We are getting quicker at breaking camp; today I disassembled and packed the tent away while my wife was getting the kids’ teeth brushed, and we were away by 9:45. (I had woken up at 5:30 when the pain of sleeping on a deflated air mattress was just too much, but hey…)

Our campsite required us to dispose of our own rubbish, which felt a bit much, but whatever: we packed the three bags of garbage we had into the front seat of the car, and headed to Cathlumet to dump it in a garbage receptacle.

When we got there, we realised we had stowaways: a bunch of ants crawling out of the bag, possibly desperate to visit Portland with us. So that was … fun?

The drive itself was uneventful. We stopped at Klasko to charge the car back up, outside a mall that was empty enough to feel deserted. The only places that were open were a hobby shop, a sports shop (which sold guns and camo) and the public library, which at least gives us hope. As we left, I found a reference book on money, which turned out to be as thick as a Bible, and included an example of a $5,000 bill. La Serpiente was impressed.

The drive to Portland was simple after that, although I was startled and confused by the city’s roads, and also because while Seattle is full of Subarus, everyone seemed to be driving a BMW. Badly. We’re staying at a hostel in a slightly rough area (well, all of Portland is a bit rough) and thus paranoid about the car being broken into. Something we didn’t have to worry about up until now. Fingers crossed we survive…

Beds, however, are fantastic. As are hot showers. I feel like a new man. The kids, meanwhile, took being in an urban environment as the cue to act out and bicker like crazy, which meant we refused to take them out for dinner (to be fair, they’d had a big meal in a restaurant for lunch anyway) but there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth. I hope tomorrow is back to normality. Or else I’ll go looking for ants.

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