Merced, California:  After a restful evening in our toasty bus, we woke to terrible Tule Fog and freezing temperatures. Saturday is my normal rest day, but even My Driver didn’t want to venture out for a run in these conditions. The Tule Fog is an odd phenomena of the San Joaquin Valley in central California – fog so thick you literally cannot see even 25 feet. The fog is so dangerous, especially when combined with freezing conditions. Be careful out there, people.

All four brothers gathered in Merced this evening to celebrate their Mother’s 80th birthday! Imagine how blessed are these four boys to have this wonderful woman for a Mom!

She is strong. She is beautiful. She loves her family. She loves the Lord. And she loves to laugh.

Ginger sprinkling truffle-infused salt over asparagus spears

The birthday celebration was held at Brother Bill & Ginger’s home. They prepared a feast fit for a Queen (Mom). First course was smoked salmon canapes, followed by grilled filet mignon, roasted asparagus and potatoes, sauteed mushrooms and tossed greens.

Do you see a pattern of delicious foods whenever we dine at Brother Bill & Ginger’s house?

Filet Mignon, mushrooms in a brandy cream sauce, roasted asparagus spears and roasted garlic potatoes. A feast fit for the Birthday Girl!

Mom with Ginger & Bill’s daughter, Meghan

Yes, we made her wear a birthday tiara. All the girls wore pink tiaras. The boys wore blue cone hats.

Some of the brothers cheated and took more than their share of party hats.

After dinner, Brother Steve broke out his guitar and we had little family sing-a-long. Luckily, for everyone in the room, several family members are/have been professional musicians/singers and they carried the room so the neighbors did not have to phone the police and the cats did not screech very much.

Mom loves chocolate, so her 80th birthday cake was a chocolate truffle cake from Ettore’s Bakery in Sacramento.

The birthday girl enjoyed 1½ slices!

A great celebration for a great lady. Happy Birthday, Mom!

Until my next update, I remain, your hopped-up-on-sugar correspondent.

RV Park: Castle Air Museum RV Park – This teeny campground has only 6 sites now, all back-ins. Exclusive! 30/50 camp service, water and sewer. No bathhouse, no laundry. Nothing. We paid $25.

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