Paper Pack Rat

My daughters claim I love paper way too much. And alas, they are no doubt right. For I am trying (it’s the zillionth time, at least) to “organize” my office, and it’s not going well. The file folders crammed with paper are mostly hidden in files drawers (and file boxes stashed under the desk). It’s the “To do” basket that makes my teeth rattle. I’ve filled it with articles to read, “begging letters” from worthy causes I intend to support (if only money would materialize in my bank account as quickly as these letters do in our mailbox), but by far the biggest challenge comes from packets wrapped with rubber bands, large manila envelopes stuffed to bursting, and notebooks full of messy scribbling…some of it in barely decipherable Gregg shorthand. These all represent collections of information from trips and excursions, printouts about topics I’ve partially researched, notes from events I’ve attended…or ideas I’ve jotted down, stream-of-consciousness as they’ve occurred to me—all things I want to write about. Some  represent stories or sagas that have been percolating in my subconscious for decades. Those are the worst offenders.

What to do? Well it’s kind of obvious. Start opening up those packets, see what’s inside, and actually write the damned stories! And so I begin with the collection I brought back from the road trip we took with Joan and Dave in the spring of 2017. The four of us have been friends since high school. And considering the fact that both couples have recently celebrated “Golden” (gulp) wedding anniversaries, that’s a long time. We’ve been newlyweds together, raised our families together, and been empty nesters (to the degree that’s ever actually a reality) together. Before Mr. Penfire and I  moved 3,000 miles away (to be near our children and grandchildren), the four of us got together at least once a week—movies, family gatherings, excursions near or far from home, dinners out, or lunches, or breakfasts, or just coffee.

We had planned an East Coast road trip a couple of years earlier, but had to cancel it. As Mr. Penfire and I were now living in Southern California, and Joan and Dave had already visited and explored with us the near surroundings, we decided to plan a California Road Trip that would take us farther afield. Mr. P and I had driven LA to Oakland the previous December. We had been to the Sierras decades before. So we had lots of ideas. We made suggestions. We did some homework and concocted an itinerary. And made a bunch of reservations. This was the plan:

Day 1 – Drive to Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Park
Day 2 – Drive to Yosemite National Park
Day 3 – See Yosemite (to the extent possible in one day)
Day 4 – Zoom across the width of the state to Carmel by the Sea
Day 5 – Drive to Cambria
Day 6 – Tour the Hearst Castle
Day 7 – Drive back to Manhattan Beach with a stop at Morro Bay

So we started out with just three sheets of paper, no map of course. Who needs a map when you have GPS, right? Follow this saga along if you’re curious to see where we went, what we saw and did, and just how much more paper we accumulated along the way.