Going to Cali

We left Oregon a couple of mornings ago.  A friend texted that she was also in the area and maybe we could meet for lunch in Bend, OR.  She used to live in Homer, AK and we were part of the AK Obama delegation to the national convention in 2008.  We have kept in touch though we have not seen each other since that time; now she is living in Portland but happened to be in the vicinity for the eclipse.  We made arrangements to meet at a coffeeshop in Bend, though I told her we had a long day of driving ahead of us and couldn’t stay for long.  Unfortunately she kept running into traffic delays so Rich and I got to the coffeeshop, waited a bit, ordered our food, ate our food, and waited some more and she was still not there.  I felt bad about it but finally texted her and said we had to move on.  She was understanding but I wish we had been able to connect.  😦

There was a LOT of smoke in Oregon, still quite a few fires burning.  I hope no lives were lost and no major property damage happened.


We drove 11 hours that day, which is a huge amount for us old folks who are pretty lazy when it comes to long trips!  But we wanted to make it to Sacramento to spend the night. As we crossed the border into California, all cars were directed to a check point to inspect for fruits and veggies.  Oops.  I wasn’t aware and Rich had forgotten that you can’t bring certain foods into California.  The ag inspector asked us if we had anything and we said yes, we had some cherries in the cooler.  Rich got out to open the cooler in the back seat and realized there were also three lemons sitting right on top.  The inspector confiscated all of it and threw it in the trash. He did thank us for being honest, though, so there’s that.  🙂


In Old Sacramento, we stayed over at the Delta King, an old riverboat that’s been made into a hotel.  It was pretty cool and we enjoyed our quiet night there, though we got in pretty late.  The next morning, we had a lovely complimentary breakfast in the restaurant and then made our way down the highway to Rich’s cousin Mary Ethel and her husband Roger’s place in El Dorado Hills. Rich’s sister Vesta had also driven up to meet us there,  and we met ME and Roger’s granddaughter Megan who has been living with them for the past two years attending community college.  It was great to see Mary Ethel and Roger, who are among our favorite people, so genuine and friendly and funny and welcoming.  Megan was delightful, seemingly not minding hanging out with the old folks.  And it was good to catch up with Vesta, of course.


The next morning, Mary Ethel and Roger went with Megan to move her into her apartment/dorm at Sacramento State, where she will finish her degree.  Her mom Lisa also came over and Rich had a good time reminiscing with her.  I had never met her but totally enjoyed her as well.  While they all went to Sacramento, Rich, Vesta and I stayed at the house, did some laundry, cleaned up, read, and talked.  Later Mary Ethel, Roger and Lisa returned and we all went out to dinner, talking, telling jokes and laughing some more.  All in all, such a fun visit!  We really do love these people.  🙂


Yesterday we drove to Sonora to see Rich’s stepdaughter Hannah who is attending community college there.  We took her to lunch and then to the grocery store to stock up on food for her apartment. We had not seen Hannah in a few years and were happy to have a little bit of time with her.  From there, we drove on to Kingsburg to spend the night with Rich’s sister Vesta, who had dinner cooked for us and we enjoyed another nice night of visiting.


This morning we drove to Canoga Park, outside LA, to meet Rich’s nephew Jeffrey for lunch.  He’s another one we haven’t seen in awhile so it was really good to have some time with him.  Originally we decided to make a reservation for dinner at a place in LA called Osteria Motto, but to kill some time, we drove through a bit of Hollywood to the huge LA farmer’s market.  Yes, this is us: drive through Hollywood but only go to the farmer’s market.  🙂 It was pretty cool and we wandered around for awhile.  Eventually Rich said he wasn’t really up for dinner after all (we were still full from lunch and had to make a 5:15 reservation for dinner because the only other available times were 9:15 or 9:30).  So we had some flan for dessert at the farmer’s market, picked up some fruit for later, and cancelled our reservation.  Maybe another time, Osteria Motto.


