California, Here I Come!

Al Jolson, anyone?!

My dad, whose love for acting and directing was rooted in his vaudeville, burlesque, and theater production experiences, would play big band and Broadway musical show tunes on 8-track tapes during family car trips. My sister and I grew up listening to this famous song, and so many others…

This post title should have read “California, Here WE Come”–instead of I–but for my father’s sake, I needed to be true to the song’s title! WE are what this retirement life is all about!

These past 3+ weeks at home between our inaugural trip and this one have been glorious — we caught up with friends, hiked and biked in familiar home territory places, took several luxuriously long baths, and appreciated the size of our home kitchen. And…in readying for this trip to California and back, I got some work done — preparing different foods to bring for our first week, so we could enjoy scratch-cooked meals but without having to prep in the van kitchen! I arranged then rearranged how and where that food, and our cooking equipment, is stored in Vanda. It may seem a simple task to choose what foods to bring and where it is placed in cupboards or the fridge, yet I have spent a goodly amount of time these past weeks working and reworking the layout!

Yep, that is a bottle of Limoncello tucked in next to the 1/2 & 1/2; there’s green goddess dressing, tomato paste, tahini and other condiments, pesto cubes, PB & J, lemon juice & white wine to make a lemon-caper pasta sauce, eggs, yogurts, ice tea for John (in the glass whole milk carafe), a silicone ziplock bag of caramelized onion & sweet pepper, 2 calzone, pasta sauce…
SO many chopped veggies and SO much salad greens; lots ‘o cheese & butter; ciabatta rolls. There’s wine, gin, and cocktail mixer tucked into the only cabinet tall enough for those bottles–under the sink! There’s my compost bucket on top of the dry trash can.
I had to take the apples and some of the cookies out of the fridge (too much food!), where they are now nestled into the very full snack & canned foods drawer.

WE leave this morning for a one-month trip to California and back that will hold overnights in twenty (20!) different places–a combo of campgrounds, boondocking, and friend’s guest rooms. Many of our stops will be in new territory, which we are excited to explore. There will be wonderful birding in Texas and Arizona, and lots of socializing in California from San Diego up to our old hometown in Nevada County. On the return trip, we’ll be in Black Mesa State Park in Oklahoma — the darkest night sky area in the United States—that should be spectacular!



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