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  • Writer's pictureRobert Gidley

White Beard the pirate sails the seven parking lots!

May 22, 2023 (Tue)

9:45 am St. Nicholas Ranch, Dunlap, CA

Even though the California Autoharp Gathering (CAG) ended yesterday, there’s still about a third of the people hanging around because of various travel arrangements. This includes us—we didn’t really want to pack up Harvey last night and head down the road to the RV park three miles away, because they promised us dinner and breakfast here! (Like an army, we travel on our stomachs and our palates.)

So we get one last meal with the various folks we have met along the way. Robert chats with Mike H., the guy who has run CAG every year since 2003 (this is the 20th year, but not the 20th anniversary, thanks to Covid). He enjoys doing it, has no plans to quit doing it, and is pretty confident they’ll keep the sweetheart deal they have with the Greek Orthodox nuns who run this St. Nicolas Ranch.

(Also, fun fact: the Greek Orthodox Bishop has a permanent room here—the only room with a TV set—for when he drops in for a surprise inspection. It’s good to be the bishop!)

One of the Greek Orthodox nuns speeding past, not a ninja

10:00 am Back at Harvey

This is easily the longest we’ve stayed in Harvey when he was “off the grid” (no power, sewer, or water) and he’s done pretty well. Of course, we’ve used the ranch facilities elsewhere at times, and didn’t prepare any meals in Harvey (that eats up a lot of water—especially the dish washing). But those solar panels sure kept the batteries topped off so that we could charge all our devices and run ventilation fans practically non-stop

We’re finding that red things store best in Harvey’s microwave

Frankie Update

Our latest update from the cat boarding place back in Woodinville:

Hello, this is Mia from Cozy Cat! Frankie continues to do wonderfully; he only really likes to come out when someone’s there to pet him, but we don’t mind in the slightest on account of how sweet and affectionate he is. He’s a great cat :)

We’ll be interested to see how many pounds Frankie has packed on by cozying up to the staff there—but at least he’s getting the proper amount of head pats!

Frankie contemplating when his next meal will be

11:30 am Fresno, CA

Our first stop is at an Urgent Care place in Fresno for Robert’s knee. It hasn’t gotten any better. It hurts, and we’d like to make sure it’s not going to fall off before we get home, because who would do the driving?

BTW, we are informed by a reliable source (Robert’s brother who grew up partly in California) that Fresno is not Southern California—even though it is south of Washington. It’s Northern, or at most Central, California. We gather that’s kind of a Deal here—sort of like calling someone from Virginia a Yankee. (Fun fact: this same brother flunked social studies in Virginia because he kept calling it the “Civil War” instead of “The War Between The States.”)

Anyway, the first urgent care isn’t taking any new patients.

Huh? They have so many urgently sick and injured people that they can’t deal with any more? We scratch our heads and ask about nearby urgent cares, perhaps in a more sedate part of town.

Turns out there’s one “just in back of us,” which does not mean, “walk over to it,” but “across the 4-lane boulevard and down the road a half-mile.

11:40 am United Health Center, Fresno, CA

Which is how we find ourselves at this Urgent Care. It’s so sedate here that they don’t even open until noon. On the plus side, the list is short, so the wait shouldn’t be too long.

12:20 pm

Sure enough, Robert is in to see the Doc (technically a Physician’s Assistant, but somebody who is more knowledgeable about body parts than we are). Since we’re traveling, she’s not going to X-Ray it (no follow-up, because we’re gypsies). She’s pretty sure it’s not broken because Robert wouldn’t have waited five days to get it looked at (“Believe me, you would have been crawling on the ground”).

We get an “immobilizer,” a prescription for two types of pain pills. Then the Doc and Robert chat for five minutes about RV’ing and good places to stay between here and Washington (she’s got kids in Federal Way) and we both agree that 7 Feathers is an awesome RV park.

It’s a tribe, man.

2:00 pm Country Inn Fresno

We’re both exhausted from a week of learning and being around other people and Robert whining about his knee so we decide a couple of days staying at a place with indoor plumbing is just what the doctor ordered. Plus, it has a heated pool!

Pegleg Bob (aka White Beard the Winsome) in our hotel room

4:00 pm

While Gini collapses on the bed, Robert heads outside, across the scorching asphalt through the searing heat (96 freaking degrees!), where neither bird nor water can be found. After his trek of at least 100 yards, he comes to an oasis—a falafel shop where he gets dinner!

Robert returns to the room, we eat dinner, Robert gobbles up some pain pills and we settle down for a nice, long nap.



Monday Travel

Gini & Robert

Harvey Staff

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