I'm sitting here in our house on wheels in jeans and a sweat shirt. Last night we had to turn on the heat for a little while and again, I turned on the heater before I took a nice warm shower. As I write this, I'm watching the Today show, listening primarily to the news from New York and Washington about the terriorist attacks. Satelite TV is wonderful.
Monday night we were in Bakerfield. The RV had to have a few minor things corrected. Although everything was minor, it took most of the day before we were actually able to get started North. Tuesday night we were in Coalinga. We stayed at a campground that we've used before. It's really interesting how different RVs make you look at campgrounds differently. With a wide body motorhome, with two slideouts, we discovered the camp sites were narrow and the location of the hook ups were such that we could not open up the living room. We could open the bedroom.
Wednesday, we headed north on I-5. I found it interesting that gas prices varied wildly depending on where we were. Along the rural sections of I-5, regular unleaded gas was as high as $2.10/gallon. We needed to get gas so we stopped in Santa Nella and paid $1.60/gallon. With the amount of gas the RV takes, that saved more than $25.00.
Yesterday, after we pulled into the campground, we discovered that the campground only has 30-amp service and apparently our adaptor for using a 30 amp recepticle was left in Bakersfield. So we drove into town and bought a new adaptor. Then we stopped by the visitor center for the valley we're in and got our bearings. We then drove North in the truck and visited the Berringer Winery. For $5.00 per person we had a tour of the winery, wine tasting, and $3.00 off a bottle of wine.
We then headed North again in the truck and drove through some really neat towns. Calistoga is one where we would like to spend some time. We drove back to the campground on a road called Silverado Trail, seeing the vineyards all over the place. I find it interesting that although this seems to be the center of the California Wine industry, the valley is only 26 miles long and probably never more than two or three miles wide.
Where are we? You should have been able to guess we are in Napa, California at the South end of the Napa Valley. The county campground we're in is not the most scenic in the world nor is the best campground we've ever been in, but our little home on wheels makes it perfectly acceptable, especially now that we have electricity.
Subj: 2. Where are we now?
Date: Thursday, September 13, 2001 6:20:43 PM
We left Napa this morning (Thursday, September 13), and drove up the Napa Valley. That's the same way we drove yesterday in the truck and visited the Beringer Bros. Winery. Again we went through Calistoga and continued on Highway 29. There were about 15 miles or so that were not pretty. Well, actually the scenery was pretty but the road sure wasn't. We climbed up the mountains at the north end of Napa Valley. The road was very steep with lots of curves, well more like hairpin curves. The road was relatively smooth and not too narrow but it certainly was not a fun drive in the RV.
Adrienne was holding on to the left hand arm rest, with white knuckles and saying, "Oh we are too close to the edge". Larry responded by saying "I can't be too close to the edge, I'm over the middle line." The canyon on the 178 between Lake Isabella to Bakersfield is mild compared to this. Now I (Adrienne) understand what the map looks like and means with all those zig-zag lines!
We came over the hill in to Lake County. Right now we are sitting in the RV, looking over the largest, natural, fresh water lake in California. At least that's what the signs claim. We probably didn't drive even a hundred miles today. At dusk we're going to try our luck fishing for Bass. If we use the rigs recommended, we will have to use our surf fishing gear, our trout gear is just too light. We'll see what happens.
We would like to stay here another day but the campground is booked solid for the weekend, so tomorrow we'll move on.
Where are we? We are actually at Clear Lake, CA. One of the little towns that dot the shore line is Nice, and that's where we are camped.
We are constantly intouch with the sad news of our country. We have the radio tuned in to the news stations while driving and the TV on as soon as we stop. We had the TV on in Bakersfield the morning of Sept. 11, 2001 when our RV was due for final repairs. Needless to say, we were not in any hurry to arrive at the shop for repairs. Larry and I have an American Flag to place in our RV window as we travel tomorrow , Sept. 14, 2001, with our lights on.
Subj: 3. Where are we?
Date: Friday, September 14, 2001 4:57:32 PM
We hope everyone likes these little EMails. The original idea was to give out grand kids an idea of where we are and, hopefully, help them learn that we live in a big country and there is a lot more in this country than Ridgecrest and Los Angeles. If someone wants to opt out of these emails, or if you know someone who we haven't sent it to that would like it, let us know. BUT please don't send us emails with large attachments or web addresses. When we are on the road we have to access the web when we can, usually at the offices of campgrounds. We'd love to hear from you but nothing fancy.
