My Sweet Lavonne’s 75th Birthday… on Valentine’s Day!

Day 1, Feb. 17, Saturday, Home to Craig’s in Stockton via CA99, I-5:

My dear Wifey was born on Valentine’s Day a long, long time ago and Valentine’s Day 2018 marked her 75th birthday! The family planned a big party for her special day!2018-2-17e lookin' good at Craig's
I parked Big Blue II on the ample driveway of Craig’s Castle in Stockton the day of the big party. We spent the night in our own cozy home on wheels, and headed to my sister Gale’s place near Gridley, CA on Sunday morning.

I presented Lavonne with the usual morning greetings on Valentine’s Day: a custom card, flowers, and a box of See’s candy. And she had calls from far and wide wishing her all the best on her big day. But the family would do so much more – three days later on Saturday when we all could get together at Craig’s Castle in Stockton.2018-2-17c My Trail Buddy
My Sweetie seated comfortably aboard Big Blue II as we left home to begin the big weekend at Craig’s Castle with all those who would be celebrating with her. Yep… this is my Trail Buddy. Lucky me! 

Our family – Allen and Nancy, daughter Erica, Craig and Laura – worked together and threw a wonderful party for her. Friends were invited and Allen and Nancy flew in from Denver. And (surprise, Grandma!) Erica and pooch Roxie, joined them from Salt Lake City. Friends from our gated community joined in, too. Family from Stockton were there in force as well. We had a grand party for the Valentine’s Birthday Girl!2018-2-17b party groupThe happy celebrants at Lavonne’s grand 75th birthday party enjoyed a wonderful time wishing her all the best – not exactly on her special day, but on the following Saturday when we all could get together. Seated are (L-R) Dorothea, Jo, Laura, Dee, Jan, and Rosalee. Standing: Donna, Heidi, Dale, the Birthday Girl Lavonne, Craig, Erica, Allen, Nancy, little Jeremy, Ashley, Darren, Stephanie, Sam, Janice, and Pat. (Click on this photo for larger; click again for a huge closeup.)

2018-2-17g blowing out candles
Much to Lavonne’s delight, Jeremy celebrated after Great Aunt Lavonne blew out her two candles. (We could not get a fire permit to light 75 candles!)

A large screen in the living room flashed numerous photos of Lavonne throughout her life, including photos many of us have never seen. The party was accompanied by Elvis Presley as he sang his many hit songs all evening. It’s true; I have shared my dear wife with the ghost of Elvis these many years.2018-2-17h big card My gift to Lavonne during the party was a very large card that I bought while in Texas on my recent trip. I wrote inside the card that it was her pass to board Big Blue II for an adventure to Graceland, Elvis’ home – and grave – in Tennessee. We were headed to Graceland on the October trip that was so tragically ended in Kansas – and we’ll make it this spring!

The celebration included a lovely catered dinner of tri-tip, teriyaki chicken, and lots of side dishes including scalloped potatoes, two salads, and much more. Dinner was followed by a red velvet bundt cake and a delicious ice cream cake. Thanks to Laura for those very memorable desserts.

I headed to the coach as the party wound down, and began this travelogue and edited photos. Lavonne joined me about two hours later, having spent as much time as possible with the kids after the party was over.

Day 2, Sunday, Stockton, CA to Gridley, CA via I-5, CA99.

We were up and around at 0600 and after morning chores headed to the house to join the kids for breakfast and more visiting. We would head to my sis’ place a bit before noon; Allen, Nancy and Erica would head to the airport and home to Salt Lake City and Denver later in the afternoon.

We enjoyed Craig’s famous buttery waffles, eggs, bacon and sausage – even mimosas – for breakfast.

The secret to Craig’s buttery waffles is…2018-2-18a secret ingredient …lots of butter! Imagine that. Nancy and Laura (in the background) helped whip up the delicious breakfast.

