Dateline: Eugene, OR
It’s warm here and that’s ok
We acclimated to the cooler temps of Coastal Oregon, now we return to the ‘real’ temperate world we have known all our lifetime. I’m sure we’ll have some re-acclimatization to do. But there’s a bigger story than just temperature. There’s the whole ‘thing’ about water.
Leaving the coast where water is ever present but not always ever accessible leads to other travel-plan-considerations. Not the least of those is, will we find water there?
Water monitors are saying that California is having the worst recorded drought in their history. Where we had been — near Florence — we were at the tipping point between moderate drought and severe drought (there being two further steps ‘extreme’ and ‘exceptional’ drought beyond those). The drought statistics since 2011 have been very sobering, for those of us who have been paying attention. I’m not going to chime in on global warming — I’m not sure our weather ‘yardstick’ is long enough to know that Momma Nature is up to as far as climate is concerned — but certainly the weather has been a changing.
Water is always someplace in our personal travel calculations. Peg grew up in Toledo OH — Lake Erie being not far away. I grew up in Milwuakee. Together, we lived most of our married life in Milwaukee — on the Michigan Coast. And for some years we were within 1 mile of the shoreline. We walked along the shore as a matter of routine exercise. We talked along the shore as part of our major-decision-making-process. The lake, water, was always in our life.
On the Coast, we have been near the water but the hills and the sand have kept us from walking along the salty fluid. Yet we were comforted by it’s proximity. Water is usually part of our calculations about where to go and what to do. We put up with the lack of water for a while — and then we seem to crave it again. Or have we just convinced ourselves of that because our previous experience has just been a couple weeks here and a couple weeks there like most workers on vacation. Now’s our chance to find out… but first a story.
Low Water Alarm
Evidently water is the karmic reason for our staying this past weekend. I checked the pump house Sunday morning and guess what? The Low Water alarm was on! There’s a problem someplace here in the Siltcoos corridor and the tank is lower than it should be.
So, remember that phone I kept, just in case? Well, call Da Boss on her weekend; call her assistant on his weekend; chase around on our last day in town trying unsuccessfully to find a water leak. It turns out that Da Boss’ assistant did find the leak — we had enough water left in the 25,000 gal tank to service the campers who rely on this well and in the next couple days the pump will recover from the water lost during the leak and life for the staff will return to normal — just another major scare.
Glad to do it. I’m here and I’m mostly packed up… Why not?
It seems strange though. We have not had that alarm activate in the 10 months we lived in the compound. On our last day — there it goes. Just keeping the adrenalin flowing for one more day. A few hours of running around; a few hours of ‘feeling important’ because we were doing something important to the safety of a few hundred campers down the road; a fitting end to our ‘giving back’ even if it did get all the wrong juices flowing all over again.
Drier for Us
Ed La Grone, the Lane County Sheriff who patrols the dunes out of our work center stopped by to warn us about forest fires along what he thought would be our route to see Peg’s brother. Oregon is currently fighting two more fires — bringing the latest total to 14 here and more in Washington. It was nice of him to think about us in that way. Once again, it’s a testament to the caring nature of the people we have worked with here on the Forest and in Coastal Oregon.
We’ll be mostly away from water for the next few weeks. And in the short term that’s OK. But I have been thinking about how water will affect our travels long term. Can we two really thrive away from a large body of water? We have never tried. But when we hear about droughts it makes me wonder.
We have discussed between us the idea of RV’ing in the desert S.W. And we ARE getting that solar installation which sort of pre-supposes that we’ll be in open, sparser populated areas with access to the sun. Sounds pretty much like desert to me! We have yet to see how much time we really choose to spend away from large bodies of water! I know folks who boondock in Colorado at higher elevations who enjoy the rivers and mountain springs. There are tens of thousands who Boondock at Quartzite AZ yearly. We, as a couple relatively new to this lifestyle have yet to work out the details of where – exactly – we are going to go in the long term once we are better equipped to live off the grid. That too is part of our Life Unscripted.
We are off the forest. We have no volunteer gigs lined up. We are free as a bird. And it feels wonderful! What the coming year will have in store is a great mystery; just the sort of thing we were looking for when we started this adventure. It’s going to take a while to start thinking new thoughts; in the quiet moments my mind still tends to wander back to ‘our’ volunteers, or little details about our life @ Siltcoos. But gradually life will take over; one can’t expect to go from complete involvement to nothingness in two days. But we made the start; and we’re on our way.
Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll talk with you tomorrow.
- We topped out at 93º today in Eugene/Springfield.
- The trip over was uneventful — just like we like it. We left Siltcoos about 10:00.
- The coach is handling well. We have almost 200 miles on the most recent tank of fuel — We’ll have to figure out whether to fuel here when we leave, after we decide for sure on our route. I did some route planning today but no firm decision yet.
- We made our stop-off at the Reedsport office this morning. With me waking up early lately, we were there right at 8:00. After answering all the really good questions and we were on our way out the parking lot before 9:00.
I said my good-byes.
Belva (otherwise known as Da Boss) gave us a little basket of Oregon goodies.
Bob (her assistant) was particularly cordial and thanked us both effusively for our help.