This was the third day in a row that began the same way, with Mikey and I waking up a couple of hours before dawn. Making coffee and setting to work with the final, absolutely last bits of preparation for this mighty trip. We’d work and work for hours, switching childcare back and forth between us, just to realize at some point past noon that we couldn’t leave on that day, at that point, because there simply wasn’t enough daylight left to reach a destination and set up camp for three kids.
It was starting to feel like that movie, Groundhog Day, in which Bill Murray is stuck repeating his days over and over until he gets it all just right. Mikey and I were starting to wonder if we would ever get it all right, if we were doomed to be stuck in some repetitive rut forever. Hamsters on a frickin’ treadmill. Then we both got all zen, gave up, and yeah, just like finding true love, that’s when it happened: we finally got it all just right.
The camper was packed up perfectly, the kids were ready, my kind, generous, big-hearted brother’s house cleaned, the dishes done, bed made! My brother’s lovely wife kissed.
My grandma hugged.
Mikey and I smiled.
Good bye, Blue Lake, goodbye Dana, Toni, Grandma! Goodbye, everyone! Goodbye awesome big mural, goodbye Blue House.
And headed on, over and out. Through Weaverville (- such a cute little place), Redding.
By the time we arrived in the Lassen National Forest, it was dark, like dark. Pitch black. The glimmers of the snow and our headlights showed us that we were the only ones in the entire campground – a campground, that by the looks of it, was ready for winter closing. Ice everywhere, hardened snow coupled with fresh fall.
The kids were delighted. Of course.
Mikey and I, less so, but it wasn’t bad. We weren’t cold, we were only paying $10 total * – and while a fair price would have been “free”, it wasn’t breaking the bank. And really, after waiting for SO LONG and going through so many of the same-same kind of day, we would have been delighted with just about anything.
In the morning, the kids and I went for a walk – which started out gaily, us all trotting about and exploring…and wound up with me carrying a screaming child under each arm (- and I mean, snot-drenched, frothing, screaming, wailing, howling). I just turned off my hearing aids and tried composing haikus in my head to deal. Being deaf has its perks.
Anyway, it was around there that it occurred to me that it was November 22nd, which had been Ziggy’s due date. And it also occurred to me that the lake we were staying by was Lake Manzanita – and Manzanita was the name that would have been Ziggy’s given name.
Manzanita. Lake Manzanita. November 22nd.
With a full heart, we headed out.
Some other photos – some of which I posted on Instagram (- I’m withalittlemoxie there, if you’d like to follow my feed):
* Thanks to Moxie’s Disability Access card, we get into all National Parks for free. The campground had an additional discount for people with disabilties