Sunday, November 27, 2011

Goodbye, California

I was fortunate enough to spend most of my adult life in the wine country of Northern California.  Although the cost of living prevented me from ever putting down roots, I came to love the area nonetheless.  The valley of patchwork vineyards nestled at the feet of blue mountains, decked with their whipped cream fog.    In the air, the pungent moods of the tidal river mingled with perfumes of new wine and roasting coffee beans.  It was close to the ocean and the bays.  And always, the valley’s  climate was second only to that of Camelot. 

              Over the years, the river was fenced off and made almost entirely inaccessible to the public.  Tall new buildings obscured the mountains.  My valley was so congested with tourists it was no longer the place I loved.  I felt like a tourist there myself. 
Still, it was beautiful-- achingly beautiful.   
Still, it was not my “home.”

It was, admittedly, difficult leaving the place where I’d spent the past 26 years of my life.  Leaving kids, grandkids and friends was harder still.  We decided to just drift for awhile.  We hiked in Yosemite and camped in Oregon’s Siskiyou Forrest.   We fished  the Rogue, the Smith and the Eel.  We sailed and sailed some more:  the San Juaquin Delta, and the bays of Suisun, San Pablo, Tomales, San Francisco  and Monterey.  (I’ll be inflicting more of those photos, together with the tales of gales and fish not caught upon you in some later posts.)

  It was late  July when we parted with California.  We loaded the RV with four squawking parrots, a floppy dog, a geriatric hairball of a cat and one pink-haired granddaughter (on loan for two weeks), and set out in search of our new life.  With sailboat in tow, we visited the Grand Canyon, and on to Carlsbad Caverns and Roswell’s alien museum. 

  Mid August found us in Kansas with my mother-in-law.  (At ninety-three, Mom still has her health and her intellect.  She can see and hear better than I do, and I’m not sure I could best her in a 50 yard dash.)  We planned to make our home in the little town of Caldwell.  We found huge lakes--24 of them—all too shallow to sail.  No mountains, no water, and the temperature  even in late September was 108. There was no cell phone service, and only two tv channels. There was no internet.  But then there were only 2 computers in town--ours and the one at the "library."  The nearest McDonalds (which I thought was mandatory even in every third-world village) was 35 miles away.  For sporting events, we bet on the nightly thunderstorm—how high the winds would be and the size of the hail stones. Seriously.   Every night.  
                Then suddenly, it was CCCCOLD!  That did it.  While my country-girl soul yearned for a simpler life, away from the crowds and the traffic,  folks in TinyTown are still marvelling at the miracle of indoor toilets.  The concept of being snowed in there for the winter  was vastly motivational.

                We headed south and didn’t stop until we hit the Gulf of Mexico.  Welcome to Texas, Y'all!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Living the Dream 1


Long before I retired my fondest wish was to hang a sign on the office door which said: 


The day finally came.  We poured $300 worth of gas into the tank of our newly-purchased-but-slightly-used RV.  We loaded up our four parrots, the dog, the little boat, all the fishing tackle we could carry and our cameras.  We  headed for  the Rogue River in Oregon, with visions of landing  legendary  bass and salmon, of breathtaking scenic landscapes and wildlife photos to make National Geographic take notice.

Imagine the Freedom!   No clocks to punch. No clients to appease. No deadlines to meet.  I was on my way to fishing/photography heaven.  We were truly On The Road [Again] , complete with Willie Nelson on the CD. 

We  made it a total of 99 miles before the RV through a generator belt.   ARGH!@#%!   By that time it was 4 pm on a Friday.  I knew that we had a better shot at winning the lottery than locating an RV mechanic that late on a Friday. 

So there we were.  We spent our first night as RV travelers overlooking the scenic vista of Walmart’s parking lot, observing the local “wildlife” foraging for an evening meal at Applebees.  I caught a can of Starkist  in the cupboard and then spent some quality time teaching the parrots a few new words.

The next morning we found a mechanic  who had us back on the road before noon.  By late evening we were properly camped RV-style, at Turtle Rock in Oregon, just outside of Gold Beach.  Sunday morning coffee on the beautiful beach at Turtle Rock, watching Melanie dog scamper in the sand and kick up her heels in the surf made the earlier inconvenience (not “the end of the world” after all) well worth the trouble.   And it was only the beginning…


                                   Gold Beach


                                            Turtle Rock


                                  Melanie’s morning




Travel easy, everyone and have a great weekend!




Saturday, April 30, 2011

Another New Beginning

Thanks to Mr. Ornery, who knocked on my door , so to speak, I decided to join all of you here.   I will miss the old Blogstream.  Its small-community atmosphere allowed me to forge friendships that I could not have found in the larger blog hosts.  Laughter, tears, healing, growing—it was all there. 
Happily, the community seems alive and well, friends finding friends.  Some have new names and everybody has a new look.  I’m really excited to get caught up on the new digs. 
  I thought of calling this blog Ebb Tide 2.  However, the closing of Blogstream comes at a time of major changes in my life.    The kids are grown.  My parents are both gone now (my father died a month ago).  I retired yesterday. It’s time for a new chapter in the Book of Bu.
 And it’s spring.  New life.  I walked beside the river early this morning, warm sun on my arms, wind in my face.  As if for the first time, I felt free.  I picked a stalk of wild mustard from its vast yellow blanket that stretches to the bay.  I thought of the mustard seed that often lies dormant for sixty years before it becomes a burst of color gracing the roadside, or the rock pile or the vineyard. 
There’s a substantial part of me that has been dormant, taking a back burner to family and livelihood.  Now it’s my time to germinate.  Who knows.  I might even bloom.

Love always,