Another visit to Oceanside to see the family!
2014-11-13, Thursday, Day 1. To Dean’s from home via SR99, I-5: 254 miles
The planned trip for October had to be postponed due to the time the coach was in the paint shop. But the coach was finally done and our re-scheduled reservation at Guajome Park’s RV space had arrived. It was time to hit the road for another visit to Dean’s and family in Oceanside.
The morning chores at home, including loading the coach, were done in time to leave just a few minutes after 0800. I kissed my loving Wifey good-bye with a warm hug, and headed south in the rain.
I had to gas up at the nearby Ripon Flying J, and was happy to see the gas price was down to $2.95 per. With my loyalty discount and credit card rewards, it came to even less, and I have been conditioned to think I got a bargain. I noted online with some disappointment that sometime during that same day they dropped the price to $2.90 per. Wouldn’t you know?!
My dear cousins, Murle Jean and Genene, met me for lunch in Fresno for the usual warm visit.
I made arrangements with my cousins Murle Jean and Genene to visit them for lunch at a Fresno IHOP. Because of their schedules we had to make our date for 1100 instead of the usual 1300, and that’s why I left earlier than usual.
I met the girls in Fresno for our pleasant lunch together, and this time had some old family photos along that I had scanned onto my computer. We had a grand time looking at those old photos of years gone by. One photo showed four generations of my Mom’s side which included my twin sis and I as pre-teens, our Mom, her Mom, and Grandma’s Dad when he was in his 90s. And now my generation of the family are the old folks. Time marches on and we grow older while our loved ones pass away. Sometime I don’t much like that system.
After our visit, I gathered the three of us together for the usual photo, then bid my dear cousins good-bye once again.
As I approached Bakersfield I pulled into the Flying J to top off the tank so I’d be able to reach Dean’s and return to Bakersfield where I’d add a few gallons to get home.
Approaching Frazier Park near the summit of the Tehachapis where I spent the night.
I arrived at the Flying J in Frazier Park at 1610 and set up for the night. A 20% chance of rain was predicted for the night and 30% for Friday. I drove through rain steadily from home to Fresno, so a bit more wouldn’t hurt. And we were in desperate need of breaking the drought that had held on for too long.
I took a walk after getting settled in. I walked up the highway ten minutes and back to the coach.
I was tempted to walk over to Denny’s for dinner, but instead zapped a frozen dinner and cut up an orange for dinner in the coach. Such discipline makes for less eating and less spending. I was proud of myself.
Jacks down for the night at Frazier Park’s Flying J Travel Plaza.
During the evening I mixed a couple cocktails as I watched more of my documentary on VHS – a six part collection about America in the 20th century. The house batteries, a couple of big, six volt deep cycle brutes had reached the end of their useful lives. They ran down quickly just listening to the radio and charging the electronics. I had to run the generator all evening to watch TV, but the batteries managed to run the heater fan during the night to keep the bedroom comfy. I don’t know how old those big batteries were, but they’d been in the coach over the two years we’ve owned it, and maybe since new.
I hit the sack a bit after 2200 and slept very well – as I always do aboard the coach.
Friday, Day 2: Frazier Park to Oceanside via I-5, I-405: 162 miles
I was up a bit after 0500, turned up the heater, and crawled back into bed. I got up again about an hour later and worked through the morning chores. I zapped a frozen breakfast sandwich, added a few grapes and called it breakfast. I didn’t want to eat much as I do too much of that at Dean’s.
The weather in the desert was predicted to be breezy, which always carries the possibility of gusts to 40 MPH or worse, so I decided to head through LALA Land. It was a poor decision.
Within about ten miles of turning off I-5 onto I-405 I passed a CalTrans truck flashing a PREPARE TO STOP warning. And stop I did, and drove bumper to bumper for 45 minutes due to a fatal crash. It was a horrible, fiery accident that killed one woman. Honestly, I don’t know why anyone lives there. The traffic is just terrible. And dangerous.
Uh-oh. This wasn’t good. I was just beginning my drive down the I-405 when traffic came to a stop.
This news photo of the traffic jam shows the mess I had to drive through. I came from the top of the photo, I-405 South.
At first I saw just the one pickup overturned as I drove by the scene…
…but this news photo from above shows the terrible mess that caused one death. There were two pickups and one automobile involved.
In spite of the 45 minute delay, I arrived at Dean’s a bit after noon, and we headed to a local brewery for lunch. I enjoyed a good hamburger and too many onion rings. We had a good visit along with a couple of beers. The joint was noisier than I like, and most folks there probably didn’t even notice. In spite of the racket I enjoyed the company.
When we returned to the house I climbed aboard the coach and drove the couple of blocks to the RV Park in Guajome Park. I was quickly settled in with the slide out, the jacks down and the electricity hooked up. I even ran the air conditioner as it was pretty warm in the coach. Then I hit the sack for an hour for a much needed nap. The stress of driving through LALA Land followed by those two beers really knocked me out.
Jacks down for a couple of days at Oceanside’s Guajome Park. (I just can’t get used to the new colors on the coach. I thought I chose light greens but this is how the colors turned out.)
