Wingman from the Roadside:
The days now don’t contain all the excitement and challenges of the last tow months, they are days of rest, recovery (eating real food), and reflection. There are still tears. There is laughing, recognition, and reconnecting. We continue to talk about the trail, what we could have done differently and how we will continue next year. As we drive we look up at the mountains and Peggy periodically looks at her Half-mile app to see how far we are off the trail.
I am not watching the tracker and am able to sleep soundly knowing where Runningbird is and that she is comfortable and safe. We miss our kids and grandchildren but there is no rush or urgency to the days or to get home. There is no schedule to keep or worrying about being in the right location at the right time. Right now we are really appreciating each other’s company and sharing in all the minor chores of the day. We’ve mapped out which KOAs we’ll stay at for the next couple of weeks and for how long. Moving and setting up the trailer at each stop is teamwork now and I’m enjoying it. There are still some tears (from both of us) and mixed emotions about what we have or have not accomplished. There has been HUGE support and love from our families, our friends, our church community, the friends we’ve made along the way, and from total strangers. It’s been just amazing! Seriously, the love and support from people we don’t even know has brought the tears.
The people we’ve met, walked with, hiked with, ate with, cried with, worried with, helped, been helped by, hugged, loved, truly gives us a different outlook on life. I want it to be like this everywhere and all the time.
This morning we woke at the KOA, Oroville campground to clear skies and another beautiful sunrise in Northern California. After morning coffee and breakfast Peggy did something she doesn’t usually do; she relaxed. She had gotten a couple of give-away books at the KOA gift shop the night before and settled in in the comfort of the AC in the trailer and read. I did a little laundry and visited the gift shop. Mid-morning we drove north about 30 miles to the town of Chico and the Saturday market where we stocked up on some great CA produce. Peggy was craving a lot more fresh foods than she had been getting on her brief layovers during the hike. We bought giant beets, grapefruit, fresh basil, peaches, and red, purple, and yellow peppers. We enjoyed the smell of the basil all the way home in the truck.
In the afternoon we went to the pool to cool off in the 102 degree heat. Actually, I got in the pool and Peggy got in the hot tub. How she does that I will never know. We were the only ones in the pool area and it was peaceful and relaxing. In the evening we walked the short distance to the Feather Falls Casino really just for the walk. We went in briefly to check out the brew pub we had heard about at the campground. The security men who opened the doors for us were welcoming and polite. Inside it was cool and clean but we were back out the door within minutes as the smoke was just too overwhelming.
In the evening we continue to make a point of talking about the wonderful experiences we each found along the trail and focus on the positives of where we’ve come from and where we are. It’s too easy to fall into a funk when something we’ve worked on so hard and for so long comes to a quick unintended halt. God grant me the serenity…. We are grateful to have so many people texting, emailing, calling, and commenting on the blog to us with such positive words of support.
The next morning we were up, caffeinated and again driving towards Chico to tour the Patrick Ranch Museum. We were the only ones on the tour and enjoyed the individual conversation with the docent on the history of the Ranch and local community. It was a nice diversion.
Tomorrow we move on to Peggy’s next destination of choice. No rush, not much of a plan, calm.