We had eagerly been looking forward to labor day weekend and doing some explorations down the Oregon Coast. Knowing it was most likely the last long weekend for a while, we had come up with a brilliant plan to head down to the redwoods.
So we set off down the coast and toward our destination for the evening. Adam found a river near Gold Beach that looked promising for a spot to camp. The whole ride was beautiful and so relaxing. Driving along Rogue River we spotted a whole bunch of campers across the river right on the rocky shore. Sounded like an awesome spot to set up. So we crossed over the river and started scouting spots to pull off. This is where our grand adventure came to a grinding halt. Pun intended. We saw a pull off that ended up being a day use only spot. But we figured why not? Let's at least check it out. We ignored the part of the sign that said, "enter at your own risk". I don't recommend ignoring such warnings.
The trail down is hard packed rocks and easy to maneuver. But then all the sudden the rocks get super loose. By the time we realized that the trail would change, it was too late. We were good and stuck. We tried to get out for a while. But all our efforts just threw rocks around and led to us sinking deeper. On one of these tries, there was a significant crunching sound. Delicious. Hoping it was just a rock banging around, we tried a couple more times, then realized that the van was REAL hot. So we decided to give it a rest. It was then that Adam suggested just setting up there for the night and trying again in the morning.
So we sat beside a beautiful river and watched as the stars came out to play. It was the clearest I've ever seen stars in my life. Epic. Unreal. We didn't know it yet, but our adventure had changed. We blew out the clutch and would need to be towed all the way back to Portland. Two different drivers over a two day span. Sleeping in a Wal-Mart parking lot. While we didn't get the grand adventure we wanted, we still had an adventure. It's all about perspective.
I don't remember if that was the big or little dipper, but wow. I've never seen it so clear.
If this "van life" has taught me anything, it's taught me to relax and roll with the punches. Even a year ago, had we been in the same situation, I would have been frustrated. Frustrated at Adam (even though it wasn't his fault), with the situation, with the interruption to our trip, with the lack of control. I'd have been stressed that we didn't have a plan. But when you take a step back from your well intended plans, you're able to enjoy the moments your in. If we hadn't gotten stuck on that rocky beach, we may not have seen these stars. Such a tremendous reminder to stop and appreciate what's right in front of you.