Long distance is hard.
The Explorer and I recently passed the 4.5 year mark. We’ve spent nearly two of those years apart. It’s hard.
I definitely believe it’s been good for us. I know being apart has made us stronger and better than we ever could have been if we hadn’t had to grow and learn through distance. Me moving to Seattle in 2010 was absolutely the best decision I’ve made purely for myself. And while it was really hard living three hours apart from each other, it was wonderful for our relationship. It taught us a lot about communication. It taught us a lot about making the most of our time together. It was hard, but it was good.
I was so excited to move back to Astoria and then for us to move to Montana, because we were finally going to be together. We were finally going to live together and start our life together, not three hours apart. Life is funny that way – you set your sights on a goal and plan for it, then someone gets a job 10 hours away.
Moving to Missoula and then having Daryl get a job back in Portland was hard. If I didn’t have great friends here, and I didn’t have a job I love, and I weren’t so excited to go back to school next month(!), I’d be in Portland with him. I love Portland. I have always wanted to live in Portland. But Missoula is where I’m supposed to be right now, even if it means we are apart again.
We’ve decided that while it will delay us getting out of debt a little bit, it is more important that we see each other every month, or as close to as possible.
In April I visited D in Portland. It was so wonderful to see him. We climbed Silver Star Mountain and had one of the most breathtaking views I’ve ever seen. We saw my favorite band, Blind Pilot, in concert with the Oregon Symphony. We went out to the coast, had dinner with my parents and Grandma, and saw two Bald Eagles fly down the beach. It was a wonderful visit.
In May, Daryl came out to Missoula for a long weekend. He and Nick skied St. Mary Peak and I worked the entire time. I was bummed I couldn’t go off and have fun, but it was wonderful having him home.
My birthday was on a Thursday this year, so Daryl came out for the weekend. It was laid back and wonderful. He also came out for a few days the following weekend and I was so happy to see him again so soon!
For July, it was my turn to travel! I opened at work, then hit the road. (Note: it is cheaper to drive three hours from Missoula to the Spokane airport, pay to park for the weekend [and even a full week], and drive back to Missoula than it is to fly out of Missoula. Ridonkulous.)
About 45 minutes west of Missoula, I drove by the West Mullan Fire, which at the time was 4,500 acres. Fire season is definitely officially here.
I purchased a ticket for the 6:25pm flight just in case I didn’t make it for the 5pm flight. But I made it to the gate as they were loading the earlier flight, so I snagged a seat and off I flew! It was an uneventful flight and I landed in Portland in a glorious 84°! The Explorer met me inside, I covered him with kisses, then we went to Breakside Brewery for delicious beers and dinner. I had the most perfect grilled ham and swiss sandwich with caramelized onions – I’ve never had a grilled ham and cheese with onions before, but it revolutionized my favorite sandwich! After dinner we went back to the truck and accidentally sat there talking for HOURS. No joke, probably two and a half hours went by between when we left the brewery and we finally started the truck to find a campsite.
We camped that night on an overlook between Portland and Scappoose. The next morning we drove into Scappoose in search of a perfect breakfast. We followed our usual MO of driving around a town until we find the restaurant with a million cars parked in the lot. Ichabod’s did not disappoint! The parking lot was full and we had to wait for a table. We each ordered our usual diner breakfast – chicken fried steak with scrambled eggs for The Explorer and biscuits and gravy for myself. They were so good! And I was starving and scarfed mine down before D made it half way through his!
We decided to hit the back roads on the way to Astoria. I love the windy roads to the coast, and the weather was perfect for a day drive. We ended up stopping at Fishhawk Falls. We got out to stretch our legs and took a little hike around the falls.
We found a great thimbleberry patch along the way and picked ourselves a nice little snack.
After we made it to Astoria and stopped by my Daddy’s coin shop, we decided we needed lunch. I declared we needed fish&chips, so Clemente’s it was. Neither of us had been before, and since it is the only place downtown that had cod (both of our preferred fish for fish&chips), it was perfect. And let me tell you – it was DELICIOUS! We got an order of fresh Salmon and two orders of local Cod. With Fort George Brewery Sunrise Oatmeal Pale Ale, of course! After a quick stop at the house to say hi to my Mama, we headed out to the beach so I could see my favorite ocean.
That night we were going to camp at Saddle Mountain so we could get up early and hike it the next day, but the camp sites were full – and the clouds moved in. We found a primitive camp site off the beach path of highway 26 and sat and talked for hours again. Even though we talk on the phone a lot, I always forget how much I love talking with Daryl. Just being, not talking with him, is wonderful. He is my heart.
Since Saddle was still socked in when we woke up on Sunday, we headed back to Astoria. Breakfast at 3 Cups Coffee House was just the ticket, so we sat and planned for Scapegoat. After we finished breakfast, we went to my parents house and hung out watching baseball. I love spending time with my family, especially all together!
That evening we all went to Fort George to check out the BEAUTIFUL new upstairs and check out the new wood fire pizza. Ack, I cannot get over how beautiful it looks upstairs now. My next trip I’ll get some photos, so for now you’ll just have to trust me. It’s perfect.
Leaving Astoria is always hard, especially when I have to leave Portland the next day to head back to Missoula. There was a part of me that really wanted to oversleep my alarm and stay in Portland with my forever love. It’s the same part of me that, when driving back to Seattle from Astoria, wanted to get off the Interstate to turn back around. Being with Daryl is what I want, but I know I’m supposed to be in Missoula right now. Without him.
Long distance is hard. Absolutely worth it. But hard.