Day 1, Thursday, to Craig’s Castle in Stockton via CA99, I-5
I was anxious to hit the road again, even if for just a couple hundred miles over three days. It was Thanksgiving and as is tradition, we headed to our son Craig’s Castle on the California Delta for the day, then would travel to Gale and John’s near Gridley, CA on Friday.
Loading the coach for our 2018 Thanksgiving travel to Craig’s and then on to Gale’s on Friday. I was mighty pleased to be back on the road – even if only for a couple hundred miles.
Preparation for the trip included food for the Thanksgiving feast, and we brought along several dishes to contribute to the big meal that was planned. I actually whipped up the green bean casserole myself, a first for me, and other dishes Lavonne made included sweet potatoes with marshmallows, broccoli and corn casserole, and more.
When the big day finally arrived, I drove the coach from the RV lot to the house. It took us over an hour to load, including a short break time for us old folks. We pulled out of our little gated community a few minutes after noon and drove the 20 or so miles to Craig’s in Stockton.
We drove the short distance to Craig’s Castle in Stockton under cloudy and threatening skies; heavy rain was finally in the forecast!
When we arrived, Craig came out to guide me into the parking spot in his large driveway. It’s a tight fit to back Big Blue into her space, but once parked, I dropped the jacks and extended the room slides. And it was time for Thanksgiving!
Big Blue parked in the driveway of Craig’s Castle in Stockton for Thanksgiving. It was time to be thankful – and overeat!
The gathering of the clans included 16 of us, and everyone was ready to feast and party, and to have a grand time. The big dinner was scheduled for about 1600 hours, and family seemed to arrive one clan at a time over the preceding hour or so.
The feast commenced: (L-R) Nick, Carly, Mike, Isaiah, Darren, Ashley, Jeremy, Baby Alexandra (At her first Thanksgiving!), Lavonne, Dale, Laura, Pat, Janice, Craig, Stephanie, and Sam. (Click on this photo to enlarge; click again for a huge photo.)
The feast included many dishes and too many desserts. We had Honey Baked Ham, two turkeys, dressing, jellied cranberries, mashed potatoes and gravy, green bean casserole, broccoli and corn casserole, sweet potatoes, pistachio salad and spinach salad. Dessert was nearly as varied with apple pie, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, ice cream, carrot cake, brownies, and one or two more I can’t recall. It was gluttony, pure and simple and delicious! I did more of that gluttony thing than even I intended, and was rewarded for my sin with a stomach ache that lasted the entire next day. I was in pig-out heaven, but I’m not so sure it was worth it!
After dinner and a walk down the levee behind Craig’s Castle for those so inspired, certainly excluding me, the gang returned to the table for some Thanksgiving Bingo, a game promoted by my dear Wifey and matriarch of the family, Lavonne. I passed on the game and returned to the coach to rest between rounds of gluttony; dessert would be next.
When dessert was presented, I went hog wild, and hog is the perfect description. I loaded my plate with a large piece of pumpkin pie and whipped cream, a medium piece of pecan pie, carrot cake and vanilla ice cream. What was I thinking?! I wasn’t. It was just plain thoughtless for an old heart patient like me to eat so badly. But it was Thanksgiving Day!
Back at the coach for a respite, I found peace and quiet. I’m not a real big fan of parties and crowds!
After the many desserts, I returned to the coach again for the night. I edited photos, showered, and watched Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? for the umpteenth time. I also changed sheets on the bed to snuggley flannel sheets we like to use during the cool winter nights.
Lavonne stayed at the party ’til the end, enjoying every moment possible with family. When she returned she tried to go online to play some word games, but our AT&T hotspot was so slow it was worthless. Craig’s wifi was too weak to reach the driveway for some reason although we’ve often been online in the past with it. She finally gave up and prepared for bed.
After Lavonne retired, I stayed up and watched the movie as I enjoyed a couple cool ones. I finally headed to bed at 2300.
Day 2, Craig’s to Gale and John’s near Gridley via I-5, CA99
We were up and around about 0630 after I’d turned up the heaters to warm the place after a cool and rainy night. Rain! It was wonderful to finally have some falling on our parched valley!
We sat at our computers after morning chores, finally getting online for awhile with our smart phone’s hotspot. Sometime around 0800 we had a call from Craig to come on up and visit and even hunt and gather for breakfast. He fried up eggs for himself but we declined his offer. Lavonne and I had a bit of the party’s leftovers; I had very little as I had a queasy stomach from my over indulgence during the feast.
We visited for an hour or so, then began preparing for the drive north to Gridley. After a warm farewell and many thanks to Craig for hosting the lovely Thanksgiving family gathering, Lavonne and I pulled out of the driveway about 1030 hours and headed to Gale and John’s lovely home out in the country near Gridley.
