Day 1, Tuesday, Election Day Nov. 3, Home to Gridley via CA99, I-5.
Yep, another trip to my sis’ place to visit her and John – and to exercise Big Blue after almost a month of sitting. We’d visit again in just three weeks for our traditional day after Thanksgiving visit – but I had an awful itch to hit the road sooner just to live aboard our little home on wheels if only for a couple of days.
The trip of only two nights would take a few hours of prep time to get Big Blue cleaned inside and out for the trip. Those hours, as usual in my old age, were spread a couple hours a day over three days. The couple hours of the first day I washed the outside, the second day was for cleaning the inside good and proper, and the last day for polishing the bling. The bling is the bright aluminum rims and the mirror finish stainless steel of the fancy mud flap. Yes. I am vain and my vanity demands much of me.
The aluminum rims I clean regularly to keep looking like new. This photo was taken in June of 2018, the day I had them installed.
The custom mud flap I had made in Oregon. I clean it carefully before every trip as my vanity demands. I think it really sets off Big Blue’s pretty rear end. She does look good driving away.
The day finally arrived to load up the coach and head to Gridley. The job took a couple of hours as we also take along our own food plus a couple of dinners for Gale and John and us. We try our best to keep John’s workload from increasing because of our visits. Being a full time caretaker, as he is, gives him more work than a fella on the cusp of becoming an octogenarian should have.
Click to enlarge (after clicking, scroll down and click on “View full size” for even larger photos. Click again for a huge photo.):
The drive along I-5 heading toward Sacramento.
Someone has a fine looking herd of Black Angus.
For us hicks driving into the “big” city of Sacramento, we are given warning of the mess to come.
A pretty cool photo of flying waterfowl far above a harvested paddy with snowy egrets on the ground.
Once loaded, we locked up our home, then climbed aboard our little home on wheels, and headed north on the nearby CA99. The day was absolutely perfect for travel with plenty of sunshine and calm winds. It was neither too warm nor too cool, and we enjoyed the drive. Well… as much as one can enjoy the drive over Kalifornistan’s rotten highways and heavy traffic.
Once through the busy-ness of Sacramento and back on CA99 in rice country, the drive was much more enjoyable. I was, as always, amazed at the attraction flooded rice paddies have for waterfowl. We saw thousands of birds on the water and in the air as we drove along the harvested paddies. It was all quite a sight, and I certainly enjoyed the view.
Click to enlarge and read captions:
I believe these are swans enjoying a flooding rice paddy.
Thousands of feathered critters on the water!
Yes – it’s quite a show.
…and more waterfowl on a flooded paddy.
According to norcalwater.org , our Sacramento Valley lies on the southerly end of the Pacific Flyway migratory route and is one the most prominent wintering sites for waterfowl in the world. Waterfowl migrate to the Sacramento Valley by the millions from as far away as Alaska, Canada, and Siberia. So I guess I have reason to find the flooded paddies so interesting.
We took the back roads to Gale and John’s place once we were north of Yuba City. By doing so we missed the traffic and signal lights of Live Oak and Gridley, two small towns along CA99.
We stopped for lunch at the usual parking area next to a rice paddy near Gale and John’s. We like to have lunch out of the way before arriving to keep things easier all ’round.
The rice paddy where we parked for lunch was green and lush in June, but the paddy sported quite a shorn look in November.
We arrived at Gale and John’s place at 1345 hours. While I set up the coach for our stay, Lavonne went into the house and began visiting. When the coach was ready for the two night and day visit, I joined them.
We enjoyed a lovely visit most of the evening. We watched the election results on occasion on the TV or on the iPhones. It had been a strange election with all the delays due to the mail in ballots involved, while many voters still lined up at their voting places. Of course, here in Kalifornistan, everyone well knows that we are a very deep blue state, but a number of propositions at the state level were very interesting.
The obligatory photo of Big Blue out in the country at Gale and John’s home.
For dinner, Gale wanted chicken pot pies, so we brought them into the house and Lavonne zapped them along with some baked potatoes. John whipped up a quick salad, and we had a very good and quick dinner. As usual, I handled the clean up because of my unskilled labor talent.
We headed to the coach later than usual, having spent time together wondering about the elections all across the country. We returned to the coach around 2000 hours. We spent the usual times on the computers, and I enjoyed a couple cool ones while watching YouTube videos – a fairly entertaining way to pass the evening. We retired at our usual times for a cozy night aboard Big Blue.
