A Big Threat

Hello. It’s me!

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Just chewin’ on some of the things that happened over the past few days.

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On Thursday we passed through Cannon Beach … a quick bite-and-go before arriving at the KOA outside of Astoria. We didn’t stay long, because the threat (and you know what I think about threats, #amirite?) of a tsunami was too great to take lightly.

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Yesterday we popped up at the crack of dawn (or sometime thereafter) and headed out to Ft. Clatsop. I couldn’t wait to begin the journey.

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At first I thought, “is that all there is … a sign next to six tall, gray crayons??”

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Mom got her stamp and browsed the content while I (again) waited patiently.

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Mom then offered up a surprise … she asked me if I wanted to go on a hike??? I was skeptical at first, because there’s a lotta places where I think we could go on a nice hike and Mom and Dad tell me “NO” …

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… but this time we were off and running into the deep woods!

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Unfortunately, we made a bit of a mistake … we were looking for the canoe landing where Lewis & Clark finally made it to what would become Ft. Clatsop … but instead we took the wrong trail, a trail that went 6.5 miles out of the way. Ooooops!!

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After a couple of miles of misguided pathway, we altered our course and headed for a replica of the fort that Lewis & Clark wintered in during their stay outside of Astoria.

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It’s a lot of fun to hike two or three miles, but then you see something that unnerves you … you see a threat … what turned out to be a recurring threat.

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That’s where I drew the line … I told Mom & Dad to get me to higher ground.

Mom & Dad delayed my safety by eating lunch at the most famous of all Coastal Oregon establishments.

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When they returned to the rig, I demanded HIGHER GROUND. And wow, did Mom & Dad deliver!! They took me to the longest bridge in the United States (I think) … the four-mile bridge that crosses the mighty Columbia River at Astoria. Wowzer!! This is the kind of bridge that would freak out my friend Connie. Freak. Her. Out.

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I felt serenity as we crossed the bridge … no tsunami was going to wash my day out to sea. Threat averted!!

We arrived in Gig Harbor, where we will spend a few days before heading to the northern half of the Olympic Peninsula. It’s cold, clammy, with temperatures in the 60s. In other words, it’s another gorgeous summer day in the Pacific Northwest.

 

 

Warning!

Hello! It’s me.

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That’s me, addressing an audience of zero at an amphitheater at the base of Mt. Hood outside of Portland. I’m trying to warn everybody in the park that building a lodge and ski resort ON A VOLCANO that exploded 230 years ago is a BAD IDEA.

Nobody listened.

Not a soul.

With Mt. Jefferson as my backdrop (another volcano, for crying out loud), I spoke at length about the fact that a pyroclastic event happened around 1790 … and a steam event happened in the 1850s. If this puppy were to burst again, the lodge and ski hill would be wiped out.

Heck, this guy gets paid to tell people that trouble may well be on the horizon, but people didn’t seem to listen to him either.

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Maybe he was telling them about a fascinating story about the lodge. Did you know that the Mt. Hood lodge (the exterior) was used in The Shining??

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At first, I had to sit in the RV while Mom and Dad supped on a buffet-style luncheon (Dad was particularly mesmerized by the spice-cake mini-cupcakes).

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But then I got to walk the premises! The first thing I did was chase a cat.

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Then I sprinted for the trails, heading to the amphitheater to give my lecture.

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As soon as I finished my lecture, Mom and Dad drove me away from the volcano as fast as possible.

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Whew!

P.S.: We were planning on staying in the Seattle area for a few days, but there weren’t good camping opportunities in King County (or in Western Washington for that matter). But there were traffic opportunities.

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P.P.S.: Dad got a new door window frame at Roy Robinson RV. He hasn’t installed it yet – he’s afraid he’ll butcher the job and we’ll have a gaping hole in the rig.

P.P.P.S.:  Here was today’s catastrophe. The generator was overwhelmed this morning, and instead of tripping the GFCI circuit or flipping a breaker, the generator tripped a breaker on the generator itself. That’s a problem, because the RV is only about a foot off the ground and the generator is under the RV.

Ooops.

After an unhealthy and abrasive crabby spell, Dad teamed with Mom to back the RV over a ditch. Once the rear of the rig was positioned over a ditch, Dad set the emergency brake, crawled under the rig, and flipped the breaker. We were back in business!

