Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Back home in the Great White North

We’ll start off with a couple of photos from Travertine Hot Springs, near Bridgeport, Ca.  High mountains across the valley were snow covered, but it was nice in the valley bottom, though it would dip below freezing at night.

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As previously described, we headed  across northern California, hitting the coast a couple days later near Fortuna. We stopped for the night at our usual spot on a high cliff overlooking the ocean.  Fishing boats plied the waters at night with their high intensity spotlights.  In the morning, the waves and sand dunes provided some hunting opportunities for the rare coastal cougar.

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Impatience got the upper hand, and before long we were back on the road north, following the coast of Oregon.

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As usual, there was lots of construction happening along the coast route, where roads keep slumping down toward the ocean.

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Another night was spent close to the surf, off Seven Devils road.

With the weather starting to deteriorate, we bailed on the coast route and headed over to I-5 at Eugene, and continued north to Portland. Along the way, a rest area provided the chance to use the rv dump.  Attempting to close the valve on the black tank resulted in the entire long handle coming off in my hand.  With the whole belly of the rig enclosed, there was no way to access the valve, which was now stuck wide open!  I guess that provided another reason not to waste time along the road!  Besides, it was almost time to winterize once again to prepare for the inevitably freezing temps ahead.

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A couple of vultures were snacking on a roadkill along the road.

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Through Portland there was a bit of stop and go driving, but things speeded up again when we headed east on I-84 along the south shore of the Columbia river.

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After a night along the river at the John Day dam, we booted up through Spokane, Washington, then Coeur D’Alene, Idaho, making a run for the border.  Snow started to fill the roadside ditches in the bush approaching the border.  No hassles and a quick crossing, and we were back in Canada!  One more night with friends at St. Marys River B&B, and we were off for home.

Roads never really got poor, but there were some sections with packed snow and slush.

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Things were a bit different at home, where I had not had the driveway plowed all winter.  Leaving the rig at a nearby plowed lot, we approached the driveway!

IMG_9919Snow was knee deep and of course my sandals weren’t of much use on the first approach.  Once inside, I found some snow boots and snowshoes, and used them to carry Hailey and the first load or two inside, while turning up the heat and turning the water back on.

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After breaking through the icy ridge at the edge of the road, and taking many runs at the banks, we managed to get a bit of a trail broken in.  Snow was so deep that opening the doors hit the banks.  There were also some ugly ice layers hidden under the snow.IMG_9926IMG_9928

Decks front and back were covered with snow and ice, and the ‘summer camper’ also had a deep layer on top.

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But despite the weather, it will be nice to relax for a while with unlimited water and power, and a big screen TV to watch the playoffs.  And the rig can be hooked to shore power for the first time since October.  Blogging will likely be even less frequent unless I get involved in something interesting, or get called back to work with Forestry.  I hope summer will arrive eventually, especially since ‘fire season’ officially started here almost 6 weeks ago!

Thursday, April 05, 2018

Headed North, and to the Left Coast

Reluctantly, we pulled out of our camp spot in the Alabama Hills above Lone Pine, Ca.IMG_9766

We turned northward again on highway 395, on the east side of the Sierras.  In winter, most of the roads across the mountain range are closed, so the choices are rather limited.  We stopped for fuel in Bishop, as the prices tend to rise with the elevation in these parts!  Normally, we might stop for a few days at the hot springs near Mammoth, although last year there was too much snow at this time of year and most of the roads were closed.  Surprisingly, that was not a problem this year,but with the ski hill still open and the Easter long weekend happening, I knew the crowds would be swarming the area.  So we carried on north to Bridgeport, which also has hot springs, but no real ‘destination’ resorts to attract larger than normal crowds.

There was lots of snow in the high country, but the roads were all bare and dry and the weather was reasonably warm.

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As expected, fuel prices were higher, with diesel going for $4.69 in Lee Vining.

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There were a lot of people at the hot springs at Bridgeport as well because of the holiday, but I managed to evade most of the crowds by showing up well before dawn under a full moon, then soaking till it warmed up after sunrise.  Fuel prices were even higher in Bridgeport, but fortunately we had lots of fuel to make it to Nevada again on the way north.

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We crossed back into Nevada at Topaz lake, and were soon in Carson City.  I tried to check out the Best Buy store there, but found it closed because of the Easter holiday Sad smile.

Diesel fuel however, was a reasonable $2.71, so we topped off the tanks again.  Lots of ‘wildlife’ adorns the roadside as you head on north towards Reno!

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Back into California we went, to Susanville where we decided to head for the coast. A potential roadside overnight camp spot we had noted a year ago up near Eagle lake was inaccessible due to winter road closure so we ended up almost to Red Bluff on highway 36.  That road, though winding a bit was in good shape and traffic was very light.


IMG_9846IMG_9841IMG_9838IMG_9836IMG_9822IMG_9818Next day, we continued west of Red Bluff, still on 36, but it has a lot more twists and turns than I had remembered, and a major reconstruction project in the middle resulted in a somewhat unexpected 3 hour delay, and a very rough section where the construction was.

IMG_9847IMG_9851Following a pilot vehicle through a couple sections.

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I recommend avoiding this way for at least a couple of years till the construction ends.  In spite of that, it was a pleasant change from spending months in the mostly treeless desert to being in forest, and large areas of huge redwoods near the coast.

Now that we made it to the coast for the next phase of migration, the weather is of concern again.  Lots of rain is predicted for a number of days.  Is it worth the slower, more scenic option of following the beautiful Oregon coast, or would it be faster just to pick up the I-5 and head north?  Stay tuned.