Bothe Napa (6)

Bothe Napa is just as beautiful as ever.

While this was mostly a work weekend for me, it was still a pleasant getaway to a beautiful location, happily not too damaged by fire. It is crunch time in special education land. What is normally a busy time with IEP goal progress updates, has been amplified by having 5th grade transition meetings happen the same week those are due. And then someone thought, ‘Wow, how could we make this more stressful? What if we also opened in hybrid in-person at the very same time?’ Well it worked, and I am officially underwater with color coded spreadsheets, and data tracking sheets, and information summaries, and a lovely stye in my left eye that I only get when I’m stressed. But Saturday was set aside for some serious catch up doggie paddling and it couldn’t have been in a nicer place. I may be blowing water out my snorkel, as a favorite colleague liked to say, but I’m still swimming.

Signs of Spring in the vineyards.

Napa Valley is looking a little better as the Spring brings in green and yellow ground cover bandaids to start healing the fire scars from last year. Yes, there is damage apparent, but also the return of life. Vineyards remain, in their orderly rows, standing in solidarity with the promise of future wine. Fields of yellow mustard look so bright and cheerful, it is hard not to imagine that all will be well.

Peaceful travel is worth a little extra time.

We took a backroads route out of town and I think that may be how we roll from now on. Skipping the 680/242/4 triangle altogether has no downsides besides time. And it felt absolutely worth it, both on the departure as well as the return. All told, it probably adds a half hour to the trip, but likely adds years to my lifespan just in merging stress reduction.

Just across the river, signs of a big blaze.

Bothe Napa was closed for a while after the fires last fall, and I knew there was some damage in the park. It turned out to be not too bad looking, although you can tell how close it came. Across from our site, just past a little river, there was evidence of an active burn, leaving blackened bark on the lower ten feet of the big trees that survived. Lots of small charred brush is still there and I imagine it will take a long time to clear the area. Nothing inside the campground seems to have burned though, nor did the historic Bale Grist Mill, so that’s nice.

Pretty nice weekend office.

Richard enjoyed a bike ride up Howell Mountain road and notes that there is a section that is totally closed off to cars. Sometimes it is hard to work out timing on bike rides vs whatever it is that I’m doing. There’s a fine line there as to how long I can entertain myself before I get bored if I’m not out doing something fun. And it’s a moving target, so Richard routinely has to gauge the precarious balance of how long he can stay out. This weekend I was fully occupied all day long, so he had full freedom to take as long as he wanted. In fact, I did not leave the campsite at all and barely left Lola. I will admit, it was a nice view out the BFW to keep me happy while updating goals.

Bit of a lunch stop before heading home.

Sunday we discovered that the fairgrounds, where we normally go to dump, is completely closed. So that left us with few options. The idea of not dumping until next weekend was discussed and dismissed, so we chose to make a stop at ABBA RV storage in Concord on our way home. It is $25 to use their facilities, so not cheap, but it was clean and on the way, so there you go.

We remain extremely grateful for the opportunity to get out. Even in the midst of business and weekend work, it soothes the soul to be in nature and away from home.

Total miles: 68.2 (taking Pleasant Hill to Alhambra to Shell), 15.5 mpg, 2 hours 24 min. Site 7 still a favorite, but no solar. LTE for Verizon enough to work in SEIS (special ed database). 1 bar of 5g for ATT- enough for email and slow texts, but not fb or SEIS. New bathroom is still standing, though we’re still self contained. No dump and fairground closed.

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