11/20/05 to 11/29/05
Sunday morning, 11-20, we jumped on the bike and headed "over the mountains"
to Reno.  The weather was sunny but cool, and we had bundled up a lot.  We did
fine until coming down off Donner Pass when the cold air hit us.  For about half an
hour we shivered, until finally we were close enough to Reno that the air started
warming up again.  So, nothing to be so worried about.  Adam had Sunday and
Monday off, so we got to spend a lot of time with him, Lauren and Evan.  I took so
many pictures, it was hard to select just a few to go on here.
Monday afternoon our trip home was warmer than the day before, and an easy
ride.  We decided to go back on Thanksgiving.  Tuesday we ran errands, and
Wednesday we went to Apple Hill.  All the orchards in the area (about 100) have
joined the Apple Hill Grower's Association and have brochures and stuff about all
the apple-related items they sell.  We were interested only in apple wine, and
headed to the only grower who did apple wine tastings.  Although it was very
good, we convinced ourselves that we did not have enough room to start any more
wine, and for the first time, we went home empty handed.

Thursday morning we headed back to Reno.  The sun was shining, and we were
hot under all our bundles.  We pulled off about 10 miles West of Donner Pass to
get gas, and when we were accelerating up the on ramp to get back on the
highway, we hit a very obvious patch of ice and bit the big one.  It was so sunny
and warm that neither one of us had noticed the ice, and we were on the ground in
no time.  We slid about 10 feet, the poor bike slid 20.  My pants got torn open
(good thing I had put on two pairs!) and the mirror got ripped off the bike.  We got
the bike stood back up, and I was busy sticking the trim back on when another car
started up the ramp, hit the ice, and fishtailed.  We jumped back off the road,
afraid we would be hit.  This happened twice before we were finally able to gather
all the pieces of the bike, and get back on the highway.  So, bummed about the
bike mirror and my pants, we headed on to Reno.  We had a nice Thanksgiving
dinner with Ken and Shannon (from the Princess Cruise, we stayed with them this
summer) then headed back to Adam's, where we got to see Evan open his first
Christmas gift.  He thought the paper was just as fun as the gifts.
Friday morning we got up and the sky was dark.  It was drizzling outside, and I
turned on the news to hear the guy say that it was snowing at 7,000 feet.  Donner
Pass is about 7,300.  Well, we could not get stuck in Reno, so we thought we had
better head out and get over the pass before the snow hit.  So I put on my torn
pants, we got on the motorcycle with one mirror (we had called around that
morning and no mirrors in stock in Reno) and headed out.  What a nightmare.  It
was freezing drizzle for the first half hour.  The bandanna I normally wear over my
face got so wet I couldn't breath through it, so my poor face was exposed and cold,
so every rain drop felt like a pin going through my frozen skin.  The rain got heavier
and heavier as we approached the summit.  We stopped at the Donner Summit
rest stop to warm up (picture me crouching under the hand dryer.)  As we looked
out the doors at the horizontal rain I was lamenting that if we had known it was just
rain, and not snow, that we would have waited.  Someone must have heard me
because at that moment big wet flakes started dumping out of the sky.  That
hurried us up, but by the time we got rebundled and out to the bike, the windshield
was buried under half an inch of snow.  We wiped it off, got on, and headed out.  It
only snowed on us for the next 5 or 10 minutes as we descended back down the
west side of the mountain.  Richard followed the white line on the side of the road,
since it was the only thing he could see, and I couldn't crouch down behind him to
hide from the elements.  I had to sit up straight and tall since I was the only one of
us who could see over the windshield at the traffic in front of us.  It was Awful!  The
weather SLOWLY improved as we climbed down out of the mountain, and the last
20 minutes of our ride it quit raining.  
We take the bike because it gets such better gas mileage.  However, when you
figure that the only replacement mirror we have been able to find costs $40.00, and
that it is not the same as what's on there now, so we would have to buy a pair or
not match (I'm cheap enough to be okay with not matching, Richard isn't) that was
already an $80.00 trip, not to mention my torn pants, the little bit of gas the
motorcycle did take, or the pain and suffering of the cold trip home.  I figure we
would have definitely been money ahead if we had taken the truck this time.  
Someday we'll learn, but that damn weather guy said it would be nice through
Saturday.

Saturday was nice, and since we had been a mile from Sutter's Mill for two weeks,
we figured we had better go check it out.  Sutter's Mill is the area of the first gold
discovery in California, and they have all kinds of gold digging tools on display and
such.  Of course, Richard was drawn to the "panning for gold" and watched the
kids do it for about 20 minutes until he got tired of me offering to pay for him to pan
with the rest of the kids.
So we had to rush home so he could go down to the river with his new-found gold
panning knowledge and see what he could find.
(Nothing, but he blamed it on the lack of sun, the gold didn't sparkle like it should.)
Sunday, 11-27, we got up early and headed out for what I figured would be a six
hour drive to our next park, two miles south of Sun City on HWY 215.  What an awful
drive.  We had done our horrible holiday driving on Friday, so it never occurred to
me that most people would be returning from their Thanksgiving destinations on
Sunday.  The highway was jammed with CRAZY California drivers.  They weave in
and out of traffic, try to pass on the right, and go from 60 to 0 with no warning.  
Several times we nearly rear-ended cars in front of us because traffic would just
come to a sudden stop.  We reached 3 accidents shortly after they happened, and I
was surprised we didn't see more.  So, after TEN long hours of white knuckles on
the steering wheel, we finally arrived at the park and set up in the dark.  
Now, you may think, like we did, that driving South for ten hours would result in
warmer weather.  Not so.  It is hot from 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM, and the rest of the time
it is cool.  Traffic out here is just awful, even though we're 90 miles from LA.  We
went out yesterday, Monday 11-28, to get groceries and thought we would never
make it.  I don't know how my brother does it.  I suspect we'll spend a lot of time
here in the RV park, and not so much out sight seeing.