“Treat your family like friends and your friends like family.” - Proverb
After Yosemite we headed for Foresthill, California and parked our motor home in my sister, Kathy's, yard. This was the first time Dick had been here in 13 years. Our original plan was to stay for only five days, but two weeks later we finally left. Kathy and her husband, Pat, spoiled us. We commented that their place was the best campground we’d stayed at in six months. Great company, delicious food, hot-tubbing under the stars, great spot surrounded by beautiful flowers and trees. (Kathy got the green thumb in the family, it’s not among my talents). We played card games and they taught us to play Cribbage which will keep our brains sharp.
Pat manufactures booster pump systems. Dick went to work with him one day. I don’t think he helped much or made them any money. He played with the plasma cutter and came home with his name tag cut out of steel.
My brother, Joel, and his family live about 30 miles from Kathy and my parents were visiting from Arizona and staying at his place. We were planning to camp at his place at some point, but there wasn’t a space large enough for the motor home. On Memorial Day, Kathy invited everyone for a family reunion. I am the oldest of five. Kathy is five years younger, and Joel is 14 years younger. I have two other brothers who live in Indiana. Unfortunately, we have never been all together in at least forty years.
The following weekend most of the family went on a camping trip. My parents opted out because they had been down the road that lead to the lake and campground before and said they would never do it again. My brother assured us it was fine and led the way. The motor home was mostly in 2nd gear. There were many curves with several climbs and steep grades and then about 3 miles of potholes. We took it slow and it took us almost three hours to go the 50 miles to the campground. It was worth the effort in getting there. We had the campground all to ourselves and the lake was beautiful with several runoffs from snowmelt. We had three days of more family time - fishing, hiking, campfires and great food and conversation. (We have been sworn to secrecy on giving out info on the campground).
After returning from our camping trip, we took a drive over to wine-country in our Saturn and looked up some friends we hadn’t seen in several years. First stop was Healdsburg to visit Valerie Hansen who we hadn’t seen since 1981. We met her in 1979 when we lived in Port Angeles, WA. I worked with her for a short time. Through the years we have kept in touch. It was great seeing her again and meeting her husband, Larry. Then we visited Becky Gulick. She and her husband, Steve (picture in video of him with the boat he built www.fishyfish.com), and two small children live in Vallejo. We know Becky from Ocala, Florida where we spent several winters beginning in 1978. We worked for her dad at Ocala Breeders Sales (a thoroughbred horse auction). He invited us to meet his family and we were adopted by them and included in on every occasion. They were so good to us. Becky is the youngest of seven kids. We had the best time. What a great family. Lots going on at her house with children, chickens, cats and a dog. She fed us a wonderful meal and it was great catching up and reminiscing.
It was time to move on up the coast of California and visit Redwoods National Park. My 13 year old nephew, Cameron, went with us for a week. I mentioned in my last blog that he was at Yosemite the same time we were. It was the first time Dick had seen him since he was born. He and Dick got along great. They drove me a little crazy at times but it was good to spend time with Cameron. They went on an overnight backpacking trip, rode bikes, played the guitar etc... We enjoyed exploring the big tree forests and the ocean beaches and tide pools. My brother drove north to pick him up and camped with us for a couple days. It was a long drive, but he had always wanted to experience the area too. He did most of the cooking and made sure we had a campfire every night. It was great to spend time with him. I just wish we lived closer.
So now we are back to some alone time and heading up the coast of Oregon and Washington, and planning to see Maggie soon. Even though the state has its beauty and we will miss family and friends, we are happy to be out of California. It is a very congested state and it's having a rough time. Homeless people in the cities and even at the backcountry campsites. The price of gas was high because of an added tax, and campgrounds were more expensive than we have ever paid, and in disrepair. Arnold, it turns out, really is the terminator.