Friday, August 8, 2014

Full Circle

 A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.  
Mignon McLaughlin

Thirty-six years ago next week, I got married. 

Fresh out of college, I brought a ten-speed Fuji bicycle, a student loan bill, and a saucepan to the new marriage. Bob had an old four-door VW 411 that ran only if it felt like it. Undaunted, we began a life together. 

Earlier that year, I decided I'd rather have a honeymoon than an engagement ring. We wanted to do something unusual because when real life took over, who knew if we could travel. Jobs - they take up so much time, you know. Driving down the Pacific Coast Highway -- Washington through California was our plan.

Of course, we didn't have any money for a honeymoon either. Or camping equipment. We figured we'd pillage the wedding gifts to make that happen. Bob's stepmom, Barb, decided that was a stupid idea and called us over late one night before the wedding. It was like Christmas. A new tent, sleeping bags (which then served as our bed for the next eight months), camp stove, even a clothesline and pins to hang our laundry. She'd gone through her kitchen to gather needed cooking supplies. We were set. 

The other issue before us was that we were married in Michigan. The Pacific Coast Highway? No problem. Just fire up that old VW and start driving 2415 miles to get there. 

We were young? What did we know?

We did the big wedding thing and then parked my parent's car carrier on the top of the VW, filled it with our camping supplies and headed out. 

We made it from East Lansing, Michigan to Lansing, Illinois. The VW decided to die right there in five lanes of rush hour freeway. After the dealership proclaimed it dead, Bob called my parents to thank them for the wedding. Told them how much fun it was and wanted to know if they wanted more fun by driving down to Chicago and towing us home. (My father was well versed in towing that VW.)

Well, my mother -- she said, "I never had a honeymoon and by God my daughter's gonna have a honeymoon."

My dad and my oldest brother each drove a car down to Chicago. After switching the car carrier onto their three-on-the tree Chevy Nova's roof, we hugged goodbye and Bob and I were back on the road. 

With only an hour stop in Austin, Minnesota to see my grandparents at the rest home, we drove straight through to Yellowstone National Park. We used flashlights to read the directions for setting up our new tent. Boiled water in freezing weather to wash ourselves before falling into deep sleep. When we awoke in the morning, 

it had snowed. In the middle of August. We packed up and drove straight through to Astoria, Oregon and Fort Stevens State Park. Set up camp, made an egg and pancake breakfast, then slept for hours. We had found the Pacific Coast Highway and our adventure had begun.

We can't recall why we started in Astoria other than since we lost a couple of days in Chicago, we might have eliminated Washington state.  We obviously knew how to read maps, purchased at gas stations, as we found our way to Oregon and all the way down to Big Sur in California. Then time and money ran out and we headed back to Michigan -- 6000 miles by trip's end.

Couple weeks ago Bob and I took a trip. Even though we have been to many, many places in the past 36 years, I'd still never been to Washington state. I'd seen it across the Columbia River way back when, but you can't count it unless you've stepped foot in it. 

Two weeks ago, I stepped in it. Seattle Washington. And, as an added tidbit - my 50th state. Fitting, I'd say.

After 11 days of driving and ferrying around the state and Victoria and British Columbia, we finished by driving down to Astoria, adding that section of Washington on HWY 101 we'd not navigated on that first trip 36 years before. 

We drove out to Fort Stevens State Park and walked the beach.

 The beach hadn't changed, the wreck of the Peter Iredale still there. 

But a few things had changed. Instead of camping, we stayed in a hotel.

with wonderful beds.

and a rooftop view.

Ate food prepared by someone else.

Yes, that is poutine in clam sauce. Had to try it.

Other changes from our previous trip? 
We cheated - flew to Washington. Rented a car.
Had a better camera - digital. Focus. No more 24-picture Instamatic exposures in red. 4-cube flash.
We've gained weight. 
Our hair is shorter.

But, hey,

we still fall in love with each other. Some days. Most days.

Happy Anniversary, Bob.
BTW, I still don't want an engagement ring. Where you want to go on the next trip?


Related Posts with Thumbnails