Finding a Campsite by Moonlight

Written by Guy.

It was getting darker by the minute. We watched the bright, silver-dollar moon make its climb into the sky as we crept through campsite after campsite trying to find an unreserved spot to pitch a tent.

Throughout the chaotic week, we had escaped in reverie to the cool, out-of-townness of Mt. Hood. All we wanted was to lose phone service, sense of time, and the countless other hindrances that make days seems short in the urban grind. Now our car was loaded with all the essentials for a weekend in the woods: tent, stove, s'more supplies—the works.

If only we could find somewhere to sleep.  

Trillium Lake: No Vacancy.  

Frog Lake: All full—disappointing because the name is fun.

Clear Lake: Nope, every spot was claimed, with shining fires gloating at us as we drove five miles per hour through the loop of campsites.

We kept driving onward through the back roads around Clear Lake determined to find somewhere to sleep. It was now well after ten o’clock, with no other cars in sight. By moonlight, I could see Megan smiling happily. She was enjoying the adventure of not having plans, a schedule, or an idea of what to do next. So did I. We both needed a break from planning our days at breakfast and executing task after task until dinner. 2017 has been a year in hyper-speed. We simply haven’t stopped working.

Our only work now was to find somewhere to park and establish camp. The moon beamed down brightly on the road where it found breaks in the trees, creating a patchwork of darkness and blue. The contrast was dreamlike, but also eerie. Our eyes labored in silence as we searched through patches of light for a space large enough to park a car and pitch a tent.

Eventually, we found that empty spot. I think it may have been waiting for us all along. Spread wide and open, it was fortified by an army of Doug Firs that separated us from the others campsites. Immediately we knew this was home.

The morning brought chirping birds and a clear, blue sky. Over coffee Megan and I took in the happy change of having no plans and nothing to do except enjoy the day.  


Go By Tram

He writes in this font, she writes in this font. 

This city never ceases to amaze me. Innovative, architectural magnificent, and entirely unique — I am amazed by the perfectly perfunctory details of PDX’s urban composition. To longtime Portlandians, the Tram may be an almost unnoticeably routine accessory, simply part of the view, but it has captivated my attention each time I see it in motion.

Finally, thankfully, Megan took me for a ride.

While Megan snapped away, taking advantage of the visual perspective, I simply marvelled at the ingenious practicality of the Tram. Being an efficiency nerd and all-around Type-A sort of person, I couldn’t help but appreciate its beautiful mixture of effective problem solving and architectural appeal. If you didn’t know, the Tram serves as the primary transportation method for OHSU employees, hospital visitors, and serves as means for quick transport for patients during an emergency. On top of that usefulness, anyone can ride it just to enjoy the view… Okay, I am getting a little excited.

One Fun Fact before I let the pictures show our adventure on the Tram: The upper station is freestanding and apart from the OHSU building to avoid causing vibrations with delicate operation equipment. Safety First.

This was actually my first time riding the Tram. That’s a little surprising considering my little sister makes regular trips up to the children’s hospital. She, like most 13-year-olds, documents her trips up the Tram on Snapchat. She is now 13, but 4 years ago she was diagnosed with T1-Diabetes. That was one of the scariest moments of my life. Doernbecher saved her, not just once, but twice! She and one of my brothers were also literally loved and nursed to health when they were born prematurely at OHSU. The miracles performed by the people working at Doernbecher and OHSU are truly remarkable and my family is forever grateful.


Megan Visits the Desert, Part II

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Sunday: How often do you plan with sincere intentions to wake up early Sunday morning and get after the day? There is something empowering about starting a Sunday off with productivity — maybe it gives the feeling of taking the lead on the week. After all, Sunday is the quintessential lazy day. I don’t know about you all, but I feel absurdly accomplished doing anything productive on that sacred morning of extra sleep-time.

Our plan was to wake early (no later than 6am!) to beat the heat and start the day. We are so optimistic! As we laid in our awesome indoor fort Saturday night, watching a moon that beamed like a spotlight, we calendered the morning hours with hopeful activities: 1. Run (up and at it by 6am); 2. Get ready SUPER fast (7:30am); 3. Take pictures downtown (be snapping by 8am); and 4. Have a delicious breakfast to celebrate the successful completion of our early morning (no time designated).

Well, I won't say that we failed to implement our plan, but we did have to make a few… adjustments. Ringing loudly, my phone’s alarm informed me that it was 7:17am already — so cancel the run. Unexpectedly, it only took four attempts to persuade Megan that there was no time to lose so that she would get ready.  Four attempts sounds about right. I'll admit, being up early in the morning is not my favorite thing.  With a piece of toast to put off hunger, we were out the door and heading downtown by 8:10am.

Looking for places to shoot (and playing tour guide), I showed her my office, where I typically eat downtown, and the way I drive to work. None of that was exciting (or picture-worthy) until she saw where I have some of my trials. I guess that I take it for granted, but the "Old Courthouse" in downtown Phoenix really is a beautiful building and a relic to a time when architecture and drama were more important than functionality. It was locked, of course, so we took some Law and Order style pictures walking down the stairs of the main entrance as I told her my trial stories. Hopefully it didn’t bore her, it was fun for me. It did not bore me at all! I love to imagine what his work day is like. It’s such an exciting mystery to me.

The sun was definitely not bored, it wanted in on the action. Maybe thirty minutes into taking pictures and walking around, the heat had prevailed again. Her camera battery died, drained by that scorching, meddling sun. Oh yes, and we were also very hungry. Damn you, Sun. I am still in awe at how quickly my battery died. My poor camera simply couldn’t handle the heat!

It was time to eat. Like anywhere else, brunch is a big deal in Phoenix. Slowing making our way from downtown towards my neighborhood, we drove past the popular breakfast spots and tried to peer into the windows — gauging the wait time by the amount of people clustered near the entrance. Packed! Everywhere was packed. What’s worse? I was running out of options near my place and my stomach was expressing its growing disdain. Luckily, my body was still fueled by that piece of toast!

Then I remembered a place that was both near me and, according to Yelp! — delicious. One mile, maybe four minutes later, Megan and I were gawking over an assortment of delectable pastries at Essence Bakery. There were too many options! Hunger battled indecision as we stared at all of options and reiterated to the cashier that “we were NOT ready to order.” (Why do they always ask that over and over again).

We have gone a little overboard, but we simply had to try the Brioche French Toast and the Big Breakfast… okay, and an almond croissant. All delicious. I will take full responsibility for the selection of that croissant.

Although we didn’t manage to stick to our early-bird plan, I feel like we did pretty good job for a Sunday morning. Besides, it’s really quite unreasonable to be out of bed by 6am on the universal day of rest. Some would even call that outright poor etiquette.

Sundays are usually difficult days for us. It means at some point we will have to say goodbye and begin a new countdown for seeing each other. There is always this longing of not wanting the day to end. Despite the late and rushed start, we had fun this Sunday. I can never tell if that makes the goodbye easier or harder… Even though we are both pretty optimistic people, I think these goodbyes are always hard.

Thank goodness he will be flying into #PDX today!