Saturday, June 9, 2012

Another family stop in the Bay area

June 5-9, San Jose, California

Hippie girl with her Portuguese Water Dog at the Woofstock  Cluster Dog Show in Vallejo
Having grown up in the Bay area, coming here is somewhat of a homecoming for Vic. Even though he moved away when he went to college at the University of Idaho in the 60s, his younger sister has lived in Sunnyvale since 1965 and his older sister now lives here as well as his 89-year-old mother who is in a nursing home in Los Altos. Until this spring, Vic's daughter and three grandsons were here too, so we are very accustomed to spending time here--but never before in a motorhome!  Where to stay was our first challenge. I was excited to find a 10/10/9 rated park that advertised a San Jose address, Coyote Valley RV Park Resort, where we intended to stay as a bit of a splurge; however, when I put their address in my navigation app, it turned out the park was actually in Morgan Hill, a 40-minute drive from my sister-in-law's home in Sunnyvale. Our intention in coming here was to visit the nursing home everyday and spend time with Vic's sisters so we nixed the plan to stay at Coyote Valley as we wouldn't be hanging out there much anyway to enjoy the luxury amenities. Plan B ended up being the antithesis as we are staying at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds, a no-frills site almost in the heart of San Jose. We do have full hook-ups and a private space away from the very old full-time residences (think duct-taped parts, missing windows, tarps, old vines covering the trailer) and and it is much quieter than I thought since there are several events going on in this very large park including an off-track betting site, paintball tournaments, dirt bike track, auto auctions, and tonight--a quinceanera complete with fireworks. The best part was the price of $27 a night and an easy drive of less than 15 minutes from family.

Each day we were here, we visited the nursing home to see Vic's mom who now suffers from Alzheimer's. She is amazingly healthy physically but her short term memory is almost non-existent. She did seem to recognize Vic each day but her questions revealed a complete break from reality in thinking her husband, her parents, and sister were all still alive and that she had visited her childhood farm in Kansas recently. She has been in the nursing home two years already, but she has no sense of time other than the present. I kept wanting to do something tangible to brighten her day, so asked her what she would like me to bring but each day we came she had not even remembered seeing us the day before. I was struck by the similarity of listening to our three-year-old grandson when he tells little stories that blend reality with his own little fantasy world. Just be there to listen and affirm. The arc of a life is not ours to question. . . .

Sunnyvale is also a homecoming for our female Portuguese Water Dog, Jetta, as my sister-in-law, Sandy,  raised her until she was two before giving her to us. Sandy still has Jetta's mother, but she and Jetta no longer get along well together. I guess moms in the dog world are better at pushing their children out of the nest than most of us humans. It was interesting to watch Jetta sniff around the house and yard where she used to live; she certainly remembered it. Our other dog, Rico, Jetta's son, just thought it was great fun to be in a house and yard again, but each night when we returned to the motorhome they seemed extra grateful to find their cozy corner and curl up. Vic and I often feel the same way after nine months of full-time living in the Big EZ. After venturing out into the world for day trips and errands, we return to our own little cozy corners where we settle into our various pastimes. One thing I really appreciate about life in this small area is the minimal distraction of unfinished projects compared to those that loom around you in a stick or brick house. No garage to clean someday, no yard to weed, no closets to reorganize (well, only one and there's not much rearranging to do.) What I miss about a house is more conceptual--the idea of going home, having a bigger nest to retreat to, a more stationary anchor. It's a trade-off but for now our wanderlust is winning. I am, however, learning that I would like to plan more month-long stays vs. a few days here and there as I get a chance to feel more at home when we have an extended stay. (To be honest, before this year I was judgmental about people who just traveled from point A to point B in their motorhomes, but if you like these two places, I can get it.)

So much for my philosophizing. Today we left the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds to attend Woofstock, a 60s-themed dog show in Vallejo, about 70 miles north of San Jose. We are staying at the Tradewinds RV Park of Vallejo, another no-frills park that we chose due to its proximity to the dog show. Owning two PWDs (Portuguese Water Dogs) ourselves, we were interested in seeing this popular show where there will be fifty Portuguese Water Dogs, including one of our own little reindeer-named dogs from Jetta's first litter of nine puppies: little curly Vixen who is now Nixie just earned her championship there yesterday. The event is billed as four days of peace, music, and dogs. My sister-in-law Sandy, former secretary of the Northern California PWD club, had four dogs in the show and her own dog, Garth, won Best of Breed out of all these dogs.  She was thrilled and so were we as Garth was the stud dog of Jetta's second litter, the country-western named puppies. We had a puppy from each of  Jetta's litters in the show: Dolly and Vixen (Nixie).  Fun for me to see those little pups I helped deliver in the middle of the night under the spell of Pendleton to calm my nerves.  (A story for another time. . . .)

Sandy and Vic with Andy, son of Garth and Brook 
A better view of Andy who took 1st place in his group
An adorable brown and white wavy PWD puppy that I fell in love with!
The brown and white puppy won his division! Check out the judge's attire.
Our girl Nixie (formerly Vixen) earned her championship at the show.
Garth winning best of breed out of almost fifty dogs.
Tomorrow we had planned to start our trek northward back to Oregon via Redwood National Park, but our life of spontaneity is taking us to Plymouth, California, about 40 miles east of Sacramento instead. We just can't pass up another opportunity to reconnect with our Illinois Phaeton friends, Mike and
BJ, who are in California to pick up their daughter and granddaughters for a cross-country adventure.  I think we need to deliver some cranberry oatmeal dunkers from Trader Joe's to them; it's sort of an unwritten agreement. Peace, love, dove.

1 comment:

  1. we had a nice visit with Mike and BJ in Reno and there is now competition to the dunkers as he took off with a bounty of our homemade mookies...


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