Sunday, June 1, 2008

A Smooth Portlanding

So with no license and no car how was I supposed to start this great American tour? How do you get around when all you have is your two legs...and a computer? The internet is a wonderful thing. I turned to Craigslist "Rideshare" postings and scavenged it daily. I found people that were looking for someone to share gas with and were headed to where I was going. I emailed them, talked with them over the phone, and tried to figure out if they were crazy. If I didn't think they'd kill me, and if I didn't think I'd want to kill myself after riding with them, I took it. My first shot at "cyber-hitchhiking" was a short trip from Seattle to Portland. I was a little nervous, and made sure my brother Kevin had my cell phone number and a recent picture of me just in case anything happened, but it all turned out fine. I even shared the back seat with another Penn State graduate. The driver was a nice girl with 4 jobs...4 jobs!!! And they were all "green" jobs. Yes, she was into saving the earth and sharing her car means cutting down on carbon emissions, so that's why she does it. She wasn't looking for people to torture or kill, just looking to help the environment.

When I got to Portland I couldn't believe I was really there. "That's it?" I said. It's a very small looking city, cozy almost. I road the MAX train to my Uncle Paul's house and was happy that the first leg of the American tour went well. I spent the next few days playing with their dog "Rags", walking around the city of Portland, attending a family members birthday party, meeting new people, hiking, boating, fishing, and planning my trip from Portland down towards San Francisco. Luckily my cousin Jenna had friends in from out of town who where from San Francisco and had plenty of good advice to give me.

Portland was a really nice stop. It was nice to be in a house again after living in an apartment for a year in Korea, and then having a blow up mattress in my brothers living room for two weeks. Just seeing my Aunt and Uncle was a special treat. Since they lived most of their lives in Illinois or on the west coast I don't get to see them much, but they are really great people. I loved staying at their place, showing them pictures, telling my travel stories and hearing their thoughts about everything I've been doing. They thought what I was doing was great and wished me all the best. But most of all they just hoped that my next driver wouldn't kill me.

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