So from Williams, AZ we drove to the lovely hamlet of Barstow, CA. Found a real beaut of a Walmart smack dab in the heart of the ghetto which we toughed out for the night, only a smattering of gunshots were heard through the wee hours. Needless to say, way, way, way before first light we were up and at ‘em, northbound and down. We stopped off for a couple nights at the Dixon Fairgrounds RV park while Charlie picked up a few mementos from his mother’s house in Sacramento, before the estate sale. Before we pulled up jacks here we day-tripped into Santa Rosa for a surprise visit with the Gladiator (Max, the grandson), Jenn (the daughter), and Gus (the son-in-law). And in an eerie turn of events, we actually talked Max and his mama into severing the umbilical cord and Max returned with us to the MH for his first extended excursion away from home. Then it was on to a return engagement at the Winn-River Resort & Casino in Anderson, CA. We had a very nice 5 day visit with Jeanne’s brothers and mother. During the visit Jeanne managed to hornswoggle her mom and brother into getting involved in “Shopkicks”. That is a cell phone application that enables you to earn points by scanning bar codes at various stores and those points can be redeemed for various “rewards”, such as gift cards, and up to cruises (although it would take an awful lot of points for a cruise, I’m pretty safe in the knowledge that I will not amass that many points in my Shopkick lifetime!). The app itself is kinda helpful, it hooks into google maps and helps you find stores in your area, great for us “recreational wanderers”.
From Anderson it was back to Santa Rosa and the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. Max got reunited with mama, we got some more running around done, and had a nice Thanksgiving/Max’s 4th Birthday/Christmas dinner at Jenn & Gus’s house. Chad and Crissy, our son & daughter-in-law, came in from the central coast SLO area and good times were had by all. And of course, since Chad and Crissy are going to present Jeanne & I with a second grandchild this Spring, she just HAD to take Crissy out shopping for baby clothes.
Holiday feasting completed, our next destination was Disneyland in Anaheim. We planned to meet Jenn, Gus, and Max there and continue the Birthday/Christmas celebration at Mickey’s house. Jeanne and I overnighted at the Vines RV Resort in Paso Robles, then on to the Canyon RV Park in Anaheim where we were able to get a space and a cabin next door for Max’s family. We were about 15 miles from the park itself, but boy oh boy everytime I think that traffic can’t get any worse, it does. It seemed there were wrecks in the exact same spots on the exact same freeways every single day we were there. Gotta love all them rocket scientists driving around talking/texting on their cell phones.
I grew up here in Orange County and it is safe to say I have been to Disneyland more than a couple dozen times over the years since the 1960’s. The park has changed/evolved but is still a great place for the little ones. It is also still one big mass of humanity inside the park. I think this is the first time I have been here during the XMAS season. Nicely decorated, but I am not a fan of remodeling the attractions for this season. The Haunted Mansion was just not the same with the XMAS theme. Max had a blast the 2 days we spent inside Disneyland. He also went 1 day into the California Adventure with his parents and had a good time there as well. Max got hooked on the Buzz Lightyear ride in Tomorrowland and we got well acquainted with it all 4 or 5 times we rode it. He also liked the climb-on attractions, like Tarzan’s Tree House and Tom Sawyer Island. The kid was a true stud, going 3 FULL days dark to dark and showing no signs of wearing out. Unlike Opa, running out of gas early & often. And the nice thing about Disney, they have a Kennel Club for doggy day-care. We left Woody there, returning for occasional walks, both days, $20 per day.
With 80 degree temps on Saturday, we all decided to visit Huntington Beach. We spent the day near and on the pier, watching beach volleyball, surfers, and fishermen. And Max got to play in the waves at the shoreline. We took the kids out to lunch at Duke’s at the foot of the pier and generally had a very nice SoCal beach day.
Alas, good times pass, and life marches on. We said our good-byes and watched Jenn, Gus, & Max drive off northbound back to the grind in Santa Rosa. As for us, the sadness will wane and it will be off to continue our “recreational wandering”. We miss our family, but thank goodness for Facetime…and now, Facebook. Yes, Jeanne hooked us up with Facebook in a joint account, so we will see just how long it takes me to either mess up her account or actually blow the whole Facebook system up. So long, for now…