The Accidental Vacation: Chapter Seven

Chapter Seven  Jumbled Vacation Journal 

Sunrise Golden Bear

“I had no problem writing in my journal when I used a mechanical pencil,” she grumbled to Vince.  “So I couldn’t find my pencil, and I quit writing.  I didn’t write anything yesterday, or maybe it was day three.  What have we been doing since we got here?  I remember the Trees of Mystery.  I’ve lost track.”

oregon trip 201320130915_0022139

Since he had nothing better to do for the moment, no lawn to mow, no sprinklers to fix, no chores of any kind, Vince sat down with Marsha and they started sorting through the hundreds of pictures in all of their cameras.  “OK, that’s enough for now,” he said, jumping off the kitchen bench seat across from Marsha.  “You’d better hurry if you are going with me.   Doyouwanttogo?Iwanttoleave here by 6:15 this morning so I can get to the car dealer by 6:45.” Vince took a breath.

“Yes, I want to go.” Marsha rushed to answer the last question she heard.

Vince continued.  “The dealer opens at 7:30, and maybe somebody will come to work early.  I want to be the first one there.  Then I’ll take you to Starbucks and you can use the internet there.  You haven’t written anything in your journal for five days!  What happened?  You can stay here if you want to work on your journal.”

“No,” she answered quickly.  “It’s ok, I wrote some of it online.  But now I’m mixed up.  Is it Monday?  I’m not used to being on vacation and being so out of touch!”

Klamath River Golden Bear “You know it’s getting late.   Are you going to take a shower?  You’re burning daylight,” Vince prodded his wife gently away from her computer.

Marsha now understood what her dad had said to her 30 years before when he told her that she made him tired with all her bustling around, and couldn’t she just sit still for a minute and talk to him.  It was all making sense.  She was almost over her cold, but felt she was still moving at half speed, and Vince was still moving full speed ahead.  She just wanted him to slow down for a second.  It was 5:30 in the morning and he had already had HIS coffee and cereal.

By 6:15, as planned, they were on the road in their red rental car, winding their way back to Crescent City to see what might be wrong with the truck.  While they waited in the parking lot of the GMC dealer, Vince alternated between pacing the lot, and checking his emails on his cell phone.  It was nice to have cellular service.  He barked a few orders of who to call and email to Marsha.  He wanted to make sure that things ran smoothly back home.

“Vincie, it’s only 6:45 a.m.  Hang loose a bit.  I’ll call them when the sun comes up.  Why don’t you go walk around a bit?”  Marsha knew he was antsy.  In all of her many years in education, she still hadn’t learned how to gracefully take orders and be Vince’s unpaid secretary.  She didn’t mind working for free doing community work, but somehow it annoyed her when he thought he was her community.  She had tried to train him for years until now he just mimicked her, “Isn’t there a better way to say that?”

a man on the move Well anyone listening or looking at him would know he was a little pressure cooker.  At five feet four inches tall, his 139 pound muscular build and tense shoulders told the tale that he never stopped moving.  If there was nothing to do, he adjusted.  It was time for him to make an adjustment somewhere besides inside the car.   People had started to arrive, so he bounced out of the car and introduced himself.  Men loved him.  He carried himself like a mover and a shaker.  His demeanor stated, “I am here to get this done.  How do you think we can get this moving?”

Time passed quickly for Marsha too since she had internet and cell service.  Vince kindly let her answer all her business emails, and by the time they had breakfast and got back to the trailer to leave for the day’s adventures it was 9:00.

oregon trip 201320130916_0002202

Daylight was well on it’s way, and it was beautiful.  The bright blue sky and 75 degree temperatures couldn’t have been lovelier.  The couple drove south to Eureka to check out the road and cancel the other nights at the KOA they had booked.  The attendant was kind enough to only charge a small cancellation fee, and they were on their way, but to where, they weren’t sure.  There was so much to see in Eureka.

