Now we were really traveling! Amy drove us on into Oregon , telling us stories of her hitchhiking days. Night came over us as we traveled inland towards interstate 5. Amy pulled in a few campsites in attempt to help us find somewhere to sleep, but they were all full for the weekend, so we settled on a rest area right outside of Grant's Pass. It was about midnight at this time and we were all tired. We said farewell to Amy and she took off to her hotel in Medford while we rolled out our five star sleeping system in the shadows of the rest area lawn and went to sleep under the Oregon stars for the first time. It's strange how just laying under the same familiar sky, I felt that we were in a new territory, like we were breathing foreign air.
We were awake as soon as the birds started singing. Being much to early to hitchhike successfully, we made some coffee, ate breakfast and utilized the electrical outlet in the rest area bathroom to charge our phone. We started hitching around eight, full of enthusiasm. Car after car passed us by, but it didn't bring us down. They all seemed to be a new breed of people, but they were still primarily friendly. Around 10:00 a woman was pulling up in a little car and Ty said "That's our ride, put on your best smile!" And he was right! She pulled right up and told us she was going to Eugene which is exactly where were headed.
On our way up to Eugene I contacted my friend and former roommate Sean who had just moved to a town just north of Eugene a week prior. We made plans for him to pick us up when we arrived in Eugene. Jennifer, the driver, lives in Alaska and was returning from a visit with a friend in Northern California. She was a down to earth woman and good company. Jennifer had done a lot of hitchhiking alone in her younger years, so she could relate to us and was happy to help. She dropped us off in downtown Eugene where we waited for Sean to arrive.
While sitting on a street corner waiting, a pirate of a street kid came rolling up on his skateboard and started recommending some good spots in town. Before he was about take off, he told Ty that he looked really familiar, which I found funny because he hears that at least a few times a week. But, they actually knew each other from the streets of Ocean beach a few years back. What a small world!
Sean arrived after a little while longer and we discovered that his aunt (where he was staying) had a spare bedroom we could stay in and needed some work done that she would be happy to pay us to help her with. We were delighted at the idea of refilling our wallets and agreed to help with anything.
And then began our visit with Sean and Karen. We had a great week visiting with Sean, having late night philosophical conversations, eating real food, sleeping on a bed and working.
The next Friday Sean took us to highway 126 and we took off hitching towards Bend to visit my cousin Dylan, and his wife Alicia. We took four rides into Bend, none of which we had to wait for long. People were genuinely friendly and helpful in Oregon. We decided to take scenic highway 242 into Bend and received a ride in the back of a pick up truck (which we discovered is legal in Oregon) with a couple of young guys on their way to a bachelor party. It was the most awesome ride we had. The wind blowing through our hair as they raced up the winding road and we watched the trees blur past us. We began to see the true beauty of Oregon. We stopped at the look out point and had an incredible view of several peaks, craters and the lava flow forest.
The guys dropped us off at a gas station in Bend, where the clerk came out and gifted us with a fat nugget while Ty played his tambourine. The love just keeps rolling in! Alicia came to pick us up full of excitement and took us to their home where we celebrated with a deluxe barbeque, beers, and drums.
We spent a week at Alicia and Dylan's and it was our best stop so far. Their 19 month old son Deegan was so much fun to be around, he kept me smiling the whole time. They took us to lakes where we got to go on canoes and their motor boat, as well hot springs, waterfalls, more lava flow forest and even the big obsidian flow! They really spoiled us! Thank you for everything Alicia, Dylan and Deegan, I'm so glad we came to visit.
Today we finally left Bend and started hitchhiking on highway 20 across the eastern desert of Oregon, and we've had great luck so far. Our first ride picked us almost immediately, an old retired logger named Arvin who drove us about forty five minutes. Our second ride we had to wait for a little longer, but it was well worth it. He drove us all the way to Boise, ID and invited us to stay in his guest room since it was so late by time we arrived. So here we are in a beautiful house in Boise with a good bed to sleep in, good food and good beer in our tummies and good company. Tomorrow we plan to make it to Twin Falls to visit a good friend of mine from high school years. Goodnight!