Mom. I bet you are getting mad all over again just reading this. Just know that I am not proud, and I seriously cringe when I tell this story. I am so sorry. Not the best decision, I know. And I also know I am still grounded forever.
Let me tell you something about running. It feels good. I wish I could tell you that it doesn't, but it so does. Running away that night felt free. I could breathe. But, it doesn't take long before what you are running from finds you. Don't kid yourself. It always,always finds you.
Long story short, I was in big, big trouble when I got home the next day, as I cowered home, tail between my legs.
It would be another eight years before I would run away again. This time, over the biggest heartbreak of my life, and this time, feeling the freedom of leaving it all behind, was gone. There was no feeling good about it, in fact there was no feeling at all. Just a descent into darkness. I wrote a little bit about our trip to nowhere when Jeremy and I ran away in this post. I never finished the story, but someday maybe I will.
On that trip, we had no plan. Just get on I-5 and drive. That's it. Just drive. Much of that trip I have a hard time remembering, and only remember bits and pieces of it in debilitating flashes that come without warning, triggered by who knows what. The pain of those subsequent weeks fresh from losing a child has seared itself into all parts of my body and hasn't let me go.
Where am I going with this? Oh, ya. Running. Lavern. She makes running feel good again.
When taking trips in the RV, you have to do a little planning ahead because the RV parks fill up fast, so back in February, I sat down with a map and started to map out our Lavern trips for the year. I have always wanted to see the little town of Ashland, Oregon, so, ya..let's do Ashland. It's a big drive, so on the way back, let's cut the drive in half and stop in....Silverton? Sure. Silverton. What's in Silverton....Silver Falls State Park. Perfect. So, the trip was planned, but changed a week before we left, once I started looking more closely at the maps. The Redwoods? They are only 2.5 hours from Ashland? Yes, we'll go there, too. Oh, look. Bandon Beach? I've always wanted to go there....it's two hours away from the Redwoods... yes, Bandon beach, too. I could have ran faster and farther as the map opened up a world of possibilities, but there was a nagging feeling I couldn't shake. I've been this route before. This was eerily similar to our trip to nowhere.
As time got closer to running away from the mundane with Lavern and my family, I was very nervous. And sad. Would landmarks of that heartache trip spring up and bite me in the heart? Would I remember things, feelings? How is that going to make me feel? I was surprised how it made me feel. Let me explain.
We left on a Friday, bright and early, all packed up, ready to hit the road for ten whole days. We were going for the 9:40 ferry boat off the South end of the Island and was happy to see that we would make the boat even though the line was a bit long. Just before getting on the dock, a ferry worker walked up to us, shook his head, and squatted to look at Lavern's backside. Rude. At least she has a cute backside. He came up to the window and said, "Ya, you're not going to be able to get on the boat for a while. There is a super low tide, the trailer is too low, so you won't be able to catch a ferry until after about 3pm." I gulped. We had a eight hour drive ahead, and wanted off the Island something bad. Off, off, off. But the Island wouldn't let us, and I thought about the show "Lost" and how the Island wouldn't let anyone leave. It felt like that. Sheesh.
We decided to see if we could luck out on the North end of the Island, so we drove to the other ferry dock and after waiting in another line and holding our breaths, they waved us onto the ferry. Operation running-from-the-mundane was a go.
As with many a road trip, there is always road trip food. For us, it is tradition to have fruit leathers and peanut butter cup trail mix from Trader Joe's in little Dixie cups. Diners are fun too, and soon, the Country Cousin caught our eye. Cunrty cuzin'? Yes. We have to see what that is all about. So we stopped for a spot of lunch.
*The pictures on this post uploaded fuzzy. Can't figure out why. If you click on them, they are much clearer*
And lunch, we had. I was pleasantly surprised that I liked my meal so much, but pretty much anything with a side of fries is an instant thumbs up.
Then it was on the road again. The long road. We had lots of road to cover, and after getting a later start, we were itching to get the long haul done. So, to pass the time Grace and I played many a Auto Bingo, until she was Bingo-d out.
The sun was out, and we were glad for that. I was dreading the drive through Roseburg, as it was going to be the first memory pang that would hit my heart. As we neared it, I looked around. Green grass. Rolling hills. I didn't see pieces of our hearts on the highway, but I know they were there. We hit Roseburg, and it was there, then it was gone. Flying down memory lane on Interstate 5 doesn't give you much time to ponder.
