2020-2-27 Home to Gridley and My Sis via CA99, I-5: 124 miles
After the very disappointing – and aborted – Search for Sunshine 2020, I was in a deep funk over the experience. I had to get Big Blue fixed properly, and that was my main priority when I was back home with the crippled coach. It took about two weeks to have her repaired and ready to roll again; the shop was very busy, and she had to wait her turn.
I finally drove her home from the shop on February 21st, all fixed and ready for a trip to visit my sis and brother-in-law again. But the coach needed some good cleaning, both inside and out. As usual, it took me several days to get all the work done, but I remained faithful to the cause for four days, and after all the effort she was looking good as ever! How could it take so many days?! Well, in my old age, I can put in only about two hours a day of such work because after that, I’m plumb tuckered out!
On the third day of cleaning, I washed about half of Big Blue, including her pretty rear end.
At the end of the fourth day Big Blue was ready to make her first trip, albeit a short one, to Gridley and my sis and brother-in-law’s home. I was pleased that the frustrations of the Arizona break down, the repairs (and money!) required, and the days of cleaning were finally behind me.
Day 1, Feb. 27, Home to Gridley via CA99, I-5: 124 miles
I was up a bit earlier that morning – excited to get the day started. I began my day with the usual news and comics time on the laptop along with the day’s first cup of coffee while nestled in my recliner. Then came my daily dunk in the hot tub, and a quicker than usual breakfast. I then walked the short distance to our community RV lot to fire up Big Blue, then idled her up to the house.
We had relatively little to carry onto the coach for just a three day trip. Still, for us oldsters it was a pretty big job. There was food for our trip, mostly for two dinners with Gale and John as we like to do all we can to help when we visit. We’d have pulled pork and buns, my sis’ choice, for dinner that night. We also brought along the makins’ for tacos the second night. And we loaded on a few clothes and the electronics we cannot seem to live without. After a bit over an hour, we were loaded up.
When I first checked the fridge in the morning, it was good to find the freezer (-1°) and fridge (38°) compartments cold. It was a good omen.
I shut off some of the home utilities ’til our return, and we were ready to hit the road. It sure felt good to drive Big Blue out onto the nearby CA99 and head north for Gridley!
We stopped at Delta Shores shopping center in Sacramento to buy a few items at the big Walmart there. Then we had a delicious lunch at In-N-Out Burgers in the same center. I consider those Double-Double burgers the very best, but rarely allow myself such pleasure. I looked forward to that In-N-Out lunch for days, and I can report that it was all I hoped it would be!
Ahhhhhh. One of my favorite meals and I enjoyed every bite! Just look at that monster burger – along with fries and a vanilla shake!
After the shopping and lunch, we continued north on I-5 ’til we turned off onto CA99 again, and finally had the seemingly endless Sacramento metro area behind us – and we always enjoy the country drive north of the big city.
The almond trees were in full bloom – some had already dropped many of their blossoms and were sprouting leaves for the season.
It seems many of the trees are confused by this early summer-like weather. The almond trees were all in bloom – or past bloom – now, naturally, but many other trees seemed to be leafing out early. After all, the high temperature in the Gridley area that day was 76°! Heck, even I was confused by the early warm weather.
Some rice paddies were flooded, and migratory birds by the thousands were still lovin’ all the good eats available.
Once past Yuba City and its many stop lights along CA99, we continued north, mostly along back roads. By doing so, we avoid the small towns of Live Oak and Gridley and drive directly to Gale and John’s along nothing but country lanes. It’s a beautiful drive, especially this time of year.
The Sutter Buttes and a small, agricultural airport where crop duster type planes busily fly in and out during the seasons. According to NASA, that is the smallest mountain range on planet Earth.
Along the drive we saw many wild mustard plants, but none were more beautiful than this field of brilliant yellow. Gorgeous!
When an orchard is removed, it is a very unceremonious undertaking. Here, what appears to be a perfectly good tree is yanked out of the ground by a big back hoe and destroyed. Sad. But such is progress. This orchard may well be replanted with walnut trees, a fairly common change in the area these days.
A very old barn framed by a dead or dormant tree very near Gale and John’s home. Somehow, this turned out to be a very interesting photo.
We arrived at Gale and John’s at 1400 hours. Lavonne headed into the house to begin our visit, and after I set up the coach for our three day, two night visit, I joined them.
It was good to see them – we hadn’t visited since our birthday, the day after Christmas. All seemed to be well with them considering the awful Parkinson’s disease that my sis is dealing with. It has certainly changed their lives, but they seemed happy and pleased to see us again.
For dinner, we enjoyed the pulled pork and buns we had brought along, and a salad that John had tossed for the occasion. You could say we had our dessert first as we pieced on ice cream bars during the afternoon, along with a bit of candy and, for me, a brownie.
Big Blue set up in Gale and John’s driveway for our visit. Lookin’ good in the country!
I got to work cleaning up the kitchen after dinner, which is my calling. I’m very good at unskilled labor, and it’s good to know one’s place in the scheme of things.
After dinner we continued our visit ’til some time after 1800 hours when Lavonne and I bid them good-night, and headed to the coach for the night. It had been a lovely day and a pleasant family visit. And it’s good to have our own happy home on wheels waiting for us just outside the front door. By bringing our own home with us, we all can do our usual evening routines and keep out of each others’ way!
Sunset as seen from in front of Big Blue’s parking spot. Striking!
Back in the coach, Lavonne and I spent the evening mostly online, as usual. I began this travelogue, posting photos, etc. Afterwards, I retrieved the movie Intolerable Cruelty from my on-board collection of DVD movies, and began watching it for the umpteenth time. It is one of the Coen Brothers funniest comedies, starring George Clooney and Catherine Zeta-Jones. I also mixed a couple cool ones to go along with the movie.
