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California Girls

TBUTLER

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After our stay at the factory service center in Oregon, we are now in California staying with our daughters family in the Gold Hills south of Sacramento. We come here every fall to take care of the two girls, age 6 and 8. Their school is on a year-round schedule and they get a break this time of year. Mom works in another school district which has a different vacation schedule. Dad has a varied night work schedule. So we take care of the girls for a week. It saves them money for child care or a babysitter and we get to know our granddaughters better.

We've been here for one week, the week before our babysitting duties. The girls have been in school and we've been free to do some shopping and relaxing. There are no RV parks near where our daughter lives. For a number of years we stayed at a park about 20 miles away. We tried several parks over the years but none was convenient and we were often driving home in the dark. Last year the kids put in a 50A outlet and we there is a water faucet about 50 feet away and a sewer connection. Life is so much more convenient when we are living next door.

We've had an opportunity to go with the girls for their gymnastics lessons. They have been attending classes for several years and they are showing nice improvement. It is fun to watch them develop their skills. The girls love to visit the motor home. They find excuses to come visit us when we aren't at the house. We keep a store of coloring books and drawing paper to entertain them. There are some other toys and games and they enjoy those as well.

Both the girls are in 4-H and we will take them on a 4-H field trip to Apple Hill next Wednesday. Apple Hill is a fall festival area for children. There are dozens of apple orchards, wineries and farms. In the fall they all market their wares, pumpkin patches, corn mazes, petting zoos, and a host of other activities for children. For adults there is food, a pleasant outdoor shopping and recreation experience and a place to entertain the children. We've taken the girls in the past. This year it will be part of a larger group. Both Louise and I have done many field trips with children when we were classroom teachers. This will be a flashback experience for us.

Today we went with Mom and the girls to the Grape Stomp in the town of Murphys. Each year they hold a festival to celebrate the grape harvest. As part of the festival they hold a grape stomping contest. This is "I Love Lucy" grape stomping. There are two person teams, one person stomps the grapes and the other moves the grapes and pushes the juice out the drain to a collecting bucket. Each team is given 5 gallons of grapes, freshly harvested, still attached to the vines. The grapes are in a half barrel which has a one inch drain. Contestants are sometimes in costume, sometimes just shorts and t-shirts. They have five minutes to get as much liquid as they can from their 5 gallons of grapes. It is as much fun for the spectators as for the teams. Louise posted the girls near the stage so they could see the action. They were close enough to catch some of the splattering juice from one of the teams! We only watched one of the preliminary flights of contestants. There were over 50 teams competing in the contest this year.

The main street of Murphys is lined with vendors and all of the wineries in the area have their tasting rooms open. In the park where the contest is under way you can purchase a souvenir wine glass and there are many wines there to be tasted as well. With the girls along we didn't do much wine tasting. As the designated driver my job was to entertain the girls while the ladies tried some of the wines. We brought home three bottles of wine. The girls enjoyed wading in the stream that flows through the park. They met several of the dogs who were also enjoying the cool water on a warm afternoon. They spent some time touring a real old-time toy store. It had all the great stuff many of us remember from the neighborhood dime store. I resisted my impulse to steer the girls toward some of the musical toys even though mom refused to pay for my silence! We all had a good time.

We've taken the girls on trips in past years and this year will be no exception. We're going to take the girls on a trip to Oregon. Mom and dad have a family vacation house not far from the Oregon coast and they will spend a week at the vacation house. We'll take the girls in the motor home for the trip to Oregon. It will just be a two day trip, no special destinations, just a road trip in the motor home and the girls will be thrilled with that. After we spend several days with the family we'll begin our trip south for the winter.

There are so many ways that having a motor home enriches our lives and the lives of those we love. We truly are fortunate to have this wonderful home.



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