Hicth to Seattle and on to Portland where it all Started
The morning in Vancouver finally came for Walter and I to go our separate ways, him to the island, me to the south, somewhere. We had breakfast, he hopped on the transit and I headed back to Kimmie's place, where her and Rudy awaited to start our hitchhiking fun, Rudy is Kimmie's roommate.
I had coffee while they got the famous $3 breakfast at Bons Off Broadway, we then hopped a bus that got us pretty close to the US-Canada border, a few beers were enjoyed in the back. We waited with a joint on the street corner for Kimmie's friend to pick us up, no one in Vancouver has worries over smoking a joint anywhere. We got a ride from her friend right to the border, on foot we marched in to see our way across, Kimmie a bit worried because she'd been denied entry before. We had no problems though, some basic questioning and we were walking down the road, I was back in the United States once again.
We attempted standing together, the three of us, hitching rides, but it wasn't long before I decided to walk ahead and split up for a better shot at some rides for all of us. I walked a couple miles, to my left was the full moon, to my right was the last breath of the sun, my new friends behind me and loose ideas and destinations in front.
A car slowed and stopped in the shoulder, someone always does, I ran up to the car and sure enough Kimmie and Rudy were inside, the driver on route to Seattle. We'd talked about going to Bellingham, but forgot why so drove right through and landed in Seattle. We loaded up on food at a grocery and set up our tent in a nearby park, a pretty hidden spot. We drank wine all night and laughed, Aaron called me laughing drunk telling me to get fitted for a tux, I drunk laughed right back at him, it won't be long until I see him in Sacramento.
The next day I got fitted for that tux, meandering into a Mens Warehouse with my big pack and my two friends with the same, but got fitted all the same. We wandered the lower part of Seattle, we had good beer at a coffee shop, eventually we wound up in the park by the water. We still hadn't found a place to sleep for the night, and were a good bus ride from where we were the night before, none of us were too concerned. None the less, Kimmie got the attention of a young guy walking and asked him if he may know a good park we could use.
This guy was full of life, as if he'd just had epiphany after another, he'd just arrived in Seattle not long ago. The conversation centered around religion, Christianity, and ways of living life. The basic concept being kicked around was what I think Kimmie's all about, and that's letting it flow, to her it was the Universe, to him it was God, I listened and watched the sun dip behind the mountains.
Another guy came over towards the end of this, he was looking for pot. We didn't have any, done before the border, but he stuck around anyhow and we all went looking for some after the first guy took off with a huge smile on his face, feeling generally happy about life. It wasn't long before we found someone, he grabbed some as did Kimmie, we headed back to the park by the water to enjoy it. After a bit my craving for beer grew strong, Kimmie and Rudy were easily convinced to journey out to a pub, our pot searching friend went his own way after suggesting we go to Capital Hill.
We headed that way, up hill mostly for the bulk of it, we saw some bars here and there, but settled on a place called the Coment. We walked in as the DJ announced Karaoke was going to kick off, that excited Kimmie, and beers were just a buck each. We enjoyed our beers, Kimmie signed up to sing. The scene inside was a mix of transgenders, gay guys, punks, hippy types and all kinds of colorful folk.
When Kimmie went to sing she announced that the three of us were trying to score a spot to set up our tent for the night, then sang "I feel good". One of the guys near the bar started talking with her and said he may know a place, we were all invited to his table and all the guys started buying us beers and feeding Kimmie shots of Jaeger and tequila. We left the bar, Joseph, the guy who said he could help us initially, bought an 18 pack of beer, we headed back to his condo complex where he said we could crash in the movie theatre viewing room there.
When we got there people were in the viewing room, apparently naked, we headed to the roof. A lot of us stayed up there talking and drinking for a while before heading back down, one or two of the hit on Rudy but weren't pushy about it in the slightest, I was let be, likely because Kimmie was hanging on me most of the night. When we got back to the viewing room it was still occupied, but they said they were on their way out, they eventually left and we started watching a movie.
