Letters From a Bus
September 2007: Home Base
2nd entry for September/November

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Home Base

Mountain View, CA, Day Three at Walton Masonry RV Park, Site #1

Monday, September 10, 2007 — Three Months Plus

We arrived back in the bay area on Sept. 7th. We left in our pickup truck to take possession of our bus last May 9th.  So as of Sun. Sept. 9th, we had been gone from our home area for four months.  And as of next Sun. Sept. 16th we will have lived in our bus for four months.  That seems like a long time to me.

Home!  We made it safely back home!  What is home?  It isn’t just a house, obviously.  That’s gone and yet I feel like I’ve come home.  It’s home territory and friends at home.  It’s calling friends, “I’m home!”  It’s checking out my favorite haunts.  It is knowing the easiest way to drive somewhere and the best restaurants and the best places to go find something you need to buy.  It’s recognizing the light and the quality of air.  For me, it is coolness — marine air — no 90 or 100+ degrees.  We can go back to sleeping with our windows open and expect to get a cool breeze.  It’s heavenly.

I grew up in California.  I grew up in the LA area below the Palos Verdes Peninsula and Rolling Hills.  That’s what California is to me — rolling hills.  I fell in love with them when I was a child.  Along the coast from San Diego to San Francisco — California has a Mediterranean climate.  There is a dry season and a rainy season.  The two don’t cross over. During our drive south through California we saw the familiar burnt-out, yellow-brown hills, the Wheatgrass, Oat-grass and Wild Rye, among others, mowed short to prevent fires.  We are back into California oak savanna (live oak) and oak

woodland (valley and black oak) country.  The gigantic live oaks dot the rolling hills.  In the distance they provide a green covering.  Close up they are each a monumental individual spreading their tremendous limbs like a great round shade blanket over the parched earth. Some rainy seasons don’t bring enough inches of rain and the dry season brings drought conditions.  Right now there is tremendous fire danger.  But in another month or so, the rainy season will begin.  After only one rain, the hills will change from burnt umber to a soft fuzzy green.  Winter is our California summer.  Winter is when the hills will be green.

I suffered from the heat while we were gone.  I am a coastline girl. I am used to a moderate climate.  We didn’t have control over our travel plans for the summer.  We picked up the bus in Huntsville, AL and then we went to see my brother in St. Augustine, FL because he was recovering from a heart attack.  We spent three weeks in the northwest corner of Alabama to get repairs and additions put on the bus.  Then we slowly made our way home through the plains states — and it was hot.  The entire summer was spent indoors in A/C hiding from 97º+ heat.  Next time I intend that we will have a plan.  We will go north in the summer and south in the winter — I hope.

Meanwhile, we will be home for several months.  We need to catch up on the mundane details of life — doctor’s appointments, eliminate more stuff from storage, repack the bus — and other duties.

I have been sick.  I thought perhaps it was allergies but I've seen my doctor and she says I caught a bad viral head cold.   That's why I've had fever

and chills.  All this started as soon as we hit the west coast — in Portland.  It got worse in Eugene and much worse in Ashland.  Meanwhile I’ve lost sleep and I’m very tired. The congestion is clearing up but the symptoms have brought on an attack of asthma — a fairly new development in my life. I'm not used to it.

On Monday we remained in Ashland, OR at Emigrant Lake.  Some of the RVs stayed to enjoy Labor Day on the lake but many more had to leave.  The really big and busy day was on Sunday.  Dennis continued to clean the bus and I wrote my website.  In the late afternoon we went into town and had a very good dinner at Azteca Mexican Restaurant on Ashland St.

