Thanksgiving seems to roll around every fourth Thursday in November, and plans were already in place to spend time with family. Our Thanksgiving day would be spent with family in Stockton at the familiar Craig’s Castle on the California Delta. We’ve had our Thanksgiving and Christmas there for the past several years. Craig has plenty of room for everyone, and he seems to enjoy hosting the big family gatherings.
Lavonne’s Thanksgiving sentiment writ large upon Big Blue.
As usual these days, I spent four days washing the coach and doing housecleaning for the coming adventure. Of course it would be raining during this trip, but no matter the efforts to satisfy my vanity, I welcomed the rain with open arms! We hadn’t had a drop since spring ’til this week – and not much had fallen as of Thanksgiving.
The clouds were threatening, but other than a few sprits of rain, the day stayed dry. And cold. As usual.
We loaded the coach late Thanksgiving morning as we weren’t due at Craig’s ’til after 1300 hours. Dinner was to be at 1600 hours, but being on Walters time, I suspected it would likely be later. We arrived about 1330 and I set up the coach after backing into the driveway for the big day.
Big Blue parked for the day and night at Craig’s Castle to celebrate Thanksgiving with our big, happy family.
Lavonne joined in the preparation of the feast along with Craig’s daughter Breanne, and of course, Craig no doubt worked all day to have things done right for everyone. I stayed in the coach and took a short nap during the wait. I joined the group about 1600, and most folks had arrived as I napped, I guessed.
True to living on relaxed Walters time, dinner wasn’t served ’til almost 1700. Something held up mealtime, so most of the prepared food had sat for some time while the something – gravy – was finally done and the call to dinner was made. The food was awesome, as always, but the waiting cooled off some of it; the turkey was room temperature by the time we sat down to eat – but very tasty.
Breanne worked her magic in the kitchen for hours – and the result was a grand Thanksgiving meal!
The feast was wonderful, no matter the delay. We had ham, turkey, dressing, corn and broccoli casserole, sweet potatoes smothered in marshmallows, green bean casserole, biscuits, mashed potatoes and gravy, and more! I heaped my plate to overflowing, and took my place at the table. Yes, I was first in line and first served, as usual. I wanted my food as warm as possible! We all ate ’til we were stuffed – I was almost miserable, but not quite. I didn’t want to repeat last years pig-out that gave me a stomach ache the whole next day.
This is one of two tables needed to seat the whole family for our Thanksgiving feast of 2019. That’s (L-R) Breanne, Janice, Alexandra, Pat, Dale, Stephanie & Sam (our newlyweds), and Lavonne. (Click to enlarge; click again for huge.)
At table two, that’s (L-R) Jeremy, Ashley, Darren, our generous and hard working host, Craig, and Sam’s family joined us – that’s his sister, Nicole, and his mom and dad, Jerri and Sam Sr. (Click to enlarge; click again for huge.)
After everyone was done, the unskilled among us – me – began the kitchen cleanup as everyone else visited. Eventually a bingo game broke out, and everyone but me played. I stayed busy at the kitchen sink washing all the pots, utensils, bowls, etc. that were used in the dinner preparation.
The noise of the bingo game, and especially the occasional blood curdling screams of little Alexandra, our toddler grand niece, sent me nearly through the ceiling. I could not take any more racket. As soon as my kitchen clean up was done, I dished out my dessert of pumpkin pie, pecan pie, and ice cream and headed to the coach for the night to find some peace and quiet. And it was a Thanksgiving blessing to return to the refuge of the coach as the party played on in the castle.
Ahhhhhh. Life is quiet and peaceful back in the coach for the night – and all those calories weren’t bad, either!
I sat down to my dessert and enjoyed most of it. A small portion would wait ’til lunch the next day!
I showered, worked on this blog, edited photos, and just took it easy in the peaceful coach. I love Big Blue! Lavonne joined me sometime much later, after 2200 I believe. We prepared for bed and by 2300 we retired for the night. It had been a long day.
Day 2, Black Friday, Craig’s to Gridley via I-5, CA99.
My day began much earlier than I planned. I was up around 0200 hours with heartburn that just would not let me sleep. I take a prescription medicine for such things and seldom have an issue. But after my big turkey day pig-out, I couldn’t go back to sleep because of the heartburn. I must have sucked on six pieces of ice, maybe more, trying to stop the awful burning. About a half hour later Lavonne got up and shared with me her stronger medication. It worked after an hour or so, and I returned to bed and slept ’til around 0700. I’m not used to having rough nights and I don’t want another any time soon.
After morning chores and some ‘puter time on our favorite web sites for news, comics, etc., we headed into the castle and hunted and gathered on our own for breakfast. I had a bowl of raisin bran and a banana – and it seemed to go well with my troubled stomach.
After our breakfast and visit with Craig and Breanne, I headed to the coach to make ready for our drive to my sis, Gale’s, in Gridley to spend a night or two visiting them. After our farewells, we pulled out of Craig’s driveway to continue our drive.
Ugly Kalifornistan without rain – but we were due some big storms in the coming week, and we had high hopes for lots of rain and green fields.
