We bought our 1991 Ford F150 last year with the intention of making her a dream camping machine. I took her on her maiden voyage with 3 other ladies on a rock hounding adventure to eastern Oregon last summer. On the drive down the bumpy gravel country back roads where we were driving at 40 mph and barely feeling the bumps, someone exclaimed “we are totally winning right now”. And it was true. We were cruising on down the backcountry road in style. This is how our pretty blue and white truck got her name.
The truck since then has been mainly used for hauling plywood sheets, storage, I had about 40(60!) lbs of rocks and crystals I found that first trip tucked into it, and general moving stuff around.
But this weekend we finally took her out as we had intended. We had (have) grand plans to build out a sweet set up, but for this trip, a bed and cozy blankets was all we needed. We wanted to get out of town.
Adam cleaned up the bed of the truck and set up an old Ikea mattress in it, some blankets and pillows and we hit the road.
One of our first camping dates together nearly 3 years ago happened on Sauvies Island, in the back of a Volvo. It felt fitting to take Winning there. We packed a picnic of hot dogs, sauerkraut, a nice bottle of wine from a friend, and headed to the beach.
It was the 5th of July, and as we made a little fire and roasted our hotdogs, the evening fell around us and we heard the thunder of fireworks off in the distance. Through a break in the trees across the river someone was setting off Roman Candles.
The park closes at 10pm, and the cops were there at 10:15 sternly watching us pour water on the fire. Luckily we made off with only a warning, and decided we better find a different spot to sleep for the night.
As we drove north on Hwy 30 towards Astoria, we talked about new beginnings. How do people keep loving each other while they are growing and changing every day? How do we grow together? We were recently offered some thoughtful advice on love, about how people in this generation are never going to stay in one relationship for their entire lives. But we have the choice to stay with the same person as long as we reinvent and truly stay open to the way we look at each other and ourselves each day. This is kind of exciting! Stretching ourselves and growing and evolving together. This may come as old news to y’all, but to me these thoughts inspire me to ponder the luxury of choice. To choose our professions, who we spend time with, and how we spend move though the world. And on this day, we were choosing to throw aside our responsibilities, and drive together in the dark to an unknown destination where we would eventually park the truck for the night.
Using my iphone satellite map to guide us on possible places to pull over, we made more than one fruitless detour before finding the perfect country backroad with a perfect pull off right by the river to park for the night.
We cracked open a can of beer, opened up the back, and climbed in. The breeze was cool and sweet smelling, and the back of the truck was clean and cozy.
Donut immediately dove beneath the blankets, just like always.
I haven’t slept so well in so long. Maybe it was the firmness of the mattress, or the warm arms and blankets around me with the cool fresh air, but I woke up refreshed.
It was so nice to wake up to discover that the spot we had chosen in the dark had a secret trail to a rocky beach. It was hard to get in the water, since the rocks were pretty sharp, but the cold water felt incredible!
After lounging around and taking in the beauty of the morning, we headed north again to get some lunch in Astoria.
When we arrived in Astoria, the Sunday market was in full swing. We skirted past the many farmers stall and makers and grabbed an outside table at Clemente’s. The food was amazing but the decor inside could use an update. You can tell the owner has a lot of enthusiasm, and they have some great sustainability practices. But where the interiors lack, they make up for it in the food.
We had the fish and chips which were perfectly crispy and fresh tasting, with sweet potato fries. Turns out, Donut is a freak for sweet potato fries. He might have eaten half of them if they hadn’t been so good! I had a shrimp salad piled high with artichokes and preserved lemon. It was delicious.
After a coffee, we did some antique browsing before heading to grab a beer at Fort George brewery, where we had an amazing hummus plate and a pair of tasty IPAs, and then back to the truck for a nap.
When we started up the truck to head home, Donut was still under the covers in the back. He was not for a moment going to be caught back there alone! He jumped right through the little window!
We drove back in the late afternoon, arriving home before sunset.
Winning might not have the best gas mileage, but just taking her out for less than 24 hours filled us with possibility. Our conversations planted greater dreams of travel into our thoughts and reminded us what that where ever we are, we are home.