Today we are heading to Gasquet California to see my friends Vern and Nancy Powers. I worked with them both while I was employed by Safeway. While we were driving to Yelm, I called to see if we could stop for a visit. Nancy asked, “Today?” Nope, on tuesday if she had time. She said that was great and she’d make dinner. She asked if we had any dietary restrictions and I said I’m mainly a vegetarian but will eat cheese, eggs and fish on occasion. She is a Vegan now and Vern is still a carnivore but will eat vegan with her. She would make us a vegan lasagna on tuesday night. That was great ! Yeah!!! A visit and Food!! A big win for us. I also asked if there was a campground nearby that she could recommend. She directed us to Panther Flat on the Smith River. She loves it and camps there for 2 weeks every July, without Vern.
The drive down Highway 5 was not my favorite. I took the morning shift and it was raining off and on. This highway has lots of trucks, big rigs. Sometimes I get nervous towing the trailer around all these trucks. It's like a scary video game maneuvering in between them and sometimes they would all box me in too. I probably did about 2 hours and then my nerves were shot. We had to pull off the road for a bit so I could regain my composure. The turn took us to a road with a covered bridge. It was located 15 miles north of Grant Pass and we just stumbled onto when we exited the highway. We hung out here for about 30 minutes. We parked by what looked like an old market but is was closed. Just as we were snooping around an older lady in her early 90’s walked down a dirt road to check for mail.
She stuck up a conversation with Larry that gave so much information about her current life and about the store-turned museum-turned into a community center. Luckily I was able to walk away but Larry learned that she’s on a fixed income of $600 and she just loaned her grandson money that she’s worried she won’t get back. She also has a leaky roof and doesn’t know if she will be able to repair it...and it went on for at least 20 minutes. We eventually broke away and got to drive through the covered bridge. It was a cool find and I guess it was meant to be, the stop here and all.
Back on the road toward Gasquet. It was supposed to be a 5 hour drive but with stops and a little turn around in Grants Pass we rolled into our campground around 3:30pm. It was a beautiful wooded campsite right by the Smith River. When we were all set up, I called Nancy and let her know we were in town. She said to come over whenever we wanted. We hopped in the truck about 4pm and it was only 4 minutes to her house!! Ha Ha Ha
The last time I got to see Nancy and Vern was the April of 2010. The kids and I did a spring break trip up the coast to Seattle. We were planning on camping up the coast. That only lasted one night. We woke up to rain and it was motels for us after that. Note to self- don’t travel north in spring. My kids asked how old Nancy was. I said about 15 years older than me. They asked if she was still mobile ...considering her age. This “idea” of Nancy and Vern was laid to rest when we were greeted at the door with the enthusiasm of a teenager! That’s one of the reasons I knew we had to stop and see them if we could fit it into both of our schedules.
Both Vern and Nancy are retired for many years now. This hasn’t slowed them down at all. It has given them the time to travel. One of the most interesting trips they have taken, several times, is the walk on the Camino de Santiago. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camino_de_Santiago_(route_descriptions) Vern and Nancy are planning on doing the Camino del Norte in 2022. I would really like to come along and have them show us the ropes!I have always admired Nancy’s high energy and sense of adventure. We used to be running partners and did the Bay to Breakers every year with a group of friends from Safeway. She also had a corvette during the time I owned mine too.
I had really hyped up our visit to see Vern and Nancy to Larry so I was hoping he would enjoy them as much as I do. We had some yummy appetizers and great conversation. I found out that Nancy has been working on the Bernie Sanders election campaign and Vern golfs 3 days a week in Grant Pass. They are both in great health and full of fabulous stories of all the amazing things they’ve done. I could listen to Nancy all night! Nancy’s lasagna was one of the best vegan meals I have ever I had. Larry had seconds or thirds. I don’t think we left anything in the dish for leftovers.
After dinner, we got to see Vern’s music room. He must have 8 guitars and he played along to Joe Bonamassa.. They were going to see him in concert in the next few weeks. He plays blues and is super talented. I think Vern plays great and should try to get some local gigs. Maybe someday. We talked for hours. Nancy even got out her scrap book with some amazing articles about the 60’s in the Haight Ashbury. She showed us a Press Democrat article of when she delivered a baby In Windsor California. It was a neighbor and happened in the middle of the night. She came out in her bathrobe and helped the woman give birth in the car. It was too late to drive. After the baby was born, she wrapped it in her bathrobe and stood there naked. She’s just so cool like that! It was almost 11:30pm when we said we needed to leave. It was way past our bedtime.
We said our goodbyes at the door. I told her that we would be hitting the road around 11am in the morning but she could bring us breakfast if she wanted. We laughed, Hugged and took a few pics to remember our fabulous evening. I really love Nancy and Vern. They are great people and I am hoping to walk the Camino with them in 2022.
We slept great at Panther Flats. It was so quiet and peaceful plus really no one was camping at the State Park. We walked down to the creek in the morning and around the campground. They have douglas fir, cedar and Pacific madrone trees. It was so green and lush. I wish we could have stayed longer than 18 hours but we needed to drive south again today. We need to be in Sacramento by 10/11 for my yearly Aftershock Festival!! We were just about hooked up and ready to head out, when a car pulled up and asked if we had breakfast yet. It was Nancy!! She brought us a yummy Tofu scramble for breakfast plus paper plates and utensils!! God I Love this Woman!!! We had a quick breakfast and more hugs. What a magical time we spent in Gasquet with Vern and Nancy!! I think Larry is a little bit in Love with her now too!