We have spent the last few months in the Central Valley area of California, stretching from Modesto up to a small town called Nicolaus just north of Sacramento. Here we found a quaint little RV park with a small manmade lake. Our purpose for being in this area was to be the support team for our daughter, Bella, as she relocated to the Sacramento area. I am thrilled to report that she is now settled, happy and thriving. Therefore our mission here is complete and its time to turn this wagon train south.
Once the physical move was completed our job was simply to be her cheerleaders. We were the sounding board, the reassurance that she was doing great and oftentimes just a free lunch with a smile and a hug. While this has been an important task it hardly took up all of our time. And seeing as we are not exactly the types to sit idle, we have utilized our time to explore the area and have a little fun.
There was a visit to the San Luis Wildlife Refuge where I took some beautiful photos of birds as we hiked through the weeds searching for the remains of an old water ferry crossing at the San Joaquin river. The refuge houses Tule Elk, once close to extinction but now on a comeback. Unfortunately, due to the heat and our poor timing we did not get to see any. From what we understand there is a huge migratory bird population that passes through this area in the fall and winter. The Elk however are here year round. Perhaps it will be worth a future visit.
We attended a jazz concert on the lawn at the Crocker Museum in Sacramento and later a visit to the museum to explore their many art treasures. The old house is as much a museum piece as the paintings, statues, and African artifacts on display. An afternoon of reminiscing was had at the Aerospace Museum where Steve could have worked as a tour guide because he knew so much about each of the planes, having worked on many of them. Naturally we also had to see the Railroad Museum which is loaded with California history and no visit to Sacramento would be complete without spending time in Old Town.
Our location in Nicolaus has kept us out of the city which has been really nice. The town itself, surrounded by rice fields and plum orchards, is micro in size and boasts a population of 250. It has nothing but a post office, a paintball arcade and a small tavern that is rarely open. The Lake Minden RV park where we stayed has been quiet, clean and offers a variety of social activities. And the shade by the lakeshore made for some pleasant afternoon card games. And the birdwatching was fabulous!
Two of the local fire departments use the park to host a 4th of July event that includes a barn dance, bounce houses, a BBQ dinner and a large Fireworks display. The only thing missing was the parade. We did however develop quite a sweet little community of neighbors with whom we shared, meals, evening conversation, crafts, and games.
Overall our time in this part of the world hasn’t been bad. Almost every single person from Modesto all the way to Nicolaus has been without question some of the nicest people we have every met. Our only true complaint has been the unbearably oppressive heat. We are finding it ironic that one of the reasons we purchased the RV was to escape the heat and hurricane season in Mexico. Since we have been in the Sacramento area we have seen temps as high as 115F and watched them remain above 100F for days unending.
While Bella claims victory over her life, we are preparing for a slow journey back to Mexico, back to La Paz, back to Pablo, back to the dream we dared to create. The road will be very long as we plan to drive the RV, with car in tow, to La Paz. The route will take us through the towns of family and friends and we have lots of hugs to gather before we cross the border. There are even a few plane trips for family visits and business mixed into the schedule. Therefore, we don’t think we will actually arrive in Marina de La Paz until late September or early October. But who knows, plans have a way of getting off track.