The rain has re-joined us. There’s nothing like a grey motel on a grey motorway to lift the spirits. By the time we reach Downtown Seattle my shoes are flooded and no amount of lingering in the Klondlike Gold Rush museum is going to help our cause. The trek to Pike Place Market proves that miracles can happen. Suddenly the sky is a seamless blue. There are stalls of flowers, pickles and greek yoghurt, oysters, clam chowder: plenty of lunch potential. We choose fish and chips. Sudden realisation that I might not be able to cope with anybody else asking whether Hattie and I are twins. They always look so bemused: I’m just sad that we can’t do any tricks to complete the Freak Show Effect. The limp is still there as well; the rain returns with a vengeance and I’m feeling guilty for being grumpy in Seattle. But then we’re on the top of the Space Needle at sunset and I forget everything.
This time around Portland greets us with furious rain. Its probably a good thing we’re not staying long. Taunesha bids us farewell and I promise that our next reunion will be on halfway between London and Portland, probably in New York. A sobering thought. Blue skies by the time we reach Seattle. The bus drops us off in Chinatown, so we roll our bags under a table in the closest restaurant and do our best to look slightly less bedraggled. Cue much suspicious poking about of noodle soup, “I’m betting that’s a kidney. Yep, definitely kidney”. It takes an hour to reach our out of town motel (note to self: do not leave hostel booking until the night before). Despite the macabre reviews on Trip Adviser, we find no signs of bedbugs.
The day starts with a kitchen full of people and dogs slumped beside the stove. We douse our French toast and bacon with syrup and plan a day of Oregon exploration. A drawn out farewell to the resident dogs, cats and horses. Just like my eight year-old self in the hamster department of Pets At Home, I decide that I simply want to take every single one home. En route to Mt. Hood, we stop at the Marchesi Winery for a tasting session in the midday sun. Heading toward the mountain, heavy clouds begin to draw in around its peak. By the time we reach Timberline Lodge, our view from almost 6000 feet is limited to layer upon layer of grey. The Lodge – built during the Great Depression as one of many WPA projects – is utterly charming. The fact that it plays the part of the grisly Overlook Hotel in The Shining is soon forgotten. Until we drive away that is, and we watch as the rain thrashes against Timberline Lodge.