Summer Family Visit in Gridley

Another Visit to My Sis in Gridley

Day 1, Tuesday, July 16, home to Gridley, CA via CA99, I-5

It was time to visit my dear twin sis in Gridley even though the summer temps in Gridley would be in the mid 90s. It had been well over a month since our last visit as we began our Arkansas adventure in early June.

We were able to time our visit to include Gale and John’s daughter, Jill, and her husband, Craig. They were down for a visit from the cold north of La Pine, Oregon, where it has been known to snow in July! We always have a grand time with them and it was good to time our visit to include them, too.

The day would be a warm one, and I pulled Big Blue up to the house about 0730 to get the loading underway during the cool of the morning. After loading on the stuff we need for our trip, we pulled out of our little gated community at 0945 and headed north.

The day made for a perfect drive as the usual northerly breeze was nearly non-existent. We ran the dash air conditioner from the moment I started the coach to begin our drive because it was already pretty warm at mid morning.

Click to enlarge photos and read captions: 

We endured the drive along CA99 and I-5, over the pot holes and otherwise lousy California roadways that took us toward Gridley. Once back on CA99 north of Sacramento when we turned off I-5, the road was much improved and the traffic was relatively light. By the time we got to Yuba City, it was lunch time and I was hankering for an In-‘n-Out Double-Double with fries and a vanilla shake. I indulge in such a lunch only every couple months or so, but when I do, it’s a real treat!

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We took our sweet time at the In-‘n-Out and I thoroughly enjoyed that wonderful hamburger! As I walked back to the coach I was approached by a very small panhandler looking for a handout. It was a beautiful rooster, perhaps from a nearby farm, that had learned to beg for people food in the parking lot. John told me there are chickens and roosters all over Yuba City that do the same thing. It was quite amazing to me that such critters had learned to panhandle, but so it was. What a life for a barnyard bird.

We arrived at Gale and John’s about 1300 hours. After backing the coach into our campsite on their driveway, and setting up the coach for our stay, I joined Gale, Jill and Lavonne in the house. John and Craig were in Yuba City buying parts for a landscape job Craig was doing for John’s sister there. He would spend a couple weeks landscaping their yard.

2019-7-16i jacks down in the countryBig Blue parked for a couple nights out in the country at Gale and John’s home.

About the time they were due to arrive back home, my phone rang and John told me they were broken down just south of Live Oak because a cooling hose in his pickup had sprung a leak. They needed some water and a couple of hose clamps. I gathered the needed items and drove John’s car to them. After about a half hour or so, the leaky hose was patched and we drove back to the house. I’ve always said that the biggest drawback to being a hero is that you’re always on call!

Back at their country home near Gridley we spent the rest of the afternoon and evening visiting. We always enjoy time with Gale and John, and it’s not often that we are able to include Jill and Craig, but that day we all had a grand time.

Gale and John are not inclined to enjoy a margarita or two with us, but we knew Jill and Craig would enjoy such a treat. So we brought our Margaritaville machine that shaves ice and makes delicious margaritas. The kids joined us in the coach sometime before dinner and we certainly did enjoy those icy cocktails on that very warm evening. In fact, we each enjoyed a couple of them!

2019-7-16j happy hour
Happy hour aboard Big Blue with (L-R) that Tom Selleck look-alike, Lavonne, Craig and Jill!

After our happy hour party aboard Big Blue, we headed back to the house and began whipping up dinner. Our big combination pizza from Papa Murphy’s was put in the oven as Jill and Craig made a salad to go with it as well. We live a block from a small strawberry farm, and we brought fixings for strawberry shortcake, too. If that wasn’t enough, when I picked up the pizza, I also bought chocolate chip cookie dough, so we enjoyed fresh made cookies, as well! It’s true; happiness is a chocolate chip cookie!

2019-7-16k dinnerA well fed family all smiles after a wonderful pizza dinner (L-R) Craig, Jill, John, Lavonne, Dale and Gale.

We visited ’til after 2000 hours, having a wonderful family time together. Lavonne and I headed to the coach for the night after our lovely evening together with family. I edited photos and typed this travelogue as well as worked through the usual evening chores. We spent most of our time on our laptops, as usual. Lavonne headed for bed around 2230, and I joined her about an hour later. We ran the air conditioners all night long to keep comfy during that warm summer night in the country.


