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Anthony Chabot Campground

Oakland, California

February 14 - 18, 2008

Pat's Version

Wheezie peers over the decorations from the dash of the Bounder

Lee's Birthday was coming up and I didn't have a clue as to what to do for it. Just by chance Mark Littlewood wrote and said let's get together at Lake Chabot. Lee jumped on it and suggested that it be on his birthday weekend. Yes, this is Lee's 60th birthday! That took the load off me as to what to do, but how to get it together? Mark wrote and suggested a potluck. I had ordered a cake two weeks earlier and got some decorations. Great, but I still wasn't sure where Lee was on celebrating his birthday. Oh well.

We have in the past for Christmas and birthdays just said don't get anything, maybe a dinner or show. I just couldn't do that so I got Lee a few things that I hoped he would like. I found a leather jacket to replace the one he had, a shirt, and an Ernie Kovacs DVD. Then, about three days before the trip, I found an external hard drive for his computer.

Thursday February 14 2008: All is well and I am off to work at 6:30 a.m. to Antioch to help open our new JCPenney store. Lee is getting ready to take Blue Boy to Lake Chabot, where I will meet him after work. Work is going well, my mind is on getting out of Dodge and getting to Lake Chabot. The list is pick up cake and other small sundries, then direct to the campground.

As I am pulling out of the parking lot Lee calls. I am trying to sound cool and collected: “I'm on my way,” I said . Then all hell hit the fan. Every red light and slow person on the road, and this is just getting to Concord! I pick up the cake and off I go. Now, let's get going, damn it! At Orinda a cop is stopping traffic on the freeway. I call Lee and tell him where I am and the hold up. By this time I'm about 45 minutes late. Wow, through the tunnel to Redwood Road. I am calming down a tad. Then I get lost.

Too chilly to eat outside, the birthday potluck was moved into the Bounder. Left to right: Dan, Mark, Robert, Eray.

Eray passes the corkscrew to Lee, who, sparing no expense, serves Two-Buck-Chuck to his guests.

Let me preface this by saying I get lost leaving my bedroom. I call Lee who tries to give me clearer directions and says he has dinner waiting for me. I am getting pissed at myself for getting lost. To add insult to injury, it's getting dark. To make a long story longer I end up on Skyline Boulevard near the Mormon Temple. I am in tears when I call Lee and he asks, do I want to try again? I say NO, I'm going home and will start fresh in the morning. I cry all the way home. I get the DAMN cake out of the minivan and put in the fridge. Lee calls and gives me a list of stuff we forgot that he wants me to bring in the morning. I pour myself a bourbon & 7 and try to calm down.

Friday, February 15, 7:30 a.m.:
I am off, first to Safeway for milk, breakfast Danish, seasoning salt, etc., then gas. No problem so far. Up Redwood Road where I finally find out where I turned back last night. I had been about one mile from the campground which really pissed me off. Driving into the campground I got lost again and ended up at the rifle range. I find a guy and tell him really I’m lost. “Go to the right at the top of the hill, it will take you right there.”

I make it a tad frazzled, but make it. As I pull up to the entry kiosk, Robert & Dan and their dogs are there. I pull up to our site, go in with the newspaper and find Lee sitting at the table. He greets me with “I had dinner all ready for you last night; the cats missed you.” Guilt trip to the max. Probably shouldn’t mention getting lost again this morning. Coffee, breakfast rolls, and all was well.

With Robert & Dan parked in a different section of the campground, Lee and the cats had been here nearly twenty-four hours by themselves. Eray pulled in later that morning then Mark at mid-afternoon. While Lee was talking to the gang I set out to decorate the rig and campsite with birthday ornamentation: a banner at the base of the Bounder’s windshield saying Happy 60th Birthday, a rainbow-colored hot-air balloon, and a string of letters spelling Happy Birthday taped to the back of my van.

We set up for dinner around six, but the cocktails started around 5:00. Dinner was potluck, I burnt the enchilada casserole, but I saved it. The weather turned a tad cool so we all packed into Blue Boy and chowed down.

I brought out the carrot cake and Lee started opening presents. Dan and Robert had given him a cool card and a huge balloon with Happy Birthday on it earlier that day. Eray gave Lee a neon flamingo table light and Mark give him a set of martini sticks that hold drink glasses on the ground. Lastly, he opened the leather jacket and external hard drive from me. The evening wore down, all had a wonderful time, and we were in bed by nine.

Saturday, February 16: Got up Saturday morning and after our morning coffee chit chat, the boys came over and proposed a hike. So off we went. Lee stayed back because he didn’t have hiking shoes. We hiked around three miles and on the last leg of the hike Lee picked us up in the van up and said that Bob and Allen were here. Then the party started again. Total potluck. I don’t know what it is about Lee’s rocking chair, but this was the second one that broke while he was in it. Robert said he was off his rocker. Another fun evening wound down. Lee and I were designated campground taxi for the evening. We got home, talked, then headed to bed.

Sunday, February 17: Sunday another hike this time all of us went and almost died from it. Came back to our rigs and vegged a little. Then we had another potluck. It was a whirlwind and all had full tummies and warm fuzzies. I stayed up and did dishes and wrote the rest of this Big Birthday story.