Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Fun With Family and Friends

July 6 - 12, 2023
Willits - Clearlake Oaks - Sacramento, California

An easy 20 minute drive south on Hwy 101 takes us to Cummins West in Arcata. We're expected and Brian takes his laptop to the rig for the diagnosis. It's so funny to me to pull into a diesel repair shop where everything they work on is big and should need big tools to fix - and they use a laptop!

Not a computer update or fuel cap - but they do have the nox sensors in stock that need replacing. Breakfast at Tony's is still delicious (we ate there last time we had work done), and after a short drive around the area we're hooking up the Jeep and heading down the road. So not a cheap fix, but I'm grateful it's a quick one.

Arcata has its share of lovely Victorians.

I love the detail over the porch (the same as the yellow house!) and the pretty Monkey Puzzle Tree.

My favorite of the week - look at that front porch entrance!
The small burg of Blue Lake has little to see but this detailed mural on the corner mercantile.

It's weird how different southbound Hwy 101 looks and feels from Eureka to Willits. We both comment on how we hardly recognize this route we've driven north on numerous times! It includes the section south of Fortuna with the Redwoods that are inches from the road's edge - always fun! 

Enjoying more Yellowstone (the shows, not the park) podcasts, the two and a half hours go by quickly. Mendocino Redwoods RV Park used to be a KOA (we've stayed here before), and we arrive to thousands (maybe dozens) of kids at the pool, at the small water park, playing mini golf, riding bicycles everywhere. This is the most activity we've seen since the campground at Mackinaw City last year. It's a wild zoo. I'm assuming families took the whole week for the holiday. Good for them, we leave Saturday.

Before we went on the road Bill and I both had favorite places and Fort Bragg/Mendocino is one of his. We've visited together a few times and it never disappoints. One of our small "traditions" is breakfast at Eggheads. It's a tiny eatery with a Wizard of Oz theme, including a small restroom building "out back in the Emerald City". Our meal is yummy, and a short shopping stroll yields no purchases. 

It takes me a minute to see the silhouettes are theater seats.

The interior used to be very cute, but now is just painted all white :-(  Your knees still hit the door though!

Mendocino has many quaint historic buildings and a handful of very expensive specialty shops. No touristy t-shirts and key chains vendors here. I come away with a pair of socks :-)

I see a lot of beautiful succulents in this area, but this one really caught my eye - wow!

We spot a large herd of pelicans floating in the cove.

I love the color of the water.

The drive between Fort Bragg and Willits is all lovely green forest. Pines, hardwoods, Redwoods, it's almost completely dark in some places. It's also a main thoroughfare to the coast and very busy. I'm always surprised by the size of the trucks that drive the gazillion tight and narrow curves. One of those drives that makes me miss my little convertible! 

Saturday morning we leave the masses behind and head south and inland on Hwy 20. Our destination is a family visit in Clearlake. Bill's sister-in-law lives on the keys and I've found a small (and very humble) RV park nearby. Island Park RV is on a narrow point of land with mostly dated permanent trailers, quite a bit of trash and weeds, and absolutely stunning waterfront views. Our site is mostly level (the other options are not) with 50 amp FHUs three feet from the water. Rough dirt surface with some grass behind and some nice shade trees. Everything works including their WiFi and our satellite connects. Very quiet with just the sound of the water lapping the wall and the leaves rustling overhead. 

Waterfront with views of Mount Konocti for $40/night.

As long as you look in this direction, it's a pretty park.

Not long after we set up we're out the door to see the family. We're going to Marilyn's house where we're also expecting nephew David and his wife Morgan, and Marilyn's daughter Jenna. We get an additional wonderful surprise when we find Bill's cousin David and wife Dianna have also joined us!! 

Hours of grand conversation in Marilyn's lovely home on the water, and a scrumptious home cooked meal, and not a single photo! I continue to be incredibly bad at remembering people pics :-( David and Diana head home after dinner, and we head to ours a couple hours later. 

Happily we have a whole day to play on Sunday!

Clearlake is the largest natural lake in North America with a lot of geological and cultural history. Jenna is very knowledgeable about both, and we enjoy learning about the volcano and the tribes that shaped the area on our morning drive. 

Upper Lake has maintained a cute downtown where we have a delicious, although inefficiently served, brunch with live music under the trees. 

Tasty vittles!

Marilyn, Bill, David, Morgan and Jenna - family!

Sweet roadster - how fun on a beautiful day.

I love this beautiful room - in the Tallman Hotel next door.

Even cuter than the fireplace room!

Tall men and tall women and me.

Stunning mural down the street.

I have forgotten my phone a few (several) times but Bill never does - it's also his wallet. So it's surprising when we get back to the house and he has forgotten his at the restaurant :-0! Tessa and I go back to retrieve it (they did find it) so he can visit with his sister-in-law and nephew. Not a hardship driving around that beautiful lake!

David and Morgan have to work on Monday so they (and their Cockatiel) head home. We watch a couple hysterical comics on TV, visit some more, and too soon it's time for us to leave as well. We love these people so very much, and are grateful for this time to get caught up. We're hoping they'll all come to Arizona soon!

