This week’s blog update comes from the Solano County Library, in a quaint speck on the map of a town nestled in the great delta between San Francisco and Sacramento called Rio Vista. People in these parts are of a peculiar variety; Jim was interrupted at the library twice today by a gentleman who first asked him if he knew about some technology conspiracy that was going on in Europe right now and then again later to show him a ¾ full bottle of Jose Cuervo Strawberry margarita cocktail, grinning from ear to ear as he walked out the main entrance. We’ve had some odd stares from folks – can’t help but wonder what these people must think of him clicking away on his laptop keys, surrounded by a sea of various charging cables bringing all of his portable electronic gadgets back to life.
We targeted Rio Vista as our destination this week because of its close proximity to Walnut Creek, where Jim has his US Masters Swim Coaching certification this upcoming weekend. Heather found the gem that is Rio Viento RV Park just outside this small community, offering a great weekly rate with full RV hookups so we could get the real start of our new year work schedule going with minimal distractions.
This might be the nicest RV park we’ve stayed at yet; the roads that wind through the beautiful park on Sherman Island are made of brick-red concrete pavers (hand placed bricks) and the Sacramento River flows alongside the main road that connects the island to the rest of the Californian delta. Perfectly manicured palm trees and lawns catch the eye as the windmills turn silently overhead and cattle and sheep graze in the pastures off in the distance. Now in the RV off-season, this place is a welcome sanctuary of peace and tranquility for our busy work week ahead.
Days before we arrived here in this digital nomad nirvana, week 37 began last Tuesday back in San Diego. Jim was working with one of his athletes training for his first Ironman, setting up the extensive annual training plan with him on the phone so he can go from where he is today to claiming the title “Ironman” this September in chilly Madison, Wisconsin. While Jim worked, Heather had another gorgeous San Diego run along the Pacific. After her run, she got to working while Jim headed out for his own slice of running heaven. Even though the weather here in Rio Vista is still beautiful and the scenery still motivates the desire to get outside, we will both always miss the warmer temperatures and familiar environment that is San Diego a bit.
Tuesday afternoon we headed to Heather’s friends’ house, Nate and Ashley, parents of two adorable kids who magically entertained themselves with their imaginations while the adults had boring adult talking time. Jim had heard a lot about these two, so it was great to finally get to meet them. With another engagement coming up quickly, we didn’t have much more time than just to catch up for a bit, talking about a range of things from kids and parenting to Nate’s issues running (Jim loves when he gets to be an impromptu coach!). We said our goodbyes and then headed out to meet another now mutual friend, Sean, for trivia night.
Sean came with us last year to Ironman 70.3 St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands to do the shorter sprint distance triathlon on the same day, and he’s been another good San Diego friend we have missed while away on the road. Finally time for the 3 of us to catch up, trivia night at the local wine bar seemed as good a place as any. Shortly after a couple of “easy” trivia questions that involved basic Nintendo knowledge and a high-school mandatory read of “A Tale of Two Cities”, we quickly realized we were not going to be walking away with any prizes on that particular evening. Trivia is hard, apparently, and even harder when you only have a team of 3 (or so we told ourselves). Catching up with Sean was great and trivia is always a good time, even if you have to leave feeling dumber than you had hoped.
Wednesday we met with another of Heather’s friends and fellow triathlete, Craig. It was to be the first time that we really rode our bikes since Ironman Florida last November and we couldn’t have picked a better time, place or company to be with. Craig is currently training for the Alaskaman Extreme Triathlon, a 2.6 mile swim through the frigid 55 degree waters of Resurrection Bay, a 112 mile bike ride up 4000 feet of elevation through the mountainous passages of the Seward Highway, and a final tortuous 27 mile run that has ends atop a mountain, with 6000 feet of climbing between start and finish. This race makes Ironman Florida look like a training day and Craig will be taking this on as his very first 140.6 mile triathlon race. Needless to say, Jim was thrilled to get to ride with such a fine athlete and the two of them hit it off immediately. While Jim and Craig pushed the pace a bit from the front, Heather hammered right along with them, keeping a close distance while trying to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the ride up and down the magnificent coast.
