Week 3

Landed in CA
Week 3 update.  The themes this past week have been:

  • Back to School
  • On the Road
  • I Love Music

Last week Lili started college at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington.  She was happy as a clam at high tide (or I should say a geoduck to be exact.)  That’s the school mascot, voted #1 worst school mascot by MSN Now.   But “Greeners”  (as students/faculty from Evergreen are called) just laugh the haters off .  Before I left Lili at the parent send-off dinner, we were led in a rousing version of the school song:

Go, Geoducks go,

Through the mud and the sand,

let’s go.

Siphon high, squirt it out,

swivel all about,

let it all hang out.

Words to live by, for sure.  She’ll do just fine.

While my Road School sidekick was back in Boulder, playing his last 2 School of Rock gigs, I decided to head south to a warmer climate and find some sun.  I was thinking of naming the van “Sun Chaser” but that implies a lack of sun, so for now, she’s still nameless.  Anyone want to send in ideas?  We’d love suggestions!

Need a Name!
The Washington coast is a fascinating mix of New England cranberry bogs and oyster farms and logging trucks with areas of clear-cut that make me sad.  Washington is beautiful and/but I find myself moody and melancholic there.

I loved Portland!  Such a great town.  I enjoyed meeting up with my girl Linda and her husband who have just bought a van and joined the rest of the United States traveling on the road.  #midlifevanlife for ever!

The California coast fills my heart with joy and I was blessed with no fog (repeat, no fog) and tons of sun.  The state is having a heat wave and we plan to take advantage of that next week.

CA Coastline
While Harlan was back in Boulder it wasn’t all just down time and video games.  His favorite band (Reel Big Fish – a ska punk band) was playing in Longmont.  I had sent them an email, I found on their website a few weeks before. asking if Harlan could interview the band.  Last Monday I received an email from their manager who said Harlan should meet them at 7pm at the venue.  I was thrilled!  Harlan was terrified!  He worked with his advisor at Pacific Sands Academy to come up with relevant questions and his dad got him to the show.  Harlan was able to interview the trumpet player on the tour bus and it was a great learning experience for him to push through his nervousness and go for it!  He’s writing a paper about it all.

Picked up my buddy at the airport.  We are now free to dive into Road School 2017 without any further scheduled commitments.  Yay!  Looking forward to getting to the coast and beginning our triathlon training in earnest with swimming, running and biking and always living, loving and learning as we go.  Stay tuned and thanks for following along!

West Coast Sunset

Week 2

Week 2 has flown by, and it’s been a whirlwind! The three themes have been: 

  • Plans Changing
  • Stormy Weather
  • Staying Loose

Or, to sum it up in one sentence: We drove 1200 miles in four days!

Talk about learning opportunities! Harlan has been a Jedi Master re. going with the flow.  Everyone we dealt with this entire week has been super adaptable and supportive as a matter of fact. 

Harlan and I were originally set to spend several days in Seattle with close friends, exploring the city and hanging out, but fixing the van’s broken refrigerator became our top priority. 

Last week our refrigerator stopped working. This was a big bummer. I put a call into Campervan North America (our great rental company) and Kathy asked if we might be able to drive to Bozeman so she could switch out the fridge. 

My immediate response was to say “No way!” It’s a long drive and completely in the opposite direction of our itinerary. 

But when I looked at the map, I saw that Bozeman was equidistant between Seattle and Boulder and an idea began to form…Harlan was supposed to fly back to Denver to do one final School of Rock show and Lili, my daughter, was supposed to fly out to Seattle to begin her freshman year of college in Washington. 
Instead of all those flights, what if I drove Harlan to Bozeman and Jeff drove Lili up to Bozeman and we switched kids? Jeff could drive Harlan back down to Boulder for his show and I could spend a few days with Lili in the van driving her to school.
I made a few calls and after a few minutes of discussion, everyone was on board with the plan. Harlan and I set out on our drive to Bozeman the next morning.  

Along the way we drove through Eastern Washington, the top of Idaho and North Western Montana. The smoke was so thick at times you could hardly see. It smelled like someone was having a campfire in the van.

When we arrived in Bozeman, the cold rain had started and we were grateful to stop at the Hot Springs/RV Park to soak off the chill. 
Harlan checked the weather for the next day and, to our dismay, read that there was a winter storm warning in effect with up to 12″ of snow predicted in the mountain passes we had just crossed. There was no way I wanted to drive this 22 foot behemoth back over those passes!

No mittens. Brrrr
Uh Oh
This view…for days

Harlan proposed an idea… What if we drove south avoiding the worst of the winter weather and met Jeff and Lili in Cheyenne? I thought it was a great idea because it meant I wouldn’t have to drive over those hairy steep passes and I could cruise along Interstate 80 back to Washington via a new route. I called Jeff who happily agreed. 
Friday morning arrived with a freezing drizzle. My heart went out to the folks who were sleeping in tents nearby. Brrrrrrr! (I continue to remain grateful for the shelter and warmth of this amazing van.) 
We headed over to Campervan North America to meet the folks who have helped make this dream a reality. On the way over Harlan practiced his handshake (firm but not too crushing) and tied his hair back (which I asked him to do.)  
True to her word, Kathy switched the refrigerator out  (it’s working perfectly – yay) and we immediately got on the road. On our drive South we encountered snow, driving rain, gusty winds and lightning! I am so glad we didn’t drive north because I know it would’ve been worse.
We pulled into Cheyenne after dark and did a quick meet up with Jeff and Lili. Jeff headed back down to Boulder with Harlan, and Lili and I set off across Wyoming the next morning. We made it into Idaho on our first night and enjoyed seeing Boise the next day. Rolled into Portland the following night and spent a nice afternoon exploring the Hawthorne district before driving up to Olympia. 
The low points last week were some of the driving conditions – you name it – I drove in it! Lightning, snow, hail, rain, forest fires and hours of gusty winds. I had a couple back to back 500+ mile driving days that I don’t want to repeat. And there was one campground in Idaho that was particularly devoid of charm. (Freight trains roared past our van the entire night. I still have no clue how Harlan got any sleep that night!)
Some highlights were the way Harlan and I navigated change and worked together to come up with creative solutions. 
We had a great discussion about one of the tenets of Buddhism being “no hope, no fear” (i.e. non-attachment ) and how that’s the best way to travel. Each day we worked out a schedule only to completely toss it out the window for a revised plan. Staying loose and seeing what magic awaits when we surrender to the universe vs. trying to force our own agenda was a huge lesson for us this past week. 
We also had many opportunities to talk about our country, the weather, and the effects of global warming that we were witnessing in real time, in real life.

I’m really grateful Lili and I had three whole days together in the van before I dropped her off at college. I can hardly believe she is sleeping in her dorm tonight! Harlan and I will check in on her next week and see how she’s doing.

What an incredibly full week! I’m taking a few days off to rest and take it easy and catch up on my writing. Stay tuned for week 3. 

Made it!
Tiny Library
Ready for school