Overlanders depend on their gear. After all, most of us are homeless in the traditional sense. The road is our home, and the gear we travel with can make or break the trip. As very active campers even in our old life, we were quite certain what cooking gear was going to make the list for the PanAm. Although we quibbled over and considered a few items, one item never in doubt was our Lodge Dutch Oven.
What drives us, we nomadic types? What causes us to leave stable jobs, lovely homes, friends and family, to throw ourselves out into the world? To force discomfort upon ourselves by the mere act of having no home base, no tribe to reach to for comfort? To live a life outside our comfort zone, both mentally and literally?
I held tight to her collar, repeating “drop it” over and over while every minute or two Porter chose to start barking, giving his opinion of Aspen’s hold on HIS squeaky toy. Channeling my inner dog whisperer I didn’t pull on the toy itself, instead merely holding her in place by her collar, all while striving for patience.
Lately we feel we have reached middle ground. With the house sold, we are no longer home owners, and yet we are also not yet on the road. We reside here in the middle, in a place in between roots and wings. Our situation reveals that for all of the things we miss, there is another set of things we appreciate in this interim time, even as we anticipate hitting the road soon. Perhaps the perfect analogy for how life will be on the road; a juxtaposition of the things we leave behind and the things we gain from the leaving.
During what has been a rather hectic summer for us, our camping plans diminished to almost nothing. Unlike our normal two-three trips per month, we were approaching mid summer with only our anniversary trip to Timothy Lake to talk about. But in spite of selling our house and family concerns, we were booked for a long weekend at the lake for the 4th of July, and we were NOT missing it!
Time is always surprising; It seems like just yesterday, not nearly 27 years ago, that I first locked eyes with Jim, in Ken’s living room. Jim, full-bearded and scruffy, just off the boat from Alaska. Myself, fully focused on going to school for international law and moving to Paris. An unlikely pair? Apparently not~ Six days after our first date Jim asked me to marry him, and the rest, as they say, is history. Astonishingly, June 2nd we will be celebrating our 25th anniversary. 25 years… it seems unreal, and presents a very literal example of how fast time moves by.
The forecast said 50-70% chance of rain. Perhaps high winds. It didn’t matter. We were going to the beach. Some are drawn to the vast, dramatic vistas of the desert. Some feel more attuned to lush mountains. While we love being out in nature in general, the ocean has a special place in our souls. I long ago realized that, while I love the contrast of the desert, the presence of water is what feeds my soul. Time in the mountains is always treasured, but needs to include water in form of lakes or streams for me to be fully happy. But the ocean, I am so drawn to the ocean, a curious enigma considering I get sea sick and am terrified of big waves and strong currents. I suspect growing up in the Midwest has scarred me for life! After a fantastic weekend camping with friends the week before, we packed up our little foursome and headed off into the weather to get our fix.
We spend a lot of time exploring Oregon’s many state parks. A LOT. So we were beyond thrilled to finally make our way to experience Cottonwood Canyon, Oregon’s newest state park, and check it out for ourselves. Opened in 2014, Cottonwood is a mere 30minute drive off of the mighty Columbia Gorge Highway, sitting scenically next to the John Day river.
We have, quite simply, been really busy lately. Busy at work, busy at the house, busy with friends. Simply busy. While this keeps us, somewhat, out of trouble, it also means we have been able to indulge less often than we prefer in our favorite activity ~ camping and convening with nature.
Rather than write a long narrative on the year that was, I wanted to simply look back on the photos. Reminisce on the thousands of memories, and countless adventures that emerged on this past trip around the sun.
In no particular order, here are some of my favorite moments of 2014.