From our point of view, our friends and family tour of the west was hugely fun! Since August 10, we’ve made 16 stops to visit friends and family (17 if we count seeing Dana and Muffin twice). It’s important for us to stay in touch. And it was outrageous to meet up with long lost cousins!
Ah, but the leaves are changing, the temps are dropping, and there’s snow on the higher ridges. That can only mean one thing… We’re onto the fourth portion of this year’s adventure – our re-positioning back to Vermont. There’ll be fewer destination stops. And we’ll be seeking out adventures along a more direct (our definition) route while keeping an eye out for early cold snaps and snowstorms.
The Great Basin is an area of the West that encompasses most of the state of Nevada (pronounce the first ‘a’ as in ‘dad’ to sound like you live there). The area is so named because a drop of rainwater anywhere within the Basin never makes it to any ocean – it’s either absorbed into the ground (in some cases via irrigation) or it evaporates. Pete and Sue suggested we drive across Nevada on Route 50, AKA America’s Loneliest Road, to get to see this interesting part of the country.
We didn’t know what to expect, however, ‘basin’ conjures up visions of a shallow bathroom sink. Um. Not quite…
Yosemite has been on both of our bucket lists for a long time. We didn’t think our schedule would allow us to visit this year. However, our 2 loops through No Cal provided an interesting opportunity. To get from Grover Beach to Tahoe City, the shortest ‘no interstates’ route took us through Yosemite. And we could have 2 free days. As with most of the larger and more popular National Parks, campsites are are sold out months in advance. I checked for cancellations and found exactly one, in Yosemite Valley, for the days we’d be passing through. The universe spoke. I snagged the reservation.
I was 6 years old when my Uncle Rod and Aunt Olive up and moved to California with my cousins Rick and Priscille. Priscille was my idol at the time – she was my only girl cousin in our little home town in New Hampshire. And she was so cool – she was 11. I asked ‘Mom, where’s California?’ ‘It’s far’ she said.
Fast forward 35 years. My brother reports that he’s visited our 4 cousins in California. You know, Rod’s kids. Wait a minute…
I recently read an article that referred to social media as a way to live ‘a perfectly curated life.’ Hmmm, is that what we’re doing with this blog? Featuring the perfect? Sweeping everything else under the proverbial analog rug?
Not really. We’re genuinely having great fun. Some days are outrageous – we climb mountains, see unbelievable views, swim in crystal clear lakes. We do tend to emphasize these in our posts, though some days are ordinary and we do laundry and go grocery shopping, while other days have hiccups like flat tires and roads suggested by GPS that turn into singletrack. It’s all part of the great adventure.
My list of people who were most influential on who I became as an adult certainly includes John and Sharon. They opened my eyes and heart to diversity, open-mindedness and life balance, allowing me to see a whole new world of possibilities. That’s a long story. The short version is that I was John’s tenant, renting the camper in his back yard in 1983-1984, when he met Sharon. Together with their kids Josh, then 5, and Michael, 7, and a few pets, we lived together as a funky alt-family. They married, and I met Doug and moved back to the east coast.
To round out her vacation and trip through Oregon, Mo wanted to visit a few specific places in Portland. On the last day of our week together, we set off on an urban adventure to see the city and find those places.
Doug had toured Crater Lake in his youth, and we visited together in 2012. Mo had never been. It’s one of those places that’s so amazing that you can visit over and over again. Let’s go! Except, uh oh, there were several wildfires just west of Crater Lake, impacting air quality and visibility. *Sigh*