01-18-2016 Traveling South

Current Location: Desert Hot Springs California at 54 F and clear

Dang.  Open Live Writer refusing to publish tonight, so I am publishing this baby on WordPress.  For all you readers who don’t like this one compared to the blogger version, at least here you get photos….

Bakersfield to Desert Hot Springs-13I can’t really claim the snowbird moniker, but somehow it seems that every year we manage to make our way south.  I think to be a snowbird, you might have to stay for the full winter season and only meander back north when the light and warmth return. Still, it is an incredible delight to slip away from all that cold stuff, the snow plowing, the crashing ice dams, the skating rink parking lot, and land gently back in the desert, with simply a light shirt on in the evening, and feet once again in sandals.  Ahhh.

We took our time this year, leaving later in January, and ambling southward slowly enough to spend some good time visiting friends. visiting friends-26 Mo and I met Laurie and Odel many years ago, when I was a brand new blogger and Laurie was one of the more well known bloggers in the newly minted rv bloggerland.  Later, long after Laurie stopped blogging and they sold their beloved rig Scoopy, we stopped in for a visit to their digs and they took Mo and I to Nevada City and introduced us to their good friends Nickie and Jimmy.  I love how these things work.  As I am writing this, I am remembering just how we all met, and I had almost completely forgotten the details. 

Visiting friends-37Sometimes these kinds of friendships come and go, but in this case, they are the kind that will last a lifetime.  When we get together, in fours or in sixes, it is always so much fun.  This time was no different.  Nickie and Jimmy invited Mo and I to dinner at their place in Nevada City.  The food was fabulous, what Nickie called “comfort food”, but oh my such deliciousness!

visiting friends-19Even better than the food, however, was the laughter.  Nickie has this wondrous inner child that comes out to play a lot, and makes me laugh till my sides hurt.  Mattie thought she was a kick as well, and the two of them slid around on the gorgeous hardwood floors until tiny Mattie knocked Nickie down, or at least that is what Nickie claimed.  So sorry, Nickie!!  I hope your bruises have healed.

visiting friends-27The “Big Plan” was for the six of us to meet the next day in Auburn for some yummy food, and then hike it all off with a great walk along the river and the waterfalls.  The only waterfalls were coming out of the skies, with big dark rain keeping us all inside.  Instead of hiking, the six of us sat together at a big round table at Awful Annie’s and ate and talked and ate some more.  It was great fun being together again.  We have hiked with Laurie and Odel, and with Jimmy and Nickie, but so far haven’t managed a hike with all of us.  That is on the agenda for sure.  What a fun bunch of people to know.  I feel so lucky. 

visiting friends-28Mattie made friends all around, but especially with Odel.  Did she ever love that guy!  I wish I had taken a photo of her looking at him with adoring eyes as he scratched her ears.  Mattie knows a good man when she sees one!

Our trip south this year was almost uneventful, with only a few tiny glitches.  Once again we had to get the rig over the passes, the only way to escape to the south requires driving those passes.  This time I was driving, so instead of documenting all the crazy stuff, I gripped the steering wheel as we rolled along on solid packed snow and glare ice with temps in the high 20’s and low 30’s.  Once again, getting over the Siskiyous was scary, getting past Mt Shasta was even scarier, and once again the ice didn’t clear until we reached the Pit River Bridge just north of Redding.  Sheesh~~ The only good thing is that at least this time it wasn’t actually snowing, but that ice was no fun at all. 

visiting friends-3Beale Air Force Base is just east of the I-5 corridor and Marysville, and only 34 miles west of Nevada City, the sweet little mountain town where Nickie and Jimmy live.  We decided to give the FamCamp a try and it isn’t a bad stop.  The campground is fairly isolated on the base, with long open views toward the east.  I was surprised at how full they were, and we were glad to have made a reservation.  $18.00 per night with full hookups isn’t bad, although the sites were muddy from all the recent El Nino rains.  Still, the gravel pad was level enough we didn’t have to put down the levelers, the power was adequate, and there was WiFi available, but I didn’t try it. My Verizon worked fine on the iPad, and I had no time or need to set up the computers or the MiFi.

visiting friends-7On the way to the campground, we saw an amazing airplane flying low and slow, circling above us.  I love that about staying at an air force base, lots of cool airplanes.  Found out later this was a U-2 plane, and that the woman pilot who flies them at Beale AFB is quite famous.

Once we arrived at the campground, we started our regular routine to unhook the Tracker, only to discover that the battery had gone dead.  Mo is pretty careful about making sure the key is in the right position, but figured she must have turned it a notch too far.  We managed to unhook, turned the MoHo around and jump started the Tracker, leaving it running while we got ready to drive up the mountain to Nevada City.

