A long, boring, blathery bit is below about our December down in the flatlands. You are warned. Really, it is very boring.
We saved up, found us a nice used Outback and headed down to see the kids for the holidays. We needed a more comfortable vehicle and one that handled the ice and snows during the winters. I think we made a good choice. An Arctic breeze settled in the day we left. Temps ranged from 4 degrees here in Idaho to 9 or 11 degrees in Washington and Oregon. Oof! The car is very comfortable. It made the trip very pleasant. The heated seats are a plus when one does not want to heat the car too much and get sleepy. It is also great when your rear end is tired of sitting down for so long. A stretch every hour is not enough when one is driving 1123 miles!
I am guessing that the speed limits posted in Oregon are a suggestion? We stayed in the right lane going the posted speed limits. We were passed like we were going backwards; had people come up on our back-end and tail-gate, flipping us off as they passed by; one person tried to run us into a lane closure blockage! (Oregon is always under construction.) If Nevada had rest stops, we would go that way instead. Oregon is prettier, but the citizens driving on Hwy 84 and I-5 are nasty. We laughed when we came up to stops off the road just behind those who flew by. Rushing does not get one to their destination any earlier, does it? (shaking head) We did not let the bad attitudes get to us.
We got the car over-warm inside at one point and took an hour nap. Surprisingly, the car stayed toasty, though it was 11 degrees or so outside. Wonderful! We were woke up when a couple kept walking their dogs in front of the car, waking Maggie. She did her job, warning us peoples and such were close to the car. One cannot get upset at that.
We were exhausted by time we hit Springfield OR and pulled into the Motel 6 there. They may "...have the light on", but they did not have on the heat! It was 9 degrees outside! Oh, a hint- do not put the key card in a pocket with a cell phone. It erases it. We were trying to get into the room and the key-card did not work. As He went back to see what was wrong, we watched someone back a large pick-em-up into a space, missed by a lot, going right over the top of a little sedan. Oops. The clerk refused to tell the man whose car he hit, and later, the owner of the car who was hit saw what had happened and the clerk refused to tell him who damaged his car though the person claimed responsibility! We entered the room and turned on the heat when we found out it was almost as cold inside as outside. If it was not so late and we were not so tired, we would of demanded a refund and found somewhere else to stay. A shower was out of the question. Brrrr! As it was, we covered up in the bed fully clothed and got a few hours sleep. It was finally tepid in the room by time we woke up. Maggie was curled tight against me under the covers while I slept. She is such a trooper. Never again for Motel 6.
We headed out before first light towards Kalifornia. They had a nice series of rain storms and heavy snows in the mountains before we came down. They need a lot more. Lake Shasta is terribly low. The smog from the cities has finally invaded even the Shasta mountain area. The rains and snows did not cleanse the air at all. The air was brown in the horizon and hazy around the trees. We both popped Zyrtec-like antihistamines when we saw the air so we could breathe during our visit. I am glad we do not have to take those daily up here.
We first stopped at Meek's in Jackson to hug our daughter at her work. I broke into tears, of course. I missed her and was glad we could come see them all this year. The snows were deep in Pioneer. We had not seen snows that deep and early in years!
We took the kids food shopping the next day. They are barely surviving as it was and we were not about to expect them to feed us. Woof! The cost of goods down there is staggering! Add the outrageous taxes, and one can see why the state is still crashing and failing. What we had figured in money-wise for the time spent there was not even close to covering what it actually cost us by four-fold.
We picked up our grandson from school after seeing our daughter. He was surprised. Our daughter did not tell him when we would arrive. I swear he grew up at least another foot. He is excelling in school. He got my reader genes. Yea! He loves reading books, balanced by his male-need for sports. Cool, huh?
Chubbs the marmalade cat decided that Maggie was evil and laid in wait each time I brought her inside. A few times whapping him on the head, and that stopped for the first 10 days. Yogi the pug is a charmer. I would of loved bringing him home. He and Oppa the chihuahua both matured enough to keep from following Maggie around with their noses in her rear. Lily the peke, Maggie's retarded half-sister, is the same. They greeted each other with sniffs and walking away. Things never change.
