The most common question in the emails I receive from friends is, “Where are you?” Although they’re asking for a physical location, I’m claiming poetic license to respond literally as well as metaphorically.
I was “stuck” for two weeks in the spacious Oakland home of my brother and sister-in-law, where I slept in a spare bedroom (and was honored to be joined at night by the old cat); was fed by my sister-in-law The Foodie; helped by my brother in dealing with an RV repair shop manager; included in Gary and Faith’s synagogue services for Rosh Hash Hashanah and Yom Kippur; and invited by their friends to parties in their lovely homes in the Oakland Hills with killer views, good wines and wonderful food. I’m currently in a run-down RV park in Cloverdale, CA, frequented by men with missing coffee-stained teeth and couples who start drinking heavily after lunch and don’t quit until bedtime.
Quite an adjustment. Which is why I’m staying in Cloverdale for a few more days, reviewing what’s gone well and figuring out what’s next.
What’s Gone Well
Traveling with Cousin #3 went very well. She was the best travel companion a girl could ask for. Not only did she have a positive attitude toward whatever the day dished out, but she also was terrific at finding items I lost in the RV. (And here you, like me, thought it wasn’t possible to lose items in 132-sq.-ft. living space.* I can assure you, it is possible.) Cousin #3 took care of the laundry, got to know the layout of the campsites and the stories of our neighbors, and took responsibility for our first BBQ, which continued well past sunset and led us to conclude that if we started the BBQ immediately after lunch, we could have dinner before it got dark. I learned a lot about Cousin #3 that I didn’t know, from her enjoying shucking corn to crediting Nixon’s bombing of Cambodia as the reason she was able to graduate from college. (She was flunking her classes her final semester at UCLA and would go to the library to study but instead ended up reading science-fiction books. The bombing led to the Student Strike, which led to cancelled classes, which in turn led to professors automatically passing their students for that semester.) Something else I didn’t know about Cousin #3: She worries unnecessarily and incessantly about . . . well, everything. I dread to think what she in turn learned about me. Surely my occasional explosions about important missing items that I could not possibly have misplaced would be on that list. Come to think of it, small wonder she found my missing items. It was self-defense.
Thanks to my brother’s help, buying the Smartcar went well. Together we figured out how to hook the car up to the
RV. The car is giving me the flexibility I wanted to visit towns and, eventually, cityscapes and museums. Working from the RV is going well.
I have a couple of clients and their assignments have come in at opportune times. I’m comfortable working from the desk/dinette in the RV and usually can connect to the internet using my iPhone’s Personal Hotspot.
I’ve also been able to see friends, and that’s gone well. Several people accepted my invitation to come slumming and spent time with me at the Oceanside Harbor over the extended Fourth of July weekend. Earlier this month I visited friends in the Bay Area, an occasion that included quite the haircut and the ride in The Rich Widow’s Ferrari. I also met the boyfriend of my friend, The Rich Heiress, who happens to be 70 years old. I am deliberately publishing her age to ensure she won’t identify herself, not even in a lawsuit.
Yesterday I arranged to meet a college roommate, who lives locally, at the Francis Ford Coppola Winery.
I’m well physically and emotionally, due in large part to eating well and exercising regularly. In fact, I eat and exercise as if my health and ability to travel depended on it. Next weekend I’m going to a Bay Area RV Meetup at a lake in the El Dorado National Forest, so I am taking steps to get out there and meet others with similar interests. I know the weekend will go well since the worst that can happen is I get some good material.
So that’s the long answer to the question about where I am. I’m in Cloverdale. In the future, I think I’ll call these times of planning “going through a Cloverdale.”
* Measurement may be slightly exaggerated since it includes the bathroom and the slide-out in an extended position.