Everything was fine, and after dinner when we left to go back down the hill, she started right up.  The next day she started up again, no problem, and we drove the back roads from Beale to Auburn and Awful Annie’s. There was no need to unhook the car.  After our wonderful time with friends and food, we headed down I-80 through Sacramento all the way to Lodi on the 5, a whopping 70 miles. 

Didn’t bother unhooking the Tracker because we settled in comfortably to our cozy pull through spot in row E at Flag City RV Resort.  It is a perfect one night stop, half price with the Passport America card, easy on and easy off, and cheap gas at the Love if we needed it.  The next morning, Mo tried to start the Tracker and sure enough, once again it was dead.  OK then.  Where is WalMart?!  As Judy probably knows from her extended stay here last year, it is right down the road about 4 miles.  Within an hour, we had a new battery, installed in the misty rain, and all was running well again.  No problems since.  I guess it was time for a new battery.

We have been really lucky so far on this trip with gas prices being so low.  I filled up in Grants Pass for $1.87. Mo filled at Beale for $2.21, and we filled yesterday at the Pilot on I-5 for just $1.99!  Looks as though things might be a bit more here in the Coachella Valley with the Pilot running $2.69, but hopefully our time in Arizona will make up for that.  I love GasBuddy!  My favorite App!

Bakersfield to Desert Hot Springs-9Once the battery was replaced and we were traveling down the 5, everything seemed to settle into place.  I think it takes a few hundred miles before it reallly feels like we are on the road, and that great feeling hit yesterday somewhere along the hills on the western side of the San Jouquin Valley.  Evidence of the drought has lessened a bit, with recent rains turning everything green.  Big signs are dotted among the fruit and nut orchards: “If water is used to grow food, is it really wasted?”  I found myself wondering about this a lot.  California is having huge water issues, with too many people wanting too little water.  If that water is used to let people in the valley have drinking water, which many of them don’t right now, isn’t that better perhaps than it being used to grow nuts for export?  Who benefits from that besides the farmer, certainly not the people who actually need food or water in California.  Lots to think about as you roll down that lonely but crowded asphalt ribbon along the hills bordering the Great Valley that grows a huge percentage of our food.

Bakersfield to Desert Hot Springs-7We spent the night last night at the Orange Grove RV Resort  just east of Bakersfield on Highway 58.  I think most every RV heading toward the desert must stay here at one time or another.  It was raining this morning when we got up, but the mist let up in time for us to get the MoHo washed at the free RV wash at the park.  Of course, there are the free for the picking oranges, sweetest ever, and this year the crop is especially sweet.  Add to that free coffee and free truly fresh and excellent donuts for the taking and staying there is a pretty good deal at $39.00 per night.  A good wash of our two rigs usually costs us at least $15.00 in quarters if we do it at a car wash.  And the oranges are priceless!  I just hope I have enough to last until we return by way of Orange Grove RV Park.  I need to stock up again before I get back to the land of grocery store oranges.  Ick!Bakersfield to Desert Hot Springs-2

The rain started in earnest by the time we were actually on the road and it poured all the way to the summit at Tehachapi.  On the down side, the rains let up, but the damage caused by the terrible flash floods that roared through Sand Canyon last fall was still visible.  By the time we reached the other side and the desert stretched out before us, the skies were opened up and the sunlight was gorgeous and brilliant.  Ahhh…..it is like the world opens up when the sun shines like this, and the desert vistas stretch out before me.  I really really don’t want to live in the desert, but I need it like I need light. I guess that is why I love RVing so much.  That inner need for varied landscapes, the desert, the ocean, the South,the Florida spring runs, the hardwood forests, the Red Rock Country, I wouldn’t want to have to choose to only be in any one of those places forever.  I couldn’t begin to choose which one to give up, which one mattered most.  No need!  I can have it all!

Bakersfield to Desert Hot Springs-14We stopped for lunch somewhere along Highway 58 before Barstow, where Mattie got her first taste of desert air and we opened up the slide and let the sunshine pour in while we made a nice lunch and took a bit of a break.  Mo drove the rest of the route, one of our favorites, from Barstow, down Highway 247, winding through the mountains down toward Yucca Valley and then down the big grade to Desert Hot Springs.

Bakersfield to Desert Hot Springs-17Every time we come here, I am reminded of the wild, craggy, rocky, mountainous land that makes up this part of Southern California.  It is so incredibly rugged, twisted and tortured by all the tectonic activity, all the faults that folded and uplifted and shattered the landscape.  The desert here is anything but flat and boring, it is a wild world and so beautiful.IMG_5570

With only four days here this year, we won’t be doing as much hiking as usual, but I will treasure every moment of my hot pool time before we continue east.

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A Wild Ride to California

Current Location: Back on Old Fort Road in Klamath Falls  and it is snowing

Last fall, when lifetime friend Maryruth asked Mo and I if we would come to Maryruth’s mother’s birthday party, I felt a bit of hesitation.  The party was scheduled for the 19th of December, way too close to Christmas.  But it was Elsie’s 90th birthday, and the celebration was drawing friends and relatives from far and wide.  I really couldn’t miss it.

