2015-7-9 Thursday, Day 1, Home to Frazier Park via SR99, I-5: 255 miles.
July rolled around on schedule and as I’ve done every July for years, and every three months for that matter, I headed south to visit my son, Dean, and family in Oceanside.
I was pleased to climb out of my recliner and actually have something to do the couple of days prior to leaving. On Tuesday I gave Big Blue a bath, and on Wednesday I did some inside housecleaning to prepare for the trip.
I pulled out of our community a bit after 1000 and headed south to Fresno where I’d meet my cousins, as usual, for lunch. Murle Jean and Genene and I spent some of our time together as we grew up even though they are about 10 years older than me.
First things first; I gassed up at Ripon’s Flying J as I left home. Note the tilt as I jacked up the left side to stuff in all the gas I could. The gas along the rest of the trip would be at least 30 cents per gallon more.
A new stretch of SR99 is a hundred yards or more to the east of the old highway, and this old barn with the Mail Pouch ad is now visible. This photo could have been right out of the 1920s.
I arrived at a Marie Callender’s in Fresno sometime before 1300 and met the gals for a warm visit over Marie’s meat loaf sliders, something new to me but very good. We talked about family things mostly, and brought each other up to date on our doings. I was pleased, as always, to have that opportunity to visit during my trip as it adds another nice family visit to my trips south.
Big Blue at Marie Callender’s in Fresno for lunch.
Murle Jean (L), Genene, and me having a grand time over lunch.
After something over an hour of visiting we bid our farewells ‘til October and I continued my trek south.
The day’s drive was otherwise uneventful, just as I like. I did have to stop twice for some Mickey D’s McFlurries and coffee to keep awake. I surely didn’t need all that sugar but it does add to the caffeine jolt. I arrived at the Flying J Plaza in Frazier Park, up in the Tehachapi Mountains, about 1715. I topped off the gas at $3.28 per to be sure I wouldn’t have to pay for that pricey SoCal gas further south. I gassed up that morning in Ripon for $2.97 per, the cheapest I’d likely see the whole trip. And I’d probably have to add a few gallons in Frazier Park on my drive home to be sure I’d reach home. In the old coach one top-off at Frazier Park would get me home; not so with this newer coach.
The drought in Kalifornistan is personal on the farms in the Central Valley. A number of signs were angry and political. I don’t blame ’em!
The state and the feds have acted very unfairly where farming and water policy are concerned and the farmers are fighting back. Here in Kalifornistan the environmental whackos have the power and common sense is sacrificed to make powerful people feel good about themselves. Check out the fighting farmers websites here and here.
Even so, farming was evident on much of the land although a lot lies fallow due to the removal of water from the farms by politicians.
The huge pipes on the left of this photo are part of the problem: water is pumped from the valley and over the Tehachapis to the parched LALA Land and the millions living there. SoCal has been a desert almost forever. What were they thinking as they built up SoCal to accommodate all those people?! But this will likely never change. Stealing water from farmers to “maybe” save fish instead of feeding people is one of the main issues now.
As I began the climb up the Grapevine, it looked like I might be entertained by a thunder storm while there for the night. But, no.
I spent the evening writing this travelogue, editing photos, perusing the Internet. Having eaten so much earlier I settled for a half sandwich and some grapes for dinner. Dear Wifey called at one point and had our credit card company on the phone wanting to know if I’d been gassing up in Ripon and Frazier Park. That card outfit is so nervous! Yes, I had and she passed it along to soothe their jagged nerves. Every month I gas this coach, sometimes several times, and still they get all shook up from time to time even though our response is always the same: yes, we bought all that gas. Sheesh!
The view from Big Blue during the evening at Flying J.
