This morning we left our makeshift campsite just off of a forest road near Crater Lake National Park. So far we’ve been able to camp for free in different national forests when we aren’t staying with friends or family -- makes for free accommodations nearly everywhere along our route. From there we said goodbye to Oregon and hello to California. The state definitely has its wonders, but we weren’t met with the “Sunny California” from the postcards. Instead, we entered Crescent City with 54 degrees and clouds.
Redwoods towered over sections of Highway 101 going south, and we even got a chance to drive through one. In retrospect, we’re not sure the $5 charge supporting a 10 foot wide tunnel through one of the most majestic trees in all of the world was our wisest decision, but it happened.
Miles and miles of twists and turns later, we found ourselves in Eureka with an appetite. As usual, we stumbled across a taco truck on the side of the road and couldn’t resist. Mexican food has been an all-too-frequent stop on this trip and this one looked like the real deal. Immediately after we ordered, a woman pulled up, parked awkwardly, and came out a looking a little stressed. She asked the men working if they had seen her wallet. Not a thing.
She looked desperately at us. “Have you seen a black wallet?”
“No, sorry.” we answered in unison. She’d lost it sometime between using it at the taco truck and entering the next store. We helped her look around the parking lot. Nothing. She searched her car. Still nothing.
We looked at each other and had the same idea. We couldn’t resist helping her out; it felt like the perfect place at the perfect time. The woman was already in her car and looked distraught. She put the car in drive, but we motioned for her to roll the window down.
“Sorry, we didn’t see anything. What did you have in it?” Nate asked.
“A 100 dollar bill.” she said.
“Well I think you ran into the right guys at the right time.” he said.
“What do you mean?” she asked.
“Here’s 100 dollars.” Shane said and pulled a 100 dollar bill out of his wallet.
Her jaw dropped with confusion. “Are you serious?” she asked.
“Absolutely.” we said.
Her name was Manya and her appreciation forced the car into park and opened her arms with hugs. We embraced and could feel her appreciation as she wrapped each of us up. We couldn’t have scripted things better.
To Bill and Cheryl Gottenborg... Today you lifted up Manya in Eureka, CA. You have always been givers. You've given of your time, money, and love to your family and community without end. Here's to you. And here's to the good you do.
When the opportunity presents itself, don’t let yourself look away.#ProjectWildness