Eureka Surfside Burgers1

First on the agenda was lunch.  Vince had not eaten much since 5:00 a.m., and he wanted man food.  That meant burgers.  Marsha had YELPED restaurants all the way from Arcata, and the one that sounded best was Surfside Burgers on Highway 101, the main street, which was also named 5th Street as it ran through downtown Eureka.  The weather was so beautiful that for that one day during the year they enjoyed sitting outside at a little table eating their burgers with 1/2 inch chunks of bacon smothered with two kinds of cheeses, tomato and lettuce.

SFW TAV Ferndale Cemetery171

As they ate, Vince poured through the tourist map he had picked up at the Eureka KOA.  “There is so much here, but I think my brother said we should definitely see the Ferndale Cemetery.  Want to check it out?”  His brother, Jimmy, had gone to Humboldt State, and was an expert in all things Northern California.

“A cemetery?  hmmm.  Sure, let’s go.  Why not?  Cemeteries can be interesting.”  It really didn’t take too much to keep Marsha entertained if there was blue sky and she had her camera along.

“This one is supposed to be famous, according to Jimmy,” Vince added.

SFW TAV Ferndale Cemetery102 “Wow, this cemetery has plots.  Unlike my journal, which has no plot,” Marsha joked.  Look how big the markers are!  This is the size of Ralph!”

SFW TAV Ferndale Cemetery125 “You could put two Ralphs in here side by side, Marsha.  Look at the inscription on this one.  Did you hear that woman over there that said she found someone here born in 1799?  Almost all the markers around here are from the 1800s”

SFW TAV Ferndale Cemetery122 Marsha was already in another world taking pictures of cracks in the walls, and lopsided head stones, dates, and moss on rocks.  Vince took the dog and walked up the steep incline to the top of the cemetery.  There was no point in calling down to Marsha.  He knew she would never hear him.  Vince wished she were up there so he could show her where to stand to get the best pictures, but he knew she would get irritated at him for telling her what to do.

SFW TAV Ferndale Cemetery168

“Sometimes,” he thought to himself, “I just can’t win with that woman.  She wants my help, then she gets mad when I tell her what to do.  Why can’t she just do it, and smile at me?  That would be a lot easier.  It’s a good thing I think she’s cute!”  Vince knew his 61 year old wife was no traditional beauty, but there was something about her smile, WHEN she used it, that he couldn’t resist.

SFW TAV Ferndale Cemetery129 Knowing and doing were two different things.  Marsha did eventually make it to the top.  “Come right here, sweetie,” Vince held his hand behind him for her to grab as he led the way over to his chosen spot.  “The view is great.  Just point your camera out this way.  See how you can get the ocean in the view?”

SFW TAV Ferndale Cemetery160

Judging from the look she gave him, he had been right.  He should have kept his mouth shut.  But obediently she turned to align herself to his body, and pointed the camera exactly as he told her, and snapped the picture.  “Was that so hard?” he thought to himself.

SFW TAV Ferndale Cemetery169 Marsha grinned at him.  She read his mind, and decided it was not worth it to make a big deal over his bossing her.  The day was too perfect.  She kissed him lightly on the cheek.  “That was a perfect shot, honey.  Thanks.”

SFW TAV Ferndale Cemetery PG

As they left the cemetery, Marsha struck up a conversation with a gentleman placing flowers.  It didn’t take long until they were engaged in a heated conversation about whether or not Southern Oregon and Northern California should become the 52nd state of the Union.

SFW TAV Ferndale Cemetery116“This area was all set to become the state of Jefferson before World War II,” he informed her, assuming she knew nothing about history.  These trees need to be managed, and the government just won’t let us do it.  Ferndale is dying.  There’s no industry here,” his ranting continued.

“Marsha, sweetie, we need to be going.”  Vince saved her.

“It was nice to talk to you,” Marsha smiled sweetly even though she wanted to punch him in the teeth.  Vince and Marsha headed toward the rental car.

The Gingerbread Mansion
The Gingerbread Mansion

“Ferndale is amazing.  I love this place!  It looks like it is still 1852 around here.  Let’s take our time and take some pictures of the buildings,”  Marsha  wheedled.

