Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

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Flying Visit to Sutter

When I lived in Chico, back in the 1980s, I thought nothing of rising before dawn, driving to San Jose for a BayCon or SiliCon committee meeting, going for a meal with other staff members, and driving home after dark only to have to rise early the next morning to have to get to class (or later, work). That's a round trip on the order of 450-plus miles in addition to the hours at the destination. But then again, I was in my twenties and even then there were times when I was having to slap myself to stay awake on those lonesome Butte County back roads. So the somewhat shorter (about 150 miles each way) trip to Sutter is something I've been less willing to do in a single day of late. Usually I've been going up one day, spending the night in a hotel, and coming back the next day. But I'm having to conserve money if I want to attend Worldcon this year (not to mention prosaic things like pay the rent and eat), so a hotel night was a luxury on this trip to visit my mother and grandfather.

Sleep, unfortunately, seemed to be a luxury last night. I was packing boxes to take to the locker, and I eventually didn't get to sleep until after 3 AM, only to rise after only about 4 1/2 hours of sleep to get ready for the trip up-country. I filled the back of my van with boxes of books and small appliances I'm not currently using but haven't yet brought myself to give away, like the coffee maker and toaster.

With two stops along the way to buy coffee to keep me awake, I headed north. As rain was in the forecast for the afternoon, I first went to my storage locker near Yuba City, which I haven't visited in some months. The accumulation of dust and cobwebs were what you might expect. I was grateful for the slight breeze that actually made it easier to sweep dust and debris sufficiently for me make room for the new boxes. I took some boxes out and brought them back with me, but not all of them will stay. A couple are labeled as old clothes, and include some old slacks that either will fit me (and which I stored because I'd gotten too fat to wear them, but which may now fit again) or else I will take them to the thrift store.

I realized that the box for the bread maker was in the locker, and that meant I could have repackaged the machine in its original box, but as I started to work on that, the threatened rain started to fall, so I abandoned that project, buttoned up the locker again, and headed to Sutter, where my mother was starting to worry when I was going to arrive. She was about to go ahead and cook lunch without me, but I showed an unerring ability to turn up in time to eat.

Mom made a nice lunch of boiled jumbo shrimp -- something that she, I, and my grandfather all like very much -- and assorted sliced mushrooms and vegetables, which is a good lunch for me and keeps the blood sugar in balance. I had a very pleasant afternoon talking with them about various things. They both miss Cheryl and are almost as unhappy as I am that she's effectively in exile; all of my family are fond of her.

Mom had to leave to head back up to her home in the Yuba County foothills after lunch, as she doesn't have a great deal of stamina these days. I stayed another hour chatting with my grandfather before deciding that I'd better head home myself around 4 PM.

I'd heard on the radio that Yuba City had some of the lowest gas prices in the state right now, so I had deliberately not filled my van before heading north, but as a result the needle was on E as I went into Yuba City. I did get nearly an entire tank -- 24.5 gallons out of the nominal 27-gallon capacity -- which might be the last time in my life I buy gasoline at less than $2/gallon.

One other stop before turning south was WinCo Foods, where I bought a case of 12 one-litre bottles of Teddy's Diet Root Beer. I like this root beer, but I can't find it anywhere other than WinCo, and there are no WinCo stores in the Bay Area, so when I remember to do so, I stock up on them in Yuba City.

The drive home was pretty uneventful, with intermittent rain, sometimes heavy. This was the first test of whether the car-wax plug I put in the leaking door seal would hold. (It seems to have done so, although I'll have to replace it periodically as the wax wears off.) I had the World Baseball Classic semi-final between South Korea and Venezuela on the radio. Ah, baseball on the radio! Spring is here again!

It was with great relief that I got home and stopped driving. I wasn't quite as tired as I remember being on some of those Chico-San Jose marathons, but it wasn't too far removed. And I am so happy that I do not have to set an alarm for Sunday morning. Soon I shall go to bed and sleep very well, I think.
Tags: cheryl, family, travel

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