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I have a friend, a friend has a Jeep, we both have mutual friends currently in Eugene, Oregon, one of those mutual friends was about to celebrate his 40th birthday, so...I road-tripped this weekend, for the first time in a while.

Okay, I was overly mannered and cutesy with explaining that. Here it is straightforward: Heather suggested we go overnight to see Gerald and Kristina, a couple we know who are currently in Eugene, two hours south of the Portland area. Heather knew my car wasn't available, but hers was, and she asked me if I'd drive. I was glad to. She arranged the trip, and dealt with some complications, and then on Saturday night she got over from where she lives on the west side of the Portland area to where I live.

The trip was manageable. At most only mildly eventful. We hung out in a Eugene apartment that belongs to people Gerald and Kristina know; Gerald likes to cook (and has often been paid to do it professionally; he's designed at least one bar menu, for example), so he cooked a birthday dinner for all of us to share. Hugs were had, too. I hadn't seen Gerald or Kristina for a bit.

Heather and I split the cost for a hotel room that night. If I remember correctly, I haven't stayed in a hotel since a family trip up the Columbia River Gorge in 2011. (Several trips since then, I'd considered getting a hotel room for myself but had always talked myself out of it.) We crashed at the hotel — a nice one, but one in the midst of remodeling — to be ready for the rest of the trip.

It takes longer to explain why this happened than to just say that it happened the way it did because of complications I alluded to above. Heather and I had nonrefundable tickets to a Nineties-style movie theater in Corvallis, about an hour north and west of Eugene, that was showing Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi. Sunday morning we hit the road from Eugene, got to Corvallis, found a Starbucks so she could get the tea she likes, and got to the theater.

I say this as someone who's watched Star Wars since I saw the first film at age 4: I cried several times at the film. This is a positive review of The Last Jedi. If I say more, I won't say more yet.

The complications that led to us making a special trip to Corvallis had this benefit: once the film was done, we were closer to home. We hit the road once more, me driving and Heather resting, and headed our separate ways at Beaverton Transit Center. I hopped a bus for East Portland — fortuitously running into another friend on the bus, and having a good and helpful chat —and treated myself to dinner (nachos! Tacos! Ice cream! All good!) at Beulahland before heading home.

For various reasons, I'm still thinking about the trip: some of it I won't blog about, since it's not my place to blog about some of it. But I can be a better traveling companion. I can work on that.

The trip was worth it. I hope the same is true of the next trip...and the next...and the next...