First Stop: Portland
The most important question I had to answer when I decided to roam for a year, was what would happen to my sweet pup, Caesar. He's a beautiful Lab/Shepherd mix that I rescued 12 years ago. My mom wanted to take him but when she retired she moved into a place that doesn't allow animals over 20 pounds, and Caesar definitely cannot pass for under 20 pounds. The eventual solution is that one of my friends in Portland will take him for part of the year, and one of my Bay Area friends will watch him the rest of the year. He loves them both, and gets excited about spending time with them.
So the first step in my journey was to rent a vehicle and drive Caesar up to Portland. I told myself that I was going to leave the morning after my birthday party. Now you know I was in no state to leave early morning, and didn't end up getting on the road until almost 5 pm. Since it's a ten hour drive from Oakland to Portland, Pup and I hit the road and drove up to Medford, Oregon for an overnight pit stop. The next morning (the actual morning this time) we drove the rest of the way to Portland and to my friend's place.
I rented a Yukon Denali that I loved for it's advance features, but it's fair to say that Caesar was not feeling the rear bucket seats. He spent at least the first hour of the drive sitting between the seats and facing the rear, until I was able to coax him into sitting on one of the seats. He's clearly more of a bench seat dog.
Since I was leaving Caesar in Portland, the trip was mostly hanging out with Caesar, seeing friends I hadn't seen in a while, eating and hiking. It was the perfect relaxing way to start this journey.
We drove up to Latourell Falls and hiked the trail around the waterfall. The view is absolutely gorgeous and you should definitely check it out if you're heading to Portland.