Tuesday sunrise (above) at Emigrant Lake RV Park dawned cloudy. We were up early to pull up jacks and pull in slides. The couch is in with Rudi taking the ride in stride (right). The kitchen is in, Dennis's desk and chair are in and my desk with my monitor face down on a non-skid bathmat is in. We're ready to roll. Emigrant Lake, Ashland, OR 9/4/07
As soon as we left Ashland, we ran into rain, so the first part of our drive was under clouds. Hurray! We cross the state line into California at 9:30 am (above left). At 10:30 am we're looking at beautiful Mt. Shasta (above right). She looks cold, with stiff skirts spread wide and just the tip of her nose sticking out from her fluffy white (pashmina?) stole/shawl. Enroute to Corning, CA 9/4/07

On Tuesday we left Ashland at 8:15 am and arrived in Corning, CA by 1:00 pm.  This was an easy trip of 185 miles.  The day was overcast with big clouds over the Siskiyou Mountains.  Then it began to rain hard.  It let up as we headed south out of the mountains, but poor Dennis.  Four days of polishing the bus cancelled out.  Raindrops marred the exterior and soon it was also covered with dust.  Keeping the bus clean is an unending job. 

Corning RV Park offered a convenient halfway place to stop and that was about it.  Situated in an old olive grove it offered little plots of grass and very old wooden picnic tables.  It is fun to look at the old disheveled olive trees.  Standing on splayed legs they had masses of electrified hair standing up in topknots.  They made me think of caricatures of the demented scientist.  We drove into town looking for dinner, but nothing doing.  No restaurants.  We stopped at the Olive Pit and Dennis bought some jars of spicy garlic and Italian garlic and olives stuffed with garlic.  This was sort of the equivalent of me buying jam on other occasions.  I am neither a garlic nor an olive fan.  Must be something lacking in my English/Polish DNA.  After the Olive Pit, we picked up to-go at Burger King and went back to our bus.  We ate at our picnic table in the gathering dusk under the olive trees with Dennis dipping into his garlic jars.

Above left, Dennis pulls into Corning RV Park. Above right our windshielf view of the park from site #B2. It's not a bad place with grass partitions and rows of olive trees. But it is dusty and the noise from the nearby freeway is very noticable. Corning RV Park, Corning, CA 9/4/07
The next morning we turn on CA-20 east towards Clearlake. We are driving under a heavy cloud of smoke that covered the entire interior valley, (right), We climbed out of it as we entered the Mendocino National Forest in Lake County. Later we discovered the smoke was from a wildfire near Quincy in the Plumas National Forest (east of Chico and north of Nevada City). Enroute to Clearlake, CA 9/5/07

We left Corning at 8:20 Wednesday morning and we headed south on I-5 towards the CA-20 exit near Williams.  We found ourselves driving under a thick dark cloud that covered the entire central valley.  What could it be?  We noticed dust devils and wondered if wind had created a huge dust cloud.  It was low and thick.  We couldn’t tell if it was caused by smoke or dust.  After we turned east and headed up the mountains towards Clearlake we climbed above the cloud and left it behind.  However by Wednesday night the cloud had moved west and covered all of Clearlake.  The air smelled smoky and the sun set in a ghastly red haze.

On Thursday we found the answer in the Lake County Record-Bee.  The layer of smoke was from two wildfires.  There was one in Quincy, approximately 195 miles northeast of the town of Lakeport (situated on the north side of Clearlake).  The other was in Morgan Hill about 185 miles southeast of Lakeport.  In Quincy, 15,000 acres “charred the once luscious landscape, in a devastating burn called the Moonlight Fire that started about 9 a.m. on Monday.”  The Bee went on to say, “Though the fires are a great geographic distance from Lake County, the danger the fires pose to the public is eminent.  People with respiratory problems, heart disease, the elderly and children should limit time outdoors.  The air management district issued an advisory stating that smoke from the Moonlight Fires is expected to reach unhealthy levels for sensitive groups.” 

Well, gee.  That group included me.  No wonder I had asthma.  I was anxious to go home where the air is clear and fresh by the bay lands; but just one problem.  Morgan Hill is only 35 miles south of Mountain View and the bay area was blanketed with a cloud of smoke from the 11,000 acres burned in that fire!  What a homecoming….

We were concerned about driving around Clearlake and getting to our chosen RV campground.  We’ve visited Karen in Clearlake before and we’re familiar with the roads.  We knew they would be tight for a big rig.  We made our approach around the south side of the lake on CA-53 and turned north on CA-29 to Lakeport before turning south again on Soda Bay Road, which parallels the lake.

