A week after we got to Los Gatos, a week after the initial shock of my mom’s death, Leilani and I headed home. We were exhausted. When we’d first gotten to town, we’d stopped by Mom’s house to drop Patty off and to spend a bit of time with my sister and brother. Then we headed to our motel. I’d originally made reservations at a nearby one for us, but when we got to our room, we were aghast. It was awful. The room was tiny, the bathroom almost impossible to get into, and the room old and musty. Bless my amazing daughter. “This will not do,” she stated, and found a hotel in town for us to stay at. She was so competent, going to the check-in desk at the motel, getting our money refunded, and directing us to the hotel. A hotel, mind you. I’d never stayed in anything so elegant before. Ever. I was in awe of her competence and determination. When we checked in, I was exhausted and tearful, and told the lady at check-in that my mom had just died and she immediately gave us their bereavement rate. What a blessing after over twelve hours on the road!
The next week is a blur. We pulled stuff out of closets, talked about the memorial service, tried to deal with the shock of Mom’s death, how we’d deal with her things, etc. It was so hot! Like 116° hot. That’s not a typo. Mom had refused to get air conditioning, so my brother got one of those portable a/c units. It helped a little, but hot is hot. We all got along pretty darn well, which was a blessing.
By the time the week was over, despite the fabulous hotel room (warm cookies every night!), Leilani and I were ready to tackle the 12-hour drive back home. My sister and brother had been very generous, letting the hotel charge come out of Mom’s account, for which we were extremely grateful.
We left on the morning of July 11th, and the first photos we took were near Walnut Creek. I know that some people love the brown hills, but we were hungry for the green of Oregon.
We crossed over Carquinez Strait after passing through Walnut Creek, not having time to stop and visit with Nolemana’s sister dem this time, knowing we’d be back in six weeks. We saw the Mothball Fleet.
The United States Navy maintains a number of its ships as part of a reserve fleet, often called the “Mothball Fleet”. While the details of the maintenance activity have changed several times, the basics are constant: keep the ships afloat and sufficiently working as to be reactivated quickly in an emergency.
Leilani and I stopped at a coffee shop in Willows, I think was. Outside, the Crape Myrtles were blooming; so nani dem.
We took the I-505 bypass so that we could drive around Sacramento, and the hills remained
We’d heard that there was a terrible wildfire near Paradise, where my in-laws used to live. The sky was murky and gray, and we could see and smell the smoke from the fire.
The further north we drove, the worse it got. This is what the sky looked like.
We kept the a/c on interior only, so that didn’t bring all that smoke into the car. Can you see the smoke? It was a scary sight to see. Paradise is pretty wooded, and with the hot, dry, weather, was in the middle of the fire.
We were glad my mother-in-law wasn’t alive; she would’ve been freaking out big time. With good reason. And my father-in-law was living with us, so he wasn’t there either.
The sky got more and more red.
Talk about close! The entire hillside was on fire.
There was a small patch of blue, but it wouldn’t last long.
We stopped in Shasta City for a pit stop. The air was thick with smoke and the flames were very visible. They don’t show up in the photo very well, though.
Just past Shasta City.
We could really see the flames now.
And this is what the sun looked like. We’d never seen anything like this before.
We saw one of the many planes dropping water on the blaze.
Here’s another plane. We prayed safety for all those brave pilots who flew right above all the flames.
By the time we crossed Lake Shasta (it was so low!) the skies cleared a little bit.
It was about 6 pm when Mt Shasta came into view, with blue skies all around.
Then we saw our first Portland sign!! Leilani and I took turns driving, but we were still getting tired. I don’t even remember where we ate dinner that night. Or if we even stopped to eat but just ate snacks.
Yippee! Were back in Oregon!! did get pīpī shots for you know who!
This was probably around Ashland. Mt Ashland. (I think.)
Yippee!! This was before Ashland, and weʻre just about to go up Sexton Hill again.
This could be Neil Creek.
Almost to Ashland and Medford.
Open Oregon highway….
Here we are, a half mile to Siskiyou Summit. It was a little after 7 pm, and we’d been on the road all day long. Ho da tired!
Now we’re going downhill.
Half a mile to Mt Ashland.
I have no idea what lake or reservoir this is. LOL. Could it be Emigrant Lake County Recreation area?
More pīpī for my sweet friend!
It was almost 9 pm now. These were the last two photos we took because it was getting too dark.
Being with Leilani on this trip home, in spite of everything, was unforgettable and wonderful for me. I never get this kind of one-on-one time with my girls. We talked about all kinds of things, enjoyed companionable silences, and reminisced about my mom and the week we’d just been through.
I’ll tell you this, though. I vowed to never do another 12-hour road trip again straight through lidat! And when Nolemana and I made the trip again six weeks later, we stopped halfway and stayed at a motel!