30 April Sunday

Meeting up with Jay was awesome today, but it was kind of like hanging out with Fran. Since TJ and I knew that going in it was easier to handle. He never specified an actual meeting place, just agreed when I suggested one. We parked at the fort at the base of the bridge and went inside to look around. Jay said he felt bad that he had never taken his family into the fort all the times he’s taken his friends and family members to see the Golden Gate Bridge. I said don’t worry about it, now you have something new to show them the next time. Tj mostly took care of Jack, and Max and Akira played together while Jay and I did all kinds of catching up. I guess the last time I saw him was when we lived in CA..15 or so years ago!

It was a really pretty area, and we just walked down the river a little bit and talked and talked and talked. Jay and I tried to name every person we could remember from college, and every teacher, and who knows what which person is doing now, and who’s still in architecture and who’s not. It was a lot of fun for me! Jay had suggested packing a picnic lunch and eating at the foot of the bridge, but when it came time to get our lunches out he said what food do you like to eat, let’s go to a restaurant, so off we went. He took Max and Akira in his vehicle and we just followed him. He told us when we got out that the boys had voted and we were having pizza. I was bummed because I was hoping for some really good Thai food, but the pizza place was awesome. We ordered two pizzas, one the boys chose and one large one for the adults. We didn’t think we’d be able to finish them, but in the end we brought home two slices of pizza and one fried cheese stick. Not bad! TJ suggested to me that we would pay and I agreed. When the lady brought the check Jay was surprised obviously, and said you guys are homeless; I help the homeless, I should be paying for y’all! This is shameful, we’re in my hometown and you are paying for me to eat. We all laughed so hard when he called us homeless, and the waitress said you’re homeless? She couldn’t believe that anybody would actually not have a house. She said, but how do the boys go to school? I don’t know if she’d ever met a family that homeschools before.

After lunch we left the trucks and walked some more in Golden Gate Park. We watched a couple of teams play baseball, heard a symphony playing, and then walked through a tunnel and found a playground for the kids to climb on. All in all it was an awesome day. On our way back Jay asked if we were ready for dessert. Since we paid for lunch I think he wanted to repay the favor. We went to The Creperie and there was an amazing looking crepe that I wanted to try with lots of interesting ingredients, walnuts, pistachios, brown sugar, and several other things. But in the end I just stuck to old faithful and got strawberries, Nutella and walnuts. It was amazing! We walked back to the truck and split up at that point. What a fun day. On our way home we stopped at a grocery store to stock up, and drove by the Petaluma Creamery. I think we’ll visit that tomorrow.

Since we basically ate two full meals with Jay, when we got home we didn’t need any supper. Max still had 8 math problems left! So we told him to do that while I went outside with Jack to play on the playground right by the bus. This is a beautiful place; the mosquitoes are everywhere, but I haven’t gotten bitten once! There’s a pond on the far side of the playground from our bus, so we always want somebody going out with Jack. There are lots of willow trees around the pond, and a little island in the middle. Everything is so green here. There are also lots of geese squawking and flapping around. The funny thing is there are dog silhouettes on springs around here. I think they’re supposed to scare the geese away but they don’t do that at all. It took both TJ and me a few minutes to realize they weren’t actual dogs at first.

I haven’t looked at any of Max’s finals while he was doing them, because I didn’t know how hard it would be to not tell him to go back and look over his work if I saw that he was doing poorly on something. Since he was doing the same problem over and over, I told TJ we might need to put an end time limit on this math exam. If he were a public school he would have a limited amount of time to do the work, so we gave him 10 more minutes to finish up the last three problems he had. After we told him that I went ahead and looked at how he was doing on his test, and he made an 80. I figured out that even if he got zeros on the last three problems he would still pass the final, so that made me feel pretty good. I think he did get one of the problems correct, but he left the other two blank. In the end he made an 82 percent on his math final. Then TJ wanted to go over all of the problems with him really quickly, but really, how quickly can you go over 10 math problems that you got wrong? We did that though, and then Max said he was hungry. I gave him half a bagel to eat while he was getting ready for bed. Jack was already in bed but absolutely not near sleep since the lights were on and we were all being noisy. I’m so glad that school is over, but I forgot that Max still hasn’t officially turned in his final language arts project and I have to grade it. Ugh!

1 May Monday

We let the boys sleep as late as possible. I know they’re tired these days. I’m so glad school is over though! TJ had a breakfast place picked out for us, but in the end we just got on the road. We first went to check in since we hadn’t been on the base any of the times that the Hop was open. Then we headed back down to San Francisco. I drove over the bridge again and then down Lombard Street while TJ videoed the drive with our circle camera. TJ showed me the Google Map around Lombard and it’s amazing to see all of the grid-like streets and this one wackadoo street. From Lombard we went to Chinatown and TJ found us a parking garage. It was fun looking around there in Chinatown, of course I want to buy a million things, but living in the bus kind of necessitates a minimalist lifestyle. TJ and the boys went to the playground and I shopped for half an hour or so. I found this crossbody bag that I really liked and thought I would try out bargaining to see if they do it here, and apparently they don’t. Oh well, that’s the way it goes sometimes.

