After leaving Yosemite National Park we traveled on the freeway from Merced towards Sacremento, stopping to eat lunch at a rest stop in Turlock. The scenery along Route 99 was mostly agricultural, with rice paddies and fruit groves lining the highway. We continued on our way to Marysville, then finally Oroville, where my brother Tracy and his family live. The town of Oroville was in crisis mode last year when the reservoire, swollen from an extraordinary amount of rain over the winter, flowed over the emergency spillway of the Oroville Dam into the Feather River, creating damage to the main spillway. At 770 feet, the Oroville Dam is the tallest earthen dam in the U. S. Fortunately, Tracy lives above the lake, so his son and daughter, who live in town, stayed at his place to weather the crisis together.
We met Tracy in town at my niece’s (Lisa) home, and we had dinner together. It had been a while since we have seen Lisa, who has grown into a beautiful young woman, and who is a program manager of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Sacremento. We spent a few relaxing days at Tracy’s home with the exception of a blood clot scare for Fran. Fortunately the soreness was due to muscle strain, which meant our trip could continue albeit monitoring for the prevention of DVTs. Tracy decided to join us on our trip since he was headed for Santa Barbara in a few days, and he added his own personal experiences to help us decide what we should see in the upcoming days.