Updated on June 8, 1999.
We awoke at 6:30am in Section D of the Lake Minden TTN Park to the sound of unexpected rain on the roof. I decided I was not going to head out if it was raining. We turned off the alarm and snoozed around in bed, then about 8am the rain stopped. I got up and turned on the Weather Channel to see that there was a band of rain going through northern California with clearing behind it. Time to move!
Since I had already put most of the stuff away the night before, we were able to quickly rig for travel and pull in the slides. I put Misty into the truck and pulled the trailer around for dumping. We had conserved well for the week, and the dump was good. Full-timers learn to appreciate such moments.
Back on the road again!! We headed back up US99 to Yuba City, and I filled my tank with $1.20 diesel at the UniCal on CA20. Then we headed west towards Colusa and Williams. Many of the rice fields had been filled with water since we came through a week before, awaiting their turn for sprinkling with seed from the Rice Field Air Force of the Sacramento Valley.
Turning north on I-5, I saw some blue sky in the west, and I was sure I was seeing the clearing behind the rain bands. We stopped at the Berry Patch Restaurant in Orland for lunch, and it was excellent. We are making our noon meal our main meal of the day, so getting back into the truck and driving away is a real fight with siesta time.
As we continued north on I-5, we thought about trying for Mount Shasta, but as we approached Redding, the clouds were becoming darker, and Alice called ahead to the Fawndale Oaks RV Park to see if they had room. Lucky us -- as we drove past Redding the rain started, and by the time we had checked in and we were starting to set up it was pouring.
Quickly we finished and were soon sitting inside a toasty trailer preparing for supper. The rain really poured for a while then stopped, but it was ready to dump more on us during the night. After watching the Weather Channel we decided to stay where we were and have some needed work done on the truck.
At Fawndale Oaks we met Earl and Linda Hylton, a great couple of SKPs parked next to us. They are heading to Alaska later this summer and were also waiting for the weather to clear.
The next day was still cloudy, but there was some sun peaking through when we went into Redding the next morning. I found the Dodge service place and had the fuel filter and differential fluid changed; I had learned at the Escapade that my maintenance schedule had been screwed up. Alice and I had lunch/dinner out at a nice place down the road and we went back to the RV Park.
Fawndale Oaks RV Park has one of the best modem policies going of all the parks we have stayed in. They even have one site with direct phone connections -- $2 the first night, $1 per night thereafter. Earl already had it filled, so I did not get a chance to try out the phone jacks in the trailer. But I did get on the Internet in the office and checked out email and other things. I recommend all travelers to stay there if they get a chance!!
Tuesday morning we awoke to reasonably clear weather, and the weather channel indicated that though the snow level was pulling up above the 4000 foot level; it would stay clear over Siskiyou Pass. We ate breakfast and pulled in the awnings and slides for travel. Waving goodbye to Earl on the way out, we headed up I-5. As we drove past Lake Shasta, I realized that the lake was full, the first time I had seen that condition in years. Of course, it was the season for the lake to be full.
The drive along the upper Sacramento River was scenic, and Mount Shasta was spectacular as we drove by, with clouds on its east slope tickling the snow that covered the peak. Continuing past Weed and Yreka (home of the Yreka Bakery), we could see snow showers in the distance all along the way up to the top of the pass. At the top we engaged the exhaust brake and took it easy going down the north slope into Ashford, Oregon.
We stopped for lunch in Medford and filled with diesel. It was no longer self-service, even in the truck stop. We were in Oregon.
Then it was back onto I-5 heading north. It was spitting a little rain, but it was not too bad. After crossing the North and South Umqua Rivers, we reached the south exit of Sutherlin and turned off following the directions of the Co-Pilot to the SKP park. When we approached the turn onto Valentine Avenue, I balked; it looked like we were turning into a small residential area with very narrow streets. I stopped and checked at the little store on the corner, and they said I was on track. Better safe than stuck up some road where you can't turn around.