IMG_5437_thumb3Traveling south on I-5 toward Ashland

Of course, at this time of year, in this part of Oregon, there is no telling what kind of weather we might encounter, so we took our chances and decided to skip making reservations at the Feather Falls Casino KOA.  We like the campground, just minutes from Maryruth’s home, with all the amenities we could want.  Somehow I wasn’t too worried about the park being filled up on the weekend before Christmas.

We now are living in Klamath Falls, 45 minutes east of our former home in Rocky Point, adding that time and mileage to the trip over the mountain to Grants Pass to the west.  The MoHo was waiting all cozy in her big shed, the baby Tracker is already over there, so we just needed to fit everything required for a couple of days in Rocky Point as we travel west, a couple of days in Grants Pass, to load up, do a few small chores, and get ready to go, and a couple of days in California.

I can’t begin to explain how crazy making it is for me to try to think of food for each stop on the way, for clothes appropriate for the various weather conditions we will be encountering, and deciding just what I want to wear to the big Saturday night party.  The truck was filled to the brim with sweats, jeans, some slinky dress up’s, way too many shoes, working clothes, snow boots and coats, lots of hats and gloves, and of course all the gear for the dog.

Mattie is a bit like having a kid.  We have her crate and bedding, her round bed for non sleeping comfort, another blankie since she gets cold so easily, and a bag of “doggie stuff”, which includes her shampoo, her favorite toys, treats, leash, a sweater, and a raincoat.  As I read this, I am beginning to think we are really eccentric parents.  That is a lot of stuff for a very small dog!

Snow-at-Rocky-Point-7-of-17_thumb2When we arrived in Rocky Point, all was well.  When I found out that the power was off for many hours, I was really glad that Mo and I had returned home to the apartments for a couple of days in between trips.  This time the power was on and all was well. 

The next morning we headed for Grants Pass, driving over High Lakes Pass in some snowy conditions, but nothing unmanageable.  The weather predictions were not encouraging, however.  Winter weather warnings were going off every hour for extreme weather impacting most of Southern Oregon and especially the passes, including the route south on I-5 over the Siskiyous.

IMG_5436_thumb2Leaving Grants Pass south on I-5

We waited till Friday morning to make the actual decision, waking up to heavy pouring rain, and reports of temperatures above freezing at Siskiyou Summit.  We hoped we could get over the mountain before the snow levels dropped.  Neither of us have any desire to chain up the MoHo.

IMG_5440_thumb1Siskiyou Summit south on I-5

Sure enough, the snow at the first summit was just flurries and the temps were above freezing, so no black ice.  Whew.  A nice long stretch to Weed and then once again the snow started blowing.  As we passed the turnoff to Mt Shasta City and McCloud, we breathed a sigh of relief. 

IMG_5457_thumb1Slush and snow coming at us near Mt Shasta City

That sigh was a bit premature I guess.  It snowed all the way to the Pit River Bridge just north of Redding and much below the 3,000 foot elevation snow prediction.  It was wet slushy snow, but not so much that it made driving impossible, and no chains were required.  Thank goodness.

Once past Redding, the snow turned to hard pourning rain, not much easier than snow for driving, and there wasn’t a bit of letup till we got to Oroville. 

IMG_5460_thumb1Feather Falls Casino KOA Site 38

Finally settled into our campsite at the only KOA we have ever really liked, we relaxed, knowing that we didn’t really have to think about the drive home for a couple of days.  We could just relax and enjoy the party.

01-party-preparations-6-of-14_thumb1Decorating the winery for the party

Maryruth and her sisters held the party at a lovely small local winery in Oroville, Purple LIne Winery.  The owners are good friends of another of Elsie’s daughters and were happy to share their lovely venue with the 100 or so guests who arrived on Saturday afternoon to celebrate.

02-Elsies-party-7-of-29_thumb1Elsie and Maryruth

I have known Maryruth for 53 years, and of course have known her mother for that long as well.  Elsie was a part of my extended family and I am so glad that Mo and I were able to be there to honor her.  She was genuninely happy with all the attention, something that Maryruth had been a bit worried about.  Today when I talked to Maryruth, she said the party was wonderful for her mom, that it elevated her mood and lifted the bit of depression she had been dealing with because of ongoing tiresome health issues.  Elsie is a trooper, has always been a strong and incredible woman, and some of the issues of aging are extremely frustrating for her, as they would be for anyone.01-party-preparations-7-of-14_thumb1

Gerald built the big block numbers for all the photos

Mo and I managed to get a bit of time to enjoy the casino, which is really quite nice.  I even won enough money to pay for breakfast the next morning and our wine at the party.  We don’t play the slots all the often, but it seems lately that I have been pretty lucky when we do.  Lucky as in tens of dollars, not thousands of dollars.  LOL  I never play big enough to win that big.

