Our Last Week in Santa Paula

This past week has been mostly spent getting ready to leave.  Our remaining time in Santa Paula is getting short and there is a lot left to do.  With several days of rain forecast, we scrambled to make the best of the few dry days.

First on the list was getting any remaining stuff to storage.  With over a year of travel behind us, we are determined to get every last ounce of weight out of the coach before hitting the road again.  Jeanne has been ruthless going through the household items while I have concentrated on the tools and toys.  This is not easy for us and involves several tradeoffs, some of which are discussed below.

Our granddaughter, Caralyn, spent one night with us in the coach.  It was a little unusual that it was a school night, but since we are camped close to her school, dropping her off the next morning was no problem.  Like the others, Caralyn got to pick her favorite eatery for dinner and chose Taco Bell.  Munching on a Nacho Supreme, we talked about school and other subjects of interest to a young lady.  Returning to the coach we watched a remake of Around the World in 80 Days starring Jackie Chan.  Although the movie was a little slapstick at times it had its moments.  After dinner Jeanne and Caralyn played a few games of dominoes and Caralyn proved to be a worthy opponent.  We very much enjoyed having her spend the night.

Our grandson, Tyler also spent a night with us.  For dinner, Tyler opted for the Western Bacon Cheeseburger at Carl’s Jr.  Typical for boys his age he finished the burger, the fries, the drink and began eyeing what we were eating.  After dinner we went to Blockbuster Video to rent some movies and discovered Tyler had never seen the original Predator or the sequel, Predator II.  Obviously the boy was culturally deprived and we were determined to make things right.  We rented both movies and spent the rest of the night discussing Predator history, weapons and tactics.  Later in the week we would ask his parents why they never let him see these two cornerstones of American cinema.  When Tyler stayed with us it rained most of the night and the next morning.  Tyler spent the night warmly snuggled into the sleeping bag and goose-down comforter.

For the past year we have been traveling without a spare tire and every time we started the coach we knew we were taking a chance.  It turns out the tires on the coach are specifically designed for RVs and can be hard to find.  The last thing we want is to have a flat in the middle of nowhere, pay to get towed to the nearest town 300 miles away, pay an exorbitant amount for a tire and then wait three days to get.  So, life is full of choices and here was ours:  get the spare now and probably never use it or continue flirting with disaster.  Like many thing in life, money solves the problem; we paid the $325 and bought the spare.  But the story doesn’t end there and making one choice usually means others choices are not far behind.  In this case, we need to make room for a tire weighing 97 pounds and 37.7 inches in diameter.   That is a lot of room and something big has to go, which means some of our toys.  It looks like the kayaks are history.  Our plan is to get the coach weighed at the next FMCA rally and if we have the carrying capacity and room we’ll try to squeeze the kayaks back into the underneath compartments.  This is a “we’ll see” situation.

For a long time now, we have been unhappy with our digital camera.  At the time we bought it about five years ago, it was state-of-the-art.  Although it had given us many years of good service, it is no longer up to the task.  For our triplog we are now taking pictures almost every day and the limitations of the camera are annoying.  Once again, money solved the problem and after weeks of research and hands-on evaluation, we settled on a Canon Power Shot A85.  So far we are very satisfied with the features of the new camera.  I hope faithful readers of this triplog with notice the improvement in image quality and size.

This past week the weather has been miserable for workouts; it has either been raining or cold.  Fortunately, I finally tracked down the owner of the small gym in Santa Paula and cut a very reasonable deal with him for the remainder of our stay.  I really intended to use it only once or twice but it didn’t turn out that way; I have been there every other day.  On my oddball schedule, the gym is generally quiet and the regulars seem to be getting used to that weirdo doing Pilates.  I don’t enjoy running on a treadmill, but its better than sitting around the coach snacking.

Southern California weather is generally dry and sunny.  In the San Fernando Valley where I grew up, it is not unusual to get as many as six consecutive summer months with virtually no rain.  The rains usually starts in January and lasts about four months.  Annual rainfall usually totals around 14 inches and it is not unrealistic to expect warm, dry sunny days most of the year.  This year is an exception.  At the time this was written it has been raining four straight days. In fact, with a few exceptions, it has rained every day since Christmas.  Dry streambeds are rushing torrents of muddy water, streets are flooded, power has been interrupted and we just might get stuck here for a while.  It seems strange that we crossed the country twice to get stuck ten minutes from where we started.  Sometimes things just work out that way.  The next few days should be interesting.