Sunday, November 22, 2009

Journey to Southern California

The week in Sacramento was filled with getting caught up in several areas. The first, and certainly a lot of fun, was reconnecting with 3 of my nieces who live in that area. I had two brothers, and these are some of their offspring. We met Kristin and her son Zack, and Shana and her husband, Lee and their 2 daughters Jessica and Erin for dinner on Saturday night. Then on Tuesday night, Celeste and her husband Sean and their sons Austin and Hayden, along with Kristin and Shana and their families, all came to the Castle for a pizza party. Below are some of the pictures we took:

Shana, me, and Kristin at dinner:

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Kristin, me, and Celeste at the Pizza party:

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The whole gang, Kristin, Zack, Jessica, Erin, Shana, Lee, Austin, Celeste, Hayden and Sean:

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Twelve people and 2 dogs in the Castle worked out just fine, and we had a great time visiting!

Wednesday night was Zack’s first band concert at his school, and he invited us all to go. What a great experience! Zach plays the trumpet in the beginning middle school band, and they really are quite good. We stayed for the advanced band and jazz band, and I can honestly say that this is one of the best school bands we’ve ever heard, especially for a middle school. Thanks for inviting, us, Zack!

We also got caught up with some of the regular things like cleaning, laundry, grocery and other shopping. I got my blood work done while we were there. I enjoyed walking along the American River trail that runs just behind the campground. At CalExpo RV Park, we were right next to the harness racing track, so every morning when I walked with the dogs, we got to watch the horses exercising. That was a lot of fun for Mr. BoJangles, who thought he ought to be out on the track chasing them!

More enjoyment came along when we got together with Laurie and Odel, who were also staying at CalExpo Rv Park. In fact, it was Laurie’s campground review that helped us decide to stay there. They come to Sacramento each year to visit family and get caught up on their regular things. We finally caught up with them on Thursday evening when we went with them to their favorite local Mexican restaurant, Ernesto’s. Then we invited them over for Happy Hour on Friday evening.

The weather was great most of the week, with just a couple of cool days. We enjoyed the time there, but of course, feel like we need to go back to really explore. But Saturday morning at “dark-thirty”, it was time to get back on the road and point the Castle south. We pulled out of CalExpo right at 7:15 a.m. in fog so thick that Laurie commented on Facebook she couldn’t tell if we’d left yet when she looked at about that time!

We got out of the fog bank around Stockton, and from there, the first part of the trip south on Interstate 5 looked like this:

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Then we started up “The Grapevine”:

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And got to the summit of “Tejon Pass” (aka The Grapevine):

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Coming down the other side:

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We traveled 351 miles in 7 hours with 9.6 mpg. We spent the night in Castaic and got up early to get across LA on a Sunday morning. I studied our route and decided that I-5 to I-405 through LA, then CA 73 (Toll Road) back to I-5 to I-805 and CA 52 to Santee would be the best way. We were on the road at 6:30 this morning for a 170 mile trip and pulled into Santee Lakes (east of San Diego) just after 10 am, and got 9.2 mpg.

Daybreak on I-5 South:

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The San Diego Toll road (CA 73) with NO TRAFFIC:

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Our drive through LA was totally non-eventful. The traffic was very light and we maintained a speed between 58 and 65 mph all the way across. I discovered a web site sigalert, a few days ago that shows the traffic congestion (green, yellow, or red) and it showed green (no problems) all the way through the cities.

Arriving at Santee Lakes:

Ellie 056 The road to the campground area:

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This campground is part of the Padre Dam/Santee Lakes Recreational Area. It’s an operation of the Padre Dam Municipal Water District and has been created to “demonstrate the promise of water recycling”. There are 7 lakes here, in an area designed for day use. There are bike and walking trails as well as fishing and birding opportunities and picnic areas. The campground area is next to the lakes. We’ll be here for the next several weeks, so I will be posting more pictures as I get to know the area. I already know I like it here, so far!


Unknown said...

DH and I use
for looking up locations. You just put in the zipcode your in. What do you use?

Anonymous said...

Hi Folks,
We lived in Santee a few years back, it was then considered a rural area of San Diego, really liked it back then. We occasionally camp at Santee Lakes with the grandkids, watch out for the ants, if any part of a tree is touching your rig, they will move in and don't want to leave. Have fun, it is really a beautiful area. Becki

Gypsy said...

I met the infamous Grapevine last December and swore I would never, ever drive it again. I had no problem with the grades, although they were a little steep in places, but the traffic scared me silly. My hat's off to you for making it seem like any other drive.