"Give a Piece a Chance." — Books. Blog. Pie Classes. And a Pinch of Activism.

The “Romantische Strasse” Awaits

I was going to write about how surprisingly difficult, emotionally, this move out of Portland has been. I was going to explain how for someone who is a free-spirited gypsy like me, who moves on average every 8 months, this time it feels harder than usual to uproot myself from my nest. I was going to elaborate (for the umpteenth time) on how symbolic it is to leave the place where I lived with Marcus, and how it feels like I’m leaving him, even though he left me, left us all, when he departed the planet almost one year ago. But then, thankfully, I received a few emails that snapped me out of my self-indulgent, time-wasting, energy-draining funk. The first was from my neighbor Elizabeth, who replied to my request to borrow her strapping college-age son and his friends to help me move my furniture on Saturday.

Elizabeth, who was widowed at the age of 35 when her husband died of a heart attack, wrote, “I’m sorry you are moving, but I am not too surprised. It will be good for you to be in a place that doesn’t remind you of Marcus. It is so hard to stay in the same place because they are just right there. Moving on sucks, staying still sucks. Let’s face it: it all sucks.”

I thought this was very well stated. “It all sucks” — yes, so simple and to the point.

She added, “HOWEVER, don’t forget the little gifts you have received through all of this. They stay with you!”

She’s right. I have made many new friends in these past months, and deepened my relationships with existing friends I made when I lived here before. I have gotten my health and fitness back by hiking, biking and running on the trails behind my house. I have had the luxury of living in a beautiful, quiet little (very little!) house with a fireplace and views of Mount Hood and Mount St. Helens, a place that provided me with safe, warm and dry shelter, a place that nurtured me back to life during the darkest months I have ever known.And then, saving me from further melancholy, I got another email, an update from Team Switzerland who is making their way down the West coast in my RV.

Eve wrote, “I’m sorry I have no pie news!” I had to laugh at this because my friends are all very well trained now to be on the look out for pie.

She continued, “We’re near Yosemite National Park. We are enjoying our trip very much. We found a TJ Maxx today, and everybody got nice things! We had a great time in San Francisco, but it was very cold and windy! Love, Eve and the girls”

It’s so funny to think about the RV — “The Beast” — having its own adventures without me, as if it’s my kid I sent off to summer camp. What’s ironic is that the RV is following the same route (only in reverse) that led to Marcus and me meeting in 2001, awe-inspiring scenic, as if an American version of Germany’s Romantische Strasse, a route that led to great love.

The “Romantic Road” Route taken by Team Switzerland is this: Start in Portland, drive through the waterfall-lined Columbia River Gorge, pass through the adventure town of Bend and go canoeing on your way to Crater Lake National Park (pictured below), follow the wild and winding Rogue River all the way to the rugged Oregon Coast, then head south through the Redwood Forest, drive across the Golden Gate Bridge to San Francisco where you ride a cable car, and finally end up in Los Angeles where you may spot a celebrity or two.That’s more or less the route I will be taking when I leave Portland next week — in my MINI Cooper. Which, with all that promise of taking in the world’s most stunning and inspiring landscape, makes leaving Portland sound pretty exciting. What am I so sad about when I have such a great adventure to look forward to?! And that doesn’t even take into account the pie I will find along the way — about which, I guarantee, unlike Eve, I will have news.

But first, I have to finish packing.