Whew, I'll be honest, the first few weeks on the road have been a little too busy. Finally, nearly 3 weeks in, I'm here to catalogue the first part of our journey. To be honest, if I told you everything we've done so far, this post would get too long. So here's the first week or so of my journey, in a nutshell:
We moved out of our house, held a goodbye show, organized and packed up the RV, which we fondly call Navi. It's an Itasca Navion Class-C motorhome and it's our home now. We set off on our mission somewhat late in the day and slept in a rest area outside of Glenwood Springs. This is "dry camping" and it's great when the weather's not hot. The next day, however, after driving through Utah (and seeing my wonderful friend Chloe!) we landed in Nevada. Way too hot; so we paid for a campsite.
When plugged into power and with water available, Navi feels much less like camping and much more like home, especially this far in. I don't have great photos of how I've organized everything, but we've pared down our belongings significantly. Books, art supplies, one laptop and backpack each, musical instruments, backpacking equipment, and our RV wardrobes -- that's what we have with us, and it's great.
On day three, Wednesday, we drove to Reno, Nevada, where we boondocked with a nice couple who let us plug into their house for power. Boondocking is basically couchsurfing, but for RVs, and there's a fantastic website that allows travelers to connect with hosts. (boondockerwelcome, in case you're curious). So far we've met some colorful characters and several really kind, sweet people (the colorful characters included.)
On Thursday we drove through Lake Tahoe, of which I did not catch enough pictures because I was strangely focused on the plants I wanted to later turn into watercolors. There's a few pics in the gallery. That evening, we headed out to the Bay area where we stayed one evening in Benicia state park, a tiny first-come-first-serve campground with no electric but with water hookups. The rest of our time in Berkeley, we dry camped on the street outside our friend's house. Her hot water wasn't working, so we took more hot showers in the RV than in her house. We were really grateful that was an option.
Finally the proposal day arrived. I have never planned a proposal before, and it's possible that maybe I got a little ambitious. We had two friends flying in to the Bay to help pull the thing off:
- My sister, Maureen, and
- Isaac's best friend, Shawn, who had kept his travel plans secret from Isaac.
Timing was such that Isaac and our other friends (including Maddie, Munyo, and Laura), were exploring San Francisco while I collected my sister from the airport in Maddie's car, the Volvo. Shawn surprised Isaac and kidnapped him to Sausalito, where my sister and I met up with them with our bicycles. So far, so good; Shawn and Maureen have the car, Isaac and I have our bikes, our other friends are across the bridge near the beach waiting for everyone else to happen across the Golden Gate Bridge where I'll grandly drop to one knee. Isaac and I set off on our bicycles, and my sis and Shawn hop in the Volvo. At this point Isaac says to me, "I know you're up to something." Yikes! Ok, maybe it was obvious, but up to this point I thought I'd been really good at keeping a secret! It turns out that's not true, either.
As Isaac and I are setting off on the hilly trek back to the Golden Gate Bridge, I get this amazing text message: "The car is overheating." Sure there's no way we can help from our position, we leave my sister and Shawn to coordinate with the Volvo's owner, Maddie, to determine what to do. Isaac and I continue the thoroughly-uphill journey toward the bridge. By the time we reach the bridge, Maureen and Shawn have found a place to park the car, which appears to be having a coolant issue: there's fluid leaking, and everyone decides the best thing is to have it towed to Berkeley where Maddie's trusted mechanic can take a look in the coming days. The only problem with this plan? AAA has received over 50 tow requests on that busy, touristy Saturday, and since they're not in immediate danger, they're low priority. (Hey AAA, maybe you can tell us that ahead of time next time so we can all move on with our lives!)
By the time Isaac and I reach the beach and meet up with our friends, we're all in a thoroughly discombobulated mood; the 7-seat car isn't here to take us all back to Berkeley, two of our party are trapped together in Sausalito, I don't know whether to propose now or to wait, and we're all hungry. It turns out it takes longer to bike across the bridge than I remember. So we regroup with this plan: Isaac and I will bicycle back to Berkeley, while Maddie, Munyo and Laura lyft or take BART. Maureen and Shawn will find a safe place to park the car and take a lyft back to Berkeley.
Amazingly, Isaac and I bested everyone else's time despite being on bicycles. After getting yelled at by drivers who don't like it when cyclists go through intersections on green lights, we made it to the BART station and safely back to Berkeley. We got back in the RV and waited for the rest of our friends, and it's there that I decided I couldn't wait any longer. I don't remember what I said, but I know he said yes. When all our friends got back to Berkeley, we microwaved some dinner (the house had no gas for cooking) and ate several pints of ice cream. Maybe not the most glamorous, but at least I have a story to tell.
The rest of the Bay area and our drive through apocalyptically smokey Northern California I'll save for another day. Thanks for reading!
Oh, and I've been making playlists for the journey. Here's Week 1!