“Oh crap, she did it again!” Jim hastily rolled down the windows for a refreshing breath of fresh air, intent on dissipating the overwhelming scent of Aspens seemingly never ending gaseous emissions from the back seat. Our little family was heading to the beach for a fantastic three night getaway, taking advantage of a long Thanksgiving weekend. We’d started the day by enjoying a festive family dinner, leaving Aspen and Porter at his parents during dinner. We returned for them only to discover several pieces of drooled upon bits of something. Opps.
The drive west on Highway 26 appears paved in gold. Lined with thousands of trees displaying a dozen shades of red and gold, the wet road reflects the multi-hued colors, creating the appearance of a golden pathway leading to weekend bliss. The sun was setting as we pulled into camp, turning the calm bay as golden as the road ahead of us.
Darkness had fallen by the time we pulled into camp. Immediately greeted by Ron and Dario, talking over eachother, regarding the “situation”. While still at the office I had received the text from Dario advising us that they had taken over our campsite, swapping out with theirs, just next door, but we had no idea of the drama that would ensue.
The silence was deafening. And exactly what we were looking for. Day to day life had, in recent weeks, become exhausting. Yes, a certain amount of angst is simply due to restlessness in our quest to return to the road. But busy days at work, many chores at home, and spending most weekends away from home, the last admittedly self induced, had created an intense need to not just go away…but to get away.
Away from cell service, away from people, away from the cares of the world.
The old guys across the way looked on in awe, somewhat startled to see us donning fake mustaches and posing for pictures with martini’s in hand. Next up, several rounds of ladderball, still with cocktails in hand. Yes, it’s right, we have taken camping to a whole different level!
We recently camped at East Lake, in Central Oregon, for the first time and what a joy! Sitting at 6500ft elevation, in the Newberry Crater, it is absolutely a summer outing, but the gorgeous lake, high desert landscape, and endless night skies, more than make up for the chill in the air.
I tried to slip deeper into the corner as the six or seven men crowding the room chopped and stirred with deliberate haste. The youngest of them crouched on their haunches, low to the floor, in that way some cultures seem born to do and I have yet to master. Chopping boards rested directly on the not so clean floor as they chopped and sliced fragrant garlic, onions and tomatoes. Upon seeing the amount of chilies being added to the mix, I knew we were ensured a fiery curry tonight! Two men worked feverishly over large, dented metal pots, cooking down the mutton and vegetables, as the fragrant smell of spices circled above them. In spite of the cool desert air, perspiration glazed their skin.
I stood in awe, incredibly honored to have been asked to watch the dinner preparation, for in India, women did NOT cook outside the home. Intimidated by being jammed into a 10X10 room with these hardworking cooks, I reflected on the miracles of time and place that had brought me here.
Three knives, two cutting boards, and a two-burner hot plate. That was all required to serve up a fantastic dinner that fed the entire camp of over twenty. It forever changed my view of the “necessary”.
“We’re sorry, but we’re not going to make it this weekend”. The words rang hollow as we prepared to head to the beach for a weekend of camping with friends. Barview Jetty was the destination to join our dear friends Ron and Dario. Our friends Dave and Anne decided they would come along. Next Dario’s childhood friend Sheila and her boyfriend Randy thought they would make the trip as well. But on Thursday afternoon, Ron let it be known that they would not be joining us.
I could feel the sun beating down, in spite of the protection the sunshade above offered. May flies danced on the water as Aspen napped on my feet and Porter fretted over a passing beetle. It was a day filled with good food, perfect weather, long walks, and a marvelous swim in the lake. The hammock beckoned for pure camping perfection.
Funny, isn’t it, how once you just STOP over-thinking, and take the time to listen to your instincts, the day just gets better? We hadn’t planned on spending the night in Monument Valley. We had booked through Sunday night at Overland Expo and planned a long driving day to Moab. Instead, by Sunday noon, feeling disappointed with our Expo experience, and fed up with the unrelenting dust and wind, we made a snap decision to just pack it up and move on.