Friday, July 19, 2013

Home again, home again, jiggity-jig

July 12-19, 2013
Corvallis, Oregon
Chez Cook’s RV Pad

vic and dogs walking near osu

After leaving a family reunion in Southern Oregon last week, we drove about two hours to the Seven Feathers RV Resort for a relaxing day before making our final three hour drive back to our hometown of Corvallis.  We are blessed to have many dear friends that we are anxious to see in this area and quite lucky to have close friends who have a spot for us to park with water and electric hook-ups for our month-long stay here. As you can see in the photo below, our motorhome has its own little niche right next to the fence bordering their luscious garden.  I took this photo from the deck on the back of their house where we enjoy a barbeque together almost nightly.  It is very sweet to be just ten minutes from downtown Corvallis or the campus of Oregon State University, yet out in the country where there always seems to be a refreshing breeze and the bonus of country roosters crowing in the morning. Thank you Ann and Don for your generous hospitality and special friendship!



Coming “home” again always tugs at my heart strings in different ways. My memories of this town are quite varied as I moved here in 1983 with my first husband when my boys were four and four months old. I went back to school here that same year to get my teaching certificate and later my master’s degree and ended up spending my entire teaching career in the Corvallis School District.  I taught long enough to have two generations of students in my classrooms and now I even see that second generation around town with their young families. It’s a pretty small town overall (55,000) so the anonymity I have become accustomed to in our travels is a rare experience here. I was a single mom in this town for almost ten years and then spent the last twelve years of my time here married to Victor in a home that we thought we would live in for the rest of our lives. As the reality of my retirement date drew near, a restless spirit took over and we came up with the idea of traveling around for a few years in a motorhome. Yet, we had an implicit agreement that we would always return to the Northwest in the summers as we both have a love affair with Oregon that we are not totally willing to give up.  It’s funny that we never talked about where we would spend summers. It was just a given to come back here. Even though we have discovered that we like Florida best for the winter months, we make the most of the lengthy trek back to Oregon as an opportunity to take different routes and explore new places along the way.

We have also found there is some truth in Thomas Wolfe’s admonition: “You can’t go home again.”  The beauty of this lush green valley with its winding river and snow-capped mountains in the distance all remains the same, but the rituals of life we used to enjoy here are forever altered. Friends have moved away (retired like us!), my sons no longer live here, and the ties we used to feel to the community have loosened.  Not all bad—just different. Perhaps home has little to do with geography. Some motorhomes display the sign: home is where we park it—and that seems true as well.  Life is full of paradox and change—maybe that’s the jiggity-jig!

Before we moved away, almost two years ago, we had a party at our home and took this crazy photo of some of our closest friends in our backyard. You can probably tell we know how to have a good time.  Fortunately, all but two of these friends are still in the area, so we have been lucky to be able to reconnect and enjoy the bounty of Oregon together during our stay here.

corvallis friends summer 2011

While we are here, another major focus is scheduling all of our annual appointments, not only for us but even the dogs, the Jeep, and the motorhome. After having attended Camp Freightliner, Vic is religious about taking the motorhome every summer to McCoy Freightliner in Salem for the strongly recommended 12 months or 15,000 miles service. Vic uses the service checklist Freightliner provides to make sure they do all the necessary oil, filters, lube, and inspections.  We also get our annual inspections at our primary care doctors, plus I do an annual mammogram and dermatology appointment. At some point, we will need to find new doctors but for now it is nice to see ones who know us and have our complete history. Thankfully, neither of us is on any medication so that makes life easier when we are on the road.  We don’t take our good health for granted.


One other lovely aspect of staying here a month is having time to just be. We are both enjoying some summer reading. I am finally getting around to reading Dave Egger’s memoir, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, and Vic is reading In the President’s Secret Service by Ronald Kessler.  I have taken a bit of a break from internet activities as well—somewhat of a holdover from summer’s past when vacation from teaching meant getting unplugged. Sorry if that has meant fewer comments on blog posts and only weekly updates.


The weather in the mid-Willamette Valley has been almost perfect with most days in the 80s and temps in the 50s at night. The cool nights means it takes almost all day to reach the high temperature so the only really warm time is between 4 and 6 p.m. Just like we remembered it. We have only had one day that reached into the low 90s causing us to run the generator (running on 20 amps here) to run the a/c for a couple hours.  If it looks like a hot spell is coming this way, we only need to take an hour’s drive to the coast where the temperature will be about 20 degrees cooler, something we want to do anyway.
I will leave you with a few classic images of summertime from the Corvallis riverfront area on a Saturday morning.



