Three States After

We are in California.

Let me explain.

On Monday the 18th, three days ago, Jess and I literally stuffed our belongings into a 5x8 trailer attached to our humble (but ultimately Herculean) Honda CRV. It was raining and it turned out that several of our things wouldn't fit, resulting in the hasty posting of "Free" or "Today Only" Craigslist adds. A Russian lady collecting things for her church charity went away with the box-spring and gave us a huge bag of apples (more on those later). Several breakdowns, moist towelettes, and oven cleaner later, there we were, standing in an empty, echoing structure that had been our home for a year.

On Tuesday the 19th, two days ago, we got up early with the sun, around 5:30, cleared out the rest of our essentials and hopped in the car. Numi had his dog bed situated in the back seat behind me, the navigator, out-loud reader of Sherlock Holmes, and occasional DJ, although we spent a great deal of the drive in contented silence, listening to the wind in a very zen-like way. Jess required only iced coffee to drive the pants off the western end of the country, and that with a frightening trailer behind us. It was heavy. It was sluggish. The chain occasionally came off, making sprightly jangling noises and requiring a speedy rescue. The tongue was quite low and made getting in and out of gas stations an adventure. We were so concerned with the maneuvering of the trailer that we entirely forgot to feel sad about leaving Spokane. Before we knew it, we were in Ritzville (not quite as ritzy as we hoped), taking the 395 to the Columbia River. We ended up staying on the north side of the river, an undulant road that made up for efficiency in poignant beauty. Passing into Oregon, the plants became a bit hardier, the roads windier, and the semis crazier. We stopped at a KOA outside of Culver, the same camp ground we used two years ago. Jess has a great picture of our stay. Hot dogs and Safeway salad-in-a-bag never tasted so good and 'smores are just as good on a BBQ.

On Wednesday the 20th, one day ago, we got up and went south, spending the long, wooded corridors of the Deschutes National Forest in good conversation. Through Klamath Falls and out through the border town of Dorris, CA. (We forgot to declare our Washington apples to the border inspector, and I'd like to take this opportunity to apologize for any environmental catastrophes that may ensue.) Around this time the temperature jumped about 20 degrees and our black lab let us know that he was warm to say the least. Butte Valley is lovely and Shasta Lake quite picturesque. Though I have seen it before, Mt. Shasta struck me differently this time, its vastness and solitude giving it a bit of a mystic, elemental, Titan quality that I don't usually catch. We got off the 5 and went through Chico (ew), and through two-lane, fruit stand-lined byways through Oroville and Marysville, driving past the very Carl's Jr. where we purchased Numi, almost four years ago, popping out in Lincoln. We made it into Roseville and squeezed through the back alleys in my mother-in-law Kathy's house.

On Thursday the 21st, today, I am sitting on a bed writing a blog post about an epic, 815ish mile trip that has already begun to fade into shadowy memory. The reminders of change are constant and often overwhelming, but I have my Jess and my Numi and my boxes of sheet music and the prospects of more adventures to come. I think we'll start with dessert.