Our First Time in Washington!
Okay, we were only ten minutes from the State line and close to Portland, but still. The passage across the Columbia River is impressive, crossing over a classic green steel bridge, high above the water. We tried to get photos but it was raining every single time, and you can’t stop on the bridge, guess they don’t want you to jump off! Besides, the traffic would pile up on your bumper any time of day.
This Vancouver, as opposed to the one in Canada, is on the north bank of the Columbia River just north of Portland. It is the fourth-largest city in the state – about 200,000 residents.
From watching the local news and reading the local papers, we came to understand that it is very much a part of life in Portland, and vice versa. Even though the state line is in the middle of the river between the two cities, it seems to belong a bit more to Oregon than Washington.
Our 30th House Sit
This house sit was incredibly easy and quick to set up. We sent a response to the posting, and the homeowner replied with “I’d love to have you.” We did come up a couple of days before to meet everybody and that was that. No issues, no drama! It was also very short – only four days and three nights, and it rained the whole time. Okay, I saw the sun for a few moments a couple of times.
The house came with a cat and two dogs. We didn’t see the cat enough to get a photo. She loved affection but it took a couple of days before she would come out of hiding and she didn’t like the dogs at all. She had a bedroom to herself and a gate to protect her from them.
The dogs were both rescues, very loveable and friendly, and good walkers. I had to suit up for the walks; they couldn’t have cared less about the rain.
Our Little White Furry Friends
When it was time for bed, in they came, right on our heels and up on the bed. I would wake up in the middle of the night to find one of them had burrowed down under the blankets! I don’t know how he could breathe under there, but he seemed to love it.
The temperature did get above 50 degrees mostly in the low 40’s. I would not be able to spend more than 15 minutes out in it, but I’m doing okay. Obviously, I sound like a wimp, and the temperature is nowhere near cold for most people. However, I’ve lived in Los Angeles for 40 years, and this felt cold.
I probably wore more clothes than anyone else. Wool socks, wool leggings, pants, long-sleeved shirt, wool sweater, and if I go outside, add on a jacket and boots.
As soon as we got settled in it was time to go – bye-bye Vancouver!
Our next house sit took us to Corvallis, a university town of around 25,000 students in the center of the Willamette Valley about two hours south of Portland. As with most cities we’ve visited in Oregon, it sits by itself, with no other cities close by – just fields and farmland. Signs nearby say this is the grass seed capital of the world.
The entire population of Oregon is around four million and almost one million, of that, is in and around Portland, with the rest mostly along the so-called I 5 corridor. So it’s a bit different from driving around Southern California!
A Warm Welcome and Dinner!
We found the city names in Oregon hysterical. On the one hand, it’s like driving through the east coast with city names like; Detroit, Portland, Albany, Newport, and Salem. The names of other places kept us guessing how to pronounce them. Many are Native American, and others insist that the pronunciation and spelling must differ – a lot.
Our home for about a week was on the west side of town in a nice residential neighborhood. Our charges for the week – one dog and one cat.
We arrived at the appointed time and had a lovely dinner with our hosts. As often happens, we fielded lots of questions about house sitting and our experiences with it so far. We had started writing things for our blog by then but were still far away from posting anything.
Our New Canine Friend
We nodded at each other, wondering again whether this was evidence of interest in our little adventures. After a sumptuous dessert, we went through the house and pet chores and then our hosts were off to sunny Hawaii.
As you might be able to tell from the photo, the dog was a retriever mix. She was nine-years-old and medicated for anxiety. She loved affection and playing catch in the backyard especially with her favorite red ball.
The house and yard were perfectly sized, not too big and not too small. Just enough room for a great garden, plenty of open space for the dog to play, and cozy hiding places for the cat.
A Clever Girl
This dog could open the glass sliding door herself! She would use her head to push it open and come back in (very muddy) all while you’re doing dishes. We learned soon enough to flip the lock and keep her inside: she hadn’t yet learned how to move that lever but given time…who knows? A smart pooch that one.
One of her favorite pastimes was looking out the front window and commenting on whatever came by out that way: trucks, cars, joggers, bikers, dogs, cats, birds. She had something to say about all of them.
All Was Well Until Walk Time
We had been warned. Her owner had specifically stated that she walks when she wants and where she wants, and that is exactly how it went.
There were a couple of days that she just wasn’t going to enter public life. She would get all dressed up and ready to go, but then change her mind on the way out and stand in the doorway. Stand as in “I will not take another step no matter what you say – save your breath.” And that was that. Other days she was fine and would take us out for a good walk, if only where she wanted to go.
She wanted to sleep in the bed with us and did a couple of times, but she was quite big, and the bed wasn’t which made for interesting discussions at times.
Thanks, I think I’ll stay in my Room
The cat was also nine years old and quite shy around new people and not so fond of the dog. He would come into the bedroom at night to lick Jim’s head but mostly stayed hidden under furniture in the living room or jumped through the cat door into the garage.
The strongest memory of our week was the rain. Winter + Oregon = rain. Yes, we all know that. But this was a different kind of rain. The kind that comes down in sheets and keeps you in all day or chases you home from a dog walk at double-time. Maybe find out whether your bike can get you home from a ride around the nearby college campus before you’re wet stem to stern. The kind when a dog won’t go outside. This dog knew just what to do on a rainy day: how about a long nap on the couch? That would be just fine. I’ll catch up with you at dinner time. Deal?
Soon enough, you guessed it; it was time to pack up and head out to the next house!
What’s Next – Another stay in Vancouver and Sonoma
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