On Thursday we set out in our 1971 VW Bus, Storm, heading North along the left coast—more or less—with the ultimate terminus of Bainbridge Island, then back South to home. It will once again be Moi, Michelle and Mo.
Some would say glutton for punishment, but I prefer gluten-laden adventure. (sounds vaguely German, which is apt.) I know, that makes no sense at all, but that’s the point, right? If we just do stuff that makes sense, what sense is there in that?
This Pacific swing would have been the finale of the grand Excursion 7 we did in May that took us all the way to the Midwest. On that trip we visited family and braved the relentless winds of the plains and both cold and heat with a few deluges and sandstorms thrown in. The heat and fires in the Southwest at the time forced us to cut that trip a bit short, but it was still a month on the road. Through Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and back through Nevada to home in California. Six Thousand miles.
That was… pretty challenging, and we did a mixture of camping and staying in cabins and homes. Adding in the West Coast was supposed to be part of that plan, but it was just too much to arrange so we took a break. To say I learned a lot would be accurate. This time we are leaving the camping gear at home and staying either with friends or in casita Airbnbs. With as few stairs as possible.
It will be better for Michelle who is doing pretty well these days despite her advanced Alzheimer’s. One of the things that really stabilizes her mood is being able to pace or walk and I think I have that worked out for this trip. And we are taking shorter steps with shorter drives for the most part. And, with some exceptions, it should be A LOT cooler!
Mo, of course, being the wonder dog he is, just rolls with whatever I want to do, giving me the “Now what?” look at each stop. He will be just fine.
The Bus trip ends with a surprise, which I’ll share a bit later.
We will hit Santa Cruz, Sacramento, Bay Area, Fort Bragg, Gold Beach, Eugene, Salem, Portland, Seattle, back through Portland to Ashland and over inland to the grandness which is the Eastern Sierra. About two plus weeks this time.
There will be some family along the way for sure, but mostly this will be visiting with friends. Friends from my days as a cook, an actor, a surfer. Friends from Michelle’s days as an actress and dog savior. Gatherings along the way and lots of aesthetics, laughter and hugs. (Theater practitioners have a hug gene.)
The big treat in all this is that Michelle has retained, since her recent episode that ended with a noticeable increase in cognitive ability, some of that awareness. She listens better, clearly understanding some of what we are saying, and then responds accordingly. She still has trouble getting her ideas out, which is frustrating for her (Those of us who know her know how much she liked to talk!) but she can understand a bit more. So, she KNOWS we are going on this trip. She didn’t really know where we were going before, but now she KNOWS. She is LOOKING FORWARD TO IT. She smiles about it when I bring it up, at least some times.
I have no idea what that will mean in the long run, but not a stretch to expect her to connect more with the friends and family we encounter on the way.
Contemplating that makes this seem worth all the challenges we may face.
Oh, and the Bus is fantastic. (But I’m bringing all my tools just in case.)