Enroute to Clearlake, CA 9/5/07 Looking towards Kelseyville and Edgewater Resort & RV Park & Karen's neighborhood. Clearlake, CA 7/7/06

Based on campground descriptions and reviews I had chosen Edgewater Resort and RV Park at 6420 Soda Bay Road, Kelseyville.  But we became more concerned as we began to negotiate the 90º angle turns that distinguishes this road. (Apparently farmers managed to keep their acreage sacrosanct and consequently the highway must turn corners around the farms).  We thought this resort was on level ground before the road begins to climb up around Konocti Mountain.  After we passed the State Park we knew we were in trouble. (We would love to stay at the State Park but there limit is 35’ for RVs so we don’t qualify.) As we crawled around tight corners and brushed under trees Dennis began to cuss and I began to feel apologetic and guilty for making a bad decision.  At this point we knew that if we wanted to turn around it would be difficult to accomplish.  Finally we reached the address.  Fortunately, Dennis did not try to pull in.  He passed it and pulled over into an empty dirt parking lot by a small restaurant.  We left the bus and car where we stopped and walked back down to the “resort” glumly listening to the dogs barking behind us in the bus. 

I was too sick and too upset to remember to take photos so I can’t show you what a dirt hole this place was.  All of it was dirt — no gravel roads, no gravel sites.  The entrance was narrow and the sites were not demarcated by strips of lawn but by some boulders dumped together or by the big trees that shaded the entire area.  Now on a hot day shade is good, but one wants to mitigate it with dappled light, perhaps some green bushes or a few flowers.  This shade simply made the area appear to be a dim and dirty cavern.  The sites were do-able.  The staff was friendly.  One drove us around on a golf cart and showed us three sites that were possible choices.  There were a few big busses in there. But backing into any of these sites would be a hassle and if we hit one of those boulders?  Big damage.  No thank you.  We left.  How could Edgewater promise so much and deliver so little?  I think the answer is that they have a waterfront location and a boat launch.  People with smaller trailers who bring their boats probably like it.  Once again, our bus is our permanent home and we have a different take on where we want to position ourselves.  http://www.edgewaterresort.net/

Ooooh.  Dennis was hot under the collar.  He couldn’t turn around without unhitching the car.  I had a second RV park lined up so I drove the Honda and he followed.  Back down Soda Bay Rd. we went to Konocti Vista Casino Resort, Marina & RV Park, located off Soda Bay Rd at 2755 Mission Rancheria Road, Lakeport.  The casino does not pretend to offer more that a cement parking lot for an RV Park.  But the sites are large and convenient with no obstructions.  They weren’t busy and we had plenty of room to spread out.  It wasn’t beautiful but it was clean and convenient.  We much preferred it to Edgewater. Take a look at the photos.  At least it’s clean.  It is also on the water and has a boat launch.  http://www.kvcasino.com/kvc7/Hotel/kvcrvbpark2005.htm

What is a resort?  According to my Word dictionary, it is “a place that is popular for recreation and vacations and provides accommodations and entertainment.”  By that definition, both RV parks qualify.  My idea of a resort was more along the lines of the hotel resorts we visited in Hawaii.  I thought they offered beautiful landscaping, shops and services.  Silly me.  I was expecting more.  However, I have to conclude with this thought: I think Edgewater is resting on its laurels.  I think the time will come when they will have to accomodate the big rigs (and the discerning, older couples who drive them) with a better entrance and wider, well defined sites that are clean and pretty.

Left a view of Konocti RV Park. Right a view from our windshield. Notice the the dirty air and lack of visibility of the hills, due to the smoke from wildfires. Lake County generally boasts the cleanest air in California.
Left several RVs are towing boats. Right, the Konocti Marina. Konocti Vista Casino RV Park, Lakeport, CA 9/5-6/07

As soon as we got the bus situated, we put the dogs in the car and drove back up Soda Bay Rd. to where Karen has a little house with a view of the lake.  We’ve visited Karen before and stayed overnight at her house.  This is the first time we’ve had our own accommodations.  I’ve known Karen since the early seventies when we both worked for Atherton Industries.  She knows Stan Parry and she knew my boys when they were little.  Shared memories like that are valuable. She’s a graphic artist and a big character.  I always enjoy being around her.  She was standing by, ready to make breakfast for us and she is a terrific cook.  We had a late breakfast and it was delicious.  I was starving and more than ready to sit down and relax.  The dogs know Karen and her house and her two cats.  So it didn’t take long for everyone to settle down and get the status quo resolved — which means the cats established authority and the dogs agreed to not chase moving objects.

