Vacation’s Over!

Did I forget to mention that I’d be on vacation all last week? If you’ve visited long you might have been able to predict that based on the number of posts I made just before leaving. Amazing how the very idea of going on vacation allows me to get so much done in such a short time. I was telling Leslie just before we left that we need to go someplace more often because I get more done the week before we leave than I do the previous month.

I used to always alert readers to my upcoming trips, but I’ve avoided doing that the last few years when I realized that you’re telling people you don’t know that your house will be left unprotected for however long you’re out of town. Besides, it’s always more fun to surprise readers with great new photos after you’ve returned.

I would have had a lot more great photos if the Fucking Republicans hadn’t shut the government down in an attempt to cut Social Security and Medicare. We stayed overnight in Willows thinking we’d get in a quick drive around The Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge before looking at a Camper to put on the back of my Toyota Tacoma pickup. Although I knew all the National Parks were closed, I didn’t realize that the Wildlife Refuges would also be closed. However, I quickly found out that they were when I drove up to the gate and found a large “Closed” sign. I wonder if the Republicans chose this time of year to close down because it’t the most popular time for older, retired Americans to visit parks and vacation sites?

The main purpose of our trip was to attend Leslie’s high school reunion on Friday and Saturday night, but ever since Leslie complained that she thought the Honda Element was too small to camp in for a week I’ve been looking at other possibilities. I finally settled on a camper built by Four Wheel Pop Up Campers in Woodland California. Leslie wanted to see them in person before ordering one, and it was probably a good idea because we ended up buying the smallest one that fits on a Toyota Tacoma rather than the slightly more spacious model. I’m looking forward to being able to sit at a table and cook inside on my wildlife trips next year. Hopefully it will allow us to extend the season and not limit it to just the time when it’s possible to cook outside comfortably.

Despite the closure, I was able to get some nice bird pictures in Santa Rosa which I’ll be posting the next few days. Walking around Lake Ralphine and Spring Lake is always fun, no matter how many people are on the trails. I often spot birds I never see otherwise, and, more often than not, I’ll see birds I don’t expect to see. This year it was a pair of Swans; I just I wished I’d seen them earlier in the year when they had young ones.

Another highlight of the week was meeting Andrew Hidas who often comments on my site and who writes the delightful tra • vers • ing. We managed to fit in a long walk that allowed me to see another area in Santa Rosa that I had never experienced. Some of the hike was steep enough that it brought to mind the old saying that if you can’t talk while exercising you’re exercising too hard, though it my case I might actually have talked too much (I probably should have listened more, and talked less.).

Leslie and I closed out the visit with a Friday night and Saturday night reunion meeting. Next time I’ll skip the first night where they got together to visit. I spent most of the night alone in the corner while Leslie flitted around the room. (Thank goodness for iPhone apps!) Saturday night was a lot more fun. We had a sit-down-dinner and Tom came with his wife Susan. I think Tom wanted to be there even less than I did, and, surprisingly, was even more liberal than I am; so we had a lot to talk about while our wives visited.

Of course, we finished the trip with a fourteen hour drive home, which went better than expected with no rain the whole way and very light traffic. Nevertheless, I stumbled around the house when I got home, trying to put things away.

I did manage to crawl out of bed at 7:00 this morning and get to the gym to start my new week. I couldn’t wait until noon to eat, but I didn’t have much before 10:30. Hopefully I’ll get back on schedule tomorrow and the rest of the week.