Klamath Canon199

She hadn’t needed to try hard.  Vince enjoyed watching her have a great time, and he loved the architecture as well.  If he had been thinking with his brain when he was in college, he would have become an architect.

Klamath Canon203

Architecture was his first love, and he knew he would have been good at it, but other priorities called louder than college, and he had been a good salesman, too.  As a bright young man, his hard work rapidly drove him to the top of the electronics company where he worked many years.   His thoughts of college dissipated in the fast running money stream.  He still enjoyed designing and redoing their home.  He was glad that Marsha enjoyed the beauty of the buildings as much as he did.

Quickly the day slipped by, and the couple headed back to their temporary home base in Klamath at the Golden Bear RV Park.

SFW Herds of Elk108 As they drove, Vince spotted a herd of elk bathing in the river, and pulled over.  Marsha jumped out of the car with about 20 other onlookers and captured the amazing views on her digital camera.  Vince snapped a few shots with his cell phone.

SFW Herds of Elk112 “There is another herd about 10 miles up the road,” warned a driver coming from the south.

SFW Herds of Elk124 When they reached that spot, the elk crossed the highway as if it were a meadow in their private forest.  Cars on both sides of the road stopped in the road, and everyone got out to take close up pictures of the racked celebrities.  The elk seemed used to it, stopping to pose as they crossed the street, or lay in the grass having a leafy picnic.  The effect was magical.  Drivers became instant friends as they marveled at the large herd animals.  Vince sat in the car worried that Marsha would be trampled.

SFW Herds of Elk101 Eventually a few cars inched forward around the herd, and soon the spell was broken, and Vince and Marsha headed down the road.  Both accidental travelers were ready for a nap, and they still had to figure out how Marsha was going to conduct her meeting the next night with no internet or cellular service.

The Accidental Vacation Chapter Six

Chapter Six  Settling in on Sunday

Sunrise

Like the fog lifting the in the morning sun, The Twilight Zone of optimism surrounding Vince began to burn off.  With each telltale defeatist comment coming from Vince’s mouth Marsha’s opposing positive comments became more frequent.  Vince relaxed and began to enjoy a real vacation.  “They’re not going to start on the truck until Thursday.  They have to get the part from Las Vegas.  I bet they don’t even have the part.  We won’t get out of here until Saturday.”

“That means we can settle back and enjoy this beautiful place,” Marsha answered naturally.  She would miss the cheerful Vince, but normal Vince meant that HE was relaxing.  “What do you want to do today?”

Klamath_1317R

“I’m happy just hanging around here for a while.  Look at these pictures I took this morning.”  Vince took out his cell phone and shared some gorgeous sunrise pictures with fog clinging to the redwoods on the hill and sun sparkling on the Klamath River as it charged its way to the Pacific Ocean a half mile away.  The fishing boats had either gone back to their winter homes or lay still in the docks.  Water lapped rhythmically against their sides, a metronome for the chirping birds catching their breakfast.

Klamath_1319R

Marsha couldn’t argue with the natural beauty that surrounded them.  She and Puppy Girl made several rounds around the RV Park.  The manager tanned from many years in the sun, and missing many teeth from years of neglect and poverty rode up on his bicycle to chat as the couple walked down to the dock, this time with Marsha carrying the camera.

SFW TAV Golden Bear101R

“Have you been here before?  People stay here for months at a time.  You just missed the salmon run.  It slammed!  This couple here,” he pointed to a man maneuvering his boat toward the dock, “they’ve been fishing here for years.  They are both retired police officers.   Gil caught his first fish in 1957.”

Even a distance Marsha didn’t think Gil looked old enough to be catching fish in 1957, but she had her first and only fishing experience at age 9, so she supposed he might have started fishing at an early age.  Soon his wife joined him.  Marsha, sitting on the dock snapped pictures of her appropriate fishing boots as she approached.

DFW TAV Golden Bear

“Take a picture of where I ran into a wire.  It took forever to heal, but it’s almost  gone now.” The attractive blond with a ranger hat modeled for Marsha’s camera.