We are meeting some friends for lunch tomorrow near I-10, which will be our route home.  Tonight we are spending the night at a hotel nearby so we don’t have to drive far to see them tomorrow.  We’re still not hungry so we brought in our fruit and snacks from the car and Rich made us a margarita. We are chillin’ in the room, lamenting the fact that the hotel does not have HBO so we can’t watch Game of Thrones. 🙂

Tomorrow after lunch with our friends, we will start our trek home.  It’s been such a great trip–we have completely enjoyed every bit of it.  Meanwhile we’ve been watching the news about Hurricane Harvey in Texas. It sounds like it is really bad at the coast.  Thankfully none of our family live close enough to be affected, but we are thinking about those who are suffering through it.  I hope everyone is safe, though I know there are going to be some tragedies and that breaks my heart.


Detroit Lake, OR, and The Total Eclipse of the Sun

We got up early to hit the road out of Idaho. We’d been watching for weeks and then days and then hours about all of the expected traffic delays, lack of services, and warnings about emergencies as tons of people descended upon Oregon for the eclipse.

Rich kept saying he had a feeling it was going to be like all of the Y2K hype when everyone was on high alert for all sorts of problems that never materialized.  Well, at least from our standpoint, he was right.  We had minimal traffic along the way.  I think we had one slow down at a bridge where there was construction and we all had to merge into one lane, but that would have happened regardless.  Here are a couple of pix I took on our route.


See, no worries!

Rich’s nephew and girlfriend live in Portland and we originally planned to stop over for the night but found out that they were going to somewhere near Salem for the eclipse and wouldn’t be home anyway.  Plus, by this time, all of the hotels and VRBOs and campsites were sold out or had exorbitant prices due to the big event.  Rich talked with his nephew and we were going to try to meet near Salem on the way but then we were worried about traffic (before the fact) so decided that they might be willing to drive to Detroit and meet us.  Anyway, after much back and forth and changing of plans, we never did get to see them.  Another time!

We had a pleasant drive to Detroit, including many miles of very narrow one lane roads through the forest which scared me a few times when cars came barreling around the corner from the opposite direction. Wowie, you’d think people would be more cautious or maybe it’s just me!

It was mid afternoon when we arrived at our rental house and our friends were out in the yard waiting for us and waving us in.  They’d all been here since Friday, again concerned about the traffic and other issues that never materialized.  We met Judy & Dennis and Linda & Ed on our big Australian cruise a few years ago, which also included a total eclipse seen from onboard ship–quite an experience. We’ve stayed in touch with several people from that cruise and actually ended up on a cruise to Italy with Dennis and Judy a few years ago (quite coincidentally) so we got reacquainted a bit then.  Linda and Ed met us once when we were in Seattle and we spent the day together, so we felt pretty comfortable signing on to rent this house together when it came up.  Judy and Dennis live in CA and Linda and Ed in WA and they are all of the liberal persuasion, which makes talking politics a whole lot easier!  🙂

The first night we enjoyed sitting outside and catching up, had a cookout, and chatted the night away.  Monday was the big eclipse which we were fortunate to be able to view from our own backyard.  Many people have seen a partial eclipse of the sun but as Rich keeps saying, the difference between a partial eclipse and a total eclipse is “night and day.”  It’s really quite amazing to see the sun totally blotted out by the moon, with a huge ring of sunlight shining behind it.  If you ever have a chance to see one, don’t miss it.  In fact, the next total eclipse in the US will take place on April 8, 2024 and Dallas is right in the path of totality.   Party at our house!


In the last couple of days, we’ve taken several walks around this tiny little town, visited two marinas and a state park nearby, and Rich cooked dinner last night (fresh halibut with risotto, asparagus and tomatoes) followed by bananas foster for dessert. We were all stuffed.  Mostly we’ve just enjoyed the downtime and the company.  Thankfully we have all had a lot of fun and there haven’t been any issues sharing a house with two other couples we didn’t know ALL that well.  We’ve had lots of great conversations and it’s nice to be with people who are not superficial and can intelligently discuss many topics.  Here’s to friends!

Tomorrow morning we leave for California.