by: Lori Gebbie
We left Fort Henrietta at about four that afternoon. We drove onward up the mountains above Pendleton, the Blue Mountains. At the summit we pulled out to let the van rest, and to take some photographs of the valley. Wow, was it beautiful up there! As we crested and began our descent, the road and the weather started to turn. We were driving in asphalt, tire ruts making the trailer dance and sway behind us, and the hail came with the wind. Fortunately, we saw a rest stop, 1 mile! We pulled out to wait out the storm, our little family huddled in the trailer. Dry docked at a rest stop, enough electricity to run lights but not outlets, we ran our laptops till the batteries went out and went to sleep for the nite.
The next morning, we woke up and it was gorgeous outside! We got the trailer ready for travel again and headed out. The roads were still rutted, but the hail and wind had stopped, and we had a light rain. It’s very stressful to drive when you are trying to control something that large. Especially when you don’t have all of the proper equipment that makes it easy in today’s standards. Nope, we were doing it old school, just a ball hitch pulling a load behind us. White-knuckled and screaming (mostly) with our inside voices. We decided to stop at the first stop for coffee and gas, and pulled into Durkee, Oregon.
In Durkee, there were two things that I saw, a gas station and The Hungry Redneck Café. We decided to stop there for some coffee, and to ease our quickly frazzling nerves. It was getting harder and harder to stay motivated to continue on our trip, with the way our bodies were being beaten around in the van. Being pushed and pulled, constantly being thrown off balance, your body’s natural reaction is to compensate. So we were really feeling the stress from driving.
The café sat just off the gas station, the only things on that exit on that side of the freeway. There was a beautiful ram head mounted in the dining room, watching over all who came in. Beautiful painted canvases along the walls, price tags in the corners, all the art was for sale. We talked to the waitress, Robin, and she was sympathetic to our plight, making sure our coffee cups never emptied. Such a sweet lady, happy with what she had, and she said something to us that we always say to everyone else. “I just hope you two have enough. You only need just enough.” That’s when it all settled for me. She was right. We didn’t get to do this with a great deal of financing, we had just enough. And just enough was going to continue to work for us. We ate a light breakfast, and while I finished my coffee, Robert grabbed the camera and took some more pictures.
We needed to figure out a better plan, because our current one was quickly wearing us down. I remembered what Robin had said, we needed just enough, and just enough means rest, too! We headed for the border town of Ontario, and pulled into the first rest stop inside of Idaho.
There was an information center there, and I talked to the lady there about some of the things to see on our route. My father had told us to stop at the Lucky Peak Dam, and seeing as how we were almost to Boise, I took matters into my own hands and decided we were going to stop for a few days and recoup. Our backs were both strapped, every muscle aching. We stopped at Caldwell RV Park in Caldwell, Idaho.
This park has a private 7 ½ acre lake, and residents and campers are permitted to fish without a license. Robert’s face lit up. He was actually going to get to fish again, after 15 years! Today is our second day here, and he’s been fishing for a little while this evening. He’s already caught a few fish, too small for keepers, but he’s having so much fun, I don’t think it matters. What does matter is seeing the child light up in his face again, after so many months of seeing the old man’s pain. This is why we are doing what we are doing. All the rest is just bonus.