Road Trip to Nor Cal

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Flag of United States  , California
Sunday, July 13, 2008

Day 1, Sat, Jul 12, 2008

We had some things to do before we could leave, so we didn't get on the road until 3:30 pm. The drive up through the middle of California was long and boring as usual; I fell asleep at one point.

There's a noticeable difference once you get over the grapevine (the hills that separate Southern California from Central/Northern California). When you make that last descent into the valley, you see nothing but flat land. As you drive, you see on either side of the 99 FWY, crops of corn, cotton, strawberries, sunflowers, vineyards for table grapes, wine or raisins, orchards of nectarines, peaches, almonds, walnuts, as well as, dairy farms, horses, goats, sheep, and other various agricultural and farming endeavors. It's this way the whole 400 miles (600 km) from top to bottom. It is one of the most productive agricultural regions in the entire world. And it is a wretched bore to drive through.

We stopped for dinner in Fresno at a fairly new diner called, Yosemite Falls Cafe. I believe they call Fresno one of the gateways to Yosemite, so I can only assume that's where it got it's name (it would take a good couple of hours to get to Yosemite from there though). The cafe was great, good food, wonderful service, really friendly staff.

We continued on until we got to my hometown. We checked in at the Springhill Suites. It was late, so I called my family and invited them over for breakfast the next day. Then we hit the sack.

Day 2, Sun, Jul 13, 2008

My mom and dad, sister, niece and her daughter all came over to the hotel to have breakfast with us. We had a great time eating and talking and visiting. It was too bad we weren't going to have more time, but we had to get back on the road to get to Chico.

We continued our drive through the "fruit basket of the world" until we needed gas and a cold drink. We stopped in the north part of Sacramento at a newer section of town (we had stopped there once before). The temperature was over 100 degrees F.

We finally arrived in Chico. We went and picked up my SS who is going to college there. We had lunch at Teddy Malibu's, a fabulous taco shack where you can get simple tacos for $1 or double tacos for $2. If I lived in Chico, I'd eat there all the time...and weigh 300 lbs.

We did a couple go to Target to get a disposible camera since I forgot to bring mine. Grrrrr. Then we dropped SS off so he could get ready for work. Then we got checked in at our hotel, the Courtyard. The hotel is beautifully decorated, but other than that, we didn't like it much, and I wouldn't recommend it (for instance, the floor was filthy).

There were quite a few wild fires still going on in the area. The air was heavy, and we could feel it in our lungs. The town was full of firefighters from all over the state. The community had definitely shown its appreciation though, there were banners on every corner saying thanks.

After awhile, we went down to the buffet restaurant where SS works. He wanted us to eat there while he was working. So we had fun doing that. There is a Barnes & Noble next door, so after dinner, we went there and got some reading material. Is there ever a book store we can't pass up?

Day 3, Mon, Jul 14, 2008 (SS's 22nd Bday)

SS met us for breakfast at Jack's, an old diner. Great food though. He then had to go home to get ready for his first day of his summer class. So the rest of us went to the Bidwell Mansion (a State Historic Park) to check that out. Unfortunately (hot tip here), it's closed on Mondays. It was ok though, we just walked around a bit, then walked across the bridge onto the Chico State University Campus.

There was a stream, where I put my toes in. The water felt sooooo good. It was 103 degrees F in the shade! The kids and I hung out at a little park while DH walked around the campus and took some pictures. The park was really nice, with HUGE trees that shaded everything. The kids had fun. I tried to ignore the degenerates that were also hanging out there.

For dinner, to celebrate SS's bday, we went to the 5th Street Steakhouse. It's in an old brick building that doesn't look like much from the outside, but it's very cozy on the inside with a bar on one side and tables on the other. The food was good, service too. We had a nice time.

Then we drove out to where there's an observatory (but it was closed too). But man, it was gorgeous out there. The area was right on the edge of the foothills, so it was a little hilly, with big oaks, and there was a pretty little pond with the sunset reflecting on it. I *really* wished I had my good camera with me. This land is also part of the Bidwell State Park (there were trails, and we saw a couple horseback riding).

Day 4, Tue, Jul 15, 2008

DH got up early and helped SS move some of his things to his new apartment. Then at about 10 am he came and got us, and we went to breakfast at the Golden Waffle. DD and I had the most fabulous pecan waffles...yumm yumm! Then we went back to SS's apartment and helped him take one more load of things over, and said goodbye.

Back on the road AGAIN. We stopped in Elk Grove for a quick snack at McDonald's (DH had to try their new iced coffee). Then we finally made it back to my hometown, and got checked back in at the Springhill Suites.

For dinner, lots of my family members got together at a pizza place (Mountain Mike's) and we had pizza, of course. They have the BEST pizza. It was a lot of fun as always; it's become kind of a tradition to have a pizza night when we're up there. It was great to see everyone and get caught up.

Day 5, Wed, Jul 16, 2008

Mom and Dad came and had breakfast with us at the hotel which was nice. They brought us a box of peaches from their tree. We hung out for awhile, but then it was time to pack and get on our journey home.

We grabbed some drinks in Tulare. We then had lunch at Denny's in Grapevine just before you leave the valley and start up into the hills. Then I zonked out. But was rudely awakened by sirens. DH got pulled over for crossing double yellow lines. Grrrrrr. Ticket. Nice.

Finally made it home. Home, home, home.
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