Finally we left Canada , having been in that land over a year. We left very happy about what we experienced and eager to see what’s prepared for us on our next destination: United States.
We thought that the border crossing was gonna be easy because we had already crossed earlier this year to the U.S. and had visited Alaska only 3 months ago, but it was just the opposite… it was not pleasant at all!. Officers that think they’re gods treated us as if we were at fault, and we still shake and started feeling nervous, but we quickly left behind once we arrived to Seattle at the home of a friend of a friend, Eve and her husband Jeff, who welcomed us in “Casa Nido” for 4 days.
As we heard, Seattle is a city where bars abound with live music, craft breweries and to shelter from the rain there are hundreds of cafes one next to the other! We visited the market, walked downtown and of course, we went out to enjoy the night life of this cloudy and rainy city and ended up as wet dogs, but had a blast!.
We continued the journey to the west coast instead of following what we’d planned to Yellowstone National Park, because, for our bad luck, it just closed the day we thought we could get there. We drove through the Olympic Peninsula, we visited its rainforests and the Pacific Ocean in all its glory! We haven’t seen it like that since we were in Chile, as in Canada and Alaska we saw it “hidden” and quiet amid fjords.
We headed south, to the city of Portland after having spent the worst night of all … In Aberdeen we stayed in the Walmart parking lot and for our “luck” was literally next to the railway line. 10pm: tuuutuuuuuuu, 1:00 a.m.: tutttuuuuuu, 4:00 a.m.: ttuuutuuuuuuuuu, 6:00 a.m.: tuuuutuuuuuuu until at 8 tuutuuuu and we decided to listen to the last ttuuutuuuu and got up reluctantly, but anyway it was not a place to stay longer.
Portland, like any big city, welcomes us with a great traffic jam! We arm ourselves with patience and decided to start our day looking for used cooking oil. We looked for it in several restaurants in a neighborhood and in ALL OF THEM they said they had a contract with a company that paid them for the used oil. Bad news! We were pretty sure that the United States was going to overrun of used cooking oil as they are the country of fries! These companies that buy used oil and produce biodiesel, process it then and then they sell it to the same audience that bought the chips.
Very discouraged, but not lose hope, we started the second day to a new neighborhood to see if we had better luck. But when we were on our way to Walmart, in the parking lot, felt a strange noise on the steering wheel and we had to stop just right there. After check it and disarm it, Vic noticed that the hose from the power steering pump had exploded and had to be replaced.
We left the car right there and Vic went by foot to buy the part and I walked the Avenue looking for oil, restaurant after restaurant. I walked about 12 blocks, asked in different restaurants, schools and food carts and again the same story … “Sorry, but we have a contract with a company …” Only one person said yes, she gave us 5 gallons, it was a Filipino food cart, and will take us for about 50 miles … at least that’s something!
I returned to the truck and I found that Vic was replacing the hose. After a couple of hours and several grunts tells me that he could not replace it, it’s something very simple and it should not have taken so long.
The next day he returned to the store, changed the part and get back. He puts his coveralls on and started to work. Ready! In 5 minutes he had already changed it … that was it!
Day 3, still looking for cooking oil… this has not been all easy. We never imagined it would cost that much! We contacted these Biodiesel companies, asking for a donation by email, Twitter, Facebook, phone and nothing worked. We are tired, very concerned and every time we hear “NO” pushes us further and further down.
That night we were hosted by Paty and Keith, friends of a friend (yes, it’s good to have friends!) And left their house for us while they went to the cinema. We took the weekly deserved shower (lol, kidding, but almost true!), We washed our clothes and connected to the internet, where we posted on a website frequently used here and in Canada for everything (craigslist.com), asking for a donation of used cooking oil to continue our trip. And 4 people were around Portland who were happy to help! What a relief! We got oil!
So we met Patrick and Vonni, a very loving and interesting couple, who share the same dream and maybe next year will drive south powered by used cooking oil to Ecuador, where they are evaluating to live their retirement.
We also met David who had just purchased a truck and will adjust it to run on used oil. He gave us some good tips about filters, contacted the University Eugene to find more oil and also advised us where to camp that night!
But not everything about this trip is to find oil! You also have to enjoy it!
We decided to drive around Columbia River, meet the second highest waterfall in the U.S., visit Mount Hood and the famous Hotel in the movie “The Shining” and give us a rest in the nude Terwilliger hot springs, who quickly were part of our Top 10 list.
Then we drove through coastal Oregon Route 101 until we reach Port Orford, where Skyler was waiting for us, a new friend that we contacted through Couch Surfing. Lucky for us that night had a party of grilled oysters, mussels in champagne, smoked turkey and fireworks! Sounds good? We arrived just in time
We met his friends and to our surprise, they were all super-friendly and loving. It’s not that we think that americans are not cool people, but is simply not as warm as latin people. Another surprise was that many of them spoke Spanish, maybe because they were from Texas and heard the language daily.
Among oysters, champagne, mussels, lots of wine and beer ended up dancing at Mike’s house until 5:30 in the morning … It’s been ages without having a good party! And we felt it … The next day we were so hangover!
That was our welcome to this town of just over 1000 inhabitants, mainly fishermen, as Sky and his friends. We decided to see how they prepared for the crab season and went to filter oil to their workplace and learn something new for us.
In short, Oregon fascinated us! Its nature and people surprised us greatly. So far, what we’ve seen about the United States, has been amazing (taking out the officer of the border, of course!) And we are looking forward to what is coming in the following weeks!
Up next report UpaChaluperos!