Sunday, December 26, 2021

The roundtrip......

7:52 am - Sunday - December 26th - Anza Borrego Desert, CA - 56° F, 49% humidity, wind 11 mph out of the west (feels more like 15-20 mph)....crystal clear, blue skies today with a forecast high of 62° F.  On this date in 2018 we were winging our way back to Nashville after a whirlwind Christmas visit with our kids....arrived in SoCal Christmas Eve, and flew back out the day after Christmas.....we were tired, but very happy......↴

We were up far too early Christmas morning, but we had a purpose.  That purpose was to drive 125 miles into Ontario, CA to see our kids for Christmas.  Believe me when I say this.......TLE and I are not fond of pounding out 250 round trip miles on any day, let alone Christmas day, but what a rewarding day it was!

We were out the door, and in the VW heading east on S-22 to its junction with US-86 by 8:15 am.  We stopped off at Red Earth Casino, about 5 miles north of Salton City to top off our fuel tank at $4.64/gallon for premium.....yup, that's a lot, but the best price we have seen in SoCal....and were back on our way within 10 minutes.  The drive was easy as traffic was amazingly light with virtually no truck traffic..... we approached Banning Pass on west bound I-10 we could see clouds.....

.....which eventually turned into a light rain as we approached Ontario.  We had planned to be at Tim and Laila's home around 11 am to hang out with them before Christmas dinner in the afternoon, but we made such good time that we stopped off at Rod and Sharon's new home (to which we had never been) for about 45 minutes before heading on to Tim and Laila's.....

Left to right: Sharon, Brayden, TLE, Rod and moi we drove down to Tim and Laila's home where we delivered a Christmas gift to Crosby, which did require some assembly.  They provide a plastic screw driver to screw the parts of the trucks together, and attach the wheels.  Crosby caught on pretty quickly to using the screw driver, and soon the four trucks (dump, tow, fire and garbage) and crane were assembled.... 2 pm the rest of the family, and extended family began to arrive, and soon it was bedlam.....18 conversations going on all at was like one big, blended Hockwald family

......around 4:30 pm we bid our adieus and began the 125 mile home in the now gathering rain storm.  It continued raining all the way to Banning Pass where the rain abated, and the wind increased.  By the time we turned west on S-22 to drive the final 22 miles to our boondock site it was pitch black, and even our high beams had little affect on the inky blackness which enveloped us.  Unable to see, or recognize many landmarks as we cruised westeward we suddenly came upon the turn off to our site, and belatedly recognized the glimmering solar lights around the Newell....I say belatedly, because we drove past the turnoff about 20 yards before we realized we had missed harm no foul, as they say.  Thank goodness for those solar lights!

As we parked the VW and opened our doors to exit they were pulled out of our hands by a strong west wind blowing from the rear of the car, but we managed to extricate ourselves, and our belongings without mishap, and were inside turning on our heaters within seconds.  Our daughter, Meredith, was not able to attend the Christmas dinner, but sent along a bottle of 12 year old Macallan single malt scotch, which TLE and I utilized to toast our successful 250 mile round trip drive to celebrate Christmas with our kids......

....she knows what makes her Dad happy.....thank you Meredith!  Missed you!

We are no strangers to whirlwind Christmas trips as you know....I started this missive with a picture of TLE and I on an airplane returning to Nashville, and the Newell back in 2018 after another  whirlwind round trip....I get tired just think about that one!

We both hope you all had a wonderful, family filled Christmas, and thank you once again for stopping by!

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