It was a rainy drive north to Gridley. We were lovin’ it! For a rare change, we had a south wind pushing us north instead of bucking a north wind as we usually do.
We stopped at the Flying J on I-5 and CA12 to fill up the propane tank which showed empty on the completely unreliable indoor gauge. We likely had plenty of propane on board, but why take chances? As it turned out, we pumped 19 gallons into our 25 gallon tank. Our stop was pretty fast for a Flying J and we were soon heading north on I-5 again.
It was a wonderfully rainy drive and we were very happy to watch the rain come down. Traffic was pretty heavy as it was Black Friday and the crowds of shoppers were everywhere.
We arrived at Gale’s a few minutes after 1300, and backed into their driveway. After I set up the coach for our stay I joined John, Gale and Lavonne in the house and we enjoyed a grand visit. We brought a lot of leftovers along with a couple of dishes made just for our visit with them.
Big Blue parked on Gale and John’s rain-soaked driveway for our visit.
I was tired from the drive and mostly from the pig-out of the prior day. At some point during the afternoon, as Gale, John and Lavonne continued their visit, I headed to the coach for a much needed grandpa nap – and I slept well over an hour.
As we often do during our visits, Gale and I sat at the piano as she accompanied us singing gospel songs together. She’s been unable to walk the past couple of years, but still can play the piano and harmonize as we sing together.
The Old Folks pose for an after dinner photo. (L-R: John, Gale, that Tom Selleck look-alike, and Lavonne.)
We had leftovers from the prior day’s feast for dinner, and I just couldn’t eat much. I nibbled at my favorite dishes from the leftovers, but ate very little. Everyone else enjoyed a mighty fine Thanksgiving meal. Again.
About 1900 Lavonne and I bid Gale and John goodnight and headed to the coach. Even though it seemed early, it had already been a long day, and Gale tires easily. One of the conveniences that visiting aboard Big Blue affords is that we have our own home in the driveway and can leave them to their evening routines without being in their way.
We whiled away the evening on the ‘puters. I wrote more of this blog and edited a few photos as Lavonne visited her favored websites. It was a comfortable evening aboard the coach as the heaters kept things warm and cozy.
Day 3, Gridley to home via CA99, I-5: Total trip 252 miles
The night in the country near Gridley was cool, but the rain seemed to have ended. We stayed comfy in the coach and slept well. No. That was not true. I slept well. My dear Lavonne did not sleep so well. I walked out into the living room upon awakening to turn up the heaters, and I heard a “Good morning.” Lavonne had given up on my snoring and spent most of the night on the couch! That is not uncommon at home, but the first time in the coach, I believe. I’ve begged her to poke me hard enough to wake me and have me turn over, but she finds it easier to walk out to the couch in the den. And now our secret is out!
I proceeded to turn up the heaters and turn on the water heater, then her day began. Not mine; I climbed back into bed for a few minutes while things warmed up. She is built of tougher stuff than I.
We worked through the morning chores, then perused the ‘net for news and comics, etc. Sometime after 0800 we went into the house and visited some more with Gale and John.
We decided to head to town for the usual Mickey D’s breakfast goodies, and John and I did so. We – Gale, John and I – enjoyed our junk food while Lavonne wisely chose to have just fruit for breakfast.
We visited awhile longer, and around 1000 hours I headed outside to the coach and prepared her for the drive home. We pulled out of their driveway around 1030 and headed for home.
Driving down a country lane near Gridley. A lovely drive!
The drive was uneventful, as we like. It was also pretty dry. The rain was predicted to come again the following week, and we sure hoped it would. We sorely needed rain in our parched valley.
The rains definitely aided in the fight against the terrible Camp Fire in and around Paradise, CA and for that everyone was grateful. I mentioned that fire in this blog on our visit to Gale and John two weeks ago when it was a raging inferno. The search for victims still continued, however, and as of this writing 84 people had died from the fire and hundreds remained missing. The good news was that it was 98% contained. It was the worst wildfire in California history – by far!
A flooded rice paddy near Gridley. The swans were lovin’ it!
We dealt with quite a lot of traffic since it was the Thanksgiving weekend, but traffic is always pretty bad here in Kalifornistan. We arrived home at 1300 hours, and an hour and a half later I parked Big Blue under her cover in the RV lot, all unloaded, dumped, and with the fresh water tank filled.
Home! The gate opened for us as we returned from a very pleasant Thanksgiving with families aboard Big Blue.
It was a lovely Thanksgiving with the families on both sides, and we were pleased to have visited both aboard the coach with the ability to be “at home” at the same time.
In just one month we’ll do it all again for Christmas and The Twins’ 75th birthday the day after. Yep. Gale and I are about to reach that milestone. There are parties being planned at both places, too! And of course, Big Blue will again be our very excellent ride to and from, and also our cozy home while visiting. 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.