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May 15, 2009
Get ready… Get set… Get ready…

The obligatory “before” picture: Russell in front of our Cupertino house, at the start of yet another adventure

“The journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.”
– Lao Tzu

I finished my last work meeting at 9:00 this morning and left the office for the next two weeks. The rest of the morning was been filled with last minute errands, packing, re-packing, and going through my three lists of things that I had written down at various times so I wouldn’t forget them.

During preparation, I had also created complicated scenarios for shuttling cars so that the whole family could walk with me on weekends. When Gail decided not to walk after all, we did away with the car shuttle and those scenarios. However, my sister has now decided to join me on the day of my birthday, so we do need one car shuttle in Tracy.

My longtime friend Dirk graciously volunteered to serve as an additional driver to help us get the car to Tracy. Dirk has been anxious to come up to the mountain house anyway. (As an engineer and self-professed handyman, he has experience with electrical wiring.)

The plan was for Dirk to caravan with me to Tracy, where I would leave my car. He would then drive me the rest of the way to our mountain house (“home #2,” and the start of my birthday walk.)

Meanwhile, the plan was for Gail to stay in Cupertino (“home #1”) until Joss got out of school. She and Joss would then drive the second vehicle all the way to our mountain house.

Are you following this so far? We would then have a vehicle in Tracy and a vehicle on the mountain. Joss and I would begin our walk to Mokelumne Hill on Saturday (May 16). Gail and Dirk would stay at the mountain house and work on wiring. Gail and Dirk would drive down to Moke Hill to meet us for dinner. Gail, Joss and I would spend the night in Moke Hill. Dirk would drive back to the mountain house and spend the night there by himself.

On Sunday morning (May 17), Gail and Joss would drive back to the mountain house to close everything down. Dirk would go on his merry way. Gail and Joss would drive home to Cupertino. Russell would continue his walk.

(If you think this is complicated, you should read my original scenario for a continuous car shuttle!)

As Dirk recounted in one of his many email exchanges (“sarcasm for color,” as Dirk said):

“Friday, May 15th, all 3 Lee's travel by car to their mountain home.

Saturday, May 16th, all the male Lee's start the day's journey on foot, with the end being the Leger Hotel. The female Lee shows the wisdom of age, stays at peaceful retreat and attempts to shorten to-do list for house #2.

That evening wise Lee goes to hotel for dinner with tired males at Leger Hotel; all Lees spend the night.

Sunday, May 17th, Gail gets older male on the road for leg 2, and returns to mountain with the younger male. She attempts to shorten to-do list and ignore boredom messages from her son.

At 1:00 pm she and son get in car to return to home #1, probably passing by husband on the back road he is on.

Wednesday, May 27, Russell gets home, has a long soak, ignores hunger and goes to bed for 48 hours.”

As I said, this was the plan. As the day unfolded, we encountered two monkey wrenches, one major and one minor. The major glitch was that Joss came home from school in major distress from his chronic back pain. After several telephone calls with Gail and me (I was already on the road), Joss reluctantly decided to stay home. Gail would come up by herself.

This leads to the second glitch, which was that we had reserved two rooms for Saturday night in Mokelumne Hill – one for Gail and me, one for Joss. Gail called the Hotel Leger to see if she could possibly cancel one of the rooms at this late date. The good news was that they had no record of our reservation. The bad news was that they had no record of our reservation.

(I had originally made the reservation last October by physically walking into the hotel. The girl told me that they didn’t have a ledger set up for May yet, but she noted it on a piece of paper. To be sure, I had called the hotel just last week to ensure that they indeed had my reservation. At the time, they said there was no problem.)

So today, Dirk and I physically walked into the hotel during our drive up. The problem was that the reservation was in the ledger but not in the computer. Fortunately, the rooms were still available. (Whew!) We ultimately decided to keep both of them, so that Dirk can join us for our Saturday “night on the town” tomorrow night. Debbie, the bookkeeper, not only made sure we were entered into the computer (not an easy task, considering their booking program), but honored the heavily discounted price that I had been quoted last October.

Dirk and I finally arrived at the mountain house shortly before sunset. Dirk had been kind enough to transport 20 sheets of OSB and some hardwood flooring (that Gail had found on craigslist) in his van, so we moved it into the house. Gail arrived shortly later, her van stuffed with yet 20 more pieces of OSB.

It was a beautiful evening, and we sat outside in the 74 º F night air and chatted. So far we’ve had one strike and one foul ball. Tomorrow (finally), the adventure begins…

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Station KCRA forecasts 102º F in the Central Valley this weekend. USA Today forecasts 104º F!
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