Friday, November 15, 2013


We decided a few days ago that we would arrive "home" one day early in order to surprise our 5 kids!  We didn't tell anyone, and I didn't even let on in my blog what we were planning, so sorry for the minor deception the past few days.  Thursday came up clear and windless in Lone Pine......another in a long line of windless days!  Our plan was to be on the road by 8 am and home by Noon, and, in spite of getting up late, we were able to roll the wheels by 8:10 and were heading south on US HWY 395 at 60 mph.  

The early morning view along US HWY 395

The loooong view towards Coso Junction

On our  trek south through the Owens Valley we passed through the oh so familiar villages of Cartago, Olancha, Coso Junction, Pearsonville, and Inyokern before turning left at the junction of SR-14 and US HWY 395 to continue on with US HWY 395 toward Ridgecrest.  Eventually we passed through Johannesburg where we chose to stop on the outskirts to take a short break.

We started the day knowing we would have 4 big climbs over the 200 miles remaining between us and "home".  The first was climbing up past Ridgecrest .......about 8 miles of 5% grade.  The second was the 7%, 4 mile grade up to Johannesburg where we took our break.  Okay then, two down, and two to go.  The third was just past Kramer Junction at the intersection of US HWY 395 and SR 58 (it is also known as the Crossroads of the Mojave Desert, but we have always called it "Four Corners", because that is what my Dad called it).  The fourth and final climb would be just after we rejoined I-15 in Hesperia.....the climb is about 4 miles at 5%  to the top Cajon Pass, followed by a 12 mile , 6% downhill grade into the Pomona Valley, and "home".

What the road looks like approaching "Four Corners"

From Four Corners it is only 80 more miles home, and our anticipation continued to grow.......US HWY 395 crosses some pretty remote and desolated country on this last stretch.

We have stopped in Four Corners to eat here often over the years

Before we knew it we were approaching the summit of our last climb....Cajon Summit.......shifting down into 3rd gear, then letting the "Jake" brake do its job slowing our descent into the Pomona Valley.

 The Pomona Valley

Not far now....

We arrived at Rancho Jurupa Regional around 12:10 pm and were met by our good friend Caroline who is still working in the entrance kiosk.  Before long Ranger Valerie came over to welcome us nice to see familiar faces, and to be back at our favorite country park!

Our home for 2 months

Mt. Rubidoux looms large over Rancho Jurupa....I took this picture about 2 years ago during our 12 month stay in Rancho Jurupa Regional Park

After getting ourselves set up....well mostly set was in the high 80's when we arrived, so we didn't spend too much time outside....we're not used to this kind of heat.....LOL!!

Once we had the A/C cooling down the coach we hopped in the 'Bird and drove over the the Riverside County Headquarters to update our paperwork with Tony, and then we headed out on our quest to surprise each of our 5 children, who were not expecting us to arrive for another 24 hours.  First stop was at my son, Chris' office.....of course, on the way there we got stuck in traffic on I-15 caused by a multi vehicle accident for 15 minutes....welcome back to SoCal......we finally reached the office and  parked around the corner so he could not see us coming.....when we opened the door we found he and his wife the way, Rochelle is the best daughter-in-law ever!  We love her to death!   Of course they were very surprised as we exchanged long hugs, and talked for about 20 minutes before continuing our surprise the kids quest .  

Next up on our surprise list was our daughter, Sharon, who teaches 5th grade.  We called her boyfriend,   Rod, who let us know she was leaving school shortly, but was going to stop off at the local Target before she went home, so we hatched a plan to surprise her at the Target, which was only 3 blocks from the office.....we drove over quickly, and while TLE watched one entrance I watched the other....finally, about 20 minutes later Sharon walked in.....we waited until her back was to us, and then walked up and tapped her on the shoulder.....needless to say there were screams of surprise and joy as we exchanged hugs.  We swore Sharon to secrecy as we headed off to our next surprise visit.

Next up was to drive down to our home, which my daughter Meredith, and son Tim are leasing from us to surprise this time it was getting on to 5 pm, so we were slugging our way through rush hour traffic down Haven for 5 miles.   We rang the door answer....hmmm...Mere's car and Tim's car are in the driveway.....then we knocked on the door...still no answer.  So, I dialed Mere's phone number and ask her if she is home....she answers hesitantly....."yes"....I then ask her why she is not answering the door......there is a short hesitation, then I hear her scream, and run downstairs.....she threw the door open and we hugged.  Just about that time my daughter, Kate, comes through the door.....she had stopped off after picking up her daughter, to see Meredith, so was totally surprised to see us there.  Within another 3 minutes my son Tim came through the the surprise was complete!

In the kitchen with Mere, Kate and Tim

It's rare you can pull off a surprise like this one without the word getting out, but we did it and are so happy we did!  We finally returned to the park around 6:30 emotionally wrung out, but with big smiles on our faces.  Friday my brother Philip and his family will arrive in their travel trailer for the weekend.....we have really missed them too.

It is good to be home with family, and we are so looking forward to the next 2 months as we catch up with family and friends!

Thanks for stopping by!

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