Portland is Fine and So Are We

We made it to Portland (PDX) in good shape although very tired.  Sitting in the car for hours on end is tiring.  Worrying about COVID is tiring.  Let me give you a description of what traveling is like in the age of COVID.

Do yourself a favor and buy a Tinkle Belle type peeing device.  Hope this doesn’t gross you out but I must share my experience.  It was fabulous.  I practiced once in the shower and a myriad of times at home before we hit the road.  All you do is pull down your pants, place the device in the proper place, we all know where that is, and release the pee!!  The urine goes down and hits whatever you happen to be aiming at.  The first day, we had to go so we stopped at a gas station.  Gas stations have closed their restrooms.  Many businesses have.  So we pulled off the freeway just south of Gilroy, opened the door and I stood and peed on the ground.  It was hard to relax because of the worry that someone will drive by and surmise you are doing what you are doing and that is not a relaxing thought.  

The next spot to do our deed was another off ramp that looked okay.  It lead to a private, very private church.  This was above The City.  It was called St. Vincents, I think.  Big signs adorned the road.  PRIVATE PROPERTY.   Sounded perfect for a private outdoor pee adventure.  Turned out okay.  We did the deed in a parking lot below the steeple.  Ha ha. Anyway, what was all that privacy about?  Was it a seminary?  No.  Rayman just looked it up for me on the Google machine.  It was a private school for boys.  Made me suspicious.  The words boys and catholic in the same sentence makes the sentence one of foreboding.  If I was writing a score for the movie about the subject, it would have lots of slow, ominous chords with meaningful punctuation on the drums.  Perhaps I would use violins or harpsicords.  

But I digress.

We arrived in Ukiah which is not where we had intended to go.  Our original plan was to drive to Williams, on Interstate 5.  However, when I called for a reservation, the man told me, yes, they had air conditioners.  He also mentioned mosquitos as it is rice time in the area and mosquitoes hand out because of the water rice requires.  So, I checked with my brother and he suggested we bring a 12-guage for the mosquitos.  After that advice, we changed our plans and decided on hanging closer to the ocean.  Highway 101 was selected.  We stayed at the Comfort Inn, where we had stayed one other trip.  It was a bust this time.  The place was worn, under renovation.  They said there was coffee and rolls in the a.m. only they did not provide anything.  The non-smoking room smelled like smoke.  There was a red stain on the carpet in many places???  Just not a good experience.  I blame COVID.  The guy that checked me in looked like Adam Driver.  I told him so.  I’m not sure he even knew Adam Driver.  Perhaps without the mask…But he was built just like him and did look like him above the nose.

The next day we took off and found a bakery, got a muffin and coffee and headed out.  I had purchased some new “keep hot” thermoses and the coffee was so hot, we couldn’t drink the coffee.  For hours, it was hot.  So we opened the top and the coffee stayed hot for hours more.  Boy does our new keep hot thermoses work.  So to ward off boredom, we listened to the first five chapters of A Confederacy of Dunces.  I bought it for the trip because it seemed so apropos.  Just sayin.  If you haven’t read or listened to this book, I highly encourage you to do it.  Now.  It is a scream.  Ignacious P. Riley is the lead character.  I’ll leave it at that.  

At some point the urge to go asserted itself upon our beings.  We came upon a rest stop that was actually open.  Most weren’t which is another pet peeve of mine.  There I used the contraption to pee into the toilet.  I was still self conscious because in order to use it, you must address the throne like a man.  Your shoes are pointing away from the door.  What will the women in the adjacent stalls suppose, do you suppose?  I worried.  But I triumphed.  

The good news with the hot coffee is it keeps you from drinking too quickly so you don’t have to go as much!!

Following our noses, we flitted through the redwoods, we meandered along the ocean.  It was a fine drive interrupted by snorts of laughter because of the book.  We did turn the book off for a good argument once.  And then we left it off as we came to our senses, declared our undying love and talked about a permanent move to PDX in the future.  It is always fun to talk with Rayman in the car.  We discussed old telephone company stories, most of them horror stories.  That kept us busy until we arrived at Port Orford where we stopped to spend our second night.  The motel was “rustic”, sat right on the highway, had one fan, no air conditioner and it was warm as they placed  us in an upstairs room.  Our main activity was getting dinner at a fish shack down on the port Embarcadero, I guess you could say.  It was a disppointment.  We split a cioppino which was made up of lots of tomatoes and four scallops.  We didn’t see another thing from the sea in it.  Plus we ordered an extra piece of garlic toast which they did not provide.  We ate in our room looking out at the water, the port, and some rocks of great beauty.  We slurped our wine and turned on the TV.  No reception.  JJ, the guy that runs the place, was tipped by the Rayman for helping us with our bags.  The only change he had a $10.  Well, JJ came up to our room and stayed a good 45 minutes resetting every setting there was to reset.  And he got the darn thing working.  Great service.  Good tipping paid off!!  Watched the Dems Convention.  Michelle stole the night.  Really enjoyed hearing positive things from so many of the participants.  Gave us hope.

The next morning, we left the room and headed north.  “Where are my sunglasses?”, Rayman queried.  “I don’t know.  Where did you have them last?”  That was the opening salvo into a daylong head scratching drive to PDX.  Every time we stopped, we searched the car.  And we went back to the motel before we left town to see if they were there.  Nada.  We stopped in Bandon and had delicious biscuits from a Bakery and Brew business.. Oh, my.  Quite a treat.  And we asked for cream in our coffee, at least I did.  So, I could actually drink it a bit faster.  Hard as I tried not to spill anything, I spilled the honey down the front of my tee shirt.  This we discovered as we pulled over at an Elk Observation area at Reedsport.  We walked the dog, continued looking for the sunglasses, and I got my first ever opportunity to pee in a urinal.  Ladies, It is so cool.  No sit pedting.  No squatting, no touching (except for the flush).   Rinsed the tinkle belle with water, and slipped the device back into to it’s little “purse”.  It can go anywhere.  God, I wish I had had it in Turkey and Tanzania.  

From there, we toodled east to the Interstate 5 and came back to the SHIP.

Oh, the SHIP.  A sight for sore eyes.  So glad we worked so hard to fully furnish it.  I would hate to think doing more in this pandemic.  Dodged a bullet by working so hard at it last year.

So, the clothes are hanging on my disappearing clothes line, the rug is back on the front porch, the umbrella is up in the backyard.  And we are happy as clams.  Now we must have to go grocery shopping and such.  Hate to move the car.  Our entire neighborhood feels like it is under construction.  They are redoing corner curbs, redoing some underground utilities, there is a new house under construction across the street (thank goodness.  It was a camp Poodie where the inhabitants played music early and loud.  Glad to see that change.(  Anyway, parking is a nightmare and with no garage, and all the construction people, we are afraid to move the car.  But move it we will.  

In closing, hope you have a sense of what travel is like in the age of pandemic.  Not easy, but doable, not convenient, but nothing insurmountable.  Just buy your tinkle belle and hit the road!!

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