SFW TAV Golden Bear 208R

“We’ve heard you are good at catching salmon.  You just made two new best friends,” Marsha called down to her, flashing a beaming smile teasing, as the couple revved off in their utility boat.  They waved back, and were gone.

You can come down here and see the little otters playing in the evening.  Marsha snapped a second too late, but he was there.
You can come down here and see the little otters playing in the evening. Marsha snapped a second too late, but he was there.

“You two should go up to the lookout point, right over there on the north side of the Klamath,” the friendly manager offered his tour guide advice to the neophytes.  “You can see the mouth of the river, and the jetty where all the fishermen just catch salmon from the dock.  Then if you go across the Golden Bear Bridge, you can go up the other side.  Those are nice drive.  Have you been to the drive through tree?  That makes a great picture.”  He chatted for several minutes before his wife came and put him to work again.

SFW TAV Golden Bear 209R

Vince, tired of standing on the dock watching Marsha take pictures of the seaweed decorating the dock’s underbelly, headed back to the chairs that lined the shore.  “I say we go to the Trees of Mystery that’s just down the road today,” he called as he left her sprawled face down camera pointed into the water.  “Don’t drop your camera!”

"It's so cool," Marsha called to her impatient, worried spouse.  Sometimes she wondered later what made her so enthusiastic.  This was one of those times.
“It’s so cool,” Marsha called to her impatient, worried spouse. Sometimes she wondered later what made her so enthusiastic. This was one of those times.

Vince couldn’t believe his wife could be so klutzy.  She had already dropped her camera, with its brand new lens on the ground when she took it off the tripod.  She broke another lens trying to climb up on a wall and misjudged the step, smashing it on the rock wall.  She didn’t even wear the watch he gave her since the last one had fallen in the toilet, and another smashed on a grocery cart.  “I might lose it,’ she had told him batting her innocent looking blue eyes.  He bet she didn’t even know where it was.  It amazed him that she could wear clothes without some catastrophe.  Her wedding ring sat on the table by her bed, having rubbed a finger sized bulge onto her finger.  Earrings turned her ears green then red and oozing – if she didn’t lose them first.  Necklaces with delicate chain links or clasps broke, and if there was any inexpensive jewel, it dropped off unnoticed by his unobservant wife.

SFW TAV Golden Bell 211

“Come on, let’s go.  You’ll find some more mossy stuff on the trees you can photograph.”

With child-like obedience Marsha rolled over and stood up to follow Vince as he strode away, confident that she would do just that.  They left Puppy Girl at the trailer, and ventured out in the rental car to see the Trees of Mystery, a famous spot they would have missed if the truck hadn’t broken down.  Paul Bunyan and Babe welcomed them, and directed them to pay at the gate and make themselves at home.  “Take your time,” the ticket person said.

SFW TAV Trees of Myster 103R

Just as Vince remembered from forty years before when he brought his three-year old son to see the trees, the Trees of Mystery didn’t disappoint.

Vince and Marsha posed as biker people snapped their picture at the top station of the sky cab.
Vince and Marsha posed as biker people snapped their picture at the top station of the sky cab.

In addition to the carved redwood statues, and ancient living giants, the Yurok Tribe had added a sky cab that escorted them to the top of the mountain, where even the tallest trees became tiny as they ascended.  From there they could see over the mystery forest to the ocean.

SVW TAV trees of mystery at the top

Like gazing at the Grand Canyon, after seeing pictures of it for years, Vince and Marsha stared at the magnificent forest framed ocean view, posed for pictures, and then stepped back onto the moving sky cab to go down.  “The trees are beautiful from up here.   So is the ocean,” they both agreed as the cab descended, then stopped, then descended again.  “It looks just like the pictures.”

SFW TAV Trees of Mystery skycab1

“You have to be patient to take good pictures,” Vince told her like the father lecturing his 10 year-old daughter.  Marsha let him walk on ahead and enjoy the walk back down at his own pace.

