Saturday, June 18, 2016

Cross-Country Journey: Cali, From Here to There

Summer is here--and we're on the road again! Andres has a couple of commissioned projects in Boston and New York in early August and we decided to make it a loooong road trip, taking our time to explore and visit rarely seen friends and family. Yay!! The first (big) steps were to sell our car and truck and to purchase our new home on wheels. There were a few times that anxiety clamped on and hung out for a ride in our bellies, but ultimately trust won out and timing worked quite nicely for us to get on the road about a week ago after a little visit with dear friends in Grass Valley and a soak in the Yuba River to set us on our way. In our 1989 Chevy Astrovan Tiger, we set out to explore the country.

First stop, my home town of Oakdale, CA. It was a few hour drive (Kavi slept the whole way!!) to meet up with my dad at a local playground for Kavi to run around and get a little fun time with grandpa. Then dad treated us to dinner and gave Kavi a little present that enchanted him...

After dinner we headed to my mom's for the night. We caught up for a couple hours before heading to bed. The next morning, Kavi helped grandma with gardening while Andres & I organized the camper. It was touching to see Kavi with each of my parents, how he takes them in and is developing his own relationships. I wish he had more time with them and am thankful they are close enough to visit. At some point, Andres took Kavi on a bike ride (his first!!) to the playground and to run a couple errands, giving mom and I a chance to catch up a bit more. When they returned, Kavi was fast asleep in his perch on the back! We eased him into the stroller for a nap, tending a couple more errands during the walk. After this, we decided we'd stayed late enough in the day that it was best to stay another night. This gave us the chance to do another layer of organizing and have more hang time with grandma. 
In the morning we loaded up, blew kisses to grandma and took our posts in the Tiger. But which way?? Our first destination was Phoenix, AZ to visit Andres' dad and grandma. Andres suggested a drive through the Sierras to soak up some mountain energy before delving into the vast desert lands. Yes! GPS dialed in, full tank of gas, fluids checked...and we're off! Gently winding highway through the foothills and ever so steadily steepening roads into the thick of the woods. We followed Hwy 120/108 until reaching the 395 and we were graced with nearly empty roads and stunning beauty! The trees got bigger, the forests denser, the boulders grander and everything got colder! We began the drive in the valley heat, making our way into scattered showers and eventually coming upon snow--another first for Kavi! The changes in scenery, temperature, and weather, along with the narrowing roads and steepening drop-offs  made for an exhilarating drive.

Kavi throwing rocks, stick and pine "corns" into the stream
We stopped in Bridgeport to fill up on water and get some grub. For such a tiny remote town, we found surprisingly tasty food and heard a bit of interesting conversation from the locals seated nearby.  It was feeling fun to be on the road and exploring new places! After filling up, we continued on for another hour before landing at our first camping spot--Mono Lake. While not as cold as the snowy spots, there was a deepening chill happening. We all bundled up and took a little trek to the lake shore to catch the sunset. The air was thick with sage as it was growing abundantly for quite a stretch--so yummy! We wound our way through the sage plants and tufa rocks to the edge of the eery lake, so surreal in the pastels of the evening sky, with thin streaks of orange piercing the horizon and reflecting in the waters. We were all feeling jazzed about where we landed. Kavi most of all, as can be seen in this little dancing outburst...
We spent a cozy night inside, appreciating the luxury of a heater! The night was peaceful and we all slept well. Other than some very swollen mosquito bites on Kavi (one eye swollen half shut!), we were all feeling good. The morning turned out to be warmer than the eve prior, though just as picturesque. We decided to drive up the road another 1/4 mile to where there was a ranger hut, bathrooms and a proper trail head to the lake. It was there that we discovered the area was not actually designated for camping--oops! Luckily for us, it wasn't very strongly enforced (i.e., no signs saying as much nor rangers patrolling the area to shoo people away). We happily paid the minimal day use fee and started out for our morning stroll among the tufa. The strange rock formations and super still water gives this place an other-worldly feel. It would have been fun to spend the day exploring the area and taking photos. A short hike and mini-photoshoot was all we'd make time for this round. Then it was back to the camper where Andres made a rockin' breakfast while Kavi & I played soccer, trucks and did our morning stretches. After clean-up, it was back to the road.

It was a day of desert driving. Long stretches of straight roads, distant mountains and dust. Run-down little towns, big trucks and scattered palm trees. While the deserts of SoCal are not where I'd choose to live, I appreciate the starkness and the hidden gems when you get in really close. I find it uniquely beautiful. And having grown up in the Central Valley, I happen to enjoy the heat!

