“Happiness is not the absence of problems, its the ability to deal with them.” – Steve Marabou
We last wrote about spending five wonderful days at Casey’s Riverside RV Resort in Oakridge, Oregon. There we enjoyed the whitewater rapids of the Willamette River as it begins its journey down the westside of the Cascade Range.
The night before we left, we lamented of having to leave such a beautiful place — little did we know the adventure that awaited!
Good Morning, Oakridge!!
We woke, one last time, to the wonderful mountain air and the crisp sound of the gentle rapids and the day seemed so full of promise.But, at 9:03 AM the tenor changed when the power went out. No big deal, but in retrospect, a small clue of the chaos that would follow us on this day.
When Life Gives You Lemons
With no power, we decided to head out early, cross over the pending 5,000-foot Cascades divide and then cruise down into SunRiver and Bend. I commanded BAM to drive up to the divide without the encumbrance of towing while Deborah drove Willy to run a few errands and fill him with gas. The plan was to tow Willy once we were over the summit.
We both rounded the bend into Oakridge and Deborah went to her errands as I proceeded through. Oakridge is a small, one-stoplight town and with the power out, it was out. So, apparently, was Barney Fife. With no one to direct traffic, it became a bit of a demolition derby as I slowly kept BAM, a 40-foot, 20-ton behemoth moving, and passed through unscathed.
“I would soon rely on this tactic again.”
Heading up the mountain pass, well ahead of Deborah, I got her first phone call. No electricity meant no gas pumps. The next services were over the pass about 45-miles away. I pulled over and waited for her to pass, so we could tow if she ran out of gas. Easy call, easy fix.
Welcome to Sunriver!
We both made it safely to the Summit where we hooked up Willy and Deborah joined me in BAM. Sunriver is just south of Bend and there, we arrived at our very first ever, super-large, 282-acre, “pick your own spot,” RV Park and Campground adventure!!
Check-in was quickly facilitated, mainly because the lady at the counter shoved a massive amount of paperwork in our direction with the short, stern instructions to fill out the forms and return them when we had our spot. She warned of a fine if we didn’t follow her instructions. There was also a large, detailed map with six different color coded types of campsites. BAM fit one color code — Blue — 50-amps electric with water and sewer hook-up.
Willy was again unhooked and I drove BAM, looking for the perfect site. Deborah says I have a problem picking a parking spot in a wide open McDonald’s parking lot, so a campsite in BAM was really going to be a challenge. The map was very neat and detailed, but the park was huge and the roads curved, split, and snaked through the woods. The sites all looked the same, unlike the nice and neat blue, red, yellow, orange, green, and white blocks on the map.
One wrong turn and I was no longer in the blue section. In fact, I couldn’t decipher the map and what section I was in. The next sign I saw said Section F which I couldn’t even find on the map.
There is no turning around in BAM. You just have to keep going forward and turning down whatever roads present themselves. After the fourth turn, the dust was overwhelming and I wanted out of this maze. This campground was not for me.
I stopped and got Deborah to park and join me for a strategy session. It included whether we turn in the requested paperwork to the camp nazi or just leave. How could the check-in lady fine us if we didn’t stay? We called five or six RV resorts in and around Bend and no one had availability for the next four nights.
We decided to drive back, about 8-miles, to one we had passed that appeared to only be about half full. It was beautiful. But, it turned out to be a private co-op and the only way we could stay for four-nights was to buy-in for $8,000. We passed on that opportunity.
In Search of a Place to Stay the Night
Getting back on the phone, we finally found a spot, at least for a single night, and it turned out to be the most beautiful RV Resort in Bend. It was just 10-acres covered with large old fir trees on a flat, grass, park-like setting. It had large, nicely paved pads and more room between sites than any park we have yet stayed.
We said we would be right there and the nice lady on the phone cautioned us, “Don’t let your Garmin take you off on exit 136. There is a 12’6” bridge on that route.” A very important piece of advice!! She advised us to use exit 141. BAM requires at least 12’10”.
So, as I passed Exit 136, my lady friend inside my Garmin began protesting and asking me to turn around. But, there is no turning around in BAM!! For 5-miles, before I got to exit 141, she continued to chirp at me.