After the casino Sunday Brunch with Maryruth and Gerald, we once again tackled the long drive home over the passes.  By the time we left, the rains had started up once again and after getting gas in Chico for 2.15 per gallon at Costco, we drove 99 to the interstate and watched the road cams, the weather warning signs, and listened to 1610 AM radio for chain updates.

IMG_1344_thumb1Radar image for our route to Grants Pass and then home to Klamath Falls.

The predictions were rather scary, and chains were required earlier in the day over the Siskiyous.  We pressed on, hoping that the warm temperatures and rising elevation of the snows would stay with us till we reached Grants Pass. 

IMG_1352_thumb1Again, the snow was wet and slushy, the chain requirement for the Siskiyou Summit was lifted just before we reached that point and by the time we landed in Grants Pass it was just raining.

Neither one of us was really concerned about the drive from Grants Pass back home to Klamath Falls via Rocky Point.  We have driven High Lakes Pass for dozens of years, and the Dakota has 4 wheel drive.  We packed all our stuff back into the pickup once again, put the MoHo to bed, and headed back up the mountain.

UhOh!  That drive took us both by surprise!  There was a LOT of snow on the side of the road from the previous storms, and yet yesterday the temperatures were rising.  We had deep slush and ice on packed snow at the top of the pass, and neither of us could remember a transit as hairy as this one for a long time. 

anitas-van-in-our-road_thumb1Easy Street doesn’t look so easy with Mo’s plow in Klamath Falls

In Rocky Point, the road that Mo usually plows, was unplowed.  The neighbors who live farther up the road than we do don’t have a plow and evidently couldn’t get anyone out there.  We drove up as far as we could and then walked through the deep snow to get to the house.  Don’t laugh.  I have three houses and two vacuum cleaners.  I refuse to buy a third vacuum, and I had taken the main vacuum from Old Fort Road to Rocky Point.  I needed that vacuum.  I refuse to live through Christmas at home without a vacuum!  Ha! 

Back on the road to Klamath Falls, the snows were deeper than we have seen in years.  And that snow just keeps coming.  Sometimes it gets a bit warmer and rains on the snow, and then it dumps some more of the white stuff.  Mo has a lot less to plow here at the apartments, but this thick wet stuff is keeping her busy.

Daytime-Christmas-on-Old-Fort-Road-2Snug and cozy in the apartment on Old Fort Road.

I am glad to be home, glad to have a few days at least to make cookies and fudge, get ready for Christmas dinner with the family members that are close, and play in my craft apartment making cards.  Christmas will come so quickly, and it seems that we didn’t have a lot of time to do some of the small town Christmas things that I like to do, but with the really yukky weather, I really have no desire to brave the storms to try to go look at Christmas lights.  I think I’ll just enjoy my own.

The Solstice has come, the days are getting longer, Christmas is here!!

Writer’s Block

Current Location: Rocky Point, Oregon: nice evening after a gorgeous day

I really didn’t want to fall into the trap of trying to explain why I haven’t written.  Kind of like writing in your diary, “Dear Diary…sorry I haven’t written”.  Diary doesn’t care, I am sure.  Every one of us who write these open ended online journals run into writer’s block now and then.  This time it hit me half way home from our last trip.  If you don’t know me from elsewhere, you might think that we are still lost somewhere along the California coast.  If I were to return to my blog a year from now, trying to figure out where we were in April, I might be rather disappointed to see that we possibly beamed ourselves, Star Trek Style, from Eureka to Rocky Point.Trinity Scenic Byway (2 of 36)

There is so much going on at the moment in our lives that travel memories have taken a bit of a back seat, but that is another story.  Maybe I’ll get to it eventually, but not right now.

Trinity Scenic Byway (6 of 36) In actuality, the last two days of our short little vacation were spent ambling along at a snail’s pace.  We decided that Highway 299 would be a good route back toward home, over the beautiful Trinity Mountains and following along the gorgeous Trinity River. Called the Trinity Scenic Byway, the route is the main road that connects the upper Sacramento Valley to the California coast.

Trinity Scenic Byway (7 of 36) When we left Eureka, the fog was still hanging in over Humboldt Bay, but by the time we reached Berry Summit the fog was just a wisp in the wind shrouding the mountain but not obscuring the beautiful views. The day was brilliant, the skies gorgeous, the traffic minimal.  Redbuds were in bloom and the hills were Ireland green.  That springtime green thing in the coast range can be so incredibly vivid.  Like no other green I have ever seen anywhere.

Trinity Scenic Byway (12 of 36) We had a destination in mind, a mere 100 miles over the mountain to the little town of Weaverville, where I had scoped out a small RV park.  We were in no hurry, and stopped along the river for photos and views.  A few miles west of Weaverville, we found a forest service campground and pulled in to check it out. 