We visited with the family during and after breakfast for some time and then I began setting up the motorhome for the trip to Gridley. We would spend that night with my twin sis, Gale, and her hubby, John. We hadn’t seen them since the week after Thanksgiving and were long overdue for a good visit.

Click on any photo below to see larger photos of our trip north and to read the captions:

Gale has struggled with medical issues, and while she’s still not walking, she is doing some better and really wanted us to visit.

For dinner we brought along leftovers from the party and we ate our fill. We also brought some of the dessert and enjoyed the bundt cake and the ice cream cake from Lavonne’s party. 

We visited in the house ’til almost 2000 hours, and then Lavonne and I retired to the coach for the night. It was a cold and breezy night in the countryside outside Gridley, but Big Blue II kept us warm and secure. I spent much of the evening editing photos and writing this blog and we both, as usual, perused the ‘net catching up with our favorite sites. We were snug in our warm and cozy bed around 2300 and slept well.

Day 3, Monday, Gridley, CA to Home via CA99, I-5: 244 total miles for the trip.

We awoke to a cool and frosty morning there in the countryside near Gridley. After warming up the coach we tackled the usual morning chores before settling down in the dinette to do our ‘net things. I have a morning comics site I must visit along with some news sites. These laptops are the modern equivalent of the morning paper except that we don’t get ink on our hands!2018-2-19a frosty Gridley morningBig Blue II in Gale and John’s country driveway on a cold and frosty February morning. 

We joined Gale and John in the house sometime around 0800. John suggested we head to their new (!) Mickey D’s in town. They’ve had one for years, but it was demolished to be replaced by a newer, larger one on the original site. John and I drove into town and bought breakfasts for all four of us – to go. I had to have a McGriddle, as usual, and it was a treat! We sat around the dining table and enjoyed our splendid junk food. mmmmm. It’s not often we have such fare and I enjoy it when we do.

We spent an hour or so visiting, including Gale and I singing old gospel songs as she played the piano. It’s always a pleasure to sing along with her as we often did some 60 years ago – and more!2018-2-19b Senior breakfast

Lavonne, John, and “The Twins” after a Mickey D’s breakfast. As we were growing up we were usually referred to as The Twins but now that we’re the Old Folks, we seldom hear that term.

Gale wanted to check out the inside of the coach before we left, so John wheeled her out to the coach on that cool morning. John and I helped her climb aboard for her inspection. She liked what she saw and enjoyed her time aboard. When they returned to the house, I converted our cozy home on wheels into a comfortable highway cruiser for the drive home.

At 1030 Lavonne and I pulled out of their driveway and headed south for home. The wind had died down considerably but began again as a north wind and made the drive home more pleasant. With a tailwind we have a quieter ride and get better mileage.2018-2-19e groomed vinyardThe vineyards along our drive home were pruned and groomed and awaiting rain. Wine Snobs be advised: It seems we’re back in drought mode again, so, as Merle Haggard sang, it’s time to pray for rain in California!

We arrived home at 1315 hours after an unremarkable drive, just as we like. I set about unloading the coach as Lavonne put things away. It was good to be home, and I’m already thinking up the next RV trip and I’m getting an itch to visit Oregon again. Perhaps that will  be the next adventure.

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 My Sweet Lavonne’s 75th Birthday… on Valentine’s Day!

  1. Nancy says:

    I love that my parents made a cameo in the group pic. Dale thank you for always finding a way to capture the sweet parts of your journey. We love having the story to reflect on.

    Glad you were able to spend some time with your beautiful sister.

  2. FishWisher says:

    Hi Nancy –
    I had to ask Lavonne what you meant about your parents cameo appearance, then she pointed out to me that the big TV screen was showing them as I shot the photo. That is pretty cool and what were the odds of that happening?! I’m glad it did. And our visit went well with Gale and John. We were back home Monday the 19th early afternoon. Thanks for all you, Allen and Erica did for the big birthday party.
    – Dale

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