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Tomorrow we head to Astoria … the western-most extent of the journey of Lewis & Clark, and home to classic movies like Kindergarten Cop and The Goonies.

Here Kitty Kitty

Hello! It’s me.

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There’s something utterly blissful about waltzing through a hardware store while Dad buys nuts & washers to fix the battery harness, #amirite?

We spent the past few days with MY friends … Tim, Kathy, Ken, Sue. I invited Mom & Dad to spend time with them too.

But the overriding theme of the weekend was cats … meaning that I know MY friends own cats and are keeping the cats from me. Oh, I tried to get to them, believe me, I tried.

Here kitty kitty!!

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When the cat saunters upstairs, my job becomes a lot harder.

When the cat is inside the house and I’m banished to the outside deck, well, the job is just plain impossible.

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Here’s my preferred method for trying to engage with a cat.

  1. Walk up to the cat.
  2. Bark as loud as I possibly can while wiggling my rear end in an effort to encourage light-hearted play. Thirty to forty seconds of loud, unfettered barking usually does the job.

Here’s the typical outcome of my efforts.

  1. Cat runs away, looking at me as if I have horns crawling out of my tummy.

Mom and Dad continued their food-based rampage through the Pacific Northwest.

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Yesterday, we boarded a ferry. For a moment I thought to myself, “are we going to Friday Harbor (because that’s where we once lived)”???

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Mom told me that we’re going to Friday Harbor in early August … but it turns out we did a quick “bonus visit” this weekend! And I got to hike at Lime Kiln State Park … one of my favorite hikes in the world!!

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Maybe the saddest part of the day was learning that the resident orcas have only been by the lighthouse twice in the past seven weeks. They used to go by twice a day (or more).

This only happens if there aren’t any king salmon in the ocean to eat.

Lemme tell you … I know what it is like when food isn’t available. It’s not fun! So I feel for the orcas. And I struggle with a world where so few people seem to care. If it would help, I’d bark at the top of my lungs … just like I do when I’m trying to engage with a cat. But it won’t help. I need humans to “do something”.

Meanwhile, Mom & Dad even got a chance to play some pickleball on this leg of the trip.

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Dad tells me that we’re looking into solutions for our entry door frame tomorrow. That sounds like a ton of fun. If I bark at the top of my lungs, maybe I could manifest a kitty tomorrow. That would spice things up!!

 

Packin’ In The Activities

Hello. It’s me!

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I had a smile on my face … at one time. Then Mom and Dad spent two days packin’ in the events.

At first, the idea sounded good.

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But after embarking on a dizzying pace, even Dad made a fatal mistake today, likely due to exhaustion.

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What the …. ?

It all started yesterday at lunch. Dad elected to go with the grilled ham ‘n cheese and tots. Nice choice, #amirite?

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We drove to Walla Walla. We stopped at the Whitman Mission National Historic Site … where the Whitman’s introduced Native Americans to arsenic, measles and God … and after accidentally killing a ton of people via incidental disease the Native Americans introduced the Whitmans to murder.

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Dad got a chance to see the prototype for the modern recreational vehicle.

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I employed the time-honored tradition of waiting for Mom.

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Fortunately somebody cared about me … how about this lovely employee!?!?

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Thank you for caring, Evelyn.

Later, Dad purchased a lot of wine.

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We parked the RV, and Mom & Dad let me sit in generator-cooled comfort (hint … it’s not comfortable when you are abandoned in an RV) while they supp’d at a local restaurant.

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I smelled the alcohol on Dad’s breath when (nearly two hours later) Dad opened the RV door and (at an abnormally loud decibel level) yelled “WHO’S THE GOOD BOY??” It isn’t you, Dad. It isn’t you.

Too bad we are going to miss the big event.

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We spent the night at a Best Western Plus … in all likelihood so Dad could partake in a Sysco-Inspired free breakfast the next morning.

Wasting little time, we got in the rig and stopped at Sacagawea State Park, strategically located at the confluence of the Snake River and the Columbia River. Holy ground, according to Dad.

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I wanted to carve out my own place at this spectacular State Park, so I hopped in an old-school canoe.

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Moving right along, Mom wanted to see where the Manhattan Project changed the course of history. So off we went to the Manhattan Project National Historical Park. It was time to learn how the A-Bomb was built by Washingtonians.

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Turns out there was even a Sears on-site … because catalog shopping and managing plutonium go hand-in-hand.

