Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Wrapping up our visit

We are parked on the street in Mountain View, California (map), in front of a long-defunct Hewlett Packard facility. Across the street is a old dormitory facility for the county's work release program, also long abandoned. That makes this part of the street quiet and unobtrusive, yet we are just steps from the light rail station. We've stayed here before, and it will likely continue on our short list of parking spaces unless the joint across the street reopens, or the city posts more restrictive parking rules.

We spent nearly a week in our familiar spot on the street in Sunnyvale, having just left there yesterday afternoon. The limit in any one parking spot is technically 72 hours, but we did move in the middle to use the dump station at the lodge. The two class-C rigs sharing the street with us never moved the whole time we were there, and one looked to have been in the same spot since we left there three weeks ago for San Jose. I chatted briefly with one resident, a painting contractor who could not afford to live anywhere else. There was also a car that showed up each evening and left each morning, an array of clothing neatly arranged on a closet rod across the back seat. We've noticed a lot more folks living in their rigs on the streets since the start of the downturn.

Notwithstanding nightly police patrols that hardly gave any of us a second glance, we did not want to overstay our welcome, and after six consecutive nights on that street we decided to change venues for the remainder of our stay. On top of that, we will be returning our borrowed car tomorrow, and the proximity to the light rail station here will make it easier for us to make our way back home afterward.

Our goals for this visit have been achieved. We attended a wonderful recital on Saturday of music written by our friend Alva, in honor of his 70th birthday. That was the item on our calendar that originally had us heading in this direction. And our project to clear out the storage unit is also done, with the unit being rented on Sunday to a young couple living in the building, who took us up on a discount for annual pre-payment. We've taken another three boxes to recycling, and cleared out most of the eBay items; what is left yet to be dealt with fits in three or four boxes, and we'll carry those with us and deal with them as we are able.

Disappointingly, I still have the Freon R-12, which would sell in a flash for a princely sum on eBay, but which I lack the means to ship anyplace. And oddly, no one bid on the set of five slide carousels, which I've had to re-list. I still have a few odds and ends downstairs to be dealt with, including a bunch of parts for obsolete police motorcycles. We've sold quite a few items for mere pennies, but at least we've kept them from the landfill.

We've managed in one way or another to catch up with almost everyone we know here in the bay area, one benefit of this relatively long 3+ week visit. But with a dinner get-together almost every night, events and visits many afternoons, and non-stop sorting and selling the rest of the time, we're tired and ready to be done here. We've decided to have one last dinner with friends tomorrow night, before leaving Thursday morning. We'll drop the car off before dinner, and take Cal-Train to the light rail afterward.

From here our plan is to make a brief stop in Monterey for a visit, which will also involve disposition of some slides and photos, as well as making one last good use of the slide projector before we sell it. From there we will head over the hill to Los Banos, where we know folks who have a restaurant we've been promising to visit for three years. And finally, we will head up to the sierras, where a storm this week has dumped plenty of fresh snow, to see how well we fare at skiing after a long absence from the sport.


  1. Wish I was going to be around when you head for the Sierra for skiing. I'd love to see you guys but I'm off on Thursday for a week of disaster training at the Emergency Management Institute in Maryland. Looking forward to that. Enjoy the snow...it's beautiful from my windows. --Donna

  2. You're not heading to Woolgrowers in Los Banos are you? If not try to have a meal there i'ts a fantastic place!!! And don't forget that this weekend starts the FREE National Park week so you can get into all 390+ National Parks for F.R.E.E!!
    you are living my dream!


  3. @Donna: sorry we will miss you.

    @Erin: We are going to M&M Italian Restaurant, which is owned by people we know from when we lived in downtown San Jose.

    I've been to Wool Growers, though. It's a Basque place, probably the best in town.

    As for free parks week, we see that as a good time to stay away. We have an annual pass, so it is always "free" for us, and I expect the promotion will result in extra crowds. We do hope, though, that it boosts interest in the parks overall. They need the funding.


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