We were hungry about then and it was about 12:15, so we looked on Google and Yelp for a recommendation. We found a Clay Pot restaurant that was nearby so headed there. It was little and cramped and upstairs, but all the round tables have big round lazy Susans on them. Fun! We ordered a mishmash, which is so much fun to do. We got Mongolian beef, sweet and sour chicken, cashew shrimp, and it came with wonton soup and some pot stickers that were heavenly! They were my favorite, especially with the dipping sauce. The sweet and sour chicken was also wonderful because there were big pieces of pineapple in there. The tea they served beforehand was kind of bitter and there was no sugar so it wasn’t my cup of tea, but I drank it all. All in all it was a fun experience and good food. And we left with about half as many leftovers as we started with so we’ll have that soon. Oh, there was also shrimp fried rice. I’ll probably make a Thai peanut sauce to put on top of all the leftovers except the Mongolian beef :-)

I shopped a little bit more while the boys went back to the playground. When we were all finished we decided to head home. It was still early and we could have seen the Chinese gate or driven down Lambert Street again, but we don’t want everybody to be so tired that we’re all miserable. We headed back home and stopped at the Petaluma Creamery near the base. We all got a scoop of ice cream and picked up some aged cheddar for our ham sandwiches for supper. Somehow at the grocery store last night a box of croissants got knocked over and opened so TJ felt like we should buy them. Twist my arm! We bought some really good ham and now with this awesome cheese we’re having ham and cheese croissants for supper tonight :-)

We stopped at a little RV repair shop to see about getting a knob for the shower. The boys have stripped the hot water knob so we’ve been using a pair of pliers for the last couple of days. And, honestly, we haven’t been showering much either. This Coast Guard base doesn’t have any sewer hookups. Also, we thought we were getting a 30 amp site, but we actually pulled into the only 50 amp there. Yay for us! So two days of no sewer hookups. I don’t think it’s going to be any big deal because we generally empty every other day when we have full hookups. But we’re going to be careful with our water usage anyway.

We watched What’s in the Bible for church tonight since we didn’t do that yesterday. That is such a good show! I often end up learning something new or remembering something I’d forgotten.

Since Max is finished with all of his other school and we got home early, I looked at his final paper, and then before bed TJ and I graded it. We don’t see eye-to-eye on how to grade it and that was a bump in our road, but we all went to bed early and most of us got a good night’s sleep.

2 May Tuesday

We got out of bed around around 8 this morning, and just started getting ready to go. The boys have been eating granola bars these last two mornings for breakfast so this was the first fried egg sandwich Jack had had in a few days :-) Our neighbors across the street from us pulled out this morning so that made us getting out even easier. TJ made a u-turn and pulled into their spot and I did the same and pulled up behind him to hook up the truck. The boys played on the playground while we got ready, and went to the bathroom in the last few minutes, and then we hit the road. We stopped on base to get gas where it’s a good $0.40 cheaper than everywhere off base. We need to measure the height of the bus again, that was one thing we were concerned about with this little bitty gas station. It looked tall enough though, so we just drove in slowly and everything was fine. I planned on buying some ice there, I really miss the Seal Beach ice machine. That was a nice treat :-) But at this gas station there was just a Subway. The guy told us to go up the road a bit and take a left and there was a store, but we didn’t feel like all that maneuvering with the bus. I asked how much a cup of ice would cost and he said if I had my own cup it was free! I went out to the bus and got the ice box that we use and headed back in the store, then TJ said maybe I should bring my cup in case he didn’t want me to use the box, so I went back in the bus, dug around and found a big cup and went back into the store. When I got in and had filled up the cup one time I asked the guy if he would mind if I filled up the box and he said no. Score! That’s so nice. We’ve seen countertop ice makers that are about $100 and really want to get one, but I think we’re serious enough about buying a new bus this October that it seems like the best plan would be just to wait. Probably most new buses are going to come with a full size refrigerator and most likely an ice maker, I guess patience is what we need.

3:10 p.m. we had the bus level and Tj was hooking up the sewer so we could run a load of wash before we left to go see redwoods! We stopped at a redwood stump that had been burned out and a door added. It was a cool, small room. Our next stop was to drive through a tree! I drove first, then we switched so we both could take pictures. Then Tj drove the truck up onto a big redwood stump. Lastly there we took pictures of the boys in cute tree houses. Our next stop was to walk into the redwood forest, where we got to stand in some trees. They are so magnificent! So huge! The forest was beautiful! After we got out and walked a bit J said he had to go to the bathroom. We made it back just in time…a big tourist bus of Japanese people unloaded and they all needed to use the bathrooms.