Later in the afternoon Dean picked me up and we returned to the house. I greeted Connor, but Aidan and Melissa were off doing different things. We were soon together but Connor had four friends over, so I didn’t visit with him but Aidan snuggled up next to me on the couch for awhile as we watched TV with Dean.
We had grilled chicken and veggies for dinner, and a bowl of ice cream for me. Melissa brought some home knowing I always have room for ice cream.
Melissa was planning on having four moms and their four very young daughters over for S’Mores at 1930, so Dean brought me to the coach in plenty of time to avoid the party of four giggling, shrieking little girls and four moms. I was glad to make my exit early!
I was at the coach a bit after 1900. I showered and relaxed writing this travelogue and editing a few photos. I spent the evening watching more documentary on TV, and made myself S’More cocktails. I like a quiet party! I hit the sack at 2200 and slept like a baby – as usual aboard the coach.
Saturday, Day 3, Jacks down at Guajome Park.
I was up around 0600. The early morning was cool and a bit foggy but I was snug and comfy aboard the coach. After the usual morning chores of making the bed, shaving, whipping up the first cup of decaf, etc., I sat down at the computer and updated the travelogue and photos.
Morning aboard the coach. Note the nice surroundings outside. Most RV parks would have the coaches cheek-by-jowl to one another.
A view of some of the RV park in Guajome Regional Park. The RVs are far apart, especially the site I always choose, and I like that.
Sometime before 1000 Dean called to check if I was ready for him to come over. He came in with a box full of old photos of his younger days, the kids, other family members, etc. He also had a bunch of photos already digitized that I loaded onto my laptop. All the photos were rather a mish-mash, much like the old photos I had been working with at home. Like father, like son I guess.
A sampling of the photos from Dean:
Aidan when he was younger; this is one of Dean’s favorite photos of him.
Conner as a toddler and another of Dean’s favorite photos.
Dean as a baby; this photo was taken a long time ago!
I picked out the paper photos I wanted and he scanned them for me later at home. After this visit I had a lot of very nice photos from his collection and he had a lot of the old family photos I had been scanning. But would they ever get organized by either of us?!
After spending the better part of an hour with the photos, we headed over to Chins, the very nice Chinese restaurant we both enjoy and usually visit when I’m down. The food was delicious, and keeping with the family tradition, we both ate entirely too much.
Connor, nearly tall as me, Grandpa, and Aidan.
After our fine lunch we headed back home to the family. The day was pretty much like any other modern family with two growing boys that have every electronic gizmo. The kids at home are seldom without some sort of screen in front of them. On a few occasions I was able to coax them to pose for a photo with me or alone, but such requests didn’t always garner a smile. Even so, they could both melt my heart with a hug and a “Hi, Grandpa” or a “Bye, Grandpa” during the course of the day. And when I headed back to the coach early in the evening, Aidan hugged me, kissed me on the cheek, and said “Bye Pappa, I love you.” Now that’s a moment I’ll never forget!
Dean tending the livestock while grilling the carne asada for tacos.
During the afternoon Dean and I went shopping at a nearby Mexican store for some carne asada, the thin cut Mexican beef they like to use in tacos. We also bought chips, salsa and a couple of other items for tacos. Later, on the patio, Dean grilled the thin beef and we had delicious tacos for dinner.
Aidan with his birthday present of a Target gift certificate.
During dinner I gave Aidan a present for his August birthday. I always bring the kids’ gifts when I visit so that it’s personal, and not delivered by the mail man. His Target gift certificate will go for whatever he chooses, and I’ve learned that it’s best to leave the gift choice up to the kids.
It was a bit after 1800 that I asked Dean to drive me back to the coach so I could get to bed early for an early start home the following morning. I bid the family farewell, and was back in the coach for the evening.
I showered, then imbibed a couple of cocktails as I watched a bit more documentary on the TV. I was in bed a bit before 2100.
Sunday, Day 4, to home via I-5, SR99: 406 miles
I rolled out of bed a few minutes after 0400. After the usual morning chores, including the preparation of a mug of instant coffee, I powered in the slide, raised the jacks, unplugged the electric cord and pulled out of my space a few minutes before 0500.
Streaking through LALA Land early Sunday morning and light traffic.
Driving through the Tehachapis, or Grapevine, heading for home.
Heading down “Five Mile”, the steep drop into the valley.
The drive through the darkness of a November morning was uneventful. Traffic was light, and made the drive through LALA Land tolerable. There were no accidents and I made good time ‘til I got to the Bakersfield Flying J where I pulled in for 25 gallons of gas to get home on. I also zapped a frozen breakfast sandwich and ate a few grapes for breakfast. I boiled up another cup of instant, and then hit the road for home.
Heading north on SR99 toward Bakersfield.
I pulled into our gated community at 1300, having driven the 406 miles home with no delays – and after the awful drive through LALA Land on my trip down, such a drive was very pleasant.
After unloading all my stuff from the coach, I parked it in our community RV lot for the night. Dumping the tanks, etc., would wait ‘til the next day. I was whipped!
It was another lovely visit with my son and his family. I fear the next visit, in January, will find me looking up to Connor, the oldest grandson. That will be a momentous occasion!
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