Situated on a hill, Karen has a 2-story view of Clearlake from her balcony and living room. A graphic artist she has visually enriched every corner with beautful objects. The prints are hers. Right, Karen is busy cooking a late breakfast for us. Clearlake, CA 9/5/07
Afterwards Karen got in the car with us and we came back to Konocti to show her our bus.  Then we did a few errands and went back to her house. Darned if she didn’t make us a delicious dinner.
Karen visits us on the bus and before we know it we've frozen her out with our A/C. Dennis has been using the Vita-Mix to whip up a new version of his famous fruit smoothie for Karen. 9/5

Next time we don't freeze her out. Karen poses with her old buddy, Rudi. Clearlake, CA 9/6

Below Karen produces a fabulous dinner. Dennis looks very pleased. Clearlake, CA 9/5/07

By Thursday the sky was a little less dark but hardly clear and clean,  Karen had to go to Ukiah for an afternoon print class so we went over to visit in the morning and she made us her special waffles.  Late afternoon she came back from her class and met us at the bus and we took her out to the Saw Shop Gallery Bistro, an excellent continental restaurant.  We ate on the porch and Karen was discussing the pros and cons of certain restaurants.  She said, “Well this is a country restaurant.  Remembering the poor food available to us in some areas over the past few months, I was struck again by how spoiled we are in California.  It might be country in Clearlake but the standards are urban.  Dinner was delicious.
We sat on the porch at the Saw Shop Gallery Bistro.

Above, Karen enjoys a lemondrop martini.

Right, we watch the sunset behind a pretty outdoor bench.

Below, Dennis and I on the porch at Saw Shop.

Clearlake, CA 9/5/07

After dinner we walked down the each side of the main street in Kelseyville and looked at the shops.  It is a cute town with a nice little bakery and coffee shop among other things.  We kissed Karen goodbye and got ready to come home on Friday.

We could have played it safe by going back on CA-20 west to I-5 and then south to 680, making our approach to the bay area on the east side. 

But we decided to take CA-20 north to Ukiah and then US-101 south. 

We crossed the Golden Gate Bridge with no trouble and we handled the stretch of 19th Ave. that leads us to I-280 without problems. 

We took the Palo Alto exit on Page Mill Road to El Camino, drove up Charleston Rd. and voila!  We were home. 

We left at 9:30 am and we were in the masonry yard by 1:30 pm.  Hurray, Dennis.  You did it.  We brought this bus home, safe and sound.

