2015-10-22, Thursday, Day 1, Home to Frazier Park via SR99, I-5: 254 miles
October rolled around again, as it often does this time of year, and it was time for ol’ Grandpa to head for Oceanside to visit the Gillespie clan. I make the trip every three months and have since the kids were babies.
Gassing up Big Blue at Ripon’s Flying J for just $2.31 per. It was the cheapest gas I’d see ’til I returned so I stuffed in every drop I could.
As I like to do in my old age, I took three days to get the coach ready. On Tuesday I cleaned the inside of the coach, and it was sure needing the attention since our last trip of two weeks left it pretty dusty – even inside. We run the vent, the AC, or the heater all the time it seems, and that sucks in outside air which can be pretty dusty. On Wednesday I washed the outside of the coach, a job that seemed easier this time for some reason. Maybe I just didn’t do as good a job, but it sure looked good when I was done. And on Thursday morning before I left, I loaded the stores for a four day trip. I consider loading to be pretty good exercise nowadays, and it is a big job for this old man. After bidding my dear Wifey goodbye, I headed to our nearby Flying J at 0945 to gas up, then continued south.
Murle Jean and I at lunch in Fresno. We always have a lovely visit when we meet on my trips south.
I had called my cousin, Murle Jean, in Fresno and set up lunch with her in Fresno. Usually her sis, Genene, joins us, but she wasn’t able to that time due to a doctor’s appointment. We met at Marie Callender’s only a couple of miles off the freeway a bit after 1300. We both ordered what was called Shepherd’s Pie and salad, a new item on their menu, we thought. It was a grand meal, and we both enjoyed it. Except for the squalling kids, it was a good visit. Four brain-dead women, three with toddlers, were at one table visiting in the dining area. A small boy was screaming his head off ‘til I shhhhh’d him loudly and his apparently deaf mom paid some attention and quieted him down. Without my help she didn’t even notice. Sheesh. I nearly ordered our meal to go, but things improved and eventually they left.
After my warm visit with Murle Jean, I continued south to Frazier Park’s Flying J Plaza where I topped off the gas tank and settled in for the night in their parking lot.
Climbing up the Grapevine with the big boys toward Frazier Park where I would spend the night.
Jacks down for the night at Frazier Park’s Flying J Plaza.
The weather was mild, and I enjoyed going online and beginning this travelogue as afternoon became evening. I spent the evening as I usually do aboard the coach, watching TV while enjoying a couple of my favorite cocktails. I hit the sack around 2230 and slept well.
Friday, Day 2, Frazier Park to Oceanside via I-5, SR138, SR14, I-15, SR76: 189 miles
I was up and about around 0600 and began my day. The wind was to be nearly calm along the desert route, for a change, so I planned to take it to avoid LALA Land traffic. After morning chores I headed out at 0800.
I turned off on SR138 just below Tejon Summit and headed east to take I-15 to Oceanside and avoided the L.A. traffic.
Just six miles or so down I-5 I took the exit to SR138 and headed east through the desert. The drive is a bit longer, but the traffic, which was certainly bad enough, was better than the stop and go of driving through L.A. I stopped in Lancaster and made breakfast in the coach around 0900. I parked near the Rexhall “dealership” and went in to ask if they would start making coaches again. The business seems to be just some repair work and selling used Rexhalls. The gal there told me they hadn’t been building coaches because they can’t get chassis. That made no sense, but I didn’t dig any deeper. I had a Rexhall and put 100,000 miles on it before I bought Big Blue. Rexhall made a fine coach ‘til 2012, but none since, and it’s a sad story as they made some real nice RVs.
Quail Lake along SR138 which begins very wide open and with little traffic, but of course that didn’t last all day.
More of the lovely drive along SR138.
It certainly was a lovely day to take the desert route.
Dropping down SR138 to Cajon Junction and I-15 south to Dean’s.
Cajon Junction where SR138 meets I-15.
I continued the drive toward Oceanside along I-15 and I-215. The day was warm and I ran the dash AC quite awhile. The traffic was heavy, but I didn’t deal with any slowdowns as I would have through L.A. I arrived at Dean’s at 1230, and visited briefly with Aidan before Dean and I headed to lunch.
We went to Felix’s BBQ with Soul where we had eaten in the past. It is a rather pleasant place where I ordered a half chicken, Dean ordered brisket and ribs, and we enjoyed a righteous pig-out. The place served really good food and we were very pleased with it. I even had pecan pie and ice cream for dessert.
