Day 1, Saturday, July 18, 2020, home to Gridley via CA99
We had planned weeks ago for another visit to my twin sis, Gale, and her husband, John. They live in the country just outside the small farming town of Gridley. We timed the visit to coincide with their daughter’s visit, along with her husband, Craig. They drive down from La Pine, Oregon to visit. We all greatly enjoy one another’s company when we can get together.
This visit would be in the heat of summer, which in our great Central Valley usually brings very hot days – and we timed this visit for 100° weather! Not that we did so on purpose, but that’s about what we expect in July.
We headed for Gridley a few minutes after 1000 hours and joined the heavy traffic on CA99 northbound. It’s a very busy drive through the Sacramento area where CA99 and I-5 run together. A bit north of Sac, CA99 exits the interstate and is a less traveled highway through the farmland. Once there, the drive can be downright enjoyable.
A sign of the times. Ugh. This Covid virus is both scary and tiring. Will we ever get this awful thing behind us?!
The drive along CA99 scenery. This isn’t bad, but the views of homeless shanties and tents are numerous along Kalifornistan highways.
The rice fields seemed to be doing very well along our drive. This set of hoppers reminded me of my days many years ago hauling rice and other agricultural products. Looking back over my working years, truck driving was my favorite job. This time of year, those hoppers were likely delivering some kind of pesticide or fertilizer.
Once past Yuba City, we turned off the main highway and followed back roads to Gale and John’s place. We always enjoy the 20-some mile rural drive once we turn off CA99. Here we drive toward the Sutter Buttes. The white film on the walnuts (right) may be for sunburn protection.
We stopped along one of the back roads at our usual parking area, a farmer’s field adjacent to huge rice paddies. It was about noon and we wanted to have lunch before arriving. We made sandwiches and enjoyed what I consider beautiful farm country under the gaze of the nearby Sutter Buttes.
We arrived at Gale and John’s about 1300 hours. Lavonne headed to the house to begin visiting while I set the coach up for our two day visit. It was a very warm day, naturally, and we ran the coach air conditioners ’til after midnight.
The obligatory photo of Big Blue parked on Gale and John’s driveway for our visit.
We enjoyed a wonderful visit with family – and that included having my dear twin sis back! She has suffered from the debilitating Parkinson’s Disease for the past couple years. She lost the ability to walk, and seemed to lose much of her connection with people. She would happily sit in when we visited, but would take little participation. As I mentioned in recent posts, she is now under the care of Hospice. And this is why our trip was labeled “Miraculous” – Hospice took her off the powerful meds the doctors had her on, and she has very much returned to her old self.
She played checkers with Lavonne during our visit! She takes more of a part in our conversations! She used to sit silently with her eyes closed most of the time – but no more! She is more like her old self than anytime the past couple of years, and it’s a wonderful change! Our visit was so much better with Gale seemingly so much her old self.
The designated family cook, Craig, whipped up more of his magic in the kitchen for us! When dinner time rolled around, he served up what is about my favorite food – blackened chicken. I love thighs cooked black, and still moist inside.
Dinnertime! (L-R) Craig the cook, John, Jill, The Twins Gale & Dale, and Lavonne. What a feast we were about to enjoy…
Craig made a point of serving up some wonderful grilled and smoked and blackened chicken thighs with the skin on, and it was as tasty as chicken can be. I had two pieces with wonderful beans he cooked, onions, grilled and smoked corn on the cob, and salad! It was a wonderful treat, and I ate my fill.
Before leaving that morning, I purchased a small flat of strawberries at the nearby strawberry stand, and Lavonne prepared them for the cake. We enjoyed that wonderful dessert, and had plenty for the next night, too. mmmmm. Life is good – especially with good cooks in the family.
For dessert, Lavonne baked strawberry cake to make our version of strawberry short cake. Our version isn’t actual “short” cake, but real strawberry cake, and it’s great with fresh strawberries and whipped creme.
We enjoyed the evening visiting around the table, and singing at the piano as Gale played. What a treat that was to have her take an active part in our visit. Life is good, and especially good with the occasional miracle!
We headed to the coach around 2100 hours, and prepared our Margaritaville machine for Craig and Jill’s visit a few minutes later. The four of us enjoyed a round of very good margaritas along with some good conversation. And I forgot to take a photo.
It had been such a pleasant and miraculous day! Gale was so much her old self, and we were delighted. After Craig and Jill returned to the house, Lavonne and I spent another hour or so on our computers, etc. We finally retired about 2330 hours.
Day 2, Sunday, another day with family…
Our second day would be less active; no driving, certainly as much visiting, but I’d try to keep my camera out of everyone’s faces for the most part – and I did pretty well.