We spied the hotel we had stayed at from the highway, and it was nothing like I remembered it to be. It's funny how your state of mind totally affects how you see things.
The rest of the drive I was unaware of the magic that was happening in the backseat. Little did I know the little girl in the backseat was busy repaving I-5 South. She was laying down a new memory for me, with a little voice that would randomly shout out "Motorcycle!" or "Haystack!" as we blazed through Oregon. As I look back now, I am humbled by the new, sunny, memory she made for me. Something I was not expecting.
We rolled into Ashland as June's Supermoon was rising in a clear sky that looked painted with smeared blackberries, and found Emigrant lake Campground. Since it was a weekend, it was packed, and we quickly found our spot. As I exited the car, I spied a nervous looking older man with his arms crossed along his chest, looking at us from the next site over. He let me know quickly that a tissue had blown out onto the ground as I opened the door to get out. I walked over and got it shaking it a little to show him that I got it. He let me know that it was late. Yup. Got that. We know. He let me know he was German. Sure,okay. He let me know that people had been eyeing our spot aaaaaall day. I reserved it back in February, I told him, so, no biggie. Where are you from? How long are you staying? What did you have for lunch? The questions came, and I answered politely before excusing myself to unpack the car. He watched us for a little while, saw we weren't a threat, and said goodnight.
Goodnight, nosy neighbor.
Nosy neighbor turned out to give Jeremy and I a good laugh. He was friendly, and always eager to tell us about fun things to do, which was nice. I liked his accent, too. As far as neighbors go, he was alright.
Ashland turned out to be totally different from the Ashland I imagined in my head. We did a lot of exploring on our four night stay.
And, my favorite part, there was a lovely park right in town where I could have spent many hours doing a whole lot of nothing. Lithia Park.
There was this creek there that runs through the park and has places for people to play in it. It was great, however, the water was as cold as cold could be. You dip your toe in and your temples are frozen immediately.
We loved Lithia park. I would fold it up, put it in my pocket, and take it home with me if I could. I must go back. Next time, in Autumn.
It is always good to find excellent food when you are out. If you ever happen to go to Ashland, stop at Sesame, which is kitty corner to the park entrance and eat food for me. Any food. For me. Order anything, it is scrumptious.
During day three at Ashland, I knew there was something I had to do. On our haunted highway, there was this town that we stopped at during our trip to nowhere named Yreka. I remember stopping at a restaurant sitting in a booth, and crying through a meal clutching my photo album of Vanessa in this tiny little nowhere town. I had to see it again. Why? I don't know. So we wasted a day trying to mend a heartache that couldn't be mended. We drove about an hour out of Ashland to California and went to visit a ghost.
As we pulled into Yreka, it was again, nothing like I remembered. Not even close.
The town is an I-5 pit stop. And, a ghost town, it definitely was.
It was completely closed down on Sundays, only one or two shops open, but only slightly. On the drive in I spied that haunted restaurant. It stood out like a sore thumb to me, and I swear through the window I saw Jeremy and I huddled in a corner booth, sobbing, but we were skeletons. Last time we left here, there was almost nothing left of us.
As soon as I walked the street, my mind yelled run. I wanted to get out of there as soon as possible. Whatever brought me there, God only knows. Nothing was going to help this memory, so leave, and so we did. And I never want to go back there. Ever.
There is even a dragon there on the way out, warning me to make sure that I never return again.
Back in the safety of Oregon, we played. The campground we stayed at had this there, which is brilliant:
A water slide? At a campground? Yes, please.
We also played on the lake and went paddle boarding. I couldn't decide if I loved it or hated it. Dark water with a tiny board between you and it? Eeep. I thought I hated it until I just recently went again, this time, at home, and I loved it. I like paddle boarding in the Sound much better.
Before we left, we bought a boat. The kind you spend an hour or two inflating. As we were blowing it up, I remembered that I don't like boats. Why did I buy a boat? Why?
Hmmm...fishing off a inflatable boat? Probably not the best idea. The three of us argued the whole time we were on it. When I paddled, I could only paddle in a circle, and there was ONE branch in the whole entire lake slightly sticking up in the water to avoid, and I couldn't not hit it. I don't like boats.
Back at the campsite, the morning were filled with Uno and coffee, and the evenings, s'mores and picnic food.
Ashland was pleasant. I did like it there a lot, but it was time to go.
Because, running feels so good again.
To Be Continued.....