Cleopatra

Driving the PCH was as beautiful as the Icefields Parkway, only rather than seeing glaciers I saw the ocean.

I saw more deer in Olympic National Park than in any other park. My experience seeing wildlife on the side (or middle) of the road is nearly an everyday occurrence. It seems I’ve developed some sort of “Animal Whisperer” skill, too.

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While driving along in the park I saw a beautiful and massive female white tail deer begin to cross the road. My slow driving made it easy for me to stop for her. Only this time, different from past times when the animals would simply stand in the middle of the road or run across without seeing me, she paused as if she was waiting for me.

Not knowing what to do in this situation I instinctively waved her on, like I would a motor vehicle. Afterwards I rolled my eyes at myself. But much to my surprise, she proceeded to cross the road after I did this. Is it possible nature and the creatures in it are picking up on my vibes and now returning the favor? I took that as a sign that Mother Nature and I are now tribesmen.

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Making my way south from Olympic National Park was easy. One of the most sought after driving routes in the world runs the length of the western United States and the only thing you need to accomplish it is time. Stretching all the way from Washington to California (the most popular stretch being that along California), the road is literally on the cliff’s edge overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

My sister and brother-in-law (who reminds me so much of Joe Rogan with his dry sense of humor that you can’t help but love him) purchased some land in Oregon a few years back. I remember when she first told me about her land I wondered, “Why Oregon?,” Now I know why. Oregon is absolutely beautiful. Having both mountains and the beach, it’s truly the best of both worlds. The climate there is wet but mild with sunny skies.

My first impression of Oregon was a warm welcome from, surprisingly enough, Google Maps. Out of all the state or country border lines I’ve crossed, the Oregon border was the only one that triggered: “You’ve now crossed a state line. Welcome to Oregon.” From that moment on I could feel myself having a bias for the state.

My second impression of the state was a strange encounter with a gas station worker. Having driven something like 5,000 miles I realized I’ve developed some idiosyncrasies related to my car. I have few consistent things in my life right now. But one of those few things happens to be refilling the gas tank in my car. So when a gas station attendant sees me attempting to gas up my own vehicle he asked me, “How can I help you?” I warmly said hello and that there are no worries here, I’m simply refilling the gas in my car.

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According to him there are two states in the United States that require full-service gas stations and those are Washington and Oregon. Believe it or not I had never, until that moment, been to a full-service gas station. I had no idea how they worked but the idea of someone else putting gas in my car gave me anxiety. What am I supposed to do while he’s completing this task for me? Should he fan me with a banana leaf while he’s at it? Perhaps someone else could feed me some grapes?

I felt ridiculous letting him do this for me so I actually tried to talk him out of it. I can imagine he probably thought I was a Grade A Hippie Bit*h, trying to do his job for him. But until that point putting gas in my car had become some sort of ritual. I’d get the gasoline started, go inside to use the ladies’ room, fill up my Yeti tumblers with coffee, discard any trash in my car, sometimes make a sandwich for lunch, press “Yes” for a receipt, and lastly click the gas cap until it clicked twice to ensure it was secure. That was my ritual and it was always completed in that order…every time.

But then I thought twice about it and thought, if this kind gas station attendant wants to make me feel like a princess, who am I to stop him? Now, where are my grapes?

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