Day 2, Wednesday, jacks down for the day with family near Gridley.

We were up and about at 0630, as usual, having slept very well. We awoke to a cool and pleasant country morning. I opened the coach windows and doors and we enjoyed the cool morning air that wouldn’t last too long.

We watched as Craig loaded up his car and headed to work in Yuba City where he was installing a new landscape for Bess, John’s sister. We decided to spend a second day with the family instead of heading home on Day 2 as we usually do.

2019-7-17c At the laptopOne job for the day was to order our Walmart pickup for the next day as we headed home. They’d bring the groceries to the coach when we arrived, and our week’s shopping would be done!

Lavonne and I began our day over our first cup of coffee as we perused the internet on our computers. I thought I might make a run to Mickey D’s for some breakfast sandwiches, but they had already had cereal, etc. for breakfast. I settled for zapping a Jimmy Dean Delight breakfast sandwich while Lavonne made some oatmeal.

2019-7-17a John fixed his pickupJohn began work on the leak repair before the cool morning warmed up.

We walked to the house and visited with John and Jill a while. Then John got busy fixing the broken hose on his pickup from the day before when they broke down because they had just patched it enough to get home.

2019-7-17b Ladies Koffee KlatchLavonne joined Gale and Jill at the dining room table for their morning Koffee Klatch.

When lunch time rolled around, Jill set out a number of choices for us to just gather for ourselves. I had a slice of warmed up cold pizza along with some crackers and watermelon. mmmmm. I guess pizza and watermelon taste great anytime. The others picked and chose what they wanted, and we would be good ’til dinner.

We planned to have about the same dinner as we had at our 75th birthday party back in December. That would be fried chicken, mashed taters and gravy, coleslaw, and biscuits. And maybe more – we would order at a local market that is well known for its fried chicken.

Our day passed with little going on, just as we old folks prefer. Yes, we took naps, and I took a full hour grandpa nap myself. Other than that we hung around the living room visiting and snacking. About that time I headed to the coach to take my shower. And then dinner time rolled around. But first things first…

Once again, Jill and Craig joined Lavonne and I in the coach for a couple rounds of margaritas. The Margaritaville machine did its usual excellent job of shaving ice and making perfectly delicious margaritas. We had a wonderful time visiting with the kids, and agreed we’d be heading their way next month if at all possible. It would be good to visit Oregon again.

After a couple of trips to town for various things, Jill and Craig busied themselves with dinner along with help from Lavonne. My plan for a chicken dinner was overruled by the majority as they chose ingredients for taco salad. And it was the better choice considering the warm evening. Dinner was set up buffet style, and we chose our own ingredients for each of our personalized taco salads. There was hamburger mixed with beans, cheeses, salsa, lettuce, avocados (yuk!), Doritos chips, and two kinds of bell peppers. It made for a perfect summertime dinner.

We had watermelon for dessert. There was still plenty of strawberry cake and strawberries and whipped cream to make shortcake, but we were all too full of the other good stuff for more dessert. Perhaps we’d have strawberry shortcake for breakfast! Well… maybe just me.

After dinner we bid our good-nights and headed to the coach. It was nearly 2100 hours by that time, and an absolutely gorgeous sunset was taking shape to the west. I grabbed my camera and tripod and shot several photos of the colorful show.

2019-7-17d Country sunsetThe beautiful country sunset that topped off a beautiful day with family.

Back at the coach we settled in with our laptops as Lavonne beat people up playing Scrabble online – a game at which she is nearly unbeatable. I clacked away on the keyboard editing the day’s few photos and updating this travelogue. It was another quiet night out in the country near Gridley. Quiet, that is, except for the drone of the air conditioners which again ran all night long.


Day 3, Thursday, July 18, Gridley to home via CA99, I-5: 246 total miles for the trip.

I rolled out of bed a bit after 0600 on Day 3 to another cool morning even though the air conditioner fans were still running. I turned them off and opened up the coach to the fresh morning air. A light breeze blew through the coach and all seemed right with the world.

