I can still remember the surprised response from Paul when he first learned I was a backpacking and hiking kind of girl. It was our second or third date, and we were driving to Portland for dinner and Comedy Sports. I made some comment about my Walkabout experience at George Fox and how I haven't been backpacking in a while. Paul turned to me and excitedly asked: "you like that sort of thing?!" I was admittedly a bit offended that he didn't think I was that 'type,' but then again, he'd only seen me in my date outfits. :)
We registered through REI for our wedding and received some wonderful gifts, but couldn't put anything to use since camping weather had passed. Finally, on the eve of May 7th, we got our tent out of the attic, drove out of town, and pitched it in....... the REI parking lot in Tualatin! We were among the hardcore, rolling in at 11:30pm and setting up behind about 15 other tents. The Used Gear Sale was the next morning and we weren't about to pay full price for the remaining items on our wish list.
(ours is the last tent in line in the distance)
We fell asleep to freeway traffic and woke up to street sweepers and early arrivers. We unzipped our tent the next morning to find over 50 people in line behind us. Groggily, we emerged and said our good mornings to those standing 5 feet from our opening. We quickly made friends with the guys in line behind us, and they offered to hold our place while we got breakfast and coffee at Peet's across the street, as well as some teeth brushing and freshening up in their restroom.
As the clock neared 9am, the line scrunched up near the gate. As the gate opened, people started running, and I watched Paul take off in front of me. He went for the sleeping pads and I went for the trekking poles. We spent the remainder of our gift cards and his birthday money, and came away with:
- 2 sets of seemingly brand new trekking poles for $14.88 each (normally $70 & $120)
- 2 sleeping pads - 1 was discounted to $14.88 because it didn't have its original packaging, the other to $38 because "the core was cold" - whatever that means! (normally $70 & $120)
- hiking boots for Paul for $70. The previous owner didn't like the soles. (normally $125)
- booties for Morgan for $16 (normally $40)
- moldable insoles for $5 (normally $45)
- a backpacking pot holder for $2 (normally $12)
- a brand new Jet Boil because Paul's had rusted.... free! (normally $100)
These sales are literally the Black Friday of outdoor gear!
Needless to say, it was a successful camping/shopping trip. To top it off, we spent more gift cards at Bed Bath and Beyond, ate a free lunch at Olive Garden with a gift card, and then rode the OHSU sky tram, just for fun.
View from the top
We love shopping with free money, and it was a fantastic getaway for the two of us.