Marsha took this one for her friend, PT.
Marsha took this one for her friend, PT.  The frog was certainly patient as he posed for the picture.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah.  Like anyone can be patient with Mr. “We’re Burning Daylight Here” pushing all the time,” Marsha muttered as Vince raced down the path in front of her.  Sometimes wanted to punch him, but that wouldn’t change his natural mothering tendency, nor was that her way.  He still treated his grown son the same way.  In 43 years Vince, Jr. had learned to tease his dad out of it.  In twenty, Marsha still steamed quietly and went her own way.

SFW TAV Trees of Mystery VR
“Hehehe,” she muttered as she snapped his picture getting the same result over and over again.

Clear down out of sight, Vince called up to her, “Take my picture down here in the Cathedral Trees.”  He spread his arms as if preaching to the multitudes, and beamed a happy face up to her.  She snapped several pictures.  “Was it the camera setting, or did Vince just move THAT fast?  Maybe my camera broke,” Marsha thought as she checked each picture after she took it.

ooops
ooops …  His countenance lost its happy glow.

“You moved, Marsha.  You ALWAYS move just as you snap the picture like you see something else you should take,” Vince instructed helpfully when she explained that she DIDN’T get the one picture or which he voluntarily posed.  Maybe she would kill him in another life.  It didn’t help that he was usually right.

SFW TAV tall mystery treesR

After about two hours the tourists had taken every record shot, every sign.  After a quick spin through the gift shop, Vince and Marsha headed back down the familiar section of Highway 101 to their new digs at The Golden Bear RV Park.   No internet meant they would have to just sit outside and enjoy the healing sunshine.  Marsha’s cold was melting away like ice on the hot pavement, but she could sure use an afternoon nap.

What do you think, Sir?  Is a midday nap a sin?
What do you think, Sir? You look a bit tired. Is a midday nap a sin?

Is it a sin to take a nap when the weather outside is perfect, and be awake all night reading or writing?

"And you, Sir?  What is your opinion of napping on a fine day like today?"
“And you, Sir? You don’t look like you sleep much.  What is your opinion of napping on a fine day like today?”

What do YOU think?

Accidental Vacation: Chapter Five

Chapter Five Has The Transmission Come Yet?

unretouched sky, bright blue
bright blue sky not retouched by Photoshop,  new red rental car

Vince remained in his Twilight Zone of Optimism for several more days after the truck’s transmission lost everything but first gear and reverse.  The sun shone into their little palace on wheels early on Sunday morning.  Vince was ready with activities before Marsha awoke.  He scoped out Crescent City the night before when he went there to get the rental car.  Only sixteen miles north of Klamath, it bustled with history, restaurants, and best of all, internet and cellular service.  He knew Marsha would appreciate that.

The smell of fresh coffee and rays of sunlight drove Marsha from her warm bed.  “Let’s go to Crescent City today,” Vince announced still in his cheery mode.  There are lots of things to do, and I want to take you to breakfast.”

“That sounds good.  Do you want to go check on your truck?”

Vince was the kind of guy that checked and double-checked everything.  He checked the bank account balance several times a day to make sure it hadn’t been hacked.  He asked Marsha about every check.  Then he checked the credit card account, and asked Marsha about each charge.  Every day he checked the pool, swept it, skimmed it, put chemicals in it.  Before every swim, or just when he happened to go out and see a flower bud floating across the surface, he cleaned it again.  Marsha knew he would want to go up to Crescent City to see if his truck was still sitting safely in the lot at the GMC dealer.  He did.

20130915_0613166R “There’s a famous lighthouse here,” he told her after they finished a delicious breakfast.  “How is it that she doesn’t weigh 600 pounds?” Vince thought to himself as he watched her clean her plate making sure to wipe away every trace of cream cheese frosting drizzled on the blueberry pancakes.  “Good thing.  A woman can never be too skinny or too rich.  She’s pretty well maintained for 61,” he continued musing.

“You look so pretty,” he voiced his thoughts a little more flatteringly.  “My beautiful wife.  I love you sweetie.”