We  were cruising through Bishop as Kavi woke from his nap, so we stopped at a park for him to run around while Andres made us lunch. He was more chill than usual, even for post-nap We sat in the shade while he watched the other kids play and would occasionally state that something another kid was playing with belonged to him, but otherwise he was very still. When lunch was served, he took a couple bites, then pushed it away. Then he promptly vomited. Another first! He was upset for a couple minutes, then perked up and seemed fine. Even telling me, "I'm not sick". We passed it off on the heat and let him be. We played with bubbles for a bit and packed up to head out. While loading up the van, Kavi ate a couple bites of apple and within a few minutes, vomited again. Over the next few hours, I hung out in the back with Kavi to watch over him. Mostly he slept. While awake it was a mix of sweet chatter, shifting into tenderness and upset, and back again. Mainly, I noticed my concern and all that can come up as a parent when your child isn't feeling well, you're not sure what the issue is and you want to offer anything to soothe their discomfort. I noticed my worry seemed greater because we were traveling and I didn't have access to our healthcare team should it be needed. And being in sparsely populated areas, I wondered how likely I could find the type of practitioner I prefer. I also knew it was best not to worry. He didn't have a fever, and he was drinking water regularly and keeping at least some of it down. Still, watching him while he slept brought up the occasional worrisome thoughts. And presenced me to how much he fills my life, the depth of my love for him. So big. Sickness can be such a bonding experience. To ease my mind, we stayed in a hotel that night in Barstow. This meant we were in a city big enough that it had medical services and that I could give Kavi a bath and do laundry. It also meant a more comfy night's sleep in the very large beds and air-conditioned room. Nice! Kavi (and therefore I) slept more solidly that night than usual, though he woke up twice to throw up. In the morning he was quite chipper and insisting he wasn't sick. He vomited just before we left the hotel and that turned out to be the last of it--yay!! By that afternoon (24 hours after first episode), I felt confident he was on the mend. In fact, he was so fully back to his two-ness that I was wishing for a slower ramp up!!

The rest of the day was fairly mundane: desert and driving. At some point, Kavi, wearying of the travel, insisted he needed a diaper change. So, we pulled over. Turns out the whole thing was a ploy to get out of the car. He immediately requested his trucks and wanted to play. Sigh. We were still an hour from our destination and he seemed done. I walked around with him and played with the little rocks and sticks and was able to convince him a short time later that we had just a little ways to go and would end up at the playground. Phew, it worked this time. Back in the van. We drove to Blythe, CA, stopped at a park, where Andres made a kick-a&& curry dinner (no spices for Kavi), while Kavi and I played. After dinner, we drove round til we found a suitable spot to park for the night. We found a quiet dead-end road in a neighborhood, where the street was really wide and we could park a bit away from any of the houses. We got all set up and I was just tucking Kavi in for the night when a guy came up to ask us what we were doing there. Drat! It was clear he was not happy with our presence there and would call the cops. So we moved on, Andres driving very slowly as we left our pop-top up, with Kavi and I still laying in the bed. We found another spot just a couple blocks away and again took  our chances in a  sparse neighborhood. This time, with success!
Rest stop in Indio, CA
The next morning, we packed up, made smoothies for the road and headed out. 9am and it was already hot! We only had a few hours of driving to make it to Phoenix and we wanted that to happen during Kavi's nap time. So we needed something to do for a couple hours. Hmmmmm, not an interesting town. Too hot to hike in a place with so few trees. Hey, we're right next to the Colorado River-yes!! A short drive down a dusty road later, we were cooling off in a big, luscious river spot. Kavi loves the water and was stoked with his playground. Once on the road again, he quickly fell asleep and remained so until arriving at grandpa Tony's house a few hours later. Perfect!
We covered so much beautiful terrain in our Cali drive, even while seeing so little of what this vast, spectacular state has to offer in natural beauty. And we went from warm, to chilly, to cold to HOT over the course of a few days and several hundred miles. So interesting to take in such variety in such a short time span. Feeling blessed that we have the opportunity for such an exploration! And grateful to all of you who have supported us while prepping for the journey and continue to do so while we're on the road. Thank you for sharing your homes, for meals together, for playtime with Kavi so mama can do her own thang, for medical advice, for hugs and for all the well wishes! ❤

1 comment:

  1. Lovely journey! Thank you so much for sharing.. Miss you! XXOOXXOO


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