“We’re just gonna gun it,” Erin said.
The three of us stared up the hill from the safety of Erin’s Jeep.
“If that Sprinter van could do it, we can do it,” Other Erin said.
Less off-road-worthy vehicles lined the road, their passengers watching to see who would tackle the beast next. On the other side of the cavernous potholes sat one of the best hikes in the area.
Erin floored it and in a matter of seconds we knew: this wasn’t happening. Other Erin hopped out of the car.
“Okay, turn your wheels this way!” she shouted, motioning with her arms. My heart raced. We were dangerously close to rolling off the edge of the road.
“Don’t worry, the trees will stop a fall,” Erin assured me.
I peered over the side of the car, clutching Uncle Jesse. I am not ready to die.
By the time Other Erin said, “Okay, your front wheel is off the ground,” I wanted to cry.
“I’m sorry, I need to get out,” I blurted and quickly grabbed Uncle Jesse’s leash, fleeing for solid ground.
As I scurried down the hill to join the other onlookers, overhearing Other Erin say, “Okay, now three wheels are off the ground,” I thought back to the weekend’s adventures. It was Monday, Labor Day, and I was certain I couldn’t have crammed anymore excitement into a three-day period.
First, there was Uncle Jesse’s inaugural 10k, after which I drank a free hard cider (because this is Oregon), promptly vomited, then hiked uphill to a picture perfect lake where a new friend floated in a unicorn raft while I watched from a hammock strung between two Ponderosa pines.
Then I picked up some Pacific Crest Trail hitchhikers who needed a lift and ran into a family whose raft tipped in the Deschutes River rapids, waiting with them until help arrived, followed by an impromptu sing-a-long at a friend’s house. That was Saturday.
Speckled between those moments were more live music, planning my first backpacking trip, skinny dipping in a lake (okay, maybe that was a spectator sport for some), and hard cider – that I did manage to keep down.
A year ago, I was slogging away on a Masters thesis, working full-time in Corporate America, hauling my $25-a-week Trader Joe’s groceries to a third floor walk-up into a 350 square foot apartment in suburban New Jersey, scrimping and saving every penny I could. I had planned to stay in my hometown for at least three more years, until I had just the right number stockpiled in my checking account.
A year ago, the idea of living in a place where I could hike to a new lake every day, make instant friends, and bump into neighbors on the top of a mountain (more than once), was unfathomable.
A year ago, I hadn’t even met the friends who would help convince me to move to Bend, Oregon, sight unseen.
As I watched Steve, a stranger and Patron Saint of Pothole Navigating, climb into Erin’s Jeep and expertly back us away from certain death, I knew life had many more twists and turns in store.
A short while later, the Erins and some of my other new friends toasted on the shoreline of a beautiful, almost completely private, lake. While it wasn’t the hike we’d set out to do, we couldn’t argue against our good fortune.
“To Plan B,” we said in unison.
How has life surprised you?
14 thoughts on “This Wasn’t the Plan”
When you look back on where you were, it must feel surreal. I can only speak from my place behind the keyboard but it seems like this was the best decision you’ve ever made. Long live the adventure! And your blog, and the stunning photos that make me want to visit Oregon.
You took the words right out of my mouth! …Hey, want to write my next post for me? I think I’ll be off-grid. 😉
Sure. Send me a pre paid airline ticket and a hotel voucher. Then lend me your car and Uncle Jesse…. and I’m in.
Hooray for Steve! I’m so glad you decided to move 😀
ME TOO. If the past two months are any indication, I’ll bump into Steve soon and get to properly thank him (and by that I mean buy him beer)!
Don’t worry…the trees will stop a fall…ha! Another day in the life of Jules! You should really consider writing a book about this experience. Then it could be turned into a movie titled “Wilder” starring Reese Witherspoon.
*snort* It is crazy; when I look at my phone camera roll for 2019, I’m just like, “Holy %@&*!” And the year’s not over yet!
Loving watching this life of your unfold!
Thanks so much, Pam! It’s hard to not want to take a peek inside the crystal ball to see where it’s all leading, but I’m definitely enjoying the ride!
Love your adventures!!!
Thanks – me too! Well. More the part involving wonderful new friends and less the part involving three wheels off the ground.