First things first, we are alive and well and I’m writing this in the RV parked outside our friends house in Foster City, CA.
We made it after a short drive from Hollister. Short but stressful, it was a lesson in defensive driving and looking far ahead to anticipate having to slow down. I was avoiding using the brakes beyond only a light press but even with that I could feel it was vibrating from what is possibly an overheated and warped drum.
Fortunately we managed to avoid any heavy braking on the freeway and once we were driving at slower speeds the brakes performed fine and safely.
The RV is a 1997 Road Trek 200 Versatile. It’s comfortable sleeping for the two of us. We have a double bed and here, where it’s cool in the evenings, it’s a nice cool restful place to sleep. There is plenty of storage places and even a toilet and shower. It’s just a shame that we have not been able to get the brakes sorted out properly. I’m glad that we have finally been able to return it back to it’s home in Foster City. Our friends very kindly let us use it and take it around to where ever we wanted to go. So I feel it’s right that I can at least return it safely.
Backing up in our adventure I want to return to Hollister Hills SVRA. The campsite is on the grounds of the Hollister HIlls State Vehicular Recreation Area. They have a few campsites and a bunch of trails that people can bring their motorbikes and ATVs to ride around. A lot of people come up for just the day while some will stay overnight. Especially during the week we found it quiet once the day use bikers had left. The toilet and showers were clean and they even have hot water. Most of the trails there are best tackled on a motorbike or something with a motor. But a few places we could ride on our bike. Paths with poison oak growing on both sides and we need to keep to the middle to avoid it.
The site is located right on the San Andreas fault. On one side the hills overlooking the site are part of the America Plate and the other side is the Pacific Plate. Because of the widening fault the site grows by an inch a year. We saw some of the seismic sensors that the geologists had placed there to monitor the ground there.
We met Chris at the campsite. By his own reckoning he weighs 300 lbs. He has bad hips and other health problems. Basically homeless but he has his trailer from the 60’s and a few other vehicles. His toys from when he was younger and in a well paid job. He had moved in to the campsite the same day we arrived, from a motel but had to leave his 1965 Mustang at the motel in Santa Clara. He was worried about the car being parked there so one day we decided that we would go to get it. Chris and I would drive there in his 1997 Metro Geo. A tiny little car with only one headlight, an empty eye socket on one side, and no glass for the passenger side window. Mismatched panels round out the look.
We would go to get the Mustang and then I would drive the Reo and he would drive the Mustang back to the campsite.
It’s a 90 minute drive and our rough noisy cars made quite a sight on the freeway. It was fun for me driving the little Reo. It’s a manual or a “stick shift” as they call them here.
I’m glad we could help Chris. It seems to me that he has had some happy times and some very hard and rough times as well. He has lost a lot of his friends and loved ones and is feeling lonely. At the moment he is at a low point in his life. But he is still cheerful and funny and has a wealth of stories to share. We spent a good number of hours at his little patch of the campsite. He has his trailer there, the one his grandfather left for him. His little Reo also used to be his grandfather’s. His Grandfather seems to me to have been a very smart and wise man. He brought up his grandson to be tough but also happy and open to share what little he has.
I am glad to have met Chris. I am glad that we could spend those days at Hollister with him. He needed the company and we enjoyed talking to him, making chilli dogs, sharing a cold beer and ice creams.
Like many of the people we have met and will meet on this journey I don’t know if we will ever see them again. But as Chris told me, we will meet again up there. Bless our friend Chris.
This first month has been exactly what we expected – an adventure into the unknown and full of the unexpected!
We are wholeheartedly grateful and thankful to our friends. Both friends we have known for years and those new friends that we have had the pleasure to meet along the way. And those that give us just a few words of advice, or a thumbs up as they drive past and a friendly beep beep of the horn. This is what our journey is about. The adventure of what is to come and the interactions with others that it leads us to. No amount of planning can ensure that it will be a smooth and easy ride.
We have learnt a lot this month. We are grateful for the lessons we have been taught and the advice we have received. I sometimes feel naive and simple but maybe that’s just part of the adventure. As we set out on this journey we are reminded that we are small and insignificant. Our plans are just ideas and nothing that is set in stone. If it were not that way I would have nothing to share here!
That is exactly why we named our bike Jonny Blessing!