The last picture came courtesy of a woman at an obscure gift shop down the parking lot from the Visitor Center. Her Dad worked on the project (he was an engineer) with GE. She lived in an “F-House” (one of the styles of home on site) and she currently lives in a “Y-House” (a one-story home, which suits an aging lifestyle, of which I know nothing about). The beds and stuff in the last image were actual furniture items from the 1940s.

At this point, Mom and Dad decided to drive all the way across Washington State. We followed the Columbia River for a time …

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… notice the whitecaps on the river … we were buffeted by 40mph winds for about three hours.

The winds were so bad that they may (or may not) have caused a semi-truck to overturn on I-90 near Snoqualmie Pass. We sat in a nine (9) mile backup for about 65 minutes.

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Once traffic opened up, we enjoyed the scenery surrounding Snoqualmie Pass.

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We roared down the Cascades … and that’s where things got interesting.

As we closed in on Issaquah we heard a loud scraping sound from the bottom-mid-right side of the RV. Dad quickly pulled over, Mom and Dad jumped out … and saw a six-inch bolt dragging from the rig. Turns out when Dad got new house batteries installed the installer didn’t install the harness that holds down the house batteries properly … so the nuts and washers were left to nature and the rest of the harness is missing in action and all that was left was the six-inch bolt that was digging into the concrete surface of I-90 at 70mph.

Dad unscrewed the bolt, said a prayer, then asked the Holy Spirit to hold down the batteries for the next 2,500 miles. We continued on our way. Amen.

Did I tell you that the frame surrounding the side door is falling off and the window is rattling all over the place and Dad has that secured with tape? It’s travel with the Clampetts I tell ya!!

Also, Dad blew out his left knee on Monday and he doesn’t even remember how he did it but the top of the knee hurts so he’s hobbling all over the place.

But I digress.

Mom and Dad hopped back in the RV, and guess what? We were introduced to a July soaking.

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Regardless, we arrived at Lake Pleasant RV Park in Bothell prior to sunset. I succumbed to exhaustion …

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And even though I really need to go to the bathroom as we speak, it’s pouring outside, and I have no interest in any of that action whatsoever.

Woolen Heights

Hello. It’s me!!

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As Sheryl Crow once said, “Every Day Is A Winding Road”. This afternoon certainly qualified. We made the drive from Pendleton up to Pullman/Moscow.

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The featured overlook of the day was just north of Lewiston, ID / Clarkston, WA.

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That’s the confluence of the Whitewater River and Snake River down there … a few thousand feet down there. Look at the curvy road that one can take down the mountain!!!

That’s what Dad thinks a good view looks like. For a refresher course, here’s what Mom thinks a good view looks like.

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When I get out of the rig, here’s the view I get to enjoy.

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Snakes and Dead People, my friends.

Snakes and Dead People, #amirite?

Dad called this his “favorite day” of the trip. He found the Palouse and GMO-altered 2-foot-high wheat fields to be everything he thought it would be, and more.

We even drove around Washington State University and the University of Idaho today.

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I tried to attend a football game today, but as per usual, nobody was playing and dogs weren’t allowed anyway.

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Earlier in the day Mom made a trip to Pendleton Woolen Mills. Needless to say, she was giddy with excitement.

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I manned the RV while Mom & Dad took a tour of the facility. Apparently there used to be a thousand woolen mills … now there are five. But my goodness, the 60ish employees at this mill are kickin’ it, aren’t they?

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Mom also made a handful of purchases. Turns out there is a store right out of the exit of the tour. Isn’t it funny that they’d put a store right at the exit of the tour? What a coincidence!!

Our day ended at a campground on the banks of the Snake River. We got to enjoy the sunset and we got to enjoy a history lesson regarding Lewis & Clark and their journey down the Snake River.

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Tomorrow we back-track to Walla Walla, where we are told that food and ample grape-based beverages are available.

P.S.: Mom tried to visit the Nez Perce National Historical Park today, but was locked out because the park closed at 4:00pm. Turns out I was locked out as well.

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P.P.S.:  What the ….?

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P.P.P.S.:  What the ….?

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Whole Lotta Catchin’ Up To Do

Hello. It’s me!!

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Where do I start?

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What the …. ?

When we last spoke, we were headed into the great State of Oregon. We camped about twenty miles north of Crater Lake. Why didn’t we communicate with you? Three reasons.

