Here's the view from the I-80 vista point. There was a good bit of snow up top, and I expect it was the kind of day that the ski slope operators just love for a Saturday: cold but clear, no snow falling, and the highways open with no restriction. Boreal at Donner Summit seemed to have a good crowd enjoying the early season snow.
About 1 PM we got to Sacramento, where my sister was delighted to see us. We spent more than two hours visiting with her. While we were there, one of the nurses in the long-term care home brought her a stuffed bear, whose name is Barnabas Bear according to his tag. travelswithkuma told Barnabas to take care of Kelli.
We gave Kelli a present, and she decided to open it today rather than wait until next Sunday.
Barnabas Bear is very interested in the contents of Kelli's gift basket, especially the honey straws and honey wafer crackers. Kelli was more interested in the Aero chocolate bars, and she ate one of them immediately. We more or less got her a bunch of things that I shouldn't eat, but she should because she needs to put on weight to gain strength if at all possible. Nursing home food isn't much fun, and she rarely has much appetite.
After a long visit, we said farewell and I promised that I would stop by and visit whenever I could, including my next trip down in January.
By then it was getting late in the day, and while we would have liked to press up into the mountains before the sun set, we hadn't had any lunch and I was showing it, so we stopped at the In-N-Out in Rocklin. In the past, we've stopped at the one in Auburn, which always seems jammed. The one in Rocklin is new, and while the power center in which it was located was quite busy during this holiday Saturday, the restaurant wasn't cheek-by-jowl with customers. (The drive-thru was backed up badly, though.)
While the roads remained clear for the rest of the drive, I cannot say that I enjoyed it. I like I-80 through the Sierra on a nice sunny day. I don't like it in the dark in below-freezing conditions, when I don't know whether there is a rogue piece of ice ahead of me. Indeed, heading up over the top in the slow lane, I was worried about how wet the pavement was until I realized on the far side of the summit that I'd actually been driving where Caltrans had just applied de-icing solution to the highway, which is why I never had any problems. I'm quite a road boulder under these circumstances, but people can go around me as I stick to the slow lane.
When we got to Reno we decided to deal with some of our planned shopping, going to Cost Plus World Market and then to Whole Foods Market to buy some things for ourselves including some good cheese and some of the fixings for Christmas dinner. Then it was well past time to get back home, where we arrived around 8:30.
I'd packed the fireplace full of hardwood before we left at 10 AM today, and while it had burned down mostly to ash (and cooled sufficiently that I could take the opportunity to clean the fireplace glass and dig out dead ashes), there were more than enough coals left over that I was able to rekindle the fire and start pumping heat back into the living room.
I'm really glad we were able to go see my sister for Christmas and give her a present of things she enjoys (and a basket she can use when she's done eating the food in it). It's very hard on her being cooped up in a long-term care home like this with no sign of when, if ever, she will be able to go home. I'm also glad we could go down on Saturday, because it means I can spend Sunday recovering from the driving.