How exciting to attend our oldest great nephew’s wedding in California! As much as we would have liked to drive our home there, it’s just too far for us the way we like to travel – since we prefer to be back in Fredericksburg every three months.
It’s a big deal to figure out where to park and leave our motorhome – safely. This is not our first time to leave it. We’ve been fortunate it has always worked out for us. This time, we had also had to figure out which airport offered the best direct flight options. There were so many airports to pick from! So the wedding helped confirm Pennsylvania as the place to go for our summer travels. We didn’t want to go too far since we had to be back by August, to celebrate both grandsons birthdays and my mom’s 95th.
And bonus! My mom was flying to the wedding with my oldest sister, grandmother of the groom, from the Florida panhandle. We’d be together for the wedding and then she flew back to Virginia with us. More on that later.
July 4, 2018 we flew to Sacramento from Baltimore/Washington International Airport – the best price was to fly on the holiday. Traffic was very light to the airport and it wasn’t crowded there, either. The direct flight was smooth – but it was a long day!
Before our trip, we looked for some hikes as the bride and groom had a website for all attendees with great information on fun things to do in the area- which included an amazing hike. And then a fun way to tour the capital of California, Sacramento and see the Capitol. We had great plans – until we learned we were not staying close enough to Sacramento or the area to hike. However, the wedding venue was closer to the fun they noted. Oh well….
The Sacramento International Airport was nice and easy to maneuver around. We picked up our rental van without any hitches. But we were hungry! Our day started at 4 am and the flight was six hours. They don’t serve meals on Southwest, I guess. The drive to my nephew’s hometown was about an hour. I immediately started using my GPS app to find a restaurant….We couldn’t believe how many places were closed on the holiday at dinner time. We called the hotel to see if their restaurant was open – no only for breakfast! Somehow, we managed to find a less than appetizing place to eat. Just enough to get us by. Then we stopped by my nephew’s home for a quick visit after we checked in. And off to bed. Boy, did we sleep!
As we arrived via our rental car, we saw the Sutter Buttes – the world’s smallest mountain range! It looked like some GREAT hikes were ahead – only to learn you could only hike with a guide between March and May. The actual Buttes are a State Park, but the land surrounding them is privately owned! There has been lots of controversy about access to the Buttes. So needless to say, we had to find an alternative hiking location – the closest was nearly an hour away. More on that below, but for now, we found a rails to trail to walk daily to get in our five miles. And this was our view on the walk:
After the disappointment about not being able to hike in the Sutter Buttes, we had to find an exciting place to hike. I mean, how could we come here and not hike?
July 5, 2018 – we went off to the Spenceville Wildlife Area. The 45 minute drive turned into an hour because of a road closure due to a fire. Now we understand about the California wildfires! From the website:
Spenceville Wildlife Area is comprised of approximately 11,900 acres of blue oak – gray pine woodland characteristic of the Sierra Foothills. The elevation of the area varies from 200 to 1200 feet. The wildlife area is bordered on the west by Beale Air Force Base and on the north, south, and east by privately owned ranches. There are numerous ponds, creeks, trails and riparian zones in the area.
A few pictures from our amazing hike in the Sierra foothills:
That evening and Saturday, it was family time. My nephew has four now grown children. He and his wife chose to home school them. They are all just amazing young adults! I’m sad to say, it was the first time we met his three daughters. We were so happy to spend time with his son when he was playing college tennis in Florida. Saturday evening, we all went out to the rehearsal dinner. It was great meeting the Bride, her family and wedding party. We had a great time and we knew the wedding was going to be amazing. Sadly, I didn’t take any photos there. 😪
Sunday morning, we held a church service at their home. I did take pictures, but no one was really dressed in a way they’d want to see their photos on the internet! LOL My nephew’s wife asked Bill to lead the service while she and my nephew would take care of the music. The Bride and Groom were missing since they don’t live in the same town. I recorded Bill’s message – it was well done! It was such a special time and the young people seemed to enjoy as they commented back how “practical” the message was and they seemed to really get the message (it was about love – why not since that’s the point of a marriage). Again, such a bonus being with my mom. oldest sister and her former sister-in-law, she was the other great aunt to the Groom present.
And finally, Sunday afternoon, the wedding! Since I was focusing on the family, I didn’t get any pictures of the lovely “Maples Outdoor and Indoor Luxury Venue, a Classic Country Estate Venue.” Before the wedding, we had picture time with all the family members. I’m including a few of our small family followed by photos of the Bride and Groom.
We were staying about an hour from the Sacramento International Airport. Our flight was leaving at 6:00 am so we decided to get a hotel near the airport. And so the airport “shuttles” began! Nearly everyone attending the wedding had flights back to their homes. Only the youngest sister is still at home. We took my sister to stay with my nephew’s sister-in-law and husband’s home since her flight was late the next day. This amazing couple has been blessed to live close to the family. They had many sleepovers, road trips and ski lessons! Ann’s flight was that evening, so we dropped her off at the airport. Her son and grandchildren were waiting patiently at home – they made a big trip to see her! She also has four grown children and is a young widow. Sadly, we just ran out of time to do any sightseeing in Sacramento! We really hoped to visit the Capitol if nothing else. Oh well, we’ll wait for the next wedding – we’ve decided we’ll fly again but will stay a month to do and see all we missed!
Let’s say we now know why people love the west coast! It was a fabulous week – great time with family, lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, amazing climate (no humidity!) and a gorgeous wedding! We were so grateful we finally found the Rails to Trail nearby so we managed to get in our exercise everyday.
My mom has lived with my sister in the Florida panhandle for nearly two years. It was a hard decision as mom loves Florida. But she decided it was time to move back to her “home” state of Virginia and into Assisted Living. My middle sister (I’m the baby) lives close by so mom will have excellent oversight. It worked out for mom to fly back with us.
Next up will be celebrations – our youngest grandson turned three, the oldest grandson turned five and he celebrated his birthday with my mom. They share the same birth date! There were lots of parties in August and all the while, we will be celebrating five years as RVers.
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her