Around the state in 8 days

So instead of having two three day weekends in February for the two Presidents’ birthdays, Trinity High School has President’s Week, so Molly had all of last week off. I didn’t, but I have lots of comp time, so I decided to take the week off so we could go visit friends and family.

We spent most of the first day sleeping in and packing, but we still managed to make it to Emeryville, where Brendan’s has his winery, “Periscope Cellars”:http://www.periscopecellars.com/. We toured the winery and had dinner at a great Italian place around the corner, then went back to the winery and toured some more. He’s got a great setup, with lots of warehouse space and an office that overlooks it all. We parked the RV in the parking lot the whole building shares, but it was Saturday night, so there weren’t many other people anyway. Brendan did warn us that the gate gets locked at night, and he doesn’t have a key, but it got locked after we went to bed and unlocked before we woke up, so it was fine. On Sunday morning, he took us to the Pete’s Coffee headquarters, where they custom grind a cup of coffee for you, before he had to be back at the winery to help the caterer across the hall with a small gathering.

Once we left Brendan’s, we went down the street to “Ikea”:http://www.ikea.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/IkeaNearYouView?storeId=12&langId=-1&catalogId=10103&StoreName=emeryville and spent most of the day shopping. We weren’t planning on buying much, which is always dangerous. After filling one of their shopping bags with a few little things upstairs, we stopped for lunch at the Swedish cafe. They really were thinking when they laid out the store, you follow the winding path through the upstairs and it leads right to the cafe, which is good because you need to regain your strength before you go downstairs and follow the winding path through the downstairs, where we broke down and got a cart and mostly filled it, too. We even ended up “buying a mattress for the RV.”:http://www.mollyandrich.com/article/rv-mattresses-suck After spending far more that we expected, we loaded up the RV and headed to “Fry’s”:http://www.frys.com/ in San Jose for more shopping. The hardest part of living in the middle of nowhere is we tend to go overboard when we go to the city. We shopped at Fry’s until they closed, which was only about an hour, and spent a little more than we were planning, but not that much. When we were finished, we headed south and stopped at Chevy’s in Gilroy for dinner, then on to Paso Robles, where we spend the night in the Wal-Mart parking lot.

On Monday, we went to a Winery/Nursery outside of Paso so Molly could get some plants she had been looking for, then headed to SLO. On Sunday, Molly managed to get a hold of here massage therapist and arrange for an appointment on Monday, so I dropped her there and headed to TrueLink… TrueCredit… TransUnion… whatever to visit with my old coworkers. I was in time to catch them before they made lunch plans, so I dropped the trailer near my old house, picked up Molly, and we met them and our friend Margaret at “Bon Temps Creole Cafe”:http://www.google.com/maps?hl=en&safe=active&client=firefox-a&rls=com.google:en-US:official&hs=pgm&q=bon+temps&near=San+Luis+Obispo,+CA&radius=0.0&latlng=35282778,-120658611,9932007064017866527&sa=X&oi=local&ct=authority for lunch. As usual, the food was excellent. If you’re ever in San Luis Obispo, I recommend stopping here for lunch. After lunch, I went back to my old workplace to talk to the HR person, but she just told me to call the corporate HR hotline anyway. If I’d been able to find that number on the web site, it would have saved us all some trouble. It being a holiday for many businesses, we couldn’t get much done, but we could meet up with Hieber at Home Depot. He had the day off, so he was doing some home improvement, or something. We managed to get out of there without buying much, just some plants (imagine that). We went downtown to wander around and do some people watching, but being a three day weekend in winter, it wasn’t very exciting, the Molly went to hang out with Margaret and I went to the Wildflower meeting. It was good to get to see everyone there and a bunch of us slackers, I mean support team, sat in the back and did “paperwork” while the student committee held their meeting. After the meeting, we went to Firestone’s, and the real work was done. 😉

After sleeping in (seems like a common theme) on Tuesday, we did a little bit of business in SLO before hitting the road for Glendale. We rolled through Santa Barbara at the peak of rush hour, so we stopped for coffee and wandered around an outdoor mall, and we managed to not buy anything except the coffee. We got to my parents too late for dinner, but not too late to visit, so we went down the street to my Grandma’s for a while, then stayed up late with my parents.

