So, where the hell have we been?
Fair question. As it turns out, I’m composing this quick missive from a secret outpost deep in the woods of Oregon where grass fed beef and kale and multiple rounds of a particularly aggressive IPA are coming at me from all angles.
It’s hell, and I may have to stay for a while.
Oregon, you say, but weren’t you guys last at a wedding in Jackson, Wyoming?
Well, we were.
But then I went to New York for a week to run some real life errands while Val stayed out in Wyoming with her mom to roam the mountains, and we subsequently re-convened in Salt Lake City and rested up at Matt and Tracey’s very comfortable Bed & Breakfast in Draper (which included not only an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet, but a test drive of the gorgeous new BMW R NINE T).
From there, the Bugs migrated East to Dinosaur National Monument in Utah and camped out for a few days while pretending to be a family of Allosaurs. During our stay, Val made contact with Bobby Lee and his lovely wife Dianne, whom we had last seen in Los Barriles and were now themselves at Bobby’s cabin north of Steamboat, Colorado.
Anxious to reconnect with them, we struck camp and and made the pilgrimage to Steamboat for some high altitude training, and also some high altitude cocktails.
We had just a terrific time, and the opportunity to reconnect with them (and for the girls to spend a week running their poor collie, Dezzy, to the point of exhaustion) among the aspen groves and mountain glades was a special treat for all of us. Bobby even took it upon himself to impart various life skills to me, and I can now credibly say that I know how to use a compound bow. Let the Hunger Games begin.
Pondering our next move, Bobby insisted we get ourselves to Rocky Mountain National Park, so we did and explored it for the next five days, waking up every morning and literally having to chase the elk and moose out of our campsite before breakfast.
Not quite done with mountain living yet, we made our way west again and enjoyed a temporary home above the rather magnificent garage that friends of ours have in Aspen. We had a terrific time there, and I also treated myself to a proper haircut in advance of a grownup meeting I had in San Francisco scheduled for the second week in July.
From there, we made our way to just outside Grand Junction in order to drop by and visit with fellow Baja traveler Ace, who graciously hosted us for an evening, and we reminisced about our journey and swapped photos while the girls did their level best to train his newest travel companion. A hugely successful visit.
I then took myself and my haircut across Utah (we have driven across that state about six times in the past month) to Great Basin National Park in Nevada, where we camped in the mountains for a few days before making our second Los Barriles connection in as many weeks: we drove to Reno in a day and found ourselves staring at the lovely 1946 silver Chevrolet bus repurposed by Julie and Marshall as their retirement home.
We spent the next few days lazing about with them, enjoying their hospitality and Marshall’s determination to act as a tour guide, and even watched him participate in the Truckee July 4th Parade. We would have seen the fireworks in Reno that night, too, except that Val missed the writing on the bottle that said “100 proof” when she was mixing up a pitcher of Bloody Marys for us earlier in the day, and Marshall and I found ourselves taking unplanned but deep naps by mid-afternoon, which lasted about twelve hours each. Thus, no fireworks.
Then, on to San Francisco, where we suddenly became urban, if not urbane. I pulled a suit out of a cardboard box and met with some folks about a horse, and as a family we camped out in the very comfortable house of a close friend in the sunny hills of Marin.
We even managed to make our third Los Barriles reunion, joining friends Jenny and Joe on their absolutely magnificent, repurposed tug boat (which is really more like a floating boutique hotel) for margaritas and a long, lazy dinner while the sun set over Sausilito harbor.
We spent the better part of two weeks in San Francisco, bouncing between friends (my college roommate lives there, and close friends of ours from Brooklyn have relocated to San Jose) and exploring the shangri-la that is the West Coast: mountains plunging into the Pacific, avocados ripening in the back yard, proximity to the Lagunitas Brewery, harvesting lemons from the trees outside to make fresh lemonade, a complimentary cereal bar for kids at the local farmers’ market, you name it.
If ever we felt tempted to de-Brooklyn ourselves for keeps, the Bay Area is now officially in the running.
The good news is that housing is really cheap.
But we couldn’t occupy our friends’ house forever (well, arguably, we could, but they would probably have strong feelings about it) so, with so much of our next move shaded by life’s colorful uncertainties, we figured what the heck and drove north to properly reconnect with Feral, Stephanie, Abbie, and the ChiWiener.
Up at dawn and off we went, leaving commuter traffic behind and piloting Red Beauty through glorious, solemn stands of redwoods, dipping down to the coast, and then back into the mountains and suddenly piling out of the truck to throw our collective arms around Stephanie and Feral.
And so here we are, more or less off the grid, in the company of good friends, bouncing like fools on Abbie’s trampoline, planning excursions to the local swimming hole, and waiting for a few not insignificant pieces of our lives to fall into place before we figure out what’s next for these bugs.