Friday, November 03, 2017

From the ocean beaches to the Sierras …

At last update, we had just overnighted on the jetty at Gold Beach Oregon.  In the morning, we were on the road south again.  Preferring not to haul a full load of water around, we just took a partial fill at the Harris Beach SP rest area, then filled up with diesel at the Fred Meyers in Brookings, Or.  Lots of road construction all up and down the highway, with many areas of one-way traffic, pilot vehicles and the like.  In most cases we would pull over and let the entire line up go past us, knowing that for the next 10-30 minutes, there would be absolutely no one behind us.  After passing through Crescent City, and always being amazed at the number of homeless types wandering the streets of Eureka, we were back out to the coast to spend a couple of days just relaxing and walking the beach.



Took this opportunity to do a major overhaul on the big GM.  Actually, it was just to change a headlight bulb, but they have regressed a lot since a 2003 GMC I drove where you could replace a bulb in about a minute with no tools needed at all.  With this truck, there are 3 different ways of getting to the light on the driver’s side – none of which are easy.  This method I chose involves removing the battery on that side, removing 8 bolts holding the battery support in place, then partially removing the windshield washer tank.  Even then, it’s not exactly easy.  I’m getting pretty good at it now, after replacing the same bulb just a couple weeks earlier.  I guess I neglected to wash off the blood, sweat, and tears (peanut butter?) off the last bulb, and it proceeded to burn out right away!  But…nothing much better to do on a warm, sunny day at the beach!








After a couple of nice beach days we moved along.  In Fortuna, the Chevron pumps didn’t seem to like 00000 for a zip code, so we moved on to the Shell station and filled with both diesel and filled a propane bottle.

From the coastal areas, we wanted to head across to the eastern side of California.  Last year we took Hwy 36 across to Red Bluff and eventually Susanville and Reno.  It is a very scenic route, but it can be challenging in some sections for towing, with the steep, winding sections and tight curves.  But this time there was some major construction going on, resulting in all-day closures in some areas.  With that in mind and always wanting to explore new routes, on down the 101 we went.  This year, a new section of highway goes around Willitts and avoids the downtown area entirely.  We started to see a few freshly burned over areas north of Ukiah, but it was not till reading it later in the San Fran newspapers that we realized we had passed very close to some of the devastated areas, where many residents perished, unable to avoid the flames or evacuate in time. Sad smile

After filling up at the Coyote Valley casino at $2.75 we took the 20 across, and after a Wally world overnight, hit the I-5 at Williams.  Never fond of driving on the I-5, but it seemed best to follow it south at least as far as Sacramento, and then turn east again on the 20.  We filled up on $3. diesel in Placerville and headed for the hills! 


Twas still early in the day when we passed the tiny forest service camp spot where we’d previously overnighted, so we kept going.  Because of snow last year, some of the interesting routes in this high sierra country were already closed for the winter.  But not this year, so we struck out on 89 & 88 through Markleeville.  By now it was getting late, and after a bit of scouting on foot, the rig got squeezed down a short steep goat path to the river at the jct of 4 and 89.  Hailey had fun digging in the sand on the beach and launching mock attacks on imaginary prey.


The following morning, we were not discouraged by the first sign on the road.


From there, hwy 89 climbs through some beautiful country up towards Monitor pass at 8314’


That’s Leviathan peak in the background, and we could see a fire lookout up top as we got close.IMG_8929IMG_8927

Never one to pass up a visit to a lookout (even if not getting paid), I parked the rig and left Hailey there for a hike up to the peak, which is just short of 9000’.  There is a decent road going most of the way up, but I was in the mood for a stretch and a good hike.  On top, the fire lookout was found to be closed  Sad smile, and possibly abandoned.  But there were a couple of radio techs there from the Ca Highway Patrol just finishing some routine maintenance on their repeaters as all the roads in the area will soon be snow covered and closed for the winter.


I took a 360* photosphere from the summit, which is now live on Google Maps, though googles image stitching missed the boat on this one as the top of the tower appears to be floating in thin air.  Rest assured, it’s not!  Click on the link or photo below to take in the whole scene.


