Sometimes you have to throw caution to the wind. And Just Go. Even though the timing is less than perfect. Even though funds are depleted. Even though all those vigilant voices in your head whisper, "No, stay the course because this nice black man you voted for wants you to buck up, dust yourself off, be a good citizen and make some sacrifices so that we can all be better people."
Or, you can just spend a ridiculous amount of money to have unprotected sex in the wilderness.
Here's the thing: the Ranger and I work with the public all day long. It's a hard, sometimes joyless slog, even if its work we love. So escape for us means, no whining, no customer service, no sucking it up, no "thank you, ma'm, may I have another." That's why the Ranger's first instinct when he needs to get away is to go camping. Nature. Silence. Beauty. Peace.
This time, however, because it's his birthday, the Ranger put me in charge of the camping arrangements. And let me just say, Second Edition Camping is a different mode of transport compared to Ranger Camping. Kinda like Singapore Airlines v. TWA. Lobster raviolis meets dry roasted peanuts.
While I certainly enjoy the character building involved in throwing down a sleeping bag on a bed of pine needles under a starry sky (I was once a Girl Scout, after all), roasting wieners on sticks over an open fire and serving them on a frisbee with cold beer, an Eddie Bauer sleeve as napkin...I chose for us a somewhat different route into nature. Let's call it Wild Spring.
Imagine....500 thread count Frette linens, a chandelier, room service, French press coffee, Persian rugs, chenille blankets on the porch, handcrafted soaps in the walk-in shower, a hot tub, in-room massages, a yummy bottle of Pinot Noir. NOW THAT'S CAMPING. Our hosts, Michelle and Dean, were perfect. They never spoke to us. Not once. Wouldn't be able to pick them out of a line-up if we had a D.A. pointing a gun at our head. We communicated via mail. Left breakfast requests and other administrative tasks in the front porch mailbox and these were mysteriously picked up when we weren't looking and fulfilled to the letter. Yes...it's true...I am now at a point in my life where I will pay a princely sum to make sure people do NOT talk to me.
We checked in at a gazebo which hugs an expanse of privately owned old growth forest that would make any good Republican pee his pants. In Drawer #4, we found a cabin key, a map to get us there, a flashlight to light the darker corners and a silver whistle to scare off lions, tigers and bears.
Turn right at Bliss.
Another right at the Buddha.
Past the random hammock.
Left at the Virgin Mary.
And here we are.
Dinner was at a local joint named Paula's Bistro, a surprisingly French little gem smack in the middle of a boarded up Port Orford (the recession has not been kind to this Coastal town). And even though our waitress, Paula herself, was charming and her husband, Random French Dude, was a delight, our experience was marred by having to sit at the bar (restaurant was booked) next to the Town Drunk, Richard.
He is an artist. Of course. His art hangs in the dining room. Found objects off the beach spray painted lime green and glued onto particle board. Yum. He talked. About his ex-wife. Fishing. His girlfriend. His rabble-rousing days in L.A. (everyone in Port Orford is from L.A. as it turns out) His current, unabated rash. And then he talked some more. Midway through, I took a serrated knife and killed myself.
As we approached the end of our lamb chops (me) and scallops (the Ranger), Richard held up his Coors Light and announced to the room, "Well now I guess you'll be going back to your room and making love all night long, huh." Nothing...and I mean NOTHING throws cold, Artesian water on your romantic notions like a staggering blowhard with a bloody bandaid strapped across his bulbous nose and food particles dangling from his scrappy beard. Yup. That night, after dry cheek kisses...we slept a chaste slumber.
So, it's true. I collect Police Blotters from small towns because I think they tell you a good deal about the character of a community. This from the May 13th Port Orford Daily Register:
"Police received a report of an audible alarm at Driftwood Elementary School. Police responded and found an open door. Curry County Sheriff's Deputy also responded, and the two officers checked the building for intruders. No one found. Door secured."
And that right there. The title of my autobiography: No one found. Door secured.
The next day, we explored the Land Of The Lost, the most remote stretch of Oregon Coast we've ever stumbled upon. Miles and miles of no people. Stunning.
On the drive home, we held hands for the first time in a long time. All better now.
Heads UP: Second Edition will be undergoing stressful and time-consuming testing towards her certification, but will return in full force after June 7th. Thank you very much.