Down a notch


The city of Patterson is home to a Walmart, a Taco Bell, a Circle K gas station, and the Kit Fox RV park, a well-kept swath of grass-and-asphalt-striped land tucked in the shadow of a grassy range of hills and California Interstate 5. In other words, not much.

As little as a week ago, I would have been eager to move on from this sleepy town as soon as the sun was up on the rim. But I had absentmindedly set my prescription glasses down somewhere in the southern portion of the state, and we were holed up at Kit Fox, waiting on the FedEx truck to deliver my backup pair (sent courtesy of my blessed mother, who yet again came to my rescue).

Instead of the typical lineup of national parks, pristine beaches, city museums, and famous food dives filling the hours, we had precisely nothing to do for those three days and two nights. And the shock of it all was how much I enjoyed the deceleration.

We sat in our blue, folding chairs, sucking on lemon-lime popsicles as the sun tucked away for the day. We played cards under our site’s shade tree. We stayed up late gabbing about the trip and planning the next legs of the journey. And we cooked some more involved meals (fresh baked pizza a la Shasta, with smoked mozzarella, diced garlic, olive, basil, and grape tomato for one) and took the time to enjoy our food — instead of the usual wolf-it-down-and-hit-the-road routine.

As exciting as it to take in the cornucopia of sites, tastes, and experiences of the great USA, I am coming to understand the beauty of predictable routines, the simple pleasure of time together with those who love you and whom you love, and the sheer joy of a schedule that allows room to breathe. And so, in the spirit of these discoveries, I am offering only a handful of brief paragraphs so I can return to the trailer for another round of Rummy and a chat about the day’s events that will last deep into this chilly California night.


My family is currently traveling around the USA in a 10 foot Shasta Compact travel trailer from 1969. We are currently camped in Patterson, California and headed toward San Francisco. Keep it right here for tales from the journey, and please also join us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Nothing keeps us motivated more than the encouragement of hearing from our readers, so please keep in touch by commenting below. Thanks!


3 thoughts on “Down a notch

  1. hey man, well done. if the Experience begins to dominate the experience, then, well, the experience is lost. It’s like those times I’ve taken great pictures of a place but not actually seen it. Thanks for this reflection!

    • Thanks for the note Dan — lots of good lessons out here indeed. Yesterday, my phone battery ran out in San Francisco. At first I was frustrated by that, but I ended up enjoying the day even more. So glad for that. Cheers.

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