2015 Seattle, San Francisco, and Sierras

Family in Alabama HillsFamily in Alabama HillsMarch in New Jersey is always a challenge to the spirit, but this one was particularly grueling. Besides the physical misery that accompanies record breaking snowfall and frigid temperatures, this winter was an emotionally tough one for us as well. Now with my Mom gone and the boys both living on the West Coast, we finally took the plunge and put our house up for sale with the intention of heading to Northern California as soon as it sold.

This was tough for me. As much as I wanted to move, this was my home for 30 years – it was Herb and my first home when we got married, the place where we raised our boys from babies through adolescence, the teenage years, and onto being young adults. This house was the backdrop for all of that, and now there were strangers wandering through it, probably opening our closets and peeking in our medicine cabinet.

Then came the clearing out process, where we pored over a life-time of accumulations (many of which had not been looked at in 20 years), giving each item the thumbs up or down as to what to keep and what must go. As anyone who has done this knows, this is a reiterative process where certain belongings make it past the first cut, only to fall to the second or third cut later. We still have several cuts to go.

Herb became an EBay aficionado and I made weekly runs to Goodwill. We got rid of an unbelievable amount of stuff, and I would have to say it felt good – we felt lighter and less burdened.

I have really been rambling on and on and have totally gotten off course. This is, after all, a travel website, and after far too many words, I still haven’t gotten to the travel part.

Back to the bleak winter in New Jersey and our efforts to escape it. We were desperate for a break from the weather and the monotony of clearing out the house. Plus, we were really starting to miss the boys, as we hadn’t seen them since Christmas.

Not sure just what we wanted to do yet, we put a stake in the ground by saying that we would definitely meet up at a rock climbing destination for the long Memorial Day Weekend, and hopefully, see each other before then as well.

During the planning process, Herb got it in his head that he would like to drive his motorcycle (a Honda ST1100) across the U.S. It was something that he had always dreamed of doing, and, as he pointed out, it would be productive as well, in that it would mean that one more of our “toys” would be moved to the West Coast. Now, I love riding on the back of the bike, and have spent many wonderful weekends doing so, but I have a tendency towards hyperactivity, and the thought of just sitting still for that long just wasn’t doing it for me.

Perhaps, there was a better plan for me. Herb and I usually do everything together, but maybe it was time to diverge a little and do something that the other one isn’t as crazy about. For me, that was spending time in Seattle (with Tommy) and San Francisco (with Andrew and Celeste), because besides just loving being with them, I love the excitement and vibrancy of cities, while Herb hates traffic and crowds and would rather go sit on a mountain by himself.

So I threw it out there to the boys. “Who wants Mommy (without Daddy) to visit?” Surprisingly, they both bit. Wow! They would each get me for 5 days before Herb showed up to reclaim me – hopefully.

Herb and I each enthusiastically dove into our respective planning, which definitely helped us get through the rest of the dreadful winter and the early spring that never came. He pored over maps and scenic motorcycling routes and I took books out of the library on Seattle and San Francisco.

Since Tommy lives with a bunch of guys, I felt more comfortable staying somewhere else, so I looked at airbnb for options. As I hesitated to book and watched various apartments in Fremont (the area of Seattle he lives in) disappear, I started to panic. And then, there it was – a houseboat on Lake Union, just a mile and a half from his house. I was so, so excited. I even rewatched “Sleepless in Seattle” to get into the proper frame of mind.

The plan was really starting to gel. After 5 days of Tommy showing me Seattle, I would fly to San Francisco to stay with Andrew and Celeste, and tour that city as well. Then eventually, I would reunite with Herb and head to our motorhome in Petaluma.

Once we got the motorhome up and running and fully stocked with food, we would travel on ahead of the boys to Bishop in the Eastern Sierras where we would meet and spend the Memorial Day Weekend rock climbing at one of its many venues – Central Gorge, Alabama Hills, the Buttermilks, and Volcanic Tablelands.

After that Herb and I would have about 10 days to do whatever we wanted before returning to the San Francisco area to celebrate Celeste’s dad’s and my birthdays before heading home.

I think we were both a little nervous (or at least I was) as well as excited about our upcoming adventure(s).



You can download a detailed pdf Road Trip Travel Itinerary or zipped Microsoft Streets and Trips Travel Road Map file for this trip using the links shown below.

File DownloadsSize
Cross_Country_2015B_Itinerary.pdf255.43 KB
Cross_Country_2015B.zip9.44 KB