Saturday, December 8, 2012

Day Trip to Port Townsend


Today I woke up early. The plan was to get in a quick road trip in the morning and get back in time to feed River at a decent hour.

Waking up early, sometimes, isn’t enough... I had to shower and eat and pack up the car and clean up the motel room enough so that the maid could come in and not be shocked. I also took River on his morning stroll to relieve himself. On the way back we stopped in the Motel 6 lobby to pick up my complimentary cup of coffee. 

I had taken the time to grind out enough of my special, incredibly dark roasted, organic, fair trade coffee beans to last me a week. But, alas, there is no coffee maker in the room. Almost all of the budget hotels usually just put a coffee maker in the room and some packets of terrible coffee grounds. I was prepared to have a rich, dark delicious cup of my witches brew. The Motel 6 lobby coffee, though, wasn’t that bad.  And I’m a big coffee snob, so I’d say so if I didn’t think it was up to snuff. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t organic, though (nor fairly traded.)

ANYWAY, so we finally got on the road a bit after 10am.  My plan was to drive two hours up highway 101, along the eastern edge of the Olympic Peninsula to Port Townsend. I was hoping to meet up with some colleagues up there and see their town and their studio. 

The drive is gorgeous. I love the winding, mountain roads surrounded by lakes and rivers and forest. And it was an especially nice touch to be driving right towards the Olympic mountains. Their white peaks were a compelling background image for my ride up. 

River wasn’t settling in. He was smacking a lot and drooling like a fiend. We were about 45 minutes into the ride when I heard his rhythm change. On these mountain roads, there were pull-outs for slow traffic all along the way, so it was easy to pull off the road, get out and swing around to let River out of the passenger side door. He was making his sour face by the time I got to his door, but he stoically held it all in while I fussed with the seatbelt trying to free him. Once he was leashed, he hopped out of the car and took a few steps and let her rip.  Arrrrrrph!  Much to my surprise..... apples again!

I had given him a few bites of the apple that I had as a late night snack, but I also remembered giving him some banana with peanut butter on it at the same time. There was no sign of anything but big chunks of apples. I had always thought of them as so watery and easily digested, but now I guess I’ll see them in a different light. 

And, alas, no more late night snack for River on the eve of traveling days. 

We got back in the car and on the road and, once again, post vomit, River curled right up into the seat and enjoyed the rest of the ride (another hour and twenty minutes) in peace. 

We arrived in Port Townsend and met Allison Dey at Madrona MindBody Institute. Her and her partner, Aletia Alvarez are bringing life back into this great big old space that used to be a basketball court and I guess locker rooms for a military dormitory campus. The space reminded me of an old school building. The dorms have long since been retired but the buildings and the grounds remain just as there were and is now preserved as Fort Worden State Park.

While Aletia was busy preparing the space for the next dance event, Allison showed me around her sancuary-like retreat center. In the middle of the tour as we found ourselves sitting on the very inviting sprung wood floor, she suggested I come and teach some of my stuff there someday. So we made tentative plans. We made plans to make plans. I look forward to returning to Port Townsend and Madrona to teach in the near future.

Then, Allison took River and I on a nice, long walk along the beach. We walked for about an hour and in that hour Allison ran into three different groups of people that she knew. So it was quite a social stroll.

I had River on a 30 foot leash so he was free to run and play without my worrying that he’s ‘off leash’. The leash is more of a precaution, which I rarely ever have to even use.  But considering his breed, I’d rather err on the side of caution and be able to quickly extract him from a situation if need be.  The good news is, usually I just call him and he comes running.  In fact, while we were getting the tour of Madrona MindBody Institute, Allison suggested I could let him off leash to run free. He loved that. At one point, he had gotten out of sight and we were about to head into a different section of the enormous building, so Allison called him, and he came happily running to us from wherever he had been. I was impressed, especially because she had only met River not ten minutes earlier. 

The end of the beach walk dropped us off downtown where we met another colleague and fellow Nia teacher, David Conklin. The four of us stopped into a local shop and got some incredible chipotle sweet potato soup. I also got a ham and cheese croissant that was as good as the croissants from New Orleans. David held onto River’s leash as we went in, and reported to me that there was no crying or fussing. (yay)

After eating near an outdoor fountain, we hugged our good-byes and set our intentions for my return. 

River settled into the car seat pretty quickly on the way home. There was an uncomfortable, drooling, smacking period, and then he did a strange thing; he twisted around a few times, tightly wrapping the harness around himself and then attempted to lie down.  But the tension he created by wrapping it around himself, prevented the seatbelt mechanism from releasing him, so he laid his head on it and swung there like a hammock.

I was on a treacherous bit of road, so I could do anything right away, but it seemed like he was willing to just hang there and fall asleep. It was only a few minutes before I was able to spot a pull-off where I could untangle him. I took off my fleece jacket and balled it up for him to use as a pillow and he slept all the way home. He was snoring at one point. He only opened his eyes halfway when I got off the freeway, but was wide awake by the time we pulled into the motel parking lot. 

My trip home wasn’t as relaxing as his. I was having a devil of a time staying alert. (I blame the croissant!) In the two hour drive, I counted a total of eleven times that I feel like I was technically asleep for a split second. Most of those eleven times resulted in my hearing the “THUMTHUMTHUMTHUMTHUM” of those life-saving, textured boundaries on the edge and center divider. 

River was HUNGRY when we got home. It was about six pm and the first thing he'd had to eat all day. (Usually I feed him throughout the day.) So, I fed him a big meal and he crawled into his crate to sleep off his exciting, fun-filled day of road-tripping. 

Tomorrow I’m scheduled to teach my ROCKIN Nia class at three. If I wake up and get my act together in enough time, I’ll take River on a drive in the morning. 

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