I watched a dumb DVD movie I bought from the Walmart bargain bin of DVDs during the last trip into the Midwest. It was a shoot ‘em up cop flick and not all that interesting to me. But it was cheap! At one point I woke up with the movie still playing and gave it up for the night. I climbed into bed around 2230 and slept very well – as I always do aboard Big Blue. ============================
Friday, Day 2, Frazier Park to Dean’s in Oceanside via I-5: 155 miles
Morning at the Flying J and the drive through LALA Land awaited. Ugh.
I was up around 0600 and worked my way through the morning chores. Sometime before 0900 I took a walk for about 20 minutes. I had all morning to dread the drive through LALA Land, fighting traffic every mile of the way to Dean’s. It is the worst drive I’ve ever experienced and there is nothing about it I like. But the wind was predicted to be howling along the desert route, and I hate high winds even more.
For breakfast I zapped a frozen breakfast sandwich and cut up half an orange. At 0900 I pulled onto I-5 and continued my trek south.
Every trip I ask myself the same old question: How could it be that people actually choose to live like this?
The drive was pretty much at the speed limit even through LALA Land on I-5 all the way. Sure, there were a few slowdowns, even bumper to bumper traffic, but overall, for SoCal, it was a pretty good drive.
Here in Kalifornistan we’re subjected to crappy roads such as this…
…while we spend million$ of dollars on art such as this:
The reason? I guess we get the leadership we elect, and we elect big spenders every chance we get.
Dean and Melissa had a memorial service to attend that afternoon and Dean wouldn’t be home when I arrived. So at Oceanside I pulled into a shopping center that had an In ‘N Out Burger. I found a decent place to park, although pretty steep, and dropped the jacks to compensate. I got to work editing photos and writing this blog, waiting for the mad lunch hour to end. I mixed one of my very relaxing Tom Collins and relaxed a spell. It was good to shed the road weariness as I looked forward to my first Double-Double cheeseburger from In ‘N Out.
At 1330 I walked over to the burger joint and ordered a Double-Double with grilled onions to go, and ate in the coach where it’s quiet. Wow. That burger was everything I hoped it would be. I don’t know what In ‘N Out’s secret is other than fresh everything, but their burgers are superb. I enjoyed the burger along with an orange so at least I avoided the French fries.
A bit after 1400 I drove over to Guajome Park and set up in my space for the next couple of nights. The space I choose every time is #33, and I’ve learned to reserve it months in advance to be sure I get it. It is away from the other spaces by a pretty good distance and I love the relative solitude I find there.
Dean called some time after I set up and was home from the memorial service although Melissa was still there and would be into the evening. We decided to head over to a favorite Thai restaurant of Dean’s for lunch as he hadn’t eaten. I’d just have something light. Oh, sure. We split won-ton soup, a noodle and chicken dish, a rice dish, and some strange rice, lettuce, chicken, etc. wraps. I ate a lot of everything except the wraps, most of which we left. Dean and I both ate our fill so we called it an early dinner. Melissa texted Dean and asked him to take Connor to a beach junior lifeguard happening of some sort because she wouldn’t make it home on time. Along with all the sports the kids are involved with, Connor has been taking life guard lessons for some time.
So… the evening pretty much fell apart as I didn’t want to go to the beach and they’d be there for some time. I told Dean to just drop me off at the coach and we’d get together in the morning. And so it was. I was back at the coach about 1630.
I spent the evening on the computer, watching some old UFC fights on DVD that I had recorded years earlier, showered, and had a small sandwich snack late in the evening. I went to bed at 2230 and slept very well. ======================
Saturday, Day 2, Jacks down at Guajome
If past visits were any gauge, I figured Dean would call about 0900 before coming by to pick me up. I was up at 0630 so I had plenty of time to work through the morning chores. I took a walk around the grounds of beautiful Guajome Park, avoiding the other RVs as much as possible.
The first obligatory photo I take most trips to Guajome Park…
…and the other obligatory photo I always take at Guajome Park.
