I woke up Sunday morning and asked Tara, “Hey, wanna move to South Dakota this week?”
Fortunately, she was down.
So: here we are. Moving week. Four more days! It still feels surreal, even though Tara’s last day at work was Friday and mine is Wednesday. This is the final push! She’ll be busy packing and cleaning this week while I somehow try to keep my focus on work. I expect only limited amounts of success there. Sorry, boss. There’s a great adventure awaiting us and I don’t know how I’ll be able to not think about it. But I’ll try.
We pick up the U-Haul on Wednesday after work. Thursday we’ll load it, and Friday we hit the road. It’ll probably be around noon. BTW, Sydney is back to her normal self (whew!) so we’ll have a cat to entertain for 1,250 miles. But after last week’s scare, that’s a good problem to have.
I will, of course, blog from the road. I want to chronicle every moment of this move. It’s not often you do something like this in your life; I’ve often wished the internet existed in 1994 when I left California for the PNW. It would be fun to read about that journey now and look back on everything I was feeling. Memories can be fickle.
We took a whirlwind trip to Tacoma Friday night/Saturday for one last visit with Tara’s family before we move. She and her mom wanted to get matching tattoos, so while they were getting inked up my friend/coworker Candace, a Tacoma native who happened to be in town, showed me around her old stomping grounds. The attraction I wanted to see most was Stadium High School, which famously served as the backdrop for Heath Ledger, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Julia Stiles, and Larisa Oleynik’s high school characters in the 1999 comedy 10 Things I Hate About You. It’s a great movie, one of my favorites, and both the school and its setting on Point Ruston in the southern Puget Sound are gorgeous. I have no idea how the students there focus on schoolwork.
We got home late Saturday night after visiting with Tracy, David, Anne, and Anthony. Sunday was a full day; we drove down to the Columbia River and walked to Shanahan’s for brunch. Detoured through the farmer’s market on the way back, then drove to IKEA, where we bought a couple of bookshelves to hold our burgeoning record collection. It might seem silly to buy furniture right before a big move, but the closest IKEA will be six hours away in Denver, so it made sense to purchase them now. Did a little packing when we got home, then headed to my parents’ house for a Father’s Day Hawaiian dinner with my folks, aunt and uncle, cousin, and Audrey. On the way over we saw ominous looking clouds the color of granite piling up to the east, and even though the forecast called for sunshine, a line of thunderstorms rolled through and for two hours we were treated to lightning, thunder, heavy downpours, and gusty winds. It was quite the storm. This type of weather is pretty rare in the PNW, but served as a great primer for the crazy Great Plains storms we are sure to encounter on a regular basis.
With approximately 100 hours to go before we drive away, I wanted to play off the theme of this post a little and look at a few positives. Yes, I am super excited for our move, and looking forward to a brand new life in the Midwest. But that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate many things about this remarkable area I have been fortunate to call home for so many years. So without further ado, here are 10 Things I Love About You, PNW.
- Beautiful scenery. Between the evergreen trees, snow-capped mountain peaks, and cascading waterfalls, this place is like a little slice of heaven on earth, gorgeous year-round.
- The Pacific Ocean. The coast is often my salvation, and I’ve gotten spoiled knowing the ocean is a mere 90 minutes away.
- Great food. Between the delicious fresh seafood, the most amazing berries on the planet, and the wide variety of great restaurants – not to mention the food carts – it’s amazing I don’t weigh 400 lbs.
- Progressive politics. Yeah, I’m a bleeding heart liberal. Yeah, I know South Dakota is a red state. Somehow we’ll find a compromise, I am sure.
- A mild climate. I prefer more dramatic weather and am looking forward to lots of snow and thunderstorms, but there’s something to be said for the fact that it’s rarely too hot or too cold here. Sure, it rains a lot, but it’s usually more of a steady, light mist and northwesterners never let that get in the way of having fun.
- An excellent music scene. If you enjoy concerts, you will never run out of options here. No wonder we’ve seen so many shows, ranging from intimate performances in small venues like the Doug Fir Lounge to outdoor shows on grassy amphitheater lawns and national headlining tours in 19,000-seat arenas.
- Hiking and camping. We’re big fans of the Great Outdoors, and the sheer number of hiking trails and campgrounds is mind-boggling. Thankfully we are moving to a place where these things are also abundant.
- Farmer’s markets. I don’t want to lump this in with “food” because the markets – some of them, like PSU, open year-round – carry so much more than fresh produce. The farm-to-table movement is huge out here, and when that produce is in season, there’s nothing better than filling your bag with fresh fruit and veggies.
- Portland. It may have lost its luster over the last few years, but Portland is still a great city with a lot to offer. I will miss so much about PDX: Powell’s Books, Voodoo Doughnut, Music Millennium, the Saturday Market, and the best airport in the U.S.
- Seattle. The Emerald City has long been a favorite weekend getaway. Touristy or not, Pike Place Market alone is worth the trip. Let’s not forget Beecher’s Cheese, the Mystery Coke Machine, and the view from Kerry Park.
I didn’t put “family” because they would top the list regardless of where they lived. Places don’t define people; people define places.
Fortunately, because they do live here, we’ll have many visits to look forward to in the future.
Countdown: 4 Days