To Gridley for My Mental Health – and Groceries!

Day 1, Thursday, April 2, 2020, a mental therapy trip from home to Gridley via CA99, I-5, CA70: 240 miles total trip

The Covid-19 scare was in full swing at the time of this trip! My dear Lavonne and I were in real fear of contact. Other than walks around our senior community we hadn’t been anywhere – and no one, not even family, had been in our home. My only trips to Walmart were for grocery pick ups, but hadn’t gone into the store since March 9. At the time of this trip, I was due for another grocery run. This one would be different – I would get away on the coach and spend the night aboard.

As noted in my post of March 28, I checked south to Visalia’s Walmart, but that county had a lot of virus cases. I discovered that Oroville’s Walmart didn’t offer pick up service yet. When I visit my sis, Gale and her husband, John, in Gridley, I drive right through Yuba City, which sits next to Marysville. Both have Walmarts that offer the pick up service.

I placed an order with the Marysville store, which offered more choices of time to pick up. I would get a couple of week’s worth of groceries, drive the coach north about 120 miles or so, and spend the night in Gale and John’s driveway, where I am always welcome. I’d enjoy an overnight trip in the coach – something I was really needing to do to get a break from being house bound during the awful coronavirus scare.

2020-4-2a Loading up
Ahhhhhh! I was making good my escape from being house bound!

I pulled the coach up to the house and began loading up for my short but much anticipated adventure aboard Big Blue! I had very little to load up for the short trip, and pulled out of our community’s gate at 1100 hours. I headed north on CA99, thrilled to be On The Road Again!

The drive was wonderful, and just what I wanted! I bucked a pretty steady north wind the entire drive but it was springtime and sunny and pleasant. I had a pick up scheduled for 1400 hours, and had plenty of time to get there.

2020-4-2b Country along I-5It was a lovely spring day to drive through the country. This photo was taken south of Sacramento.

2020-4-2c trucksThe traffic was lighter than usual, but only a few cars were missing – the trucks seemed entirely too well represented.

As I drove through Sacramento on I-5, I finally gave up on being closed in with so many big rigs in the slower two lanes. It’s something I’m familiar with having driven ’em for years myself, and because I usually drive Big Blue at 58 MPH while big rigs fly by me all the time. But there were so many of them around me that I needed to break free. I finally pulled into the fast lanes and blew by them ’til I reached the off ramp for CA99. Yes, Big Blue can easily cruise at 70 MPH if one is so inspired. There were relatively few trucks as I continued toward Marysville.

2020-4-2d Sacto
The Sacramento skyline – and too many $%&*!! big rigs!

Once back on CA99 the drive was as usual. I pegged my cruise control to 58 MPH and just enjoyed the country drive. And it was a beautiful spring day – except for the wind.

2020-4-2e mustardWild mustard was everywhere – and it was a beautiful sight!

Driving into Marysville is a fairly new drive to me – I always continue on CA99 into Yuba City. This trip, I turned off at the CA70 junction which goes to Marysville. The two highways nearly parallel themselves north to the twin cities. It was only the second time I’d taken that road – at least that I remember, but I don’t remember much these days!

I had every intention of taking a photo or three while at Walmart. Naturally, I forgot all about it while there. I arrived about 1300 hours – an hour before my pick up time. So I took a walk around the far end of the lot, staying clear of the people and traffic. Then I whipped up lunch as I continued waiting.

Eventually my time came and out rolled the big (for us) order of groceries. It was about two weeks worth. I explained to the young lady that I needed to keep my distance, and she was used to that request as this virus fear is widespread. I had her set the refrigerated and frozen items down, and I carried them into the fridge/freezer. She stowed the rest below in the basement, and it took up most of two compartments. I thanked her for her help, and continued on to Gridley.

2020-4-2g MarysvilleThe drive through Marysville included heavy traffic, but the flow was very smooth with few stops.

2020-4-2f windy driveYep! It was a windy day. Note the snow on the distant Sierras. I read recently that our snow pack was about half of average.

I had one more stop to make before arriving at my sis’ place near Gridley. Having checked the Gas Buddy website, I discovered the Fastrip gas station in Gridley was selling Diesel 2, the good stuff, for just $2.70 per! That was an incredibly good price in hi-dollar Kalifornistan, and I had to have some! I followed my navigator’s instructions and pulled into the place for a fill up. After something over 67 gallons, the big 90 gallon tank was full! I was mighty pleased to find good diesel so cheap. The crash in the oil market from $60 to $20 is very hard on the producers, but it’s a windfall for us consumers!

2020-4-2i cheap diesel!Yessssss! Diesel for $2.70 per – I had to have some! Big Blue guzzled about 67 gallons of the stuff.

The drive to Gale and John’s was less than five miles. I pulled in and set the coach up for the overnight stay. It was so good to drop the jacks and power out the slides for the night. After missing RVing all of the prior month, I was delighted to be aboard for even one night!

I went into the house and visited with my dear twin sis, Gale, and my brother-in-law, John. Gale suffers from Parkinson’s Disease, and she is so blessed to have John care for her the way he does. They’ve been married for going on 58 years!

I didn’t hug or shake hands or touch at all – and it seemed so strange. But these aren’t normal times, and I really wanted to be as cautious as possible. We sat at the dining table as Gale was finishing up a meal. After half an hour or so, I returned to the coach to begin this travelogue and edit photos.

