(October to November, 2001) We decided to leave Florida behind and head for Northern California. Contrary to popular belief, San Francisco is not Northern California- it is Central California. We were heading for Crescent City, 350 miles north of San Francisco. Point St. George, near Crescent City, is the furthest south that the Jet Stream reaches along the West Coast of North America. It is also just a few miles from the Oregon Border. One of the reasons we decided on that particular area was that Michael was planning on moving to Ashland, Oregon. Rocky and I could offer a place for Michael, Natalie and Roxanne to stay before they headed into Oregon.
But this was more than just a trek to California, it was a Grand Tour. We drove straight through to Gail's house in Mississippi in 18 hours. We stayed for 3 days. Then we continued on through Alabama, Louisiana and skimmed a corner of Texas into Oklahoma. We became real interested in Lost Treasure while in Oklahoma, especially Belle Starr's Booty. We bought books on the subject and even located several landmarks that supposedly identified the cache that was hidden behind a train door in a local small mountain. As we headed in to try and locate the treasure, we discovered that Rattlesnakes were everywhere. I almost stepped on one and was lucky that it didn't strike me as I inadvertently stepped over it. We decided to return at a later date.
We headed across beautiful New Mexico, stopping in Roswell and visiting Carlsbad Caverns, where we watched 300,000 Mexican free-tailed bats rise from the cave at dusk, in a swirling updraft that they created themselves. The bats fly off to the Rio Grande to feed on insects and then return at dawn. However, on one day in late October or early November, the bats fail to return, having moved on to Mexico for the winter. They return in April or May, depending on the weather.
Then it was on to Arizona. While in Arizona, we visited Meteor Crater Arizona, Saguaro National Park and The Grand Canyon. We even "stood on a corner in Winslow Arizona" (the song "Take It Easy" by The Eagles in case you didn't get that) and called Michael. That was along Historic Route 66. This was just after 9/11, and when we crossed over Hoover Dam in Nevada, heavily armed soldiers were inspecting cars and drivers at length. They basically just waved us through, inquiring whether we were twins as we passed. We spent three days in Las Vegas, where we met up John and Ed, our Florida business partners that we just turned over our portion of the business to. We visited Death Valley, Yosemite National Park and other places before arriving in Northern California.