July 13th 2013/The Day of Decision #5

Over more that a couple rum and cokes at the NW industrial neighborhood strip club, The Nicolai Club, Sam and I realized there was no way we could go back to work. Our plan had been to spend the summer around Portland but we were burnt out to the extreme. The girls danced, we watched the monster trucks on the TV, and full of rum and inspiration, we agreed that was that. Sam called our boss (we both worked at the same place) and told him we weren’t coming back.

We did not have the funds to leave quite yet, but exactly one week later we were on the road, to where we weren’t sure, but we always had the dream of living on the Oregon coast. . . In that one week we emptied our music studio, threw away things we never thought we would throw away, had some major emotional break downs, drunken fights AND Sam had to fix a transmission leak to top it off. From waking to sleeping we worked, Sam’s knee was going out and we wrapped it up daily. We were both so tired and crippled it wasn’t funny. When we laughed is was pure hysteria. But we were determined to leave, it felt like the city was burning us alive. In the end we had to sit and wait a couple infuriating days for a deposit from our last apartment to get to us. Then we were off to Astoria. Astoria ended up too “Portland” for us and one day later we headed to Newport where we spent two months, rather miserably, working, drinking red wine and wondering what the hell we were doing.

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Bella in her favorite cardboard box, that, to this day is still up in our cab’s overhead sleeper. That we could not throw away.

One of our initial ideas about this RV lifestyle was that we could find some part time work in cities that were near enough to wilderness, so we could commute from city to home in the woods/ desert/ wherever people less. In between cities and jobs and playing music we could take extended breaks living out away in some wilderness, or national forest area. Many wilderness and national forests allow you to camp for free (dispersed camping) anywhere from 14 to 21 days. So Newport had the Drift Creek Wilderness Area only 12 miles away we planned to call our temporary home.

Once in Newport we quickly found a couple food service jobs hoping to get some of our funds together, but we hadn’t worked for minimum wage in a long time and how the FUCK does ANYONE live off of such a measly income???!!! Wow. We camped in the streets of Newport for a week and a half while we were finding jobs and getting our situation worked out. The Newport Police knocked on our door one night and informed us that we needed to leave Newport. Okay, so we went out to our home in the woods. Sam worked almost seven days a week at Mo’s Seafood restaurant and Figaro’s Pizza, with no time to enjoy our beautiful home in the woods. I worked at a local restaurant, Saffron Salmon, part time as a prep cook and I worried about Sam. Sam worried about money. Every night we drank several bottles of cheap red wine and talked until we were too drunk and tired to talk. Then we went back to work.

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Bella at her favorite hunting spot, lots of mice and voles. She loved to bring them to us. One night she brought in a live mouse to chase around the RV, I scolded her, “Bella, get him out of here!” She got the drift and took him back outside.

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Bella with her dead vole. Note: Bella has no teeth, she had them removed a couple years ago so her killing is even more amazing to me. Bella never ate her catch and one day it occurred to me that she couldn’t chew him up. So the strange modern human that I am, I decided to butcher a mouse she had brought me for her snack. She absolutely refused to eat it, even when I carefully separated the liver out for her to eat (raw chicken liver is one of her favorite foods). Oh well. If anyone needs pointers on mouse butchering, inquire here.

It was summer but summer in Newport is mostly cold and foggy. It rained. We were miserable. The good part was that I was finding plenty of beautiful golden chanterelles all around our camp, and they went perfectly with those deep orange mussels that we easily collected on the beaches for free (you do need a shellfish collecting license, $7 for a year). My job wasn’t working out for me at Saffron Salmon so, I quit, and started working at America’s Best Value Motel (which by the way is a really cheap, super clean motel run by some of the nicest people I have ever met). Then we got kicked out of the Drift Creek Wilderness for overstaying (we had been there 30 days, but you’re only allowed 14 days). Then our roof sprung a leak. It was very stressful. We still did’t have enough money for our next leg of our trip (where-to we didn’t know), so we needed another place to stay. I came up with the idea to post an ad on craigslist searching for a spot to park and offered some cash. We ended up at Paul’s place just south a couple miles of our camp in Drift Creek. He was taking care of his girlfriends property, a beautiful wooded 40 acres. There was a gravity water system that brought water down from the creek uphill, plenty of space for fires, and Paul even plugged us into electricity (how luxurious). Paul is quite a character. My favorite moment was while chatting about this and that on his front porch the smell of something rotten hit my nostrils. Paul nonchalantly stopped his story mid-sentance to say, “Oh, if you can smell that, it’s just some rotten chicken for my bear trap,” then continued with his story. Sam and I politely waited to finish with his tale before I asked, “What bear trap?”Apparently, it was for a bear he was planning to kill who lived up the hill a ways. He had been baiting her for a while and was almost ready to shoot her and make some jerky. Uh, okay. . . But, really, it was too bad we left before he arranged the bear hunt. I have never seen a bear up close, or even been on a hunt before at all and I had been looking forward to it.

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A pot of white wine steamed Oregon Mussels and Red Rock Cod

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I am preparing some Golden Chanterelles I found.

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The Golden Chanterelle,Cantharellus ciborium, nutty, earthy,and sweet.

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Our Warrior at Paul’s Place in the woods, with a fire pit and a guitar; the perfect situation.

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Our washing, cooking and drinking water source at Paul’s. This was also Paul’s official bath. We showered at the South Shore State Park for $2.

September 1st and 2cnd, we witnessed a massive Dragonfly migration. All throughout the area, up and down the coast thousands, or millions of Dragonflies were headed South. We knew it was time for us to go. The cold, rain and overwork was killing us. We hadn’t had a real break in months, and had just gone through one of the biggest changes of our life. We left behind the life we used to know for the adventure and complete mystery as to how and where we would be living. We needed a break and had been dreaming of a desert. We apologetically quit our jobs with a few days notice, and with a plea of insanity. September 8th, we left. We were headed for the desert.

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