Driving the length of CA is like driving the breadth of Texas, you think you’ll never get out of the state. So it seems like forever until we get to OR. Beautiful forests, thousands of old growth trees as far as the eye can see. The landscape is mesmerizing, magical, hypnotic. My first hint that we’d crossed the border was a billboard

A rendering of a highway sign with a marijuana leaf for Eugene, Oregon

California has medical Marijuana with discreet delivery services (no store) In the same counties. Oregon apparently has a more freewheeling attitude. That sign and out first stop in Ashland, OR a pretty little mountain town let us know we’d left Califonia. We stopped at a Shell station where a young, bushy bearded attendant came out to greet us. Smiling broadly, he had on a spotless cover-all and I don’t think his hands had ever been on the icky, grimy inside of an engine. He was just so friendly though. And so very glad we didn’t have a gasoline leak as we Feared-Randy got under the car to look- because gosh there was no one open on Saturday to fix it. He was such a nice greeting to the state of Oregon. A Smokey the Bear type icon. Welcome to Oregon. We’re laid back, mountain folk, happy to help you if we can.

I’m hoping to get to Eugene before dark. The sun is behind the trees now leaving deep shadows on the road until the next bend when the sun makes a startling, blinding appearance right in front of me. Back and forth between blinding sunlight and shadows we make it to Eugene, my eyes red and watering, my heart pounding.
Luckily Johanna has called ahead to a pet friendly hotel. We’re hot, tired and ready to get out of the car. My bad knee (I don’t have a good knee), my driving knee is inflamed, swollen and hurting. As every night, Randy will go in and book the room. Tonight, however, the guy behind the counter won’t take Randy’s passport as ID and Randy comes back to the car deeply frustrated. I gather my courage, grit my teeth against the pain and hobble into the lobby. The kid behind the counter seems nice enough (although Randy certainly isn’t happy with him). He and I quickly complete the booking. Standing there, leaning on my cane, faced still with unpacking the damn car, realizing it’s already 8 O’clock at night, I know i cannot turn around and get us on the road again tomorrow. I CANNOT DO THIS THING.
“Ummmm, put us down for tomorrow night too”
“Oh, I’m sorry. We don’t have anything for tomorrow night”.

/>OH DEAR GOD IN HEAVEN, what will I do?

Randy asks if I want to find another place tonight but it is beyond me to go any further. It is so daunting that if I were able to bend my knees without excruciating pain I would collapse into a puddle right here and let someone else decide what to do with me and mine.

As it is, I take the keys for tonight, drive us to our corner room and we UNPACK. Collapsed on the bed, everyone but Randy and I fed, watered, content (except Noche), I began to fantasize about a much better way to get us across country. An RV and a driver! Someone comfortable enough with driving a big RV with my truck trailered behind. Yes! Yes! That’s what I’d do in the morning! I’ll find us a responsible college student out for the summer, rent an RV and I will never have to move again for the time it takes us to get across country.

I am taken out of this wonderful fantasy by a text from Johanna, who has once again proven she is one of the most amazingly thoughtful friend EVER, She says Peterson will pick us up and we’ll all meet for late dinner.

That act of kindness frees my brain so while we wait for Peterson I hobble down to the office and say to the Kid: “I’ll give you a $100.00 to let us stay tomorrow night” To his credit he refused the money and booked us for the second night. Just give us a good review he said. So here’s a big shout out for The Timbers on Pearl Street in Eugene. Small rooms, old furniture, few amenities but thankfully, reasonable, empathetic employees.

I think I would really like to spend time in Eugene. It seems like a really nice place. As it was, I didn’t see much of it in daylight. I spent the next day in the bed while Randy and Zorr spent the afternoon with Peterson. Once again dinner orchestrated by Johanna and Peterson, this time Thai food from TA RA RIN eaten at our friends’ lovely Thirty-six hours out of the car, by the time Peterson drops us off that second night I’m beginning to think I can mush on.