After the ride, we relaxed and chatted over a quick cup of coffee before saying our goodbyes and heading back to Bertha for showers. We hustled up quickly to get the bikes put away and get ourselves cleaned up for our next engagement we had been looking forward to since the start of our trip – meeting up with Mike, the wonderful man who sold us Bertha last year and who has kept in touch with us along our journey. We were so happy to have bought Bertha from someone who not only took great care of her too, but someone who was just a decent, caring person that wasn’t just trying to get rid of his old RV. We’ve called him a few times from the road this year as questions and oddities popped up and he was always happy to be of any help we needed. It was going to be great to get to see him again now after all the upgrades and miles we’ve added to Bertha.
We sounded our signature La Cucaracha horn as we pulled up to his familiar driveway in Bertha, who is still found on Google Maps Street View in his driveway. He came out to meet us before coming inside and taking a tour of the renovated RV he once hauled his family around in, now decked out with new floors, backsplashes, fixtures, hardware, all the modern bells and whistles we upgraded her with, and the many touches of ‘home’ Heather has added to make her now “Bertha.” He invited us into his home and showed us the current full blown kitchen remodel he is in the middle of himself. Never having enough time as usual, our visit with Mike was much too quick. We did get to catch up for a bit though, talking about some of the highlights and crazy experiences we’ve had this year and catching up on what’s new with him and his family.
Pulling away we sounded the horn again and we were off to our final San Diego stop: wine night with the ladies from Heather’s work at Jen’s house. Jim was invited to this rare ladies night since Jen’s husband, Aaron, was home too and the two would have each other. Heather and the ladies sipped on wine and chatted in typical fashion while the boys had beer and toyed with Bertha’s electrical problems outside. The food was amazing – from Jen’s delicious sriracha meatballs to mouth-watering dips, shrimp, and salad, no one left hungry. Jen and Aaron’s new baby, Nolan, stole the show as anticipated and the night was a perfect last hurrah before heading out of San Diego.
Thursday we hit the road and headed north to rainy Irvine, knocking out some miles before stopping to meet up with Glen, another friend of Heather’s, for lunch while Jim got some midday work done in the peace and quiet that is Bertha. Glen took Heather went to his favorite sushi spot and the two of them talked about life, marriage, kids, and careers before hugging goodbye and promising to stay in better touch. After lunch, we sought out a place to stop and get some overdue grocery shopping, laundry, work and blog time done. After getting resupplied and dumping tanks, we hit the road Friday morning and started the nearly 400 mile trek north to our destination city here in Rio Vista. Friday and Saturday were rather boring days, filled with working, driving, and working on some of our short and long term planning and goal setting. It rained, and rained, and rained all weekend, which meant lots of indoor time and peaceful lulling of raindrops on our roof each night at bedtime. Saturday night we had a bit of excitement when a security guard at the Walmart parking lot we were staying at chose just after midnight as being a great time to bang on our door and startle us awake so he could kick us out. We told him to get bent when he asked for IDs but assured him we’d head out right away and find another place to sleep for the night. We watched as he then went over and woke up the guys sleeping in their Class B van across from us; what a crappy pointless job this guy must have. A quick 5 mile drive away we found a deserted Lowe’s parking lot and pulled in to complete our slumber, undisturbed with nothing but the pitter patter of raindrops overhead.
Sunday we finished our drive to Rio Vista and parked at the beautiful Rio Viento RV Park, hooking up to shore power, shore water, and their in-ground septic system. While Bertha is great on the road and we love the freedom that being on the road provides, she’s a dream when she’s got unlimited electricity and running water. We’re happy to have Rio Viento as our home for this upcoming week 38 and have already been crazy productive in our work the past 48 hours we’ve been here. Lots more fun to come, so stay tuned in and we’ll catch you up again next week!
Total RV Trip Miles: 14,092.6