Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Home again

We made it home yesterday.  It was a fast trip which equates to tiring but we really wanted to go and thought that missing out on the redwoods would just be silly.  Here's my report.

Trip Log - 60Yr-Trip

7:34 PM 6/15/2012
Spent most of the morning going back and forth with stuff for our trip.  I was dragging by the time we were ready to leave.

Got out of the yard about 13:00 - calm and quiet trip to Tonopah after hitting Scotch on the head four or five times to get him to shut up.  Stopped at Joyland RV Park - $10 PA - gravel lot - several small spaces but bigger ones are down the road a ways.  Signage for the park is ok but the GPS tried to get us to turn where there was no road.  There are five but only four are really usable; the last is both rough and access is poor.  We only want water and electric.  There might be cable; I didn't dig around for it.  The sewer in our spot is broken but it's our first day, who cares!

Went out to dinner at a Mexican joint (El Marques - kind of plain but not bad).  Who can complain about $3 XX beer?  They were selling lots of margaritas too but my wife wasn't interested.  Got diesel at the usual place in the middle of town; we do know that the stations on the North end and South end of town are
more expensive but easier to access.  Then found that the Rebel, off the main drag, is $.20 a gallon cheaper!  That's a difference of $3.69 to $3.49; the places on the edge of town with the better access were at $4.09.  We could get up to the Rebel with the trailer but would have to be careful turning around - one lane paved road only - limited hours but I think the credit card reader might work at other hours.  At any rate it IS do-able.

We could open the rig when we got home.  6K feet altitude has it's attractions.  There is WiFi - my wife can get on; I can't. 

6:13 AM 6/16/2012
The cat woke us twice in the night.  He is getting panicy in his old age & isn't used to the trailer yet.  The folks next to us got all packed up last night then took off at 05:00; as quickly and quietly as possible.  Class act.

Left Tonopah about 09:00 along with everyone else in the five space park.  We started out US 6 Eastbound but soon were headed north up NV 376 up through the Big Smoky Valley.  About half way up the valley we suddenly noticed these big power lines heading up the valley.  Sure enough there was a huge open pit mine up there.  We met US 50, the loneliest highway, and went west on it for a few miles.  We considered ourselves fortunate when we came to a huge hill and being westbound were on the 'mountain' side rather than the 'air' side.  After just a few miles we picked up NV 395 and resumed our northbound track. 

From US 50 to Battle Mountain, NV is 88 miles; no towns and pretty darn few people.  We didn't really check out Battle Mountain but got directly on I-80 westbound for Winnemucca, NV.  We found our park by about 15:00.  We were staying at the Hi-Desert RV Park.  It was a nice enough place but the space was
extremely narrow.  They outline the space with landscaping timbers so you really have to get it right.  A young guy showed us to the spot but let us park by ourselves (which we prefer).  They have all the amenities including wifi that actually worked.  We felt kind of 'racked and stacked' because the 'yard' was only about 8 feet wide but otherwise completely acceptable.  We had a celebratory drink and headed out to find dinner.  In the end we decided that nothing looked all that inviting so we went back to the rig and made burittos.  Early to bed because tomorrow is a long day - driving for six hours!

11:03 AM 6/18/2012
Yesterday was pretty interesting. Like the Chinese curse 'may you live in interesting times'!

Left Winnemucca on US 95 then turned off on NV 140.  Totally acceptable road but darn lonely.  Took some time but finally made it into Oregon; the road turned into OR 140 but otherwise....  There were a few surprises along the road.  We found a few mountain passes that weren't marked on our atlas but for the most part they were painless.  Then we started down!  The first major downgrade was an 8% grade that was signed for 25 mph.  I put the truck in 2nd gear and went down but it wouldn't hold 25, can you say steep?  We were very happy to be on the 'mountain' side this time especially since there was NO guard rail, no
road side, nothing.  Did I mention that at the very top of the grade was the famous Doherty Hang Gliding launch?  That wasn't on the map either!  So we wandered westward and soon enough came to another downgrade, only 7% this time and not as long but for part of the distance we were on the 'air' side.  It was marked at 45 mph. Third gear was capable of keeping us under control this time. 