Making a U-turn, we headed down the small street and turned right on State. Finally, after 240 miles of driving we came to the entrance to the Timberline SKP Co-operative Park. Boy, they sure put these parks in out of the way places!
We checked in at the office and paid up for four nights. We set up on a level gravelled lot and prepared supper. I set up the DSS so we could track the weather. It drizzled from time to time, but it was pleasant.
The next morning we walked around the park. Everything was green and mossy. The sun peaked through for a time, but it remained cool and damp. Later in the day neighbors arrived. I recognized the bright red Freightliner and Alfa Gold fifth-wheel from Escapade; it was Bill Farlow and his wife Louise. They had purchased the trailer a few weeks earlier and were still having trouble remembering where things were stored.
Later in the day, Earl and Linda Hylton showed up. They had parked up under the trees, so Earl could not get any DSS reception. They invited us over for supper, and we had a pleasant evening visiting and enjoying their company. Misty enjoyed slowly walking around their camping spot and investigating all the trees and bushes.
The next morning Bill Farlow was working on installing a solar system on his trailer, and I was completing the build of my PVC-pipe sewer hose carrier. People who live in trailers learn to be regular handy-men. After looking over my carrier design, Bill suggested I submit it as a tech-tip, but since we are not members of Coast-to-Coast, I could not qualify. He will look for someone else to submit it.
The TimberLine SKP park has no facilities for Internet access, so we drove into Roseburg to Mail Boxes Etc where they graciously let us connect and download email. That evening, the Hyltons invited us up to the club house to play Jokers with them and their new friends, Jerry and Darlene Hatch. Jerry is one of the "founders" of the game and makes Joker gameboards. It was a fun time with the men defeating the women for a change. The next morning on our walk Jerry met us with a copy of the official rules.
We joined in the Friday afternoon social hour with the local SKPs and met more nice people. Then it was back to the trailer to start preparing for travel the next day.
Saturday morning before heading out, we went up to the clubhouse for the Saturday morning coffee and donuts. It was a good chance to say goodbye to the SKPs we had met. Then we pulled out and drove on up I-5 towards Salem.
We turned west on OR22 and went through the heart of Salem. I was worried about driving through the city, but it was simple with the Co-Pilot providing directions. Once we crossed the river the drive was along a beautiful boulevard as we went on out of town.
Continuing on OR22, the road became more winding as we climbed into the coastal range. We took the Little Nestucca River cutoff and wound around even more until we came to US101 just south of Pacific City. It had not changed much from when we were there last.
We had received word that it was necessary to come in the back way to the TTN park because of a sink-hole. So we continued up to Woods, crossed the bridge over the Nestucca River, and headed up the back road. It was all familiar territory this time.
We checked into the park and drove down to Section E where we found an open sewered site. It was a tight fit, but we settled in, put out the slides, and set up the DSS. The weather was cloudy and it looked like rain.
We had driven the 186 miles in good time, so it was still early. Alice didn't want to cook, so we jumped in the truck and headed back to Pacific City for supper. We had another great meal at the Riverside Restaurant. Both of us had one of their fine fish dinners. We should have split one.
The next morning was Mother's Day, and we went to the Family Lodge for the Mother's Day brunch. Alice got a pink carnation and the food was filling. Then we drove into Pacific City and over to the beach, leaving Misty in the trailer. We must have walked a good four miles up and down the beach. It was really pleasant, and some of the houses along the beach were picturesque to say the least.
When re returned to the truck, Alice said she still didn't want to cook, so we went over to the Los Caporalles Restaurant and pigged out again. Alice got a red rose there.
On Monday we went back to town to collect our mail. We arrived at noon so the post office was closed. This was just the excuse we needed to go to the Grateful Bread for another delightful meal. You should not get the idea that we eat all the time; we do take time for siestas. That is one of the dangers of being retired; you eat too much good stuff.
The next day we walked out to the sink hole that had taken out the road during the rains last winter. It points out that everything in that area is built on the sand dunes, and if there is a spring running along under the base of the dune, in time it will eat out a huge cavern and the whole thing can come crashing down.
