Learning to Roll With It

bend trip

It was 95 degrees when we pulled into Sisters, Ore., after a six-hour drive from Mount Rainier, and the traffic was backed up for blocks.

We hadn’t realized this was the weekend of Sisters’ annual Outdoor Quilt Show, a feel-good event that draws thousands to displays throughout town.

Hmmm. After selling our house in Seattle and moving out, we had hit the road for our first adventure. Was this going to derail our plans to stay near this pretty central Oregon mountain town?

We provisioned at the excellent Rays Food Place — including grabbing a thick New York steak — and headed toward Three Creeks Lake Campground, 16 miles south of town. Surely, there would be a site at the first-come, first-served campground.

Well, no. There were dozens of cars lining the dirt road, and when we finally got to the campground, everything had been snagged.

Shut out on a busy weekend. We were tired of being in the car, hot, and hangry, so naturally we jumped in the lake. Ahhh, yes –much better. We drove back to Sisters, discussing how to learn from our mistakes.

Next time, when you face a long drive, rule No.1 is: Make sure you have a reserved campsite waiting for you.

bend trip casita

Fortunately, we grabbed one of the last spots at Creekside Campground, a 10-minute walk from downtown. It was packed with RVs and trailers of every shape — which ended up being interesting for two people shopping for a vehicle.

Our neighbor, Petra Hegger from Moab, Utah, had an adorable Casita travel trailer, small enough to pull with her six-cylinder Kia. Hegger has been solo traveling for the past year and a half, and had lots of suggestions for places to visit. It’s so cool to connect with this adventurous community.

Staying in a small-town campground wasn’t how we thought this would go, but it’s a good lesson in the importance in being flexible. We are learning to roll with the challenges of the road.

Now, if we could only remember where we put everything. Next challenge: Getting organized!

Wanna connect? Please check out Our Grand Tour on Instagram.

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San Diego’s Beaches are Great Any Time of Year

With spring here,  it’s nice to think back on a trip we did last winter to San Diego.

Even in December, San Diego County’s beaches were pleasant and inviting. We spent three days exploring, and John’s story just appeared in The Seattle Times.

Read about it here:

www.seattletimes.com/life/travel/getting-to-know-san-diegos-lovable-beaches

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Ocean Beach in the heart of San Diego.
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Sunset Cliffs, a great area to get a view.
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The recreation path at Mission Beach.
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The downtown passenger ferry to Coronado.
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The historic Hotel Del Coronado.

 

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Black’s Beach below Torrey Pines.
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Walking the nearly deserted Black’s Beach.
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The beach at La Jolla.
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A surfer at San Onofre.

 

Our Grand Tour Started in the 1980s

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Colorado, 1983.

She says: It’s both thrilling and a little painful to look back on the decades Johnny and I have been together, adventuring. Painful because — damn — it goes way too fast. Cliche as hell, but true.

Celebrating Some Really Big Numbers

Next month, we’ll celebrate our 32nd wedding anniversary, and we were coupled five years before that. So, basically we’ve been together a looooooonnnnng time. Sometimes, the journey has been bumpy, but never boring.

Confessions of a Couch Potato

My life would be completely different had I not hooked up with Mr. Nelson, and I’m forever grateful he pushed me out of my super chill habits (OK, I’m lazy) onto steep hiking trails, biking paths, ski slopes around the world — even when I crashed on double diamond runs I had no business attempting. When we were young and broke, we camped for fun, often “pitching out” in random spots around Colorado. In our 20s, we quit our jobs at the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel and spent four months traveling on the cheap in Europe (photo below is from Paris, circa 1984). There have been tons of trips since and still have a long list of places we long to visit. Iceland, we’re coming for you, soon, we hope!!

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Paris, 1984.

Dream About to Get Realized

I still cannot quite believe that we’re on the same page — mostly — about our plan to hit the road, two Boomers on a grand tour, living the Van Life. In search for who knows what? TBD, y’all. There are still a lot of details that need to fall into the place, but I feel so fortunate to have my best friend/life partner on board for this upcoming wild ride. Got suggestions on where we should roll? Leave ’em in the comments, pretty please.

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Hidden Valley, Joshua Tree, 2017.