April included one national forest campground (Panther Flat), one state park in Oregon (LaPine State Park), one night off-grid at the Painted Hills Unit of the John Day National Fossil Beds (about which more later), and many nights in S’s driveway in Arcata. 

It also included my birthday, which was a lovely day that included a beach walk and a chocolate cupcake and brunch with new friends. But that day was not the best day of the month. 

April 18th might have been the best day of the month. To be honest, I have no idea what happened on April 18th. I think maybe nothing notable? I think maybe I wrote good words on Fen and enjoyed some sunshine in Arcata and maybe went to yoga? Because the only reason I’m calling out April 18th as a good day was that on April 19th, I wrote in my journal, “true moments of happiness, yesterday was such a beautiful day, even writing happiness”. But I gave myself not a single specific detail about why I’d liked it so much, just wrote about the feeling of waking up delighted. I don’t wake up delighted every day. In fact, I’d say I don’t wake up delighted most days. So it’s nice to know that I did on April 19th and that I thought at the time that April 18th had been beautiful, but here it is two weeks later, and honestly, I’ve got nothing. 

So since April 18th is lost to the mists of time, I’m going to say April 29th wins for the best day of the month. And it was quite impressive! 

On the 29th, S and I left Panther Flat on our way to Bend. We had a lovely time in Bend. We started with brunch at a fantastic restaurant, the McKay Cottage Restaurant. On the way there, I was telling Suzanne that the only hesitations I’d had when picking it were the reviews that mentioned that parking was gnarly and that there was always a wait. S scoffed, saying “On a Monday morning at 10? We’ll be fine.” Ha. Apparently, at McKay Cottage, there is a line even on a random chilly Monday morning in April. But deservedly so, because the food was delicious. My omelette was the best omelette I’d ever had. I didn’t even know it was possible to make omelettes that good. I’m gonna have to step up my omelette game, because mine are nowhere close.

Afterwards we had a fun hour at REI and then another fun hour at the Goodwill Store. But by the time we gassed up and got back on the road, it was later than we’d anticipated. We considered our options — a super quick visit to the fossil beds and then hurrying on, or a night at a spot in the fossil beds vicinity? Since we still have plenty of time, we decided to try a Bureau of Land Management site on the outskirts of the fossil beds. 

Under other circumstances, it might have been a terrible decision: a long, long way down a bumpy isolated road, we reached a spot with room for a single camper. Maybe two if you’d been willing to be cozy. But we were the only ones there. And the weather was sunny, if cold. 

And it was absolutely incredibly gorgeous. The light was so bright that none of my pictures do it justice: photographs always seem so flat when the sun is so clear and sharp. But here’s one that shows the van from the adjacent hill, and another one that shows the view from the campsite. 

Serenity, parked in the Painted Hills
Serenity, parked in the Painted Hills. The light was already so bright that the photo doesn’t accurately represent the greens around us.
The view from the edge of the campsite.

It was glorious. 

S set up her camp cot and we walked the dogs, then ate dinner, and as it got colder we each retreated to the comfort of our own beds. In the night, I opened the window a few times to admire the stars — it was a clear night and there were millions of them in view. 

So the 29th — an incredible meal, fun with a friend, a beautiful camp site, happy dogs, and a clear starry sky. The best of a honestly delightful month. 

The 30th was also a darn nice day, and might have won if it hadn’t included a little too much driving and a very sore throat, but more on that one in my next post!