Catch-Up I

It’s interesting how a shift in environment or routine can alter habits. For the first two months of this trip I was diligent about writing. We were on what I now call the “vacation portion of our travels”, when our week was filled with exploration in towns that were there to entertain us. We finished the evening in our small camper. And with both kids finally asleep I’d curl up around my computer and reflect on the day’s activities.

Once we arrived in the bay area the shift from “vacation” to “settle” took a toll on that serene routine which ended with words and pictures. While the “settle” is exciting, losing the time to write has not been. Perhaps now I can re-establish my writing routine.

In the meantime, here’s an attempt to catch up on all that has happened since my last post. I call this “Catch-Up I” because there is so much to say that there will no doubt be a “Catch-Up II”.

With the decision to relocate to the bay area behind us, and weeks to spare before we fly to Chicago and move into our Oakland apartment, the decision of what to do in the meantime hung heavy over us like a wet towel. Isn’t it funny how freedom can create stress?

We had always envisioned heading north along the coast. I was eager to spend time in Mendocino and drive beyond ‘the redwood curtain’ as they call the deeply forested regions of Northern California. At the same time, the Sierras and Lake Tahoe were calling to us. We left our own mountains months ago and thought some high altitude peaks could do lots for our mental health. But traveling north would be an expensive endeavor, with campsites costing more than our budget would allow and traveling east into the mountains with the camper would put more wear and tear on our truck than we were prepared to deal with.

What motivated a decision? With dear friends from Buena Vista staying in Tahoe for the week, we chose east. We would drop the camper off in storage and head into the mountains trailer-free. What would happen after Tahoe, we did now know. We only knew that we would not be towing the camper behind us, which opened up Pandora’s Box of opportunity.

Leaving the gravel yard of Sonoma County’s fairground was pretty liberating being that its raw exterior enhanced the emotional decisions of the week. With those decision made, we were ready to leave the rocks behind.

Tahoe would not be our first stop. Being far away and having to drop the camper off first, Alex had chosen a small county park just west of Sacramento to spend the weekend. Now, I feel like sweet little surprises have been a running theme in my posts, and this weekend falls into that category.

Lake Solano in Winters, California is a beautiful little park complete with a lazy river, large shade trees and an army of wild peacocks. That’s right – peacocks.  Chosen purely on location we had no idea what to expect of this little town and its humble county park.

With two cross streets serving as a downtown for weekend tourists, Winters is that place you take your lover for romantic dinners, wine tasting and sleeping in. Just minutes outside town is Lake Solano, not really a lake but a wide river whose channel is ideal for a canoe, rowboat or kayak. This weekend got us right back in the “vacation” mood. We took long walks along the river, strolled through town and collected peacock feather for Elias to proudly carry around.  It was the break we needed from frantically working on getting ourselves settled – at least somewhat settled. Even the 3:30 am rooster call could not disturb the peace we found at Lake Solano. Yes, there were chickens and roosters there too!

Being refreshed on Sunday morning we packed up the trailer with the assumption that we would not be in it any time soon and dropped it off in an open storage lot in Dixon, CA. Pulling away from the camper that day was totally liberating and sad all at the same time. We were leaving our little home behind but the excitement and uncertainty of what our next few weeks would bring gave us a buzz worth bottling.

Elias and a peacock feather

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