In the wilds of the North Bay

Starting today, I'm at a writing retreat on the Russian River. I'm hoping to get some fiction written over the next few days. We'll see.

Packed this morning, drove up this afternoon. About two-thirds of the way here, I saw highway signs for the town where my family lived when I was in fourth grade, so on a whim, I took an exit, and used Apple Maps to navigate to our old house. It's still there, as is the pedestrian freeway underpass we used to use to go to the tiny downtown area. The school that I think my brother attended is now a community center, right across the street from a historic ranch where they have cows and sheep.

I spent about forty minutes driving around and taking photos. Eventually found my way to my old elementary school, but school was just letting out for the day, and an adult man walking around an elementary school taking pictures is frowned upon. So I drove around some back roads and found the back entrance to the school, at the top of a small hill overlooking the school, which is the route I used to take walking or biking there when I was a kid. I took a couple of pictures and then left.

[There was another paragraph here that was kinda out of keeping with the tone of this entry, so I moved it to a separate entry a few hours after posting this.]

Spent most of the drive listening to episodes of Cabin Pressure, a funny BBC radio sitcom that Sumana introduced me to, featuring Benedict Cumberbatch as a young and fairly inept pilot for a tiny struggling airline. It veers occasionally into too much humor-of-embarrassment for my tastes, but it's often hilarious, and as a bonus, the characters regularly engage in word games to keep themselves occupied during flights. I bought all four seasons from Audible a few weeks ago (series 1, series 2, series 3, series 4), and have found them entertaining diversions during long drives and such.

Eventually I reached the redwoods, and found the vacation-rental house, and went out on the deck overlooking a lovely stretch of the Russian River. I grew up hearing the phrase “Russian River,” but I'm not sure whether I've ever actually seen it before. Certainly not since I was a kid. It's very nice; I'm hoping to spend some time down on the dock tomorrow. Later, I made my way to the next-door house, where various others are, and spent the evening in convivial company.

I'll be heading off to sleep shortly. Tomorrow, my plan is to spend most of the day writing, if I can. I'll probably try to largely stay off Facebook while I'm here, though I'll probably fail to stay off entirely. I may post a burst of items in the morning in an effort to clear a bunch of browser windows that are significantly slowing down my computer.

I have Internet access here, obviously, but not cell-phone service. So if you need to reach me during the next few days, try email, or iMessage if you have an iPhone.

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