Well, maybe not actually counting them. Just being aware of them.
I met a woman while we were hanging out in the waiting room at REV in Coburg where we were getting our warranty work done. She and her husband travel half the year in their Monaco diesel pusher and the other half of the year they live in Hawaii. Pretty nice life, wouldn’t you think? Yet every word that came out of her mouth was a complaint.
Then two days ago we checked into Thousand Trails, Long Beach, WA. This park is overcrowded and run down. The first spot we set up in didn’t have working electrical. After we got set up in a second spot (right across from a beautiful trail to the beach) we ran into a couple who were moving because the sewer hookup wasn’t working. We just looked at each other and grinned and said “Hit or miss, right?” I always want to be the second guy.
For the last few weeks our schedule has been dictated by our maintenance stop in Coburg, Oregon. Because we didn’t know how long our list of warranty repairs would take, I didn’t schedule firm camping spots afterward, and it has been hard to get back into the flow. My efforts have also been hampered by weekends, and the 100 plus degree temperatures in the center part of the state. Everybody has been heading for the coast to get out of the heat. All of the state and county parks have been full, and the Thousand Trail Parks have been booked as well, at least on weekends, and I have to be careful to not spend more money on gas to get to pre-paid or free camping then we would spend on a campground.
Case in point. We were done with our repairs in Coburg a day earlier than expected, so instead of just staying in their overflow parking lot for the extra night, I hopped on the internet to find someplace interesting to go. There were several Harvest Hosts in the area so I called the nearest one, just an hour south of our parking lot. Greg Cramer from MarshAnne Landing (say it fast) Winery said that they were busy with a concert that night, a young Russian pianist playing an All Chopin program, so if we wanted to buy tickets for the concert we should come ahead on. I said “Ooo, Chopin!” and Shannon nodded OK, and before we knew it, our free night had cost us $60! On the way down, with the temperatures pushing at 110 degrees, we figured we would be better off with at least electric hookups enabling us to keep the AC running for the kids while we were out getting us some culture, so we found an SKP campground just down the road from the winery and anted up another $21 bucks for a spot. Now our “free” night has cost $81 plus lots of gas to get us there.
I spent a good deal of time while driving down the road berating myself about my inability to get this scheduling thing right. I mean, we had a perfectly good parking lot to stay in, for free, even though we would have had to run the generator to stay cool.
But oh my gosh, the time we would have missed!
First of all, we made new friends, Thom and Dar, who live at the SKP park and are fellow full-timers with a lot more years on the road, were attending the concert as well. We arrived about a half hour early for wine tasting and hors d’oeuvres. The winery was in beautiful setting, and the tasting room was a lovely space with incredible views of the valley. There was room for about thirty chairs, and another 10 or so people standing. Our hosts, Greg and his wife Fran, warmly welcomed everyone, and Greg introduced our entertainment for the evening, Andrei Andreev, an unassuming young man in his 20’s, who has been studying for a Masters in Piano Performance at the University of Oregon in Eugene. He is trying to raise money to be able to stay in country to finish his degree.
When he sat down at the piano the magic began. I can’t begin to describe the actual concert for you; words would not suffice. But to be in the presence of genius, of the ability to become the music, minus the necessity of thought about where to go next, which notes to play, to see color and sound pour out of a person, absolutely stunning. And absolutely priceless.
There are lots of links to Andrei Andreev on YouTube. This one was recorded here in Oregon at OSU in March of 2017.
So the big blessings picture. It seems such a small thing, that little shift from looking in to looking out; from self-absorption, closed off and isolated, to open and receiving, available for more and more experiences, big and small. Being able to say every morning, “I’m ready! Bring it on!” and knowing that whatever the day holds in store, there will be some good, possibly some great, moments.