Grocery Run #2
Day 1, Thursday, April 16, Home to Gridley via I-5, CA99
Since my last trip, two weeks ago, I planned to head north to Gridley for groceries again – and for all the right reasons:
1. I’d blissfully enjoy another couple of days and a night aboard the coach. (I am soooo overdue for some bumming around the country aboard Big Blue for two or three weeks!)
2. I’d enjoy driving about 250 miles.
3. I’d see my dear sister and brother-in-law again.
4. I’d deliver their Walmart grocery pickup order.
5. I’d arrive back home with two weeks of groceries for my dear Wifey and me.
6. I’d improve my mental health by getting out of the house and out of town for a while during this pandemic lock-down!
It seemed that those were worthy reasons. So a couple of days before leaving I washed both end caps of the coach, cleaned the fancy aluminum rims and the front windows and mirrors. Because of my vanity, Big Blue must look good for her travels, and she looked just fine for the trip.
The prior several days I worked on the large (for us) grocery order on Walmart’s website. These days, one must order several days in advance, so I did. For example, if one went online today (Thursday) to place an order, the earliest pickup day offered would be Monday. For the three years I’ve used their pickup program, I’ve always been able to order for the next day, with the choice to order up to a few days away. But not during these times. And now, many more items are shown out of stock on the order site than ever before. The delay gave me several days to keep checking back to see if sold-out items might appear back in stock, and some of them did. Times are difficult, no doubt, for Walmart with some associates out due to the coronavirus and other illnesses. They have hired many new employees during this time, and things aren’t always flowing as smoothly as usual in their operations.
I had recently shown my brother-in-law how to place an order online for Walmart’s grocery pickup program, so he had also made an order for pickup at the same time as mine. He was very pleasantly surprised to find Walmart’s prices much lower than his local Safeway. Of course they were lower – Walmart doesn’t play membership games or require the purchase of multiple items to get a discount! But I digress…
I headed out of our little gated senior community at 1030 hours. This trip would be to the Walmart in Yuba City, not the Marysville store as the trip two weeks ago. The cities are cheek by jowl to one another, separated only by the Feather River. I drive right through Yuba City every time I head to Gridley.
Traffic along I-5 as I headed north to Gridley – it seemed lighter than usual, but, apparently, not in this photo.
The drive was as usual, except that the traffic was lighter due to the coronavirus fear and effects upon the economy. I don’t believe I saw a single bus the entire trip. Everyone that can stay at home seemed to be doing so, including my dear Wifey and I. But this day it felt so good to stay at home aboard my home on wheels!
Coronavirus – or Covid-19 – was talked about everywhere, it seemed. In Kalifornistan the order was given forbidding unnecessary travel. In my case, as I traveled aboard Big Blue, I was at home – in my home on wheels! And driving to pick up groceries was considered essential travel. A lot of folks were staying put; schools were closed, sporting events were cancelled, many businesses closed, and even churches weren’t gathering for worship.
But the awful virus didn’t stop spring – it had surely sprung in the vast Central Valley. The many orchards and vineyards along my drive were growing nicely, and the valley was wonderfully green.
North of Stockton, cattle were grazing, grass was lush, and spring had sprung!
I arrived at the Yuba City Walmart about half an hour before my scheduled pickup of 1300 hours. I was disappointed to see that the pickup area was right in front of the store, smack dab in the middle of the main parking lot, with no room to park Big Blue as there was at the Marysville store last trip. I called the pickup department and was advised that I could park at the far end of the parking lot where I had plenty of room, and they’d bring out the orders. I was relieved.
The orders came rolling out not long after my call. But they brought the wrong one for me along with the right one for John. We loaded John’s order in a basement storage area, and they said they’d be back very soon with the right one for me. Half an hour or so later, mine showed up, and I busily carried all the frozen and refrigerated items inside to the coach’s refrigerator/freezer. The associate loaded all the other groceries into the basement along with John’s. And it was a lot – together our orders totaled about $300 worth. And I continued my drive to Gridley and John and Gale’s place.
