Thursday, March 31, 2011

Vignette 31 March 2011

After driving through the hot grassy valleys around Fairfax, we suddenly drive into a forest that is unmistakably redwoods: dark green and grey shadows  everywhere, and as we twisted and turned through it small houses hidden behind giant ferns bespoke of a people who liked to live in this gloom.

Soon we arrive at Samulel P Taylor Park, named for a lumberman who found this patch of redwoods to log for the rebuilding of San Francisco after the 1906 earthquake. Now well into its second growth, the trees are not 10' in diameter, but a humbler 5'. We ascend to our campsite, up a mossy hill where silence is all that persists under the trees is silence. The logs are mossy. The ferns grow every where. A small creek trickles below our site. Ther eis only one other camper. Will says the place is creepy.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Vignette 30 March 2011

Gabriel the Romanian rented us our camper. He was a friendly man who looked like a bust of Caesar Augustus: a round head, white hair, blue eyes and a thin nose. His camper renting outfit was based in what was essentially an oversize storage locker in the back of an alley leading off a one-block street, backing up against a freeway. The taxi dropped us in that unpropitious spot, but Gabriel came out and welcomed us in, our baggage announcing us as not there for business with any of the other little units in the building, where things like welding seemed to be going on.

Gabriel made us comfortable on an overly soft sofa in the depths of his "office" and introduced us to Christina, at once perhaps his wife and his assistant. They provided us with stacks of maps of different regions of California, plus a guide to camping, and then our orientation to the camper began. In a carefully choreographed order, Gabriel led me around the details of the camper: how to put up the pop-top and how to take it down; how to make the beds and fold them away; where to check the oil and the coolant; how to light the stove and refill the propane tank; how to lock the doors and not lock your keys in. The camper, freshly washed, was dripping with water in the California morning sunshine.