“I love you too,” she answered as she always did.  They had their rituals.  Just like when Vince’s son called and they were ready to hang up, Vince never hung up without saying, “Here’s a hug,” and making a little hug sound over the phone.

"That dog looks like PG."
“That dog looks like PG.”

Battery Park was huge, but not nearly as interesting as the jetty, pier and the lighthouse.  Both camera bugs took pictures of the lighthouse on top of the hill.  To reach it people crossed over the rocks, a stepping bridge across the mouth of a stream flowing into the ocean.

I won't let you fall, Puppy.  Hold on tight to my arm.
“I won’t let you fall, Puppy. Hold on tight to my arm,”  the wind blew her words out to sea past PG’s outstretched, listening ear.

“Do you want to go across?”  she asked, not feeling overly adventurous.

“No, you need high boots unless you are prepared to get wet.  Do you want to get wet?”

"Looks like high tide," Marsha thought to herself.
“Looks like high tide,” Marsha thought to herself.

Marsha knew he had her there.  It wasn’t that she minded getting wet.  In fact, she loved it.  But what other activities did Vince have planned? This was a rare occasion, and she didn’t want to ruin it by getting wet and wanting to go change.

Remembering one time she had gone kayaking in Monterey Bay with friends from work, Marsha hesitated.  Even though they wore wetsuits, she experienced soaking wet shoes.  Not realizing that the boat would let in water, she wore her only pair of shoes into the boat.  Bare feet, being more comfortable than sloshy shoes, Marsha removed her shoes after she gracefully landed the boat and literally rolled over in the surf a few times getting out of it.  The group wanted to go eat after their strenuous excursion.  She had put her wet shoes in the car, but the eatery clearly stated, “No shoes, no shirt, no service.”  Her boss shielded her as she scooted through the door shoeless.  That memory cautioned her.

“No, thanks,” she answered after giving the idea some thought.  Although the hill and house called her, she resisted.  Let’s walk out on the jetty.”

20130915_0600153R
“DANGER: Deadly waves at any time. Jetty unsafe for walking.”

“It says it’s dangerous at all times.  Do you want PG to be swept away by an ocean wave?”

20130915_0615168
“Don’t let go, Mom. That looks like water down there.” PG’s thoughts were a clear as if she actually uttered them.

Visions of whether she would let go of the leash and lose PG or be swept out to sea with her aquaphobic doggie kept her moving away from the jetty towards the safer boardwalk.  A young couple with their two dogs joined them on the boardwalk.  One dog was a huge pit bull, the other a terrier, smaller than PG’s slight 9 pounds, pranced side-by-side looking like Mutt and Jeff.

20130915_0622175R

Fisher people with their empty poles dotted the boardwalk.  A couple from Medford, Oregon escaped the 100 degree heat to catch crabs in the bay.  Several huge crustaceans lounged unsuspectingly in their blue plastic bucket.

20130915_0620173R Soon it was time to leave.  There was lots to do, and they still wanted to see the Trees of Mystery.  They wound their way through the Redwood Highway back towards Klamath towards the mysterious trees where yet another adventure awaited them.

20130915_0457133R

Work would start on the truck tomorrow.  Or would it?  Stay tuned.

Does your dog or pet have any phobias?  How about you?

Accidental Vacation Chapter Four

Chapter Four

“The car rental agency in Crescent City, CA had one car.   We have water, and we have food,” Vince stated abnormally joyfully.  He flashed his wife a boyish grin.  “It’s actually kind of enjoyable here,” as he headed out the door to catch a ride with the tow truck driver.

oregon trip 201320130914_1106231R

The road between Coos Bay and Klamath, California couldn’t have been more beautiful.  The fog looked like an elegant veiled gown draped across the beautiful landscape succeeding in making it more seductive.  Each more curve in the road revealed yet another grove of tall elegant lacy redwoods, their symmetrical branches dangling moss speckled in mist.  Every once in a while the redwoods would part, and frame a perfect view of the Pacific Ocean, gleaming white foam radiating a fine spray to the top of the cliff feathering to the tips of the giant trees.

