I consider myself to be a “glass half full” person. Certainly, I have moments of feeling hopelessness and despair (to exaggerate a bit), but most often I am what I consider to be a “realistic optimist”. I made that term up myself, so don’t be looking in any documentation for it. What “realistic optimist” means to me is that I realize that life inevitably comes with problems, however I hope for the solutions to those problems to be better than I am prepared for. I love looking back and seeing how things could’ve been so much worse, if not for God’s grace and goodness, and the goodness of some of the people we encounter along the way. It encourages me to keep on!
A new challenge developed on June 30th, during our trip to LL “Stub” Stewart State Park from our May and June home south of Monmouth. The day went really well overall. Our replacement hosts at Sarah Helmick had showed up about an hour early, but we’d been able to vacate the host spot early for them and hooked up the tow vehicle while they were getting settled into their new digs for the month of July. They had come from their home in Gresham, volunteering for Oregon State Parks (OPRD) for the milder weather months. We handed over all the tools, paperwork and keys, having said our goodbyes to our new friend, Ranger Steve, the previous day.
It was my turn to drive the coach. While we were prepared that Steve might need to go sit next to Parsley for a few minutes at least, we never heard a single meow escape her lips. She has truly been the most perfectly suited cat we could imagine for this life we now live. With our cat content inside her cute little cat carrier on her favorite blanket, belted onto the couch behind the driver’s seat, I was able to enjoy Steve’s company up in the cab. We really don’t travel that often (every couple of months usually), so we haven’t got to enjoy that kind of traveling much yet. It was a treat that it worked out this trip.
We have long envied (in a good way) those people in motorhomes, traveling down the road side by side. We thought it was so cool that they could just pull over into a road side view point and enjoy their lunch. The first time we got to enjoy that very thing, on a stormy day heading down the coast, it was like a dream come true!
We had such a lovely drive through the country side. Even pulling the Cadillac behind us, we can barely tell a difference driving our 400 hp diesel engine. Except for making sure it clears curbs and vehicles on corners, it’s a dream to drive. I love driving in general, and I love driving our big Moby Homa. It’s fun, no matter what, but I also take great satisfaction in being able to do it. Life is good.
As we drove through the small town of Gaston, we noted some nice wide parallel parking available along the main drag. It was perfectly suited to accommodate our long coach & tow vehicle, so we decided to stop and enjoy lunch, to ensure we didn’t arrive at the park before our site was available.
One of the really cool things we enjoy in our motorhome is the great battery power available to us. We are able to even use the microwave at rest stops. We have extra batteries and an extra hefty inverter as we have a residential refrigerator, not so different than the one we had in our Hillsboro home. The power system gives priority to keeping that refrigerator working, and the microwave is on that same system, making for some great lunches of leftover soups or stews. We never had that option in our fifth wheel trailer, where we just kept the fridge closed to keep in cold until we could get to the next place with a power post for us to plug in to.
After concluding our lunch, we hit the road again, turning onto hwy 26 for a period of time before continuing on hwy 47 toward Vernonia. Stub Stewart is about 10 miles south of Vernonia, perhaps 4-5 miles off hwy 26 on the way to the coast.
I noticed immediately that there were quite a few campers obviously leaving the park coming toward us. I mentioned to Steve how narrow this portion of highway 47 was, and how little shoulder there was. We are pretty “chunky”, and while I do fine keeping our rig in the center of the road, it always feels better if there is a little “wiggle room”. That was obviously not the case on this road.
|hwy 47 curve|
Steve said there had been a bridge. I never saw anything. I was just intent on not hitting that trailer. Immediately beyond the curve there was a wide enough spot that I could pull over. Neither of us wanted to go look, but I told Steve he had to make sure our basement bins were still closed, etc. He came back in to report that they were all closed, but that we’d definitely scraped down the side of the coach. Why is it that I always seem to be driving when these bad things happen, I wondered. Very major bummer.
We managed to get to the park, and into our site without any further issues. I did have to laugh when Steve was assisting me with backing in the coach into our site though. For most of our 20 years of marriage, Steve was the “backer-inner”. I would dance back and forth behind the travel trailer, and later behind our larger fifth wheel trailer, making sure he could see me, and that he wasn’t going to hit anything. In the early years I would at times dissolve into tears as I attempted to communicate correctly where the RV needed to be. We had some really tough backing in spots to deal with. Steve had to back up a side drive-way and then make a near 45 degree turn, then threading our former trailers into the “trailer port” he’d built especially for our first trailer. It was stressful feeling it was my responsibility not to let anything happen, while learning to communicate effectively with my husband. Steve learned to be very patient with me, and we found our communication style.
|Our former RV/truck at Champoeg - a lovely Autumn Day|
I had to laugh as I watched Steve use his fingers to try to tell me where he wanted the coach to be. At times he had both fingers pointing in opposite directions! I remember well those moments when I wasn’t sure which way to tell him to go. Now, it’s his turn! We will, of course, eventually get a set of hand motions that I can understand and that feel comfortable to him. I’m thinking perhaps we’ll adopt the motions the rangers we work with use. They appear very straight-forward and simple.
We believe that God does not promise to save us from all the struggles and problems of life. What He does promise is to see us through those problems and turn them into something good. I just listed 12 good things, and we have barely gotten started dealing with this current challenge.
|A little bit hazy afternoon view - still beautiful!|
I guess it is very clear that challenges come in life, no matter where or how you live. It is our job to learn to accept and work through each one as it comes and enjoy the moments of peace in-between. I’m sure looking forward to more of those moments!