Trinity Scenic Byway (15 of 36)Trinity Scenic Byway (33 of 36) Not a soul in sight, and the camp host site was empty, but there were no gates to keep us out and after walking around a bit, listening to the river, we said, “Why not?!”  Our tanks were empty, we had plenty of water and no need for power so we pulled into the sweet little spot, opened up the door to the sunshine and the river and settled in for a lovely evening.  Three bucks with our senior pass.  Much better than that 35 bucks it would have cost in Weaverville.

Trinity Scenic Byway (31 of 36) The next morning we rose at our leisure and ambled on down the road to the sweet little gold rush town of Weaverville.  It was charming in the way that California gold towns can be, with interesting store fronts and historical signs on the buildings. 

Weaverville and Trinity Lake (8 of 33) We visited the Joss House museum visitor center, enjoying the well done displays of the Chinese culture that thrived in Weaverville during the gold rush.  Neither of us felt like waiting around for a tour, so we skipped the inside of the Chinese Temple. 

Weaverville and Trinity Lake (7 of 33) Once again, we were reminded of the great contribution made by the Chinese to the development of the American West.

Weaverville and Trinity Lake (14 of 33) With no desire to continue east to a boring interstate, we turned north on Highway 3, following the western shore of Trinity Lake.  The road was narrow and steep in places, but not unmanageable.  We stopped to view the nearly empty lake and read the non existent signs.  Weaverville and Trinity Lake (27 of 33) Sign vandalism is just stupid.  Although perhaps not as stupid as damming a river and backing up a lake over miles and miles of placer mine tailings. 

Weaverville and Trinity Lake (23 of 33) Now that the California drought has exposed the land drowned by the reservoir, I wonder if people who are users of the millions of gallons delivered annually to the California water project are at all worried about the lead and mercury left in those tailings.  I still can’t figure out the mindset of certain news pundits who say the California water problem is due to the environmentalists stopping the building of more reservoirs.  The ones already there have no water in them!  Talk about a waste of money!  Let’s build more dams so we can have more empty reservoirs?  This drought is long term, and not going to end next week.

Weaverville and Trinity Lake (32 of 33) We did see several warning signs stating that in 42 miles or so, the road would be unsuitable for trailers.  No problem.  We have driven those kinds of roads many times in the past.  After passing the little community of Coffee Creek, where we found nothing at all, we continued north toward Scott Mountain Pass.

Weaverville and Trinity Lake (30 of 33) We ignored the sign that said no trailers once again, and within a mile knew that had been a mistake.  Picture a hairpin turn with a 15 percent grade.  MoHo groaned up the hill and we managed to find a turnout on the very narrow road to unhook the baby car.  Next time we will pay attention.  This is not an easy climb, and definitely not a place to be towing. And no, there are no photos of these few challenging moments.

Mo drove on ahead with the MoHo while I followed along in the Tracker, enjoying the gorgeous views and the beautiful wild landscape of the Trinities.  Descending into the Scott Valley is a treat, with a landscape of ranching and river that is the heart of the old west.

Our evening destination, a mere 80 miles north of Weaverville, was the tiny community of Etna, California.  Just 20 miles south of Eureka, Etna is charming and quiet, and boasts a great little RV park, Mountain Village.  A Passport America park, there were level sites, full hookups, and grassy spaces between rigs.  With the park nearly empty, we enjoyed the late afternoon thoroughly.  For a mere $16.00, we spent our last night before returning to the cottage at Grants Pass the next day.

That leaning oak on the left will have to go when the house is built.  That is where the western wall will extend It has been just over three weeks since that day.  In that short time we spent a few days working at the cottage.  Mo managed to get the 30 amp to the MoHo shed and we mowed the acre that is greening up and growing fast.  My scheduled surgery required a few visits to Eugene and those overnight trips are always more delightful with the MoHo.  The one time we stayed in a hotel we decided, never again.   taking a break from electrical work in the RV shed

After Eugene, it was time to bring the MoHo back over the mountain to her berth in Grants Pass.  We missed having her at home and with winter behind us, it was time.  Of course, the only winter we had this year showed up on Easter Sunday with 1/2 an inch of snow and then again on April 14 with another half inch.  Crazy.

old fort road middleIn the last couple of months, we have made some big decisions about the future, moving toward a final goal of building a “forever”  home on the cottage property.  I also decided that it was time to sell the little house I bought in Klamath Falls back in 2002.  Daughter Melody decided that as a now single mom, she needed a bit less house to manage.  She has lived in the Klamath house since 2008. 

Melody and my granddaughter Axel each now have an apartment at the small complex that Mo has on the edge of town in Klamath Falls.  working at the apartments (10 of 12)Mo and I put some time in refurbishing those apartments, painting and cleaning, getting carpets and flooring installed so they are all nice and fresh.  It was hard work but also a fun project, nice to see the apartments all pretty again.  Renters are not often much fun, and don’t seem to care about how they live.  I am glad that we no longer have to deal with crummy renters who trash the place.

