Again I have to preface this post with the fact that my dear friend "D", who would have been there for me, did not join us on the first day of the workshop. Not that she could have magically gotten me from point A to point B on our hike to Middle Oneonta Falls, but just having her there would have, somehow, given me more of a "Put on your big girl pants and don't whine." attitude. Considering that she was dealing with an RV supply store in Gresham, I figured I had better just continue on, as planned and stop sniveling.
Her simple plan was to buy a turn crank that we lost (never to be found again) in downtown Portland. We stopped at a wonderful photography store and decided to put our other cameras and equipment under the camper's mattress for safe keeping.We raised the camper, put the cameras under the bedding, lowered the camper and closed the door. When we got back to the motel we went to retrieve the cameras and realized that the crank was missing. We retraced our steps but failed to find the crank. We tore the camper apart but nothing turned up. This turned into a day and a half ordeal that ended in the selling of the camper to the dealer in Gresham.
She and I removed the camper from the truck (a Herculean feat in itself) that night. We worked on detaching it until almost midnight. We were able to lift the top up by hand and retrieve some camera equipment that we needed for the next day, but we couldn't get it back down without the crank. We couldn't drive the truck to the RV place with the top up, so we had to remove the camper completely.
She dropped me off at the meeting place the next morning and I went on with the workshop group and she drove to Gresham to pick up a new crank.We had a plan. She would met up with us in a few hours.
On the way to Gresham, she lost one of the connector plates (one of four) that holds the turnbuckle and chains keeping the camper on the truck. It was a busy freeway... cars swerved to avoid the piece of metal... and that is when my friend decided that life was too short for this kind of stress and anxiety. She had an epiphany. She got to the RV place and told the owner that she wanted to sell the camper and if he wanted it, it was his for a price. He would have to come to the Troutdale Comfort Inn and pick it up. He said he would buy it, sight unseen.
So she went back to the hotel until he arrived and emptied the camper. He came and picked it up. Then she took some generic Ibuprofen and slept for a few hours. Traveling, by herself, from Montana had taken its toll too. She needed to rest.
When I called the Prospector, his only comment after " Are you two OK?" and "You took the camper off
the truck? By yourselves?" was, "Woman!... camping!" Actually, I believe this was the first comment. After that, he wanted all the details.
"D"s husband was more sympathetic and understanding. He was amazed that we removed the camper too, but he gave "D" the moral support that she really needed. She wasn't able to talk to him at the RV place. He was not home so she made the decision on her own. Phones don't always connect you to a river somewhere in Montana. Sometimes you have to make the final decision all by yourself. It's one of those things that you don't often do without your partner's input.
"Oh, by the way, you know that camper I left home with? Well, I sold it."
No guts, no glory. "D" knew that one more day with that camper was one more day that something else could go wrong and she wasn't willing to take the chance. I say... good for her.
So, like I said, this trip taught us a lot about ourselves and our limits as older women. We like to think that we can do the things that we were capable of in our youth, but the reality is we are physically and emotionally different now. I learned that my friend that I grew up with and always looked up to, is a vulnerable, older woman now. She still makes quick decisions and looks for adventures, but she understands that sometimes you have to lighten your load, take a different road and find that place where you feel in control again.
We continued on, the next day, with a lighter frame of mind and all our worldly goods tied down with tarps and duck tape. We looked kind of like the Joad family in the Grapes of Wrath, only our truck was much nicer. We had bottled water, toilet paper and raisin bread from Costco... and now we could see behind the truck when backing up. This was a great advantage on the rest of the trip.
Everything that was in the camper had to come with us. We did have a back seat in the cab that was huge and where we put all of our valuables. This was a four door, heavy duty Toyota Tundra that never failed us. The cost of the trip went up a bit because we stayed in hotels instead of RV parks and campsites. but we decided that we liked the luxury of a bath and a warm room to crash in every night... especially after the waterfall hikes... especially on the Oregon coast. We adapted nicely.
I had pictures of the hike to Oneonta Falls but I will save them for another post. The story needs to be told... another day. It's about MY epiphany and the reality of ones limitations as we age.
"D" and I are both home, safe and sound. Life moves on and we (as you will see in the next few posts) had a wonderful time... after the camper incident.
Happy Father's Day to all of you who made the choice to be fathers and to those who worked hard at it.
Happy Father's Day to our dear son who loves and takes care of our grandchildren.
Happy Father's Day to my old Prospector. You raised our boys well. They stand on their own feet and have become good human beings. Love you.