20130915_0958510R

The car went through a series of jerks going up the grade.  “What are you doing?”  Marsha asked Vince, who typically tested and retested everything to make sure things worked correctly.  “This really isn’t the place to be testing out the brakes.”  For some reason it didn’t occur to her that he would not be testing the brakes going UP the grade.

“That’s not me,” he answered seriously as they entered California.  Only 10 hours  or so to go before they got home.

20130915_0936488

Marsha had visions of ending up at the bottom of the cliff waiting for the rescuers.  She was still concerned about brakes.  “Even new brakes fail,” she thought to herself.  They pulled over and watched a rescue operation, and gave the truck a chance to rest and recuperate from pulling its unaccustomed load up the long steep climb.  “It wasn’t any steeper than this over Interstate 5, or was it?  Well it wasn’t this pretty,” she continued her internal conversation.  “Well, it was gorgeous, and not wet, but there’s nothing like having semi wheels rolling down the freeway less than 12 inches from your face at 80 miles an hour,” she reasoned, confirming to herself why they had chosen the longer coastal route over the freeway.

20130915_0923475R

Vince pulled over just north of Klamath, CA.  “I’ll be right back.  You wait here with the dog while I check things out.” Vince disappeared inside the Jet Boat Tours Store.  Within minutes he came back, bubbling with enthusiasm.  “The man in there says that there’s a steep grade up ahead, and they have a nice RV park here,” he told her when he returned to the truck.  “What do you want to do?  Do you have cell service?”

Marsha knew that his mind was already made up.  There may as well not have been any punctuation marks between the two questions if she had seen the words typed out instead of spoken.  In fact there might not even have been space between the words either.  What she heard was, “Whatdoyouwantododoyou have cell service?”

“No,”   she answered before he started his next sentence.

 

20130915_0462138RWF

“I’ll go check us in.  I think that is best.  Is that ok with you?” he said in one breath.

“Muh huh.  I’ll wait here with the dog.”

Somehow she missed the part when he told her they weren’t going to even look at the truck until Monday.  She walked over to the campground office to use the phone.  She cancel their reservations for that night in Eureka KOA.  Then she went back and canceled the next few nights in Eureka, and the following one at Durango RV in Red Bluff.  She had already cancelled the KOA in Sacramento, and she had thought she was done.  The truck would be fixed Monday, and they would be on their way.  She could be optimistic, too!

oregon trip 201320130915_1085284RWF

The campground manager rode around on his bike back to the office.  “There’s no TV service here,” she told Vince when she got back from the next trip to the office.  “No phone, no internet.”  It was a good thing they had brought a deck of cards.

“We’ll be here until Tuesday.” Vince told Marsha as they drove to dinner.  The paper on the wall of the campground office advertised a “Prime Rib dinner for only $15 a plate.”

“Tuesday, …..  I told the woman in Eureka, we’d be there Monday.”  Marsha knew she was whining a little when she realized another call was in order.  In fact it was beginning to dawn on her that they would probably not even stay at Eureka.  They would drive on to Red Bluff.

The Country Club turned out to be a smoky bar just a half-mile from the campground. They ordered at the door, and paid the glum cashier-waitress.  Vince heard the total incorrectly, and reached into his pocket and pulled out an extra five.  The glum one looked at Marsha with a challenge in her eye, gave her the change from the original amount, and quickly latched onto the extra five without batting an eye or uttering a thank you.  The prime rib dinner, which had sounded so good on the flyer, reminded Marsha of a potluck dinner at the Nazarene Church, except that they didn’t have to stand in line to dish their own food on paper plates.  The same well-used waitress came by and threw a rolled up napkin at her side of the table.  Wrapped inside was the silverware.  Vince asked her if he could have some silverware, too.  She nodded, seeming irritated that he should ask for silverware with a burger and fries order.  After about a half hour of watching the two elderly servers carve and serve the rest of the customers, Marsha’s meal arrived.  Marsha decided that the mashed potatoes on her foam plate were probably as instant as the gravy.  The canned green beans had bits of bacon and onion in them just like her mom used to make. The prime rib slab was real meat that probably weighed three pounds.  She decided to take 90% of it home.  She knew Vince would throw it away in a couple of days, but she couldn’t bear to discard it at the Country Club.

