USA Road Trip Part One – Sixty Five in Seventy Nine

We dodge a bullet during the heart of the pandemic: in regards to the quality of life.

July 14th – August 1st, 2021

But first, we want to thank John and Marcela Hansen of SV Beethoven for our round of beers. Wish you were here to drink them with us.

It all started with a Bus Ride to the States

65 Friends and Family in 79 days

starting 14 July 21

147m TUFESA Bus Station to Phoenix then to Chino Valley via Cottonwood
392m to San Diego
514m to Concord
477m to Silver Falls State Park
54m to Portland
569m to Concord
117m to Pioneer
80m to Lake of the Pines
545m to Las Vegas
238m to Chino Valley
110m to Phoenix

147m TUFESA Bus to Guaymas

79 days
3,390 miles

ending 1Oct 21


13-14 July

With Dharma Girl all buttoned up, let’s get out of dodge. It’s crazy hot and humid here in July!

We finally had the boat properly put to bed around Monday afternoon, leaving us about a half-day for all the last-minute stuff we didn’t think about doing. With all that done, time for a proper shower and some nice going-into-town clothes for the taxi and dinner at the steak house with all the animal heads on the wall, across the street from the Tufesa terminal. It has a better name than that and the food was quite good, don’t get me wrong.

The hike from the dock to the taxi was epic if only a 1/4 mile. We didn’t start sweating until we were three steps past the dock box, then it went downhill from there. We each had a full backpack and duffel bag to lug and drag along. There was zero bickering, even though we were both drenched in our own filth, just after wasting a bunch of time taking a shower, all while dragging a bunch of crap uphill both ways at literally the hottest part of the freakin’ day — (smooth as silk they say 🙂 ) The kicker was, while there are usually taxis to be found at the Marina Terra hotel lobby, none were to be had because it was a Tuesday evening. Well, we finally got a taxi through town and into Guaymas proper. The steakhouse was worth the trip, and did we mention it’s across the street from the Tufesa terminal? Dos Margaritas Grandes y Fuertes, Por Favor y muy rapido !

We made it to the bus no problema, and discovered that the baggage policy was “if it fits it ships”. The 13-hour overnight bus trip, while sleepless, was pretty comfortable. You have to stop for several checkpoints, and a changeover in Hermosillo, but it was all pretty easy to contend with. While Carrie slept, I enjoyed Rambo 7 and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo V en Espanol – no subtitles for you amigo… Crossing the border was easy.


A little bleary-eyed, we Ubered over to our rental car. This is where my evil genius took over. Knowing that they’d likely be out of Premium cars, I had booked one anyway, thinking we’d either 1) get a Lincoln Continental, or 2) a deeply discounted Yugo for our two-month road trip. Lo and behold, we got a 2020 Tacoma TRD Crew Cab! Woot-Woot! I was very excited.


Getting our vaccines was a big priority for us, and we got ours in at a Walgreens in Cottonwood on the way to Chino Valley. On the way to Chino Valley, Google routed us through adorable Jerome, AZ — a really nice scenic detour should you find yourself with time on your hands. Jerome is on a hill, a big hill, and there usually does not seem to be any parking. Just so you know.

We did stop off at Safeway on our way over to Pat and Melody’s, and it was our first real dose of culture shock – if you don’t count the Starbucks in Phoenix. So many aisles! So much stuff! So many carts! Aaahhhh – so many people zooming past you !?!! 

After the 90 minute drive to Chino Valley, we spent two nights with Chris’ brother and wife. The stay included a lovely dinner with them and Chris’ parents to celebrate Pam’s, Chris’ mother, 80th Birthday.

Do you see any resemblance?
The Birthday Woman
The gracious hosts.

July 16-20


We are heading to the west coast of Southern California.  We’ve been driving for a bit and wanted to get out to stretch our legs.  Coming over Granite Mountain and just passing through the town of Yarnell, we pull over in a rest stop. It wasn’t a rest stop, we happenstance stopped at the HotShots Memorial Trailhead. There is a 2.7 mile trail.

