Shotgun

My last post - July.  Pathetic.  Every month this summer I took a road trip.  In July I went to Idaho and ended up in Montana for the first time in almost a decade to visit my dad.  In August, I drove down to Oakland, CA from Portland, OR and back in the span of 36 hours.  This was very unexpected.  Talk about brutal.  I left Thursday afternoon and drove to Medford, then on to Oakland Friday morning.  We loaded up the car, had lunch, and then left for home Friday afternoon.  We got into Portland at about 3:30 am Saturday morning.  

In September my brother and I took another road trip, this time my brother was on his way to Missoula to live with our Dad for awhile.  The plan was we would rendezvous with Dad at our aunt and uncle's house in Spokane.  We left Saturday morning, arrived in Spokane late afternoon.  Dad was supposed to arrive Sunday afternoon.  Well, turns out, Dad could not make it.  Ben and I soldiered on to Missoula.  In one evening, we drove from Spokane to Missoula, I dropped my brother off, then turned around and went back to Spokane that same night.  In the morning, I headed back home.  That trip lasted from Sat-Mon.  

I'm not sure what it is about driving 1200 miles in the span of 2-3 days.  Kind of exhilarating, kind of brutal.  And so we termed them "shotgun" trips.  You load up in the car and make it happen. You stop at gas stations, eat terrible foods, consume copious amounts of energy drinks, coffee and soda. I don't think I ever want to drive I5 from here to California again.  I've had enough.  

So, in the span of one month, I drove roughly 2500 miles, through California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana.  It makes me tired even thinking about it!  I have no plans for a road trip in October, but then again, I didn't plan on those road trips in August and September either.  With the Freelance Adventurer, you never know what could be around the next bend.  I am hopeful there will be no more "shotgun" road trips.  I would like to take some time and enjoy the journey.  

The problem is I get itchy feet when I don't have a trip planned.  My heart pines for traveling, longs to explore the world and see new places.  Perhaps I'll plan something a little closer to home, maybe a beach trip.  Who knows.  But that's the thing...you never know where I might be at any given time.  So we'll see how long it takes me to get back on the road.  


Where is Elk Rock?

Last Thursday, the 18th of June, I decided to go on a little local adventure.  I knew about Elk Rock Island, and knew it was in the river South of Milwaukie but had no idea how to get there.  I looked it up, figured out how to access it and then called to see if my 12-year old nephew wanted to go with me, so he agreed and I went and picked him up.  The island is accessed via a short trail at 19th & Sparrow, just off River Road in Milwaukie.

In the winter, when the water is higher, it is only accessible via the river because a slough fills in the land bridge.  But now, because the water level is so low, it was easy access.  Apparently, based on the parks & rec site, the island "represents part of an ancient volcano that erupted about 40 million years ago. The large, jagged rocks (Waverly Heights basalt) found throughout the island were formed by lava flows, and may be the oldest exposed rock in the Portland area. The island contains seven distinct habitats, including wetlands, forests, and grasslands. Across the river, there are high cliffs which are Elk Rock proper. A Native American legend holds that this was a good spot to stampede a herd of elk over the cliff. The island gets its name from being near Elk Rock." Also I apparently said "basalt" wrong because my nephew corrected me and then proceeded to launch into a monologue about the different kinds of rocks there are.  

The trail from Elk Rock.

The trail from Elk Rock.

Elk Rock from the trail.

Elk Rock from the trail.

It was a pretty cool place to visit.  There are so many places around the Portland area I have never even been to.  The island is criss-crossed with little trails, and takes maybe an hour or so to walk around.  There are beachy spots you can spend the afternoon if you so like, and there were a few people out doing that.  We decided to call it a day and go do some more urban exploring in Milwaukie.  I made a deal with my nephew I would take him to a game store to trade in some games. That was his reward for agreeing to go with me to the island. We also decided to go visit the chocolatier in downtown Milwaukie, Enchante.  And, if you have not been, go!  The store is gorgeous.  Not only do they have chocolate, but old-fashioned candy and Paris inspired decor and vintage treasures.  

Store interior (not my photo, credit to www.gallivant.com)

Store interior (not my photo, credit to www.gallivant.com)

After that we visited the old soda fountain/antique store in Milwaukie, Main Street Collectors Mall.  It is rumored JFK (I think) visited and sat right at the counter.  Connor loves going in there to check out the knives and cool stuff they have.  And we made it to the game store and then rounded out our day at Cha Cha Cha, eating chips and salsa and quesadillas and tacos out in the sun.  For some reason, I love Mexican food on a hot, summer day.  And this was definitely that!  Mission accomplished for the day.  Where am I off to next?  Boise, Idaho for the 4th and maybe just maybe sneaking off to Montana to see my Dad.  We'll see where my travels take me.