Painter progress (1 of 7) With Melody out of the Klamath house, it was time to spruce it up for sale.  I had renters in there during the time I lived in California for my final working years, and it needed fresh paint when Melody moved in back in 2008!  Again, Mo and I have been busy painting, fixing, repairing and getting the house ready for market.  I am really hoping that the time is right, and that she will sell quickly.

working on Painter (16 of 19) It is a great little historic bungalow in an historic neighborhood in a nice part of Klamath Falls. 

finished13 Early on during this three week process, I got a phone call from the two surgeons who will be working on me, saying that the surgery had to be rescheduled from April 13 to May 4, so I gained an extra three weeks to actually get the Klamath Falls house project done.  At least hopefully.

Mo and I feel like we are working again.  We leave the house every morning to go to one town or another, work all day, and drive home late all tired and worn out.  After surgery I am not supposed to lift anything over five pounds for 3 months!  Crazy.  So everything has to be done NOW or it won’t get done, at least not by me. 

So, writer’s block?  Yeah.  I think I have a reasonable excuse.

 

Lighthouses in the Rain

Current Location: Crescent City, CA 43 degrees F and overcast with more rain coming

The nice thing about planning at least two nights at any spot is the free full day to explore the area.  I am not sure if good weather would make exploring Crescent City a bit more alluring, but in pouring rain, one day was just enough, with time left over for kicking back in the MoHo listening to the drumming rain on the roof.

Crescent City Lighthouse (6 of 15)As often happens, however, the weather gods were with us when we left mid morning to check off the list of “21 things to do in Crescent City”.  The rain let up, and the heavy skies were magnificently interesting as we drove across the highway and down the road a piece to the Crescent City Harbor. 

Marina and Battery Point (5 of 10)On Sunday, all was fairly quiet, and I am sure the inclement weather may have had something to do with that as well.  It didn’t stop the surfers on Crescent Beach, however.  One “thing to do” checked off: visit Crescent Beach. The surfers were determined, in spite of the rain.  Mo and I wondered why they wear wet suits that make them look like seals instead of something hot fuchsia or fluorescent lime.  At least a shark might not mistake them as easily for food.

Marina and Battery Point (6 of 10)We explored the Marina area, including the somewhat dicey looking Harbor RV Park.  Crescent City is still an active fishery and there were many interesting boats in the harbor.  There are informative signs and photos of the tsunami generated by the Japan earthquake in 2011.  The high water mark was haunting as we looked back trying to imagine how far inland the surge extended.  There were several surges with huge damages to the harbor. There were also images of the Alaskan earthquake of 1964 and the devastating effects that tsunami had on the town of Crescent City.

The Visitor Center was closed.  Sunday is not necessarily a good day to visit a small town in the winter season.  By the time we reached the end of the road, the rain had mostly stopped.  The Battery Point Lighthouse view parking lot had signs for “event parking”.  Our timing was impeccable.  The tide was out and people were trekking across the rocks and up the hill to visit the beautiful little lighthouse perched on a rock, only accessible on foot when the tide is out.

Crescent City Lighthouse (3 of 15)We could see folks in the light area, but the main door was closed.  I assumed it was a tour scheduled for the opportune moment of lowest tides. The residence for the lightkeeper is actually in the lower part of the lighthouse, and there are signs indicating that it is a private residence and the occupants shouldn’t be bothered.  I am not sure how one would actually sign up for the tour, maybe the Visitor Center?

Crescent City Lighthouse (15 of 15)By the time we returned to the parking lot, the tide was already coming back up and I was glad for walking sticks and shoes that could handle the water. The rain started up in earnest.  An hour later we would have missed both the low tide moment and the break in the heavy rain that poured most of the day after that magic little moment.

Marina and Battery Point (10 of 10)We drove out the Pebble Beach Road to the end of St George Point, where several signs noted that there was a huge fine for disturbing and archaeological site, but with no information as to why it was considered such.  Searching the internet, I found a few scholarly papers discussing the Tolowa people who once lived in that area.  I would imagine that if the Visitor Center had been open, we may have found more information available.

Marina and Battery Point (9 of 10)The Museum was also closed, and would have provided fascinating stuff, including the lens that once occupied the infamous Point St George Lighthouse, the one we see in the middle of the ocean from Harris Beach in Brookings. 

At lunch, I saw a painting of the lighthouse, with a boat being lifted by a crane to the boat landing above the sea.  An internet search yielded fascinating photos and the amazing story of the wild lighthouse set on a lonely rock with ocean on all sides.  A scary place to be assigned in the days of lighthouse keeping. 