On Wednesday, we slept in again and spent most of the morning relaxing in front of the TV. Lilly enjoyed spending the night on my parents leather couch, and I can’t blame her, it’s comfortable. She’s gotten less guilty about sleeping on couches, she doesn’t even bother to get off when people wake up anymore. We were planning on going to the “Huntington Library and Gardens”:http://www.huntington.org/, but we decided to hold off until Thursday, so we could spend more time there. Instead, I spent the afternoon drilling a hole in the black water tank of my RV so I could install a tank washer. The installation went well, except the screws for the bracket to hold the hose connection broke when I tried to screw them into the frame, so I drilled the holes a little bigger and used zip ties. I’m planning on getting some small bolts to replace them. Once it got dark, we cleaned up and drove down to Santa Monica to have dinner with Erin. Out of all of her friends from SLO, we now live the farthest away, and are the only ones that have come to visit her. She even lined up a whiskey tasting for some of them, $5 for all the whiskey you can drink, and they still flaked out. But we had a nice dinner and it was really good to catch up with her.

Thursday, we managed to get moving early enough to get to Huntington Library by noon, when they opened, and we spent the rest of the day wandering around looking at their amazing collection of plants. We still didn’t see near all of it, so we’re going to have to go back this summer. Thursday evening, a couple of my high school friends and their families came over to my parents’ house for dinner, and it was just like old times, we spent much of the night picking on our friends that weren’t there.

Friday, we got going reasonably early because we had to drive all the way to Molly’s grandparents’ house in Diamond Springs. We managed to get there without much trouble, we hit some rush hour traffic in Sacramento, but it wasn’t bad. We spend some time visiting with Molly’s aunt and uncle, where we left the trailer, and stayed up way too late with her grandparents. We didn’t get much sleep, Lilly spent most of the night obsessing over the cat, and checking on us.

Saturday morning started around 05:00, so much for sleeping in, and we drove all the way up to Arbuckle. Molly had a CATA meeting, and I had time to kill, so I called up Hallie, and drove back down to Sac to meet her. I brought Lilly in to play with her dog Echo, but Lilly spent most of the time looking for her cat, which isn’t there anymore. When we were in the back yard, Lilly decided she needed to blend in to her environment more, so she rolled in poop. (Sometimes, I wonder about my dog.) We went to a great sushi place a few miles from her house, and finished just in time for me to leave to pick Molly up. I left Lilly in the back seat of the truck, but she climbed over the seats to get her stinky butt in the front. I picked Molly up and we headed for home, Molly’s FFA students were helping at a dinner for the local Clamper chapter, and we were on track to make it on time to help set up. As we drove north, the weather got worse, and by the time we got to the windy mountain road part, it was snowing. We were the first vehicle to be stopped at the chain checkpoint, and since I was pulling a trailer, I had to put chains on it too. I’ve had lots of practice, so it didn’t take that long, but I was still soaked when I got through. The drive over Buckhorn wasn’t that tough, just a little slow. There was a lowboy hauling heavy equipment chaining up when I left the checkpoint, so everyone was probably stuck behind him instead of me. When we got into town, I dropped the trailer at the high school and dropped Molly at the dinner, then went home to do a little unpacking. It took me a little bit of time before I could join her, I had a little bit of fun getting the stove to light. When we left, I only shut off one valve on the stove, and it was the one that leaks a little, so when I got home, the burn pot was full of Diesel. The cold Diesel didn’t really want to light, but once it did, it really roared. The only thing that limited it was the amount of air it could pull in. When it finally died back down to a sane level, I could shower and change and go to the dinner. We were there until about 23:00, and the dance after the dinner was still going strong when we finally left to go home and go to bed.

Saturday was a long, hard day, so we caught up on our sleeping in on Sunday.

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