“Isn’t smoking illegal even in bars?” Marsha wondered almost to herself.

“It is in California,” Vince answered as if magically his ears were open to her mutterings.  “Oh we are in California.”  He touched the ashtray in the center of the table absently as he said it.  “It doesn’t look like it’s enforced,” he finished with a little grin.  They didn’t realize they were on Yurok tribal lands.  Reservations have different laws, and even have their own police force.  The Yurok Tribal Police car rolled by them as Vince and Marsha left the Country Club Diner.  The foreigners were pretty sure that the enforcement officers weren’t going to the Country Club to enforce the no smoking in public buildings law.  They looked like prime rib kinds of guys.

By 7:30 Vince lay curled up on the couch with his head resting on his arm, and his mouth open.  It had been a stressful day, even for the optimist.  He would be uncomfortable when he woke up, but he was nowhere close to that yet.  The book that he dug out of the cabinet to read, lay closed on his lap, and his chest moved rhythmically with each breath.  Vince never snored.

Marsha read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz – for the first time.  Puppy Girl put herself to bed in the bedroom.  She wasn’t stressed.

oregon trip 201320130915_0044168R

She had her tribe.

What is your home away from home?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Accidental Vacation Chapter Three

Chapter Three Finally Camping

oregon trip 201320130912_0109105The next morning Marsha and Puppy Girl checked out ATV prices at the log cabin store next to the campground.  For only $45 an hour she and Vince could chase each other around in dune buggies.

She also figured out that if she flushed the toilet to add the sewer sweetener, the smell hissed out, and the flap didn’t close properly.  If she pressed the foot pedal up after emptying the tank the little lid closed tighter.  However, the toilet emitted an enduring, foul-smelling burp as though it didn’t know what large quantities of breath freshener had just been poured down its gullet.

oregon trip 201320130912_1222187

“I rented ATVs with Jason once,” Vince called out to her as she emerged from the back.  Mine broke down.  It seems like I had to do a lot of walking.  We ended up with dust everywhere.  It’s really fun, though.  Jason wanted to go every weekend.   ATVs can be dangerous, though.  You have to be really careful where you go.”

oregon trip 201320130912_1219184Marsha knew they were not going to rent ATVs and chase each other around the dunes.

While they parked at The Dunes KOA, it was an easy drive to go north 30 miles to sight see in Florence, or 20 miles south to Coos Bay.  The decided that their favorite was Florence.

oregon trip 201320130912_1196161

The two days in Reedsport flew by just taking care of business.  Of course, to be legal and safe in Oregon, the truck needed a new hitch and mirrors.  Vince had already spent about $3,000 on the truck before he left home making sure that belts and hoses were current, and the brakes were in good repair.  “Even if we have to buy a new motor, it’s only about $5,000,” he assured her.  Vince arrived at Porter’s in Coos Bay, Oregon before 8:00 a.m. and they fixed the truck right up.  It only cost another $500, he told her two days later.

They even had some time to check out the Myrtlewood Factory next door to the Oregon Dunes KOA.

oregon trip 201320130912_1218183
Yep, Marsha in the truck – check. PG – check. Vince – oh yeah, he drove.

Outfitted properly Vince roared away from their first campground in the ATV country of the Oregon Dunes, hauling his new trailer confidently through the twisty turns of the California Redwood Highway 101.

20130915_0950502R

The odometer turned 155,555 miles on their navy blue GMC ½ ton Sierra as Vince snapped a picture on his iPhone. Marsha immediately texted the picture to their friends, with the caption, “and still going strong.”

oregon trip 201320130914_1116241That should have foreshadowed interesting things to come.

Have you ever bragged when you shouldn’t have?  Ooops….  What did you say?