Back in January, my mom called me from Oregon and said she scored two tickets to Hamilton on my birthday and was wondering if I would want to come back to see the show with her. Plus, she would buy my plane ticket as an even further gesture of her amazingness. Now, if you’ve met me outside of my role as laid-back, cool overlanding chick you’ll know I’m a huge theatre nerd. One of my degrees is a theatre directing degree which I got because I planned to take a TON of theatre classes in college and figured I should at least put those credits to use. Still, I thought it was a little silly to fly back for just the weekend when we planned to come home for four months starting end of June. But around that same time, my best friend from childhood sent me an invite to her wedding, and the two opportunities combined seemed to be too good to pass up, so I told my mom to book a ticket in to Portland and out of Phoenix two weeks later so I could make my own adventure in between. I reluctantly said goodbye to KP at the airport (but also a little excitedly… I mean come in, we live in a car together 24/7), and made my way to Portland.
Taylor ~~~~~ Portland
It was all smooth “sailing” on the way in to Portland (important to note at the end of this story) and I happily met my mom at the airport, a little stinky and a lot tired, but ready for fun! Mom and I booked a killer apartment through Home Away that was centrally-located and overlooked one of the most iconic downtown Portland spots, Pioneer Courthouse Square, so we started off our time by having Italian food delivered to us from about 3 blocks away through Amazon Prime (the world changed A LOT in the 6 months since we had been back to the States). We pretty much, shopped, ate, drank, golfed a little, ate more, drank more, saw a movie, and then ate again until it was Sunday and time for our matinee performance of Hamilton.
I won’t gush too much in case theatre is not your thing, but… Hamilton is literally THE BEST! There is a reason that it has been hyped to the max and tickets straight from the box office are $500, because it is no joke, the best three hours I’ve spent in a theatre. The way that Lin Manuel Miranda has used modern hip-hop and pop styling to tell the dense story of our country’s founding, with almost exclusively non-white actors to boot, is just incredible. One quick anecdote: Mom and I were in line to enter the theatre and we were behind a family with two young boys both about 8 years-old. One of the kids can’t stop jabbering about the show, he is so excited. We ask him if he knows the music and he looked at us with the disdain only an eight-year-old boy can muster and then proceeded to sing both parts of the song when Hamilton and Aaron Burr meet for the first time. His parents reminded him after his rendition that inside the theatre he can only mouth the words because these people did not pay to hear him perform Hamilton. He agrees, and the parents look at us with weary eyes and say “What can we say, at least it’s educational.”
After Hamilton, we had a lovely birthday dinner with Jerry and Donna who hosted KP and I in Mazatlan last year and then it was time for me to wrap up this incredible start to my trip! Mom dropped me off at the train station the next morning and I realized as I tried to board the train that I had bought a bus ticket not a train ticket… oops. So I had a quiet busride with only three other people, including the driver, down to Salem where I spent a lovely day visiting Eva and Carolyn, two of my best friends in the world. A day was not enough with either of these ladies but we made the most with wine tasting, a lesson in making Pisco Sours (which I can’t wait to have Eva make me now as she has become an expert) and a lot of rolling around on the floor with Wyatt, Carolyn’s almost 2-year-old. I returned to Portland for a Blazer game with my friend Darren (they won and headed to the playoffs in the third seat only to lose all four games in their first round…yikes) and then crossed in to Washington to spend a few days with my dad and his wife Tami. The theme of eating, drinking, doing a little karaoke, watching movies, and then repeat ended with a lovely brunch at Salty's before they dropped me off at the airport on Sunday for my flight to LA.
KP ~~~~~~~ Peru
While Taylor went back to the land of cheap craft beer, Amazon, and abundant Starbucks, I was left alone to fend for myself in the wilds of Peru. I managed to find my way around Lima on my own, scavenging meals from artisanal bakeries, Italian restaurants, and an Irish bar with beer on tap. I bought a new set of shocks for our truck, which was an adventure in itself, and left Lima a few days after Taylor with the Paracas National Reserve pinned on my GPS.
Paracas has been on my list for years and was one of the things I was most excited to see on our way South. Miles and miles of dunes ending in plunging cliffs and the Pacific Ocean are what I was promised and the reserve didn’t disappoint. While Taylor was in a whirlwind of family and friends, I spent nearly a week with only one human interaction. Just the way I like it..
Paracas is a lot like Baja. Camping is free and can basically be done anywhere you see fit. The reserve is crisscrossed by dirt tracks that can’t be found on any map, and in many places the only people you’ll see are local fisherman. Airing down and going off the hard-packed main tracks isn’t required, but it is a whole lot more fun.
While the North end is pretty developed, as you move South things become steadily wilder. Eventually the obvious roads disappeared and my topo map and compass became the most reliable form of navigation. Although you could pretty easily drive through the reserve in a long day, I spent nearly a week there. Taking my time, enjoying the scenery, and stopping to camp whenever I found a spot that caught my eye.
By the time Taylor made it to her dad’s house, I’d managed to find a route through the dunes to a crappy road that eventually lead me to a better road, an oasis, and a pool with a swim up bar.
Somewhere in there I did manage to rotate our tires and perfect my pisco sour recipe, so at least I was productive.
Next week tune back in for the exciting conclusion... mostly because I had way too much to say about the next section of my travels for just one blog and also we haven't done enough interesting things since I got back to Peru for a full blog post yet. We'll start racking up more good pics and stories for that starting now!