It’s been two months since we left Maui and I’ve been trying to write this post for weeks. It’s been hard, because along the way I had more questions than answers to give about our adventure, but the words began to come recently and so I finally have an update to share.
It was mid July and we were a week in to a road trip with no final destination, living between our car and our hotel rooms with two toddlers. Every morning we would wake up, eat a quick continental breakfast, fill our cooler with ice and sandwiches and get back on the road, asking ourselves where to go next. We watched a couple hundred miles of dusty desert hills roll by as a heat wave settled in on the central coast. We were in a groove by the time we could dip our toes in the Pacific ocean.
With a well researched list as our guide we explored over 40 California towns on our search for our new home. In every new place we would spend time driving through the down town to test for charm, then stop by the biggest park to play and chat a bit with other parents. We would drive around average neighborhoods checking for friendliness and then seek out places to eat where a couple of rowdy, cooped up toddlers might be welcome to dine, giggle and squeal a little bit. We attended dozens of farmers markets and street fairs and movies in the park, and got spend a few sweet days with friends and family that happened to be along the way. Our little tribe drove through sunny San Diego, suburban Ventura County, the wild wine country of the Central Coast, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, the Russian River valley and stunning Sonoma, Chico, Sacramento, Folsom, Grass Valley and too many small towns along the way to list.
Then we got to Auburn, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains, and the charming historic downtown caught our attention right away. When we looked around we saw a beautiful mountain valley cut by the icy American River that flows from Tahoe up above. Lakes and streams dotted the forested hillside and a massive natural reserve and state recreation area begged to be explored. We realized pretty quickly that we didn’t want to move on anymore, it felt like we had found the place we’d been looking for. Auburn is a town that’s not too big or too small, that feels remote yet is connected to many things. We got a welcoming vibe from the community and made the decision to end the search, get out of the car and make this the place where we will plant our family.
Now we are in the process of growing roots among the pines, the oaks and the madrone trees, and each day we are finding new reasons to love this little neck of the woods we’ve picked. There is more here than we could have asked for, and we’ve only dipped our toes in to the natural beauty these foothills have to offer.
As we brace ourselves with excitement for our first winter in eleven years we still have many questions, but we’ve decided at least that we will be looking for the answers here in beautiful Auburn.