Milton and I went on our first little camping trip in 1998. I had built a bed in the back of our Ranger and bought a tent, an air mattress and some other stuff. Milton had said that he had done all the camping that he could stand when he was in the army in Germany camping out in the snow. I kind of dragged him into this so I had to make it as comfortable as possible to differentiate the kind of camping we were going to do from the kind of camping that they did in the army. Essentially I insisted that we could be comfortable without spending a lot of money on hotel/motels and then be able to take more trips.
Our first little experimental trip was to Russian River which is about two hours from Vallejo. We went over a couple of weeks ago and looked at a couple of private camp grounds over there that were right on the river. We decided on one called Casini Family Camp Grounds because you could have electricity and cable t.v. right at many of the camp sites. I knew that the army probably did not provide those things so thought it would be a good place to start, easing into “camping.”
One of the first things that I notice though was how close many of the camp sites were to one another. At first, I thought that several tents and trailers in a row were a family reunion or something like that but then realized that these were all separate campsites in a row. These were strangers all packed in right next to each other. We were lucky to find a site that was in some trees and by parking the truck in the front of the site and pitching the tent behind, we could have a little privacy. There were trees all around us and over us. It seemed very serene but…
The site was close to the bathrooms so late into the night we could hear the crunch of pebbles under feet as people came and went. Each time someone crunched up the road, Amber started growling. Also, although there were signs everywhere that people were supposed to be quiet after ten at night, there were some party animals that were pretty loud that I believe went later than ten. I wasn’t sure because I didn’t have a watch but again, when they got too loud, Amber would react. Sound really seemed to carry. I don’t know if the water somehow increases the sound or what, but we could also hear traffic from a little bit of a distance on the country road until fairly late.
Bright and early in the morning the birds nesting in the trees above and around us started screeching. Pebbles started crunching again as people began their migration to the bathrooms. Children started playing and making noise.
All in all, I think someone from the City would have probably thought that this site was pretty quiet, but for us, our home is much quieter. We realized the trade-off of trying to have electricity and cable is that you have to be close to others. Still we enjoyed ourselves. Amber was exhausted by the time we got home.
This has not been much of a summer because of El Nino. It rained through most of the Spring and has been overcast many days. I have a couple of Art, Wine and Jazz festivals I am going to do soon. One is in Mountain View, one in Vallejo and one in Los Altos. I have a little booth and sell art, prints, cards, t-shirts, and refrigerater magnets. I don’t make a lot of money at it but it is fun.
I am still supporting the V.A. in Palo Alto that continues to use my computer program, “MacNursing.” I have also received calls from some of the nurses at Saint Francis, where I used to work, asking how much it would cost for me to come back there and get their system up and running again. I have pretty much lost interest in my database stuff but have recently been thinking that it might be interesting to put it on the net. I already have several web pages but they are not interactive. I am thinking that I could put an interactive database on the net which nurses/hospitals could use in much the same way they did at Saint Francis or at the VA but which would require less support since it would originate at a webserver rather than locally at their hospital. People are much more computer savvy now than when I started doing this stuff.
For years, I would hear from nurses, “I went into nursing because I want to work with people, not computers.” This was before most hospitals had changed over to the computer systems that became more prevelent years later. My program was on the cutting edge of nurses interacting with computers. Computers were not ubiquitus like they are today and there really was no such thing as “the internet” as we think of it today. Most nurses didn’t type and all of their notes were hand written. My program changed that at Saint Francis, The Spinal Cord Injury Unit at the Palo Alto Veteran’s Administration Hospital.