Coco and Bigote Discover America, Again

We are in Portlandia.

Correction: I am in Portland, having just dropped Ryan off at the airport after an awesome night with our friend Jenn Chavez and her boyfriend Erin. Yesterday was a pretty unbelievable day: we awoke to deer tiptoeing through our foggy Cougar Campground on Mount Rainier, drove up to Paradise pass, which is still under 10 feet of snow, then embarked on a brisk 5-mile hike on the Wonderland trail before setting off for Portland. Once we made it off I-5 (oh, how I loathe thee), we met Jenn and Erin in Belmont for--get ready--an art show, a drive-by candy car, dinner at Sizzle Pie Pizza, and an awesome metal show by Avi Devi at Katy O'Brien's.

It's not often that I start the day on a mountain and end it on a pool table, surrounded by men with chin-length hair and women with surprisingly screamy voices. Oh, and after the show, Jenn and Erin took us to a pod--not of whales, but of mobile food carts, all strung up with bright lights. Ryan got poutine (Canadian fries with gravy and cheese), and I got a fried coconut chocolate pie.

We are now very much back on the grid, after spending the past ten days camping in western Canada (first in Glacier National Park in British Columbia, and later on Vancouver Island), wandering through Olympic National Park in Washington, where we visited the Hoh Rainforest and camped at Mora campground on the coast. We were so wrapped up in the intensity of hanging moss against the blue blue skies that we almost didn't notice the abundance of goth girls hanging around the Forks Thriftmart. That's when we started noticing the vampire signs--apparently Forks is where the Twilight books and films are set, and there are kitschy tours that teenage girls and their moms take. We even passed a sign that read "Vampire Threat: Low."

Ryan has returned to California this week to attend a wedding and take a class while I am staying at Reed College to participate in the Tin House Writer's Workshop. You could say that we are shifting gears--I'm focusing on writing (one year til my thesis defense!), he on teaching. He'll fly back next week and we will once again stock the car with carby snacks and mosey our way back home.