When we returned home, I hopped aboard the coach and drove the couple of blocks to Guajome Park where I settled into my RV space for the next couple of nights. Once settled, I took a much needed nap. It was just a half hour later that one of the park guys knocked on my door to sign me in. It’s not like they didn’t know who I was as I’d reserved the space months ago. Having been awakened, I decided to stay up. Dean called awhile later to let me know he’d be picking me up soon.
What a lovely place to call home when away from home!
The obligatory photo whenever I’m at Guajome Park.
We headed to the house around 1600 or so and spent time together with the boys, Connor and Aidan. I brought a gift for Aidan as his 11th birthday was in August and I always bring the gifts instead of us sending them as it seems more personal.
We spent most of our time just hanging around the living room chatting. At one point, when the kids got pretty loud and were getting to me, Dean told them they could have two hours on their computers. And in a flash both had disappeared to their rooms and computers. It was a sure fire way to quiet those boys down.
The handsome Gillespie men and a stray cow that wandered into the house.
A bit after 1800 I asked Dean to take me back to the coach as I was pretty tired from a long day. Lunch was so big that it counted as dinner, too, and I didn’t have to wonder what to have.
I spent the evening relaxed in the coach, took a shower, typed this travelogue, edited photos, and watched TV. I had a small sandwich late in the evening since I didn’t eat dinner. I hit the sack about 2230 or so.
Saturday, Day 3, jacks down for the day at Guajome Park
I was up around 0615 after a good night’s sleep. I got through my usual morning chores, and then called my dear Wifey a bit after 0700. I checked my usual ‘net sites, enjoyed a cup of coffee and took the morning slow and easy, as I like.
I took a leisurely walk around Guajome Park where I stay in their RV park during these visits. The place is well kept and a lovely place for people to enjoy a natural setting. The spaces are generally wide apart, especially mine which is #33. I have no nearby neighbors and my stays are very peaceful.
As I neared the end of my walk, Dean called and was ready to pick me up. I rode with him back to the house where we visited with the kids awhile. At 1100 Dean and I headed to Chin’s Chinese Restaurant for lunch which is our usual choice. We ordered entirely too much food and, for the first time I can remember, I asked for a carton to take my leftovers home. We then made a couple of stops in the area so Dean could do a bit of family shopping before heading home.
Dean and his lovely wife, Melissa, and the two growing boys, Connor and Aidan. And again, the cow.
We hung out at the house for a couple of hours, during which Melissa returned home after a few days on a business trip. We all welcomed her warmly. Soon after, it was time for Aidan’s soccer game. It was a very warm day, so I opted out of that excursion and Dean drove me back to the coach around 1330 or so.
Back at the coach I worked some more on this travelogue and edited more photos. I worked at staying awake as I wanted to sleep early and well that night and get up early the next morning for the trip home.
Dean picked me up around 1600 and I spent a couple more hours at the house visiting and watching TV. Connor had a night soccer game that would be too late for me to watch, so Dean drove me home a bit after 1800. We bid our goodbyes and the plan was for me to visit again in January.
Back in the coach for the night, I worked on this travelogue again, edited photos, watched TV and generally whiled away the time. For dinner I zapped the leftovers from our Chinese lunch and enjoyed my second such meal in one day.
I wanted to get to bed by 2100 and get up at 0400 to begin the trip home. I set the alarm for the first time in years, because my last trip to Dean’s I overslept a bit the morning I returned home. I managed to hit the sack about 2100 and slept well.
Sunday, Day 4, Oceanside, CA to Home via I-5, SR99: 411 miles
The alarm chirped me awake at 0400. Without it I surely would have slept later. But I hopped out of bed excited to hit the road for home. I love to drive at night and it would be dark ’til I was north of Los Angeles.
I worked through the morning chores including readying the coach for the drive home. I simply had to push a couple of different buttons to power in the slide, raise the jacks, then step outside to check that all the clearance lights worked and also to unplug from the grid. At 0445 I pulled out of Guajome Park and headed toward I-5.
Somewhere well before I approached L.A. I began seeing highway signs warning that the freeway was closed at Paramount, wherever that was. Dang! I didn’t need to get involved in detours through L.A. But my angst was unnecessary; my fancy little navigator began changing my route and all I did was go where I was told. I took several different freeways around the closure, and wound up back on northbound I-5 having missed the closure entirely.
I don’t know how the navigator is notified of such things. But however it works, that little navigator sure is great to have!
I was in the Six Flags area near Santa Clarita by daylight.
This area is called the Angeles National Forest. Go figure.
The drive home was unremarkable once past the closure of I-5, which I believe was due to construction. I added 15 gallons of gas at the Flying J north of Bakersfield, and while there I zapped a turkey and egg white sandwich for breakfast. As I continued north I ate a few grapes to make it a balanced meal.