we did finally come to Lakeview, OR.  There is some serious water in this valley; it was as green as possible.  Lots of farms growing mostly forrage crops.  There were quite a few cattle grazing as well.  We were headed north on US 395 then turned off onto OR 31 going northwest.  It is marked as a scenic road but we couldn't really see it.  It was lots more desert with a lake or two thrown in.  There was a nice little lake not marked on our map; then we came to Summer Lake.  That was a disaster.  It must have been a beautiful place at one time but now it is 90% dry and the sand blows across the little remaining water making
it just awful.  People who remember it from when it had water must be heartbroken. 

About 16:00 we made it to La Pine, OR and got onto US 97 heading north towards Bend.  Our campground was between La Pine and Bend; the Encore Thoushand Trails Bend-Sunriver Campground.  I want to get the name right because I words escape me when I try to explain how bad this place is.  This is to totally mis-managed and fouled up that I find it difficult to imagine We drove up to the gate behind a few other vehicles.  My wife had called for our required reservation and used her credit card so I got her to go into the office.  The office kid has worked here for three days and just didn't have a clue about what to
do.  An older guy was wandering around but wasn't much help.  Two women came wandering around with drinks in their hands; turns out one was the manager but she didn't bother to help with the confusion.  It took us 45 minutes to get checked in!  Customer service is totally non-existent.  You may as well ask the cat to wait on you.  All this BS and we have already paid for two nights!

During this time I was sitting in the truck with the animals.  After a while the cat started getting restive and I was afraid he was going to pee on my wife's seat so I held him in my lap.  Soon I started smelling this smell, yep, he peed on me!  Grrr!

 I got the trailer keys and put him back in the trailer.  Of course my clothes are wet with cat pee so I'm happy!  Finally we got in; we are told that of the whole place people who don't belong to Thousand Trails have to stay in Section H; way in the back.  So we trek back to Section H.  ection H is not properly maintained.  The rest of the park is obviously nicer.  The roads are much narrower than those in the
rest of the park.  Many camping spaces are slanted the 'wrong' way.  Of course this also makes it almost impossible to back a trailer into them.  We tried at least three spaces before we found one we could get into.  We also scratched the sides of both the truck and the trailer in the process.  Grrr!

The space itself is quite nice.  We are surrounded by pine trees, of course, the maintenance is bad here too.  The small saplings aren't being pruned out so that while they provide a visual barrier between spaces they will never grow well.  Also weeds and bushes aren't being trimmed so that in case of a fire this place will go up like a bomb.  No WiFi of course.  Would I come back?  Only in a pine box!  Of course now I get to call the cat "Piss-n-Boots". 

Today, Monday June 18, we just made a quiet day.  We had breakfast in the rig then went out to lunch in Bend; ate at a place called Pizza Mondo that my wife found on Trip Advisor.  It was ok but is really for a younger crowd; college age people though there were at least five small children in the place and it only seats about 30.  On the way home from Bend we stopped at Newberry National Volcanic Monument.  It is all about the Newberry Volcano which is just south of town.  There is a huge lava flow in the park where you can walk and a cone that you can drive up.  We didn't stray from the visitor center; it's only about 60 degrees and we were cold!

Went to the Village Pub & Grill in Sunriver.  What a pretentious POS pub - $10 hamburgers that were dry and not seasoned.  Grrr!  I had a Philly Cheese Steak - dry, unseasoned and probably from a packet.  The fries were certainly from a bag. 

This is white-bread country - have only seen one person of color in Bend & she seemed to be an adoptee.  Back to the rig and had a nice night's sleep.

7:54 AM 6/20/2012
Took off yesterday about 10:00 and had a nice drive up to Salem then up I-5 to Woodburn, OR just on the south side of Portland.  It was rainy much of the way; at least it washed off most of the tree pollen that we got at the TT park.  There was a 4500 ft summit then lots of downhill through a heavily forested area. 

