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!


  1. howdy and welcome to Texas..beware the redneck..they're very friendly and will treat you real nice, but first thing you know they'll ask you if you've found Jesus and want to take you to their church which will be something something on the rock..come to West on Labor Day weekend and I'll buy you a skunk egg and a kolache.

  2. Stopped over to thank you for the follow.

    And btw, heed YD G's advice ;-)

  3. Your journey sounds similar to mine. I moved to a tiny town in SE Oklahoma after 38 years in the Bay Area. It's a long story. ha. Anyway, I'm still trying to get out of her after a year and a half. All in good time I suppose. You are lucky to have a boat. I'm glad I found your blog.