Weekend Update

It’s barely stopped raining since my two days in Umpqua National Forest last week. I haven’t touched my motorcycle except to move it out of the barn’s indoor archery range, which is making me wish I had my own archery equipment that’s in storage in New Hampshire. Everything’s soaked. I had to do some fancy maneuvering to get my van out of where I’d been parking it across from the cottage. If it wasn’t for my new tires I wouldn’t have been able to get out without help. Now I’m parking on the gravel next to the cottage, which unfortunately is on quite a slope. I made use of some caveman leveling blocks (better known as rocks) to take some of the unevenness out. I’m not picky about the van being level, but I don’t want all the blood rushing to my head when I lie down in bed.

The reason I moved the van was to take a spin up to Eugene to meet Tosha, who I met online a year or two ago. She and her partner are truckers, and though we’ve been interested in meeting, we’ve never had the chance, especially because now we’re both moving targets. She messaged me Saturday morning to say they were on their way down I-5 from Washington to California. I was literally right on the way, so we finally got to meet. We had a great time. She gave me a bunch of fun travel and hippie-related stickers that I’ve been scattering around the van to decorate. I hope it’s not a year or two before we can hang out again.

Now that I’ve done all the work I can on the bike, I’ve turned my attention to the van, tackling a bunch of small projects that I’ve been wanting to do. Since I switched back to drip coffee from the French press travel mug that now ejects its contents rather than filtering them, I haven’t had a good place to put all the necessary items where I can easily find and get to them. So I rearranged a shelf to make an area specifically for coffee because coffee is very important. Now I don’t have to use my brain before having coffee so I can make my coffee that’ll let me use my brain.

I fixed a bad ground connection on the reading lights above the bed — the same problem I had with a couple of other items up front. I tried to fix a set of outlets by the bed that hasn’t worked in months, only to find the problem is the outlets themselves, not my wiring. This makes me feel good that it’s not my work that failed, but I can’t complete the repair until I get a replacement set of outlets. Fortunately, Amazon delivers quickly here. I have a few more small projects to tackle, but I’m making progress.

I made my first van pizza yesterday. I’m really proud of this, especially considering my lack of cooking skills and experience. This isn’t a frozen pizza, but one I put together from a pre-made crust, sauce, cheese, and pepperoni. Without a microwave, it’s pretty much the same amount of work to heat up a frozen one as it is to make one like this, so I might as well eat better food than what comes out of a box. It came out quite well, only a little bit too crispy on the bottom in a few places. I’ll just need to take it out of the cast-iron Dutch oven a bit earlier than I did. I kept this one simple because it was my first, but now I might go pick up a few more ingredients specifically for different kinds of pizza.

Last night was the coldest night I’ve spent in the van. My thermometer recorded an outdoor low of 32º, and it got down to 45º inside. My propane ran out just two minutes before I intended to turn the heater off and go to sleep. This didn’t surprise me, since I’ve been using it a lot lately. It was great timing, actually, because I already had the van warmed up inside so I wouldn’t be cold overnight. It was a bit chilly in the morning, so I quickly switched to driving mode and went into town to get propane, as well as a couple of other things I needed while I was out. I rushed to get back in time for a morning department meeting, only to find it was canceled while I was rushing around. But at least I have heat again.

Plans from here are still up in the air. I’m working on meeting a few more people in the area. I have an appointment a week from today in Eugene to get Lister’s rabies shot, the last piece of the Canadian border crossing puzzle that I need. I won’t lie that I’ve been enjoying my friends’ hospitality, and the chance to sit still with a real bathroom and good internet for a while. It’s also been too cold for me to want to drive much farther north! But the 10-day forecast isn’t much different even in Vancouver, BC than it is here and now. The more the thoughts roll around in the back of my head, the more I’m leaning toward going for the cross-Canada plan. I guess I should take advantage of the excellent internet here to start doing some research on where I should go.

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