We left Clear Lake this morning and drove, probably a bit over 100 miles. We are now camped in a clearing by a River, but the river is dry. We are in very hilly and wooded country. Yet, the ocean is only about 25 miles away on a hilly, curvey road. Today we drove thru a forest of very large trees. Just North of us is a road through a forest called the Avenue of the Giants. These trees are not the oldest living things (those are the Bristle Cone Pines near Big Pine CA), nor are they the largest living things (those are the Sequoias in the Sierra Mountains), but they are the tallest trees in the world. The trees are the coastal Redwoods.
About 22 miles away by a sometimes very curvy with very steep grades road is a black sand beach and rugged coast line. We plan on visiting it tomorrow. We haven't decided if we will play golf, fish, or just have a day of sightseeing. The place is called Shelter Cove.
North of us is a noted Victorian town. Also north is a town made entirely of redwood. Finally there is also a town that has a Cheese factory.
Where are we? We are in Redway, California, just north of Garberville. We drove north on US Highway 101 to get here. Highway 101 is far from an Interstate Highway but it is a fun, interesting, and pretty drive. In honor of what happened in New York and Washington, we drove with our headlights on. We have not been able to find an American Flag, but we did find a cotton scarf with white stars on a blue background and red and white stripes. Tonight, at 7:00 we are going to eat dinner outside by candle light in honor of the innocent citizens who lost their lives as a result of faceless cowards. We plan on staying here two nights so we can explore the area.
Subj: 4. Where are we?
Date: Sunday, September 16, 2001 5:20:31 PM
After two nights at Redway, we moved north today. We are still in California but we are getting close to the Oregon border. We are camped right on a river that is "world renowned for steelhead and salmon." We are in the heart of the Redwood Nationalal Park. We tried fishing today, but no luck.
Yesterday, from Redway, we drove to Shelter Cove. It's only a 22 mile drive but I'll just say I'm glad we were in the truck and not the RV. That was a tough 22 miles. The first 8 miles wasn't bad, but after that it's steep hills (both up and down) and sharp turns. It takes almost an hour to drive that 22 miles. Our first stop was Black Sands Beach. That was just a little sightseeing since we didn't feel like climbing down to the beach. The beach is actually black rock and sand. I don't know if it was volcanic in origin or what. BUT, it was black sand. The we drove to Shelter Cove. We wanted to explore the tide pools but it was high tide so that wasn't possible. We did stop by a small snack bar and had some great fish and chips. Really good stuff.
We also went to Scotia, the site of a redwood lumber mill. All of the structures in the town are built out of redwood. Since it was a Saturday (we tend to lose track of the day of the week), the plant tour wasn't available. So we drove on to Ferndale.
Ferndale is a town with a lot of Victorian Houses, we walked all over the town and there are really some interesting buildings. The most memorable is the "Gingerbread House" which is a bed and breakfast. Very interesting place. This was the first place we found an American Flag for sale. It was a very small one but still, we bought it and put in on the RVs ladder.
Then we drove a few miles to a town called Loleta, home of the Loleta Cheese Company. Both of us love cheese and it was great. We discovered that they sell "trims." Those are the cut off mis-shaped ends of the blocks of cheese. The "trims" taste the same as the regular cheese but aren't cut in nice blocks. They are also cheaper than the regular blocks. So, we bought "trims" in several different flavors.
That pretty much covers our activities on Saturday.
Today we drove north. We drove through Eureka! Eureka (or I've found it) is on Humbolt Bay and in the heart of the Redwood country. Although we didn't tour Eureka, we understand that it also has a lot of Victorian Architure. For lunch we stopped at a place that was recommended by Ron and Barbara Hoffmiester (friends over the web that we've never met). We ate lunch at the Somoa Cookhouse. It's a family style resturant in a Cookhouse that served the lumber mills. It has been in use for meals continuously for 105 years. Everything is served family style and there is only one thing on the menu, the special of the day. For lunch we had a green salad, beef barley soup, homemade bread, ham with raisin sauce, scalloped potatos, peas, and red beans. That was topped off with home made apple pie. We can see where eating there can be painful, it's not expensive but the food is so good you can over stuff yourself with no problem.
This morning, before we left Redway, we thought we had some sort of emergency phone call. The note was to call Denise. I called Denise on our cell phone and she had not idea what kind of emergency took place. She checked her answering machine and there was a call from Lynne (my sister). I called Lynne but she was out so I talked to John. I discovered that my sister in law (Janice) had tried to contact me. Since our only telephone line is our cell phone, that obviously didn't work. Anyway, to protect the guilty, and not embarass anyone, I'll just say the net result of about 15 minutes of panic was a nice telephone conversation with Janice (rhymes with Denise).
