Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Ruthie On The Road, November, December 2007

Hello from Western Oregon, Campers!

I left Ontario, Oregon the other day and plodded out to where the road heads straight back to Nyssa.

I had to go that way to connect to highway 20 that runs east and west across the middle of the State.

I got as far as Vale and was stopped by a cop in an unmarked car.

He sighed and told me that I wouldn't make it across the mountains and miles of wilderness to Eugene via my thumb.

Then he made a phone call and drove me over to the local sheriffs' department.

After contacting a preacher and his wife, he drove me over to their home.

A nice woman opened the door with a smile. She led me back to her husband's office. And he took me next door to the church building where I eventually spent the night.

I washed my clothes and took a shower in their house and then went back to the church basement. The couple got take-out from their cafe and brought it back to me for dinner.

Then I settled on a big couch in the youth group room and watched videos on the big TV until I fell asleep.

The next day the preacher drove me over to the cafe where I had breakfast and then he put me on a bus to Eugene.

When I arrived in Eugene, I met a guy who walked me back to the mission where the staff promptly asked for my purse and cell phone.

I didn't hand them over and was soon back out on the street.

So, I walked back up to, of all places, an open "AA" meeting! After explaining my predicament, a man brought me over to a church parsonage next door. He knocked on the door and explained that I needed a place to rest for the night.

The preacher's wife slapped together a peanut butter and jelly sandwich while her son gathered some blankets. Then they walked me over to yet another church building where I stayed on a mat overnight.

The next day, I asked a guy in a car parked in the lot by the "AA" place where I could go to get some further assistance.

He gave me directions to the place where I met the woman I'm staying with now.

I will celebrate Thanksgiving with her and enjoy the company of some of Eugene's funky, funny local homies.

[UPDATE 2008]: I left the woman's home in Springfield, Oregon when I realized that all the woman really wanted was a clone of herself. And a slave.

One cold Saturday night in December 2007, I walked from her house to the metro train and took that to the city bus terminal. From there I rode a bus down to a mall. And then I walked over to the ramp and stuck out my thumb.

I finally got picked-up by a guy who drove me to Portland.

He dropped me off at the Salvation Army shelter in downtown Portland. They didn't have any room so I walked across the street to the Men's Rescue Mission. Where they rescued me. That is, they let me put my head down on my pack, and stretch out on a bench in the lobby. I slept there for the rest of the night.

I met a guy in the morning and we took a city bus to Troutdale. When we got there, we hitched a ride to The Dalles. A local organization there put us up in a motel for the night.

We spent the next day gathering food bags, a new backpack for him, warm clothes, laundry and showers.

Then we hitched out of The Dalles that night.

It was showering snowflakes as large as pine cones when a cop spotted us. He took us to a gas station at Biggs, Oregon. We met a guy that was pumping gas there who hooked us up with a ride to a truck stop in Umatilla. The cashier at the store there called his sister. She drove over, picked us up and took us to another to truck stop farther east on I-84. Another cop drove us to a rest area near the truck stop. I walked into the Ladies restroom, walked down to the last stall, went in, locked the door, put my pack down, sat down on the stool and fell right to sleep.

Early in the morning, I got up, combed my hair, washed my face, brushed my teeth and decided that I wanted to continue on alone.

So I found the guy, who slept in the men's room, and told him that I was leaving without him. He didn't like the idea and tried to change my mind. I then flipped him off and left.

[I won't tolerate whiners on the road!]

I slip-slided up the side of the icy interstate until I found a suitable place to turn around and put out my thumb.

A driver and his wife, from Tennessee, stopped their big rig and picked me up.

They drove me to Ontario, Oregon where my friend Renee had already left the key under the mat.

I've been here ever since.

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