I also got call number two from Deborah, who was following in the Jeep. “Willy is really, really low on gas,” she said, “the light is now flashing.” Again, easy for me to fix that problem by saying “just keep going, you’ll make it.” Finally, when I turned on Exit 141, my Garmin recalculated and I compliantly followed the new magenta line.
The Crown Villa
A few miles down the road, I noticed a beautiful RV Resort on my right. It was pristine, with an impressive stone wall overlaid by large metal cutout letters, sparkingly spelling “Crown Villa.” The magenta line had a checkered flag finish line but also continued on down the road and so did I. Deborah, driving slowly to conserve gas, had lost sight of me at a stoplight. She was smart enough to recognize Crown Villa as our home for the night, turned, and checked in.
About a mile up the road, I came around a curve on the tight, two-lane road and there it was — the 12’6” bridge I had been warned about. The magenta line on Garmin, which I had been following, was actually the back end of its original route from exit 136. The finish line checkered flag at Crown Villa was, in reality, the ending of the route from both directions.
The Impossible Becomes Possible.
I stopped just before the bridge, turned on the flashers and thought for a minute. If I don’t fit, it will be a disaster. I have to turn around in BAM. Doing this will require backing-up, against traffic, for about 500-feet. Then, I will have to turn the back of BAM into a fairly wide industrial entrance by swinging her front-end out across both lanes. BAM has no rear windows to see behind her. The blind spot is huge.
All was going well as I crept backward,using my recently acquired “Oakridge demolition derby” experience, until I started to swing BAM’s front-end, blocking the whole road. Wouldn’t you know it, right then a 20-ton box truck appeared, trying to come out of the entrance I was trying to back into.
I was blocking traffic.
He was blocking me.
I was blocking him.
You Had Me at Hello…
Deborah says she can always tell, just by the way I answer the phone, when it’s a bad time to call. Having already checked into Crown Villa and wondering where I was, she placed call number three for the day. With both of my hands on the wheel, blindly backing against traffic — now blocking it in all directions — the phone rang. I answered and she knew, instantly, it was a bad time to call.
We always try to find the bright side of things that happen. And, I believe that things happen for a reason.
For over a year, Tim has always said, “There is no turning around in BAM.”
Both of us know better now. Even in a very tight, stressful, and inconvenient situation, Tim got BAM turned around.
His story truly parallels with life. Sometimes, when life leaves us no options — we seem to make the impossible — possible.
“Start by doing what’s necessary,then do what’s possible,and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”
After Turning Around
At Crown Villa, we quickly found our assigned spot. Tim backed in like a seasoned pro. We took a deep breathe and enjoyed a cocktail before departing to explore Bend. Bend is a fun town.
We headed to the Old Mill Development and claimed a lunch table right on the Deschutes River, where, as we had done last year, we were entertained as we watched the locals tube, kayak, paddle board and float by.
Crooked River Ranch… Here we come!!
While we were relaxing and having lunch, we got a call from Crooked River Ranch near Redmond, 20-miles north of Bend – they had just had a cancellation and could accommodate us for our final three nights. What a blessing.
Crooked River Ranch turned out to be an off-the-road and out-of-the-way treasure!! Our RV Park was situated and nestled in a massive and dramatic canyon that the Crooked River had carved. While we were there, we had incredible views and great access to a fun golf course.
And we took time to go visit the local Alpaca Ranch, Crescent Moon Ranch, where I fell in love with the little critters and all the beautiful items in their well-stocked boutique!!
Everything is Awesome
At Crooked River Ranch, Tim persistently and successfully outmaneuvered a large tree so we were able to receive the Direct TV signal. The connection guaranteed his Father’s Day wish of watching the final round of the USGA Open. Everything was awesome.
Crown Villa in Bend Oregon was absolutely luxurious. Crooked River Ranch was perfect for our three-day respite. AND, we’ll go back to both places. It’s interesting to note that we would never have found either of these locales if we had not experienced the chaotic and dusty SunRiver/Bend RV Park and Campground.
“Without the rain, there would be no rainbows.”-Gilbert Chesterton
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