October 28 – We’re back at Flying Flags RV Resort in California’s Santa Ynez Valley, the first RV park we stayed at when we started this adventure in August. It feels good to be at a familiar place, and get to enjoy the great pool and playground and dog park (and laundry room!) and paved roads for biking, without the summer crowds. With some rain during this visit, we’ve also spent a few hours in the comfy lounge with a big tv and pool table.
We’re enjoying the relaxation after a long and somewhat trying day visiting Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks earlier this week. The long drive up into the Sierra Nevada foothills to the first visitor’s center was stunning, but also a relentless sequence of tight curves, and Chris had to drive extra slow for a carsick Rita. We picked up the Junior Ranger program workbooks, and took a short but steep hike to see General Sherman, the giant sequoia and largest tree (by volume) in the world. It is really incredible to see in person.
With the dogs left crated back in the RV we knew we didn’t have time to go into Kings Canyon itself, but, rather than backtrack and taking the same winding road down, we decided to push on and drive through the redwoods and sequoias to the Kings Canyon visitor’s center, where we could get some food and Junior Ranger badges. By the time we got there we really needed to start heading back, and rushed the kids through their workbooks. This road down was just as long, with almost as many tight turns. We were on carsick watch for Rita the whole time: having her sit in the front, driving extra slow, pulling over a couple times for a quick break, and making sure she had a plastic bag and a towel (actually a too-small skirt that happened to be in the car). The scenery was gorgeous – steep golden hills dotted with oak trees and granite boulders and the occasional cattle herd – but the clock was ticking for us to get back to the dogs, and the drive seemed endless. And then: Charlie got sick.
Now, Charie is an articulate 5-year-old and normally does not need any encouragement to talk; in fact sometimes we need to encourage him to stop talking. On other car trips he’s told us if he was feeling sick. But for some reason that he still can’t explain, this time, when we were racing against the clock and Rita cleary wasn’t feeling well, he didn’t say a word before it was too late. I managed to throw the closest item – Rita’s rain jacket – under his face, grabbed the plastic bag and skirt/towel from Rita, and Chris pulled over as soon as we were on a straightaway. We all piled out of the car, got cleaned up as best we could with baby wipes, and threw all of Charlie’s clothes and most of the jackets that were on the floor near him into the back. We finally made it back to the RV, took the dogs out for a nice long walk, and did a couple loads of laundry. (Positive: good sized laundry room with 24 hour access. Negative: no change machine and the office was closed, so I had to drive to the nearest convenience store for quarters.)
Well, at least we have a picture of the kids and General Sherman: