Christmas 2016 and Growing Older

Christmas and Birthday 2016

December 25-26, 2016

Day 1, Sunday, Christmas Day, to Craig’s Castle in Stockton

It was Christmas time once again and time to be with family. We would retrace the same visits we made at Thanksgiving just a month ago. We planned to spend Christmas day with Craig and Laura and the kids, Breanne, Brett, Carly and Michael. Darren, Ashley, Jeremy and Stephanie would drop in after the big dinner. The next day, our birthday, we would drive up to my twin sister, Gale’s, in Gridley and celebrate our 73rd birthday together. Yep… we just keep getting older!2016-12-25a-craigsCecil the Diesel parked for Christmas day and night at Craig’s Castle.

As usual, the holiday meant FOOD and lots of it! There was lasagne, turkey, ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes, and more. Dessert included pecan pie, pumpkin pie, candy of every type, banana bread, and I can’t remember what all.

2016-12-25c-christmas-at-craigsOpening presents ’til Santa was downright broke!

2016-12-25b-dales-crossbowA crossbow for Gramps!? Yep…

2016-12-25d-kitchen-crewPreparing dinner…

2016-12-25f-christmas-dinnerThe family at dinner and what a feast it was! (L to R: Laura, Carly, Brett, Michael, Breanne, Craig, Lavonne, and Tom Selleck.)

Dinner was served in the Walters tradition; it was to be at noon, then it was to be at 1300, and we finally sat down to the big feast at 1400. It was worth the wait! During the course of the afternoon we also exchanged entirely too many gifts.

The day was very pleasant, but Craig and Brett left around 1600 to fly to Denver to spend a few days with Allen and family. The early evening was just Breanne, Laura, Lavonne and I. And as usual, I spent much of the evening aboard the coach writing and seeking peace and quiet. Lavonne joined me when Laura and Bre left for their separate evening happenings. We spent the night as usual, on the computers and me watching TV. I watched Driving Miss Daisy for the umpteenth time and enjoyed it as much as ever. It is a classic!

I finally called it a day around 2230 and headed off to bed. Lavonne hit the sack long before I did and no doubt needed the rest. She works too hard on these family gatherings and especially Christmas. We slept well in the cozy coach in spite of the cold night outside.

Day 2, Monday, our 73rd birthday and a drive to Gridley to celebrate

We were up and about around 0600, and all alone for the first time at Craig’s Castle. We’ve always enjoyed coffee with Craig and Bre or others when we’ve stayed over, but everyone was gone that morning! Honestly, this family has so many things going on that we can’t keep up with it all.

We worked through the morning chores and dawdled away much of the morning. We didn’t want to arrive at my sis’s place ’til after noon, so we took our sweet time getting around. As usual, we spent much of the time on the ‘puters.

2016-12-26b-foxy-coupleStill handsome after all these years… and still attracting the babes, too! Lavonne and I pose in the coach as we while away the morning of my 73rd birthday. That scarf was a Christmas gift, and the shirt I’m wearing was my birthday gift from Lavonne.

Click on any photo to enlarge ’em all and read captions:


Around 1000 we readied the coach for travel and headed north on I-5 toward SR99 and Gridley.

We stopped at the Love’s Travel Plaza on I-5 near Lodi to fill up the propane tank. I thought it was nearing empty; the indoor gauge said empty and the tank gauge said less than a quarter of a tank. As it turned out, we had about 10 gallons left. So much for gauges, I guess. Once it says empty I’ll know there are 10 gallons left!

As we drove through the rural areas along SR99 we enjoyed the thousands of birds that have taken over the dormant rice paddies. They may seem dormant to us, but they must be alive with bugs and other munchies for all those birds! 

Click on any photo to enlarge the set and read captions:


While the traffic on that day after Christmas was heavy, we moved along without delay all the way to Gale and John’s place near Gridley. I supposed that half the traffic was people returning gifts from Christmas. Ugh. I think I’d keep an ugly sweater if it were me instead of fighting those crowds!

While driving through the farmlands of the valley, I had a call from Craig and the whole Walters tribe who were celebrating Christmas together in Greenwood Village, Colorado. They were apparently celebrating my birthday, too! So here they are, singing with great gusto and moderate talent, the once lovely Happy Birthday song!


♪ ♫ Happy♫ Birthday♪ ♪ to Grandpa Dale from (L-R: Craig, Erica, Nancy, Allen, Brett, and Jason. Jason flew all the way from London to join the Walternacle Choir as they murdered this song!) It was very loving and thoughtful for the whole tribe to think of ol’ Grandpa Dale and to take the time to sing to me on my birthday! Thank you all!

2016-12-26k-at-gale-and-johnsCecil the Diesel set up for our visit with Gale and John.

2016-12-26l-the-old-folksThe Old Folks visiting once again, this time to celebrate our 73rd birthday!

2016-12-26m-happy-73rdHappy 73rd birthday, Sis! It’s nice to know that such old people can still look so good!

We dug into the leftover Christmas dinner goodies and had yet another feast. There was turkey, ham, taters and gravy, sweet potatoes, rolls, and I forget what all. It was too much! After some settling time, we cut into the delicious raspberry bundt cake provided by Janice and the girls, Ashley and Stephanie. I so enjoyed that cake at other family gatherings that I asked to have it for my birthday, and the girls remembered. Thanks!

After a lovely dinner, dessert and good times visiting, I headed to the coach around 1945. Lavonne joined me a bit later and we settled in for the night aboard our home on wheels. As the evening grew colder we were cozy and warm in the coach. It had been a good and pleasant 73rd birthday for my dear Sis and I.

Day 3, Tuesday, to home: Total trip 255 miles

We awoke to a cold, dark Tuesday morning. But the holidays were finally behind us, and that made me happy. I don’t dislike the holidays for what they are, or are supposed to be, but I am so tired of watching the frenzy that friends and family go through to “celebrate”. It just seems so very trying. But I digress…

As has become our tradition, it seems, John and I headed into town for some Mickey D’s breakfast sandwiches. Back home we enjoyed a tasty junk food breakfast. We continued our pleasant visit ’til it was time for me to set up the coach for the drive home. We bid our farewells ’til the next visit, and pulled out of their driveway a few minutes after 1000.

2016-12-27c-tolerant-camperMy cute trail buddy tolerates the drive home. She loves the visits with family, but the drive… not so much.

2016-12-27a-happy-camperThis ol’ trucker, on the other hand, lives for the journey! I thoroughly enjoy driving Cecil the Diesel every chance I get. This is one happy camper!

2016-12-27d-snowy-sierrasIt was good to see all that snow piling up on the Sierras in the distance. Our weather has been fairly wet lately, and we sure hope it continues and we can put the drought behind us!

Before we left for home, I checked online for the cheapest diesel en route home and found an out of the way convenience store/gas station in Yuba City selling diesel for $2.50. It was out of the way enough that we got lost for a few minutes trying to find it. When we finally pulled in, I pumped on almost 80 gallons and had a full tank, saving us over $30 compared to the asking price at the major truck stops such as Flying J and Love’s which were as high as $2.94 per! It pays to shop around!

We arrived home a bit after 1300 and began unloading the coach at once. By 1430 we were unloaded, the tanks were dumped and we could relax a bit. It was good to be home! Naturally, I climbed into the hot tub for a good soak – on these cold winter days my hot tub is proof that there is a God and that he wants me to be happy!

About FishWisher

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.
This entry was posted in Travel: Craig's Castle, Travel: Gale & John. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Christmas 2016 and Growing Older

  1. nlbwalters says:

    Glad you had a wonderful Christmas, birthday and road trip, Dale! May 2017 bring you to Colorado at least twice!

  2. FishWisher says:

    Thanks for the visit, Nancy. Yep, we had a good time over Christmas and our birthday. I’m sure planning to visit at least twice during the year – it’s one of my favorite trips.

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