We never seem to acknowledge big life changes until all of the little things add up over the course of a day or two… or a week. “Oh yes! We are going to quit our jobs, and move out of our condo and into a truck! Instead of sleeping in a bed, we will sleep in our roof top tent and drive and see amazing things and have a great time, and everything will be wonderful! We are living the dream! Yes!! It is warm and sunny and we are drinking beer and getting tans, and there are kittens and rainbows all around!!” There is, of course, an element of truth to this. But, the shock factor had to hit us eventually – the ups and downs of life and realities of living on the road were about to make themselves evident (or had been building up for a week or so…).
Once we entered California we realized that state parks charged $35 per night, instead of the $15-18 in Oregon. Now, as I am sure you can realize, we are on a budget. And this factor affected our budget significantly. So our genius plan was now to find free or cheap camping. Unfortunately for us the Bureau of Land Management website (which shows off the beaten track places to camp for free) was not working due to the government shutdown. And we do not have access to wi-fi on the road. What limited research we conducted showed a cheap campsite on the Lost Coast, which appeared to be a reasonable distance from where we were situated. Yes, this was based on a simple tourist map we possessed.
Three hours after leaving Highway 101 and a few mountain passes, potholed and windy roads, and one set of directions from the locals, we arrived at our (free!) campsite. Hungry. Tired. Angry. Rich was seriously tired of never getting the truck out of 1st and 2nd gear on the ridiculously steep inclines and declines and how the potholed roads seemed like they were systematically trying to tear apart the truck. Ash was suffering from a cold which seemed to be getting worse in the cold and damp weather, and her female hormones had decided to take a turn for the worst (by the way, Ash wrote this so she is allowed to say that!). Gas was only available at a small town nearby, and we had no idea how long it would take to drive back to the highway. This was after a day of driving that totaled 8 hours. Ash hadn’t had a shower in several days and she struggled to get the camp stove to work while Rich was agitated by the day and was pacing around the campsite. Meltdown time.
This is when we asked ourselves, “What are we doing!? Why are we doing this?” A variety of other comments included “I want to go home” and “I want to go home to my own bed and my own shower.” What this experience really meant to us though, was that we were in the adjustment period between our old lives and our new ones. We hadn’t gotten into the groove of things yet and we’re sure our minds and bodies were having a hard time adjusting to the shock of turning our lives around in a complete 180. It also meant we needed to prepare better, do our research, and slow down.
And you know what we did? We said, tomorrow is a new day (after Richard sampled a couple of his favourite Lost Coast Brewery beverages). Nothing is the same forever, everything is always changing. We can deal with what we need to and move on.
The next day we woke up, drove out of there and waited 2.5 hours for the gas station to open up in Petrolia (beautiful little town – seemed like the locale of a Nicholas Sparks novel). Then we filled up on suspect gas and we drove 3 hours to the highway, and then we drove 5 more as all of the campsites in Bodega Bay were full. So we kept driving, and somehow ended up in Petaluma (which was not our intended destination). At that point it was 9 pm and we just said… screw our budget, it’s time for Motel 6.