This is the Portland-Woodburn RV Park.  Not a PA park but we get a 15% Escapees discount.  Got checked in within 5 minutes - such a great experience.  Got into our spot and relaxed.  They have WiFi but I can't get on; it's choked with users who don't sign off but are still 'there' to the system.  They as also next door to an outlet mall just in case you desperately need something.

It is a beautiful morning; one of those days that the Pac NW shows it's beauty.  Have to go get diesel this a.m.  Found it at Safeway, about 3 miles from the park.  Got a discount because we have a Safeway card.  Check out is noon but we would like to be in Gig Harbor (3 hours up I-5) by 14:00 or so.

As soon as we got on I-5 (11:10 a.m.) we switched to I-205 to avoid downtown Portland.  Traffic stopped almost before the first exit; no idea what it was but gradually it cleared and we only lost about 15 minutes.  Had a couple more slowdowns but nothing exceptional.  Had TWO people zoom past us on the right just as we were losing a lane; these people just don't want to live!  Found an 18 wheeler and followed him up to Tacoma where we got off on WA 16 for the peninsula.  The interchange was AFU but otherwise things were good.  Made it to the first set of relatives (wife's sister and brother-in-law) in Gig Harbor by 15:00.  Doing family stuff this afternoon & evening.  No WiFi since the relatives are computer challenged.

My wife had a wonderful time telling all about the Thousand Trails experience; it will be a long time before I hear the end of it!

5:59 AM 6/21/2012
Big party is today.  The in-laws have been married for 60 years today.  I woke early so am giving Piss-n-Boots a little people time.

Setting up for the party was a lot like work!  Carrying tables and the tent and all upstairs gave us a real workout but then it was done.  Party was excellent; catered so no cooking but I have had better food. 

9:38 AM 6/23/2012
Yesterday we drove the 70 miles from Gig Harbor to Squim to visit with the in-laws.  Got diesel in Gig Harbor for $3.79/gal.  Had a nice visit; this a.m. we are doing some chores then this afternoon will go over to Port Angeles for my wife's brother & sister-in-law!  No WiFi here or where we are visiting this afternoon; more challenged relatives.

Had fun with the relatives.  Visited one of their favorite winerys (Camaradarie Cellars) and left with a couple bottles.  They get grapes from Eastern Washington then bring them over here for processing.  Great conditions here for processing; not so great for growing!  Had bbq even though it was raining.  In the Pacific Northwest if you let rain stop you you won't be doing much!  We were back to the rig in Squim about 20:00.

5:50 AM 6/24/2012
Another quiet visit planned for today.  Going to to a little cleaning in the rig then probably eating and drinking too much again. 

Went to lunch at a local golf course; food was ok but nothing spectacular for $10 hamburgers.  Hit Safeway for a few essentials like coffee and juice then filled the truck so as to be ready to leave in the a.m.  More visiting during the afternoon then we came back and finished cleaning the rig.  It was sorely needed; the wet weather and vegetable matter meant the place was nasty!

Tomorrow we leave; headed for a park we know near Mt. St. Helens; not a long drive but it gets us out of the congestion of Seattle!

5:03 PM 6/25/2012
We managed to get out of the park by 10:30; not easily since the pointy little concrete areas are tough to escape.  We went down US 101; beautiful drive especially while we were next to Hood Canal.  In the little town of Potlatch, WA we found fireworks stands on every corner.  It's land owned by native Americans so they can do that stuff.  It's an amazing situation!  We got to I-5 and came down south.  we were planning on stopping near Mt. St. Helens but decided to go a bit farther.  Ended up in The Big Fir RV Park in Ridgefield, WA. just off Exit 11 in Washington.  It is interesting.  We are in deep timber with large trees all around; unfortunately most of the rigs look like they are permenantly here.  Indeed, some look like they are incapable of movement.  Had a couple of kids wandering around earlier but we are hoping that their parents will corral them for the evening.

We are eating in tonight.  My wife is addicted to Trip Advisor on her smart phone and the local places don't seem to inviting.  We'll try tomorrow night!