Day 2, Wednesday, at rest in the country near Gridley.
We slept well in the coach, as usual, except that my dear Trail Buddy had been struggling with a cough for the prior couple of weeks. She had a chest X-ray and had taken medication, but still she had the cough. That made for a rough night as she chose to sleep on the couch. When I awoke around 0630, she was already up and on her laptop visiting her usual sites.
The day at Gale and John’s was very laid back for us. We had each meal together and had much time to just visit. Lavonne and I headed to the coach in the afternoon and took naps as well as simply living aboard for a few hours. Gale napped during much of the afternoon. As always, it was very convenient to have our little home on wheels in the driveway and to allow them the time they need and want to themselves during our visits, and the same goes for our time alone.
The only photo of the day was of John and Gale’s backyard which I think is very well landscaped and beautiful. I envy them all that room and all those lovely trees.
We enjoyed dinner with Gale and John, which included lasagna along with garlic bread and salad. We visited ’til around 1900 hours, then bid them goodnight and headed back to the coach for the night. It had been a restful family day and we enjoyed our time with them.
Back at the coach, I spent a couple hours of the evening as usual – on the computer to update this travelogue. Then, with a couple cool ones, I watched more YouTube. Lavonne visited a few of her favorite sites, but only ’til a bit after 2100 hours. She headed for bed early, dealing with the coughing issue. A couple hours later I joined her. Eventually, she moved to the couch because of the coughing, and spent the night there. We both got about our usual amount of sleep, but she had a pretty rough night.
Day 3, Thursday, Nov. 5, Gridley to home via CA99, I-5: 245 miles total round trip
I rolled out of bed around 0630 hours to find my Trail Buddy at the table perusing the ‘net on her laptop. She’d slept enough, she said, but the coughing woke her several times during the night. It was mid 60s in the coach on a cool morning, so I turned on the heaters. Lavonne really doesn’t seem to need the place warmer than that, but I am a wimp and certainly do. Then I began my day with the usual chores.
We joined John and Gale in the house sometime after 0800 for breakfast. We each whipped up our own breakfasts, then continued visiting with Gale and John. The delayed election results were the main topics of the morning, and we had no idea when the results would finally be known.
I also recorded the daily confirmed Covid 19 cases and deaths, as I do each morning, and discovered the prior day was the very worst so far. There were over 105,000 new cases since the prior morning, and over 1000 deaths in the same period. It was not what one might call a morning of good news.
I excused myself sometime after 0900 hours to set the coach up for the trip home. We had a Walmart pickup order at the Delta Shores shopping center in Sacramento between 1100 and noon. After the coach was ready to roll, we bid Gale and John goodbye with thanks for the nice stay. We headed for home at 0945.
The drive home was as usual, and our stop at Walmart went fine. I planned to take a photo of the grocery pickup, but as is so often the case when it comes to memory in my old age, I forgot. While my aged brain does so many things slower and less dependably, the portion of my brain that creates the ability to forget is doing better than ever. So I will have to add a file photo of an earlier pickup:
The Walmart pickup program is a great timesaver, and during the awful pandemic, it is a wiser choice. Even so, I often have to go into the store for a few items such as produce which I’d rather pick out myself.
Here are a very few photos of the drive home. Click to enlarge and read the captions:
A view of the Sutter Buttes as we drove a back road near Gale and John’s place.
Living in the valley, this is usually about as good as fall colors seem to get. Sad.
Driving the elevated I-5 through the capital of Kalifornistan.
We arrived home a bit after 1300 hours, and began at once the big job (for old folks) of unloading all the groceries and all the stuff we took with us for our trip. Including a break for lunch and another just to rest awhile, I had the unloading done and the groceries put away, with Lavonne’s help, around 1500 hours. I then idled the coach down to the RV lot in our little gated community. I dumped the holding tanks and filled the fresh water tank, then parked Big Blue in her oversized carport ’til her next call to duty.
In just three weeks it would be Thanksgiving. We’d likely spend it with our son, Craig, at his lovely home on the delta, for a small family gathering. The next day we’d probably go back to my sis’ place near Gridley for a couple of nights.
I’m already rarin’ to go!
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