Travelogues

Travelogue #4

Hard to believe it’s only been two weeks that I’ve been on the road. Sometimes, it feels like days. Sometimes, it feels like months. Overall, I think it was the right thing to do.

I’ve been doing some assessing since it is two weeks and it feels like a time to do that. And I’m happy with my assessment.

Sky has been holding out very well. One piece of trim fell off on the inside of the door because I leaned on it too hard. Other than that, everything had held together very well over the five trips we’ve taken. Other than the first trip, which ended up being over a series of very rough country roads, most of the others have been on freeways and nicely paved roads.

Had a small hiccup with Kaylee, the car. The front under-panel came loose and was banging a lot. Sounded like something serious. Luckily, it was a $20 repair. Other than that, the car has been doing very well.

All the storage has worked out great. I am very proud of how I planned things out and how well they’ve worked. There are only two small changes I would make. One, I would have put a couple of small vents near the roof to let the hot air out. I could carve a couple in if it continues to be a problem but I really don’t want to do that. Two, I wish I had figured out awnings instead of the window coverings I have. The one that covers the skylight from inside is a godsend during the hot days because I can at least cover that. But when we tried the trailer out, Indy had pulled the window coverings off when I put them up on the inside. They seem to frustrate him when he gets squirrely at night. So I’ve glued some magnets to the outside of the trailer and to the window coverings, which seems to be working pretty well. I’ve been putting the 10×10 pop-up over the trailer during the hottest part of the day, which helps a lot. Minor things compared to what I could have missed.

The travel days are not my favorite. I’m getting better at putting things away the night before so there’s very little to pack on the day of so I’m not scrambling around in the morning. But still, it’s a pain to pack up life every few days and move on. If I could get more comfortable with the idea of “boondocking” – which is where you park on Bureau of Land Management land – that might help. You can stay on those lands for up to fifteen days before you have to move. But there are no amenities and probably no cell service, etc. So not sure I’m ready for that. Also, being a woman traveling alone, it makes me a bit nervous to think about camping in the middle of nowhere with no one around. I have friends who have been boondocking so I think I’ll reach out to them and see what their experience has been.

Indiana Jones has been doing pretty well, other than the few days we spent near Visalia, where it was roughly the temperature of the sun. He was very unhappy because I couldn’t get the trailer cool enough, even at night. We had a series of bad nights, with me yelling at him to just settle the fuck down. But the poor boy, he was so hot. Lesson learned – cooler climates for both of us.

The little generator is working great. I have learned its limits and am grateful that the solar panel charges is within four to five hours. Luckily, there’s plenty of sun in California. I did figure out that my laptop sucks a lot of power out of it, so I try to charge that using my car. I’m figuring out how to utilize both the car and the generator to make sure I have power in all my devices as needed.

The current place we’re at is Wonderland compared to the last place. It’s a farm called The Meadows of Isleton, about an hour outside of San Francisco. Booked through HipCamp app (https://www.hipcamp.com/california/the-meadows-of-isleton/the-meadows-of-isleton) or call directly to book 714-460-3241.

There are two cows – Melvin (laying down) and Roy.

Two goats – Frank Sinatra (the white one) and Johnny Cash (the black one).

Three dogs – Charlie, Brody and Lucy.

Lucy was very curious about Indy.

A mess of chickens, whose names I did not get. The owners – Michael and Terri – could not be friendly and more helpful. The days are still warm but once the sun starts going down, it cools off quickly. Both Indy and I have been sleeping very well.

I wouldn’t call Isleton a small town. It’s more of a village. There a “historic” main street, a fire department with two truck, a bar/pizzeria that is far better than this village deserves, and a local store that is suggesting cash is better than credit.

I drove around to see what the village has to offer and saw the tale of most small towns in America today. Quaint buildings that once must have been beautiful that have now been boarded over for decades. A handful of businesses along the main street struggling to survive. A bandstand that, thanks to the current pandemic, is wrapped in caution tape. Cars are parked along the streets but I think they belong to the people that populate the buildings that are still functional, most of which double as residences.

I can imagine this must have been a charming village at one time, filled with families walking the streets as the evening cooled down, meeting friends in the park, having drinks at the bar. But most people now probably drive into the nearby Rio Vista, which is about ten minutes away and has a bigger market and bigger restaurants. Or into Antioch, which is about thirty minutes away, where there is a Target and shopping malls. Isleton struggles to hang on, counting on the local farming community to remember that it’s there.

I did make sure to have lunch today at the pizzeria, which was amazing. Cute little place with an outdoor patio, so I was able to sit outside and enjoy my lunch. The Italian salad dressing was amazing! The waitress said they make their own. I wish they bottled it because I would have bought a couple of bottles and I am not one who likes salad dressing. Even the pizza was handmade and so delicious.

This little farm is idyllic in this crazy world. The owners greet everybody as they enter.

Michael showed me his small personal garden and encouraged me to pull up a couple of fresh garlic bulbs. Needless to say, they’ve been put to good use.

There are a couple of families staying here who are obviously related, so there are a lot of children around. The owners make sure the kids get to feed carrots to the goats every night. Last night, Terri went around in their little red golf cart and gave the kids those frozen pop-up icee-things. I know there’s a name for them, I just can’t think of it. I almost asked for one myself, but figured the kids deserved it more. However, Michael had taken me to his garden my first day and encouraged me to pull some fresh garlic out of the ground to use as needed. So I guess that was my treat.

Instead, I got some firewood, pulled my chair up to the fire pit, poured a glass of chilled white wine and sat in the setting sun, reading the new Dresden Files book, “Peace Talks.”

 

I had made a decent dinner of spagetti with garlic and olive oil, using the fresh garlic. I could see the flashing red lights of the wind turbines, which I am obsessed with, glittering along the horizon. The air was just cool enough for a sweatshirt. Indy was passed out in the trailer, sound asleep, his belly offered up to God and the whole world. The sky was filled with stars. Even the owls in the tree nearby decided to serenade me.

I stood up to go and check on Indy. As I walked back to my chair, I stopped for a moment. In that moment, there was perfection. I was happy. I was contented, something I haven’t been for a very long time.

I thought for a moment, “Is this it? Is this what home feels like?” And, for the moment, I think the answer is “yes.” At least in that one perfect moment, I was home.

I don’t know if I will take that feeling with me. I don’t know if the next destination – Napa – will bring that same wondrous sense of being where I am supposed to be. I really don’t even know where I’m supposed to be, other than right here, right now.

So says Jesus Jones.

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