About seven or eight years ago, Mark and I took a 3000 mile motorcycle trip from Southern California, where we lived, through Oregon and into Washington, for considering where we would move, once all the kids had left home and he could retire.
After 36 years of service with the Federal Government – the job was going to kill him, literally. One supervisor at his level, took his own life. Another drank every day when he was there, and hospitalized for health reasons when he wasn’t on the job, which was most of the time. An absent supervisor meant added stress for him, and every day dreadful. So, we planned…
I had never seen the giant and ancient redwoods before, and riding on the 101 going north through Humboldt county in California, I saw incredible natural beauty. “You haven’t seen anything, yet,” he said. He was right.
Riding through the windy, narrow road through the redwoods, I was awestruck – sunlight glistening in long, narrow rays through spaces between the giant trees in grove after grove. Immense trunks reaching hundreds of feet into the air and the air – cooled by the deep shade of the towering trees. The sweetness filled my lungs and I felt as though I was breathing life itself. As we rode, my heart raced, and I knew I was home.
The following link provides a series of three-part of the National Geographic 2009 Documentary – Climbing Redwood Giants. I highly recommend a complete viewing of this fine and incredible film.
Once back in Riverside County, we started searching online for a second home, which would someday be our primary residence. After several trips north, we bought a small house with an acre of land in Crescent City, CA. Though we would have preferred more land, prices in 2005, 2006, were at a peak. It should all work out, we thought, as we had planned to build on to this little house when we sold our first house, and use the equity (about $250,000 at the time) to build and pay down the mortgage in Crescent City.
The real estate market took a nose dive, and our equity disappeared. We lost a tremendous amount of money in our retirement savings. We couldn’t sell our house in Riverside county, as we owed about 40 thousand dollars more than it could be sold for, and had to decide whether to allow the bank to take it, or rent it out.
I worked for a school district when an employee I knew had recently lost her home to foreclosure – everyone knew plenty of people who lost their homes or walked away from them, as it was one of the hardest hit by the housing collapse in the country. Our employer was about a mile from the house. It’s been a year and three months and I’ve not heard one peep from her, except to say how happy she and her family are.
Mark made several 1600 mile round trips in moving trucks, alone, to transition to our retirement home. I stayed back with the animals, the remaining kids, and my job. In late April of 2011, he left Riverside county for the last time, with a final moving truck and our old dog and never looked back. On May 1, 2011, I left with 8 rabbits, two cats, one guinea pig, my 20-year-old, a few belongings and supplies, for the 840 mile trip north, come hell or high water. Nineteen hours later…
The horses had already been picked up for transport, and delivered to me in Crescent City about four days after I arrived. They were thin, confused, and stuck together like glue. I was shocked to see their condition, but happy to have them with me again. Mark had worked hard to prepare corrals and shelter for them.
The rabbits were crammed in – I had purchased large travel crates for each pair, secondhand, and outfitted each with hay boxes. Water was a problem, so I offered damp parsley and cilantro when we stopped to rest or sleep. Soon after, I lost my “flyer,” Charlie. He’d gone into GI stasis twice in the past, and this time, he shut down…
The guinea pig seemed to do fine. I didn’t notice any change in her, but what do I know? I don’t speak guinea pig…
The cats got sick. I still have Dipsy, my Persian mix, but Meika, my black cat, was oddly quiet for the trip. I didn’t know it, but she had a late stage cancer, and about three weeks after being here, I let her go. I feel very sad that she didn’t get a chance to experience life here. I feel very badly having put her through that ride. Poor Mimi.
My old dog lived more than a whole year here. He never did well in the heat of the desert down south, and he enjoyed rolling over and lying in the grass and cool air here. Over the last six weeks of his life, his health went south, and I let him go, too. He had a wonderful last day – a peanut butter jar to lick, lots of strokes, a little ride in the truck, a special toy.
I’m very happy to be home. These are some of my thoughts of today. Home is a place of wonders.
And finally, a video of Charlie (my flyer R.I.P.) and Blossom (who now has Boyo Pollo as a companion) At the end of this video I nearly have a meltdown, as Blossom (the little angora) was about to squeeze through the tiny squares… OH NO!!
I know the video is long, but watch if you can, and you’ll see why I called him My Flyer, and, why rabbits don’t belong in a little hutch or cage, where they can’t hop around or stretch out. I do shout at the end – panic!!