"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood... And sorry I could not travel both. I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference." --Robert Frost

Sunday, December 31, 2017

December in Placerville, CA

Placerville, CA
Storm Valley Ranch

December was a very busy month as you can guess.  Visits with the kids, appointments and holidays.
First up was visiting our youngest son and his girlfriend, Brennan & Alex's, new apartment in downtown Walnut Creek.  Their apartment is very cute and they can walk to downtown with it's trendy eateries and shops. The streets are filled with sculptures and artwork.
They took us out to a great BBQ lunch and then we headed off to get rolled ice cream.  We've heard about it but never tried it.  At Chalogy they crush fresh strawberries and add it to cream which is then poured on a very cold surface and it quickly freezes.  They smooth it out, cut it, roll it up and stand it up in a cup.  More fresh fruit and chocolate on top.  It was very good!  There are many flavors.

We walked around the city, looking at the Christmas decorations and stores. This restaurant had live plants growing on the walls outside.  We walked up to the rooftop and more plants and grasses are up there.  What a nice place to have a drink on a summer evening.

Even the dog was a statue.  We had a great visit.  Thanks Brennan and Alex for a fun day.

Since I didn't get to see my sister on Thanksgiving because she was sick, I drove with my parents 3 hours north of Sacramento so we could visit with her.
My Dad fishing off Kris's dock.  She has a great place on a nice lake.
 Me and my sorella (sister), Kris.

All this fantastic sunshine means more hiking for me!  Tina and I chose a trail down the foothills.
We did some geocaches that were hidden along the way.  The one below was very clever!  We looked for quite a while then Tina spotted something that looked out of place.  One of the boulders was much smoother than the others.  She flipped it over and there it was!  Four containers drilled in to the bottom of a real boulder. 
                       One of these things is not like the other...                     Clever hide!
 We weren't the only ones enjoying the sunshine.  There were mountain bikers and horseback riders.
This is a nicknamed Poison Oak Forest.  It's dormant now, but look at the size of those plants!
The American River running below us.
On the way back we saw these paragliders.

I forgot to mention that Hurley's Dad (Ryan, our oldest) picked him up to spend the month with him.  We missed him but it was nice to come and go and not have to worry about a pet.  His girlfriend, Diana would send me pictures and videos every few days.
I think maybe he wants to come home?  He actually had a great time and when he did come back he completely ignored me!  It took him a few days to settle back in to the RV routine.
Another hike took us back up the mountain to a trail I've not been on. It's below the lake at Sly Park.

Even though it was sunny there were still patches of snow and ice on the trail.  Frozen ice bubbles made for interesting pictures.

Very little sun gets down to this spot and the trees and rocks are covered in heavy moss.

 That's one big pine that had fallen over.
This particular road up here takes me to some of my favorite hiking in the Sierra Nevada.  They close the road after the first snow and it doesn't open back up until it all melts, usually in May.  Some people try to take this thinking it's a shortcut to Lake Tahoe, but don't realize the gates are closed so they put up this sign.
Before we knew it Christmas was here.  Christmas Eve is a tradition we spend with the kids.  This year we've grown in number with the boys girlfriends included.  Our daughter, Kaylee, hosts and we all bring something to contribute to the dinner.
Ryan, Shane & Brennan (Hurley too)
 The boys with Dad.
 Kaylee and I.
 The Fam. 
Kaylee, Me, Alex & Alyssa.
Diana could not make it as she was out of the country working.
Ryan enjoying some of his birthday gifts.  His birthday is the 28th so we celebrate it while we are all together.  Happy 30th Ryan! Our kids and my parents and sister live within 3 hours of each other in all directions.
 Kaylee French braiding Shane's hair.

 Kaylee does a great job decorating.
We had Filet Mignon, King Crab legs and Shrimp. 
After dinner we all opened gifts, including Secret Santa gifts.  Brennan made a Christmas Ball and he explained how it worked.  It was the size of a basketball.  He used a continuous roll of saran wrap and rolled many small trinkets, candy, money, lottery tickets, games, etc in it.  When it was your turn you got to keep unrolling this ball and keep what falls out of it until the person next to your rolls doubles.  Then you stop and the next person has their turn.  This was SO much fun.  It took quite a while to do.  I wish I had a picture of it.  Thanks Brennan!
I love my Gramma, but I REALLY love my Daddy!
Ryan and Hurley in a food coma, fast asleep.  Can you tell he loves his Daddy?
 If they are able to buy a house this year then they will take Hurley back.  Pit bulls are not allowed in many of the cities in the Bay Area.
Lastly was Christmas at my parents.  Everyone was here except my niece, Danielle who had to work.  I only got a couple of pictures. Below are Diana, Alyssa & Alex.
 All the kids and girlfriends.
Ryan & Diana, Alex & Brennan, Alyssa & Shane and Kaylee.

One of our last evenings we visited our niece, Courtney who works at the Folsom Wildlife Sanctuary.
 She was doing a nighttime feeding of the tigers and explaining their habits to the little kids.

One of the wolves that live here.
While walking through the parking lot we saw this interestingly painted Prius.
 And for Ryan's birthday he was happy to race a Lamborghini.
We spent a quiet New Year's Eve with our friends Doug and Deanna and were then getting the truck and trailer ready to roll.  On to Quartzsite, Arizona with my brother and his wife who are now fulltimers!  They'll spend a week with us then head to Florida and we'll meet up with them later in the summer in Oregon.
As we head into 2018:
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome and dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.
May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.
May your river flow without end, meandering through pastoral valleys down into a desert of
red rock, blue mesas, domes and pinnacles and grottos of endless stone and white sand beaches
 where something strange and more beautiful and more full of wonder than
your deepest dreams
waits for

                                                                                                                            --Summarized from Edward Abbey


  1. Love the Christmas ball! I had never heard of that before. So cool that Ryan was able to race that Lamborghini. That would be a blast!

    1. We've never heard of the Ball either, but it sure was fun!

  2. Looks like you had a great time with your famiglia! What a great way to spend the holidays.

  3. Fun geocache and good looking ice cream. It is so good to spend time with family. Good looking bunch.

    1. It was a fun month. The ice cream was really good.

  4. We also did the saran wrap ball in our family. It was the first time. The kids got very serious about it all. Family time is the best.

    1. That Saran Ball was the highlight of the evening. Everyone had a blast. Yes, family time is the best!

  5. That was a cool geocache and very scenic hiking. Nothing like quality time with the family!

    1. What was interesting about that boulder cache was in the description they mentioned how difficult it was to get the "cache" up there. We wondered what they meant by that when we read it. Once we found it we laughed as it was a real fairly heavy boulder, not a fake one. It was over a mile up in the hills.

  6. Wonderful family pics - it looks like everyone had such a great time! Love the rolled ice cream and the Christmas Ball! I think Hurley was a trooper :-)) All bridges should have walls that high on each side! Happy New Year.

    1. I'm really liking the kids taking over the holidays. The hosting, cooking, cleaning, etc. It's really nice!


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