NOTE: My posting schedule has been as erratic as my travels. Since “camping” at the Oceanside Harbor over the long Fourth of July weekend, I made my way up Hwy 395, stopping overnight at 5,000+ foot campsite in the San Bernardino National Forest and at an RV “resort” (actually, it was a resort when compared to the Oceanside accommodations) in Lone Pine. It turns out that those two days of travel were simply too much for me, leaving me depleted. I spent a second day/night in Lone Pine before crossing the Sonora Pass (Highway 108) – east to west! You may have heard me literally shouting from the mountaintops when I crossed the 9,000+ peak. In first gear.
My destination, which I reached successfully, was Pinecrest Lake/Strawberry for Lair of the Bear, Camp Blue, Week 5, Friday Night, The Dregs Party.
I left the Lair early Saturday morning (which raises the question whether I was REALLY at the Dregs Party) and continued driving down Hwy. 108 to my son’s home in Pleasant Hill, a community in the San Francisco Bay Area’s East Bay. It’s a testament to my son’s love that he allowed me to park in his driveway. I was touched.
Coming over the Altamont Pass (yes, THAT Altamont, where a Hell’s Angel murdered a fan at the infamous Rolling Stones’ concert in December 1969) from Tracy to Livermore, I was reminded of the stories I heard from the young wives of husbands who worked at the Lawrence Livermore Lab. This memory dates back to the early and mid-70s, when I was a newspaper reporter for the Contra Costa Times, covering the Dublin-Pleasanton-Livermore area. Anyway, these women, often with young children in tow or on the way, thought they were moving to the San Francisco Bay Area. They imagined seeing the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance, shopping for fresh food in Chinatown, and watching the fog roll in.
Instead, their husbands’ stopped the car in Livermore, in summer (predominant color: burnt brown; average daytime temperature: high 90s) to announce, “We’re here!” That’s when they realized they’d been duped. This wasn’t San Francisco. This was somewhere near the end of the world.
I spent more than a week at my son Michael’s house, making my departure a joyous occasion for his roommates. I was waiting for the arrival of Cousin #3*. On the first day of our journey we encountered more help from men than we ever did when we were young and beautiful, or at least young and attractive. Oh OK, when we were young. We think it’s our hair. I’m grey and Cousin #3 is silver. The man in his late 50s at the dump station handled all the shit for us (I’m not swearing, just using an apt description) and the man in his late 20s at the gas station came out to ensure the air in all the tires was at the correct PSI.
We were on our way to Sacramento, serving as a way-station to the Gold Country, which we reached two days ago. We stopped in my old stomping grounds, Amador City and Sutter Creek, and are now happily ensconced in an RV “resort” (this one really does warrant the quote marks) in Pine Grove. Old friends may recall that I lived in both Pine Grove and Sutter Creek for seven years before moving to SoCal.
We drove to the Amador County Fair in Plymouth on Sunday, the last day of the Fair. The quilts at the Fair were as outstanding as I remember. Being with Cousin#3, I also saw sheep, goats, chickens and rabbits, a new Fair experience for me. I had to physically remove her, weeping (her, not me), from the rabbit cages marked, “sold for food.” Some industrious member of FFA had thoughtfully also provided a display of recipes.
Today is a work day. While I slave away at the keyboard, she’s out scrounging quarters to do the laundry. Also on our “to do” list for today: assemble the Coleman screen-house; assemble the small BBQ; see if we can actually light the charcoal; and cook our fresh corn and zucchini in batches on the small BBQ.
We’re also started a “Note to Self” list that includes essentials such as remember to replenish beer before taking off; don’t drink above-mentioned beer close to bedtime; and be sure when giving backup directions to the driver that you mean left when you shout out “Turn left, turn left!”
* I have four female cousins, all of whom are really really smart. I refer to them as Cousin A, the retired college professor; Cousin #1, the retired CFO); Cousin #2, the one who married a rich man for love, not money, which because of the lawsuits from a stupid brother-in-law turns out have a been a good decision on which to base a marriage; and Cousin #3, the former Jeopardy contestant and my current travel companion.
P.S. References to travels up Hwy. 395 and The Lair Friday Night Dregs Party will be the subjects of future amusing blogs.