Uh oh. A tunnel. Always scary. Enroute, Marin County, 09/07/07
We began to get excited when we first glimpsed the Golden Gate. Enroute, Golden Gate Bridge, 09/07/07
This bridge will never fall down from erosion. They start at one end to paint and replace parts and when the finish at the other end, they start all over again. On the right is a glimpse of Baker Beach. Oh I love this place!
There's the city just emerging from morning overcast. Dennis is calm but concentrates hard. We leave the bridge and approach the toll booth. It cost us $12.50 for 5 axles (the tow car included). The toll taker heard one of the dogs bark and gave us the kind of little meat treats they like best. "You might as well get something for your money!" she said.
We come out of the toll booth in the right lane so we'll be ready for the 19th Ave. exit. When you're towing a car and you're sixty feet long you don't want to miss any exits. We don't want to end up bashing around in the Presidio. On 19th Ave. we have to go through another tunnel. Enroute, San Francisco, CA 09/07/07
Left: Still on 19th I spot the corner entrance of my graduate alma mater, SFSU. I used to park on 19th and walk down to this corner for my classes. Right: We've exited I-280 at Page Mill Rd. We are in my home town of Palo Alto where I lived from '73 to '00. I used to work in the building to the right of this photo so I know this corner of Page Mill and Foothill Expr. very well. Enroute, San Francisco - Palo Alto, CA 09/07/07
Left: On El Camino approaching our left turn onto Charleston one block ahead. I know every inch of El Camino from Sunnyvale to San Carlos. Right: On Charleston Rd. crossing Wilkie Way. I lived to the right on Wilkie Way for 22 years. I've crossed this corner a million times. Enroute, Palo Alto, CA 09/07/07
Left: We're here! Six palm trees mark the front of the property on Charleston Rd. as Dennis begins to turn right. Right: We pull into the entrance of our building. The gate is open in the back and Dennis pulls through to park our bus. Arrival, Walton & Sons Masonry, Inc. Mountain View, CA 09/07/07
It hardly seemed possible that we were really back in our hometown.  Dennis pulled into the masonry yard and stopped in front of the loading dock.  Rudy was running the Pettibone.  He stopped and came over to greet us.  Operations Manager, Steve Montez, and his wife, Operations Assistant, Jenny Montez, came out to greet us.  One by one they came out to admire the bus and take a peek at it even before we put out the slides.  My old friend, Sylvia Gartner, Office Manager, came out.  Armando, Estimator, came out.  It was old home week.  Everyone was amazed by the height and width and length of the bus.  Photos don’t do it justice.
The masonry has a large enclosed yard behind the office and warehouse building. About half an acre, the yard is big enough to hold trucks and equipment and materials. Dennis pulls into the yard and parks in front of the loading docks. Walton & Sons Masonry, Inc., Mountain View, CA 09/07/07
The masonry staff comes out to greet us and they're on the bus as soon as we can level the jacks and put out the slides.
Below: Dennis looks pretty relieved to have the bus safely parked after four months of travel and 5,300 miles driven.
Right: "The Boss." Steve Montez visits with us in the kitchen. I've seen this pose before with Dennis. They stay on their feet. They are relaxed but ever vigilent. The Boss has a surprise for us. He's set up a 50 amp hookup to be installed on Monday.
Below Right: Jenny Montez giggles at something Dennis says.
I met Sylvia around 1975 when we were both divorced and single with children. We had a good time running around together with other girlfriends — going to the hot dance spots and attending free concerts. We used to have pot lucks once a month and we called ourselves the "dirty dozen." We were all in our thirties and after hard luck marriages we were ready to have fun.

At the time Sylvia was Nolan Bushnell's private secretary at Atari. Later she helped me to be hired by Nolan as a writer when he moved on to Catalyst.

Around 1990 Sylvia came over to Walton Masonry to play the right hand woman to Dennis after I started classes for my Master's degree. She's been with the masonry ever since. In the bad old days Sylvia and I used to sit together and go down a list — making collection calls when the bank account was empty. Things are a lot more stable now and she keeps busy staying on top of legal contracts among other things.

I guess the masonry could run without Sylvia — but I'm not positive about that....

Steve had a surprise for us.  A hook-up for 50 amp will be installed on Monday.  Over the weekend we ran the generator for electric power but after Monday it will be just the same as when we are in an RV park.
After everyone left for the weekend we celebrated by going out to eat at our favorite local restaurant, the Fish Market, and I had my favorite dinner, trout with cole slaw and rice.  We brought home an extra loaf of our favorite bread — sour dough.  The availability of sour dough bread means we are at home in the San Francisco Bay Area, for sure.
The Fish Market always has a display of lovely flower beds on their front patio and on the approach walkway. We generally eat on the "patio" indoors behind the paned windows. Fish Market, Palo Alto, CA 09/08/07
Saturday morning the yard was very busy. The masonry has been without a driver for more than a month. They just hired a guy with the right license to drive the big truck on weekends. He is teaching Renee who is going to get his Class A license to be our tractor-trailer driver. On Saturday they were making up for lost time, clearing out the trash that had collected in the loading dock. I was glad to see it go but the dust was bad for my lungs so I stayed inside and kept the windows shut. They worked as carefully as they could and kept watering everything to keep the dust down. By the end of the morning, most of it was gone and the yard looked much neater and cleaner for the weekend.
We are parked right in front of the loading dock. The man with the green shirt is standing next to the place where the 50 amp outlet will be. Renee drove the Pettibone to pick up trash and put it in the dump truck. The new driver wets it down to keep down dust. But there is still plenty of dust released into the air when the load lands in the dump truck. Walton & Sons Masonry, Inc., Mountain View, CA 09/07/07
The dump truck driver packs down the load before taking it to the dump. Right: Dennis walks past one of his trucks to the bus on Saturday morning. Walton & Sons Masonry, Inc., Mountain View, CA 09/08/07

There was still an overcast of smoke from the Morgan Hill fire but not too bad.  The weather when we pulled in was typical for the bay area, a fresh marine breeze off the bay and 75º temperatures.  What a pleasure.  We slept with all the windows open that night and we weren’t hot.