One sure thing I had to capture on my camera was this miracle of my dear sis playing the piano and singing – something she hasn’t done it two or three years! Jill and I sat on either side of her as we formed the Grace Trio and sang an old gospel song together!
It was such a pleasure to have her join in on singing and conversations with us.
I had a longer chat that Sunday with John about the changes in Gale’s medications. The meds that were stopped were for Parkinson’s Disease, certainly, but also pain pills she took for fibromyalgia. She also quit taking a few supplements that Hospice said were not helping her any. She joined in our conversation (!) and said that that pain had stopped, and she attributed it to her healing due to many folks’ prayers for her. If so, and I can’t question her… Hallelujah! I am very pleased to see her so much better.
I started the day, after morning chores, by taking a 25 minute walk along the nearby country roads. Then for breakfast, we hunted and gathered as we wished. I had a bowl of raisin bran cereal, then had two Eggo toaster waffles for dessert. Others made whatever seemed good to them. And we continued our visit.
Craig worked his kitchen magic again for dinner. He whipped up taco salad for the family, and it was another real treat for us. And, just for something new, he made creme corn from scratch! We’ve never had creme corn that didn’t come from a can, and it was another dinnertime winner. He cut corn from the very sweet grilled ears he’d cooked the day before, and added butter, cream, and seasoning. It was so rich and smooth that I was kicked out of the kitchen while trying to steal a quick taste before dinner! It was something we’d have to have again one day. And for dessert, there was more strawberry “shortcake” for everyone. It had been another very memorable dinner.
After dinner I helped clear the table and helped Jill a bit to clean up the kitchen. I then set to work finding other recordings of Gale and I singing hymns from prior visits. We had recorded at least twice in the past, and after some frustration as I searched the many travels recorded on this website, I found them (Here’s one from 2017). We all enjoyed watching them again in light of the grand time we had singing together this trip. It was a good time to be together as family and enjoy those old gospel songs.
Gale and Lavonne enjoyed playing checkers during the afternoon – and Gale won!
Around 2000 hours, we returned to the coach. Jill and Craig joined us sometime later, and we enjoyed our last round of Margaritaville cocktails from our present machine. The machine gave up the ghost as we were making a second round. It just quit in the process of shaving ice, and refused to come back to life. We enjoyed that last round anyway, but with a bit less ice than usual. And my dear Wifey is already shopping for a new Margaritaville online.
After a lovely time together with Jill and Craig, they headed back to the house for the night. It had been a wonderful, laid-back sort of day with family, and the next day we would have to head for home.
Day 3, Monday, Gridley to home via CA99, I-5: 139 miles total trip
My morning began like most others, and I worked through the morning chores with the goal in mind of heading for home as early as would be convenient. But before leaving, we would head over to the house and enjoy breakfast with the family.
Things didn’t go as planned as we were heading out of the coach for breakfast. I stepped down the stairwell to help Lavonne unlock the door, and as I stepped back up the stairs, crowded into the well with her, I raised my head too high and whacked my head into the sharp corner of the overhead blackboard which used to house the TV.
Note the sharp lower right corner of the blackboard where I cracked my head!
I have smacked my head on that #%$%@!! corner several times now, but never so severe as that morning. I began cussing and bleeding at once, so I grabbed the kitchen towel to stem the flow. Eventually it stopped bleeding with the aid of Jill, the acting school nurse where she works. I held a damp cloth to my wound for probably half an hour or so, and the bleeding stopped. I had a headache and was a bit woozy for a while, but once I got to work getting the coach ready to roll, I felt just fine. In spite of the morning’s head banging, I very much enjoyed pancakes that Jill made for us that morning.
We bid the family good-bye and wanted so much to hug ’em all, but still resisted as we still should, I suppose. We pulled out of Gale and John’s driveway a bit before 1030 hours, and headed for home.
We experienced the usual heavy traffic, especially through Sacramento, but met with no delays.
We stopped at a Shell station south of Yuba City to fill up with fuel at $2.75 per. The cheap diesel at my usual station, Gridley’s Fastrip, was selling for $2.66, but the 9¢ difference was not worth the hassle at that busy, busy station. We were nearly alone at the Shell station.
Another sign of the times.
We arrived home at 1320 hours to begin the unloading. The weather was very mild, under 90°, and in a couple hours the work was done, including dumping tanks, adding fresh water, and washing the bugs off the front cap and windshields. I backed Big Blue into her oversized carport ’til her next call to service. It had been a wonderful visit with family, and a miraculous one, too!
I’ve been feeling the urge to bum around the country for a couple of weeks, and in August will likely do just that – stay tuned!
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.