5:50 AM 6/26/2012
Should have a short day today just going down I-5 to the Escapees Timber Valley park in Summerlin, OR.  Woke to light rain dripping on the rig.  We've been lucky so far not to have to either park or break camp in the rain.  Hopefully it will be gone by the time we are ready to leave.

Had a dry hitch-up; then had rain showers the rest of the day.  Got in about 15:30 and set up in the dry!  Went to Pedottis Italian Resturant for dinner - nice place and acceptable food.  We've been here before.  Had chicken parm - kind of burned on the edges but nice and moist and tasty.  My wife liked her lasagna even though she had to send it back to be warmed up.

7:53 AM 6/28/2012
Decided we liked the Escapees park so much we wanted to stay another day.  Didn't do much; just some laundry and a little cleaning of the inside of the rig.  During this wet weather the dog brings in a LOT of crud on her feet.  It makes keeping the place clean difficult. 

We wanted to try a Mexican place my wife found on TripAdvisor.  Apparently it didn't go so well; the resturant at the address listed had a different name AND was closed.  So we settled on Abby Pizza.  Not bad food but $23 for a 13" pizza seemed a little high.  They serve there pizza with ranch salad dressing on the side.  No idea whose great idea that was but it doesn't do much for me. 

Off to Crescent City, CA today.  It could be a tough day driving through the mountains.

We dropped south on I-5 to Grants Pass, OR where we got off on US 199 "The Redwood Highway".  We were a little concerned about the highway but it turned out to be great.  It didn't hurt that we were on the 'mountain' side but really it was quite nice with plenty of guard rails and fairly small dropoffs.  The trees were spectacular as well.  There were plenty of 25 mph (40 kph) turns and quite a few places where the road ran between really large trees but there were also turnouts for us RV'ers to let the speedy folks pass.  All in all, a great road. 

We arrived at Sunset Harbor RV Park in Crescent City about 14:00.  The manager had just gone off somewhere but there was a maintenance man who suggested a site so we parked and left a note for the manager.  Hopefully we won't have to move.  The park is kind of interesting.  It has half full time residents and half fishermen and us.  We didn't find any resturants that were calling to us so we ate in and had a quiet night watching tv.

6:53 AM 6/29/2012
Sightseeing is our plan for today.  Gotta see those redwoods.

We started off walking over to the Good Harvest Cafe; it's only about a block and a half from the park.  It is highly rated on TripAdvisor and we were pleasantly surprised that it pretty much lived up to it's reviews.  One review mentioned being left by the door waiting for a table and we had that happen as well.  But the food was completely respectable; our breakfast for two was $20 plus tip.  They also have a coffee bar for those needing a latte fix.

Went in to pay for the site and got the Escapees discount - $19 a night; pretty good I think.  The cable in our site doesn't work so we are plugged into the next site (which is empty!).  Also the wifi doesn't have much get-up-and-go but the site itself is great - there are three on the end which have just grass behind them and we got one.  Everyone else is side by side and their rear view is another rig.  This is much nicer.

Drove down the coast a ways and checked out the trees.  These coastal redwoods are just magnificent.  We kept stopping along the way to check out the coast or the trees; tough decisions but we are tough enough!  Had lunch at a place called the Snack Shack in Klamath because of the reviews on TripAdvisor; not my favorite since it was a greasy mess.  Got back about 16:00.  I went out again and found Safeway.  They had a couple filets that were calling to me so we got out the grill pan and had steak and brussels sprouts.  Yum! 

9:06 AM 6/30/2012
Having a quiet morning.  Did a little sightseeing but nothing else.

6:19 PM 7/1/2012
Up and out by 10:00 or so which is pretty good for us.  The park worked for us but might not for everyone.  They put us in a space that backed up on a green area used for parking fishing boats.  Everyone else was racked and stacked. 

