And we’re back. . .
Before we head off to see our parents and then begin the melee that is the actual move I think this is a good time to cover the last few days and assess where we are in the run up to the big day. First let me say thank you so much to those of you who have tagged along from your laptops, tablets and phones. It has been really nice to have you with us. We hope you’ll hang with us a little longer, there is so much more to see (I hope).
When we were last together I shared our San Francisco experience. From there we headed inland toward the California state capitol, Sacramento. As a brief geography note I’m going to mention that between those two places lies the moderately sized town of Dixon, CA (pop 18,351 in 2010). Dixon is home to the Sacramento Valley National Cemetery. This is a veteran’s cemetery and the bulk of my grandfather’s ashes are interred here. There are too many family drama stories that explain why any of him is here rather than in Boise with the rest of his ashes but this is definitely not the time and certainly not the place for that. So, let’s just say, there is nothing to be done now and this is where he is, so this is where we stopped.
Cody and I pulled off the highway about 23 miles west from Sacramento and on out to the cemetery. It was hot and flat and there was some construction going on around the edges of the property. The vast lawn of these resting grounds stood in stark contrast to the dry yellow/brown valley. The main building and cremains repositories rose up from the miles and miles of flat level ground, almost gleaming bright white marble in the direct afternoon sun. My dad had sent us the instructions on how to find a specific location. We drove around a little and finally found the series of monoliths that house the cremains and then used the coordinates we were given to find the marker for grandpa. His life is marked there in white marble: OVERGAARD WILFORD E LTCOL USMC WWII KO (Korea) VN (Vietnam) 1925 2015 LOVED HUSBAND FATHER AND GRANDFATHER.
It was hard seeing these familiar notations in this foreign site. I could not place the man I knew in the place I did not know. I looked at the markers for the servicemen surrounding grandpa and saw that at least he is surrounded by others who understand his sacrifice. Our whole adventure has been, at least in part, about finding our place, where it is that be belong. Somehow through a series of events that don’t even really apply to me, my Danish viking grandfather headed for Valhalla from the most un-remarkable of places. I don’t feel like Lieutenant Colonel Overgaard (retired) belongs in the middle of California thirty miles from anywhere. It is not my choice and there is nothing I can do about it now. I do however respect his life and I am grateful that he is in good company.
We moved on from here thoughtful and looking forward to the end of our own wandering. By the time we checked into our hotel in Sacramento we were fried and grateful for excellent air conditioning and a hotel with guest laundry. We collapsed at the end of our day uncertain as to whether or not we would even leave the hotel the next day.
The following morning Cody was not feeling well, so after breakfast he stayed put in the hotel and I ventured out into the city just to see what I might see. I saw the capitol building (our third this trip), I saw a gold drawbridge (totally weird) some really nice Spanish architecture and finally Old Town. Old Town Sacramento is a section of the city that is set aside to appear like the Sacramento of the old west. I walked around and explored a few shops. I thought I’d just cruise down to the end of the wooden sidewalk to see why lie around the corner and was thrilled and delighted to have stumbled upon the California Railroad Museum.
At some point in my adult life I have become a train nerd. In Fort Bragg we rode the Skunk Train. Back home when we would go to Stevensville we loved to go see the model train club run their trains on the weekends. This surprise museum trumped it all. This place is huge and there are tons of actual whole train cars. I entered engine cars, and sleeper cars and dining cars. It was a blast. I thought it was funny that these families would go through the cars super fast, kids running akimbo and then on to the next thing. Left behind each time was the volunteer docent (mostly older men), the grandfather from the now absent group with the kids and me. I stood to talked to the gentlemen at length about rail lines and travel conditions, track issues and engines.
I have always been the person who grandpas stop and talk to in the store but this experience was ten time that. I think that seeing the marker for my own grandfather’s ashes and all of the emotions wrapped up in that experience made me linger a bit longer with these gentlemen. Maybe even listen more carefully to their stories. I had so much fun exploring old railroad china and learning about the orphan trains of the depression and women of the railroad. It was delightful but it was also not really me. Central California has held no real pull for either of us and we are ready to get our cats and head to the ocean.
We had a quiet night. In the morning before we left the area we went back downtown to see the exhibits at the Crocker Art Museum. “. . . formerly the E.B. Crocker Art Gallery [this museum] is the longest continuously operating art museum in the west.” The collection is unreal. As expected there is plenty of California art but also ceramics from around the world, Asian and African wings and multiple rotating exhibits. Cody was particularly excited to see the original work of artists representing the first ten years of the art magazine Hi-Fructose. This collection of work by thought provoking and original contemporary artists from around the globe was an excellent treat. We wound up spending three hours in the museum before we hit the road.
Our heads full of amazing art and with plenty to talk about in the car, we took off on the road to Lake Tahoe. Upon arrival we had an unpleasant hotel experience that is not worth repeating here. It was a simple enough fix we just marched right back down to guest services and told them we were not staying or paying and we left. We checked in, instead, to the Hard Rock Hotel across the street. It’s a nice room and there is super cool memorabilia everywhere. However, there is also a HUGE concert photo of Alice Cooper hanging over the desk in our room. As I turned out the light last night I thought – okay well, it’s your turn now sir, welcome to MY nightmare.
Before you tap out, I have one more kind of big thing to share. I know I buried the lead here but it seemed appropriate. Many of you know that Cody has Bell’s Palsy. This condition manifests in paralysis of the muscles on one side of the face. It can be mis-diagnosed as a stroke initially. His last real “breakout” if we can call it that was fifteen years ago. Last night he began feeling a few symptoms that indicated the Bell’s might be rearing its ugly head. By this morning the paralysis had moved further into the side of his jaw, his lip and his left eye.
Cody got in to see a doctor here in Tahoe who prescribed the requisite course of steroids. He has to wear an eye patch. Friends, I am going to confess an ugly truth. I love Cody with everything I am and I never wish any harm or illness on him ever. I would take the palsy myself if I could, but if I am being totally honest, the eye patch is a little cool. Not like a pirate is cool but real swagger and power. With his beard graying at the edges and his patch he carries the visage of Odin, another Viking spirit in a land that is not made for him. However, there is a ruggedness, a survivalism inherent in the patch that is very similar to the adventuring spirit that is at the core of our quest right now. We are after all adventure buddies, ride or die.
It is going to take a little bit but Cody will be fine and I know he appreciates your thoughts. It can take weeks for the symptoms to abate. It is not easy but it is what is happening and we are pressing on. As I am now the sole driver of our own ride of the valkyries, I imagine I may be slightly less accessible. I know I had said before that updates might thin but you should consider this a near guarantee of that now.
We are into the home stretch. From here we have whirlwind stops to see Cody’s parents in Elko, my parents in Boise and Cascade and then on to Missoula. We’ll be in Missoula for a hot second to have the movers load up the truck, pick up Mortimer and Steve and then wave farewell. Lots of road time between now and August 11 when we move in. I hope we get to see at least a few of you before we are on our own again. We are really appreciative that you have chosen to hang out with us for this crazy ride.