Travel South – Joys and Sadness

Husband doesn’t like to stay in motels, air travel is too expensive and frustrating, so we loaded up our old (2000) 22ft Nash trailer with everything, including the cat (Peaches, 10 year old hairless sphinx) and headed south to make family connections and see about selling our desert home.

First stop – Crescent City, Ca. 3 hours south, for the annual North Coast Redwood Writers’ Conference, a small, cosy gathering of and for writer types. Kim Wyatt, Stella Pope Duarte, IMG_1375and Lawson Fusao Inada were especially compelling speakers, presenting thoughtful ideas on poetry, biography and the power of place.

Most writers need regular injections of fresh looks at their craft which the ideal conference provides, to keep ideas gushing. I’ve allowed sloth to dominate; it’s time to hoist myself out of my non writing rut and jump back on the wordsmithing express.

After the conference we headed south to wine country, Calistoga, lively little town,  but not as hectic as Napa or St. Helena. While camped at the fair grounds on the edge of town, we

French visitors and us

French visitors and us

saw a Cruise America camper parked next to us. Husband visited with the newcomers, a couple from France. Husband not fond of the French because of a long ago trip to Canada where road signs began to appear in French, just to confuse him, he surmised.

That evening we sat with wine and visited with Eugenie and Sebastien from Paris, young, beautiful, fluent in English and friendly. We heard of their journey, beginning in Las Vegas, on to Death Valley in the extreme heat, and almost done now. They were headed for San Francisco for a couple of days, then back to Paris. The next morning we all took photos. Thank you Eugenie and Sebastien for a lovely visit. Husband now adores the French, especially the women. It’s the people you meet when traveling that make the journey memorable.

We rolled on to Landers, a non-town in the California desert near Yucca Valley. It was hot, in the 90’s for the first days. We made plans, executed them and put the house up for sale after some intense cleaning and sprucing efforts.

We entertained relatives, packed up the trailer, an old desk, and three plastic barrels of photos and got on the I-5 north. The return trip was quicker, no conferences or lovely French folks to visit with.

We arrived home after a month, happy to be back in the Oregon rain. Even the cat smiles more. California was sad to see so dry, especially in the San Joaquin Valley. I wish we could send some of these clouds south to revive the languishing drought-lands.