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Ten Days of Data Collecting on The Oregon Coast – Part I – Finding Connection In The Unexpected Blessings

Complete with our adventures in Washington, we headed to Oregon where we spent ten days meandering through coastal towns parking Baby in extraordinary campsites along the way. It was here that we ultimately were able to test if connection — as we define it — was possible while living in an RV full time. Jeremy and I decided to define ‘connection’ in three primary ways:

  1. Connection to self
  2. Connection to others (including each other)
  3. Connection to spirit or divine.

The first weekend we spent based at Nehalem Bay Beach Park. Set between the ocean and the bay, Nehalem Bay State Park is situated on a 4-mile sand spit among shore pines and is just a sand dune away from the beach. After checking in at the Ranger Station, Jeremy realized the campsite was two miles away from the Park entrance, and that Baby could not tow the car through the narrow road. When he asked me to drive the car in behind Baby, I first told him no. I had not driven a manual car in thirty years, and didn’t think I could do it. As I heard myself say, ‘no,’ I knew that if I wanted to live a radical life, I needed to overcome my fear and hesitation. I had to see if I remembered how to drive a manual car so that Jeremy wouldn’t have to walk the two miles back to the parking lot to retrieve the car. Within minutes of saying ‘yes,’ and putting my foot on the clutch, I remembered what I had learned as a teenager. And off I went, following behind Baby,

We spent the first morning riding our electric bikes on a 2 mile pathway to a small town called Manzanita for breakfast. As we made our way through the trees and fields on the paved pathway I realized something about my bike seemed off, and when Jeremy and I stopped so he could look at it, the bike suddenly took off unexpectedly, lurching forward, with me on it!

“Let go, let go of me,” I bleated as the bike started off, my feet finding the pedals as fast as I could. Jeremy let go of me and the bike quickly, and off I went, managing to keep the bike upright. It was then that I realized the reason I had fallen at Watershed weeks before was not an error on my part, it was the bike that had malfunctioned in this way! I felt a wash of relief connected to that place inside of me of knowing, and I realized once again that I had to have more self confidence as part of this challenge, even though the story I have in my head is that mechanics and equipment are not my jam.

Later that night we hopped in the Kia and drove 40 miles to rural TIllamook, OR, where we attended the County Fair. As night fell we meandered away from the carnival rides and games and checked out a local livestock competition where we viewed prize winning pigs, dairy cows, sheep and goats! Something Jeremy, being British, had never seen before. And when we searched for an empty picnic table to choke down the burgers and fries we ordered, a mother and daughter waved us over to join them, letting us know they were vaccinated as a way to communicate their hospitality. Like the other fair goers, they were unmasked, giddy, and it reminded me of the small town in Iowa I grew up in. And as small children ran from ride to ride and parents shouted their ‘be carefuls’ and ‘be nice to your sisters,’ I marvelled at their joy and the simplicity of fun that can be had in such a rudimentary set up.

On Saturday we woke up to cool temperatures and fog. I bundled up for the day and we spent the morning walking through the town of Cannon Beach. When we found a quaint, upscale hotel I sat writing the blog and sipping tea looking at the ocean while Jeremy surfed near Haystack rock in 55 degree water. He was alone in the near perfect waves, feeling connected to himself. To his love of the ocean. It was a perfect Saturday for both of us as we each had connected to the things that we love that are independent of each other.

And then, finally, Saturday night, we were able to build a campfire at our site, (there are so many burn bans along the Washington and Oregon coast due to fires) eat burgers and fresh corn that we cooked on the fire. S’mores (finally!) finished the night off perfectly while we simply sat around the campfire talking, watching the fire leap and twist as the logs burned. When we woke up Sunday, we hiked down to a beach where Jeremy surfed again and I checked out the tidepools, discovered a waterfall, and chatted to a young girl studying marine biology who explained to me what, exactly, I was looking at.

It was at the parking lot where we were trying to troubleshoot a problem with the tow mechanism on the way to our next destination that Jeremy matched me in the challenge to be uncomfortable. Just a few feet away was a man and his wife standing outside an RV that is exactly the vehicle we are thinking of purchasing. It was the perfect time to strike up a conversation, and make a connection. Jeremy leapt out of the driver’s seat and approached the couple, easily striking up a conversation. In the end, Mark, a friendly IT guy who is a full time RVer for the last three years with his wife, offered his card and friendship. And since then, we have spoken to him on the phone where he has excitedly given us tips and advice about the lifestyle we are looking to create. It was in this stretch that our first connection to the full time RV community was made!