• The Microtourists

Separate Ways.

Updated: Aug 7, 2018

This is a special edition blog post! We each have taken the time to give you a glimpse into our week apart. Ross' portion is bolded, Tara's is italicized.

Monday morning Olive and I stood on the platform as the Amtrak rolled out heading for Portland, we waved at the train and turn back for the truck. We weren’t sure what this week would hold for the two of us but I was sure leftover food and brats with pork and beans were somewhere in the near future. We headed into the forest to hike our worries away, knowing Tara was headed for a fun week in Portland with her friends.

Pulling away on the train was much more emotional than expected. As it pulled away from the station I sat there with a frog in my throat and tears welling up in my eyes. I was SO PUMPED to see my best friends in the whole wide world but I honestly felt instantly lonely after I couldn’t see Olive and Ross anymore. We had spent nearly every hour together for the last 12 weeks, it felt strange making this journey without my family! However, my first Amtrak ride was pretty awesome, it was a smooth ride and I had a row all to myself with some pretty beautiful views. Being greeted by my bestie, Becca, with open arms at Portland’s Union Station was awesome and the sadness subsided! Once I arrived, we headed right to a yoga class and went to a rooftop bar for nachos and beer. Yoga, nachos, beer… I love you already, Portland.

Olive and I planned a lot of hiking this week, like everyday hiking. It wasn’t glorious but it’s what we decided to do to keep busy. There are only two gas stations, a post office, the Amtrak station, and one small store open in Chemult, near where we are camped. We needed to entertain ourselves outdoors. Monday we hiked to a lake, I read my by book, Desert Solitaire, in my hammock for awhile and Olive chose to swim. We chased waterfalls all day on Tuesday, not only is hiking good for us, but it wears her out and she heads right to bed upon retuning to the campsite. So far we have cooked nothing.

The 3 friends that I was meeting in Portland were my college roommates at SDSU. We have pretty much have been inseparable since the day we met. After a stupid inside joke 8 years ago, we began calling ourselves the Geek Family. Ever since then, it has stuck and I do not anticipate it going away any time soon. Four years ago we decided to start having an annual “Family Reunion” to force ourselves to see each other in person since we all live in different parts of the country. On Tuesday morning, Becca and I went to the airport to pick up Brit and Jess, the other ½ of the family. The day followed up with walking around to touristy Portland places and basically eating our way around from one adorable restaurant to the next.

Wednesday was a big day for us. We hooked up with fellow Hampton-Dumont grad Justin Van Wert and his very energetic lab Duke. The dogs became fast friends and it was really good to talk to another “dude” all day. We talked about man stuff like beer, the weather, gas mileage, animals, football, and life in general. All things that Tara does not enjoy talking about day after day so I really enjoyed that and it was good to see an old friend doing well. We knocked out sixteen miles total taking in many beautiful lakes and a couple waterfalls before “bro” hugging goodbye.

The Geek family and I made our way up the 7.5 miles to an awesome alpine lake. We had the lake to ourselves and even went for a little swim. It’s usually pretty popular so the word must have gotten out that us four obnoxious girls were going to be there. Hiking felt awesome on the ol’ stems but it was a little strange not having Ross talking about gas mileage and the weather behind me and Olive running around in front of me. We ended the day with some grub from food trucks followed by several reruns of “Friends.”

Thursday was a big day because we celebrated our four-year anniversary! I wrote a note on the coffee maker the night before so as not to be the jackass who didn’t remember. Sometimes things like that escape my tiny man brain. By having the note, I was able to call in the morning, thus becoming the hero so it doesn’t really matter what else I did Thursday! It’s crazy to think we have been married four years now, it goes by so fast. I’m very happy to have someone who supports me and still very much enjoy hanging out with daily!

I woke up to a sweet phone call from my husband. He professed his love for me over and over again until I was nauseous. Kidding. We mostly talked about Olive... The girls and I threw our swimming suits on and made our way to The Austin Hot Spring. It’s an elusive hot spring hidden along a river bank. Since it was so difficult to find we thought for sure we would have the place to ourselves. Wrong. Right as we pulled up, so did a van from the Portland Korean Presbyterian Church. It was packed full of about 12 elderly Korean women and their pastor. It was absolutely hilarious sharing the hot springs with them. We were entertained for hours. We ended the day with pizza, a street fair and some drinks on a rooftop bar.

By Friday, Olive and I have eaten all the leftovers and she is out of dog food. We had to stop and get a pack of brats and a can of beans for supper, Olive got a small bag of health conscious “Gravy Train.” We hiked 18 miles today again swimming in the clear alpine lakes of Oregon, she was so tired she was fast asleep before I even put the truck in gear. We enjoyed our supper upon return and she hasn’t moved since. We are both super excited to have Tara back tomorrow, and also to find a town with a grocery store.

On Friday, I got “full blown” ready for the first time since May. I legit showered, curled my hair, put on a matching outfit and headed off to a winery. I felt like a real life girl again. It was a nice change. We chose Ardiri winery and it did NOT disappoint. The wine was amazing. Next, we visited one of the food truck lots that Portland is famous for and I indulged in a tasty burger and the best Brussels sprouts I’ve ever had. The night ended at 2:00 am where we relived our college days for a night at a “club”. I whipped out my awesome dance moves of flailing arms and “the shopping cart” mixed in with random jumping. Nailed it.

I had such an amazing time with my friends. It was one of those times when you realize you didn’t miss someone so much until you actually see them in person. I am a huge believer that it is crucial to carve time out of our daily lives to spend time with your loved ones, no matter how far away they live from you. It’s especially exciting to travel with your friends because you get to have an experience unlike anything else when you are discovering new things together. The memories and laugh lines I have from these ladies will last me a lifetime and I am so grateful for them. However, by Friday I was really missing Ross and Olive and ready to get back into the woods. The show must go on!

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