We went down US 101 in the fog to Acata, CA then turned east onto CA 299 - it's called the Trinity Highway for the Trinity River.  It was a beautiful drive.  The road runs along the river for miles and miles.  This means two things:  beautiful views of a very beautiful river AND zillions of 25 mph (40 kph) curves!  After Whiskeytown the road got better but it was still twisty.  For all those miles out in the desert where the power steering is a waste; well, today it earned it's keep!  It took nearly six hours to go 200 miles.  Amazing.  We got off the road at NUMEROUS turnouts to let cars pass.  Ok, I'm not a speed demon but we never had another rv backed up behind us.

Tonight we are parked at the Redding RV Park in Redding, CA.  It's a fairly nice park but definitely tight.  It is all paved, clean, organized but the next rv is probably 8 feet away and is looking into our windows.  Needless to say, there is another one on the other side.   It is also about a quarter mile from I-5 so there is some road noise.  Happily it is 91F now so the sound of the a/c will drown out the sound of the freeway.  LOL  We want to get on I-5 for about 2 miles in the morning then head southeast on CA 44 until we reach CA 89 when we continue on to Susanville, Reno and more!

Redding is a nice enough town of about 70,000 people.  The town straddles the Sacromento River; very pretty.

6:19 PM 7/2/2012
We left Redding about 09:30.  The first part of the trip was in trees.  When we got to Susanville, CA things changed pretty dramatically; the trees were gone!  When we got to Reno we took I-80 about thirty miles east getting off in Fernley.  We were going to get gas at a Pilot station but it was jam packed; we left and found a station in town that had no other customers for $.01 per gallon more.  What a winner!  We took Alt 50 east then picked up US 95 going south.

We've landed at the Whisky Flats RV Park in Hawthorne, NV.  Hawthrone is about 90 miles from Reno; 250 miles from Las Vegas.  It is a nice park with concrete pads for the RV.  Each space also has a picnic table and a small tree.  This is home to an Army munitions depot and that's about it.  I can't imagine living here so far from anything.  It's hot; 91F (>32 C) after the sun has gone behind the mountains at 19:17, but what do you expect in Nevada in the summer. 

Tomorrow we should make it home baring some accident.  It's something like 270 miles (435 km); not trivial but not difficult either.  It will be good to be home; it's been a great trip but we are all tired of the constant movement.

10:43 AM 7/4/2012
Got in about 14:30 yesterday afternoon.  Had a fairly quiet day cruising down US 95 until we picked up NV 160 to come into Pahrump.  Stopped in Tonopah for diesel; I went into the station the wrong way so had to turn around in the alley behind the place but it really was no problem.  Getting into our driveway is much more difficult!  But we managed that as well, motivation is a wonderful thing.  Got a few things unloaded; went out to pick up a prescription, get diesel and a pizza.  Nice combination, huh. 

When we set out the pickup had 27,899.7 miles (44,900 km).  When we unhooked the trailer on our return it had 30,898.7 miles(49726 km) - exactly 2,999 miles (4,826+ km) on this trip!  Amazing.  In 19 days.  It was too fast for real enjoyment but we wanted to make the trip to celebrate the family ocassion.  We added visiting the redwoods because for us to visit that far north in California is quite a trip in itself. 

A small update is in order.  We towed 2,645.3 miles (4,257 km); the remainder was wandering around probably looking for diesel!  Total cost of fuel was $1,151.10 - not nearly as bad as I was expecting!  Thanks to my wife and family accountant for the numbers.

Well, that's it.  It was a long, fast trip but a lot of fun.  As for photos, I took the camera but may as well have not done so.  I've got a total of about two photos using my phone.  I've no idea why I was camera shy; I'll try to do better in the future.  Now we are planning on a California trip next month.  Have a good one!

1 comment:

Ed said...

Your date 6/16: "After just a few miles we picked up NV 395 and resumed our northbound track."
That was NV305 to Battle Mountain not 395.

Your date 6/18: If you had continued north at Denio Junction you would have been on OR205. This would have taken you to Frenchglen that requires you to go down a 14% grade; exciting stuff!

I enjoyed your trip log. I have been on almost all of the roads that you traveled at one time or another.