“Going home and spending time with your family and your real friends keeps you grounded.” Jennifer Ellison
Four months on the road and logged many wonderful miles, spectacular scenery and great people along the journey so far. Time to head back home for the holidays to touch bases with family and friends and just get grounded for a bit. Everyone asks how I am enjoying the journey so far and how much longer I will keep the nomad lifestyle. Well I still love every minute of it and the end is nowhere in sight. There are so many more special places to see and experience all over the US and my plan to go to Alaska next summer is definitely something to look forward to. So while I am excited to be home visiting friends and surrounded by family I know that I have also made a “home” for myself on the road.
“Never make your home in a place. Make a home for yourself inside your own head. You’ll find what you need to furnish it – memory, friends you can trust, love of learning, and other such things. That way it will go with you wherever you journey.” Tad Williams
While here in Mariposa I have been able to get some good hikes in, as there are numerous dirt roads throughout the county. Mariposa County is one of the smaller counties in California with a population of only about 17,000 and absolutely no stoplights in the entire county. The county is the home of Yosemite National Park, one of the most spectacular places in the country (I will be visiting there a couple times after Christmas and will post more about that National Park then). And unfortunately the closest pool seems to be located at a health club down in Merced (an hour drive time) so the only swimming I will be doing while here will be on New Years when I will make the trek down to Merced to swim my annual 5k. One fun activity here in Mariposa has been the local Jazzercise classes. A fun way to get some exercise and meet more fun and active people. Being a bit uncoordinated some of the moves have me in direct opposition to the rest of the class but I seem to be getting the hang of it slowly!
While here I was also able to spend a couple days up in Sacramento (where I lived and worked before retiring). Meeting up with my old swimmer friends and getting back into the pool at 5:30 in the morning was great fun. Even better was joining the gang for coffee at Peet’s afterward where we shared stories and lamented the state of the country. I miss this gang; pools just are not the same without the camaraderie and encouragement of a good coach and good friends.
In Sacramento I stayed with Pam (she met me in Monument Valley for a few days while on the road) and we took in a Stevie Nicks concert at the new arena in downtown Sacramento. With all the hoopla over building this facility I actually expected it to be a bit more impressive but all in all it was a nice facility and a great concert.
If you ever have an ability to see a show or a game there I recommend purchasing your parking in advance at one of the nearby parking garages, as it was a very easy in and out.
I also took the opportunity to visit with some old work friends and colleagues. California State Parks is currently going through some big changes. Change seems to be inevitable in this political environment and challenging budget times. I truly believe that I was able to work for State Parks during some of the best years and my heart goes out to all my close friends in the department that are having a tough time with the new organizational model.
For me, some of the nicest, smartest and most dedicated people I have ever met I met through parks.
They are and always will be my parks family.
For now, it was just great to see some of that family again and enjoy their company for just a few hours and remember some of the great times.
“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” John F. Kennedy
There will be more about some of the hikes around Mariposa in another post. While at Jazzercise I met a woman who belongs to a hiking group here and I am hoping to join up with this group at least once while I am in the area.
To all my friends, family, and blog followers……..
Merry Christmas, have a wonderful holiday and a splendid New Year!
“Christmas is, of course, the time to be home – in heart as well as body.” Garry Moore