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 last time I wrote about Dana and Muffin, we’d just visited with them in Eugene and I talked about how they’d helped to inspire our conversion from ordinary folks into camper-owning road warriors. Here’s kind of an update to that.
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…
In the early 1940s my grandparents bought a cattle ranch on the San Francisco peninsula, in the Santa Cruz mountains west of Palo Alto, off of the California 35, which is also known as the Skyline Boulevard. My mom and her sisters and brother moved to the ranch at relatively young ages and did most of their growing up there. Eventually my grandfather left the ranch to pursue other ventures, while my grandmother decided to stay put and established on the ranch a nursery specializing in California native plants.
On our way back north, we stopped in Chico to visit David and Trudy. Dave is Katy’s brother and also Pete’s. Here in the Central Valley of California, folks grow food. Fruit, nuts, rice, cattle, and more. No surprise then that our sightseeing tour had a focus on food, with even some eating thrown in, and there were other aspects, as well.
A few weeks ago, I hopped on a plane out of Boston’s Logan airport, and headed towards Portland, Oregon. Once I landed, there was no stopping the adventures – I immediately jumped into Sue and Doug’s RV, and we headed off on our whirlwind tour through eastern Oregon.