The two hour ride from Bandon to Eugene was abruptly interrupted in 10 minutes when we broke down in front of a golf course at a stop sign we seemingly took too literally. Duke's plan of continuously trying to start the truck wasn't panning out, but then an angel came to our rescue. Dressed in all white, he helped us back our truck with the trailer attached, off of the road. Joey, we learned, was a caddie at the Bandon Dunes golf course, and while he and Duke got under the truck, our dogs slept soundly and unaffected and I peed in the bushes. Eventually, after Joey messed around with some wires or something under the truck in the rain, we were on the road again. We thanked him profusely, though he wouldn't take any payment, not even a massage from Duke. So we expressed our gratitude in hugs and were off. Soon we stopped so I could eat at an all-u-can eat salad bar at a pizza shack (I was starving.) I was only three plates deep when Duke called from the 76 station he'd parked at saying the truck wouldn't start again. Luckily, Joey had given us his number, so Duke called.
Five hours, six coffees, and two starters later (they'd given us the wrong one at the auto shop we conveniently broke down by) and the engine was up and running! While Duke and Joey had been bonding under the truck, I'd roamed the mean streets of Coos Bay, kept my boys hydrated, and eventually got to meet Joey's wife Lindsey, their son Carson, and dog Woofie. We insisted on taking them to dinner, and after that, and they insisted we stay with them since it was pouring rain. So we did. For two nights. We became best friends, met their grandma, went to their kid's soccer game, and toured the house they were about to buy. It was awesome! We can't wait to go back and visit them, and Joey and Duke are now business partners as well.
For the next few days we still needed to perfect our veggie oil sucking machine, and lucky for us we got the chance too. After driving up the rainy Oregon Coast, stopping at a farmer's market, having a $63 shopping spree at a rad thrift store, and making more BFF's at Rogue Brewery, we arrived at our cousins Niki and Jake's house in Lincoln City. They graciously opened their home to us and our dogs, while Duke filtered some oil we'd snagged from a Thai place and perfected his system in the rain. (My little engineer.)
Eventually we got things situated and headed up to Silverton, OR, where we parked our home outside our friends Katie and John's house. It was raining still as we set everything up, and Katie helped us strap a tarp on since we'd discovered some leaks in our two thousand dollar humble abode. We enjoyed her homemade pizza, and got to catch up with the both Katie, John, and their adorable daughter Molly and her imaginary friends. So much fun!
In Portland we finally had our big chance to pump some serious vegetable oil into our truck. The pump was working, we had our big tubs and containers ready and I had my gollashes and pancho on this time after previously getting drenched in rain and veggie oil on other escapades. We decided on this mission to just hit up Asian inspired restaurants. Out of five: one said no, two said yes, and two didn't know. It's a weird adrenaline rush being in the back of some restaurant pumping gross-ass veggie oil from a huge greasy dumpster thing...wondering if someone will come out, and if they do, what they'll do or say. "Hey! That's my used vegetable oil you scoundrels!" So exciting! That night, we stayed with our buddy Jay and Duke filtered some oil in Jay's garage.
The next day we FINALLY entered Washington. It was absolutely beautiful and green and new! We drove for about four hours to Ellensburg, WA, for our final visit with friends or family. We stayed with our lovely cousins Mechelle and her hubby Trevor on October 7th, the night that rapper Too $short was randomly having a concert there. For those of you that haven't been to Ellensburg, let's just say it's a rural farming community with lots of tractors and cowboy hats (luckily Duke had bought one at the thrift store.) The only other flyer I saw advertised a rodeo coming to town. This would seem like the last place Too $hort would be....but of course Mechelle had backstage passes so we were obviously going--and obviously gonna be dressed up. Like most rap concerts, this one got out of hand. Let's just say some harsh words were spoken and some alcoholic beverages were poured on ones head. And yes, this only involved Duke and I.
The next morning the damn truck wouldn't start AGAIN. Duke and I already had made separate plans...Duke and Trevor went to a beer festival in Leavensworth with Jay, and I got to take Mechelle's car to see Seattle for the first time (where we will be moving next year.) We both went our separate ways, I suppose both of us hoping the truck would miraculously start the next day. The guys went to the Oktoberfest, where it's safe to say they just drank a lot of beer. In Seattle I went to Pike's Place Market, met up with my old friend Joey at the restaurant he runs, drank beer as well (for free!), stayed in an abandoned apartment with a cat, went to an fabulous farmer's market, saw an AWESOME psychic, went to a vegan restaurant (of course) in Capitol Hill, and spent too much money at thrift stores, costume places, and sex shops. I also saw a tarot card reader for the first time, and she pulled out her trusty pendulum. She told me to ask a question, and I asked if the truck would be fixed tomorrow. It said no. Then I asked how many days. It said two. I didn't know what to believe...I am fairly optimistic and assumed the truck would be fixed Monday, our first anniversary, and we be on our way. I took that with a grain of salt, and went to a a salon with a rainbow flag out front to get my annual trim from an adorable man with way more style than I'll ever have. After one last stop where I bought a penguin pipe (for tobacco use only), I was on my way back to Ellensburg.
