Saturday, May 2, 2009

Journey's End

It's time to wrap up this travel blog for now. We're home from our trip to Mexico and looking forward to more travels in the future.

April 17 we stayed all day in the San Diego RV park and worked on a course we needed to complete for our work at SJSU SLIS. We did all our work at the dinette in our little trailer. The connectivity was good and we learned a lot. When we had finished we went for a swim in the pool - with the sound of the freeway wooshing right by.

April 18, we drove to from San Diego to Pismo Beach. We camped at a nice private campsite in Oceano. There are several state park campsites at Pismo Beach, where we had intended to stay, but we couldn't figure out where they were in the fog and Emily (our GPS) couldn't seem to find them. Pismo Beach has vehicular recreation area where people can drive on the beach and sand dunes. There were lots of cars and trucks lined up at the gate to get in - even though it was very foggy and the visibility was very limited. In the evening we went to a play put on by Melodrama, a local theatre company. It was lots of fun.

April 19 was a hard driving day - from Pismo Beach, up the freeways that run through Los Angeles, and up to San Francisco. The traffic was very busy, espeically through Los Angeles, but we made good time and Emily kept us on the right track. Because we were pulling the trailer we had to travel 10 mph below the speed limit for cars - which meant that when traffic merged from the right, they were going as fast as we were. It was pretty unsettling. Mike thought it was worse than Mexico City. We made it to San Francisco by early afternoon and camped in a very expensive RV park near Candlestick Park, the famous football stadium. We had a wonderful evening visiting family who live north of San Francisco.

On April 20, we drove from San Francisco back down to San Jose, passing the small lakes that lie along the San Andreas fault, in the middle of the San Francisco peninsula. We had learned in Peach Springs that the fault moves laterally about 1 in every year - which is a huge amount! In our lifetimes alone the sides of the fault have moved nearly 2 yards (2 meters). It's hard to imagine why people still live in area where there are bound to be terrible earthquakes - except that it is a beautiful area and we humans are very good at ignoring problems even though right beneath our feet. While we were in San Jose, we dropped in on SJSU SLIS and then headed back up - through San Francisco again. We then travelled up the Sacramento Valley - with its vast agricultural lands. The fields were being ploughed and there were big clouds of dust everywhere - raised by tractors preparing the fields for planting. It seemed so obvious that a lot of the topsoil was being blown away because of what they were doing. How can that be good for the soil? . I suppose to compensate, crop duster airplaines were flying low and dropping fertilizer on the dry land. We drove to Castle Crags State Park near the Oregon border. The park was virtually empty - only 3 other RVs - but there was a spectacular view of the crags and Mount Shasta at the top of a winding road. We had a peaceful night - despite the roar of the freeway through the trees.

On April 21, we drove all the way through Oregon - passing Mount St Helens, Mount Rainer and Mount Hood. We love Oregon - it is a lot like Vancouver Island - very green and fresh. We camped at Millersylvania State Park near Tumwater in Washington State. It is a lovely campground with tall trees, a pretty lake, a large open grassy area where there were about 10 other RVs. Everything seemed very familiar - the firs, the grass, the ferns, the oregon grapes, the puddles, the maples - the cool greeness everywhere.

April 22, we stopped in briefly to visit an old university friend who lives near Tacoma and then carried on through Seattle and across the Canadian Border north of Bellingham at the Peace Arch crossing. We had figured out the cost of everything we had brought home from our trip (about $850 Canadian) and simply told the border guard - who waived us through without any checks or forms and not a single gun in sight.

We spent the next few days visiting family in Vancouver and the Sunshine Coast. Our grandsons have all grown much bigger - but everyone else seems much the same. People were a little worried about the swine flu that had broken out in Mexico near Guadalajera - but we were not sick and not worried.

We arrived at home in Nanaimo on Sunday, April 26. The city worker came within an hour after we had arrived and turned on the water. No problems. The repair to the water main had been done well and the water was soon flowing through the taps. So much water! After months in a small trailer in the dessert, it seemed very wasteful to just let it run until all the air had come out of the pipes.

We realized, after we had moved the canoe hanging in the carport, that we had been away so long that a pair of nuthatches had built a nest in the bow of the upside down canoe. The way we discovered this astonishing fact was that when we moved the canoe, one little white egg fell to the carport floor and broke. But happily two other eggs remained - though they had fallen out of the nest and into the ropes that are stuffed into the canoe's bow. Mike put the eggs back into the nest and we hoped the nuthatches would carry on with their lives. The parent birds dive bombed us for a few days but now the dive bombing seems to have stopped. I hope the parents are sitting on their eggs in the upside down canoe.

So now our trip is over. Altogether we travelled 18,617 km or 11,635 miles. We were gone 15 weeks or 105 days. We had a wonderful trip with no serious problems at all - just a whole string of fabuous experiences - now rapidly turning into memories. I think that is one of the strangest things about travelling. When you are in a new place having adventures - you are so much in that place. The experience is so intense and you are aware of everything. If you didn't take steps to move on, you would be there for the rest of your life. But then you do move on and the place you had experienced so intensely becomes just a memory.

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