Now, where are we? We are in Northern California camped at the Chinook RV Resort on the Klamath River. We've tried a little fishing this afternoon but without catching any. But it was fun. Tomorrow we are going to rent a boat and try our luck for Salmon. We did see someone today bring in an 18 pound Salmon.
Subj: 5. Where are we?
Date: Tuesday, September 18, 2001 5:39:02 PM
I don't know when I'll be able to send this, but I'm writing it anyway.
We left Klamath today and headed into Oregon. We are now camped near an old lighthouse on the Coquille River. The lighthouse was built in 1896 and was decommissioned in 1939. It was restored in 1976 and re-lit in 1991. The nearby town is called, depending on the season "The Cranberry Capital of Oregon" or "The Storm-Watching Capital of the World." Based on the weather right now, Cranberries must be in season.
We really enjoyed our two night stay at the Chinook RV Campground in Klamath. Yesterday we rented a boat to fish for Salmon on the Klamath River. Although our luck fishing wasn't real good, it was fun. Adrienne did hook a nice size Salmon and brought it almost to the boat, but the Salmon had better things to do besides being our dinner, so he broke the line. It was a nice size fish that, Adrienne almost landed.
After returning the boat, I went up to the campground store to send some EMail. The owner's wife asked us about our luck fishing and we told her. About an hour later she stopped by the RV with some Salmon fillets. I'm beginning to think that campgrounds should be rated not only on facilities, cleaniness, and scenery, but also the friendiness of the staff. We would certainly go back to the Chinook RV Resort in Klamath.
To some extent we hated to leave Klamath. The weather was continuously overcast and the temperature almost never left the 50's. It was certainly cool. But we did need to drive North toward Eugene.
The drive was beautiful. As many times as I have driven US 101 in Northern California and Oregon, I never get tired of it. Simply put, it is beautiful. One thing that struck both of us in the past week is the number of US flags we see flying. Of course all the state parks have flags flying at half mast, but almost every business, and a lot of houses are also flying flags. We have see flags on construction equipment, cars, RVs, buses, school buses, trucks, and just about any place you can think of. We are supporting patroitism by having a flag type scarf in the front window and flying a small US flag on our ladder in back. It was very difficult to find any flags at all.
Where are we? We're just north of Bandon Oregon at Bullard's Beach State Park. We've stayed here once before (in 1993) and always wanted to come back. Now I'm waiting for the grill to get warm so we can have a typical seacoast dinner of steamed oysters, shrimp, and scallops.
Today we left Bullard's Beach State Park and drove north and east. Right now we are camped in a valley that is known for its fruits, nuts, flowers, and Christmas Trees. Somewhere in the valley is the end of the famous Oregon Trail. We are just outside Oregon's second largest population center.
Yesterday we explored Bandon Oregon. We were staying at Bullard's Beach State Park in a beautiful campground. The campground is in a forest of pine, spruce, and cedar trees and is just beautiful. Not far from the campground and still in the state park is the Coquille River Light House. We did take a small tour of the light house from some volunteers. We learned that there was an opening for volunteers for October. If we didn't already have other obligations we would have tried to volunteer. This area is really nice.
We took Whitney with us to the light house so she could see the ocean for the first time. She really seemed to like the beach but kept looking at us for reassurance. She really seemed to enjoy the sand.
We then toured Bandon. This is a really neat town right on the Coquille River. We did some shopping and just looked around. We went to the local Museum which was interesting and somewhat quaint. I could detect some of the small town politics coming out at the Museum. For example, why was there a display on the Andrea Doria (an Italian ship that was sunk in a collision in the 1950s)? Nothing in the history of the Andrea Doria has anything to do with Bandon (although Bandon did have a shipbuilding industry). I suspect that someone donated the display to the Museum along with a donation. Thus, it had to be displayed.
We also went to the Bandon Cheese Factory and sampled their treats. I also found out that it is certainly Cranberry season in Bandon (I'm glad it's not Storm Season). It's been cool (last night it hit 40 degrees) and with the wind in Bandon it feels even cooler. Fortunately, the campground is sheltered from the wind.
Today (Thursday, September 20), we left Bandon, drove up the coast highway (US 101), past the Oregon Sand Dunes (which we stopped to view at a most magnificant viewpoint). The sand dunes are really white sand that rise to at least 150 + feet high and extend about 40 miles from North Bend to Florence and sometime extending as far inland as 3 miles. After some famous clam chowder at Mo's, we headed East into Eugene. After getting a camp site for four nights, we called Michelle and were invited for dinner. That was especially nice since Michelle (Larry's daughter) wasn't really expecting us today.
Where are we? We are actually in Colberg Oregon which is really just
barely North of Eugene. It only took us about 10 minutes to get from
campground to Michelle and Keith's house.