For reasons that are a mystery to me, we had no Internet available in Corning, CA or at Clearlake, CA.  So much for this computer savvy state!  In Mountain View I caught up on my email and discovered a reminder from my son regarding a big party on Saturday. 

Jeff is the manager of the Pigeon Point Lighthouse Hostel, operated by the Golden Gate Council of Hostelling International, a nonprofit membership organization.  For half a year now he has been planning the hostel's 25th Anniversary Festival at the Pigeon Point Light Station State Historic Park.  It was serendipity.  I was home just in time to be able to attend. Perched on a cliff above the Pacific, the 115-foot Pigeon Point Lighthouse is the second-tallest on the West Coast. It has guided mariners since 1872. The hostel provides shared and private accommodations in the restored lighthouse keeper's quarters, which are part of the Pigeon Point Light Station State Historic Park.   http://www.norcalhostels.org/news/p,3046/

On Saturday, we put on the generator and left the A/C on in case the dogs might get too hot and left them in the bus.  I knew they wouldn’t enjoy the crowds at Pigeon Point.  The festival was from 1 to 5 but I wanted to be there a little early so I could greet Jeff.  The park is located off Highway 1 in Pescadero, 20 miles south of Half Moon Bay. It was a typical fall day by the beach, overcast in the morning and sunny in the afternoon — neither too hot nor too cold.  The length of the hostel in front of the cottages had tables with displays and down towards the lookout point by the foghorn room was an entertainment area with some chairs set up. 

Jeff did a great job.  There was entertainment ranging from the Banana Slug String Band, and the San Francisco Scottish Fiddlers, to a Santa Cruz marimba band, Sadza, with dance music from Zimbabwe.  There were lots of activities for children led by naturalists who belong to the Hostel Adventure Program and there were wonderful exhibits from California State Parks, the Peninsula Open Space Trust, the National Marine Sanctuaries and the Ano Nuevo State Reserve.  Dennis and I enjoyed hotdogs and eyed the chocolate dipped strawberries and strawberry shortcake.  We looked at the silent auction but didn’t bid on anything. 

I was delighted to run into old friends.  Jeff’s dad, Stan Parry, and his wife, Melinda, were there.  I got to talk to my old friend, Chris Bell, a buddy of Jeff’s from high school days.  I ran into my old high school friend, Larry George, and his wife Elin.  I hastily wrote to tell them about the festival and surprise — they didn’t have a plan for the day and came over from Livermore to attend the festival.  It was terrific to see them.  Dennis and I had a great time at the festival and it really felt like a homecoming celebration for me.

We arrived arrived early and found participants still setting up. This display tells us about all the festival events coming up.
In May 2005 CA State Parks acquired the Pigeon Point Light Station from the US Coast Guard. Now a foundation is leading a fundraising campaign to restore the lighthouse and save it from rust and corrosion.. Lighthouse Restoration California State Parks Foundation. www.calparks.org
Looking back towards the entrance, we see Jeff answering a question. Pigeon Point Lighthouse, Pescadero, CA 9/8/07
Originally, the large fog house was used to house the steam operated fog horn. Today it is set up for a silent auction.
In the fog room there is a little loft room that used to be Jeff's room before he became the manager. He slept in the loft above. Today it is set up as a photography shop.
The hostel spa is located just under the window where Jeff lived. After official hostel hours he had his own private hot tub.
Jeff's door has a rope hung across to discourage curious visitors from trying to open the door.
All these old buildings have historic status. This one is used on the left as a gift shop and on the right as an apartment for the hostel manager, Jeff Parry.
Dennis stands out on the point to watch the ever changing ocean waves. Harbor seals are playing by the rocks.
View of one side of the promontory, the point of Pigeon Point, as seen from the deck behind the fog house.
We were entertained by Scottish Dancers (above) and the San Francisco Scottish Fiddlers (below).
There were puppets like the crab (above) who told us about the sea and (below) we listened to Gail Swain sing.