Dean called a bit after 0900 and picked me up soon after. We drove over to the house and visited with the family for about an hour. I learned that Aidan recently earned his blue sash in Kung Fu and that Connor, who is now eye ball to eye ball with me in height, was chosen as a life guard assistant. When he’s 16, the minimum age, he’ll surely be a beach life guard.
It has been our tradition to go out for lunch both days of my visits, and that trip we tried a new restaurant. The name was new, to be sure, known as That Boy Good. It was a Louisiana style restaurant in downtown Oceanside. The name must be some kind of southern slang, I wasn’t sure. It didn’t make a lot of sense. I suppose I should have asked our server.
That Boy Good, where we ate very well, and enjoyed it. Mostly.
Dirty fries, a house specialty. Bad as they looked, they were very good and they sell lots of ’em.
My first requirement, a quiet meal, was not to be at that place, but at least a loud fan by the entrance did a pretty good job of drowning out the loud and lousy music. A specialty of the place was fried chicken thighs, boneless, pounded, and coated with southern spices. I ordered the chicken and coleslaw. Dean ordered a side of dirty fries, something new to me, and he ordered brisket as well. The fries were very good, but certainly not heart healthy. The fries came with pulled pork, melted cheese and jalapenos. I made a point of missing the hot chilies, and the rest of it was really very good.
Me and m’ boy pigging out on Louisiana cooking. mmmmm. It was loud, but still worth the visit.
The chicken thighs were… well, Ok. The spice they used had a strange taste. I would have preferred plain ol’ southern fried, unpounded and with the bone. Dean ordered for Melissa and the boys, and we brought home a lot more food than we ate ourselves. Melissa and the kids ordered the chicken and waffles, another specialty, along with another order of dirty fries.
We returned home where Dean and I spent the afternoon while Melissa and the kids were at a birthday party at the neighborhood pool. We passed the time watching TV and visiting. When the family returned we watched TV as the kids did their things online, mostly. They have so many electronic gizmos and spend so much time on them and ol’ Grandpa doesn’t have a clue what they’re doing. I think they’re mostly online games.
A family photo before Grandpa leaves ’til the October visit. What a handsome bunch!
Melissa whipped up some strawberry shortcake just before I returned to the coach for the evening. That made for a fine dinner substitute as I’d been munching most of the day. We said our good-byes, shared warm hugs all ’round and another visit with the kids was over. Around 1830 Dean drove me back to the coach so I could hit the sack early and get an early start on the long drive home. My visit was the usual warm time with the family, and they are very understanding that ol’ Grandpa just likes to hang around the house during my visits and doesn’t want to do much else. Well… besides eat.
I watched a bit more TV before climbing into my cozy bed at 2100. I was looking forward to the trip home the next morning. =====================
Sunday, Day 4, Guajome Park to Home via I-5, SR99: 406 miles
I overslept about 40 minutes and climbed out of bed at 0440. I hurried through the morning chores and pulled out of Guajome Park at 0510 for the long drive home.
Just north of Oceanside the Border Patrol was out in force looking for illegals immigrants or dope or whatever else that is not supposed to be brought over the border. As usual, the agent waved nearly everyone through.
A cool looking church somewhere along I-5 that caught my eye.
The Los Angeles skyline on a sunny summer morning.
Dropping down from the Tehachapis into the great Central Valley of Kalifornistan which stretches north to Shasta County. The valley is about 450 miles long.
I stopped a couple of times, once to pump on 15 gallons of gas at Frazier Park where I also zapped a breakfast sandwich for breakfast. I stopped again around noon or so for another sandwich and fruit for lunch. The drive was without incident except for cussing the rotten roads most of the drive. I arrived home at 1400.
It was good to greet my dear Wifey with a warm hug, and then to unload the coach. The dumping of the tanks would wait ’til the next morning, and after parking the coach, we had a good visit as I told her of the trip and she brought me up to date on happenings around the home front.
It was good to see the kids, and I’m looking forward to my next visit in October!
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.