So when I got the call for a little movie (with a general plot of the perfect covid-compliant film I had been asking for since 2020) to go to Portland, Oregon, I couldn’t say No. I had finally come to the Oregon Trail (so to speak… and hopefully I wouldn’t die of dysentery before arrival).
But it appeared while I was ready to go to Portland, Portland wasn’t quite ready for Tucker and me. Searching for lodging for a couple of weeks was turning up nothing for the timeframe we needed. I changed the timeframe, hoping to get something maybe not so long or started later, and still nothing.
Three days before departure, I found an Airbnb that would at least get us till the next Saturday after arrival. I had hoped while in town, it would be easier to find a place.
Out Airbnb was a cute area of town. Much like San Francisco, Portland has various neighborhoods, each with its own personality. In the Sellwood district, dogs rode bikes and wore capes.
The day before the end of our Airbnb, I contacted two more places. And Saturday morning, while taking Tucker for his morning walk before packing up the Airbnb, I received two calls back.
The first place was definitely in “the city”. The graffiti on the storefronts, the bars on the windows, and trash on the streets… I couldn’t do it. I wouldn’t feel safe walking Tucker more than a block away. It was a cute house, but it wasn’t for us. So onto the next one.
The moment I rolled up to it, my heart leapt from my chest to embrace it. It had a Portland address, but was a little on the outskirts. The neighborhood was warm and welcoming, and the trees on the property made the house a home.
The owner showed me around the house, and the only thought in my head was, “I need to live here. This is our place.” The rent was the right price, but moreover, the place was the right place. I told him how much I loved all the trees, and he said he and wife bought this house precisely because of the trees. The wide windows and sliding glass doors, the deck, the firepit, the vegetable gardens, the fenced yard… it was my Portland home. But he had other people interested in renting it--and for a longer term.
Without a moment's hesitation, I told him I’d give him a three month lease (even though at this point, I’d probably only need it for two). I wanted to stay to vacation here, so I put that card on the table. He said he’d get back to me.
So Tucker and I, now homeless (just another Portland experience), headed west for the weekend. If I had to pay for a hotel room, it might as well be some on oceanfront property, and we could do some exploring.
So be it. With our Portland long term home ready, Tuck and I went to greet the ocean.
But all was well. We could get a good night’s rest, look for some short term lodging, get up early, and do a long hike in the morning before heading back to town to sign the lease.
However, even the coast wasn’t ready for us. After an hour in the truck calling various hotels, I finally found one half an hour away. It was a hundred dollars more than I wanted to spend. I asked the woman if it was an incredible place with a beautiful view and she said, “I’d like to say that, but I’m not going to lie. It’s just a hotel room overlooking the parking lot.
I had to take what I was given. Trails don’t come to an end; they keep going as long as you put one foot in front of the other. It may not be the prettiest footfall, but if the earth is stable, it'll hold you.
While the price wasn’t ideal, it was a clean, safe place to stay. And Tucker got a gift bag, so he wasn't complaining.