Wiki tells the story a bit, but I would imagine there would have been much more at the museum or the visitor center. According to the internet, the light was decommissioned in 1975, but later relit.  There have been helicopter tours that were available until some kind of regulation problem, but they are in the process of being reinstated. This is an interesting read~stgeorge_rw

We drove south along 101 in seriously heavy rain on the narrow road that led to the Crescent Beach Overlook and Enderts Beach, where we found a wonderful section of the coastal trail leading south along bluffs that rivaled those at Big Sur.  Even in the rain it was gorgeous.  We saw several hardy souls in rain gear hiking, even some young families. The rain was so intense I couldn’t even get out the camera and decided to skip viewing the overlook.  Would love to go back to this spot and hike this trail in better weather.Crescent City Lighthouse (9 of 15)

Before returning home, we ended our explorations with a great late lunch at the Chart Room, off Anchor Road on the Marina.  The restaurant was filled to capacity with people who all seemed to know each other, with many “hi’s” and “how are you’s” echoing around the big room with a harbor view.  The fish and chips were stellar, enough for a full lunch and enough to take home for another full meal for the next  day. For dessert, I finally found a blackberry cobbler that was runny and juicy and not too sweet or too sour, with the perfect cobbler crust.  I was thinking after two misses back in Florence, that the only way I wasn’t going to get a gluey piece of gummy cobbler was to make it myself back home!Marina and Battery Point (7 of 10)

I would have liked to visit both the Visitor Center and the Museum and after our single day of rainy explorations, I think we have seen enough to entice us to return.

 

01-18-2015 Nevada City and Oroville and time with friends

Current Location: Rocky Point Oregon

no snow winter 2 (6 of 6)Talking about the weather is silly.  There is no snow, there is no rain, there is no winter to speak of anywhere to be found in our part of the world.  Crazy.  The skies are cold but clear tonight.  The thermometer might drop a bit below freezing before morning, but c’mon…is this really what January is supposed to look like in Rocky Point?  no snow winter 2 (1 of 6)

It usually looks more like this around here in January.  

Happy New Year's EveBut with snow like that I would be shoveling and blowing the pathways and complaining about the ice on the driveway.  We were gone for three months in winter of 2014, and heard rumors that there wasn’t much snow then either, but it is surprising that the lack of snow is still persisting.  Water?  Snow pack? Drought?  Those thoughts lie in the background as we enjoy the moderately warm, snowless winter.  Maybe it will snow in April as it usually does.  Just in time for Easter.

Leaving the gorgeous sunny skies of the Mojave Desert and Joshua Tree NP was tough.  I needed to be home, but that didn’t make the journey any more enticing.  As we approached the western slope of the Sierras crossing the Tehachapi Pass on Highway 58, we could see the thick blanket of gray brown smog/fog hanging low over the Great Central Valley.  Didn’t look a bit different than it did when we passed this same way two weeks ago.

I never tire of this view from Highway 58 toward the Grapevine The distance to Orange Grove RV park from Joshua Tree is a short 200 miles.  Of course we could have traveled farther, but why?  Why go beyond the waiting oranges!  I have to confess, I did take more than the loudly proclaimed one bag limit.  Signs everywhere said that limit would be “strictly enforced”.  I am sure they are talking to someone other than me, right?  Maybe the signs are for those greedy people who might try to pick bags and bags of the sweet things and sell them on the side of the road.  The sign wasn’t for me, the innocent little old lady from Oregon who just wanted an extra bag to share with friends along my route home, right?heading south_008DSC_0008

I remember blogland a long time ago when someone, can’t even remember who, “stole” oranges from a tree along side of the road.  Lots of moral lectures resulted from that little confession.  I am a good, mostly honest person.  Just don’t let me near your orange trees.

The park was about 1/3 full when we arrived, but by dark every single space was filled.  I would highly recommend getting a reservation if you are a big rig and intend to stay in the park en route or returning from the desert.  Seems as though the snow birds have found it and keep it very busy.

Once again we drove north along I-5 on a Saturday, leaving at 6:30 AM so that we could get all the way to the Grass Valley County fairgrounds before nightfall.  Just 370 miles or so, but that is still a long day for us.  The fog was thick when we gassed up at the Bakersfield Costco for a measly 2.06 per gallon for regular gas.  Who knows how long those prices will last, but we sure enjoyed them on this trip.

After a somewhat long and boring day traveling north, the fog lifted and we whizzed through Sacramento traffic onto the 80 and then north on Highway 49 to Grass Valley/Nevada City.  The two gold towns in the Mother Lode country of California are not far apart.  Our friends Jimmie and Nickie, are living in Nevada City, and in spite of their generous offer of driveway hospitality, we thought it would be smart to park the rig down the hill at the Nevada County Fairgrounds.

Visiting Jimmie and Nickie (47 of 49)It is a fairly nice park, as fairground camping goes, and in no time we were set up and on our way up the hill to Jimmie and Nickie’s lovely home on a lava cap ridge of the Sierra Nevada mountains.  Just high enough in elevation to be out of the poison oak but not into deep long lasting snow.  Perfect.

