The Rest of the Story – Originally published on 9/29/13

I promised I would finish the story about getting to the hostel so here is the rest of the story.  As I don’t have a car, getting here was an interesting trick.  I had two choices.  I could connect to the different city bus systems all the way up to Birch Bay or I could try and find a ride on Craigslist.  I chose to use the bus as a back up and try find a ride on Craigslist.  I posted an ad and waited.

Of course, everyone kept telling me how I could just take the train.  Yes, I could have taken either greyhound or the train.  However, both greyhound and the do not allow pets even in crates.  Even though I am training Comet to work as a service animal, he is not one right now.  My only option was to take him in a crate on the city bus or get a ride share.

Craigslist ride share is awesome.  I got several responses to my ad.  I posted the ad Monday and said that I needed to leave Wednesday or Thursday.  Some people on Craigslist cannot read as one guy wanted me to leave with him that night.  I finally got in touch with a gentlemen who was driving from California to Canada and would be going trough Blaine/Birch Bay.  He would be in Portland on Wednesday at 10 am.

My family and friends were in shock.  I was packing up and leaving within a matter of 4 days.  My best friend asked me if I was going to go stay in a brothel.  She didn’t seem to believe that I was going to volunteer.  Everyone seems to think that I’ve settled in Portland for forever but I never actually planned to stay in Portland for more then 2 years, even though I’ve been back for almost 5 years.  Ready or not, I was going.

Wednesday morning came and my ride was late.  My ride was very late.  My ride also did not have a cell phone.  In fact, I was just about to look for alternative transportation when he showed up.  He was an old hippie from Canada.  We filled up his gas tank and began the drive to Blaine.

About an hour into the ride, he informed me that we would be stopping for 2 hours at a friend of his in Lacy. WA.  All I could say was it was cool as long as I got to Blaine that night.  What can one say?  I was hitching a ride.  My mother was very concerned when I told her about the stop via text.  I suppose it was a little nerve racking.  I was at the mercy of a stranger.  A Canadian stranger at that.  For all I knew his friend was a cannibal and they wanted to make female stew with an extra flavoring of little dog.  Luckily they had no interest in chowing down on me and we were back on the road again in two hours.

I did display my stupid American nature.  I dozed off for about 20-40 minutes.  As I woke up, I looked up at the speedometer and saw a terrifying sight.  We were going down the highway at 120.  However, being someone who likes to drive fast and who has crazy friends, I casually said “wow, and I thought I drove fast.”  The gentleman driving said he could slow down if I liked but he drove so much that he got used to driving a little over the speed limit.  He then went on to explain that usually on the highway it is OK to drive 5 to 10 miles per hour over the speed.  Very slowly it dawned on me that there were smaller numbers below the numbers on the speedometer.  Finally my poor drowsy brain realized that I was in a foreign car.  I was going 120 km.  In fact, I would have been driving a little faster then he was driving.  I felt silly and very dumb American.

Finally we were in Blaine and finally in Birch Bay.  We kept driving on back country roads.  I used my GPS on my phone to direct us.  Once on the correct road, we came across signs directing us to a detour to the hostel.  The detour was kind of confusing and bumpy.

We finally got to the hostel.  The hostel is unmistakable as a big sign saying “Hostel” is displayed on the side of the building.  The gentleman who drove me was very nice and wanted to stay with me until he was sure I was safe.

The director of the hostel had given me a code to open the door.  I found a box next to the door with numbers and buttons.  I expected the code to unlock the door long enough for me to open it and walk inside.  However, when I punched the code into the box the box popped off of the wall to reveal a key.  I unlocked the door and let myself into the Birch Bay Hostel.