The Bustache

Hazy Heap

Geez Louise, it’s been a crazy few days.  

On Friday, we headed out into the PNW wild for some Bustache Adventuring and river-side camping.  This holiday weekend was shaping up to be the hottest we’d experienced here in Oregon, with temperatures reaching near triple digits.

Over the next 3 days, we had a grand time being mostly off-grid at higher and cooler elevations.  We lounged next to the McKenzie River, got our #Sweatember on with hikes to the famed Blue Pool and several waterfalls, and ended with a boondocked stay at an Animal Sanctuary halfway back to our own mountain home.

But yesterday, as cell service resumed, we started getting alerts on our phone about “historic winds,” extreme fire danger and power outages in the Mt. Hood area.  And about 90 miles out from Camp Quarantine, the previously bright blue sky filled with smoke, and thanks to Bustache’s lack of AC, our throats and eyes burned during the last hour of our journey.  

It was a treacherous drive, to say the least.  The only thing crazier than the smoke, was the intense winds that bounced Bustache all over the road and blew down trees in front of us.  Bustache is probably the LEAST aerodynamic vehicle that exists, but Steve was a champ and captained our ship safely back to our house (even though by the time we made it, my hands ached from clutching onto the door handles for dear life).  

We arrived at Misty Mountain (which was now actually a hazy heap) at 6:15pm and by 6:30pm we lost power.  Up there, power loss means no electricity, phones or water (well water uses electric pumps… the things this city girl would never think about!).  So we strapped on our headlamps, grabbed our few valuables and necessities and evacuated – taking both Bustache and FityCent back down “civilization.”

It was eerie driving through the small mountain towns in the smoke and red glow of the setting sun with no street lamps to guide the way.  We had agreed to convene in Sandy (a town 25 miles away) to decide our next steps.  In a hail mary, Steve decided to call the local Best Western to see if any rooms were available (when we previously looked, it was fully booked).  By some small miracle, someone had JUST called in a cancellation 30 seconds prior, and we secured the very last room.  While we were checking in, no less than 5 calls rang looking for a reservation, and they were all denied.  We were so so lucky.

That is… until the power briefly went out and shut down the door locks, so we couldn’t actually get INTO our room.  We were stuck in the hallway for 30 minutes while Nathan, the hotel manager and ONLY staff on duty, ran around resetting all the key cards while answering the phones to inevitably turn people away.  Nathan was a rockstar on what should have been a lazy post-holiday night.  Thank you, Nathan, for keeping your cool and keeping us all safe!

Nathan finally used a magical black box and got us into our room around 9:30pm.  Steve, Westi and I piled in and collapsed with relief.  (And then Steve walked next door to Safeway and came back with Chocolate Lava Cakes that we microwaved and ate for dinner.

So that’s where we’ve been and where we are currently!  Looks like we’ll be holed-up here until Thursday when the winds *hopefully* die down and our power is restored.  Barring no new fires or felled trees, our house should still be standing!

I suppose I committed to posting about Recovery and the like, but as we alcoholics like to remind each other, we’ve got to do life on life’s terms.  And, I mean, 2020… amiright?  

So for this one, I’ll just say, I’m 600 days sober TODAY.   And I am so very grateful I can feel stressed, exhilarated and relieved without needing to take a drink. That in-and-of-itself is even more magical than Nathan’s black box.  

In the midst of all this, I’m still sweating for The Phoenix and raising money for this special community.  You can make more magic happen by donating here:

Stay safe, everyone!  Much love,


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