Current Location: Rocky Point Oregon
Talking about the weather is silly. There is no snow, there is no rain, there is no winter to speak of anywhere to be found in our part of the world. Crazy. The skies are cold but clear tonight. The thermometer might drop a bit below freezing before morning, but c’mon…is this really what January is supposed to look like in Rocky Point?
It usually looks more like this around here in January.
But with snow like that I would be shoveling and blowing the pathways and complaining about the ice on the driveway. We were gone for three months in winter of 2014, and heard rumors that there wasn’t much snow then either, but it is surprising that the lack of snow is still persisting. Water? Snow pack? Drought? Those thoughts lie in the background as we enjoy the moderately warm, snowless winter. Maybe it will snow in April as it usually does. Just in time for Easter.
Leaving the gorgeous sunny skies of the Mojave Desert and Joshua Tree NP was tough. I needed to be home, but that didn’t make the journey any more enticing. As we approached the western slope of the Sierras crossing the Tehachapi Pass on Highway 58, we could see the thick blanket of gray brown smog/fog hanging low over the Great Central Valley. Didn’t look a bit different than it did when we passed this same way two weeks ago.
The distance to Orange Grove RV park from Joshua Tree is a short 200 miles. Of course we could have traveled farther, but why? Why go beyond the waiting oranges! I have to confess, I did take more than the loudly proclaimed one bag limit. Signs everywhere said that limit would be “strictly enforced”. I am sure they are talking to someone other than me, right? Maybe the signs are for those greedy people who might try to pick bags and bags of the sweet things and sell them on the side of the road. The sign wasn’t for me, the innocent little old lady from Oregon who just wanted an extra bag to share with friends along my route home, right?
I remember blogland a long time ago when someone, can’t even remember who, “stole” oranges from a tree along side of the road. Lots of moral lectures resulted from that little confession. I am a good, mostly honest person. Just don’t let me near your orange trees.
The park was about 1/3 full when we arrived, but by dark every single space was filled. I would highly recommend getting a reservation if you are a big rig and intend to stay in the park en route or returning from the desert. Seems as though the snow birds have found it and keep it very busy.
Once again we drove north along I-5 on a Saturday, leaving at 6:30 AM so that we could get all the way to the Grass Valley County fairgrounds before nightfall. Just 370 miles or so, but that is still a long day for us. The fog was thick when we gassed up at the Bakersfield Costco for a measly 2.06 per gallon for regular gas. Who knows how long those prices will last, but we sure enjoyed them on this trip.
After a somewhat long and boring day traveling north, the fog lifted and we whizzed through Sacramento traffic onto the 80 and then north on Highway 49 to Grass Valley/Nevada City. The two gold towns in the Mother Lode country of California are not far apart. Our friends Jimmie and Nickie, are living in Nevada City, and in spite of their generous offer of driveway hospitality, we thought it would be smart to park the rig down the hill at the Nevada County Fairgrounds.
It is a fairly nice park, as fairground camping goes, and in no time we were set up and on our way up the hill to Jimmie and Nickie’s lovely home on a lava cap ridge of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Just high enough in elevation to be out of the poison oak but not into deep long lasting snow. Perfect.
Nickie told me that when they walked into the house, within minutes, they knew it was the one. I had an experience like that once myself, when I stepped into my little bungalow in Klamath Falls back in 2002. Within 24 hours I had an accepted offer and that little home now shelters my daughter and her family after some delightful years sheltering me.
Nickie and I have kept up our correspondence after meeting in person a couple of years ago…neither of us could believe it had been two years since we met, but it has. Thank goodness for the blog where I could check out the original date of our delightful get together the first time. Walking into their home is so comfortable and their hospitality is wonderful.
I have seen photos of their canal walk, and was delighted to have Nickie suggest that we get a bit of movement in before dinner walking the canal. What a great place close to home to get in daily walks. The water was a bit low, but I could see what a shady retreat this pathway would be on a hot summer day.
Another walker took some photos of all of us together (thanks for this photo, Nickie), and the happy smiles on our faces just gives a hint at how much fun we were having.
Later Nickie treated us to a wondrous supper of hand made spinach rolls smothered in her very own home canned marinara sauce, and a Caesar salad drenched in the fabulous dressing from the restaurant we had visited two years ago. Fresh steamed broccoli and artisan bread rounded out the perfect meal. Jimmie is so funny and friendly and kind, and he and Nickie are so much fun to be around. I just love how they treat each other with such love and respect. It is a joy.
My favorite part of the evening was listening to the stories of how Nickie and Jimmie met and their travels and how they found their homes. Flow! These two definitely know how to live in the Flow of life at its finest. The best indication of the great time we had showed on the clock when Mo and I finally drove back down the hill to the MoHo. It was almost 11 PM when we got to bed. Geez! We are early birds most of the time.
The next morning, with a brilliant sun bursting forth, we met again for a morning walk around the fairgrounds. Nickie has a great sense of humor, although the wet bleacher seats weren’t exactly to her liking, but she wanted a photo in the bleachers, so I obliged.
I also got a kick out of taking pictures of Nickie herding geese. She kept saying, “They love me!”. I am sure that they did.
We drove the short distance to Nevada City and a wonderful breakfast at the South Pine Cafe. The food was incredible, and my choice was a lobster scramble with lots of mushrooms and avocados and Jalapeño Hollandaise! It was even good when I ate the other half for breakfast the next day! Once again, the fact that we were having a great time was evident as we lingered over our breakfast table long after the meal was finished. Hard to say goodbye to such great people.
Of course, we had other great people waiting for us in Oroville, so we buttoned up the rig and took the back road from Grass Valley to Oroville via a road that I would NOT recommend, but it was fun.
The sun was brilliant in Nevada City, but by the time we dropped down the hill just enough to reach Oroville, the fog was again shrouding the landscape. Spare me from California Valley fogs!! ick! That gray line you see on the horizon is the thick fog down in Oroville and the valley!
We camped once again at the Feather Falls Casino, not a cheap night by any means at $47 per night with no discounts. Still, it was an easy hookup, a nice park that we like, and just minutes from Maryruth and Gerald’s home up the hill. Readers know that Maryruth is my very best friend of more than 50 years. It is always wonderful to see her and her husband Gerald, and to visit their home.
Maryruth has a new sewing machine and has completed more decorating projects in her home that I wanted to see. After the look arounds, we drove down the hill again to her mother’s house, who has lived in Oroville for more than 50 years. It was great seeing the family, people I have known and loved as my own family for all these years.
Later, Maryruth and Gerald took us to their friends winery, The Purple Line Urban Winery, right in downtown Oroville, and we sampled some great wines, including something called “Red Panties”. We then ambled on to Papacito’s Mexican Grill and Cantina where I finally got my urge for some really GOOD Mexican food fully satisfied. What a great little place with excellent food! Their tortilla soup was the best I have ever had anywhere.
Once again we made it back home to the rig at a very late hour, proof of our wonderful time spent with good friends. In case you are wondering where the photos are for this part of the visit, Maryruth did that thing when I pulled out the camera…”Oh Sue…Really?!?!” So I put the thing away and didn’t take a single photo of our visit. Only once, and only for you, Maryruth. Next time I am taking photos!!
Because I honored Maryruth’s request, Instead of photos of Maryruth and Gerald and their wonderful home, the winery and the wonderful food, you get to see a photo of my daughter with her three little grandbabies, my youngest great-grandchildren.