You know, it’s really hard to hate a company that lets you camp in their parking lot for free. I didn’t even have to buy anything. Anyway, today is the official start of my travels after a ridiculous and unintentional reroute to Portland, Oregon. To make a long story short, I was abandoned by Amtrak in Havre, Montana and was forced to purchase a new ticket for $260. Quite the blow to my meager budget, but thankfully it was softened by a friendly Canadian couple I met on the train. They watched as the train pulled away after I attempted to open the locked door. Out of incredible mercy and kindness they handed me $60 and walked away only to return and give me another $140.
The night only gets crazier. Another passenger I met on the train got off the train to catch a ride with a friend who had just been fired for failing a drug test. He also saw what happened and offered me a ride to Spokane, Washington where I could board the same train. Like it never happened. We went to the bar to wait on his friend. We have a few drinks and shoot some pool. Next, we meet two Native Americans and a girl they were with. This guy, who is supposed to give me a ride, starts talking to the girl about cocaine and takes off with her but not before she grabs my phone on the way out the door and tries to take off with it! “I only wanted to listen to music for the ride.” She said. Luckily, I got my phone back. I’m not gonna even talk about all the fights this guy tried to start.
They leave, but he left his bags and asked my to watch them. Jake and his friend, the Native Americans, take me with them to another bar to get away from this guy and he offers to let me crash on his couch. A few bars later, I meet a family who end up taking me in for the night. They let me sleep on the couch, they fed me, let me shower, and even sent me off with food: three ham and cheese sandwiches, a bag of potato chips, and some trail mix.
I board the train after this fiasco so happy that the last one left me behind. It turned out to be quite the adventure. I did have one little problem. My bike went to Seattle and my gear went to Portland. I did not. Luckily, a passenger on the train saw my notebook sitting out and got a little snoopy. My phone number is written on the first page so they gave me a call. “Hey, it’s Mitch. I saw what happened with the train and am sitting here with your stuff. Want us to take it home?” Hell yes! I called Amtrak and had my bike sent to Portland and changed my ticket as well. I arrived in Portland the next day, built my bike, and met up with Mitch for the grand reunion with my gear. Mitch and his family let me crash on their couch and the next day the two of us explored Portland. We had one hell of a time and they sent me off with an awesome card of a traveling green onion.
The next night I watched a girl jump off a 30ft pier, swim out to a boat, and take advantage of the boats water slide. I also met Bananas. Bananas is a bum with a bike who busted me scoping out a patch of woods to sleep in. This was at midnight. I did not want to camp with him knowing where I was so I rode away. Well, he followed me, then for some crazy ass reason I followed him nearly twelve miles to one of his sleeping spots. We didn’t get there till 3am and we needed to be at the shelter for free breakfast at 8am so I didn’t get much sleep that night. He fixed that by getting me starbucks coffee in the morning. Thanks Bananas! Take notice of his pink backpack.
Hopefully, things chill out a bit. The last week has been intense. Yesterday was more low key and so was today. Yesterday, I chilled on top of Mount Tabor and watched the sun set over Portland. I also was invited, yet again, to crash on someones couch. Craig is a fellow traveler who has ridden the Pacific Coast, the circumference of Australia, and thru-hiked the PCT. He also created the website humanclock.com and is launching a video version of the same website tonight at 3am. He took me out for a drink, but I was exhausted after the previous nights adventure with Bananas and didn’t stay long. Thanks Craig! Good luck with the launch tonight.
Yea… I think that about sums up the craziness of the last week. I am now headed for Seattle, Washington and should hopefully be there in the next few days. Tonight, I am camped in Walmart’s parking lot in Longview, WA. I rode 60 miles. The temperature reached 97 degrees and I took a dip in a private lake to cool off. Mundane. Just what I want for a few days.