While I'm here, I'm obsessively trying to explore every corner of Oregon and Washington, every tree, mountain and turn of the Coast. I'd rather be in the woods (or the desert) than any of her cities, and I'm even an urban person. I most recently hiked Olympic NP, although magnificent, I was surprised how crowded it was. My peak experience this summer was either hiking up to the timberline at St Helens or losing myself in the Mount Thielsen wilderness, where I didn't see a soul for 22 hours. Currently itching to get back to the desert, as well as a new stretch of the Coast and maybe Mount Rainier.
I spent most of my 20s in Chicago, which will forever be my favorite city. I know it down to the alley, and could recount its neighborhoods and many sights, flavors and sounds by heart. It's as great of a messy complicated melting pot as New York, but so much more friendly. And Lake Michigan beaches really are better than Oregon's. You don't have to wear a coat in summer.
I grew up in a small blue-collar Ohio town in a warm blue-collar family where the men all have good union jobs and can fix anything with their hands. And I ran away from all that, unable to fix anything beyond a poorly written sentence. I did college. I later did grad school. I spent much of my adulthood living in large cities on the cheap and cheating the system. The rest has been here in Oregon or traveling aimlessly around this country of ours, whether at the wheel of a car, by the whims of my thumb at the side of the road, the seat of a bus, a jet plane or a train passenger and freight, I've seen it all.