A park ranger greeted us and shared the story and facts of the incident and memorial.  Having seen the movie, we didn’t have the questions one who had. Instead, we asked if he knew any of the crew members. “Yeah, I knew five that were caught in the fire.” [a bone-chilling moment.] “I was the one who saw the smoke and called it in.” Then we inquired if he felt the movie portrayed the event well. The ranger explained many believe the movie could be improved if more coverage of the community and family was included. But that is Hollywood. We gave him our condolences and thanked him for sharing.


We left Chino Valley and drove west to visit Tom & Katie, of SV Absolute, in San Diego. We escaped the heat! It was super fun to see them again, and Katie fully narrated both days as Tom chauffeured us around town. It was great to play tourist in the very pleasant weather. We had a fantastic brunch in La Jolla at the popular Brockton Villa Restaurant, did a pub crawl in their neighborhood of North Park, strolled a bunch every day, and even went back through our old stomping grounds at Shelter Island. I just like San Diego in general. We bid hasta la vista after four nights.


From San Diego, it was a daunting 12-hour drive north to Concord, CA to stay with Carrie’s brother, Brian. We fared pretty well, although the LA traffic was definitely a white-knuckle, double-pucker factor few hours for us. We made it to the Grapevine and enjoyed the aromatic view of Harris Ranch. Ah, I-5, what a scenic by-way (not).

It’s been two-plus years since we have seen Brian. His wife, Patricia, was in visiting her family in Peru.  We return later to visit with her.  It was a joy, at the least, to see a family member. Our hearts were blessed. The weather was considerably warmer than in San Diego. But their house has A/C!! After decompressing from the drive and transitions, we arranged hookups with friends and family.

It goes without saying but we will express it again, visiting friends and family was a mood changer.  Our emotions were lifted after each quality visit.  The reminiscing, laughter, stories to catch up, and sharing plans, and questions.  Tears and smiles came later as we feel how much we miss our loved ones.  So the following are photos of who we visited.  Please bear with us, as we use this blog as our travel journal.

Lunch with Joe and Annie, a quick visit with daughters Sara and Jamie, and their furry critters.

Meet The Walls

Brian joined us to have dinner with Kim and Mike, at Lazy Dog in Pleasant Hill.  Before we knew it, a couple of hours passed as we ate well and field the plethora of fantastic questions.

On our way to a visit, we take a short detour for a glimpse of the Chris Williams’ Reality Tour through scenic southern Fremont, CA. We took a quick exit off the freeway and drove through our old neighborhood to check on the state of our palm tree. When we first moved out from St. Louis, we thought it would be very Californian of us to have a palm tree in the front yard. For years, you could spot our old house from highway 680 by finding the palm tree over the sound wall as you drove by. Happy to say it’s still there and really, really tall.

We drove old Mission Blvd. past Ohlone College and the Mission, and stopped off at my alma mater, MSJHS (“Go Warriors!”). I was planning on doing a burnout in the horseshoe for old times sake, but chickened out at the last second.

Our lunch with Geri Sue and Sean was short yet sweet.  We are at lovely Nonni’s Bistro located in quaint downtown Pleasanton.  The two live in the surf town of Santa Cruz, so it was apropos to gift us a bag of Salt Water Taffy from Marini’s!  YUM! 

And we introduced where Brian and Patricia, his wife, could hike in the area. We hike on four different days. Two days at Mt. Diablo, which is pretty much in his backyard. Then a little south at LaFayette Reserve and at Chabot Park. The long haul of not working due to Covid-19 for 18 months and then getting out for a hike, put a new bounce in Brian’s step.

Diablo 23rd 24th

Then a little south we hiked at LaFayette Reserve and at Chabot Park. The long haul of not working due to Covid-19 for 18 months and then getting out for a hike, and having actual humans to interact with, put a new bounce in Brian’s step.  The outdoor activities and family were a big mood changer for the three of us.

La Fayette 27July

In between the days of visits, we introduced a few hikes to Brian. We hiked for two days at Mt. Diablo, which is pretty much in his backyard. He is excited to share these hikes with Patricia, his wife.  We squeezed in between the days, a good old fashion bbq for the three of us.

Cheers to the family who loves each other.

This segment of visits was fun and we didn’t want them to end.  Having made previous commitments, it is time we pack up again and head further North.

See ya there!

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