Our grandson asked me a hat with flaps. Our daughter needs to be able to throw it into the washer and dryer. Kalifornia is not a cold place and the humidity in the mountains is non-existent, so I searched out some acky-lack yarns and circular needles. Joy's Yarns in Pine Grove and the bead shop, the Hole Affair, in Jackson are the only two places to find real needles and yarns in Amador county, for those who want to know. The store in Jackson even has some lovely yarns. I should of bought their washable wool instead. I did not know she was carrying the better stuff before buying the plastic stuff. Ah well. Our grandson wanted skulls and skulls and crossbones as a design element on his hats. (laughing...) The first flap hat ended up too short, more of a weird beanie with flaps. The boy has a large round head, 22" around. I redid the hat larger and longer. I also made him a double-knit hat. The colors he picked were red and black for his hats. I had yarn leftover, and now making him a double-knit scarf, which he shyly asked for. I will mail that to him later next week.
I went down to Sutter Creek to see Robin of On Purpose. She has the best crystals, handmade candles, oils and more. I ended up with some candles and a few items. I went back later in the week for a massage, the first in my life. Oh my... It was lovely. I brought my daughter back on Christmas Eve and had her pick out a few early birthday prezzies and found myself a lovely crystal quartz and a aquamarine for necklaces. (I put those together when we got home.)
We had a lovely time, each visiting with a dearly missed best friend, enjoying the evenings with our family. My visit with Steph was majorly too short. She had a lot of commitments. I will see her more next summer, somehow. My son-in-law has become an adept cook. Unless he has a job that day, he has dinner going and the house cleaned up before my daughter gets home from work. My daughter has also learned to make a dollar stretch forever so they can eat good on "nothing". I am proud of how they have managed to survive where they live. Talk abut impossible! My Mom came down for an hour. I did not realize how much I missed her. I wish she brought her dogs and stayed a few days instead of having to go back.
Yule was nice. My daughter has our grandson write a thank you note and placed with the cookies left out for Santa. How cool is that?
Maggie was being stalked by Chubbs again by the 25th. For the first time in her life, she stood up for herself and barked sharply, letting him know to piss off and she was not going to stand for his behavior. Same went for the boys who tried to check out her Santa gifts. Good girl!
Sadly, we left on the 26th. I cried for a bit. I say we need beaming technology. The trip home was uneventful, except the Kalifornia rest stops were not heated, nor was the water or blowers. Stopping was a wake-up in more ways than moving around to get the blood flowing again. We stopped this time in Albany OR. The Comfort Inn was nicely warm, clean, took small dogs and had smoking rooms. The clerk was a personable young woman. We warmed the car and went across for a quick, small dinner. Reasonably, you cannot leave a dog in a room. Maggie stayed toasty while we ate. A good hot shower and we were out for the evening. zzzzzzzzzz...
The last leg of the trip is always the longest, I swear. We had not been home for so long. Before we moved to Idaho, we always had friends and family check the house daily to be sure it was not broke into and robbed or damaged. We did not ask a friend up here to check the house. It was the holidays and we did not want to impose. We were so glad to see our little house! Someone had used the end of our driveway for a turn-around, making a nasty ice mess, but that was it. We moved to a civilized society here. Everyone is legally armed. A criminal knows it is stupid to pull a gun because the citizens will pull theirs out and stop him, and they will not stand around while a crime is being committed, instead stepping in. Oh yes, we have crimes, but they are rarely violent or entail the use of a gun. Sadly, the same cannot be said for Spokane WA. 2 more police officers were shot, one passed yesterday. Their robbery rate during this Depression has been through the roof. It really sucks. I like WA. The people are nice and the state is beautiful, even in their desert areas.
We had been gone so long I forgot what the house looked like inside. It is wonderful, I must say. We emptied the car, then took showers with real water-pressure. Nice... We had no "real" food, so we ate some noodles I cooked up and crashed in bed early. Our bed. Yea! We bought a double-height air mattress after our first night on the single at the kid's place. We could not get off the short one easily. It sucks to get old. Our next day was food shopping day. I bought some nice veggies and meats. We both gained weight during our trip out. It must of been those cookies, right? We had a lovely mix of beef, cabbage, carrots and onions the last two nights. A thick stew is cooking in the crock pot right now. I still need to get the breadmaker going and put away the luggage. The latter is making Maggie nervous. She is very glad to have her house, spot on the couch, toys, and potty area back again.
The snows that came after we left were rained on, making a thick, white ice. It is snowing now and softening up the ice. It is still too hard to use the snow blower on and not deep enough to do any good. We need chains for the blower with the ice. Next week...
Asleep yet? We had a lovely holiday. We were surrounded by laughter, love and smiles. Things are horrid financially and emotionally in the world, we all did not let the aura of it get to us, instead enjoying our extended time together. That is all that is important in the long-run, no?
Oh yeah, no photos. I forgot the camera. My Mom took some. I may share. Maybe. (grins)