Thursday, December 7, 2017


As we head south, we decided we would take State Highway 99 for a change of scenery this time.

 We got a nice view of Mt. Shasta as we drove through Weed.  Beautiful mountain...

This has put us through some towns that I haven't seen in many years.  One such town is Modesto.  We decided to camp just outside of Modesto in Patterson for a couple of nights, so we took a day trip over to it.

When I was a teenager, I had an aunt who lived here, and later on, my Dad and step mom lived here for a few years.  I have some fond memories of this town.  My aunt had a huge black walnut tree in her front yard, and for many years, she would send me a big bag of walnuts for Christmas!  It was one of my most favorite Christmas gifts ever.

My Dad worked for one of the large almond growers that supplied almonds to Blue Diamond.  Modesto, and the surrounding valley has hundreds and hundreds of nut orchards, mostly almonds, but I believe, they also grow walnuts and pistachios as well.  This whole areas is the "grocery store of America".  Dairy, citrus, vegetables, fruit, nuts, just about can't go hungry here!  ;-)

My very first trip to San Francisco was when I was spending the summer with my aunt.  I was about 14, and a son of a friend of hers and his friend invited to take me to go see the city since "we were so close".  He had a little MG, and the three of us piled in the way back...good thing I was small then!  What a hoot!  But, when your that young, you don't care, it's all fun!  ;-)

George Lucas probably made Modesto more famous than anybody, since he grew up there and based his movie "American Graffiti" on it.  That happened long after my summers there, so I missed the hubbub, but the town has rewarded him with a cute statue & park in his name as well has the American Graffiti Classic Car Show and Festival every summer.

It was nice to just drive down "main street" and see the changes (and some familiar buildings) and just remember my fun summers here...

...on the road in California,  Marie

If you wish to view the rest of the photos from this trip, you can at my Flickr account at:

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Fun, Family & Festivities

Every November we head to Tacoma for the month to spend with my family and to get our yearly "human & RV check-ups".  My two sisters and their families live there and our RV is registered there, so it's our "home base" so to speak.

We came early this year (in October) because my middle sister was recently diagnosed with leukemia and I wanted to spend as much time with her as possible.

We certainly had our variety of weather during the six weeks we were there!  Soon after our arrival, it snowed!  That's the first time I've seen it do that while we've visited, especially in October!  It came down all day long in big, fluffy flakes.  It had me really worried because I thought if it was snowing now, then what was the end of November, when we were scheduled to leave, going to be like?  Would we make it through the pass OK?  My worries were wasted, because just a few days later, the sun came out and we had warm, lovely weather that melted not only the snow away, but warmed everything up beautifully!  No sooner did I get used to the sunshine, then the rains came...and came...and came.  Cold, drizzling, gray days..."typical Washington weather".

What did brighten our stay, was a visit by our Canadian friends!  Sherrie & Ken drove down from Calgary for a few days.  They had never been to Tacoma, so we had a chance to share a wee bit of our favorite spots with them.  Top of the list, was Gig Harbor.  Luck was on our side, and the day we had, the sun came out in full force, making a great day along the harbor.  Lunch at Tides Tavern for fresh fish and clam chowder topped it off nicely.  All the trees were still showing off their autumn colors too, so that made a nice impression for our guests!

One of the things we do while "home" (besides all the doctor & RV appointments) is play Wahoo.  A good friend of the family brought a board that his father made, over to my oldest sister's a couple of years ago, and we play it all the time.  Last year, when Jack and I were at the campground in Surprise, he made several more boards (one for us, and a couple to share with family).  It's addicting!  Last year, at Thanksgiving, all the teens went in the back room and played video games.  This year I took one of the marble boards (knowing that one of the teens liked it) and suggested that they give it a try.  It was such a hit, they all played, taking turns, staying in the room with all of us, throughout the whole night...not a video game touched!  Ha!  Score one for "old school" fun!
cards and a marble board game called

Thanksgiving is always the highlight of our stay.  This year was going to be even better because the day before was my middle sister's 81st birthday - and her making it this far, was a double celebration for all of us!  To have all of my nieces, nephews, wives, husbands, their kids, friends, my two sisters and tons of incredible food all in a beautiful warm home for hours and to listen to fun conversation and laughter is pure heaven to me.  The only thing that would have been better would to have had my own children there as well.  We did the next best thing, and "face-timed" them on the phone.  Such a fun thing the new electronics are.  My twin sons and their families were together in New York enjoying full bellies, being three hours earlier.  They were celebrating as well, having a successful hunt the few days prior.  Unfortunately my daughter and grandson were nursing bad colds, so "celebration plans" were not on the agenda at that end.  I did see later that they were enjoying "pie" though...and that being her favorite part of Thanksgiving anyway, I'm thinking she got what she wanted after all! 

We found that we had a "hitch-hiker" that came with us...I think from Oregon on our way north, then had the run of the place while we were tucked in at my sister's for the six weeks.  We discovered the little guy when we checked in on the rig one day and saw his "droppings".  Ugh.  I had Jack go get a couple mouse traps and set them.  It looks as if it was only one, and we caught him, as I've not seen any signs since...but for only one little guy, he sure did leave a mess!  It's reminded me of the movie "Home Alone"!  While we were away, he certainly had the run of the place, and made the most of it!! Wow!  Now I have my work cut out cleaning out every-single-drawer-and-cupboard!  Ugh

We spent a couple more days visiting with my two sisters, eating wonderful leftovers, then it was time to leave and head south.  I don't blog while I'm in Tacoma...for two reasons, one the WiFi connection at my oldest sister's is almost non-existent, and two, I try and spend as much time "with" family as possible, knowing I can catch up on other stuff once I leave.

As I write this, we are "on the road" heading south as fast as we can to get to warmer weather!  Sunshine here we come!!  I've bundled up with Uggs, sweatshirts, coats, etc as much as I care to!  I'm ready to shed this heavy stuff and dig out my shorts again! 

...on the road, Marie