OK, so, yeah.
There is a big ole school bus labeled with the name of a well-known MLM business selling essential oils, parked by the boardwalk leading to our favorite hot spring.
Now, I grant you, there are WORSE things than a flock of impassioned commissioned salespeople in bathing suits bearing down upon our hapless selves…maybe a murder of teenagers on spring break is worse, or getting picked off by a serial killer, or a bear attack. There have been bears eating unlucky tourists here before.
On the other hand, last time we passed through was in our 4×4 Toyota Chinook poptop camper build. N and I navigated the boardwalk at night under that same overwhelming spread of stars I love so much, enough star- and moonlight to cast shadows of the primeval marsh onto the path. We floated by ourselves in the hot water for hours. I’ll spare you the marital details.
Eh, after three days of just each other’s company and Honey pee breaks every hour, the hot spring filled with people is fun too. We had to fend off a few sales pitches, but mostly, we floated at the hot end and talked to fellow travelers. Five hours later, we’d met a half-dozen mountain guides coming up for the spring skiing and backcountry season in Haines and Valdez, two flight attendants traveling on their days off, a hotel manager and her mom driving up for the summer season in Denali, and a puppy training to be an Avalanche Rescue Dog. One of the mountain guides, 25 years old, parent of the adorable pup, spent his winter guiding in Nepal. By the time we left, everyone else had retired exhausted from the blissful heat of the hot springs too.
We left at the same time as the Nepal guide, and WHAT! He is driving a shorty bus conversion!! His bus is a recent project, so I’m not posting any pics, but it has so much potential! I love shorty bus conversions. If we do another camper, I’m tempted to say it will be a bus conversion or a micro-fifth-wheel axles-up build. N wants to build a more conventional pop-up teardrop trailer. Meh, I’m not opposed, but I like length-efficient rigs.
We introduced Honey to the future rescue dog, but she’s long past the time she loved little dogs and puppies and cats. She’s just tired, and maybe jealous. I felt like she’s just counting down until we put her down, watching her wander away from us and the puppy and a SECOND puppy she would have nuzzled once. That stung.
Sometimes, being happy just means making the best of what you’ve got, even if some of that is sad. Like, say, focusing on the road trip, and not on the reason for the road trip.
N had been just, you know, casually touching on continuing to Washington.
Watching Honey plod away from the puppies and isolate herself at the margins, coalesced with worrying about other family members in the States and their recent health issues, and tipped my opinion from “We need to stick to the budget,” to “F*ck it, Honey deserves a proper last trip, and plus the other stuff.”
Watching N practically skip back to the car and pack so we can get going RIGHT NOW is an excellent bonus.