or… If it’s Tuesday it must be Sacramento
In 15 ½ weeks we slept in 22 different cities, some of them more than once. We have traveled 3547 miles in the motor home, 18,154 miles by air, 222 miles by train and walked for 6 ½ miles through the streets of London (although we argue that it must have been at least 15). We have shared in the celebration of 3 birthday parties, had multiple dinners, conversations and walks sharing in the joys and successes of our friends and family. We even managed to have a Mexican Fiesta in Germany. Whew! What a great summer.
The first thousand miles was a mad dash for cooler weather as the temperatures were in the low 100’s when we left La Paz and did not begin to decline until we were almost at the US/MX border. However, it was quite our luck that we just happened to be in the Guadalupe Valley best known for their wineries when we felt comfortable enough to rest, relax and take in some sights. We found a great little RV park run by the local school for the deaf and off we went see the sights.
From there we crossed the border stopping just long enough to re-register the vehicles that had expired while we were out of the country, renew my drivers licenses and eat a really good cheese burger (arguably hard to find in Mexico). First visit was with our niece Leah who actually lives in Chicago but was staying in Venice housesitting for Steve’s brother Jeff. Wacky, I know! From there we headed up to Oceano to visit with friends Mark and Susan and then we scurried on up to Santa Cruz.
Ah Santa Cruz, home but not home at the same time. Here we got to celebrate the birthdays of two of our friends and Steve’s grandson Anthony. We shared a few meals with family and friends, took beach walks with friends, and got to watch Steve’s granddaughter Sarah race on her local BMX track (she is preparing for another year of international competition).Steve did his annual round with doctors and got a full clean bill of health while I did a quick side trip to Florida to visit my Mother, my Aunt, and my cousin Stephanie. I was only back in Santa Cruz for a few days before we were off again.
We dropped the motor home off at a storage lot and went to see Nick and Kristi in Oakland and spend a few days visiting them, seeing their new home, and cooking some yummy meals. We did a nutty car shuffle where Nick followed us to a hotel near the San Francisco airport so we could leave our car and then he drove us to a hotel near the San Jose airport because we were flying to Germany from San Jose but returning two weeks later to San Francisco.
Without missing a beat we were off to Stuttgart Germany where we were lovingly welcomed by friends Lars and Anna. We have been here so many times and yet they always find something new to share with us. This visit included a beautiful old city, an evening out to the local sports pub to watch some football (aka soccer), some good eats in some of our favorite local spots and a trip to downtown which was filled with elaborate pop up restaurants and wine tasting rooms for the annual wine dorf (wine village). Lars cooked a mouthwatering meal for a fun evening with friends Robert and Paula and Steve and I created a Mexican Fiesta evening one night complete with some wonderfully smooth tequila.
A quick train trip put us into the town of Vaingen/Enz where we spent a few short days dining and visiting with friends before we hopped yet another train to Oberaudorf Bavaria to visit with our friend Axel. Nestled in this sweet little town right at the Austrian border Axel has a beautiful home that he graciously opens up to us whenever we are in town. Our first night was spent at a concert put on by the local band at a nearby village (think beer tent, leder hosen, traditional German folk music). It’s such a treat to be invited to these local traditions. In the days that followed we visited historic Palaces and walked the banks of the beautiful lake Hechtsee and ate delicious traditional foods in various local restaurants.
Times up, gotta go… Next stop London. While making our reservations the best flight schedule we could find included a 9 hour layover at Heathrow. So instead of sitting in the airport for nine hours we decided to make a two night layover and spend some time in one of our favorite cities. We have been fortunate enough to have visited this city many times so doing the big tourist thing was not what appealed to us this time. However, just to be clear we love the Tower of London along with the rest. This trip was just a relaxing walk through Hyde Park, past Buckingham Palace, and along the river Thames. Our goal was to visit pubs, drink some of the best beer in the world, eat really great pub food, drink in the city sights and listen to those fabulous english accents. We left completely satisfied.
We landed in San Francisco and hit the ground running. We were back in the motor home the following day and soon tootling up the road to visit with Bella in Sacramento. In the few days we spent with her we shared food and laughs and got to tour some of her favorite local spots. One afternoon was spent in a local board game store where for $5 you can play any of the hundreds of games on the shelves for as long as you wish. We played a few rounds of her current favorite a game called Pandemic, which had us saving the world from disease.
Once again the motor home was stored so we could fly away. This time we were off to Pittsburgh. Steve had a little business but our real focus was time spent with Steve’s brother Barry and his wife Ellen. It just so happened that our trip also coincided with a visit from their daughter Leah (yes, the same niece we saw in Venice, CA), and their son Isaiah along with their granddaughter Lydia. What wonderful family fun. Stories, food, laughter, shared struggle, amazement at watching little Lydia spin her tales of wonder and fantasy. We toured the beautiful city of Pittsburgh with its incredible bridges. Ate, and Ate and Ate. Oh and I think Steve tried a few beers as Pittsburgh is known for its micro breweries. It was all over way too soon.
Sacramento again, but this time for just a blip. The time had come to turn our wagon train south and begin the very slow journey back to La Paz. But not before another stop in Santa Cruz to get just a few more hugs from family and friends, a visit with David and Jessica in Santa Clara to share in the excitement of their upcoming wedding, a few days on the beach in LA to visit with Steve’s brother Jeff, a stop off in Long Beach to see our buddy Jo and a trip to see my Dad in Borrego Springs, Ca.
You would think that the desert is the desert and that since we live in the desert of Baja California most of the year that we would be indifferent to the scenery of Borrego Springs. It was and is quite the opposite. Anza Borrego Desert State Park is the California’s largest state park. It is a large open dessert valley surrounded high mountains. There are miles and miles of off road paths for hardy cars and people. We spent time visiting my Dad and helping him get his house ready to sell and luckily made some time to explore an old Native American archeological site and let a bit of nature’s serenity sink in.
The trip through Baja was as beautiful as ever. This is truly some of the prettiest countryside I have ever seen. Each ever changing mile bring on a new exclamation of awe. The roads I am not so fond of. The single highway is a thin ribbon of only two lanes that snakes down the peninsula and is shared with large semi trucks usually in a hurry to meet their destination.
We have now returned to Pablo. She is prettier than ever as we had her topsides restored and painted while we were away. The motor home is stored for the cruising season. We will stay in La Paz doing short sailing trips until April and then we will go once again on an extended trip up into the Gulfo de California. Oh what an amazing life!
Our hearts are full and we are grateful!!