Friday, June 17, 2022

Summer Symphony

We began our Summer Symphony on May 2, 2022. We loaded the Winnebago Navion for our trip, and pulled out of the driveway. I was humming, “California, Here I Come”. The days stretched out ahead of us and we fell into the cadence of being on the road: pre-travel prep, getting on the road, enjoying the scenery, locating the next campground (gas station, grocery store….) and getting set for the night. 

Generally, symphonies have four movements. The first movement introduces a theme and is generally at an allegro tempo, meaning that it moves at a brisk and lively pace.

The first movement of our Summer Symphony establishes our daily pattern, and takes us from Babcock Ranch in Florida, to Point Richmond in California. We were filled with anticipation, and were looking forward to seeing our sons and grandchildren at the other end. 

Google Maps would not allow me to connect the 13 stops we made driving across our amazing country - hence, two maps. The first map chronicles 8 stops over two weeks. The second maps shows 5 days and 5 stops - you can see that our symphony definitely picked up speed and raced toward the end of the movement!

Don Garlits Museum - Ocala, FL

We have driven by this museum countless times. Finally, we took the time to stop and see the extensive collection of drag racers.

Another opportunity to "stop and smell the roses". I happened to see this tiny praying mantis on our hose at a small, peaceful campground in Milton, FL. I enjoy the miracle of life and the diversity of life forms. 

We went looking for yogurt around Rayne, LA - the Frog Capital of the World. Although we never found plain yogurt, we did learn that the Weil brothers started a business in the 1880's exporting frogs legs to restaurants around the world, hence their claim to the title. (Apparently folks around Rayne do not care for plain yogurt, as three tiny grocery stores had only a smattering of flavored yogurt.)

The first movement of our Summer Symphony slowed down as we waltzed across Texas. 

We stopped in Cleveland, TX for lunch with Sandra Scott Wink. This lovely lady, with a bushel of spunk, is Scott's mother's niece. 

Like music, travel is complex and has distinct rhythms. There are the rhythms of the day, and rhythms to the journey itself. We brought along our mountain dulcimers to create our own music, and, we stumbled upon some music here and there along the way.

We enjoyed a lovely evening at a Harvest Host location in Navasota, TX called the Bee Weaver. We tried several flavors of mead, bought some honey and listened to a singer perform on an idyllic spring evening. 

In addition to making mead and selling honey products, the company also sells supplies to bee keepers. 

We traveled on to Medina, TX to visit with friends. We've been here several times. In 2015 there was no water in the lake. In 2016, the water had partially filled the lake, and it was full in 2018. The tide has turned - the lake is empty again.

The effect of drought wasn't only something seen at Lake Medina, it was too easy to see as we crossed over the Glen Canyon Dam in Arizona. Lake Powell is usually 558 feet deep at the dam, and currently is 167 feet below normal. 

The lazy waltz we enjoyed in Texas picked up speed as we moved toward Tucson. We realized the air conditioner was not adequately cooling the motorhome when we traversed Texas. It managed to hold the temperature at 85 degrees, whether it was 100 degrees, as it was at Lake Medina, or 110, as it was in Fort Stockton! Yes, it cooled the air, fractionally, but when it was 79 degrees out, the interior would also be at 85. We were lucky to get an appointment with a mobil tech. The Winnebago dealers across the country were only able to fit us in in August or October! Like so many industries, they are struggling due to a shortage of employees. The outcome of our tech visit, perhaps the upbeat music leading to a crescendo near the end of the symphonic movement, was a decision to trade in the Navion for a Tiffin Breeze. The speed of our music picks up as we turn north to Draper, UT, where they happened to have this unit in stock.
31' Tiffin Breeze

The music of a symphony isn't always predictable, just like our trip that made a sudden change in direction and speed. Despite our detour, we were only one day late in arriving at our destination in Oakland, CA. Our symphony has a wonderful interlude, while we stay at a VRBO around the corner from the kids for a month. 

What is Four?

Have you ever thought of the meaning of "four"?  Four is the number of: seasons in a year. corners and sides to a square. virtues....