The three of us were left alone down there eventually, we pulled out our sleeping bags and fell out. I came to with the lights on and Kimmie folding up her blanket, Rudy doing the same, a man at the door watching us. Apparently we were being kicked out, we gathered all our stuff and headed away, we all went to the elevator with intentions of going the roof and sleeping, but we were followed and told not to. It was then I realized I didn't have any shoes on, the guy took me back to the viewing room so I could find them. It seemed like he just lived there, so I couldn't be sure why he cared enough to make us leave, but I got my shoes and off we went, it was now light out.
We walked a few blocks until finding a suitable alley to sleep in. We woke up a little better rested and headed for the same park down by the water to relax in, Kimmie found someone with papers and we rolled another joint before heading for the freeway. We walked back up hilly Seattle to I-5, a busy freeway with a narrow shoulder. The three of us walked until the shoulder got wide enough for cars to stop, Portland on our mind, and this time Rudy walked ahead leaving Kimmie and I to thumb cars first.
A cop stopped before anyone else, as I've seen many time before, we were told walking on the freeway was illegal, but he decided to give us a ride to the next exit where we may be able to find a bus. Of course he saw Rudy a few miles up, he almost didn't, "You know this guy?!", we paused for a second and smiled at each other, "Ha, yes...".
He stopped and let us both out and told the three of us just to walk off the freeway, we did. After a lot more walking we got to a bus that took us an hour south to Tacoma for $3 each. Once there we had a great big meal, it was getting later, by the time we got back on the freeway it was dark, but we tried a while anyhow, again Rudy walked down the road beyond us. Again the first car to stop was a cop. He was friendly, but same story, so we walked off the freeway unsure of what would become of Rudy, if he'd already got a ride, if the cop would get him, we couldn't know.
Kimmie and I walked until we found a place that looked suitable for sleep, has a beer and talked, then walked some more to a better spot where we could set up our tent. We had more beers and enjoyed each other's company into the night until sleep took over.
In the morning we packed up the tent, Kimmie found a thermal blanket in the bush, still in it's original plastic wrap. We soldiered on to the freeway again, climbing a hill to the spaghetti mess created from many freeways coming together. Unsure of exactly which road we were on we just stuck our thumbs out. Someone stopped fairly quickly ready to give us a ride, but we then learned we chose the wrong road and were directed to the right one. We made it to I-5 South, where we wanted to be, and thumbed the relentless traffic. Again, the red and blue lights greeted us before anyone else.
This officer was also nice, but told us to get off the freeway and maybe try a gas station. We hiked off the freeway, grabbed some food, and hiked to the on ramp where we'd seen some hitchhikers waiting before getting food. There was a guy raking leaves on the other side of the fence near the on ramp who said hello. We asked about the other hitchhikers, he said they'd given up and went for a bus, but that the two of us might have better luck. A little later he came back with two ice cold waters and a plate of fried chicken, another reason I love the road.
We were picked up by three young guys going towards Portland, all around 19 years old. I caught some sleep on and off in the back seat, we'd also forgotten our tent on the on ramp, but neither of us could care too much. The guys drove us right into town to Powells bookstore, Kimmie called her friend in town, we got bus directions and also learned that Rudy had made into town. We hopped the bus started heading towards the house, a few stops later Rudy hopped on the very same bus oddly enough, we were all three reunited again. He'd apparently found a place to sleep there in Tacoma and have some of the beers too, the cop had never got to him. He got one solid ride that day into Portland without a problem.
We arrived at Kimmie's friend's place, it was a full house with kids and dogs and other animals too, we had a great pasta dinner. I called Tom, a friend of Larry's in Phoenix I'd met there before, he'd recently moved to Portland. I ended up catching a bus back to the center of town and meeting him there, he took me to the Scott and Rose's place, some local couchsurfers who had room for me to stay. We sat around and talked for a while before everyone started winding down.
I was happy to relax with a good beer and knock out a couple posts, stories have been building up so it's good I got some time to relay a few of them here. It sounds like tomorrow a phone call may wake up with plans of heading down the Oregon coast with one of Kimmie's friends, but only time will tell. Tonight, some good sleep and a shower in the morning would suit me well too. I'm back in Portland where I couchsurfed for the first time, a good time, good times have come between, and many more will roll.