Monday, June 18, 2018

It's a Wrap!

June 10-16, 2018
Fresno - Valencia, California

Immediately after our return to Valencia, we drive the Jeep to Fresno to see Bill's mom and cousins. We arrive about 12:30 and Mom's already at the house. She was so surprised to see us!!

We spend a lovely afternoon and evening visiting with the family and two of their friends who came to visit in their motorhome. It was great fun, and I didn't take a single photo!

Monday morning we check out of the hotel and stop to visit with Mom at her home. Then we meet the cousins and friends for breakfast at our favorite place - Benediction. Three hours later we're back at our home!

After that quick visit, we spend the rest of our week with the kids and finally getting my doctor and lab appointments done. The time flies by!


Ezra brings Mommy to the wading pool to learn how to float.

Splashing is much more fun.

Perfect spot on a hot afternoon.
My doctor agrees that I always bring her "interesting" issues, but quickly rules out any serious concerns about my weird itching. She orders labs for "everything under the sun" just to be sure. I have most of the results by the end of the day, and I'm very pleased with all the normal readings.

The allergist appointment is similar, no diagnosis and lots of lab tests. She schedules a phone appointment to go over the results which will be in next week. 

Thursday Bill manages the impossible and gets all of the kids, including our "other" sons, and their partners and families to our place for the evening. Travis and Emily are in Aruba on their honeymoon which I guess is a reasonable excuse for missing it.

Ezra shows Ella the bubble wand while her sister Autumn looks on. Maximus and his dad in the background.

Ezra used up all the bubbles - what a great invention to avoid the messiness of bubble fun!

Cousins Ezra and Maximus master the dino puzzle. Hard to believe they're a year apart!

All the littles - Craig, Autumn, Avery (Craig's sister), Maximus, Ezra and Ella. None of the bigs thought we could get this shot.

The Gravel guys, with room for missing Travis - Corey, Richie, Bill, Nick with Maximus.

We did it!
Our last day started with getting my dental implant and filling. All painless, I love my dentist.

I get hugs from Jeff and good-bye-for-now, and pick up Ezra for a few hours of shopping and playing at our place. He is such a delight to spend time with! When Brian gets off work he and Shalise meet the three of us at Lazy Dog for dinner. 


Serious things to tell us.

Playing puzzles - Ezra used PopPop's hand to do some too!

A brilliant kid's dessert - Fruit Loops to string on licorice vine to make a necklace.

Even more fun when you sneak a few of the "beads"!

A family effort.
It gets harder every time we have to tell Ezra good-bye. We're already looking forward to taking him with us on a road adventure!

So it's a bittersweet leaving as we head north for Nevada on Sunday......

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Back Where We Started Three Years Ago

June 4-9, 2018
Morro Bay, California

Although we moved into the motorhome on May 31, 2015, we had to wait for completed repairs before we could spend our first night as traveling fulltimers.

That first night was at Morro Dunes RV Park in Morro Bay, California, and it was wonderful. 

A whole lot of wonderful has been our life for the last three years, and a series of circumstances brings us back to the same place where it all began. Bill also lived here in college, and we vacationed here with friends before we retired. So there are lots of great memories.

And perfect, nice cool weather - heavenly coastal weather.

We're only able to get weekdays, and the last site next to the maintenance shop up front. As is often the case with those "less than desirable spots", there's a silver lining.


We have the only site with a view of the water from our front window. 
After months in the desert and a couple weeks on asphalt, Tessa is overdue for some zoomies. And the beach is her favorite place to do them!


Cayucos Beach is  fluffy-dog-friendly.

I love seeing her so happy!

Thanks for bringing me to the beach Dad!


More Sand Pipers than people - our favorite kind of beach.
After checking out the zebra herd along Highway 1 (the remaining animals from the short-lived Hearst animal park), Bill suggests we take a right out of San Simeon State Park. The narrow road takes us into the hills along Simeon Creek. We eventually climb to 1775 feet to view the beautiful oak-covered golden hills. Very different from the surf just a short time and a few miles away.


Too far to capture a clear shot.

The hills are covered in layers of wildflowers.

Rich yellow blooms along a fence.

This cactus is the size of the Jeep.


Tall gold waves in the breeze.
A freshly painted barn stands atop the hill.


Hmmmm, think it happens often????
Bill's most favorite-ist place is Montana de Oro, south of his alma mater, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. After breakfast at another favorite, The Apple Farm, we head to the cliffs.


The walls are decorated with over a hundred different apple crop labels.

I love this print in their cute gift shop.
We stood here a long time.





Mother Nature on crafts day.

A sweet little Myers Minor




The Sooner Ranch.

