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After spending the last two months in Hillsboro, Oregon, getting ready for my trip, I finally moved out of my apartment, on May 31.  Yay!  I'm now at my dad's house in Bellingham, Washington.  During the past couple of months, I've been pretty overwhelmed and surprised by how much I've had to prepare for this trip.  This is what happens, I guess, when a planner (or a transportation planner, in my case) goes on a trip.  My task list since April included:

  • Fixing my truck.  That includes spending $1,200 for a transmission overhaul in April and $1,400 for a new differential last week.  So much for my 401(k), huh?  But looking on the positive side, the guys at the shop smile now whenever then see me pull in.

  • Installing a new stereo in my truck for those long drives across the desert.

  • Putting my entire collection of music CDs onto MP3 discs.

  • Buying a laptop computer so I can update this website, and making CD backups to take along.

  • Getting my finances set up so I can pay my bills as I travel.

  • Scanning my favorite 4,000 slides to take with me on my laptop.

  • Buying a Canon D-30 digital camera and learning how to use it.  It's an amazing camera.

  • Getting health insurance and taking care of other logistical necessities.

  • Scanning old family photos and documents to take with me.


  • Preparing a will, just in case I get too close to a saltwater crocodile in Australia.

My original plan was to leave in early April on a four-month drive around the U.S. before going to Australia and New Zealand in September.  But the two months of prep work that I spent in Hillsboro means that I'll be leaving in June instead of April, and that's shortened my U.S. trip.  Now it looks like I'll have only about two months to drive around the U.S., but that should still be enough time.


Before I packed up my apartment in late May, I played one last round of volleyball at Portland Community College.  I've played volleyball at PCC almost every Friday night during the past 10 years.  I haven't gotten much better over the years, to be honest, but it's a blast and the folks there are fun to play with.



Above left:  Friday night volleyball at Portland Community College.  Playing volleyball is one of the things I'll miss the most during my trip.  Anyone out there ready for a pickup game?

Above right:  The PCC volleyball gang at Applebee's after the game.  I'm the one who looks exhausted.


I started packing up during the last week of May and 125 boxes later, I finished.  After packing everything, I loaded the boxes and furniture into a U-Haul, drove six hours up to Bellingham, dropped everything off at my dad's house and drove back to Hillsboro, all in the same day.  It was a 22-hour day and I was so tired that, at 1 a.m., I had to literally slap myself to stay awake during my drive back to Portland.


The last week in my Hillsboro apartment was pretty hectic, and not very nutritious, either.  Since I was trying to eat up all my food in my apartment, my dinners that week were a little odd, consisting of large quantities of pickles, refried beans, olives, cranberry sauce, and two-year old Kellogg's Corn Flakes in various combinations.  I'm now at my dad's house in Bellingham where the meals are much better, and I plan to leave for my U.S. road trip in a few days.



Above left:  Packing in my apartment in Hillsboro, Oregon, near Portland.

Above right:  The move took a full week.  And 125 boxes.



Above left:  Moving out of my apartment in Hillsboro in the morning.  Here's my U-haul after six hours of loading. 

Above right:  Then after six hours of driving, I unloaded my things at my dad's house in Bellingham, Washington.  Then I did another six-hour drive back to Portland.  Boy, that was a long day.



Above left:  My refrigerator with five years of decorations.

Above right:  Dinner with good friends during my last night in Portland.  There are three engineers in this family:  Left-to-right,  Lisa (traffic), Mark (train), and Carl (telecom).  Great sukiyaki, Lisa!



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