Sunday, May 18, 2008

On the road again!

Summer is coming and I feel it deep into the marrow of my fidgety bones. The sun makes so eager to get out and feel its warmth on my skin that I can barely sit still - and that's saying a lot coming from a basically lethargic person! Despite gas feeling like such a luxury these days, I actually do have a couple of road trips planned. Luckily, my car gets really good mileage and I've been saving up, knowing that I wanted to get out a bit this summer.

Having proactively requested time off in May, June and September, the scene is set for some long overdue, exciting roadside adventures. I haven't been anywhere since last September's famed "What'd-you-have-to-go-and-break-my-heart-for,-you-selfish-butthead?" Beach Retreat. While the trip was wound lickingly cathartic and I came back feeling a million times better, it wasn't exactly a vacation vacation. Toby did have a rollicking good time, though.

That was the week he became a Subwaytarian, eschewing his normal kibble for sandwiches and the occasional breakfast bar. (I know I'm a total schmuck, but he wouldn't eat. I started getting worried about him and sharing my food and then it was all over with the dog food.) He only went back to his normal diet after we got home, and then only after I was able to convince him that it was not normal Beneful he was eating, but beach kibble. But these trips, they will be different! They will feature picnics, road mixes, human companions and photos of me not taken by the self-timer on my camera!

The Lonely Goatherd Tour

My first summer trip is planned for the end of May. I'm very excited about it, because it will finally fullfill my dream of visiting what I suspect will be a Disnified version of Bavaria - Leavenworth, WA. I can't guarantee it, but I suspect there will be dirndls, which reminds me of that time I convinced a schoolmate that my parents were very strict and only allowed me to wear a traditional dirndls. For a glorious ten minutes, she believed that Tuesday was polka night at the Powellhurst household and that the only reason I looked normal at school was that, despite the risk of parental ire, I snuck over to a friend's house in the mornings on the way to school to borrow American clothes.

As you may or may not know, I am Germerican. That's right! My mysterious ability to waltz and polka despite never having learned how is the product of genetic memory. So, of course, I really want to see how my American brethren in the good state of Washington have managed to twist my heritage into a kitschified marketing tool to bring visitors to a town in the middle of nowhere. I bet there will be dirndls! Despite coming from Berlin (a decidedly awesome and non-rural, "this is the time on Sprockets when we dance" part of Germany where people would happily laugh you and your dirndl off the street - unless maybe you were wearing it ironically or it was autumn and you were on a street within the confines of the Oktoberfest grounds), my mother was not against dressing me in them when I was a child. I had three dirndl dresses that I can remember - a little blue toddler dirndl with a sunny, yellow apron (I'm not going to lie to you - I was pretty cute in it!), and, later, a pink one and a blue one.

But, alas, my dirndl days are long gone. You know that having one would help me tap into my inner Von Trapp. And that would be useful, because let's face it, any trip to the American alps that does not include cavorting about the hilltops to test whether they really are alive with the sound of music is a trip not worth making.

Besides, my travel companions are fun (as evidenced by the fact that they are the only people of my acquaintance who can not only sing Johnny Horton's "Battle of New Orleans", but also know all words to the hardcore gangsta classic "Wham Rap" and are not afraid to use them. (Yes, George Michael, because you are so street, I will take pleasure in leisure, believe in joy AND reach up high and touch my soul! How can I deny you, oh guilty-footed poet who not only managed to work the lyrics "rusty can of corn" into a song but penned immortal classics like "Club Tropicana'" [drinks are free!] and "Credit Card Baby"?)

North Pacific

The second part of my summer travel schemes involves a road trip with Mexican Jenny and her two of her offspring, Mexican Jenny Jr. and Mexican Jenny III. This trip is exciting for a whole other set of reasons:

1. Mexican Jenny has never travelled around Oregon and I get to show it to her!
2. Mexican Jenny is going through a messy breakup with someone who is acting like a bit of a nutjob and needs the distraction.
3. Mexican Jenny III has never seen the ocean before.
4. I have seen the ocean and love it with all my fishy, Pisces heart
5. Travelling with them is going to be fun - like everything else we've ever done together.
6. The trip will feature my first yurting experience.
7. I am going to get to drive a dune buggy and possibly ride a jetboat - whee!
8. I really love my state and think I would one day like to write a travel book about it.

Among our planned stops are Crater Lake, the Oregon Vortex, Jacksonville, the Oregon Dunes, Newport, the 3 Capes Scenic Loop, Fort Stevens, Astoria, and, of course, a stop for chowder (clams don't really have a face, do they?). We're going to spend a night in a beach yurt (isn't that a fun word? Yurt yurt yurt yurt yurt!), a night in a beach cabin and the rest of the time in hotels. There was a brief period when we were contemplating some old school tent camping near the Rogue River, but that was abandoned after discovering a section on the campground's website that featured a tutorial on recognizing bear tracks. If there's one thing that really brings down a vacation, it's being eaten by a bear. All the chowder in the world won't lighten the mood after that!

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