Saturday, Oct. 4:
Despite being up so late the night before, I still failed to sleep in on Saturday. I never really did manage to sleep well at the airbnb for some reason, even though it was really comfortable there.
I made coffee and tried to do some writing, but all I really wanted to do was shower and get out the door. I’d woken up to the news that it was now in the 30s in Chicago with reports of sleet. While it made me all the more glad I was in Portland, it was depressing because I knew it was going to make it that much harder to go back home after a beautiful week in the Pacific Northwest. It was sunny and in the 80s with no humidity almost the entire time I was there. That said, everyone I talked to reinforced that this was not normal October weather.
I washed my dishes at the airbnb and grabbed my stuff to leave. I biked back to downtown and felt immensely proud of myself because I didn’t need to stop to check directions on my phone even once. By my last full day in Portland, I’d finally gotten a decent grasp on cardinal directions and the general layout of major streets.
I went to the Portland Saturday Market — a huge outdoor artisan crafts and food market downtown — and got a chicken shawarma sandwich from a food cart for lunch. I bought myself a new wallet at the market, a cute yellow and blue hand-sewn one. I put the rest of my cash in it and guarded it with my life. I also bought small gifts for my airbnb hostess (artisanal soap) and for Adele (gourmet dog treats for her adorable new dog), to thank her for mailing Evan my passport.
Evan texted me Saturday morning to tell me to rest easy – the passport had arrived. I could’ve cried. All I needed now was for my stupid debit card to show up at the airbnb and I’d have an almost normal existence again.
I found myself reluctant to admit to people I met and talked to in Portland about my wallet right off the bat. I didn’t them to think I was scamming them and about to ask for money, and I was also embarrassed that it had happened at all. I only mentioned it when it came up or after I’d been talking to someone for a while. I knew there was no use in trying to tell people who carded me my sob story. Anastasia had told me earlier that Oregon has really strict bar and liquor laws.
After checking out the market, I rode over to Powell’s and mourned all the books I wanted to buy but would not let myself spend the cash on. I walked around that downtown area before moving toward SE Portland. I went north and found a coffee shop near Voodoo Too, where I could wait for Anastasia to answer a text I sent her. It was a strange coffee shop called See See Coffee & Motorcycles. It was filled wall-to-wall with motorcycle helmets, gear, and memorabilia. They had a limited menu but when I ordered some toast, the guy behind the counter said they were out of bread. He offered me a hot dog instead, and by then I was starved so I said yes. It turned out to actually be an extremely spicy brat, and after two bites I couldn’t eat anymore because my mouth was on fire.
Anastasia texted me back and said she wouldn’t actually be at Voodoo Too at the time she thought she’d be, but that she’d told the manager on duty there that I’d be coming. I walked the bike a couple of blocks over and joined the line of about 35-45 people snaking outside the place.
When I reached the front of the line, I sheepishly said I’d been told to come there by Anastasia. The manager was sent for, and I was welcomed like an old friend. She told a girl behind the counter to set me up with an assortment and not to charge me. She filled up their biggest pink box full of around 10 or 11 huge donuts. I left a few dollars in the tip jar and thanked everyone emphatically.
I had to take the bike back to April after that, which was close to Voodoo Too, but a little tricky to maneuver because of the giant box I was now carrying. I contemplated strapping the box to the rack on the back but I didn’t think my earbuds would be up for the task this time. Instead, I balanced the box on my left arm and controlled the bike with my right and rode on. I laughed at the image of myself just then: A hipster-dressed, beaming girl pedaling a box of Voodoo Donuts by bike — the complete image of a Portlandia stereotype.
I stopped by the coffee shop I’d went to Thursday morning, where Kim had given me a free cup of coffee, but to my disappointment, they had closed two hours earlier. I wished I’d thought to write a note and put it with some cash in an envelope, but I didn’t have anything like that with me. Instead, I moved on to April’s.
April welcomed me and the bike back warmly. I told her about the broken light bracket and what the bike store had said. I offered her some cash for a new one, but she said she wasn’t concerned and that Phil would know what to do. I told her about my adventures and where all I’d been. I mentioned In Other Words, and she said one of the women who takes her yoga class is on their board. Small city.
She gave me a goodbye hug and I went on to catch the same bus that had brought me to her days earlier. For the hell of it, I went into a Plaid Pantry convenience store to try to buy some local beer, even though I knew I’d get carded. I was, immediately, so I settled for some gummy bears instead.
I walked out only to see the bus was at the stop a few minutes early. I ran for it, knowing what happens whenever you do this in Chicago: 75 percent of the time that bus driver will let you break into an undignified, flailing sprint only to leave you choking in the dust without a glance backward. But this bus waited, and I stepped on, breathless. “Thank you,” I gasped, and the bus driver nodded politely. I dug for my new wallet but she said she wasn’t going to make me risk dropping my box of donuts for a $2.50 fare, and told me I could just sit down.
When I got back to the airbnb, I checked the mail, holding my breath, but there was nothing there. The debit card never arrived. I made a note to myself to ask my hostess to destroy it whenever it did eventually show up, long after I was gone.
I had a pretty low-key final night in Portland. Kyle, the guy from the night before, texted and we talked about maybe making plans, but I admitted I was a little too tired to have another late night out. I told him to call if he was ever in Chicago and that it had been great to meet him. I packed and set an alarm and fell asleep around 11, the earliest I’d gone to bed any night of the trip.
Seattle, Day One will be posted later this week.