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first stop: needles

September 9th, 2010 by

Leaving was tough.  Not so much because we didn’t want to go to North Carolina, more because taking off in an RV with three cats was fraught with uncertainty.  And, as if to reinforce that uncertainty, the RV stalled as we pulled away from the house we were leaving.

I think we were both on tenterhooks all that first day, driving 525 miles from Castro Valley to Needles CA.  Constantly checking on the guys, making sure they weren’t dying from dehydration or fear or catching their claws in the carrier doors.  We’d gotten a late start, and by the time we got to the Palms RV Resort it was nearly midnight.

The place was a little odd, really; part RV park, part subdivision, part mobile home park (as in the kind tornadoes inevitably hit).  And when I got up to shower the next morning, it looked like a scene from a zombie movie; no humans in sight, no sign of life but one maintenance guy in a golf cart zooming slowly by.

Why do they call it Needles?  Could be because the temperature there moves the needle high on a regular basis—triple digits aren’t unusual for Needles.  Maybe it’s all the desert vegetation that has spiky green pointy things instead of leaves.  Maybe it’s because to live there you’d need IV medication.

More likely it’s the mountains—one of which is called Needle Mountain—that look like deep red spikes spearing the sky nearby.

It was our first stop, and the spookiest and strangest.  Things got better from there.  (Fred looks happy to be leaving.)

Fred D. Bear leaves Needles, CA

Fred D. Bear leaves Needles, CA

from needles to smoky bear

August 18th, 2010 by

Planning our RV trip across America (why does it feel like Albert Brooks should be joining us?), and we’re making reservations at RV parks recommended by the good folks in the Good Sam club.  Our first stop is in Needles, California, which set me to wondering why the town got that name…there’s probably a great story there, but on the other hand these things often turn out to be based on something as pedestrian as having lots of pine trees.  Along the way we’ll hit the Enchanted Trails, toss a coin in Twin Fountains, and say hi to Smoky Bear before we finally come to rest on High Meadow Road.

America is a picturesque place, she is, and it’s a shame we’re in a hurry to get to our new home.  These place names provoke the imagination and just flat demand more exploration than we’ll have time to do.

our load-bearing… bear?

February 14th, 2010 by
Freddybear, our construction supervisor

Freddybear, our construction supervisor

I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce you to Freddybear. Freddybear was named in honor of our soon-to-be-built new modernist house, which is named “Fred”. Our grand and glorious plan is to have Freddybear appear every now and again to show off the progress we are making as Fred comes oh-so-slowly to life, in beautiful Chapel Hill, NC.

Laura loves teddy bears—and I love Laura—hence there are numerous bears living throughout our house, each symbolic of a significant shared life event, hobby, trip, or at the very least, too damn cute to not bring home. We’ve got red, white and blue bears, racing bears, superhero bears, and even a matching bride and groom set of bears. So it just seemed natural that, as we embark on this big adventure, we needed to bring another bear into our family to commemorate the occasion.

So, Freddybear came into being for Laura’s Birthentine’s day, courtesy of the wonderful people at Vermont Teddy Bear, who—speaking of building— have probably been able to build at least a wing, if not a whole house, based solely on my patronage over the years. Nota bene for other guys such as myself who may from time to time find themselves in a little hot water with members of the fairer sex: Although slightly pricier than flowers, customized bears are much more effective when assistance is called for in order to get back into the aforementioned person’s good graces. Well worth the investment; of course, ymmv.

Laura and I look forward to sharing our building stories and experiences with you; watch this space for updates from Freddybear!