Day 1: The Odyssey Begins

Yes, a Homerian reference from the English lit major. But nothing poetic about today. We were hot and our eyes were burning from Monterey County all the way up to Chico from the rampant wildfires. The Central Valley is one giant cloud of smoke. On a brighter note, the three of us are figuring out the RV. After a 2-hour orientation in the sweltering sun and smoky air of Cameron Park, we took off up CA 49—the Gold Rush route—instead of making a beeline for the freeway. Given our late start from the RV place (2 hours??), the scenic route took a long time—many 15 mph curves—but we drove right through Marshall State Park, where gold was first discovered in 1849, stopped in lovely historic (and reminiscent of old Midwest towns) Marysville, before landing in a motel in Chico, smack dab in the middle of the cute downtown and across the street from a health food market where we grabbed dinner. A propitious beginning to the road trip—a healthy meal! No wi-fi, though.

The 3 of us are exhausted, however, and not up to organizing the RV tonight. After Sara’s passing yesterday, we didn’t sleep too well last night so we must head to bed for an early start tomorrow through Lassen and up to Redding, where we had thought we’d be tonight. But…another propitious sign—we’re deviating from the general itinerary already! Yay!

Here's night 1 in smoke-filled Chico motel room. Nick is, as always, trying to help.

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