“Old man look at my life, I’m a lot like you were.” -Neil Young Old Man
We drove through the night. After Wyoming, we went through Utah, then Idaho and crossing into Washington. I wanted to drive as much as possible. I think mostly because it was my car we were in. Jon kept offering to drive, but I insisted on driving. Around 3 or 4 in the morning, we were just outside of Salt Lake City. I couldn’t keep my eyes open for the life of me. I was started to get scared. Driving 70+ mph and windy up and down mountains. I kept waking myself up when I would start to fade from the road, so I stopped at a gas station. I wake Jon up and told him it was his turn to drive. He loaded up on coffee and 5 Hour Energy drinks. By the time we were on the road, I was passed out.
I slept for about 3 hours. When I awoke, the sun was rising from the east just over the mountains in Idaho. Blurried eyed, my eyes quickly lit up when I realized the beauty. It felt surreal. I never really thought I would be in the middle of Idaho watching the run rise, at any time of my life.
We went on driving for another hour, then stopped to get gas. I took back over at the wheel. From there we drove about 4 hours to his friend, Bobby’s house in Selah, Washington. By the time we arrived we had driven 18 hours with me driving 14 of them. I spent the entire day sleeping pretty much. I was pretty wiped out and wasn’t much in the mood to meet a bunch of new people. But it was amazing to have Bobby’s parents open up there house to us and let me lay around all day.
The next day I contacted a friend in Vancouver that I had met in Spain. I told her I was somewhat in the area and would be down for a trip up there if she had room for me and my friend to crash. She was cool with us visiting. I didn’t have a time frame really, not knowing how long I’d be in Washington. So as exhausted as I was, I was already planning and ready for more traveling.
We spent the next few days drinking a lot of beer and taking it easy. Bobby took us on a few scenic drives around the state. Went to a few parties and nursed some major hangovers. Bobby and Jon had worked together in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida together for a few years at a scuba shop. I had actually met him once before a few years prior when I took a trip down to visit Jon. Bobby recently quit and moved back home to Washington. He found a summer job in a town called Chelan, which was a few hours away from Selah. So after a few days in Selah, we went with him to Chelan. He found a small house to rent for the summer and said we could stay there as long as we wanted.
I had never heard of Chelan before, but I will never forget it. The drive from Selah was great. Drove through pine forests and around mountains. I was driving alone too because Bobby was driving an RV that he was going to use during the summer and Jon was driving Bobby’s Jeep. This was actually my first time really being alone on the trip and it felt nice. It’s nice to spend time with yourself every once in a while to reflect and gather thoughts. I was having a compete blast the past few weeks, but I was still searching for myself.
On the drive, we come around a bend in the road and all of the sudden Lake Chelan opens up out of nowhere. Like a hidden gem in the mountains. I was stunned. I thought I had found heaven. I sent a text to my girlfriend saying I had found the most beautiful place. We drove through the town, which was pretty small with a handful of restaurants and one grocery store, and made it to the house Bobby was renting. The place was small and the floor was blocks of cement. There were three futons and a table. That was pretty much it. It was the size of a studio apartment. Other than the bathroom, it was just one room. Simple living. Oh and let me show you the view from this place!
Bobby still had about a week until he started his summer job, so we basically kept on pounding beers and enjoying this quiet little town. The weather was perfect there. I really felt like I could have lived there. I expressed interest in staying there and Bobby was open to it. But then Jon had to get back to his car in Denver somehow. So that idea was dropped.
Jon and I went for the hills one day in Chelan. The weather started out great but then quickly got dark.
We had been in Washington for about 4 or 5 days, and I was getting antsy to move on with the journey. I kept in contact with my friend in Vancouver and told her we would be up there the next day. I had to have my parents expedite my passport to me when I realized I might be going to Canada. So we drove from Chelan back to Selah to pick up my passport. Great planning, huh? Haha! Then went back north towards to the Canadian border. Surprisingly it took us awhile to get through. They were being pricks to us and took us in for questioning. But nothing came of it and let us on our way.
I could tell once we got to Vancouver, Jon wasn’t feeling comfortable there. The city was huge! It felt really weird going from a tiny town in the middle of the mountains to a giant concrete jungle. And my friend took us to a small concert the first night we were there. The music was excellent, but everyone there was in girl jeans, wearing black rim glasses and drinking PBR. Hipsters. Not really Jon’s scene. The next day we drove my friend to work. She recommended us go to the beach for the day until she got off.
Don’t get the wrong picture in your heads. It wasn’t white sandy beaches with the sun pounding down on you. The weather was gloomy and even though it was late may, we were still wearing jackets. Between the street and the beach was a thick forest. There were long staircases going down. Walking down to the beach some college kids were studying, nothing exciting. We decided just starting walking in one direction. Ended up leaping over huge boulders. Exactly the kind you see in pictures of the pacific north west along the coast. After walking for a bit we come across the guy sitting at the edge of the forest, where the beach stops.
Something about this guy sparked Jon’s interest. So he just started talking to the guy. The guy was drunk as hell. Honestly, imagine a Bill Murray from Caddyshack just there on the beach. He had a bookbag full of beer and offered us some. Shit, why not? So we’re sitting on this beach drinking beer with a guy who turns out to be a bum. He lives on the beach..actually right where we are sitting. He’s that kind of guy you regret starting a conversation with, but you have no idea how to leave.
I guess the beer helped settled our nerves. Or at least my nerves. We shared our stories with him and told him of our journey we were on. I told him it was kind of a soul searching trip for myself. His response…”ahhh! Just go back to real life.” Real life? I think he saw us two people that were possibly on a path towards where he was. I don’t know. I starting thinking too much about his words. Was this my sign? Should, I just stop trying to search for my dream and purpose and just live the life I fear? Should I just get any job no matter how miserable it would make me and go home for my girlfriend?
I read into this as a sign. Maybe this guy was right. I don’t know exactly his story, but maybe he went on a journey like mine and just ended up there alone, on this very beach.
We picked my friend up from work and enjoyed some excellent sushi for dinner. It was only our second night there but I think Jon and I were already getting ready to leave. The next morning we decided to head back into the states. It was a short stop on our trip, but a big city isn’t always the best place to see what the world has to offer. I think we just really wanted to get back in the mountains. Heading back into the country was a breeze! They didn’t even stop us this time. We went back to Chelan to decide where we’d go to next…