Hood River bridge, it spans the Columbia River and connects Oregon to Washington.

I found myself at the Los Angeles Greyhound bus station waiting for my departure when she walked across the lobby. We made eye contact and I am a bit shy about stuff so I broke it quickly. She was pale white, very skinny, wearing what looked like a home knitted beanie and a ninja turtles shirt. I immediately liked her.

We both sat around the bus station lobby waiting for our bus, random people coming and going, when I noticed she was often talking to herself and I would catch, as I was glancing quickly at her, that she was swearing and visibly angry. I did nothing but watch her because I didn't want to interfere with a angry person at a bus stop. Swearing and angry, I was attracted to her, I could not help it. Something told me that this girl was unique.

My bus came and the call to get on board was made. I lost track of her and didn't give it any thought because I was about to take my first steps towards a broad journey across the USA. I planned on travelling to many cities, seeing some historical sites and hiking some beautiful terrain. I was going to be exploring for 2-3 months and had no reservations and no idea what was waiting ahead of me. Some people have a saying for this style of travelling and it's called "free spirit". Well, then that is what I am.

I loaded my bags under the bus and with my ticket checked I stepped inside the bus that would take me to my first destination, 16hrs away, to Medford, OR. I was going to hike around the beautiful Crater Lake. As I stepped inside and looked down the alley of seats there she was staring at me, the angry cute girl. The bus was just beginning to fill up and although the seat next to her was empty, so was the rest of the bus and I didn't want to be "that guy" and be obvious and sit next to her, so I sat directly across the aisle.

I took my seat and she and I exchanged a few glances. She was already in joking mood with a guy sitting right behind me. I quickly jumped into the conversation with a few jokes. The bus started filling up with the best of the funky people LA has to offer and as this happens she looks at me and says "you don't look like a stranger, mind if I sit next to you?" My heart jumps and I waive my hands above the empty seat next to me "of course, it's all yours".

Long bus rides are often horrible. Usually you are sitting next to someone who doesn't speak your language, someone smelly or even by yourself. The chances of sitting with a beautiful girl on a Greyhound bus is 1 in a million. But here I was, the one. She was travelling to Hood River, OR which was the stop after mine, so I had 16 hour bus trip ahead of me with this beautiful girl and I repeatedly told myself I can't fuck this up! Just be myself and hope that it was meant to be.

I am not great in conversation, I tend to be quite because I love to listen. But I wanted to keep her engaged and not creep her out so I let her do most of the talking. Her name was Monica and although I am labelled the free spirit traveler she actually lives it with her mind, body and soul. She has the honest personality, the looks, and she smelled like cinnamon.. a deadly combo that bewitched my senses. I fell for her.

We talked and listened to music and spoke about everything in the world. I had the movie Frozen on my phone and we shared ear plugs and cozied next to each other. I could feel her warm breath on me and I did my best to be a comfortable thing for her to lean on. At the end of the movie with us comfortably close she asked if she could kiss me. My heart raced and the feelings of butterflies in my stomach I reached for her and the breath nearly got knocked out of me. It felt like a dream.

We broke at random bus stops to take breaks. I remember being somewhere in the central part of California taking a break looking at old trains they had on display. She got out with me and I watched her walk. She had on what seemed like yoga pants? they were tight whatever they were and I loved watching her. She walked and knew I was watching, she knew what to do, she teased. I could barely contain myself and I couldn't believe this was happening. My first big trip across the country and I am falling for the girl whom I met on the bus. This will be a fun story to tell I thought.

We split ways when I had to get off at my stop. We remained in contact as I travelled about the country, trading messages and learning more about each other. I felt a genuine love more then lust. It was some time while I was in Boston that it hit me that I needed to go back to Oregon and find out more about this girl in person.

I booked a flight back to Oregon and landed in Portland. Again I got on the Greyhound and rode it to Hood River where she agreed to pick me up at the bus stop. Soon enough I am standing in Hood River and she jumps out of her car and into my arms with a kiss.

I stayed in Hood River for 2 weeks. We spent everyday and night together. We often walked around the city trying out the local breweries(they have 4/5 breweries which is a large amount considering it's such a small town of just a few thousand people), I am a big beer guy so that is just fine with me. This girl could drink like me and that surprised me because she was so small. Again, I not complaining about anything, I loved it. We had so much fun.

The moment I knew something big was going to happen between us was when we were sitting in a brewery/café place up on a hill that looked over the whole town. We were at a window table playing Jenga. Sitting across from her just looking at her made me the happiest person in the world. She gave me strength and confidence in who I was, she made me better. I felt like I needed to be better with her. I can't explain the feeling completely, but I knew I could not go on without it. I couldn't believe it all. How could I be so lucky?

I eventually had to leave and go back to work which meant I had to leave Oregon all together. We made our plans "for us". My life changed after that.

TL;DR Hood River is a great little town. Check out the breweries while you are there and take a walk along the hiking paths, fish in the Columbian River.

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