And Then We Bought A Plumber Van…

Sometimes in life we are faced with challenges that force us to choose a path.  What makes us who we are is how we deal with these moments.  Do you choose to let it defeat you?  Or do you find a way to overcome it?

Ben and I were faced with such a predicament in Port Orford, OR.    We left Bandon, OR in the misting rain.  Ten minutes into the ride it began to pour, harder than the usual rain we’d experienced.  Then the wind picked up – enough to where the gusts would completely knock my bike over so I had to clip out.  I’m screaming through the rain, “this is nuts!”  Ben is nodding and hoping that it will let up during the ride.  We splash through puddles and the roadsides begin to flood.  After three hours of raindrops making their way into my collar and down my back, we finally drifted into Port Orford.  Click on this link to see a video of what 70 mph winds look like!


As fate would have it, a kind soul saw us on the side of the road and offered his help.  John, a fellow bike tour adventurer, pulled us over near the local hardware shop, jumped out of his truck and said, “You realize you are going into the worst storm we have had all year?!  It’s only going to get worse.  Like something you’ve never seen before.”  The forecast had called for winds up to 75 mph and sheets of rain for the next week solid.  Ben and I were hoping the forecasters were joking.  John rode across country several times and was sympathetic of the conditions we’d endured- three days without rain the entire trip.  He offered us use of his Powder House, one of Port Orford’s historical gems and the coziest place we’ve stayed thus far.

Once in the quaint home, Ben and I started calculating how long it would take us to finish if the weather continued like the forecast predicted.  Too long.  We would miss Christmas. Everyday would be spent in the rain without much visibility.  Was it worth it?  To say we did it, but not enjoy the time in between?  Life is too short to not be having fun!  So we thought of creative ways to continue riding while speeding up our adventure.  Planes, trains and automobiles.

During the days that followed, Ben and I huddled up in the warm Powder House (which was aptly named at it had been used to store explosives in a former life) enjoying tea and the company of John and Cathy, who so kindly welcomed us and showed us all the unique qualities of Port Orford.  We poured over plans and got anxious of the twists and turns the trip was taking.  Roads were closed, trees fell, power lines came down and part of the fence from the Powder House blew away.  At night I kept waiting for the roof to blow off, it sounded like it was being ripped away with each gust.

Three nights went by and we realized we weren’t going to make it anywhere on a bike, anytime soon.

Plan B.

Ben scoured craigslist for an option, any option and what did he find?  None other than a well-loved Dodge Plumbing Van, perfect for fitting the bikes into, for camping and more adventure.

A few napkin sketches later and a trip to Home Depot have morphed the plumbing van into a luxurious, functional, mobile adventure unit.  We now drive to places we couldn’t have gone previously and bike day rides each day, weather permitting.

The adventure continues…



One thought on “And Then We Bought A Plumber Van…

  1. Anita Lawson

    You two are very wise and I love your writing! More fun to come! Can’t wait to catch up. Keep having fun on your amazing adventure.


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