky crags and sandy cliffs and wind-carved cypress and cedar; the nearby hills are coated with fir and pine and the ground is thick with ferns and brambles. And it was a perfect late-summer day to enjoy it. The water was a perfect blue, crashing white around the black seagull-covered rocks. I wanted more than anything to walk along the edge, filling my toes with sand and wetting my ankles in the surf, but it wasn’t possible, so we continued to drive north.

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Heceta Head Lighthouse. Can you see this picture? I can’t, but I’m hoping you can.

When we got to Lincoln City, we hit traffic. We stopped for black-walnut ice-cream cones and popped into a surfboard shop to browse their end-of-summer sale, but the traffic didn’t abate. We turned off the coast highway at that point and headed towards Portland, over the Coast Range of forested mountains, a road whose every inch is familiar because we have driven it so often in years past. We got to Portland about 9 p.m. that night, thankfully emptied out the trunk one last time, and moved, once again, into our friends’ basement, where we remain while we search for a house. Anyone got any leads?

 

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