My dear Lavonne headed to bed early – before 2100 hours. The first day of these trips is pretty tiring for us old folks, and I surely didn’t blame her. I enjoyed about half the movie, and then finally called it a day and joined her at 2330. It was good to be traveling and living aboard the coach again – even for only a couple nights.
Day 2, Friday, jacks down at Gale and John’s near Gridley.
I slept well ’til almost 0400, then tossed and turned, dozing in and out of sleep ’til Lavonne got up around 0530. I would have preferred to sleep another hour, but just couldn’t. For me, it’s pretty rare not to sleep well, but once in a while it happens. (Later I discovered that I had forgotten to take my bedtime batch of pills. That explained it!)
About 0830 we headed into the house to greet John. Gale was still sleeping, and with her Parkinson’s issue, she often sleeps ’til noon or later. That awful disease sure has altered her life. She was a very energetic and “get ‘r done” type before she became sick.
We had breakfast with John – just whatever we hunted and gathered. I had a couple Eggo toaster waffles followed by a bowl of raisin bran and a banana for dessert. We visited about an hour, then I did my kitchen cleanup duty, and we headed back to the coach for awhile.
I decided to take a walk for my daily exercise, so I headed down their lonely country road. I walked for almost a half hour. It was a pleasant country walk while it lasted.
Around 1130 hours, Gale was up and was enjoying a late breakfast. I mentioned to John that Chinese food sounded good to me for lunch, and he agreed. We decided on some egg foo young, chicken chow mein, and white rice. Lavonne wasn’t interested. Gale was still having breakfast, so I headed into town for a Chinese lunch for John and I.
When I returned we were both disappointed in the food, but ate nearly all of it anyway – it may not have been superb, but it was Chinese. Lavonne settled for soup. Lunch was not a highlight of the day, but we had a taco dinner planned that we looked forward to.
During the afternoon, I headed to the coach with Lavonne as Gale wanted to sleep some more. I took my grandpa nap, as I often do. With four old folks whiling away an afternoon, one shouldn’t expect excitement – and there was none to report.
About 1730 Lavonne and I got to work on our taco dinner. I diced tomatoes, green peppers, and onions. I also whacked up some lettuce. Lavonne worked on the tortillas and hamburger, and when it all came together for dinner the tacos were quite tasty. Lavonne and I cleaned up the kitchen afterwards, doing all we could to keep from increasing John’s work load – he stays so busy managing their home and caring for Gale full time.
After the good meal, we sat around the table and had a lovely visit ’til about 1900 hours. It was good to see Gale take a pretty active part in our evening visit. She enjoyed our reminiscing and chuckled at many of our stories. It was worth the trip to see her happy and taking part in the family visit.
We didn’t take many photos that day, so here’s another sunset photo. This was taken after our visit as we returned to the coach. A few clouds at sunset created a lovely glow on the horizon.
After we returned to the coach for the night, we spent another evening aboard – mostly on our laptops, naturally. Our visit was nearly over because we planned to head for home about 0900 Saturday morning. We had placed a Walmart pick-up order at a Stockton store for mid-morning, and we’d need to leave fairly early.
Day 3, Saturday, Gridley to home via SR99, I-5: 124 miles
We enjoyed another night in comfort and slept well. We were up and around a bit earlier than usual. We had a 1000 to 1100 hours pickup scheduled at a Stockton Walmart en route home.
When John called to let us know he was up and around, we walked to the house and visited a few minutes. Gale was still sleeping, so we could bid only John good-bye, and we thanked him for the lovely visit.
We pulled out of their driveway around 0800, perhaps our earliest departure yet from Gale and John’s. It was a beautiful morning to be driving Big Blue, and I enjoyed cruising along the country lanes near Gridley.
Another glorious field of wild mustard as we drove along a country lane south of Gridley. What a splash of color! Those are the Sutter Buttes in the background.
The traffic was usual for a Saturday morning, which is to say it wasn’t bad at all. Yet. Along our drive we saw millions of brilliant wild mustard blossoms in full bloom. It looked like entire fields were ablaze with bright yellow – it was just beautiful!
This beautiful mansion sits out in the country near Live Oak. It must be nice! (Click on photo to enlarge, click again for huge photo.)
We pulled into the Stockton Walmart about 1030 hours to pick up our groceries. When the young gal wheeled our order out, I helped stash it aboard. I took the frozen and refrigerated items into the coach and loaded them into the fridge and freezer. When we were done, our weekly grocery shopping was complete! It’s a truly great way to buy groceries – and more and more customers are choosing to order online and pick up at the store.
Loading Big Blue’s basement with bargains from Walmart – and our week’s grocery shopping was done! It really is very convenient to order online the day before, then simply stop by Walmart and have them bring the order to your vehicle. That’s a real time saver!
It was a relatively short drive to our home from Stockton. We arrived at 1115 hours, and then unloaded the grocery order and put it away. By the time we had unloaded all the stuff we brought with us for the trip, dumped the tanks, and backed Big Blue into her big RV port, it was 1315 hours – and that included a quick lunch. That’s not bad time for us old folks!
It was good to see Gale and John again. And it was nice to have completed another adventure aboard Big Blue and have it all go according to plan. She performed perfectly and I was very pleased to have her back and running great again!
Our next planned trip would be late March when we’d do it all again. Gale and John’s daughter, Jill, and her husband, Craig, planned to visit from Oregon. Also, Jill’s brother, Kevin, was planning to fly up from Arizona. It sounded all very good, and we were looking forward to the family reunion!
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.