“Camping at Umpqua Lighthouse State Park”

Here we are, tethered to slot #8 at the Umpqua Lighthouse State Park campground. Finally!

This is a park Diane has been wanting to visit for a long time but circumstances didn’t work out until recently. She was a little giddy when she made the reservations. It’s really good to see her so happy like that. Makes me happy, too.

Getting here was an unexpected challenge that nearly destroyed our RV and the tow car and it was all because of our decision to take the road less travelled. The reason for that, we discovered, was because it was pretty narrow in spots making it difficult to keep the rig in the lane without going over the center line. Early on, during this route, the right front wheel leaned a little too far right, going over the white line designating the bike lane, you’d think, but it was only about 6″ wide. Consequently, the tire made it all the way off the asphalt, causing a lot of jittering and a bit of fear as I worked to get it back on the road. Which I did. Diane was in the back cooking something, I think, or getting something from the fridge, so wasn’t looking out the windshield to see what was going on. That was a good thing. She would have absolutely freaked out! Really! I can say that with confidence because she was in the navigator’s chair the next time it happened and she was praising Jesus to save us all.

The same kind of thing happened but the bike lane wasn’t even 6″ wide as the asphalt terminated at the outer edge of the white line. So, technically, there was no bike lane at all. It was just a white line, then nothing. This particular event happened as the road curved to the right a little with traffic coming at me from every which direction. The right front made it off the road, then the right back tire went off, then the tow car went entirely into the ditch. I learned that from the guy who was behind us watching the entire show.

I felt the car pull the RV’s back end around about the time I got the front wheels on the asphalt then the RV’s back tires miraculously also grabbed a little asphalt giving me some traction to work with. At that time I was heading across the road with my front wheels turned to the right, then the car must have left the ditch and started the old wobbly back and forth that I’ve experienced before which seems to be a “thing” with the Equinox.

I was able to get the RV back into my lane while slowing down as much as possible. By this time I was probably going about 15 mph, but all that stuff going on behind me made it all pretty exciting.

I got the wobbly to stop, turned a corner onto a major road then pulled over and stopped to see what the damage was. At this time I was still unaware that the tow car had been in the ditch. The guy behind me also pulled over and stopped in front of me and told me he thought the car was going to roll over as it was entirely in the ditch and he wasn’t really sure how I managed to get it all back together.

The entire event probably took 15 seconds, start to stop, and Diane was making sure Jesus was paying attention. I’m pretty sure he was because other than a little mud splattered all over Diane’s white car, there was no apparent damage. So, we buckled up and continued on our way. There were no more experiences like that for the remainder of the trip.

Then we exited Highway 101 in Winchester Bay following the GPS directions, looking for Umpqua Lighthouse State Park. The GPS took us past at least 7 nice RV parks and led us out into the middle of a parking lot where folks who ride quads in the sand gather to unload their equipment. There was no park in site. Just this huge parking lot surrounded by sand. I found a gentleman and asked for directions which his wife gave as she knew what we were looking for. All we had to do was go back the way we came and go past the first 3 campgrounds and turn right on Lighthouse Road. We did that and drove past the Umpqua lighthouse, around a few corners then back out to Highway 101. Nowhere was there any evidence of a campground. So, we went around again and stopped in the parking lot near the lighthouse and I walked back to what appeared to be an occupied 5th wheel nearby.

I knocked on their door and caused a dog to light up the surrounding area with a serious round of barking. Finally, the door was opened and I explained my dilemma. The lady of the house ensured me that we were very close to our destination then gave me some very detailed directions on how to get there.

Without going into more detail, we were able to reach our objective and get connected to power and water before darkness claimed the day. For once in my life I was thankful for daylight saving time. We would have never found this place in the dark.

The problem is, you see, that the GPS made us turn on the wrong road, leading us around to the back of the park. Then, going up Lighthouse Road from where we were wasn’t useful because the sign for the park can only be seen coming from the other direction. Pretty handy, right?

We got settled, had dinner, read our books for a while, went to bed and I slept for almost 9 hours. That’s totally unlike my bladder to allow me to do that. I was amazed. Pleased, but amazed.

Then I went outside to have another look at the car. Although it started pouring rain about the time we settled down, the car was still dirty. But, all the parts seemed to be there and nothing was dented.

After breakfast we decided to take a ride and check out our surroundings. Shortly into the trip it was obvious that things were different as there was an odd odor creeping into the car, and something was dragging on the pavement. A quick look under the hood solve the odor – it was debris from the ditch that had been tossed all over the engine that was being heated by the engine. The item dragging on the pavement was a piece of the right front fender well that had come unsnapped from whatever kept it in place. Not in the mood to give it a lot of attention, I just bent it up away from the road and called it good.

The scraping sound went away and after about 10 miles so did the odor.

Considering all of the possibilities for what could have happened to us we could only look at each other and know, for sure, that we were blessed. Apparently we both have more to do in this world and apparently we’ll need the RV and tow car to do it.

Thank you Jesus!

Ziva the Dog – 2006-2021

Ziva was a terrific dog. We rescued her from a shelter in St. Helens. Almost her entire first year of life was spent in that facility and she was on a short list for transfer to another shelter that would dispose of her.

Prompting my introduction to Ziva was the loss of our little Poodle, Ziggy, at the age of 18. Not long after Ziggy’s departure, Diane had a lapse in good judgement and paid a visit to the shelter just to see the animals. Just looking. Then she came home and insisted that we go back so she could introduce me to this wonderful dog. She said the dog was looking away from the barrier, but tipped her head way back to look at her as she walked by. This got Diane’s attention. I’m sure the dog had been using this ploy for a long time but Diane was the first who fell for it, all the way.

When we got to the shelter Diane led me to the proper cage and I was immediately with her 100%. I went into the cage, sat on the floor, and the dog who became Ziva came to me a laid down in my lap. That did it for me. We did all the paper work and took her home. On the way she became Ziva on that trip. The name was a tip of our hats to the Ziva David character on NCIS, one of our favorite TV shows. One of the main requirements was that her name had to have a Z in it. All of our pets’ names have a Z in them. The first was Ziggy. It continued with Ziva, Panzee, Breezie, and Ozzie. We lost Panzee in 2018 but Breezie and Ozzie are still with us. Breezie is a cat with an unknown age and Ozzie is also 15 now, but he’s a poodle and will be with us a long time.

At her first vet visit we asked Dr. Middle what kind of dog she was because the people at the shelter didn’t know. He said she looked like a cross between a Catahoula Leopard Dog and a Blue Heeler. Whatever her heritage might have been, we loved all of it.

She had one last walk in the snow, something she enjoyed, though it might not look like it here.

…and she left her mark at home and in our hearts.

Peace to you all, and stay safe.