Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A Vacation from our "Vacation"?

Greetings from Pendleton, Oregon!  We are staying for 5-6 nights in the desert side of the state, laying over for awhile at the Wild Horse Casino RV Park, while we wait for our host site to be vacated at Wallowa Lake State Park on September 1st.  There's really only one host spot that we fit in with our "whale" of a motor home, and we are happy to wait for it.  It's provided us with an opportunity for an bit of "down time" to enjoy being just the two of us.

We completed our job at Stub Stewart on August 18th, having collected 435 completed surveys from day-use park users who were willing to give input on their experience at Stub Stewart.  We were told we far exceeded expectations, which isn't really so much our doing, but reflects the willingness of park users and the value they put on the resources at the park.  We found many people coming to enjoy disc golf, mountain bike riding and horse back riding as day park users.  Either way, we are thankful to have completed our task successfully!  Whether we ever choose to collect surveys again will be determined somewhere down the road ... probably not.  However, our goal is to do each job we get to the best of our abilities, leaving a good impression on the park management, and opening up the possibility of being welcomed back in the future, should we choose to return to the park for a more traditional park hosting job.  Ranger Steve Kruger assured us he would like us to return, so we're very glad to leave in a positive light.

The day after completing our job, we were joined for four days by some host friends we met at Devil's Lake State Park (Lincoln City) in August of 2012.  We hadn't seen Bill & Judy Brock since then, but they were kind enough to spend part of their vacation month with us at the park.  It was such a treat to have their company, in the camp site directly across from us.  We shared dinner each evening and played games, getting to know them better.  One of the biggest blessings of this lifestyle is our new friends, each with their own unique story.

The Brock's have a home in Arizona, but escape to Oregon to avoid the extreme heat of the summer months down south.  They spend time volunteering for Oregon State Parks, and can also visit a family member in the Eugene area while they are up in Oregon.

It appears that we may just be steered toward visiting Arizona during a Winter at some point, as we continually meet new host friends and others who spend some portion of the winter months down in the area...  We never expected to become "snow birds".  We don't have issues with Oregon winters.  However, it just seems strange how frequently the Yuma area is brought to our minds...

The Saturday after the Brock's left, we had been invited to drive to Bay City (north of Tillamook) to enjoy a potluck with friends and family of our good friends and fellow hosts, Bill & Sharon Schaffer.  We look forward to hosting with the Schaffer's again this year at Wallowa Lake in only a few days.  While at their party, held at Sharon's sister's place, we got to meet the friends they traveled to Arizona with last winter.  In speaking with Jennie, I got to hear how they also like to stay in the Yuma area, near Lake Havasu.  The Schaffer's are now working for Arizona State Parks, whereas Jennie & Vern stay as guests in an RV park.  It was fun to hear yet a different option for staying in the same area.

I spoke to another couple of hosts from Alaska, who were working at Stub Stewart while we were there, who explained how they go down in October to work at a County Park in Arizona, again, in the same area ...  Then, the other night as we shared a shuttle back to our RV from the casino buffet, we met yet another couple who stay at yet another RV park near Yuma.  I'm just saying I'm wondering if God isn't leading us in that direction - perhaps next Winter?  Time will tell ...

Mia Victoria Elizabeth Landsiedel
We celebrated Steve's birthday while here in Pendleton.  This was another milestone year, as Steve's younger daughter, Ami and her husband William, were expecting our grand-daughter, due on Steve's birthday (8/27).  We spoke with Ami just as we left Stub Stewart on Monday, and heard there was still nothing happening ...  Then, on Steve's birthday, she went into labor.  We were excited to hear that our grand-daughter, little Mia Victoria Elizabeth Landsiedel, was born the morning of August 28th.  Baby, Mommy and Daddy are doing great.  One side effect of this lifestyle means we won't get to see her in person until probably November, when we are within reach of Beaverton, while we work at Champoeg State Park.  We're delighted to get to see her via picture posted on Facebook, and we got to hear her having her first diaper change by Daddy over the phone when Ami called this afternoon.  What a great time of life to benefit from cell phones and the Internet!

We were surprised, and delighted, to get a call from our good friends, Brian & Shelley Sundin today, as they were passing through Pendleton on their way to a family wedding in Idaho.  We were able to have a quick lunch with them in town before they needed to get back on the road again.  Our friends are truly a gift, and we love every opportunity to see them.

We are still waiting to see where we will be led to spend January and February.  I'm learning (slowly) to just wait and see what God has for us.  It is in true opposition to my inherent desire to plan everything in advance, and yet it really is the thing that makes the adventure all the more fun.

With our last couple of days free before we move on to our host job, we're doing a bit of housekeeping, laundry, and grocery shopping (Pendleton has a Safeway, an Albertsons, and a Wal-Mart!)  I will be limited to a family grocery in Joseph and a Safeway in Enterprise for the next couple months.

Being at the RV Park means we have convenient access to larger washers and dryers than mine here in the coach, so we can wash blankets in their machines.  I'm so thankful to have my own washer and dryer, even though they do smaller loads, and take longer.  They are still a real luxury over relying on Laundromats!  They wouldn't ever be able to keep up with the multiple loads of a family, but are perfect for our more simple needs.

My next post will be coming from Wallowa Lake State Park.  We are excited to enjoy the on-coming Autumn weather at this beautiful park, and reunite with the ranger staff, and friends, while making new friends.  What a wonderful life we have.

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