January brought us back to the beautiful weather of California. They are in a severe drought so we haven’t seen any rain and the weather has been sunshine and beautiful every day. It has been nice for us but not the people who need the rain. We were missing a few items in our new coach so we needed to go back to Sacramento when they came in. So it was nice spending extra time with family in CA especially my dad. He spent a couple nights with us so he and Joe could go for breakfast at the horseman’s café in the fairgrounds. We spent some great days with my sister Nancy’s family but my January highlight was spending two hours in my niece Ali’s kindergarten classroom as a volunteer. My two sisters and I spent a Friday morning helping Ali with her 27 little cuties. Ali set up four stations and the kindergarteners rotated between the four stations. So we would each get 5 or 6 kids at a time for 15 minutes. I had a playdough station where we worked on making numbers between 11 and 19 with the clay. Fun but were those 5 or 6 kids busy. I don’t know how teachers do it working with that many students at that age. They were all over the place. Ali normally has an aide for half of the day but the aide was gone for the week. God bless our teachers! I was exhausted after just those couple of hours. I guess that is why I never was a teacher. But what a fun day and to watch those kids adore my niece was priceless.
We had a nice last night dinner out with all of John and Nancy’s family, Robert, Ali, and Sam, my dad and my sister Sheri. Times like that are so special. It was such a great evening and we said our goodbyes. But as it turns out we think we will be going back soon. We had to head back north to Sacramento to pick up some items that were missing in our new coach. It was a little frustrating to wait from the beginning of December when they ordered the items until the end of January when they came in but after moaning and complaining about the wait we decided what’s the big deal. We aren’t in a hurry. The weather is beautiful and we decided to go to the ocean for a week before heading to Sacramento.
We drove about 50 miles west of where we were staying in Pleasanton to Half Moon Bay State Park. We had no hook-ups so we had to use our generator but what a view. We had a site that when sitting in our back chairs inside we could watch the huge ocean waves. The town of Half Moon Bay is where the Mavericks occur every winter. This is when 40 foot waves occur and about 20 of the best surfers from around the world are invited to the Maverick tournament. It takes place when the weather is just right to create these huge waves and it happens within a few days. We just happened to miss it by one week. We left on a Friday and the following Friday they had the Maverick tournament. We thought we were lucky to see some pretty spectacular waves but not the 40 footers.
While we were there our friends from Los Gatos, Sue and Virgil Clark, came to visit for a day. We meet Sue and Virgil two years ago in Wyoming at a campground. They are a wonderful couple and we had a great day that ended with a walk on the beach looking for sea glass. We ended up all getting wet because we got so involved looking for the glass and forgot to watch the waves.
Joe and I checked out the town of Half Moon Bay one day and had a great lunch of fish and chips at the Half Moon Bay Brewing Co. We were able to sit outside and enjoy the water. Dogs are allowed in the outside seating but unfortunately Lily wasn’t with us.
Dogs aren’t allowed on the beach in CA except in designated areas. Fortunate for us there was a dog beach a mile from the state park that was an easy bike ride away. Lily enjoyed the beach as much as we did. We would have stayed longer but all the sites were reserved for the weekend so off to Sacramento with a stop for a few nights at Rancho Seco Recreational Area in Herald. We stayed here the first part of November and enjoyed it plus it is so reasonably priced for CA. $12 a night compared to the state park which was $50 a night and we had water and electricity at Rancho and even a lake to look at. We had the park almost to ourselves. We can’t understand why they aren’t busier except that it is out away from everything so the only people who use it are people who fish. There were always a lot of fishermen by the lake.
We headed back to Sacramento hoping our parts would come in. Our intentions were to stop at a Corp of Engineer Campground for a few nights before returning to the fairgrounds in Sacramento since our parts hadn’t come in yet. COE campgrounds are one of our favorite places to stay for two reasons; they are inexpensive and they are always beautiful. But as we drove through the park with much difficulty we realized that we would not fit into any of the campsites. Joe tried backing into a few of them but everything was so tight and we both were just getting frustrated. We decided to leave and go to Jackson Rancheria Casino RV Park, rated number one campground in the U.S. by Trailer Life magazine. Very nice place in an absolutely beautiful setting. It was about a mile from the casino so no traffic or lights from the casino. It was beautiful but compared to the $8.00 it would have cost us at the COE the $50 was a little high for our budget. We decided to head back to Rancho Seco county park about 30 miles away but as we took off a warning light came on in the truck so we decided it was best to drive right to where we could take the truck to a dodge dealer in Sacramento. A few minor things with the truck and one major recall for the tie-rod and three days without a vehicle we finely were able to pick up our parts for the coach and leave Sacramento.
We decided since we weren’t that far from dad we would go back and spend another week with him. He spent another night with us so he could have that one last breakfast with Joe before we left. This time it was a little harder for him to say good-bye. Tears were in his eyes as we hugged our good-byes and we took off for the south.
I count our blessings everyday but never as much as when we were in Sacramento. There are so many homeless people it makes me so emotional. I want to close my eyes to what we saw there but even with my eyes closed it is hard to forget. We got approached many times for money. Sometimes it was a little frightening as they approached. Sometimes just sad. We watched a young woman come into the campground with her dog and belongings and stand by the water spigot at one of the sites and wash her hair with the cold water. We watched several times men come into the campground and dumpster dive. We saw way too many people pushing their shopping carts filled with their life possessions walking down the street or sleeping under a tree or bush. I was so happy to leave that area because I didn’t have to see it any more but those images will remain with me. How does it come to that for these people? How do they survive? We are truly blessed to have what we have. On a lighter note – as we were leaving Sacramento and going under a bridge two men had stopped their car and were standing alongside the road peeing. It was time to leave this area.
Stay safe and always count your blessings!