Not sure what it is with these California mice?  The rig was parked at home stationary all summer in excellent mouse habitat, and not a single trespasser made it inside.  And before I departed, I even plugged a few more possible entry points.  Well one night recently, two were caught, and the next night – three!  I give them a choice of live traps and snap traps, but most of them seem to prefer the snap traps!  At least they all show up at the same location inside and are not running freely about the rig, but they all seem to manage to avoid the 5 baited traps in the basement.

Since my last update, a few more migrants have made their moves south.  Jean & Skip have passed me and are now in southern California, and John & Brenda are also doing some boondocking in southwest Arizona.  Wandering Willy and the Bayfield Bunch are still waiting for the correct star alignment before making their move.  Non blogging friends John & Nicole waited a bit too long and are driving through 4-5” of snow as they start south with their new 5th.  And, non blogging friends Ernie & Deb have sold their house, and will shortly begin adventures as full-timers as they head south with a fancy diesel pusher.  I hope they will still let me camp near them!

This blog post is getting long enough, so will leave the hot springs visits for the next one!


Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Finally! Back on the road! Southbound down the coast.

I guess it’s been a while now since I last posted!  That was while I was still working, and there were still fires to worry about.


Well, I haven’t worked for quite a while now and most of the time has been spent around home, just watching the calendar and wishing it would speed up a bit.  There were a few early snow storms around home and I actually had to shovel snow a couple times.  Very little to blog about.

But between bouts of bad weather, there have been some nice spells, so tried to take advantage as much as possible to prepare for the migration southward.  I knew departure time was getting close when Hailey asked to go into the 5th wheel, then gave me the “Well, when are we leaving” look!


Unlike usually, I actually spent time cleaning out the basement and organizing a few things, checking the tire pressures, replacing an outside shower faucet, blocking a few rodent access spots, etc.  Surprisingly, never had a single mouse get in even though the rig was parked there all summer.


After it became clear that there were no more trips to be had with the truck camper, it was taken off and readied for the winter and the hitch and winter gear was moved to the truck.  Bicycle and inflatable kayak into the back seat …The truck was even treated to new tires and a new headlight.  At 350 thousand km, it’s just about finished it’s ‘break-in’ period I think!


Then one day last week, I ran out of reasons to stay home any longer, so off we went.  Spent the first night just down in Cranbrook, BC, at the Home Depot ‘campground’, and availed ourselves of the nice, spacious, free dump and fill site in Cranbrook to flush out all the old anti-freeze – from winterizing in the spring when we got home.  Didn’t bother to fill the tank, but got everything rinsed and ready for action.

Then it was down across the border into Idaho, south west into Washington and Spokane. We often spend a night along the Columbia River at the John Day dam, and this year was not an exception. Weather throughout was a lot of rain and low visibility. 


On through Portland mid-day on a Saturday, but that didn’t prevent the traffic from being stop and slow for a fair distance.  It was tempting to stop at Camping World just south in Wilsonville, or the Fry’s Electronics store, but with nothing on the required list, we opted to keep on going.  Made a slight deviation on our usual route through McMinnville and went a bit further south on I-5 to Salem before heading to the coast.


Winds were high most of the way, and the frequent rains continued, but lessened south of Beverley Beach State park as we continued down the coast.  Hailey assumed her traveling position, as usual.


We stopped at the north jetty in Gold Beach, Or, and checked out the feral cat condos and a few of it’s residents.

There were also harbour seals, pelicans, and plenty of gulls to keep Hailey’s interest.


One of the timid condo residents!


Looks like I am one of the first to head south this winter! The world famous Bayfield Bunch are still completing travel preparations, but should be on the road to the south west soon!  Jean & Skip are rumoured to be leaving British Columbia soon, and the ever stealthy Wandering Willy shouldn’t be too far behind them.  John & Brenda were doing some last minute work on their rig before heading south.  Brand new full-timers Ernie & Deb will be leaving the frozen flatlands of Saskatchewan soon for the south.  I’ll have to get them blogging too!

Now that Hailey and I are on the road again, the blog frequency should pick up the pace a bit, and be a bit more regular.

A map of our route so far.  Where we go from here is anyone’s guess Winking smile.