The first photo is from down in the sink hole looking up at the remains of the road. The second shows part of the highway that had partially fallen into the hole. There was a woman driving down the highway when the road collapsed, and her car fell to the bottom of the pit. Luckily she was not hurt and they pulled her car out. The force of nature is sometimes more than man's structures can handle.
Later in the afternoon we took Misty for a walk around the campground. We saw some more of the beautiful flowers that were blooming in the area and we saw some of the domestic rabbits. Misty enjoyed the walk.
While on the walk I took this picture of Misty. Later in the evening she spit up some more and refused to eat or drink after that. Her appetite had been deteriorating for several days, and Alice had been tempting her with goodies from our plates, but now she would not even accept those. It was obvious her tired old body was getting weaker and weaker.
Tuesday we hung around the trailer and did some cleanup. Tomorrow was a travel day.
Wednesday morning was cloudy and spitting a little rain. We hooked up quickly, trying not to keep the campground road blocked too long. Then we pulled out and headed for Chehalis TTN.
Our next door neighbor lived in the area, and he suggested we take Oregon Highway 18 rather than heading up towards OR26. That would avoid several winding grades. So we again took the Little Nestucca River shortcut to OR22, and from there we connected with OR18 and followed it until it connected with US99. He was right about not having any steep grades, but it was winding.
As we got closer and closer to Portland, the traffic became thicker and thicker. I thought about cutting over to I-5, but decided to stay with old US99. That probably cost us half an hour, because the last three miles were stop and go.
Finally on I-5, we headed north into the heart of Portland. I followed the main highway, ignoring the offers to take the alternates. At least we made it through the city and over the bridges; I don't know where I would have ended if I had taken the alternates.
We stopped for lunch after we were in Washington. The weather had deteriorated, and we had to walk in the rain to reach the restaurant. I knew we must be back in Washington.
Taking the Napavine exit, we followed the familiar road to the east to the Chehalis TTN Park and checked in. We had made the 190 miles in good time, and it was good to get settled. We found several available sewered sites in H section (unlike the waiting list back in August), and I carefully chose the one I thought would give me a line of sight to the DSS satellite. I chose well, and we quickly had the DSS working. By then the weather had even cleared a little, and we saw some sunshine peeking through the trees.
Our cellphone was working, so we called our daughter-in-law, Krista, in Tacoma to check on status. Our son, David (or JC as he prefers to be called) had been in Europe flying C-141s for the past four weeks and was due home on Friday. Krista wanted to know why we had not brought the trailer to their house and parked there. I explained again that full-timers like to pick their own spots to park, and though we appreciated the offer, we wanted to stay at Chehalis. Kids are so possessive!
Misty continued to refuse to eat, though she was drinking a little water. The next morning we took her to the vet in Chehalis. A checkup showed nothing definite though she was dehydrated, and we left her in the hospital for tests and fluids. We did some grocery shopping and had lunch at the RibEye restaurant where we had eaten before. Then we drove on into Tacoma to see family.
Krista was upset that Misty was ill, and offered one of her Pomeranians, Wolf, to us. We turned her down, not sure of our situation.
I took the opportunity to get on the Internet and download email. I found a recruitment letter from About.com -- one of their staff had read our website and liked it; he suggested we apply to be an About.com Guide and maintain an RV Travel site at their host. It was an interesting suggestion and required much thought.
We returned to Chehalis that evening after a great meal from Krista. The next morning was somber as we ate breakfast and then headed to see the vet. She told us that Misty was resting easy but had improved only slightly. Her blood was all out of whack, and the vet had started antibiotics. We discussed her prior tumor surgery, and we agreed that more than likely the cancer had spread and it was only a matter of time. With a lot of crying and holding each other, Alice and I agreed we should not let her suffer any longer, and we signed the papers for her to be put down. We had to keep thinking about all the good times we had had together and not drop back into feeling sorry for ourselves. She was a good dog, and I know we were good members of her pack.