The variety of wild blooms is spectacular along the coast.
Over the dunes, and across the bay - Morro Rock.
Thursday we laze around all day, enjoying the cool ocean breezes, and the quiet of a park where everyone has gone to the beach. I wake up the next morning with vertigo so forego our own walk out to the shore. Instead we take a drive out to Lopez Lake to visit an old route Bill took decades ago. It doesn't look like it's changed much. Still rural with beautiful trees and cliffs above the lake. It warms up fast! After a couple hours of exploring we're back home where I lie down for the rest of the day.








Feeling much better on Saturday morning, we pack up and retrace the beautiful drive back to Valencia. It's our three year anniversary - June 9 - and we're looking forward to many more years on the road!

Now it's time to get those doctor appointments out of the way, and a little more time with the family before we finally head north.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

And Then They Said 'I Do'

May 22 - June 3, 2018
Valencia, CA

We're still in the south because our number five, Bill's number three, is getting married the first weekend of June. I also need to get my dental implant completed. Hoping to check with my doctor about the annoying itching, we come back to Valencia a week earlier than planned.

It turns out I can't get doctor and allergist appointments until the middle of the month so we add a few days on the coast, and fill our days with lots of Ezra time and visits with our six boys.

We land back at Valencia Travel Village on my 62nd birthday (woohoo Social Security!!). There's a cancellation and we're able to stay through the Memorial Day weekend without having to move parks. Ezra comes to hang out for the afternoon and we are delighted with how delighted he is to spend time with us. Travis, the groom-to-be joins us for awhile, and then we meet up with Ezra's parents and his Uncle Jeff for dinner.


The very best birthday present.

Keeping each other busy.

The face of an angel....and Ezra :-)
When we're back with our family, the days seem to run into each other. Time is filled with errands around town and into Los Angeles, gatherings at the RV park and pool, dinners in and out with whoever can get time from their busy schedules, and getting necessary and un-necessary shopping done.


Jeff, Ezra and I time our return from Los Angeles to join a few thousand of our friends on Interstate 5.

Bill, Brian, Kristy, Corey, Jeff and Travis

Travis and Emily make a hop scotch game and everyone joins in.

Ezra, Emily and Autumn (friend Scott's daughter)

Ezra getting Auntie Em hugs.

Scott takes us to visit a sweet piece of property his family purchased nearby.

Scott (our seventh son) and Bill.

Scott takes us on a tour in their ATV.

The views from the fire road above their property are expansive.
Very interested in big people talk.

Ezra loves his PopPop so much!

Tamayo's is a historic restaurant in East L.A., filled with the art of Mexican modern artist Rufino Tamayo.

I love this art on the restroom doors!

We're here to meet up with our friends (Bill's best friends from college) Lori and Steve who are our mailing address elves. 

Brian and Ezra at the pool. Nothing more wonderful than seeing your child loving their child.

Mommy Shalise splashing with Ezra.


Learning why you keep your mouth closed in the pool.

All that fun is very tiring!
I get my teeth cleaned and scanned for the implant. They also find another chipped tooth so I'll get that filled when they "install" the implant. Oh joy. Again, I'm glad we're here to get it done.

Before we know it the big day is here and we move west about 30 minutes to Santa Paula. The wedding is at a beautiful venue in Camarillo and Mountain View RV Park puts us much closer for all the activities. It's a very tight, all asphalt, park that works for our needs.


We're not here for the views.
The rehearsal and dinner is a great opportunity to see more family and get caught up before the next day's more formal event. We get some time with the other grandson, Maximus, who is getting so big and starting to talk more. Such a sweet little boy.


Emily and her parents.

Unloading refreshments for Saturday....

Maximus blowing kisses.

Josh, Joseph and nephew David looking just like his late dad, Wayne.

Niece Jessica and Maximus.

A rare Richie sighting. Our number six, Bill's number four.
Marvella Gardens is a stunning venue in the foothills of Camarillo, California. Although a tad warm in the late afternoon sun for the bride and her attendants, it's a perfect day under blue skies. The bridal party is beautiful, the music delightful, the meal scrumptious, and the speeches heartfelt. Fresh made donuts are a fun change from traditional cake. Travis and Emily are so excited to be husband and wife at last, and we are thrilled to have her in the family.


Trying to hold it together when he sees his bride for the first time.



Tears of joy

Love and laughter.

Mr and Mrs Gravel

Enchanted by his aunt and uncle.

That look.....

Brian and Shalise
Proud dad.
Niece Melissa, Cousins Cindy and Terry, and Niece Jessica

Corey (our number three, Bill's number two), Kristy and Bill.
Cousin Cindy gets a bunch of us together for breakfast on Sunday morning, and then we're home for a long nap. We've loved having this family time, now we're off to spend some alone time at the beach where we started our fulltime life three years ago.


Corey, Kristy, Cindy, Josh, Bill, Jessica, Noah, Joseph, Morgan, David and Terry

Fluffy wedding guest.