In late August we went to northern California for a fun way to end our summer. Sheldon served his 2 year church mission here in 2010- 2012. I Thought it would be a special experience for him to return so we made a road trip out of it and brought our little puppy along.
Day 1- Driving to CA + Camping in Lake Tahoe
We woke up at 4am to start driving from our home in Idaho. By the time it was light we had made good progress. We only made 3 short stops along the 9.5 hour drive. Thankfully Koda does so well in the car, he was just content to be going somewhere new. One stop was in Reno, NV to have lunch at a park. One more hour of driving and we made it to Lake Tahoe! We took a little time to set up our campsite (more like “glamping” if you ask me: because of our giant tent, air mattress, and access to free wifi.) We didn’t have much time left in the day so we grabbed some pizza at Za and drove to the southern tip of the lake to see Emerald bay and Eagle Falls. Koda was so excited to sniff, climb, and explore a new place! Before nightfall we walked a boardwalk close to our camp and quickly learned that Koda is terrified of water/ loud splashing, so we came back to the campsite to prepare for the night. With our Wifi Sheldon was able to watch the first BYU football game of the season. We all slept warm and well except for a siren that drove by. Koda was so happy to spend the night in the tent with us.
Day 2- Auburn + Oroville
We slept in a little bit and got ready for the day. We were able to get both the tent and air mattress back into their original bags. Once camp was cleaned up we were on our way to auburn: Sheldon’s 4th mission area. We drove around his old area being sure to see old apartments, the dentist statues, and the impressive Foresthill bridge. Then he took me to a favorite lunch spot called Beach Hut Deli, which was delicious! After a little while we made our way through Griddley to Oroville. We passed many beautiful orchards of peaches, oranges, and walnuts. Little Koda discovered that he really likes sleeping on my shoulder on car rides. Upon arriving in Oroville we set up our next camp site and continued on. I taught Sheldon that “Oro” means gold in Spanish, so we concluded it is probably named after the gold rush. We then visited the dam, lake, and spillway. While there we attempted to recreate some of his old photos. It was a beautiful an impressive sight. We also got to see a salmon ladder area and walked along the feather river at sunset to end out evening. We all slept so well at a very quiet campsite.
Day 3- Oroville + Willows
We packed up our campsite and then drove around the streets of Oroville. We went to the top of table mountain for a short hike to Hollow falls. The hike was along some cool volcanic rock but sadly the waterfall was all dried up. Then we grabbed lunch and drove to Willows. Upon arrival we found the Myra Family and spent time with them. They were a family hosted Sheldon and his mission companions so it was especially meaningful to visit. They cooked us a delicious home cooked tritip with Idaho potatoes that we brought for them.Koda tried to play with their cat by jumping around but scared it off. We ended the evening by taking Koda to a local park.
Day 4- Church at Willows
This morning we woke up and prepared for church. Willows was probably Sheldon’s favorite mission area. We talked to several people Sheldon knew from his time there, some people remembered him, and some didn’t. We stayed for their linger longer and had delicious food. After church we took a few pictures with the Myras. Then Sheldon drove me around the area to reminisce. We saw rice fields and lots of orchards on the drive. We had another delicious home made meal with them and talked clear into the night.
Day 5- Roseville + Rocklin + Sacramento
We started the morning at Nancy’s airport Diner. Which was one place Sheldon really wanted me to experience. We met up with two different families Sheldon knew from his mission. The Param family drove down an hour to join us! The Cafe was a cute small town place with an airport view and a piano player. Breakfast was delicious and filling! We ended up Skyping their daughter that sheldon knew while there. We said our goodbyes then we drove to Roseville and Rocklin (two more of sheldon’s areas.) We drove those roads and saw his old apartments and he told me some of his old stories. After a bit of driving we made it to Sacramento. We made sure to stop at the temple for some photos and drone footage. From there we got to our pet friendly hotel for the night. we bought some of the best Mexican food I’ve ever had at Casa Ramos. Poor Koda had done so well on the trip but was so scared in our hotel so he got to sleep with us for a bit until he calmed down. We had a lot of driving to do the next day so we left at 4am. It was about 12 hours to get home and Koda did so well in the car. We made it back home safely without any delay and even made it to Koda’s puppy class on time.
Sheldon’s words; “It’s a surreal experience to return. In some ways it’s like I never left, and in others it’s like ‘what am I doing here?’ But it’s fun to be back.” I’m so glad we were able to do this simple road trip together. It’s fun to be able to picture these places in my head when he talks about them. It was not as extensively planned out as some trips we have done, but I think we both appreciated the time together.