We packed up in the morning Friday, Rita was really deep into the thick of planning the meals, Rob was wrapping up work while watching the weather reports and road conditions on Highway 4.
Reports came in that the Colletts might not be coming up that day due to car trouble, possibly something about their ride not playing nicely with tire chains. Soon after, Rob saw that Highway 4 was closed by Caltrans near Cabbage Patch, which is about halfway between Arnold and Bear Valley. A plan B was quickly put into place with Rob calling around hotels and motels in the foothills of Highway 4.
Starting in Murphys, there was nothing that would allow a dog. Moving to Angels Camp, turns out it's a smaller town than what Rob originally thought. Over to Sonora and Jamestown and we hit pay dirt. A motel between those two towns had a room, for pretty cheap, which would allow Lyra to stay there too, for only a $10 extra fee. Rob booked it on the first call, and we were still on track for getting out of town for the weekend.
We left at about 2pm and headed south, over Pacheco Pass, and then turned north toward Gustine on a series of two lane blacktop roads. We stopped at Oakdale's Tractor Supply store for a bag of food for the pup (we'd forgotten in in the whirlwind of getting Archer ready to go to the Berry's). Thirty miles later, we pulled into the Country Inn Sonora, right on Highway 108/Highway 49.
The place was pretty nice, especially for the price. Jimtown is in the foothills, so there are a lot of hills around. Our room, though on the third floor, was accessible via car; we just drove up the hill around back and parked squarely in front of our room. That made unloading and refactoring our rooftop load a lot easier.
Dinner at Morelia Mexican Restaurant (to go, we ate in room with another ton of single use plastic waste that housed all the salsa, soup(!), salad, etc) was good, and Penny really liked the little old west town feel of historic downtown Jamestown. We'll need to go explore it again tomorrow before we leave. Cross our fingers that Highway 4 opens up just long enough for us to scoot up the hill!
River raft trip to Cache Creek Canyon in northwest Yolo County over the past weekend. It was another trip organized by Chris Hilton and his merry crew of ex-Adventure Guides families.
Cache Creek is not snowmelt, so it's not cold water. Penny and I both tried our hand at guiding the raft. I was a bit more successful than she was. At the rapids called Mothers, which is just below the bridge, she slid out of the raft and into the churn. We pulled her back in, and found her Grand Canyon hat floating by just past the rapids.
Rita's side of the family, family reunion, at Union Valley Reservoir, halfway between Sacramento and Tahoe. Coolest thing I did was get my hydroslide (knee board) wet, getting pulled behind the boat. Don't even know when the last time I was able to do that!j
Plan was to head up there on Tuesday, June 13, but due to a cold front with snow at the higher elevations, we didn't get up there until the evening of Wednesday, 14 June. RV performed well, though the furnace didn't always kick on with the heat, but the weather was mild, it wasn't a problem. Returned on Sunday, Jun 18.
Last weekend, we camped in the RV at Uvas County Park, west of Morgan Hill. It rained nearly the entire time, though it spared us for the waterfall hike on Saturday afternoon, then again late Sunday morning. The falls were running nicely, beautiful area back in there, and I have to say, I'm pretty sure it was the first time I've even been there!
Archer was very hesitant to cross the shallow, but fast moving water at the end of the loop trail. He wormed out of his harness and ran back up the trail looking for an easier route. We thought we'd lose him! To get him to cross, and join us again, we had to pretend we were leaving him behind. He finally took the 'plunge' and crossed, coming right up to us, no muss, no fuss. Next day, when the whole family went on the same loop, Archer didn't have much of a problem crossing. That dog brain of his remembered!
We'll definitely go back, but maybe not in the RV. It's pretty cramped and really made for tent camping.
Today was a leisurely day, a zero day, as backpackers call them, where there is nothing really on the radar, and the plan is to log zero miles.
We had a slow morning, sleeping in a bit since yesterday was such a full day. We finally got ourselves roused and dressed, and by mid morning, we were down at the harbor having a lovely breakfast on the patio.
Rob and his kids.
As we were waiting for our order, I heard a loud series of --bangs-- , two of them, followed by a short pause, then four more. I was the only one at the table that heard it, but it registered in my mind they sounded peculiar, unlike the usual backfire from a car. A minute later, I saw a police car moving fast toward the direction of the noises, with its full lights flashing and siren wailing. Moments later, more police cars, followed soon by fire trucks, paramedics, an ambulance, and even a helicopter. A few of us patrons on the patio that had heard it were convinced it was gunfire. For a full report, see the video below (apologize in advance for the 10-15 seconds of ad you will see when you run the clip).
Wow. We didn't know all that at the time. So after breakfast, we made our way down the length of the harbor to the beach. It just so happened that the Scholastic Surf Series was well underway. Seems it's a high school surf contest.
Sha-ka-laka! It was fun watching the surfers going after the 4 foot swells, coming in sets of four. The announcer (who did, by the way, use that term!) was pretty good, even telling surfer jokes. This one was my favorite: Why is a savings account better than a surfer? Because the savings account will make money and eventually mature.
We hung out on the jetty just south of the beach where the crowd was parked.
Penny and Harold on the jetty in Oceanside.
But the pool calls, and by 11AM, we were there, poolside. I was out first, staking a claim on a choice table, lounge chairs, etc. After all, we'd be there all day!
Today was the day that I'd be meeting a friend, Jeff, who lives local, then we'd head out to Stone Brewing Company's brewery and restaurant for lunch. He came by, right on time, and Rita came out to the pool to take over kid splash watching.
Jeff and I drove over the hill to Escondido, and found Stone in a semi-commercial/industrial area. There isn't even a sign out front I could photograph. Place was nice, good food, the Brussels sprouts, caramelized with bits of pancetta mixed throughout, is highly recommended. Jeff brews his own and is taking a master brewers class at the local university. Yes, he's taking it seriously.
The relief on the wall at Stone Brewing Company
After quite a long lunch, talking about nearly everything, we made our way over to Spin Records in Carlsbad. It's a cool, local used record shop that I like to hit whenever I'm in town. Picked up a CD/DVD combo from The Smashing Pumpkins and a disc of the late, great Doc Watson, then we were on our way back to the harbor, driving the in-town route, California style.
When we got back to our place, Vicky and Claire were already there, with Claire splishing and splashing in the pool. Jeff hung out with us at the pool for a little while, then had to split. I donned by swim trunks and played in the water with the kids some more.
Vicky and Claire hung around until we all got waterlogged, and we went back upstairs to clean up. Ted arrived a bit later in the evening, and we headed down to the Harbor again for dinner. There is a nice Italian place that serves Stone Brews, and we all filled up on pasta, pizza and pilsner. Luckily, it was a quiet evening and there was no gunfire or other violent acts. As we left the restaurant and strolled toward the ocean, we saw a blue heron on the dock, working on his dinner. He (assuming this bird was a male) was a good sized bird, and sure must have had eyes tuned for looking into the water. As we watched him hunt, we saw him extend his neck down toward the water, then lunge, quickly striking at a fish near the surface. He did all this without his feet ever leaving the dock. Those birds can stretch! The pictures I took of him didn't turn out great, but you get the gist of it below.
It was another good day, we were exhausted, so we bid farewell to the Oceanside Jaworski's and got ready for bed, the trains running well into the evening.