Morgan and David load up their feather-baby Frankie for the trip back to Santa Clara. I'm happy to say we're going to see them there next week :-)

Sorry to leave family behind, and excited to move east to see my BFF and her hubby! Our drive through the oak-dotted hills of Hwy 20 to I-5 is always so pretty! We get backed into their wide driveway in Sacramento for a few days of moochdocking! They've generously moved their rig to the street to accommodate us :-) 

Five lane off-ramp - back in a California city!

We've found the summer heat here, after months of near-perfect weather. Grateful they have 50 amp hookups, and also a nice cool home to visit in. It's hot!

Janis has dinner ready, then we have a gab-fest for hours [the guys head in opposite directions for naps :-)]. It's been way too long since we've seen each other, although we text almost daily.

Happy to be hangin' with my bestest in her pretty home.

Tuesday is a great day going to see the new Indiana Jones movie - Excellent!! - in the most comfy theater seats we've ever sat in. What a treat. Tessa loves it too :-) Following that we enjoy a delicious late lunch at Cheesecake Factory. They are such gorgeous restaurants (unlike their depiction on Big Bang Theory), it always feels like a special event to eat here.

Nick, Janis, Jodee and Bill - Tessa snoozing under the table.

Nick got a new electric trike a couple months ago so right now they have three. Yes, I'd love to take a spin around the neighborhood (we ride 11 miles) with the two of you! What a difference it makes having an electric motor on those hills. I definitely "get" the appeal of E-bikes now. 

Yes, we coordinated our shirts to look like an Easter parade. Thank you for asking!

While we're out riding, the mobile wash/wax team shows up to give our very, very dirty motorhome a much-needed cleaning. I'm embarrassed to say how long its been (years), but she now looks brand new again. Everything will probably stop breaking now that she knows we really do love her. Bill says the dirt was the only thing keeping her together. Let's hope I'm right this time!!

Before all the bugs on Thursday!

Once again the time flies by way too quickly and we're packing up and pulling out. Time with the BFF is always cathartic, more so the older we get :-) It was an amazing visit with great friends - hopefully they'll come see us soon!

Elliott's getting a little red in those curls :-)

Our sweet giggly Penelope and Reese.

Handsome Oliver getting so big. He won't be the youngest after this month!


  1. Looks like a great time was had by all. Love those old houses, it would be interesting to walk through a few of them.

    1. I'd love to see inside!! We're having so much fun seeing peeps we love.

  2. Love the Wizard of Oz (one of my favorite movies) mural on the wall! I'm glad you forget to take "people" pictures also, although I might note that you included plenty in this blog! My favorite is the one of you girls in the fireplace room - you look so happy! I think you're right, time with BFF (s) is cathartic, perfect description.... Just looking at the pleasant views in a campground and ignoring the ugly ones (neighboring sewer hoses, unmowed grass, etc,) is an acquired skill, one that I now have, thank goodness. It can't all be rainbows and unicorns!

    1. Lots of fun nods to the movie in that little eatery! Thankfully other people remembered photos that I took advantage of this time :-) Yes, that skill helps most places be more enjoyable!

  3. Glad the MH fix was quick. They're never cheap. Sure looks like lots of memories were made with family and friends. While you may have missed a few people photos, you did manage to get some great ones. Love all the smiles. You look wonderful!!! Love Elliott's red hair! The girls take the sweetest photos. And could Oliver be any cuter. Safe travels.

    1. Thanks! I'm feeling good too. Those grands always make me smile. Can't wait to see most of them in a couple weeks :-))

  4. A great visit along the coast. The Victorian homes are are just awesome, I could never afford the upkeep of one! But would be nice to tour one :) We picked up a tour map of the filming locations of 'Murder She Wrote' while staying at the KOA in Mendocino.
    Elliot is dressed for is run at political office.

    1. I always forget about the Murder She Wrote locations when we visit Mendocino - darn it!! LOL, Elliott lives in an area that could use some newer political leadership!

  5. Oh my goodness what a lot you did. Love those Victorian houses and that gorgeous water. Amazing to find a waterfront RV park that isn't a RESORT. As usual I am amazed at the gatherings of people that you see along your way.

    1. We managed to bunch up all our visiting of friends and family to this last few weeks with only a couple others earlier on. It's a fun combination of school, travels, and related friends that we really enjoy!

  6. Family and besties are the best...great times and awesome memories for sure! Aren't we all, as RVers, so fortunate that seeing the best view, that single tiny bloom, a rickety old chair, or a storm cloud become a thing of beauty and the other stuff just fades away?

    1. Very fortunate! I've found the beauty in things I haven't even noticed in the past - from the smallest to the largest :-)

  7. Oh, it looks like you had so much fun visiting with friends and family! (By the way, you look great.) What a sweet way to cap off your summer trip. We saw the latest Indiana Jones at the tiny little movie theatre in Flat Rock last week and loved it, too! Do you think an electric trike is in your future? :-)

    1. Thanks Laurel :-) I really liked my recumbent trike and was sorry we couldn't figure out a way to easily take them with us on the road. The motor in that e trike was a whole different and very fun experience. So I could see having one in my future even if just at the AZ house.

  8. Love the old Victorians and better the shore. $40/nite is a steel with at least half good views. Absolute best is all the visiting, I always forget people pics.

    1. I remember when $40 was higher than we usually paid and now it's a great deal! We always love being on water :-))