  1. No cell phone coverage.
  2. No internet at the campground.
  3. MOSQUITOES!!

Lemme tell ya, there were a thousand skeeters per mammal at this campground. We maintained a low profile, we sealed the rig, and we prayed for the end of time to hurry up and arrive (to paraphrase Meatloaf).

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Earlier in the day we visited Crater Lake. This is one of Mom’s favorite places on the planet, and who can blame her? Anytime a volcano blows its top off and covers the State of Oregon in eight inches of ash, you’ve gotta go see it, #amirite?

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That’s a nice lookin’ cinder cone right there in the middle of the lake. Yup, Crater Lake is rallying!

These little things (Cinder Cones) are all over the State of Oregon. I tell ya, someday somebody is going to wake up to a warm lahar bath (a slurry of pyroclastic material for those who don’t appreciate brevity).

Mom celebrated the magma-fueled outburst with a beverage.

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Of particular interest to me, of course, was the opportunity to hike a trail or two.

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And what did I find? Snow!!!

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Ok, that’s not the pristine snow folks ski on in February, but what do I care? It was Christmas in July.

After Crater Lake, we spent three evenings with our friends Francie and Glen.

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Yup, it was a pickleball bonanza in Bend, OR. Dad tells me he is going to maximize his, and I quote, “Pickleball Opportunity” and who am I to stop him?

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In fact, who am I to stop anybody? The four of them dumped me at an unknown home in Bend while they got to have fun.

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At some point, you just give up the fight.

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While they drove up Pilot Butte (it was butte-ful) and celebrated comraderie …

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… I was left to man the fort:

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A couple of times I got to go on walks through the neighborhood. But even then events turned sour as I was forced to wait for Mom … again.

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And if I have to eat another flippin’ blueberry while Mom and Dad gorge themselves on the finest food in Bend, I’m gonna take out my frustration on a stuffed animal.

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They even went out for gelato, and it turns out everybody was supposed to say hi to Kaitlyn.

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They visited an indoor pickleball arena … without me of course.

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Mom spent Saturday at the Sisters Quilt Show. It’s one of the biggies on the quilting circuit, but you already knew that.

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Today we hustled to the northeast. And guess what? It rained. In July. In the high desert. That’s redonkulous.

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Dad is a huge fan of the Columbia River and the Snake River. I’m convinced he’s dragging us to this part of the country just for his own amusement.

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After dragging Dad away from the mighty Columbia River, we parked for the day in Pendleton. Following an all-you-care-to-eat buffet (#aarpdiscount) Mom dared Dad to win at a slot machine. Dad inserted ten hard-earned dollars, expecting it to evaporate quickly. However, he found himself up a few dollars, called it quits, and celebrated the fact that he took money from Terry Benedict.

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Anytime you are north of breakeven by $2.20 you count your lucky stars. Or your lucky toes. Mine aren’t getting burned up here in the frosty Pacific Northwest like they would be in Arizona where temps are hovering near 115 degrees.

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Tomorrow we head down the Blue Mountains to the Lewiston/Clarkston area, again, for the sole purpose of Dad’s own amusement (and my utter bemusement). He loves the Snake River, so Mom booked a campground along the Snake River. There’s no real reason to be there, but we’ll drive 2.5 hours to fill whatever hole the Snake River fills in Dad’s expansive soul.

 

Worn Out!

Hello. It’s me!!

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We made it to Oregon today!! Our path from Vegas to Klamath Falls is highlighted in yellow below. Every day is a winding road, #amirite?

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Today started in California, moved into Nevada, swung back into California, and then we entered Oregon.

We are staying at the KOA in Klamath Falls. Mom decided to check out the mini-store on site. I took a moment to read the message posted right at dog-height.

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Like I’m a threat of some kind … if they were smart, they’d have posted their discouragement a foot higher where a chupacabra could clearly read it.

Dad thought we should celebrate 1,020 miles of travel with a delivered pizza pie. Fortunately, I earned a seat at the table … though I was nourished with canine-approved slop, which was (in my humble opinion … IMHO) a sub-standard but belly-filling option.

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1,020 miles of travel takes a lot out of a pup. I’m beat. Tell you what. I’m checking out for the rest of the night. I promise to have more energy and better communicative skills over the next few days. Until then, I’m dreaming of all the ways I can have fun in Oregon.

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