Subj: 7. Where are we?
Date: Tuesday, September 25, 2001 5:00:56 PM
It's Tuesday, September 25. We left Eugene this morning and headed up the McKenzie River to the largest town in Central Oregon. The town has a population of about 50,000 and is known for its beauty and close proximity to a wealth of outdoor recreation and visitor attractions.
We arrived in Eugene last Thursday and I think we surprised Michelle. However, she invited us for a great dinner. Friday both Keith and Michelle had to work so we took care of some shopping and other miscellaneous duties that we still have to tend to.
Saturday Keith had to work but Michelle was available to show us some sights around Eugene. We went to the "farms" a couple of roadside stands (actually closer to large produce shops) and bought some fresh veggies. Beside the corn, blackberries, onions, and tomatoes, we found something called a lemon cucumber. We didn't know what they were. There was a lady there who was very excited about finding lemon cucumbers, so we asked her. She told us they were great. We decided to buy some.
We also went to the King Winery south of Eugene. The winery is a retirement dream of the King family who started a company in Kansas called King Air. Among other things they manufactured a lot of the avionics in military and commercial jet aircraft. Some time ago they were bought out by Bendix. The Kings spend their summers in Oregon and their winters in Arizona. The winery is on a hill. Coming to the winery you are in a rural farming area. Then, after driving around a bend in the road, you see a huge building near the top of a hill. That's the winery. After taking the tour, tasting the wine, we bought a bottle of Pinot Noir and headed back to Eugene.
On Sunday, Keith, Michelle, Adrienne, and I drove up the McKenzie River and over McKenzie Pass. The road over the pass is designated a Scenic Byway and is beautiful. We stopped several times along the way. First to take a hike to see Proxy Falls. The hike starts out in a wooded area, then winds its way through an old lava field, then through some more forest, and finally to the falls. We took Whitney on the hike and we all agreed that she was in olfactory overload. We had to hike slowly so Whitney could sniff everything. The total hike was about a mile and a quarter. It was a beautiful walk.
After the hike, we drove to McKenzie Pass. This area has a past history of volcanic activity. The pass itself is in a very large lava field. From the lookout point (which is a tower made from lava rocks) you can see how the lava flowed from its source. This is really different and is really something to see.
From the outlook point, you could see the three Sisters Mountains, Mt. Washington and some other peaks.
After the lava field, we drove on to the town of Sisters for lunch. Sisters is a western community surrounded by forests and many lakes. This is a favorite fly fishing area. Since we had Whitney with us, lunch was a Subway sandwich eaten at the town park. The food was good and the park was very nice. We then walked around the town for a bit before heading back to Eugene. We made only two quick stops on the way back, one to see another waterfall (Sahalie Falls), and the other a quick stop to use the facilities and grab a snack.
After getting back to Eugene, Keith and I changed the oil in the truck. Keith noticed that the water pump was leaking coolant. He said that if we could stay an extra day, he would get the parts and we could change out the water pump on Monday. Being retired with only a vague schedule, I said it would be no problem for us to stay an extra day. SO, Monday Keith got the parts and we changed out the water pump. It was probably about a $600 job at a dealer but cost only about $120 in parts.
Monday night, we celebrated Michelle's birthday a few days early. While Keith and I were working on the truck, Adrienne was fixing dinner. We had a great dinner of Cornish game hens with Trader's Joe's California Rice Medley as stuffing, fresh corn on the cob, and sliced lemon cucumbers with onions and tomatoes with vinegar. It was great!
Now, that's what we've been doing but where are we tonight? We are camped in the town of Bend Oregon. We can see why its popular. It's in Oregon's high desert (much different from Ridgecrest) and is just beautiful.
P.S. I've taken the liberty of adding some people to the mail group I send this to. The original intent was to provide some interest to our grand children on what we are doing. Then we decided that we could play a little game with them by asking them where are we. The idea is to give them some idea of this great country and that there is certainly more to it than Ridgecrest or Los Angeles. If anyone objects to getting these emails please let me know and I'll remove your name. If someone else wants to get these emails, please have them send me their email address and I will add them.
Subj: 8. Where are we?
Date: Thursday, September 27, 2001 7:23:57 PM
Today (Thursday, September 27) we left Bend Oregon and headed south. We are now camped on the banks of the Williamson River in southern Oregon. We are just north of the largest body of fresh water in Oregon.
Yesterday we did some sight seeing around Bend. First we went to the Beaver Coach Factory (Beaver makes a very expensive motor home) for a factory tour. Beaver's claim to fame is the wood furnishings inside the coach. We did manage to see just how they made all the furnishings. It was an interesting tour.
