Last night the rangers came back and had a solution from management: Move my rig over to the next campsite across the street for the night and pay the standard full-hookups rate for an evening ($31). I’m literally a couple dozen feet away from where I was, and at least for last night, abiding by their rules. But for some reason, this whole situation made me very upset, and I’ve finally figured out why.
When I bought my home in Shoreview in 2009, it was my home. It was a safe place for me to be, and brought a lot of stability to my life. It fit my needs perfectly for many years, and was a very comfortable and pleasing place for me. Eventually I found a significant other, and she joined me there. However, by the time that relationship ended, in a long and drawn out struggle, my home had been destroyed. Not in a physical sense of course, but instead in an emotional one. Every room, every object, everything about the place reminded me of her and the pain associated with that relationship. My peace and tranquility of living there was transmuted into pain and loss. It was no longer a home for me.
When I took a trip out to Quartzsite earlier this year, I had a sense of home-like safety in the desert with a hundred strangers. It was a sense of community and peace. I went out there in a cargo trailer that was barely sustainable to human life, but I was happy. The logistics was easy (pick a shot and park), the people were friendly, and that’s about all I needed.
On this Oregon trip, there’s been some beautiful sights, but there’s no been sense of home or safety or anything like that. I’ve had a lot of struggles trying to find good places for anything more than a quick overnight.
Something I didn’t mention in yesterday’s blog posting was a whole other experience I had on Monday. After I had the alternator replaced and was on my way up to the state park, I saw a hitchhiker on the road and picked her up. She looked harmless enough, and I figured “why not?” She turned out to be a rainbow person, generally a hippie. Totally and completely homeless, drifting around the country. She was on her way to Washington state, but it didn’t seem like for any good reason.
We stopped for lunch at Panda Express, and I got her something to eat. It was the closest thing to a date, sharing a meal with a young woman, that I’ve been on in a long time. It was nice getting to know her a bit, even though we were completely incompatible as people, but she had good manners and was friendly. After lunch I dropped her off at a place of her choosing along my route, and we went our separate ways. It was a pleasant experience that I’m glad I took a chance on.
Which then brings me back to this where-to-park at the State Park issue. For some reason the issue of not being able to simply share a campsite (which is clearly large enough) just upsets me far more than it should. There’s a corporate arbitrary rule-making aspect about it that I just don’t feel is right and it just makes me angry. Having a alternator go out and spending nearly $600 to fix it? No problem. Paying $31/night for a campsite? Makes me furious.
I think the reason I’m disliking this state park so much is how the whole situation feels. Everyone here has their own little slot, and it feels like a suburban neighborhood, not a community of like-minded people. There are layers of management and rules and regulations to abide by instead of a live-and-let-live type of attitude. I get no sense of peace on tranquility from this type of place, and after a couple weeks of staying at overnight stops, I was really looking forward to settling down for a couple days and having a respite.
There’s a saying in the “Cheap RV Living” world: you’re either a full-timer, or you’re homeless. To outsiders, it might be hard to tell the difference, but it’s pretty simple: if you’re choosing this nomadic way of life, and you’re happy about it, then you’re a full-timer. If you’re forced into the life and you’re not happy about it, then you’re homeless. On my Quartzsite trip, I felt like a full-timer. On this trip, I’m starting to feel more homeless.
The idea of buying a couple parcels of land and using them as my own sanctuaries is gaining more appeal to me. Or maybe public lands would be acceptable given the locations I’m thinking about. Summers in Alaska, winters in Arizona. Those could be my sanctuary places because both (theoretically) have vast stretches of public land. I know Arizona does, and at some point I’ll get up to Alaska and check that out.
When my marriage ended, a lot of hopes and dreams died along with it. My home was essentially lost in the process as well, and I guess on this trip I’m starting to process some of those emotions. It’s not easy, and as a psychologist once told me, if you don’t deal with problems directly, they come out sideways. In this case, my inflexibility in dealing with the park rangers (even though they’ve been friendly and accommodating as they could within their rule structure), has caused me to have a disproportionally difficult time with the situation.
It hasn’t all been terrible. Lee and CJ are always fun to hang around with, they can get quite animated when they’re debating any given topic. Yesterday we went into a local town because CJ needed to mail off some eBay item she had sold, and we had a couple hours to kill, so we walked main street. We stopped in various shops and had lunch at a local diner with a crooked floor. The food was good, and reasonably priced. We went to the local grocery store, and Lee got frozen ice cream treats that we shared before they melted. It was a good time.
I have no idea where I’m going to be tonight. If there’s continued issues with staying here at the park, I will gladly leave and go find somewhere else. There’s always somewhere else.