Moving to Hawaii, Jess and Charlie Edition • Driving down the Oregon Coast • September 20, 2017
The day started off with a 4:30 alarm, one I had been dreading as I lay awake for hours beforehand. Time to take Curtis to the airport. We packed the car and checked out of the hotel, and I drove him to PDX.
You may be wondering, why was he going alone? Why couldn’t I come? The reason was Charlotte: Hawaii has a very strict animal quarantine process as the island is rabies-free, and they obviously want to keep it that way. If you have pets and plan to move to Hawaii, or if you’re military and think there’s a good chance you will be moving there, definitely look into the quarantine process as soon as possible. When we first learned we were moving to Hawaii, we were advised right away to get the process started, and it’s a good thing we didn’t put it off. First of all, the pet must have had 2 rabies vaccines in their life — thankfully Charlotte was up to date on her shots. Next, we had to have a vet take a blood sample to send to a lab in Kansas, where they would measure the rabies antibodies. Regardless of if the pet passes the test, the blood sample must be in the lab for 120 days before the pet can pass the quarantine period in Hawaii. We had her blood sample sent in right away at the end of May, but she still wasn’t allowed on the island until September 27. If we had come any earlier, she would have been kept in a kennel, and we love her too much to put her through that. After much consideration, we came to the decision that Curtis should fly to Hawaii before Charlotte and I to get checked in and figure out what he was supposed to do.
Obviously, I was super bummed that I wouldn’t be there to experience Hawaii for the first time with him, but that’s just how it all worked out. I helped him bring his luggage inside and made sure checking in went smoothly before I said goodbye.
All I had was a rough itinerary of places I wanted to see, with no reservations until the night before my flight a week later. Originally I had thought of staying around Portland with my brother, but he had a lot he was working on and was going out of town that weekend, and also lived in a non-pet-friendly house with several roommates. Since I couldn’t see him very much if at all, I didn’t want to be stuck in a big city. If I had tried harder, I probably could have found a place to stay or a travel companion other than Charlotte. But I had never really traveled alone before, and knowing that I was about to enter a time in my life when Curtis wouldn’t always be able to travel with me, I realized it was time to try it out. Up until this point, the only time I’d ever traveled alone was in 2012 when I flew to Tucson by myself to visit Curtis. The furthest I had driven by myself was between New York and Connecticut just this past summer. That was about to change — there were just too many places on my bucket list for me to stay in any one place for the week!
And so Charlotte and I began our adventure. We drove South through Portland in the 6:00 hour, and I decided to avoid being in big cities and driving on interstates at all costs for the rest of the trip. Luckily, that’s much easier to do out West! I first made it just South of Portland where I stopped for gas and to wait for the text from Curtis saying he was boarding — I wanted to get out of Portland before the morning rush, but didn’t want to back track too much if anything happened with the flight. Once I received the text, I drove South to Corvallis where I took US 20 West to the coast. In case you’re wondering, yes, I studied maps thoroughly before leaving so that I could hit as many counties as possible. And yes, I feel guilty that our joint county map once again has so much pink on it that we’ll have to return to someday. But no, I don’t regret it. 🙂
While heading West, the clouds were dark and ominous and I was doubtful that I’d be able to do much that day. However, the rain turned out to be light and on and off throughout the afternoon, and with the rain came a rainbow and amazing cloudy skies all day long. I finally made it to the coast and went North briefly to visit Yaquina Head Lighthouse. I got in free with our national parks pass and found a nice isolated trail for a short walk with Charlotte, then we headed to the beach. The lighthouse was my favorite from the trip, standing tall and picturesque on the cliff with smooth black rocks and the deep blue ocean. We walked down to the beach and admired the views of the lighthouse and the rocky coast. I found that I didn’t mind being around people, I actually preferred it while traveling alone. Not so much to interact with, I just felt safer with plenty of others nearby. Of course, I still interacted with lots of people since I had my social pup dragging me around.
The rest of the day was spent driving down the coast, and to be honest, I don’t even remember the names of all the places I stopped. By law, the entire Oregon coast is publicly owned and there are so many state parks, state recreation areas, and pull offs along the highway that made the drive enjoyable. If one of us was eager to get off the road, we would stop at the next scenic area and wander around. While 101 is a highway that constantly goes up and down hills and hugs narrow cliff edges, I felt comfortable driving and was honestly impressed with myself. I don’t enjoy interstate driving because I just hate feeling surrounded by cars and going so fast. Scenic highways always feel more comfortable — whether I’m the driver or the passenger!
I had originally thought I’d camp around the Sunset Bay area, but when I arrived at 3 in the afternoon, I just sat alone in the car and felt Curtis’ presence missed even more. I decided it’d be better if I was doing something rather than just sitting or setting up camp so early, so I continued driving. There would be more spots ahead. As long as I kept driving, my mind was occupied enough to not think about missing Curtis. As sunset approached, I was coming upon Cape Blanco and decided to end the day there. I first drove out to the lighthouse on the point and walked around, admiring the rocks that stood tall in the ocean to the North and South. I then drove to the campground, which was nearly full, and found a spot. Curtis and I had been camping in free campsites for the majority of our trip, but I decided it was worth it to pay, have a campground host, and feel safe in my own spot. I knew there was more rain coming, so I opted to sleep in the back of the SUV rather than set up the tent. This ended up being the trend for my trip, I ended up never using the tent because I felt warmer and safer inside the locked car. I went to bed, proud of myself for surviving day 1, having driven around 300 miles, having some fun, and not giving in to the desire to get a hotel somewhere to hide from the world. 🙂