A New Life in Oregon
After my time in Steamboat Springs it was time for a new direction in my summer travels. I had planned to spend the rest of the summer in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado and Wyoming, But all my plans came to a sudden screeching halt because of two events and instead I suddenly drove 1000 miles out of my way, and through some very unpleasant heat, to disperse camp near Klamath Falls Oregon.
What could cause such erratic behavior–had I finally gone completely over the edge and stark raving mad? I suspect some of you have been waiting for this for a long time! Too late! I’m afraid that happened a long time ago and this was something very different!
I had two very good reasons to go to Oregon: 1) love of family and 2) the possibility of finding a new female traveling companion.
Let me explain.
First, I have a sister who has been living in Florida, so I only got to see her every few years when I flew there and visited my mom and her. She just moved to Oregon so as soon as I heard that I made plans to get over and see her–but I’d intended to wait for the Fall when it cooled off because the whole country was scorching in a heat wave. So Oregon was in my travel plans, but not for several months, probably September or October.
Second, I had met a new woman and we were smitten by in each other. That must seem odd to those of you who have been following me for long because you know I already had a girlfriend for the last 3 years. What you don’t know is what a terrible boyfriend I had been. I am an emotionally distant person who does not connect easily with others. At the same time I believe that I have been called to (and have happily embraced) a path that requires me to spend a great deal of time with others, and that takes a toll on me. I consider my work on the websites, Youtube and directly with the Tribe to be a sacred calling and duty . I do not in any way begrudge the large amount of my time that it requires, just the opposite, I derive an amazing amount of satisfaction and contentment from it. I literally get a “givers high” from it.
So the Tribe has taken a huge amount of my time and emotional capacity, leaving far too little for my girlfriend. She finally concluded she needed to be with someone who would put her first and not fit her in as I could. After the fiasco of the Flagstaff RTR, she finally broke up with me.
In retrospect I have nothing but the greatest admiration that she put up with me for as long as she did. We are very different people and my inflexibility made that a poison to our relationship. One of the biggest is that I am risk-taker, I’ve never seen a bad road I wasn’t tempted to go down. Worse, I’m willing to push the limits of the law and risk run-ins with it–as was demonstrated at the RTR when they shut us down and I got a fine. Even more telling, that wasn’t the first time that summer a Ranger had been in our camp and forced us to move.
Those kinds of things were simply too far beyond her comfort zone–which is totally reasonable!
So at the Flagstaff RTR where there were 100 people packed in around her and the Rangers were being belligerent toward her (with me out visiting they found her and interrogated her pretty aggressively) and that was the straw that finally broke the camel’s back. She let me know that while we had some great times, it was just more than she could handle so we had to end our relationship. I understood totally and have nothing but the deepest affection and admiration for her and only want her to be happy.
But something else happened at that RTR that may have drastically changed the course of my life. On Open-House day when I was out visiting everyone, I stopped at a rig and met a single woman that I felt an instant connection with–something that I had never, ever felt before in my life. We probably visited for an hour outside her rig and when I left I was terribly torn, on one hand I felt like I had finally met the woman of my dreams, but on the other there was no way I would ever do anything to hurt my current girlfriend. As bad as that felt, something worse was about to happen, and then out of that something good would come.
I had just left her camp when the Ranger found me and launched into his barrage of questions and accusations and finally ordered us out of camp by noon the next day. Just 5 minutes after I met this amazing woman, events were set in motion that would lead to the break up with my girlfriend.
What are the odds that just as I left the camp of someone who I had just met and was incredibly attracted and drawn to, that I would only minutes later run into circumstances that would quickly lead to me becoming a single man and no longer attached. Some would say that was all just a bizarre coincidence, pure luck–but I would not say that.
No, I have become a huge believer in a “Friendly Universe” and have tried hard to open my life up to it. Ever since I did, coincidences like this one are what I have come to expect in my life. Yes, bad things still happen, but now I know to never assign labels to life’s events but to look for the good that is going to come from it.
I am convinced to the very core of my being that there is some “Incomprehensible Guiding Force,” that directs those who are willing to simply be open to it’s flow in their lives. Very much like the Taoist concept of the “Tao” or the “Way.” While I don’t believe that everything happens for a reason, I do totally believe that if you will yield yourself as much as possible to that “Incomprehensible Guiding Force,” (whatever it may be–I have no idea) your life will be good.
Here is everything I know for certain about life and spirituality; the first half of my life was dedicated to me working very hard to find my own way based on my best judgement, and my life was very bad. Because I was such a failure at it, in the second half of my life I’ve dedicated myself to not trying to find my own way! Instead, I’m devoted to yielding my will and my life to that Unknown Something.
Ever since I have truly followed that path, my life has been, very, very good. There is no question about which way works better for me, so I fully intend to continue along the path of yielding and flowing.
After that RTR my new friend and I camped together for a week near Williams, Arizona, and then she had to return to California to close up some business. It was obvious to both if us that something very special was going on between us, something unique that neither of us had experienced before.
After a couple weeks she had finished her business so I hit the road to meet her in Oregon where we could get to know each other and spend time with my sister.
We’ve been together a couple months now and we both remain in awe at our good fortune at finding each other at this time in our lives. As much as possible we are proceeding slowly and carefully, each of us trying to learn from the many mistakes we’ve made.
One of the things we are trying to avoid is falling into the trap of using labels on our relationship. We want to treat each other as the totally unique individuals that we are, living our lives independently together in a way matches our distinctiveness. No two couples will ever have the same strengths and weaknesses nor the baggage that is peculiar to our lives. Meshing all of that together can only be harmed by using cookie-cutter labels that society imposes upon us to define male-female bonds.
So in future posts you’ll get to meet wonderful Carolyn and we’ll tell you all about our time in Oregon camping near Klamath falls, and Sisters. I’ll tell you my initial impressions about it as a place to spend your summer camping and where we’ve gone sightseeing and camping locations.
Because this is my first extended time camping in Oregon, I’d love to hear from you about good camping spots and where we can go to see beautiful places and take great pictures! If you are in the area, our camp is always open to you and we’d love to have you drop by. In the meantime, get to know Carolyn by going to her RV blog at http://www.carolynsrvlife.com/ or check out her through-hike of the John Muir Trail at http://aloneonthejmt.com/