We have a bumper sticker on our truck that reads: I took the road less traveled. Now, where the hell am I?
That bumper sticker is exactly how 50% of our travels are.
Most of the time we are out in the boonies, just letting the solar panels soak up some sun, and enjoying the view. We rarely stay in a RV park. RVs just crammed in like sardines? And in the city you say? I’ll pass, thanks.
Rarely do we drive on the Interstate. It’s the little roads and highways we take, but it’s when Mom’s adventurous mood appears do we get lost. The first place we ever got completely lost and disoriented was in Oregon near the John Day Fossil Beds and Painted Hills Unit.
It was early evening when we arrived, and after about an hour exploring and taking pictures, on our way out Mom decided to go left, deeper into the gravel roads and hills. I started flipping out after a few miles because we were running out of gas and the sun was going down fast. We are passing pretty pastures with roaming cows, and we pass a ranch off to our right.
We passed a land called ‘Horse Heaven’. The land deserved that name. Bright green pastures in the valley, old barns, and nothing but the sound of nature. If I were a horse, that’s where I’d want to be!
The sun had just set when we found the perfect spot to park it for the night. And by that time, our gas tank was about to run off fumes!
This was the view:
That evening I was so stressed about running out of gas and never being able to find our way out of the hills of solitude. I didn’t want to park it and sleep. I didn’t want to walk around and explore.
Basically, I was having a teenage girl fit.
I didn’t chill out until a couple hours later, when Mom said to come outside. It was pitch black out, no moonlight whatsoever. Wondering if Mom saw a wild animal, I cautiously stepped out. Instead, she said to look up.
Out of everywhere we had been so far, and out of everywhere I had ever visited, I had never seen so many stars. There was no light pollution to dim the ever bright night sky. Not one blinking plane light crossed over us, either.
We saw the Milky Way for the first time in forever. Stars were all over, like someone gently draped a blanket over the sky, with specks of light casually lighting every inch of the blanket.
That night when I went to bed, I left my curtain open, studied the night, and just chilled out.
The next day we said goodbye to the valley, sad that we wouldn’t see the night sky again.
Somewhere between Painted Hills and Antelope, OR (the middle of nowhere) I saw something unforgettable, and now know where to escape to for starry night watching.
So remember: When lost, pause, breathe, and stargaze.
P.S. We were only about 20 miles from a town with a gas station!