After lunch we went to the High Desert Museum just south of Bend. We had talked about taking a driving tour to see some of the lakes in the Cascade Mountains but it was cold, rainy, wet, and foggy. We decided the driving tour wouldn't provide much sightseeing in the fog. That's how we ended up at the Museum. Frankly, we are both glad the weather was poor. The Museum was wonderful. Inside, there were four primary displays, one on the high desert with appropriate desert animals and flowers and an explaination of why it's a high desert. Then there was an exhibit on Spirit of the West showing the history of the American West. A third exhibit was on Native Americans with an emphasis on the indians from the Columbia River Plateau. Finally inside was an exhibit on the Chinese and the impact they had on the West.
Outside there were several animal exhibits including birds of prey, river otters, and porcupines. There was also some side exhibits including a pioneer homestead and a historic, working sawmill.
The high desert musem is a great place if you are ever in Bend.
Today we drove about 100 or so miles before we camped again. Then we took one of the numerous Oregon scenic drives around the West side of Klamath Lake. The drive actually is supposed to start on the north side of Crater Lake, but since we were at Crater Lake two years ago, we decided to just take the lower half of the drive. Yes, we are camped just north of the Lake. Note that this is very different than Klamath California. Klamath California is on the coast, is a very small town (if it even qualifies as a town), and there is no large lake nearby (just a large ocean). Klamath Falls, which is about 20 miles south of us, is a town a bit smaller than Ridgecrest right on the shore of Klamath Lake. There are several National Wildlife Refuges near Klamath Falls.
Klamath Lake is the largest fresh water lake in Oregon. It is 133 square miles.
Where are we? We are camped on the Williamson River in Chiloquin Oregon.
Subj: 9. Where are We?
Date: Saturday, September 29, 2001 7:38:52 AM
Today is Sunday, September 30. Friday we moved from Chiloquin Oregon to where we are now. We drove South from Chiloquin, through Klamath Falls Oregon (remember Klamath Falls is different from Klamath California), we reached Interstate 5 at Weed California and headed south again.
While we were driving we had some fantastic views of Mount Shasta. Mount Shasta is considered the most magnificant volcano in the Cascade chain of mountains. It is a single peak rising to a height of 14,162 feet. It dominates the landscape of northern California. We are camped just south of Mount Shasta and, depending on where we are in the campground, can have wonderful view of the mountain.
Although the campgound is away from any cities, we are camped in a pine forest with several ponds and meadows. The town (about 6 miles from here) is an historic lumber mill town founded in the late 1800's. There were several campgounds in our directory that we could have chosen from, we chose this one because of the name, and the fact that we might be able to get fly fishing lessons. The campground is Friday's RV Retreat and Fly Fishing Ranch.
Saturday, we did take fly fishing lessons from Bob Friday. Both of us learned a lot. We signed up for a two hour lesson. Bob Friday started the lessons with a CD Rom on his computer to explain the basics of fly casting and tying a couple of knots. Then we took the fly rods to a meadow by a pond. That's where we really learned how to cast a fly rod. Casting a fly rod is totally different from any other type of rod and it really takes practice. After practicing for a while in the meadow, we started casting into the pond. This was a lot different than casting into the meadow. The fly line floats and there are some techniques for lifting the line out of the water so you can cast again. Then we put on a dry fly to catch fish. We both caught two trout (they were catch and release so we didn't have trout for dinner). We started out two hour lesson about 9:00 in the morning and finished at about 12:30. It was great. The owner also invited us for a Barbeque (hamburgers). We didn't make it but the invitation was great. Although this campground may not have all the commercial ammenities (can't get satelite TV because of the trees, and the cable only has one channel) it still ranks high on our list of favorite campgrounds. Again, like Chinook on the Klamath River, the owners make the difference plus it is in a beautiful setting. We also met some other campers that we really clicked with.
After lunch, we drove into Mount Shasta City (about 15 miles away). I needed to get a couple of fuses for the RV. Mount Shasta City was actually a pretty nice place. Lot's of tourist shops with some neat stuff. The Mount Shasta Fire Department was even collecting donations for the families of the New York Fire Department.
We then drove back to McCloud. Kind of a neat place. It's an old lumber mill town that is being revitalized as a resort destination with fishing during the summer and snow sports during the winter. There is even an old train that takes you on a tour of the area.
Where are we? Obviously we're at Friday's RV Retreat and Fly Fishing Ranch but what town is it near? About 6 miles up the road is the town of McCloud. This is really a beautiful spot and since it's late in the season, there are only a few RVs in the place. It actually looks more like a Forest Service campground than a comercial RV park, but it has full hook ups. Really a nice place.
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