After Seaside, we drove further down the coast to the next Thousand Trails campground in Pacific City. We’d planned to stay three nights, but when we got there we discovered that we didn’t get any cell service at all. Also, after our great campground in Seaside, we found this one rather bleak. Maybe it was the cold, gray weather, but sometimes a campground just doesn’t click with you. So we decided to stay just one night.
Another camper raved about the Pelican Pub and Brewery right on the beach in Pacific City, so we drove into town to check it out. We were happy to eat inside where it was warm, but we had a nice view of a haystack rock reminiscent of Cannon Beach’s landmark. We shared a burger, onion rings, clam chowder, and salad. It was a decadent treat and so delicious.
After dinner we walked on the beach, hoping for a sunset that never showed itself. But it was fun to watch surfers and play with the dogs waiting for them. We met a woman who moved here a year ago and lives in a “tiny house” with her husband and two tiny dogs. Kate is a huge tiny house fan, so they got to talking. Ruby had been a psychologist, working with domestic violence survivors, so they had the social services burnout thing in common, too.
A very good friend of ours in Eugene is expecting a baby (due June 26th) and she wants both of us to be there: Kate as her birth coach, me as photographer. Our house was rented through June, though, so there were some logistics to work out. Our strategy was to come back to Oregon in June and stay within race-home distance. Closer to the due date, we’d return to Eugene and camp in our other friends’ driveway till July. This is why we were slowly working our way down the Oregon coast.
Just before we moved to this campground, we got news that there were complications with the pregnancy. The baby was way undersized and the placenta might be failing. It was possible they would induce early. So we were on worried alert and being without cell service didn’t help. (Since then, the baby has had a growth spurt and will be induced, but not till this coming Monday.)
Also en route to here we heard from our property manager in Eugene. Our renter has bought a house and wanted to know if he could adjust his lease to end two weeks early. Perfect timing for us! Ever since we’d crossed into Oregon we’d been fighting that horse-to-the-barn pull and it felt like we were just killing time for our last month. So even though we’d lose a little rental income, we were happy to agree to it. We’d been having mixed feelings about ending this incredible journey, but now with the prospect of reclaiming our house just over a week away, we really felt excited about returning home.
For the last 14 months, it seems like we’ve been traveling the country in a little bubble of protection. We’ve dodged tornados and floods, avoided accidents and any major calamities, and have enjoyed better health than we’ve had for years (not even a tiny cold until after the first year). It felt like we just glided through the year.
Before we crossed into Oregon, my sister called to tell me that she had breast cancer. This is my only sister, and we are incredibly close. Over this last year, she and her husband have met up with us in eight different places. This was a harsh dose of reality. Because of insurance red tape and test mix-ups, she knew only that she had a malignant mass. She hadn’t been able to actually talk to a doctor to learn the stage, the size, or the recommended treatment. Another reason that staying in a campground without cell service was unsettling.
She’s since learned that it’s stage 2 and as I write this she is having a lumpectomy. Survival rates for breast cancer are extremely high and I have every confidence that Beth will be just fine after treatment. In fact, knowing Beth, she’ll try to turn it into an enlightening adventure. But it’s scary, it’s not fun, and I hate that my baby sister has to go through this.
Two of our Eugene friends have also gotten cancer this year. I hope that our little bubble of protection stays with us at home, but this is a strong reminder to be grateful for every day of health and happiness. Once again, I’m so glad we took this time-out from our careers to go on this journey when we did, because you never know what’s around the corner.