Gail Swain's “Full Spectrum” CD has over twenty musicians and singers for a “full spectrum” style of singing including folk, jazz, rock, classical, and original compositions.

Above: my friend Chris Bell who used to be my paper boy. He introduced me to his mom, Betty, who became a dear friend. Chris and Jeff were surfing pals. He was in a car accident more than ten years ago. Chris tells me he a diver at the Monterey Aquarium where he works to keep the aquarium glass clean. He also leads ocean dives to train handicapped divers.

Left: Proud mom with her son. Jeff, you did a terrific job. We had a great time.

Jeff took much better photos than I did. For more photos of the festival, click here:

After we left, Dennis and I drove a few more miles south on Hwy One to 2001 Rossi Road to take a look at a fairly new (well new to me, it was built in 1999) “eco adventure resort”, Costanoa.  Now these people don’t even have the word resort in their name and yet they offer amenities such as a lodge, cabins and tent bungalows, in addition to an a modern RV park.  There is a general store, bar & grill, and even a spa.  There are very few RV parks available to us in the bay area so Costanoa is the only game in town by the coast. By RV standards, they are expensive — $50. per day during the week.  But our stay here at the masonry is free so I think we could afford to go over to the coast once in a while. http://www.costanoa.com/site.php

Ohmigod!  There’s a Starbucks immediately across the street from the masonry.  This is big trouble.  Sunday morning we walked over and got the first Venti nonfat lattes that we’ve had in many moons.  We sat inside because the morning fog was still in.  I treated myself to a Starbuck’s apple fritter and we were both just so happy to be able to go sit in a Starbucks.  What a treat.

Dennis has had masonry offices in this immediate area for 23 years and he has been in this particular building for four years.  When we started in this area, this part of Charleston was an empty road that led to an entrance on US-101, the Bayshore Freeway.  There were empty fields around us.  There were some office buildings and a Taco Bell.  Then they built OSH (Orchard Supply Hardware) and that is only one building away from us.  Later, next to the freeway entrance, they built Costco and a shopping center.  Last year Peninsula Building Materials put in a building across the street from us.  And now — there’s a little shopping center just across the street with a Starbuck’s.  The neighborhood has grown up around us.  Now, the coup de grâce — immediately next door to the masonry they are opening a new Michaels store.  Within easy walking distance!  They could open any day and then Dennis is soooo in trouble.  (Michaels is a fabulous, very large craft and hobby store.  They have everything.)

Walk to the corner and cross the street and there's Starbucks — right next to a Mexican restaurant. Inside I am amused by two skaters who glide inside to order their favorite form of caffeine.
Well my, my, my. The new shopping center has some good stuff. Note the palm trees in the background that mark the front curb of the masonry. Not a long walk.... And immediately next door is Michaels. Mountain View, CA 9/9/07
For most of Sunday I stayed in bed and rested.  I have very bad asthma.  I cough all the time.  Makes me tired.  Dennis worked at his desk but he is getting sick also.  In the afternoon we did a few errands and got the car washed.  This is the first full service car wash we’ve seen since we left.  Everything we’ve run across has been do-it-yourself.  The Honda is clean again.  We picked up some to-go from our favorite Chinese/Burmese restaurant, the Green Elephant Gourmet — light and delicious for someone who doesn’t feel well.  I crawled back into bed.
Standing on El Camino, Dennis waits for the Honda to be dried and polished. Palo Alto, CA 9/9/07 Dennis walks to the back door of the masonry warehouse. We are parked next to this flatbed.
I hope I feel better soon.  Now that we’re in our home base, my To-Do list has suddenly built up again.  I have appointments to make, errands to do and a few things to buy.  Hmmm.  Feels like home….
Elsa Walton, Walton Masonry RV Park, Mountain View, CA, Monday, September 10, 2007