  1. So glad you are having a great time with friends...

    We will be doing the same thing in October when we return to Pine MT, GA...all the yearly appointments!

    Enjoy! Oh, the fresh berries look yummy!

    1. Ah, yes. The annual trip back to what was once home base. We are heading to Polson in Sept. , but I am guessing you will be on your way back east.

  2. Nice to have friends who have a place for you to plug in.

    Nothing wrong about getting unplugged for a while. We are now past the one week mark at Lake Greenwood, and I feel no urge to blog ... part of it is because we're just being and not exploring ... the other part is that as with everything too much of something (in this case blogging) becomes a chore if you don't take occasional breaks.

    We're going to get our annual checks in Pensacola, our new hometown. But after we move west in 2014, we have no plans to return east for a while, so we will need to figure out what we want to do for physicals and such going forward.

    I'm with Gay and Joe ... those berries do look yummy.

    1. Glad you can relate to just "being," especially as productive as you two always seem to be.

      As for medical checkups, you might want to look into the Mayo clinics. Check John and Sharon's blog (Hey Duke) to read about their rave reviews of their comprehensive medical check-ups. They have a Tucson clinic as well as one in Jacksonville.

  3. WOW...that site puts ours to shame. Glad Pam and John weren't there before they visited us. Ours would have been the slums to them...hehe

    Paul and I both are retired teachers and have seen the same with our students. My first year I had a gal named last year of teaching I had her daughter, Shannon. What a trip.

    Love the crazy photo. Looks like a great group of folks.

    1. Having a site at our friends' home is a blessing, but yours is every bit as inviting (hint-hint). He-he (my turn.)

      I love that you can relate to the generations of teaching. All that work and then "poof." Sometimes looking back on that life seems surreal.

  4. boy we do miss those berries in Oregon...

    1. There are yummy berries in the UP. Hunt them out!

  5. Family and Friends, what a great combo! Sure wish our son had stayed in Corvallis instead of moving to Portland.

  6. Really nice post Pam about 'going home again'. We too do our dental, medical etc appointments in our home town and see fewer and fewer friends when we return.
    That's a mighty nice site you have there and clearly great friends to be with.

    You encourage me with your annual trek across country every year. I have felt that I could only do the west justice by staying somewhere in the SW rather than Florida. But I really do love Florida for winters.

    Corvalis sounds and looks a lot like our Charlottesville. A 50K person college town with many wonderful things to do. Those fruits are making my mouth water.

    1. We do travel a long way every year, but since we know we won't be doing this lifestyle forever, we just decided to do what we most love-- which is traveling to both coasts. Having family in Florida helps me rationalize the added expense.

      I think we would love spending more time in Charlottesville. The Faulkner Library is a big pull!

  7. Gee, you sound just like us in a few weeks. We are heading back to York, PA to spend two months doing the same thing...visiting friends, our daughter, and lots of appointments. How nice that you have a friend with a perfect spot. We stay at the local campground. This is the longest we've been away, 14 months.

    You shared a box of my fruit!! We were in Salem last year in August and I made a visit to a farmers market every three days for that exact box. I loved that I could pick the fruit types I wanted each time. I made so many tarts and pies!! It was those wonderful markets that began my love of Swiss Chard and Kale.

    Enjoy your time with friends! And enjoy your technology break!!!

    1. Well then, we can sure relate. Last year we were at a campground about 20 minutes away from our hometown. Having your own place has its advantages, but proximity is good too.

      Yes, the summer fruits and berries here are abundant. Going to the markets is one of my greatest pleasures. If you add fresh seafood to the mix, it doesn't get much better than that, except by adding a little dark chocolate for dessert.

  8. Ah yes, the "home town" stopover. We do that for two months over the holidays in San Diego. I have really mixed feelings about being in the big city for that long; much prefer the small towns we've been traveling through. Corvallis is a lovely place to spend some summer time, enjoy your hiatus!

    Metamorphosis Lisa

  9. A great and thoughtful post about going home again.

    We've kept our home here on Vancouver Island and are only gone for 4 months while wintering in Palm Springs each year. Still, we like to get home each April and really look forward to the summer and fall here at home.

    The fulltime bug never really took hold with us but I understand why and how it is appealing to so many other Rvers.

  10. Love, love, love nice to hear about it from you guys...It's kind of a good thing that the hometown pull lessens its grip on you after awhile. That just means you can full time and go wherever you want to go with the ties not quite so tight and binding. Hope to get back to Oregon some day....thanks for sharing and staying in touch!

  11. Loved reading your latest post... as I always do.


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