Saturday, January 14, 2012

Whirlwind Getaway . . .

The stars were aligned . . . or in my more prosaic way of putting it, all our schedules meshed. Granddaughter, university student in NYC, has been on winter break, making her way across the U.S. visiting friends and family on her way to one of her university's satellite campuses in Africa. She'd be stopping off Thursday night to visit her Mom and they'd go by auto Friday afternoon to stay with her older sister overnight in LA, then off to the airport today for the flight overseas.

I could leave after NeedleCrafts and head to Daughter's new residence about 2½ hours from my little town on the hill, stay into the day on Friday until Daughter and Granddaughter headed south to LA, and have a the good visit before Granddaughter jets off for five months.

Gloriously, most things for this overnighter fit in my rolling backpack, computer and all, except for my sleeping bag and pillows to roll myself up in. The trip took the estimated 2½ hours plus a small amount of time to recover from getting lost finding Daughter's new house. "Oh, I see First Street. That goes by you. How do I know whether I'm going the right direction?"  "Drive toward the sun, Mom." "It's dark out. There is no sun." But cross streets were receding from her home, so I did a U-turn.

She'd just been dropped off at home after work shortly before I arrived and we had a few minutes to kick back before heading for the airport.

Daughter and Granddaughter reunion. It's been months and months.

Granddaughter's suitcase -- a big suitcase with items sufficient to stay in Africa for five months -- had a problem with extending the handle for pulling. It was pretty clear that it was hung up on one shaft of the handle assembly, and we determined that our effort wasn't going to extend it. A nice man decided he'd help these three generations of ladies and began with a mighty pull, which was no more successful than we'd been. (Let's face it. A handle assembly which has lost its rectangularity really isn't going to slide out of its rectangular housing.) So the helpful man gave it his all in a mighty jerk.

Off flew the handle and springs and rods popped up through the handle sides that stayed exactly where we had left them. The little screws that had secured the handle to the handle sides were akimbo. I sooo wanted to take a picture, but I was afraid the poor guy would think I was collecting evidence for the lawsuit. We tried to reassure him, but he was irreconcilably embarrassed. We had already decided that this suitcase wouldn't survive the upcoming adventure.
Figure 1
We went for dinner at a comfort food restaurant (we'll skip commentary on the cuisine) and talked and talked about Granddaughter's adventures over the past year, her course work, her expectations for her trip to Africa, her future, her relationships, her siblings, her friends, what she'll do next. She's the one who should be writing a blog!

Then we went back to Daughter's house and Granddaughter got her first tour of the new house and we continued the conversations, lounging on the king-sized bed.

Friday morning, Daughter decided that despite its being her day off, she would deliver some papers to a dairy about an hour away. It took us most of the morning for her to pick up the copies and then make the drive through the Central Valley's mile after mile of farm, orchard and dairy land ... to the dairy. While I didn't grow up in the Central Valley, I traveled through it often and studied it as far back as elementary school. So to me, it's familiar and taken for granted. Daughter is in awe of this vast food basket. Maybe it's the contrast with arid Tucson where she moved from.

We found the dairy, and while Daughter went over the papers with the Dairyman, Granddaughter and I visited the cows.

The visit to the dairy

Lunchtime for these gals

Others begin to notice our presence.

This one says "hello."
(pronunciation key: moooOOooo)

When we hear more greetings and shuffling among the cows, we decide maybe we're disturbing them and we don't want to be responsible for their refusing to give milk on their next trip to the milking barn, so we look around at other things.

Old milk transport truck

A big red truck flashes by.

The new milk transport truck, filling up

Then we head east, to see Daughter's friend since 8th grade. The friend had lived in Palm Springs for many years, then for a brief time in the San Diego area. When daughter was on her way to California from Arizona for the job interview, she gave her friend a call to say hello, unaware that the friend had left San Diego. Such a surprise to find her almost in the neighborhood of the prospective job. Daughter's Friend picked her up at the airport, put her up for the night, and provides some companionship from old times as Daughter learns her new neighborhood.

DF lives in the small valley town of Exeter which has put itself on the map by decorating the downtown walls with murals and sprucing up the downtown district with charming shops to be a magnet for the surrounding population and tourists. I thought I took several mural pictures. But I didn't, only these two:

Orange groves

Mural in a corner

Daughter and Granddaughter, waiting for lunch

Granddaughter gets a haircut from her Mom's best-friend-since-the-eighth-grade.

We finally set out for home. After all, Daughter and Granddaughter were heading to LA that night and that's a much longer drive than my 2½ hours home. I'd arrived after dark Thursday evening, knowing that would happen, and intended to take pictures of the house the next morning, since I'd failed to do it on my first trip here. We left in the morning without taking the time, not expecting a problem of sunlight on our return from our day trip. But we were almost in a race to get back while it was still daylight.

Finding the way

Late afternoon sun glows on the terracotta-colored walls of her house.

View from the front

With ten minutes of packing, we all hit the road by 5:10, Granddaughter taking along her Mom's big suitcase to transfer her worldly belongings for the next five months into before the Saturday flight. I headed north, they headed south. I didn't stop for a thing until I got up on my hill, although I'd intended to get a taco at Jack-in-the-Box and gasoline in the cheaper valley zones. Per instructions I reported my safe arrival to my girl. They were up on the Ridge Route when I reached them (the mountain range at the south end of the valley which divides Central California from Southern California).

I bought gasoline on the hill, but no tacos. Once home I have this:

Limited Edition Cheetos. Have I ruined its value as a Collector's Item
by opening the bag and removing some contents?

UPDATE: Email this evening from Daughter said Granddaughter is back with her and her Sister, as there was some delay of the plane and she got bumped until tomorrow. I'm not sure Daughter answered the question I thought I asked when she said "No, mid-air turned around." I'd wondered whether Granddaughter had boarded, then been cancelled, but on rereading I think the answer means the plane never arrived in LA.

On tenterhooks.



  1. Wow! What a time you had. Even though is sure sounded like it was hectic it also sounded like you had a great visit with your daughter and grand-daughter. Glad you made it back safely and I am jealous of the Cheetos since we don't have them here! I hope your grand-daughter has a safe flight. I'm sure you will give us a full report. BTW-love the cow. I wish I could have one, they are so cute! If only my country yard was big enough :)

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