The drive up to Tacoma was a matter of letting time pass. At least the weather was becoming more clear.
Krista again offered to give Wolf to us, and we played with him during the day. He seemed to really like us, and enjoyed cuddling next to both of us. By the end of the day, we decided we would give him a try, it would at least keep our mind off of Misty.
That evening when we returned, Krista called. JC was returning that night rather than the next day. We bedded down with Wolf bouncing around the trailer and prepared to return to Tacoma the following day.
We took our dirty clothes with us on Friday, and Alice washed clothes while we visited with JC to catch up on all the news. Lots had happened since we had seen them in Las Vegas back in January.
At that time we decided to make the application to About.com, and I spent the next couple of days putting it together. A few days later we received notice that we had been accepted for training, which would begin about the time we got back to southern California. More about that in the June log.
On Saturday we were back in Tacoma again. While there we received a call on our cellphone from Nancy that our number was up at Jojoba Hills, and we had three lots to choose from. Her husband, Jack, did his best to describe them to me, but we were going to have to make a choice without seeing the lot. I said I would call back on Monday.
The weather had finally cleared, and we were again into August weather. I had a chance to take a good picture of Wolf and Alice. I also got a shot of a fern next to the campsite.
The view of Mount Ranier was spectacular from JC and Krista's home. Just hope they never see smoke on its summit. However, I cannot find the diskette that had those pictures on it, so you are just going to have to take my word the weather was clear on the fifteenth of June in Tacoma.
On Sunday it was back to Tacoma again. The drive was getting to be old hat or something like that. At least I was getting some quality time on the Internet while at JC's. We called our friends Dave and Charlene Baldwin who live in Puyallup and made arrangements to go to dinner with them with JC and Krista in tow. By the time we headed to their place it was raining again -- Washington was back to normal.
The Baldwins have a place on the east side of Tacoma where the trees have been growing for a number of years; it was very nice. Across the street was a spectacular flowering tree -- obviously it was not a native.
Before leaving Tacoma Sunday evening, I wrapped up the About.com application and emailed it in. I had second thoughts but it seemed like a good idea. It seemed it would be a good incentive for me to write for the website.
We stayed at the TTN park on Monday and Tuesday. We talked with Patti at Jojoba Hills and made our choice for the lot (#608). The next day we mailed the check. We were making commitments right and left.
On Wednesday we went to SeaTac, near the airport, to see my cousin Jim and his wife Carol. He had been having some health problems and was reluctant to get out in his fifth-wheel again. We gave him as much encouragement as we could. While we were there, I set Jim up with an AOL account. Hopefully, the innoculation will stick and he will become an avid Internet user. Yes, it is just like a disease.
On Thursday Krista, JC, and their other two dogs came to Chehalis to visit. It was crowded in the trailer, but not too bad. They spent the night with us and the next morning we went to breakfast at the RibEye and then took off on a fishing trip to the coast. No bites at all, but a nice day walking on the beach. JC promises to have the fish located the next time we come through.
Saturday we picked up our mail at the Napavine post office and journeyed into Tacoma once again. Alice brought the laundry up to date, and we received email confirmation from About.com that we were accepted into the training program. We had an early dinner and headed back to camp. Travel resumed the next day.
Sunday morning we were up and out of the campground before 8:30. That was early for us. The weather was broken clouds and clear roads, and our intent was to go as far as we could. If needbe, we could stop in Sutherlin for the night, but we hoped to make it into California.
I-5 on a Sunday afternoon is a good road for making time. I set the cruise control to 55 and took over as needed for the hills and grades. One thing I had noticed while at Chehalis was that our fuel mileage had seemed to be much higher than normal (over 20mpg on the last three tanks of fuel), and I was wondering if that would continue when we were pulling the trailer. If so, the PRI-D I had started to use was proving its worth. I had filled the tank the evening before, so we would get a good measure of the towing mileage.
Coming into Portland, I decided to stick with I-5 and not take I-205. Going south there are more grades than heading north. The next time I will try the alternate; it might be better and should at least be smoother.
