The occasional, often ill-considered thoughts of a Roman Catholic permanent deacon who is ever grateful to God for his existence. Despite the strangeness we encounter in this life, all the suffering we witness and endure, being is good, so good I am sometimes unable to contain my joy. Deo gratias!

The thoughts expressed here are my personal thoughts and sometimes reflect my political views. As a private citizen I have every right to express these views.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Western Trip Part 4: Grandchildren and Tahoe

Dear Diane and I have four grown children -- two daughters and two sons -- who have given us nine grandchildren -- three granddaughters and six grandsons. Until recently all four families lived in Massachusetts so it wasn't too difficult to visit the entire clan during the course of a single trip north. But things have changed. One daughter and her family moved to California last summer and one son and his family will move to Texas this weekend. The logistics of family visits has, therefore, become much more complex. Indeed, our recent trip west to visit the California branch of the clan is a perfect example. It's hard to combine visits when much of the family is separated by 3,000 miles.

And so, on this trip we spent time with only two of our grandsons, Ezekiel and Phineas.  As I related in yesterday's post, as a family we celebrated Ezekiel's First Communion. But we also got to spend a week just hanging out with the boys who took a special interest in our dog, Maddie. Some photos follow...
Daughter Siobhan and Phineas
Ezekiel practices for his piano lesson
Dear Diane and Phineas
Ezekiel looking cool in his hat
Phineas and Ezekiel
Boys playing Yahtzee with Mom and Maddie

Leaving Siobhan, Jeffrey, and the boys wasn't easy and we began our trip home with more than a little reluctance. Our first stop was South Lake Tahoe where we stayed at another very accommodating dog-friendly hotel -- Three Peaks Resort & Beach Club. We located a pleasant restaurant nearby -- Blue Angel Cafe -- that also welcomed pooches in their outdoor seating area. The food was quite good and our pretty waitress was very attentive to Maddie, offering her a bowl of cold water and a treat or two. Afterwards we drove around town a bit and took in some of the local sights, then walked Maddie down to the shore and enjoyed the spectacular views of the lake and the surrounding mountains. Tahoe is certainly a beautiful spot and I can understand why our daughter and her husband go there so often.
Lake Tahoe

We spent most of the next day driving south from Tahoe to Barstow, California along US Highway 395. Taking this magnificent route is a joy. It passes between the Sierra Nevadas and Death Valley and, as you can see by the photos I've included below, it offers some of California's most beautiful scenery.
California Mountains
Another beautiful view...
And another...
Another...

Eventually we arrived in Barstow, one of those incongruous places, a city that, for reasons I cannot imagine, just rose up out of the desert. Although not a very picturesque spot, Barstow offered a convenient stopping point for us since it's home to a wide selection of motels, including a dog-friendly La Quinta Inn. After a good night's rest we left Barstow and turned east toward our next stop, Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon which I'll describe in my next post.

Here's a link to some of the photos I took during our time in California: Flickr California

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