I ask myself a lot of questions while seated in the captain’s chair of the Prius.
Does this Prius make me look smart?
How much does it pollute?
Am I fueling the oil wars?
Am I driving the planet to extinction from the comfort of my hybrid La-Z-Boy?
Will I cause a Silence Spring?
Am I pollution?
Do I really need to buy katsup-flavoured potato chips from a Canadian gas station?
Is the chip dust piled up all over my crotch?
Does the beautiful woman next to me know I just farted?
What time will we get there?
Is time just movement?
Am I moving at the speed of numbers in a clock?
Am I moving at the speed of the Universe?
Am I moving at the speed of starfish?
Did I just see a giant chainsaw-carved hamburger?
Some questions may never meet the answers of their dreams. But I’m a dreamer, a believer, and a Portlander driving into the axe-murdery woods of Washington, so I ask a lot of questions. Where is the best thrift shop in Centralia? The answer is a shop called Visiting Nurses. When I go there, am I visiting with the nurses, or is it just a bold statement like visiting will nurse what hurts? Either way, I find an old Cake CD, vintage camping gear, an empty photo album, and the opportunity to make toilet music in their bathroom.
Sera, my wifish-lady-friend, and I have a fetish for roadside spring water. In old town Olympia, there is a parking lot with deep-earth-cold spring water belching out of it like a revived drowned god. We stop to fill whatever containers are in the car. The crystal purity of this artisanal spring water reminds me to not eat so many potato chips while it helps me wash down so many more potato chips.
The evergreen state of Washington scares me. If I could skip driving through it on my way to Canada for katsup-flavoured potato chips I would. As a young artist, I used to paint lumberjacks peering out from behind old-growth tree trunks with a look in their eyes that asked, “Can I swing this axe hard enough to split that Earth Firster in half?” My fear of killer lumberjacks in Washington is only confirmed by the chainsaw carvings and propane tank Carcosa art I’ve seen there. I am not a True Detective, but I’ve seen enough to not wander far from the car.
My suspicion stays with me even when I’m in cute little Port Townsend. Thumbing through books at Thuja while Sera tries on sap-stained vintage jeans, I imagine this is all a trap. I go make sure she’s safe in the dressing room. She thinks I’m a pervert and just trying to sneak a peek at her perfect nudity. She is correct. Why can’t I resist this attraction to her? I have never had this sort of love take over my entire life until meeting her.
The Port Townsend to Whidbey Island ferry is 35 minutes of glorious wind-in-your-hair wonder. It looks like you’re cruising through the Salish Sea waters, but you’re officially on the aquatic highway portion of Route 20, aka the legendary North Cascades Highway, aka the longest highway in Washington! This highway reaches its asphalt fingertips all the way to the freeze-dried dirt of Idaho.
The moment we drive off the ferry and touch rubber on Whidbey Island, my butt cheeks relax and I want to hug a tree with my entire body. This place is safe from blood-thirsty lumberjacks. Why, you ask? Because they can’t swim to it with axes. They would sink if they tried. If somehow they made it to the island by maybe holding onto the undercarriage of the Prius (LIKE THE SHARKS THEY ARE) I would still be safe. The Captain Whidbey would protect me.
The Captain Whidbey has been protecting city folk like me since its construction in 1907. I like to sit by the skipping stone fireplace and melt into the 111-year-old log walls of the Lodge. What stories could these walls tell? How many of these stories have these walls seen repeated? Has it read this one yet? Does it have a romantic comedy ending?
The Lodge is just one of the places to stay at the Captain Whidbey. The Lagoon Rooms face a saltwater reflective pool and a contemplation bridge who are locked into the longest staring contest ever. Pretty sure the water will win, but anything can happen. Sera and I stayed in the cluster of Waterfront Cabins perched right above a secluded shell-covered beach. Rainbow bark peels off madrone trees hanging over the cove bubbling with sea life. We watched birds and fish try to eat each other from the comfort of bed. Later we would eat mussels from that same water in the Lodge’s restaurant. I wonder if mussels will someday eat me? Circle of life, Hakuna matata!
The beaches here are so nice they smile with sun-bleached driftwood lips and smooth moonstone eyes. We wandered down one of the long beaches falling in love with rocks and logs. Lifting them up in the air like cute little puppies in need of a good home only to be dropped in the sand or skipped across the water. We talked about living car-lessly and eating only what we can forage or grow locally. We decide we are going to live here, so I build a driftwood fort. It’s pretty nice and has a sunroof. Sera takes her clothes off to restore her Moroccan skin to its natural color. My Canadian skin doesn’t tan, it rusts, but I get naked and lay down in our new home with her.
Love is a shared vibration. The vibes that this woman and I share are insanely intense. Just ask the neighbors. These vibes are explosive. Could we be some sort of bomb or alternative fuel for adventuremobiles? Are these love vibes making us insane? Were we ever in sanity? Are we really naked sunbathing in a driftwood fort? Am I really on my knee slipping a seashell ring onto her finger and asking her to marry me? Did she ask me if I would marry her too? The answer to all these questions is yes! The answer to all the questions in the Universe on the road lit by love is yes.