I'm sitting here in my warm, snug trailer after a long, very chilly day yesterday at Crater Lake National Park, and life seems very, very good. I always go back to my favorite Ernie Zelinski quote from his most excellent book on retirement, "The Joy of Not Working"
When you do that which is hard, life becomes easy. When you do only that which is easy, life becomes hard.First the hard part of yesterday - we had to set the alarm in order to wake up early enough to make our 9:30 Wizard Island boat tour reservation in the east section of Crater Lake National Park. We had no real clarity on how long the drive to Cleetwood Cove would take, nor how long the strenuous one mile hike from the parking area down to the boat docks would take, so we doubled the time estimates we were given just to be safe. That meant we needed to leave by 7:30 AM, which is not necessarily early in the 'real world,' but a bit early out here in RV land, where every activity takes a bit longer due to limited space, storage and resources.
It had stormed the prior day and night at Crater Lake, so when we arrived at the Cleetwood Cove parking area, the boat check in kiosk was working absent all electronic devices. The storm, which brought wind, rain, hail, thunder and lightening, had apparently knocked out all power in the park. We had booked ahead, and had a reservation number, so we were OK, but the poor folk that were hoping to buy tickets in person had to go all the way down the steep one mile trail to the very cold and windy boat dock area, wait around to see who might have booked remotely online overnight, and then hope there would be room for them on the boat. And if there wasn't? Then they had to return back up the very steep one mile trail to their cars.
We knew it was going to be cold, so we were layered up good. I had on six layers to be exact: long work out top, tank top, short sleeve top, thin running jacket, and a thick North Face jacket topped by an REI rain jacket. Plus hiking pants, hiking socks and shoes, gloves and a hat. Mike was dressed similar.
The hike down was gorgeous, but the boat dock was good and cold. And windy. The lake looked really rough, and the docked boat, small and completely open to the elements, looked very vulnerable. One couple standing next to us bailed on the spot and left to go get a refund.
I was torn. Bail or not? I really wanted to tour the lake, and we were very much looking forward to our three hour drop off on Wizard Island, where we could hike to the top of an ancient volcanic cinder cone, but was it worth possible loss of life? (In my mind at least, if not the tour operators!)
Ultimately it got down to what it always gets down to for me - would I regret it more if I gave in to my fears, or if I didn't? Drats. I knew the answer - clearly the tour operators felt they had the situation in hand, and I needed to suck it up and go.
So we did. And it was cold, windy, wet and scary for about 30 minutes. The wave action was significant enough to send sprays of water sailing over the front of the boat, dousing passengers. We'd been given plastic rain covers, which helped somewhat.
|I'm scared, but I'm smiling!|
|At the summit of Wizard Island, Crater Lake in the background, White Bark pine tree to the left|
We've been pretty much repeating that pattern our entire trip - push hard, then relax slowly. Or do that which is hard, after which life becomes easy as Mr. Zelinski so wisely says.
Which is also why I think we're coming in so far under $100 per day budget after 6 1/2 weeks, with just one week still to go. We're so relaxed after pushing hard all day at whatever physical activity we've planned, we're content to relax, eat and be entertained with low cost activities like books, DVDs and card games back at our trailer.
Here are our numbers so far, including our upcoming three nights in Lassen Volcanic National Park, where lodging has already been paid, and the gas tank filled for the drive, and where our misc spend should be close to zero based on planned activities:
Lodging, 48 nights: $1,897
Gas, including 3000 towing miles: $900
Misc, including all costs other than groceries*: $1,357
Total for 48 nights/49 days: $4,154, or $84 per day
*Misc includes all activities, parking fees, restaurant meals, snacks, ice for cooler (which we stopped using two weeks in), bridge toll fees, and laundry. It also includes wine tasting fees, but not the actual wine purchases. We budget wine purchases to Entertainment, not Travel. It also doesn't include some purchases related to the trailer itself, such as a 50 amp converter we needed at one RV park, or our hiking and biking equipment, such as a new bike helmet for me after mine broke, a new bike lock after we left ours behind accidentally during one leg, and new hiking boots for Mike after his old ones wore out. Those got charged to our Hobbies category. It also doesn't include the WiFi jet pack we purchased, or the usage cards. Those got charged to our Electronics category.We feel we lead a pretty plush life in our RV, so there is no question the above costs could be reduced by making different choices for Lodging and Misc than we did. But our Gas costs might actually be too low for some, depending on what you drive and/or tow. We get a pretty decent 20 MPG when towing, if we are careful to keep all tires at max PSI.
Today our plan is to hike around Diamond Lake, right across the road from where we're staying, about 11 miles altogether. Then showers, laundry, and a nice dinner out at Diamond Lake lodge to round out the day (estimated dinner costs already included in above misc figure).
Tomorrow we re-enter California on our way to Lassen Volcanic National Park, then onto our beloved Mammoth Lakes from there, after which we return home next Tuesday, one week from today. We're ready, if not willing. It's been an amazing, amazing trip and we both agree we've been changed forever by it. More on that later.