Wild mustard was bustin’ out all over, too. Beautiful!
Crossing the Feather River in Sutter County.
The Sutter Buttes on a beautiful day in the country.
I backed into Gale and John’s driveway around 1430 hours. First thing, I hauled John’s groceries to the house. After I set the coach up for my overnight stay, I returned to the house and visited awhile with Gale and John. Gale, my sweet twin sister, suffers from Parkinson’s Disease, and it has taken its toll. She loves to visit, and we chatted a while in the living room.
I returned to the coach after our visit. I edited photos and began this travelogue. For the first time this year, I ran the coach air conditioners for a while to stay cool. The temperature was just the low 80s in Gridley, but the coach got a bit warm, sitting as she does in the hot sun. After evening chores, including a shower, I headed back to the house for dinner with Gale and John.
Here is the obligatory photo of Big Blue set up in Gale and John’s driveway for the night. Note the awnings extended over the small side windows – it was the first real warm day and it portended the coming hot summer. I’d be happy to have springtime weather all year long.
After dinner, I brought my laptop into the house and we enjoyed looking at old family photos. Those old photos sure brought back a lot of memories, along with the reminder that we’ve been around for a lot of years! And now, we’re the old folks of the families, and along with all those bygone years and memories, so many of those aunts and uncles and cousins we grew up with are also gone. Sad. But such is life.
I returned to the coach about 2000 hours, and placed my usual call home to chat with Wifey for a while. Anytime I travel alone, we talk on the phone at least morning and evening – sometimes more. I also worked more on this blog. Later I dug out the old movie Driving Miss Daisy and watched about half of it as I enjoyed a couple cool ones. Somehow that movie is so heartwarming I often choose it above all the options available online. I think I nearly have its dialogue memorized.
I called it a day at 2330 hours and headed for bed. It had been a long and pleasant day.
Day 2, Friday, Gridley to home via CA99, I-5: 244 miles (entire trip)
I was up around 0630 to welcome the new day after a good night’s sleep. Having run the air conditioners the prior day, I had the heater on that morning – it was a bit cool. I worked through the morning chores, then checked the usual morning websites for news, comics, and more.
I headed to the house when I noticed John had opened the front window blinds. I enjoyed breakfast with John, partaking of their frozen waffles and good ol’ raisin bran cereal – things I don’t allow myself at home. Not that they’re bad for me, but because if they’re around the house I tend to snack on them during the day. We visited over our breakfast for a time, and I missed Gale, but because of that awful Parkinson’s, she sleeps much of the daytime. After my brief visit with John, I headed to the coach to convert my cozy home on wheels to a very comfy highway cruiser. I bid John goodbye about 0900 hours with thanks for the night’s stay.
I headed into town for a fill up of very, very cheap diesel by Kalifornistan standards. The Fastrip station in town was selling Diesel 2 for the unheard of price of just $2.20 per! That was just unbelievable because other stations along my route were selling the stuff for as much as $3.80! I honestly didn’t know how they could sell so cheaply, but I knew that I wanted some.
This has got to be the photo of the day! Diesel 2 for just $2.20 per – unheard of in Kalifornistan. I had room for only 33 gallons in the big 90 gallon tank, but at least I got some at that great price. Just last trip, two weeks earlier, the same station was selling it for $2.70 and I filled up then because even that was a good price.
After the fill up, I headed south on CA99 toward home. My drive was unremarkable, as I like it. It was a bit windy, but it was still a lovely spring day and I enjoyed the sights along the drive.
Heading south on CA99 with lighter than usual traffic. I enjoyed the drive – and wished I was on a two or three week adventure into the unknown. And I hoped that in due time, I would once again be a happy highway bum!
Driving through Yuba City, I saw these feral chickens scratching for seeds ‘n scraps along the shoulder. I’ve written of these critters before, as they’re well known for populating areas in the town – including begging for handouts at local restaurant parking lots.
Here is a brief news story about the cluckers:
What a beautiful time of year to drive in the countryside!