Before getting there, though, I shopped for a wooden bowl. Near the beginning of this trip I started wanting a big wooden salad bowl…I saw several in Goodwill, but they were all so worn. I’m so glad I waited! The gift shop at the RV park had beautiful bowls, but they were all sooooo expensive. Tj said go for it, but I figured we had a day or two to shop. I looked at the store across the street from the tree with a door, and those were also beautiful, and less expensive. It was so hard to choose! I almost bought two (the second one a little one just for cereal or something), but I figured I should stretch out my souvenir buying. I ended up buying a large (too large?) salad bowl. Yea! I was in a hurry after I bought it since I’d made the guys wait on me to shop/pick one out…I just handed the bowl to Max and asked him to put it somewhere it would be safe, and we headed off to see some trees. When we made out last stop of the day to see the trees I went back to the truck to get a sleeve, opened the back, heard something sliding down the table we have stored there, and then my brand new bowl fell to the asphalt!!!!!!!!! I was so thankful it didn’t crack, but there’s a rough spot on the bottom and on an edge. I guess that gives it character. I’ll always remember getting that bowl and then marring it before I even used it.

3 May Wednesday

We pulled out at 10:30 since our drive is short and checkout is at 11am. We’re right on the coast now, and can see the water amidst all the fog. It makes​ me laugh…we see all this picturesque beauty, and at the same time we’re bumping along in this big crazy camper with our clothes in the dryer drying as we drive. Hillbillies!!

TJ said when we got almost to our stop that we should look for a good seafood restaurant to try around here. We got a recommendation while we checked in at the campground, set up camp and went out to eat. We bought three meals, half a crab sandwich with a cup of clam chowder, beer batter fish and chips, and fried clam strips with coleslaw. It was all good, the crab sandwich had really big chunks of crab that just had a good flavor. I think my favorite was the fried clam strips though.

After lunch we headed over to Walmart to pick up a few groceries, then we went back home and went out to the beach. Tj got us a great spot; the front of our bus overlooks a small levee right out on the Pacific Ocean. The tide was so far out, there was so much sand in front of the water that we could walk on. We probably had to walk out thirty or forty feet to get to actual water. The boys played a good bit, TJ and I brought chairs and sat out on the levee and watched them for a bit. Jack was of course filthy when he came in so we put all of his clothes straight into the washer while he took a shower. I made hot chocolate to warm the boys up, it’s so gray and foggy here. The boys got to watch some cartoons and I took a snooze, and then Tj made sandwiches for their supper. We watched some more of The Force Awakens, that’s such a great movie! We got the boys settled into bed around 8 or 8:30, and he and I watched Arrival before going to bed.

4 May Thursday

We laid around a good bit this morning which was nice, we’re trying to stave off that extreme tiredness that hits with so many days in a row of travel. While the boys ate breakfast TJ and I sat in the front seat just looking out over the ocean. We left the curtains open all night because the view is so beautiful. We packed up a picnic lunch and we’re going to go look for a place to cook some sausages and have sausage sandwiches. I wanted to do the Sky Trail, but it’s closed for maintenance this one day of the year. Lol. It was a 9-minute monorail ride through the tops of the trees. I guess we’ll just have to enjoy the trees from the ground. Now we’re at this big playground and TJ is chasing the boys all over the place. He’s such a great dad!

We had packed up for a picnic lunch before we went to the playground. I loaded up sausages, a bell pepper, and all the other accoutrement for a lunch. TJ packed the little grill and after the park we had to go back for the propane tanks! I razzed him that I packed a million things and he only had to put 2 things in the truck. We drove about half an hour south where we had seen a gorgeous place. It was even more beautiful now that we stopped and got out. The Pacific Ocean was just crashing among such big and little rocks, there was black sand, and across the road were just mountains full of trees. There was an abandoned house there, which made me just daydream about living right there next to the ocean. I think that’s the only way I would ever want to live that close to a highway. We saw a dude who appeared to be living right there since all of his clothing was strewn all over one of the picnic tables there, and he had a bucket full of mussels or clams. I guess he was gathering them to cook and eat there. When we stood out on the big rocks we could see rocks just covered in those animals! It seems like such a neat thing to be able to gather/cook/eat from the land like that.

We didn’t do too badly ourselves, though. Tj got the grill started and I put my big cast iron skillet in it to preheat. I cut up the bell pepper and half the onion and put them in the pot to cook. We had that with sausage, cheese and mustard on big french buns. Yum! The boys played while we cooked. After lunch and playing some more we headed back to WalMart…Tj had seen that they had an ice maker and he decided we had to have one. We’ve been talking and thinking about it for a few weeks, but then I said it could be our Mother’s/Father’s day presents to each other. We were so bummed when we found out they were all gone! The online check Tj did showed 6 in stock, but the lady there checked and said they had none. When we got home Tj ordered one from the next town for us to pick up tomorrow. Patience. Ugh.

I dropped the three boys off at the playground and went home. I unloaded the truck and made pizza dough in case we wanted that for supper. They came home not long after Tj sent me this, “The entire 7th grade just showed up. Max is mad because “all these kids look like they’d say a bad word if they dropped their pencil.” And then one of them did say the B word.”

Tj didn’t really want pizza, but there wasn’t much around here, and we really didn’t feel like driving 30 minutes away…so I made pizza. We watched more Force Awakens. We made the kids shower since we won’t have hookups for the next two days and then went to bed.

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