Days 49 – 55 – Tacoma and Portland

It’s true! Late Monday night we re-entered the United States. I was slightly disappointed that the border guy didn’t care about the paperwork I had so carefully secured for Stella. You win some you lose some.

We set up camp in the dark in small campground just over the border. The next morning we eased into life back in the states with a leisurely morning breakfast, coffee and run. Then we hit the road!

My original plan had been to explore the Hoh Rainforest on the Olympic Peninsula, so I headed south towards Tacoma. Tacoma is famous for two things in my mind: the school where they shot “10 Things I Hate About You” and a soft-shell crab banh mi sandwich that my friend had one time that I have not been able to get out of my mind.


***You are now entering Tacoma***

Tacoma is SO PRETTY. We wandered around downtown a little before heading to the home of the infamous banh mi. Dum dum dum….

soft shell crab banh mi


It was delicious. If you go to Tacoma, eat one.

It was getting on towards evening now and my plan was to camp at a little site just across the river before heading up the peninsula. When we got there, however, the site was closed for forest repairs or something. There didn’t seem to be another good camping option nearby and night was falling quickly and I hit a low point.

I had taken so much in stride up to that point, but I think being back in the U.S. at the end of my journey, being so tired from driving across Canada and facing more driving alone in beautiful places when all I wanted to do was sleep in a bed and hang out with people overwhelmed me. I called ma bestie (love you Hannah) who told me to text my sister and see if I could got to Portland early. Why not! And then get a motel for the night and watch t.v. and chill out. It was great advice.

Haila, my wonderful sister, said of course I could come early and could stay through the weekend if I wanted. I was so relieved. Accepting that I would have to see the Hoh Rainforest another time, I pointed my spaceship south.

We arrived in Portland the next day to the most beautiful site of family!! Marlowe and Tavin (my most fantastic niece and nephew) gave me and Stella a tour of the garden which included the monkey tree (pictured below) among other treasures.

little monkeys

***Little monkeys***

I slept incredibly well that night and had the best easy morning the next morning, drinking coffee, catching up on my email, and deciding where in Portland I would like to go.

coffee at haila's

***Serious luxury***

I had a moment where I was completely amazed by how much you can get done in a few hours with computer!

I settled on a neat looking walking tour through downtown Portland that started at the old train station and ended at the water.

portland street

***Portland is such a cutie***

portland waterfront

***Water views***

Then I headed over the cool kids district for some food and a beer and to kill some time before meeting up with my buddy!

portland art

***Artsy fartsy in the cool kids district***

I was sooooo happy to hang out with Mary Liz! We had fabulous plans to drink frou frou drinks before going to a “Wedding Singer” sing-a-long. Yes please.

maryliz and me

***This gal***

We had a slight conundrum because it was HOT in Portland that day and I did not feel great leaving Stella in the car while we went to the movies, even with the windows cracked after the sun had gone down. Mary Liz had the grand idea to just walk in like Stella was a service animal. It turns out, all they can do is ask you if your dog is a service animal. They can’t ask you for what service or to show any proof. My little rule abiding Capricorn heart was all aflutter, but it worked! (It also helped that I had recently got her a harness that made her appear slightly more… service-y.) Stella enjoyed the A/C and the popcorn that spilled on the floor while we sang our little hearts out to some 80’s classics.

The next day was family day. I spent lots of quality time with the little ones reading books…

portland - sleepy baby

***Too precious***

And, of course playing with Snapchat.

portland - face swap

***Hilarious face-swap monsters ahh!!!***

Then we got to take the secret path to the community pool! Marlowe led the way while Stella trotted back and forth making sure everyone was ok and sticking together.

portland - going swimming

***Keep up the good work, Stella***

We had family din that night and more quality time before early to bed. The next day was my last day in town and we made the most of it by heading to an off leash dog park I had heard much about.

It was a TREK to get there and the little ones got pretty hot and cranky, but once we reached the river it was clear we had made it to doggie heaven.

portland - thousand acres

***Let’s gooooo***

portland - thousand acres 2

***Most favorites***

That night we said our goodbyes because they would be up bright and early the next morning and most likely would not see us before we left for our next destination. It was sooo hard to say bye. I love these guys.

portland - last morning

***Last few moments of quality time***

Next time — I return to one of my favorite places in the world and get to hang out with a bunch of burners!


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