10-10-11 marked one year as a married couple. I got Duke a trucker hat with a beaver on it. Duke worked on the truck all day, I did laundry, we had dinner with Trevor, Mechelle, and Mechelle's parents (Duke's Uncle Kent and Aunt Annette) at the house, and I went to sleep on our air mattress while they played poker. Romantic! The truck was still broken, like the pendulum predicted, so Duke hoped and I knew the mechanic could fix it the next day.
And the pendulum was correct. My sweet husband had installed the THIRD starter improperly, which we weren't shocked by and actually quite pleased to discover. We deflated the air mattress, packed up our stuff, said our goodbyes, and headed East. I really wanted to show Duke where we were gonna live in Seattle, but we'd been stuck too long, and needed to move forward. We also needed to filter some serious oil and get working on this damn website, so off to our second Motel 6 in Spokane, WA, where the reviews described blood on the comforter, tic accumulation, and people on drugs with vicious pitbulls. We think it's the nicest Motel 6 we've ever stayed at.
Too much stress and heartache, including the death of my father in May, finally pushed Duke and I over the edge enough to get outta town. I'd personally already not just wanted, but NEEDED to leave for debatably three years, but who's counting? The last few days in our house (formerly my dad's--which I had once moved into as an 11 year old) were stressful as hell, as we were moving out so renters could move in. Except we were moving into a camper and getting rid of all else. Selling nearly EVERYTHING on Craigslist gets tedious and annoying...plus we had to clean and throwout and fix stuff, all while running on no sleep. Not the funnest thing ever, but who said heading to 48 states running on used vegetable oil and living in a camper was gonna be easy?
The veggie oil pump broke, I couldn't sell my car, Duke couldn't sell his gutter machine, there were things that needed fixing at our house for the renters, batteries needed fixing in the tent trailer, couldn't get the website up, etc. So our first stop in our new-to-us camper home was the luxurious Rasmusen Painting. We parked on the street during the day and popped up our house in the shop at night...until 6:45 AM when the painters came...Duke towed the camper still set up out of the shop to try and let me sleep, bless his heart. But sleeping is my absolute WORST skill no matter how many hours of it I lose, and rolling and bouncing around definitely wasn't the most rejuvinating way to awaken. (: But, things needed to be done! I finally sold my car, the wonderful Mallan's let us store our van AND Duke's gutter machine on their property, the Bard's and the Jollife's let us shower at their place...the oil pump finally was working thanks to Brian William's....so we fuelled up at local Napa businesses Squeeze Inn, The Food Mill, and Joy Luck House.
Sunday I made my final Craigslist sale. After about 30 telephone conversations nearly lost in translation somewhere between English and Japanese, a man named Alex came to buy my father's antique speakers that he'd had since college. It was kind of hard for me to let them go, considering the hours of dancing I'd put under my belt since I was three years old via these speakers. But seeing Alex's enthusiasm when the speakers worked convinced me that their new home was with him. And I think my dad would have liked that too.
So we finally set sail at 7 PM on Monday, September 26th. It was agreeably the best drive we've ever taken together; both of us ecstatic to be on the open road. After 40 blissful minutes, we decided to call it a night. We stopped and ate at Olive Garden where I consumed five family-sized salads, and then stayed at the Vacaville Motel 6, our favorite resort. We were exhausted, and just wanted to relax for a moment. Plus, the dogs needed baths (as did we) and we accumulated about 30 towels for the trip. It was nice to SLEEP, and fortunately my earplugs blocked out most outside drug deals and Monday night celebrations.
In the morning, we snagged some veg oil from China King and got back on track up north. We meandered up I-5 for hours, stopping in Weed CA to get shirts, and in Ashland OR to get food. It was 9 PM and we still had a ways to go to get to Bullards Beach where some of Duke's family was camping. Duke was initially set on driving all of the way there, but as it got later and after 20 stops (admittedly most for me to pee) it was getting into sleepy and cranky territory for Stukey. We don't do well tired and lost. Fast forward four hours and too many snappy and snide remarks, we did make it to Bullard Beach, OR, where we set up our home like mute zombies and finally got in bed at 2 AM.
We woke at 10:30 with appologies and make-ups, and were finally free to do what we wanted. We had a great time and each got to unwind a little and hang out with Grandma, Grandpa, Uncle Kim, the OG Stacie Rasmusen, Niki, and Jake. Dinner was the crabs they all caught and I enjoyed flame-grilled brussel sprouts and potatoes 'cause I don't want crabs. We also met Cream Cheese's long lost twin. We packed up before the rain on Friday and hit the road.....but not for long.