Day 1, Thursday, Home to Bakersfield via SR99: 227 miles
It was time for another trip to visit my son and his family Oceanside. This time of year when it’s in the 30s up on the Grapevine, I choose to spend the first night in Bakersfield where it’s in the 40s. En route to Bakersfield I stopped in Fresno to meet my two cousins, Murle Jean and Genene. They have lost their husbands in the past couple of years, and are living new, single lives. Both are doing well, it seems, and it was good to visit them over lunch – even though it was at the wrong IHOP! I followed my navigator to the original location, which is no longer an IHOP, then to the wrong IHOP. After a few phone calls, they drove over to the “wrong” IHOP to meet me and we had a grand time visiting. I sure wish I would have remembered to take a photo of us.
I continued south around 1630, which meant driving through the darkness to Bakersfield. I arrived at Walmart on Rosedale Highway a bit before 1900 and settled in for the night. I was cozy and warm all night, and enjoyed my usual rest stop at Mr. Sam’s invitation.
Day 2, Friday, Bakersfield to Dean’s via I-5 and I-405: 205 miles
Early morning at Bakersfield Walmart lot.
I woke to a cold morning in Bakersfield; it was in the low 40s. First thing, I walked over to Walmart – which wasn’t open yet – so I continued walking to get my exercise for the morning. After 0700, when they opened, I returned to the store to buy a few things I needed, then had a quick breakfast in the coach before continuing on to Dean’s. I pulled back onto I-5 southbound about 0645.
I rode in these Scenicruiser Greyhound buses back in the 50s. The were the ultimate bus in those days. These folks stayed at the Bakersfield Walmart lot in their converted bus. I still think they’re about the ultimate bus when it comes to style.
The freeway truck lanes, the right two lanes, through LALA Land are generally shot. They are broken, cracked and very rough. To avoid them, I have to drive faster than I usually drive to keep from holding up traffic in the faster lanes. So, I cruise through the LA area at the speed of normal traffic which is generally 62 to 65 MPH – unless it’s stop and go at 0 to 25 MPH. By doing so, I keep the coach in one piece instead of beating it to pieces in the ruts and potholes. I hate Kalifornistan. I detest LALA Land freeways.
Approaching the “Grapevine” over the mountains into LALA Land.
Having negotiated the can of worms that make up SoCal freeways, I arrived at Dean’s home at 1220. After a quick hello to Sally, the world’s most gentle dog, Dean and I headed down to Oceanside’s harbor for lunch. The weather was perfect and the sun was warm. I quickly thawed out from the months I have spent in the Central Valley fog.
Dean and I at the coach in Guajome Park, just a couple blocks from the kids’ home.
After lunch we spent the day at their home, visiting and just hanging out. A bit after 1800, Dean drove me to the coach where I spent another warm and cozy night. Life is good.
Day 3, Saturday, With Dean and the family
Connor opens his gift cards for a belated Christmas and his 10th birthday in January.
I was up before 0500, as usual, and began the day with coffee and my old laptop computer, completing yesterday’s travelogue. And I took my morning walk. And waited around for Dean who came to pick me up around 0930. After hanging with the family ’til almost 1100, Dean and I headed to our favorite Chinese restaurant, Chin’s in Oceanside, for a delicious Chinese pig-out. After the feast, I spent more time with the family at the house, then they dropped me off at the coach as Dean went to a basketball game that Connor played in. His team won, and he also won his school’s free throw contest the night before. Conner is quite the athlete.
Aidan and his Dad with the Pokemon gift he bought with his Christmas gift card. Pokemon? This old man completely misses the point – if there is a point.
They picked me up after the game and I spent a couple more hours with them – until it was time for a bunch of Conner’s friends to come to the house and then head to a monster truck show. I was dropped off at the coach again for another hour or so ’til after the mob left for the show as I can’t handle all the racket and energy of a bunch of 10 year olds. Connor’s 10th birthday party with the mob of kids took place at the house after the truck show, but I was back in the coach for the night by that time. I did spend some more time with Dean and Aidan in the evening while everyone was at the show, and they brought me home early so I could hit the sack and get a good start in the morning. All in all it was another good visit with the family. I’m fortunate that they shuttle me back and forth to the coach, just a couple of blocks from the house, so that I can avoid all the mayhem of a bunch of kids. Yep, I’m a Grumpy Old Man.
Day 4 Sunday, Dean’s in Oceanside to home via I-5, I-405, SR99: 410 miles
I pulled out of Guajome Park’s RV space at 0435 and headed down to I-5 and home. For a change, I took a short Toll Road to I-405 from I-5, which I’ve always avoided in the past, just to see what it was like. It was smooth and I had it almost all to myself, but it certainly wasn’t worth the $4.50 I paid at the end. Probably never again!
View of LALA Land from somewhere along the Toll Road. This is a sight I’ll never see again!
The drive through LA was uneventful, as I like, and the traffic was, of course, relatively light early on Sunday morning. All was fine ‘til I dropped into The Valley below the Grapevine. A bank of fog loomed in the distance as I descended the Grapevine, and I had to drive right into it.
Fog bank dead ahead! I drove through fog the entire trip from Bakersfield to home!
The fog was tolerable, and I maintained my 58 MPH most of the time, but from about Earlimart, above Bakersfield, to above Tulare, it was dense and I had to slow to about 50 MPH to avoid over-driving the visibility.
More valley fog en route home. We live with this most years all through the month of January and into February. I hate the stuff, but it’s better than snow I suppose.
Other than a stop for a couple of McDonald’s breakfast sandwiches which I ate as I drove, it was a non-stop drive for home. I arrived home a bit before 1300, unloaded the coach and dumped the tanks. It was good to be home.
I’m planning the next trip to see the kids already!
Over the years I have posted many exciting fishing and boating stories here, but now in my seventies, it was time to sell the boat and find less demanding pastimes. All the fishing stories are still here! I will now post my travels aboard the motorhome and other activities. I hope y'all will still enjoy the fishing and boating adventures and perhaps peek in on my post-boating activities on occasion. Thanks for dropping in and I hope you enjoy your visit.