Nickie told me that when they walked into the house, within minutes, they knew it was the one.  I had an experience like that once myself, when I stepped into my little bungalow in Klamath Falls back in 2002.  Within 24 hours I had an accepted offer and that little home now shelters my daughter and her family after some delightful years sheltering me.

Nickie and I have kept up our correspondence after meeting in person a couple of years ago…neither of us could believe it had been two years since we met, but it has.   Thank goodness for the blog where I could check out the original date of our delightful get together the first time.  Walking into their home is so comfortable and their hospitality is wonderful.

nickie and jimmie I have seen photos of their canal walk, and was delighted to have Nickie suggest that we get a bit of movement in before dinner walking the canal.  What a great place close to home to get in daily walks.  The water was a bit low, but I could see what a shady retreat this pathway would be on a hot summer day. 

Another walker took some photos of all of us together (thanks for this photo, Nickie), and the happy smiles on our faces just gives a hint at how much fun we were having. 

Visiting Jimmie and Nickie (12 of 49)Later Nickie treated us to a wondrous supper of hand made spinach rolls smothered in her very own home canned marinara sauce, and a Caesar salad drenched in the fabulous dressing from the restaurant we had visited two years ago.  Fresh steamed broccoli and artisan bread rounded out the perfect meal.  Jimmie is so funny and friendly and kind, and he and Nickie are so much fun to be around.  I just love how they treat each other with such love and respect.  It is a joy.

Visiting Jimmie and Nickie (14 of 49) My favorite part of the evening was listening to the stories of how Nickie and Jimmie met and their travels and how they found their homes.  Flow!  These two definitely know how to live in the Flow of life at its finest. The best indication of the great time we had showed on the clock when Mo and I finally drove back down the hill to the MoHo.  It was almost 11 PM when we got to bed.  Geez!  We are early birds most of the time.

The next morning, with a brilliant sun bursting forth, we met again for a morning walk around the fairgrounds.  Nickie has a great sense of humor, although the wet bleacher seats weren’t exactly to her liking, but she wanted a photo in the bleachers, so I obliged.  Visiting Jimmie and Nickie (25 of 49)

I also got a kick out of taking pictures of Nickie herding geese.  She kept saying, “They love me!”.  I am sure that they did.

Visiting Jimmie and Nickie (45 of 49)We drove the short distance to Nevada City and a wonderful breakfast at the South Pine Cafe.  The food was incredible, and my choice was a lobster scramble with lots of mushrooms and avocados and Jalapeño Hollandaise!  It was even good when I ate the other half for breakfast the next day!  Once again, the fact that we were having a great time was evident as we lingered over our breakfast table long after the meal was finished.  Hard to say goodbye to such great people.

Of course, we had other great people waiting for us in Oroville, so we buttoned up the rig and took the back road from Grass Valley to Oroville via a road that I would NOT recommend, but it was fun. 

IMG_1217 The sun was brilliant in Nevada City, but by the time we dropped down the hill just enough to reach Oroville, the fog was again shrouding the landscape.  Spare me from California Valley fogs!! ick! That gray line you see on the horizon is the thick fog down in Oroville and the valley!IMG_1216

We camped once again at the Feather Falls Casino, not a cheap night by any means at $47 per night with no discounts.  Still, it was an easy hookup, a nice park that we like, and just minutes from Maryruth and Gerald’s home up the hill.  Readers know that Maryruth is my very best friend of more than 50 years.  It is always wonderful to see her and her husband Gerald, and to visit their home.

Maryruth has a new sewing machine and has completed more decorating projects in her home that I wanted to see.  After the look arounds, we drove down the hill again to her mother’s house, who has lived in Oroville for more than 50 years.  It was great seeing the family, people I have known and loved as my own family for all these years.

Later, Maryruth and Gerald took us to their friends winery, The Purple Line Urban Winery, right in downtown Oroville, and we sampled some great wines, including something called “Red Panties”.  We then ambled on to Papacito’s Mexican Grill and Cantina where I finally got my urge for some really GOOD Mexican food fully satisfied.  What a great little place with excellent food!  Their tortilla soup was the best I have ever had anywhere.

Once again we made it back home to the rig at a very late hour, proof of our wonderful time spent with good friends.  In case you are wondering where the photos are for this part of the visit, Maryruth did that thing when I pulled out the camera…”Oh Sue…Really?!?!”   So I put the thing away and didn’t take a single photo of our visit.  Only once, and only for you, Maryruth.  Next time I am taking photos!!IMG_1220

Because I honored Maryruth’s request, Instead of photos of Maryruth and Gerald and their wonderful home, the winery and the wonderful food, you get to see a photo of my daughter with her three little grandbabies, my youngest great-grandchildren.