Dropping down into the Central Valley which stretches about 450 miles from Bakersfield to Redding, CA.
Somewhere along the drive I pulled into a MickeyD’s for a sugar and caffeine jolt to keep me awake. I ordered a snack size McFlurry and a large coffee, and sure enough it kept me awake and alert ’til I got home. Just before home I stopped at the Flying J in Ripon to fill up with cheap gas again. At $2.31 it’s the cheapest I saw on the whole trip.
I arrived home around 1330, covering 411 miles according to the odometer. Perhaps the stress of the L.A. detour added to my weariness, because I was really tired once I got home. Even so, I unloaded a few items from the coach, then dumped the tanks and added fresh water.
The next day Wifey and I would head north to Woodland to meet my high school friend from Oregon, Al and his wife Betty, for breakfast after they had visited Al’s son in Sacramento. We would head to my sis’s place in Gridley after breakfast, spend the day and night there, and head home Tuesday morning.
The trip to Dean’s was a pleasure, as always. Connor is now eyeball to eyeball with ol’ Grandpa, and soon enough I reckon he’ll be looking down on me. It was good seeing the family and I’ll be heading their way again in January. Life is good!
Monday, Day 5, Home to Gridley via Woodland via SR99, I-5, SR113: 131 miles.
We loaded the little we’d need for a one night visit to my sis, Gale, and her husband John in Gridley. Lavonne joined me for this little trip, and we left home at 0830. We first headed to a Denny’s restaurant in Woodland where we’d meet my friend Al and his wife Betty from Oregon. They had been visiting family in Sacramento and this trip would give us an opportunity to see them as they headed back to Oregon.
We encountered the season’s first fog nearing Sacramento en route to Woodland.
Al is a well known and educated artist among the wood carvers in Oregon and taught art as his career. He had carved a pheasant some time ago and I fell in love with it, but at the time he wouldn’t part with it. However, with my repeated requests to buy it the past several months, I finally talked him into parting with it. We agreed that I’d pick it up at our breakfast in Woodland. I was a very happy camper.
The gorgeous pheasant carving by Al that I received at our get-together in Woodland. This photo doesn’t do it justice, but double clicking will make it much larger and show more detail.
We enjoyed a good visit over breakfast. We all agreed that we don’t get together as often as we should and that maybe in the future we’d meet halfway for a couple of days visit. Time will tell. We bid our farewells after our lovely visit and they headed for Oregon as we headed to Gridley.
SR113 from Woodland to near Yuba City took us through some big time agriculture areas.
Big Blue at Gale and John’s near Gridley for the night. It was a mild and comfortable October day.
We arrived in Gridley around 1330 to visit my sis and brother in law, John. Gale has been recovering from a broken shoulder in recent months and is having a tough time getting around, nowadays she uses a walker to avoid more falls. John was out when we arrived but was back around 1500 and joined us.
Our visits are mostly chatting and eating. And eating and chatting. We brought a large pizza to bake for dinner, and we enjoyed it along with a salad John whipped up for us.
At dusk a gorgeous moon began its rise in the east, and it was one super moon, a mega-harvest moon. I took several shots of it through a dead tree east of Gale and John’s home, and they turned out to be great Halloween photos.
BOO! Happy Halloween a few days early. (Double click for the full scary experience!)
We continued our visit ’til about 2030 when we returned to the coach for the night. I watched TV back in the coach, having dug out a WWII documentary along with a couple of cool ones. Lavonne visited her favorite websites and played some online games. We retired around 2230 and slept well.
Monday, Day 6, Gridley to home via SR99, I-5: 118 miles
We were up and around a bit after 0600 and began our morning chores. The morning was dark and cool, and a cloudy day dawned. When we saw Gale and John were up, too, we headed over to the house and visited with them. Some pastries were served and I had a couple more than my share, naturally. We visited ’til around 0900 when I returned to the coach and readied it for our trip home.
We bid our good-byes and pulled out of their driveway about 0930 and headed home. Our two day trip north to visit Al and Betty at Woodland and Gale and John in Gridley had one forgotten element: I took no photos of any of them! This memory thing is getting sad. But we had a wonderful time and look forward to seeing them all again.
Our drive home was uneventful, as we like it. I took a few photos, of course, of the trip home.
We passed rice fields after harvest. I wondered why they were left flooded, and read that the standing water helps degrade the leftover rice straw and perhaps even saves disking in the spring. And the migratory birds love it, of course.
We have to drive through Sacramento on I-5 en route home, and I have this thing for skylines.
We arrived home a bit before noon. I had the coach unloaded, dumped, the front cap washed, and put away a little over an hour later. It was good to be home, and we were happy to settle back to our usual routines. Life is good!
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.