We stopped in Talent, OR for fuel. We had 377 miles on the tank and it took 30.71 gallons, for a mileage of 12.3. It was a definite improvement over the 11.1 I had seen before April.
We sailed through Sutherlin mid-afternoon and set our target on Mt. Shasta. I was wondering if we would make it when we started the long pull up Siskiyou Pass, but we made it over the pass in fine condition and from there on it was over hill and dale to Mt. Shasta City and the KOA where we had stayed many times before.
We had driven 450 miles that day.
The next morning we were up early and heading out. Now that we were in California, the hills were already turning yellow and brown and looking dry.
Our next target was Hanford. We continued at a steady pace down I-5, seeing all the sights we had seen many times before. We stopped for lunch at Bill and Cathy's Restaurant in Dunnigan. We had started eating there over 35 years ago when we were heading out of town on Friday nights to go fishing up on the Feather River. Ah, the good old days.
Our waitress, Kitty, claimed to have been working for Bill and Cathy's since the start, so she might have served our first meal. She looked the part, and she was good.
We refueled in Lodi and again, the mileage was good, coming in at 12.1mpg. We headed on down I-5 until we reached CA198 and turned east. Crossing the flatlands on the west side of the San Juaquin valley, we continued past the Lemore Naval Air Station and into Hanford. We pulled into the Fairgrounds and found a good spot for a couple of nights. It had been another 450 mile day.
The next morning we took Wolf in to see my brother-in-law Everett who is the primary vet in town. Wolf got a quick checkup and had his vaccinations upgraded for traveling across the country. Then we went to visit with Everett's Mom who was visiting for a few weeks from Ten Sleep, WY. It was good to see her again. She is the last surviving parent for all of our generation.
Next we took the truck into the Dodge dealership for lube, oil, and tire rotation, and Alice and I went to lunch at the Sizzler. Hanford has one of the best Sizzler's going. When I got the truck back, the service manager told me the front brake pads needed servicing. He offered to do it in a couple of days, but I explained we were transients and would not be there that long.
Alice and I decided to give my sister, Rosemary, our surplus laptop, the IBM ThinkPad. Returning to my sister's home, I set up an AOL account on it, and when she got in from teaching school, I sat down with her and Everett and taught school myself, showing them how to send and receive emails with AOL. I did get a promise they would make use of it.
Rosemary went to supper with Alice and me -- we went to the Sportsman's Club. I was apprehensive; that was where Alice and I had gone seven weeks ago just before I had had my heart attack. This time I survived much better, and we had great fun reviewing old times with Rosemary.
Finally it was time to take the pumpkin back home. We dropped Rosemary off at her house and went to crawl into our traveling bed.
We started the last leg of our journey south bright and early in the morning. We stopped for fuel in Bakersfield; our mileage registered 12.8mpg. I decided to avoid some of the LA traffic on I-210, and we headed over the Tehachapi Mountains to Mojave, then southeast on CA58 to Kramer's Junction.
After lunch at Kramer's Junction, we turned southwest on US395 and continued down to catch I-15 just before Tejon pass. The drive was smooth all the way, and once we were on I-15 it was clear sailing into Temecula. We turned east on CA79 and completed our journey after 327 miles. It had been a long four days of travel.
We arrived at the Jojoba Hills SKP Resort shortly after 4pm, but Patti, the office manager, was still at work. She started us through the paperwork to complete our joining the Jojoba Hills SKP Co-op, and Dotty Cronin came in to take us through the rest of the procedure. Most of the information went in one ear and out the other, but we will have time to get it all right.
Finally, all the i's were dotted and the t's crossed, and we were free to drive up to see our lot # 608 for the first time. We were greeted by our nearest neighbor who is an old friend from other Escapees functions, "Roamin" Ramona Eberhard.
Stan Combs, president of the Co-op, came down to help us pull in and park exactly right, and shortly our trailer was on site with a tremendous view of the valley below.
We had reached another milestone; we again had a plot of land to call home.