Our time on the water, on rivers and beaches, came to an end on Thursday with the beginning of our inland route to Redding. Garmin Girl really wanted us to travel south on 101, cross the Bay Area near Vallejo, and then go north again on I-5. Ugh. We turned her off, and headed north again and over the mountains toward the northern part of the great wide Sacramento Valley.
Sonoma County was beautiful, and in the slanting fall sunlight, the vineyards were many shades of red and gold. I tried for photos, but traveling was the order of the day and I can’t seem to manage much from the windshield. We stayed on 101 to Ukiah, a town I repeatedly get mixed up with Yreka and Eureka, although now I should have them straight in my head. Arcata is another one in the mix, that I now have some experience with so should remember.
Ukiah was a pleasant small town along the freeway, with a bit of a rural feeling to it except for the big shopping center with a Target and an Applebee’s. Mo and I both had the thought of a big juicy hamburger at about the same time. It’s amazing how we can drive in companionable silence for a long time and suddenly we’re both saying, “Gee, what do you think of a burger?” We got to Applebee’s just in time, about half an hour before lunch, before the crowds started filling up all available seats. To our delight, it was Veteran’s Day and they were giving free meals to all veterans. Mo pulled out her military ID and we had the best burgers we have had in a long time.
The afternoon was sunny and pleasant, and in no time we pulled into my friend’s driveway in Oroville. Maryruth has been my friend since 1963, (that is 47 years if anyone is counting!) and she and her husband of the last 23 years or so have a nice spread on the hills above town with plenty of space for us to park for a couple of nights and enjoy some visiting time before we continue north.
Maryruth and I met across the fence one day back in Arcadia, California where I lived as a very young mother. Maryruth also was a young mother of three, and we discovered over that back fence on an October afternoon, that her youngest and my oldest were just three days apart. Some friendships are so integral to your soul that they withstand all that life and time can bring. We shared births, and deaths, divorces, incredible tragedies, and delightful adventures. We shared a home for more than a year when we each had three children, yes, that was six children in our home, ages 1,2 3, and 3, 4, and 5. We were welfare mom’s for a short time, husbandless, hard working, and incredibly poor. Life brought a lot to us, but most of all it brought our love and support of each other through it all. I am incredibly lucky to have her as my lifetime friend.
Gerald, her husband, is a sweet man, who totally adores Maryruth and is generous and kind. While he worked outside on his gardens, and Mo washed the MoHo and caught upon the news, Maryruth and I played Hand and Foot and enjoyed just hanging out together. Maryruth is also an incredible cook, and she had breakfast, lunch, and dinner, all planned for the entire time we were there. I had to beg for mercy, and talked her out of the lunch. Two big meals a day is all we can manage, and we had to give up one or the other. The marinated salmon won out and we had a great dinner, played more cards, and slept through a movie on the big comfy sofas. It was a nice way to end our trip.
On Saturday morning we packed up and headed north to Redding to settle in to the Redding RV Park, right next to I-5. We didn’t want to try to find the RV storage, empty out the rig, and then still drive home that night. Camp Club USA made the stay worthwhile, even if there was Interstate noise all night and the WiFi didn’t work for beans. Mo settled in for a bit while I drove back south to visit my ex mom in law in Red Bluff before returning to Redding for supper and a very early bedtime.
The Sunday morning sunrise out the back window was gorgeous, and the noise didn’t penetrate our little haven. It was a bit laughable trying to get all our “stuff” that we normally just carry in the MoHo to fit into the baby car for the trip home. We didn’t want to leave any kind of food, even dry packaged food seems to be a haven for mice, and we also had all our clothes, kayak paddles and PFD’s, books, bathroom stuff, and the ever present cords, batteries, computers, and phones. Of course, we also had the dog and cat. The baby car is just a little Tracker, lightweight and small, great for pulling, but a bit tight for traveling 150 miles back over the pass to home.
We found the RV storage without any trouble, but once there had a few moments of worry, wondering if we could actually fit into that tight space. Mo backed her in, carefully, and with only a few inches on either side of the rig, it was a bit dicey. Once inside, however, everything was fine. She hooked up the battery keeper and we pulled down the big door and breathed a sigh of relief.
I’m not sure when we will get back out again. I have to catch up on work, and Thanksgiving is coming along as well, with plans for a big family dinner. But it’s good to know that when the whim strikes, we can jump in the baby car and go get our rig and find a warm, sunny escape from the snow. The deserts are calling me, especially when I keep reading Al’s blog about the dark skies of the southwest. I would imagine that will be the next adventure.