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Back to Cali: Our Oregon Adventure Part XIII

Our drive home from the Oregon coast back to the Mojave desert was one filled with a mix of anticipation, excitement, fear, and dread. We talked almost non-stop, trying to anticipate every aspect of the process once we got home. Listing our current home for sale, putting in an offer on the lake house, packing, saying goodbyes to our friends and family, and the plethora of other things we were unsure about. We were excited to move to the Oregon coast, to move into our dream home, and to embark on this new adventure in our lives. There was also so much fear. Fear of the unknown of selling a home and buying a new one. Fear of moving out of state – especially since the two of us had never moved out of the town we grew up in! Fear of missing our friends and family. Then there was the dread. We dreaded going through our things back at home and pairing it all down. We knew we’d be happier in the long run to purge so much *stuff* from our lives. We knew most of it was stuff we never needed in the first place, but we dreaded the decision making process. What goes? What gets packed? We dreaded the manual labor of going through our years of belongings filling our large, four-bedroom house. Fortunately, the excitement and anticipation would win out over the fear and dread and would keep us moving forward towards our dream.

On our trip home, we traveled down the coast to the Redwoods. I wanted to stop at Fort Bragg on the way up the coast but we were too excited to get to Oregon and we chose not to stop, planning to stop on the return trip home. Fort Bragg isn’t necessarily a destination for travelers, but it has a secret beach that not many know about – well, let’s say that not many *used* to know about – the glass beach. The town is famous for collecting their glass bottles and pouring them on to the shore and letting the ocean tumble the pieces into tiny pebbles of spectacular colors as a way to dispose of the materials. They have since stopped the tradition of pouring in more glass, but the shores are still filled with little remnants of the process. Of course, as the beach became more popular and jewelry makers began making jewelry with sea glass as the gems in their pieces, the beach has been well combed. It’s now littered with more brown and clear glass than any other color, leaving it to look like a normal rocky/sandy beach. As you approach the shore, you realize that there are millions of tiny bits of soft, rounded glass, tumbled by the ocean. It was a partly cloudy day with a cool wind in the air but that didn’t keep the people away from the glass beach. Dozens of people were there to see the phenomenon and take a bit of it home with them. Some even had small buckets. I just had my pockets – and Dennis’ pockets as a back up. We walked down to the shore and walked through the glass pebbles. I scanned the glass for special pieces. I was looking for large pieces and/or colored pieces that weren’t brown or clear. I found some beautiful amber pieces and a handful of pieces that were fun shapes. They all exist in our memory jar now – filled with seashells, sand, rocks, and sea glass that we’ve collected from our trips. Just one or two special pieces collected at special locations.

We walked the beach for about an hour and it started to rain. Not wanting to spend the rest of the trip home soaking wet, we made the short trek back to the van for shelter. As we drove away from the glass beach, we saw this magnificent circus tent in the middle of a large grassy meadow. With the gray skies and the mist falling, it reminded me of the circus tent from the FX produced show, American Horror Story. It was cool and creepy and I’m sure filled with all sorts of magical circus performers. I had to snap a couple of shots as we drove past.

All of our pit stops revolved around the ocean. We stopped at several spots to just breathe in the salty brined sea air. I love that smell! We love noticing and comparing the different sand, rocks, and landscapes at each beach we stop at. We are both infatuated with water!

Eventually we cut across to the 5 Freeway and back to the monotony of the open, straight highway. It’s an interesting view from the 5 Freeway in California. A person can see everything for miles and miles, but at the same time, there’s almost nothing to see. Some farm land (that’s the most beautiful in my opinion), and then just dirt – for miles. We were already missing the trees and green and moss and water everywhere. On the Oregon coast in October, the highway was dotted with waterfalls! It was spectacular. I guess the monotony got to me. I didn’t take a single picture of our trip once we reached California. Partly because I have made the long drive from Southern to Northern California many times and partly because we were exhausted and ready to be home. When we returned, life went quickly back to normal – normal with a side of chaos. It was November and we had the holidays coming up but at the same time, we were listing our house, packing, pairing down our things, and working on our offer for the lake house. Our real estate agents in both places – California and Oregon – were phenomenal. Our agent in California, Audrey, seriously helped us keep our sanity. The process of selling a 20+ year old home “as-is” is quite a feat of patience, hard labor, and lots of tears. Shockingly, the tears were not for the house, but more-so about leaving family. Both of our immediate families live in Southern California and most of them even live in the same town. It was going to be a big change.

In between Thanksgiving with family and school functions for my elementary school-aged niece, we were cleaning, purging, and packing. We had three separate garage sale weekends. Anything that didn’t sell, was donated or given away. Our most successful garage sale is one that I highly recommend if you’re ever in the process of moving and/or downsizing. We hosted the garage sale over the course of two days - Saturday and Sunday. On Sunday afternoon at about 2pm, we posted on Craigslist that everything left was free. By 5pm on Sunday afternoon almost every last thing was gone. It was an excellent feeling! We made a little money on the more valuable portion of our things and were able to give the rest to people who could use them but didn’t have the cash to purchase them. One man who took the bulk of what was left – squeezed his small sedan filled to the roof with things – would likely sell them himself when he got them all home. Even that felt good. We helped him make a little money and he helped us by keeping us from having to put our things in the landfill. It was an excellent garage sale/giveaway weekend!

I’ve avoided talking about the hard part – the selling of our house. It’s a big story of heart-wrenching proportions! I’ll go into the details – the good, the bad, and the ugly in the next part of Our Oregon Adventure. Maybe our struggle can help someone else out there looking to relocate out of state.

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Illustration by Blume Bauer ©

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