Suzi and I have a thing we do sometimes called “If I were following the rules … .”
Usually, it’s when we’re on vacation or away from work for some reason, and we think of what we’d be doing if we were there.
I started to ponder it as we were walking around the Oregon State campus in Corvallis, thinking three hours ahead and my usual schedule for the day when Suzi chimed in with …
… “You’d be on vacation.”
We rolled out of Portland and into Corvallis to break up our trip, with the ultimate destination being Bend.
It was mostly small towns with names like Waterloo and Sweet Home, farmland and businesses selling modular homes, towns far enough apart so as to require their own pretty much everything, because going to the “next town over” may not be practical.
But that was before the mountains.
On top of the time it took from Portland to Corvallis, the trip over the mountains and on to Bend took more than three hours, with most of it a series of slow, blind corners, one after the other, as we went up the mountain.
Suzi did the driving, and even in perfect weather, it was edgy stuff. Drift too far one way, and someone could be coming down the mountain in the opposite direction.
Drift too far in the other, and … you know …
My offers to drive were rebuffed, so I was mostly DJ — at one point, having “Waterloo” from the “Mamma Mia 2” soundtrack teed up as we were coincidentally pulling into Waterloo — and cheerleader, just reminding Suzi that we were in no hurry, and if the people behind her were bothering her, she could pull off where the road got wide, let them go and we’d hardly lose any time.
It was beautiful, but we were happy to be headed down, and happier still to be at the bottom. The reward was a heated outdoor pool at Riverhouse on the Deschutes.
It was glorious.
For dinner, we just headed into downtown. We read a little bit about restaurant options, but mostly decided to see what we could see. Since it seemed like there were quite a few options, we figured we’d eventually land on one.
She wound up eating a fish fry and I a hamburger at Bend Brewing Company. We ate at the counter outside, and it was hard to tell where the restaurant ended and the neighborhood party began.
Then we started walking, no particular destination in mind, Kacey Musgraves’ “Golden Hour” coming from a nearby establishment.
“Baby don’t you know?
That you’re my golden hour
The color of my sky
You’ve set my world on fire
And I know, I know everything’s gonna be alright.”
We turned toward a park on the river, past people reading, sitting with family, kayaking and otherwise enjoying an evening that I would have said was too good to be true if I wasn’t actually there myself.
And that was when I realized the feeling … being totally relaxed.
No hurries. No worries.
No matter how hard I try, I can’t stop time. I haven’t figured out how to make the good moments freeze.
So soon, we will be coming up on the dreaded middle of vacation, when this respite from work and everything else in our lives that we’ve planned for weeks and months and counted down the days for is closer to the end than the beginning.
But standing in the middle of that bridge, everything else was 3,000 miles and forever away.