2019-7-18a country lane Gale's houseAn early morning photo of the peaceful country lane that runs in front of Gale and John’s home near Gridley. The coolness of early morning is the best time of a summer day in the Central Valley.

Craig left not long after we were up and about, headed to the landscape job to get a cool and early start on his day. We hoped to see him soon on our next trip to Oregon which we’d probably make in August.

We’d be leaving for home by 1000 hours with plans to pick up our grocery order in Stockton, then near home, we’d fill up with diesel at a nearby station that was selling it relatively cheaply – something unheard of in our town. Meanwhile we enjoyed our morning coffee as we perused our favored websites for our morning news and comics.

We joined the others in the house after they were up and around. My dear sis, struggling with Parkinson’s disease, is pretty slow to get around in the mornings, but she was up early because she wanted to visit with us a bit before we left. We pretty much just hunted and gathered our own breakfasts as there were many leftovers to choose from. I chose to zap a Delights breakfast sandwich and then had strawberry shortcake for dessert. mmmmm. I should have that for breakfast more often.

When I finished eating, I excused myself to go set up Big Blue for our drive home. It’s really just a matter of pushing a few buttons to bring in the slides, air up the suspension and raise the jacks. And of course I had to unplug from the grid. And we were ready to head for home.

I went back in the house and we bid them all good-bye with hugs all ’round, and promised to see them all soon on our Oregon trip when we’d likely spend the first night at Gale and John’s again. We pulled out of their driveway at 0945 and headed for home with planned stops at Walmart in Stockton plus a fill-up at the “cheap” station just a few blocks from home.

2019-7-18c Sutter ButtesThe Sutter Buttes near Gale and John’s home. This is the world’s smallest mountain range.

We enjoyed an unremarkable drive to Stockton, as we like, and pulled into the Walmart for our groceries. As always, I called about 10 minutes before we arrived to tell them we would be there soon so they could prepare to bring the order out to us. And the gal that answered said she would do just that.

But…! When we got there, they had no order for us and we were not listed to be picking an order up! What the…?! Nope, they had no record of my order. I was a bit miffed and let ’em know, but soon discovered that I had another senior moment when I placed the order – at the store in Patterson, where I usually pick up our groceries! gaaa! I was humbled. I was embarrassed. I became apologetic. So I called the Patterson Walmart and sure enough they had my order all ready to go. They kindly gave me the choice to change the pickup to Friday, or I could cancel it altogether. I was tempted to cancel it and just shop for ourselves since we were already at the Stockton Walmart. But I didn’t; I chose to pick the order up there about 1000 hours the next day. Life is tough when you make such foolish mistakes! So we bought a few items while we were there, mostly produce that we prefer to select ourselves, then continued our drive toward home.

2019-7-18d rice near the Sutter ButtesThe rice crop near the Sutter Buttes seemed to be doing just fine.

2019-7-18e Sacramento ahead.jpgSacramento in the distance as we drove the connector from CA99 to I-5 and on south toward home.

When we pulled into the station to fill up the coach, I was very pleased to have a “low” price so near home for a change. Their price was $3.62 per, and using our discount credit card which pays us 5% back for gas and diesel purchases, our net cost was just $3.44 per. With some local stations selling diesel for as much as $4.25, I was real pleased with our new found station! I pumped on a bit over 71 gallons to fill up, then drove the few blocks home.

It was in the mid 90s by the time we pulled up to our home about 1330 hours. We unloaded all the stuff we had loaded for the trip, and for old folks in their mid 70s, such work in the heat of summer is not much fun. Even so, after we unloaded, I idled the coach into the RV lot of our little gated community and dumped the tanks, then filled the fresh water tank.

By the time I was done, I was whipped. I backed Big Blue into her motor home sized car port, and was done for the day. Back home, I sat back in my recliner and took an hour long grandpa nap.

2018-5-22cb fully-covered-at-last
Big Blue parked in her over-sized carport. 

It was good to be home, and even so, I was already looking forward to our trip to Oregon to visit Jill and Craig in La Pine, and probably visit my old high school buddy, Al, and his wife, Betty, near Salem.

Life is an adventure with Big Blue!



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.
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