Saturday July 29
Returning, Day 14
Across the Sierras, and home

Sierra crest

A steep grind up into the Sierra crest along the course of the rushing Truckee River. Reno is already pretty high into the mountains, but there is still a ways to go up to Donner Pass.
I-80 through the Sierras is an absolute wreck -- the surface is all torn up and the vibration and jarring are enough to make your teeth chatter. You'd never know you are on a major Interstate route. Somebody better get to resurfacing that road, fast.

Here it is almost August, and there is still some snow on the Sierra peaks! Sierra crest Sierra crest Everything is blue up in the Sierra crest -- the sky is intensely blue, and the rock is pale gray granite which reflects it back. So different from the brown rock of the Rocky Mountains.

Down out of the mountains, past the urban sprawl of Sacramento, and heading southwards on I-5 through the golden summer grasses of the hills bordering California's Central Valley.

Heading south on I-5

Now I'm really beginning to feel home -- heading over Pacheco Pass through the hills to the coast. down Pacheco Pass As soon as I got a view down to the coastal side of the pass, I saw the usual bank of coastal fog waiting for me. It looks like you would drive into dense fog, but actually the coastal fog sits several hundred feet above the ground. Only the highest hilltops extend into the fog; otherwise, once you enter the fog belt it looks like a heavily overcast day.

home down Forrest Lane And here I come up the last little bit of Forrest Lane -- the tree on the left marks the edge of my property. As you see, Forrest Lane is "a little bit Country." And you see no more blue sky, not at 5 PM on a July evening in north Monterey County. The coastal fog lifts during the middle of the day, but it blankets the sky come late afternoon/evening. That's our natural airconditioning -- why summer days near the coast are usually around 70 degrees while it is 90 in the valleys.

Home! Dogs wild with joy to see the rest of the pack again and race around the yard checking the scents. Me happy to get into something little and maneuverable again and drive away to a restaurant instead of fixing my dinner in the motorhome.

It's been a great trip, at least once I got the various motorhome problems fixed, but I'm glad to be home. The relaxed pace of the trip really did work. I was not very tired at the end of most days, and could enjoy my evening in the comfort of the motorhome. Here's how the typical day worked out:

Wake up around 6 AM. Lie in bed for a halfhour or so, reading in bed (a favorite pastime) or just lazing. Put the dogs on their FlexiLeads and let them out for the first potty of the morning.
Fix and eat breakfast.
Do my email.
Motorhome chores -- wash the windshield, wipe the previous day's bug-splats off the nose, fill the watertank, dump the holding tanks, and set up for travel again.
On the road most days by 9:30. Driving day includes dog potty breaks every 2 hours.
Usually around 1 or 2 PM, stop at a scenic spot for a liesurely lunch break. Dogs appreciate getting to bop around the motorhome during lunch hour (or two), instead of being shut in their crates as they are when we are in motion. I read my book while eating lunch, and if I am in an interesting spot I continue reading for a while afterwards.
Back on the road, seeing new country, until usually 4 PM.
Register at a campground, hook up, put down jacks, run out slide, walk the dogs, other setup chores -- and it is now maybe 5 PM. If I am west of the Mississippi and the outside temps are in the 90's, it's in the mid-80's inside so this is a great time to take that shower and wash my hair.
Process my day's pictures and work on the day's web page -- 2 hours or so.
Fix dinner, turn on TV, eat, find something interesting to watch (Weather Channel for advance notice what I will encounter tomorrow; and Turner Classic Movies usually has something good on.)
Feed the dogs (important moment in their lives).
Last dog potty break and to bed around 11 -- read in bed until I fall asleep over my book, usually by midnight.
So you see, I thought I would get bored with all these long evenings -- but it doesn't work out that way at all. Just a relaxing life in a small but comfy "apartment" mornings and evenings, interspersed with driving down new roads and seeing new country. It's a sweet life.

Ho for the next trip! Probably Canadian Rockies, probably not until the Fall of 2007. Got real life to attend to meanwhile -- and I don't plan any more trips during the dead of summer, no thanks.