Traffic was pretty heavy and I guessed it had something to do with the Black Friday craziness. And, some folks driving to and fro during the holiday weekend, I suppose. That would explain our part in the traffic.
My usual wind gauge on our trips to Gale and John’s showed a south wind which means rain. Why the flag was half staff I do not know. I searched on line for a reason and found none.
The migratory water birds were loving the full rice paddies as they always do this time of year. There were thousands upon thousands of birds along our drive.
For lunch we stopped at an ag station of some sort that sits empty and forlorn this time of year, full of fruit bins awaiting next year’s harvest. We were just a few miles from Gale and John’s, but we like to arrive there after lunch so as to not add to John’s workload.
While at lunch, a local Yuba City police car rendezvoused with a county sheriff’s car, and they appeared to transfer a prisoner from the local police car to the sheriff’s. I assumed it was to have him transported to the county jail.
Our lunch stop and the transfer of a prisoner from a local police car to the county sheriff’s car. That fella was not having a happy Thanksgiving weekend. (Click to enlarge; click again for huge.)
The smallest mountain range on the planet known as the Sutter Buttes on a cold but sunny autumn day.
We arrived at Gale and John’s at 1300 hours. After setting up the coach for the night, I headed into the house and joined Lavonne to visit them for awhile. As mentioned in my prior travelogues, my dear twin sister, Gale, suffers from Parkinson’s disease. It is a terrible disease that slowly takes the quality of life. Gale can no longer walk, and is unable to do much of anything on her own. John has been her very loving caretaker and the whole issue has changed their lives greatly.
Big Blue parked at Gale and John’s place out in the country near Gridley.
After visiting for a short time, Gale was ready to take a nap. We headed to the coach ourselves, and took a good hour’s nap. We old folks need our naps!
We rejoined Gale and John in the house sometime around 1700 hours, bringing with us lots of leftovers for another Thanksgiving dinner. We had ham and turkey and sweet taters and beans and dressing and rolls and three kinds of pie. There was plenty to go around and we all ate our fill. Again. Ugh. After dinner I did much of the cleanup as my part of the effort. We had a nice visit over dinner. I also showed Gale and John some family photos on my laptop, and showed them one of the many videos I watch on YouTube. It was about Border Collies and working cattle with them. They are incredible dogs and are a pleasure to watch.
We returned to the coach around 1930 hours, full of Thanksgiving leftovers. Our evening aboard the coach was as usual, including editing photos and writing this travelogue. Instead of a couple cool ones, I poured apple juice into a coffee cup, then heated it in the microwave, and poured a shot of vodka into it. It made a tasty, hot drink on a cold evening. Twice!
Day 3, Saturday, Gridley to home via SR99, I-5: 245 miles total trip.
We were up and about around 0630 after I had turned up the heater and water heater a bit earlier. It was a cold night preceding a stormy day, or so it was forecast to be. A winter storm warning was posted for Central Kalifornistan with snow in the mountains and rain for us flatlanders and a wind warning was posted for our home area. We’d be heading home a day earlier than we’d planned to avoid much of the storm which was forecast to last through Monday.
I walked over to the house and spoke to John when it seemed he was up and around. Gale was still in bed and likely would be ’til after we left. With that awful Parkinson’s disease, she sleeps many hours every day. But John was ready for some Mickey D’s breakfast, so I took his order – and his car – and made a quick trip into town to pick up our fast food breakfasts.
Back home, Lavonne and John were in the house awaiting my return. John and I ate our very tasty McMuffin and biscuit breakfasts, followed by a breakfast burrito for dessert. Lavonne wisely chose yogurt and fruit. I also brought a McMuffin for Gale which she’d enjoy later for breakfast.
As soon as I finished eating, I headed out to prepare the coach for the drive home. We had enjoyed our visit with Gale and John, but we had to cut our planned two day visit short to head home before the predicted storm arrived. We bid John goodbye and pulled out of their driveway about 0920.
Driving south on CA99 toward home on a very cool Saturday morning.
South of Yuba City, certainly still in farm country, this antique John Deere farm tractor passed us aboard a flatbed trailer. Interesting.
Our drive home was unremarkable as we like, and we certainly beat the storm. A few raindrops fell on us a couple of times, but nothing that required the windshield wipers.
This photo was taken miles from Sacramento on what must have been an unusually clear day due to winds and earlier rain. I don’t recall seeing the Sacramento skyline from this distance before, and it seemed worth the shot.
We arrived home a few minutes before noon. It was unusually cold, and a south wind preceded the coming rain. We got right to work hauling in the stuff we loaded for the trip, and soon as we were done, I drove the coach the few feet to our community’s RV lot and dumped the tanks, filled the fresh water tank, and parked Big Blue under her oversized RV port. The sprinkles began just as I was was completing the work – we had good timing.
Our next trip was planned to be a replay of Thanksgiving over the Christmas holidays. We’d spend Christmas at Craig’s, and head to Gale and John’s a day or two later. Their kids and spouses, Jill and Craig, and Kevin and Kellie, planned to be there and we hoped our timing would find us there to visit with all of them. Gale and I would celebrate our 76th birthday the day after Christmas. We looked forward to a wonderful Christmas with family.
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.