2020-4-2k Gale & John'sThe obligatory photo of Big Blue in Gale and John’s driveway. For a change, I included my skinny self! I recently arrived at the mid 150 pound weight I once was back in the 1980s! That’s down from a high of over 220 pounds when I had heart surgery in 1995. Believe me, the mid 150s feels a lot better!

I returned to the house about 1800 hours, having worked on this travelogue, showered, etc. while in the coach. I brought my own frozen dinner along, and zapped it in their microwave. I also brought an apple, bread, etc. for my dinner. I didn’t want John to have to feed me – he’s so busy all the time and we do our best to not add to his workload.

After dinner and a nice visit while maintaining our six foot distances, at least most of the time, I returned to the coach for the night. I wanted to post this new travelogue to my site, and had a fair amount of clacking on the ‘puter to do so.

After posting this to my website, I mixed a couple of cool ones. I sat back and watched more of The Century: America’s Time on YouTube, a wonderful 15 part documentary of our country during the last century. I called it a day and headed to bed about 2330. I slept very well out in the countryside near Gridley.

Day 2, Friday, Gridley to home via CA99, I-5

I was up a bit before 0700 and turned up the heaters and the water heater, then headed back to bed while things warmed up. It was a cool night for the Central Valley, near 40°, but I stayed cozy in the coach.

I thought the trip home would  include another stop at a Walmart in Yuba City.  I wanted to pick up a few things that we still needed, but were not available for my pick up order. John had just given me a face mask, and I thought I’d go in the store safely with it. But, no.

During my morning chat on the phone with my dear Wifey, she convinced me not to. We have plenty of food on hand, and what items I thought we needed, we can do without for safety’s sake. We are both in our mid 70s and have “underlying” medical conditions, which we’ve all heard about so much. That means we have to take this virus threat very seriously!

2020-4-3a morning coffeeMorning coffee at the ‘puter aboard Big Blue. Life is good!

My time with John that morning was short and sweet. My sis wasn’t up and likely wouldn’t be for some time. So I thanked John for putting up with me again, we bid our good-byes, then I headed back to the coach. I converted my cozy home into a very comfortable highway cruiser, and pulled out of their driveway about 0900 hours.

I took the back roads, missing both little towns of Gridley and Live Oak. The drive was splendid on a beautiful, spring day. The farm and ranch country was so green and vibrant, and even the usually brown Sutter Buttes were somewhat decked out in green.

2020-4-3b lovely startSoon after leaving Gale and John’s, I began the drive along country roads. It was a great day to be aboard Big Blue!

The wind had subsided completely and it was a calm drive nearly all the way home. Again, the traffic seemed lighter than usual, and I am not complaining about that.

2020-4-3c Sutter ButtesThe very scenic Sutter Buttes as seen over an orchard that was bustin’ out with spring.

Having left at my usual breakfast time, I wanted to stop and whip up a quick one. I remembered the spot we have stopped at before that is so near the Buttes, so I headed there for breakfast.

2020-4-3e breakfast stopDuring prior stops here, those paddies looked like expansive lawns as the rice grew thick and green. It’s too early for rice, but I was sure rice would be sprouting once again in due time. What a nice view of the Sutter Buttes.

Once parked, I zapped a breakfast croissant sandwich, peeled a couple very small clementines, and enjoyed a quick breakfast under the gaze of the partly green Sutter Buttes.

The pleasant drive continued ’til I reached Sacramento, and even there traffic wasn’t as bad as usual. The roadways were just as shot as ever, but not quite so many cars and trucks were speeding by me.

Click to enlarge and read the captions:

Once below Sacramento and driving near the California Delta, the wind kicked up a bit, but it wasn’t at all like the prior day. When summer arrives, that delta breeze will become a daily wind that seems never to cease. Back in my fishing days, I would leave the wind-blown delta to the skiers, boaters and jet skiers all summer, and I’d head to the mountain lakes.

2020-4-3j showy mustardBeautiful! What a splendid time of year to be cruisin’ through the Central Valley.

2020-4-3k tomorrow's wineNext season’s wine crop was beginning to bust out in spring, too. Those wine drinkers prayin’ for rain in California better get back on their knees – we need a lot more rain!

I arrived home at straight up noon, and had my work cut out for me. But first things, first! My dear Wifey walked outside to greet me and I shared a warm hug and kiss with her. And then I had two weeks of groceries to haul into the house and help put away. Much of it was in the fridge and freezer and was kept nice and cold. After the groceries were put away, I had my stuff to unload and put away.

When the unloading was done, I whipped up a bowl of oatmeal for lunch, and sat at the table to recuperate a bit. This old man can’t haul so much stuff and not get pretty darn tired!

After lunch I idled the coach back to the RV lot and dumped the holding tanks, filled the fresh water tank, and backed Big Blue into her covered space.

It had been a good, albeit short, one night adventure. I thoroughly enjoyed the driving, the visit with Gale and John, and living aboard the coach for a couple days.

Next trip? I told John I might see him again in a couple weeks. This mixing RVing with grocery shopping ain’t half bad!

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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2 Responses to To Gridley for My Mental Health – and Groceries!

  1. Kent Moritz/couponclipper/spudspud says:

    thanks.enjoyed traveling with you.

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