We left Spokane, WA on the 17th of July and made it to Portland, to visit with my cousin, had a great time (installed the trailer brake controller in the Dreamer). I towed a car hauler that I already owned; with my sons pick-up and my bicycle on it. Couldn't believe how expensive you can get into a car towing system. The trailer was only a couple of years old & proven reliable. And the little truck with a matching yellow kayak on top and my pontoon boat in the back. All the toys a guy could want. Left there on Sunday the 19th.
Made it to the coast with a little concern about smoke in the rear view mirror (what the heck?). While doing the wiring for the brake controller I had done some adjusting on the carb and turned the top of the air cleaner over to see if it would increase power. It suddenly dawned on me... I think I forgot to put the breather tube from the valve cover back on the air cleaner. I opened the cowling ... again! And sure as heck... also the air intake with the air cleaner cover upside down was so noisy, I put it back the way it supposed to be. I felt better.
We managed to find beautiful camping on the way down the coast. It was like being back in the 70's; we were pretty lucky at just finding a place to park. The first night in Tillamook, OR we got a beautiful spot in the Fred Meyer's parking lot, there was the ocean inversion so it was a bit cloudy & cool, but the scenery was awesome (from the parking lot). There were the pastures and the Tillamook Cheesemakers at work. The hills in the distance with the clouds coming over them were the perfect back drop.
The coast highway is not as smooth as one would like for an old motor home so I think some new shocks may be in order. But the weather is clearing and it's a nice drive just got to look out for those dips. We stopped and saw several sights and Cape Heceta Light, picked up the National Park Pass there.
The next night we got to Coos Bay Oregon, I Googled "free camping" and was directed to a place around the south of the bay and out to the coast on Bastendorf Beach Rd. We wound around and it seemed like a long ways and there was probably an easier way there but we got to a place on the beach and several vehicles and motor homes were on the shoulder of the road. So we pulled up, had the beach right out the window, had dinner, watched the sunset & went to sleep. A most beautiful morning was upon us, took the dog & a cup of coffee out on the beach for a good run & was able to see the Cape Arago Light to the south. After some breakfast & coffee we picked up & moved on.
Two awesome nights & more sights down the 101. What a beautiful coast. Lunch at Crescent City looking out over the bay & rocks to the north.
The next night we were ready for showers and laundry, we found a spot in the back lot of an RV Park in Eureka, CA the most expensive and ugly but we got our showers. Wasn't that bad, my dog made a hit with the neighbors; we met, Jack a disabled tugboat engineer and his wife Jill, they were heading the same direction. We met Jack & Jill... (hmmm) at a restaurant they recommended.
The next stop was Garberville, we met Jack & Jill at the Woodrose Cafe, and it was a natural food type restaurant so I had a Greek Salad with Bacon added. It was delicious. My wife had her usual Caesar Salad which she raved about as well. Jack & Jill split a Turkey Club that was huge. I recommend this place for a nice light lunch when you're on the road.
Jack & Jill were heading for Nice, CA on Clear Lake, we were continuing on SR 20 heading east. Nice looked like a great place to stop but we needed a few more miles before we were ready to stop for the night. After winding through the coastal mountains we came out at Williams, CA at I-5 bought a really good watermelon and some cantaloupe at the fruit stand there.
We headed for Yuba City to catch SR 99 south. We could see the large fire south of us that I'm quite sure turned out to be the 100+ square mile fire North of San Francisco. It was the biggest plume I ever saw and we live in the Inland NW that is right now socked in so bad visibility is less than a mile.
Upon a little more research the above mentioned fire, the Rocky Fire, actually went through the area SE of Clear Lk ultimately along SR 20 where we had traveled. We most likely saw the Wragg Fire that devoured about 8400 acres south of the Rocky Fire. Our prayers go out to those that lost their homes & property and to the families of those firefighters that were lost in WA.
Once we were on the 99 the smoke was several thousand feet up in the atmosphere and moving NE; there was no smoke smell or smoke at ground level. But I wanted to get south of it. Just on the north side of Sacramento, the sun was setting and we saw a camping sign so we took a right. We ended up at the Sacramento Rv. and there was an aged Resort/Restaurant/Campground on the river, the campground was obviously taken over by migrant workers and the resort looked like it hadn't been open in a long time. Up the road looking back along the river there were several houseboats at the resort dock and there were several people fishing. Looked like a cool spot to me, the wife said no. We turned around and headed south along the river and there were a few people fishing and hanging out. And we found a spot that was a little more isolated and pulled over. Another cool spot to camp, right on the river. Got the Dreamer leveled up and noted there was quite a bit of trash on the trails, from fishermen, that's the kind of neglect that gets these pristine spots off limits to campers, I hate pigs! My wife was a little concerned that some riffraff might come along I assured her it would be OK and that I would put my protection under the pillow. She felt better.
Another beautiful Red Sun sunset & quiet night in a pristine area. Upon leaving we traveled south along the river, we were just north of the airport and there were very nice upscale houses along the shore not 150 yards from where we camped. Nice places.
We got on the 99 in Sacramento, headed south, not too many scenic sites to visit since we left the coast, and it’s much hotter. We ducked under the 100 degree temperatures back home until now. It was well into the 90's in Portland but the coast was nice & pleasant. Now it's simply hot. We've also not seen the $4 gas prices that we'd been hearing about yet. My gas gauge doesn't work so I have to keep track of the miles and I been filling up at about 175 to 200 miles. I ran out of gas once before and from what I can figure I have near a 50 gallon tank. So 250 miles is not out of the question. By the time I hit Bakersfield gas was more expensive than I had ever seen. I refused to pay... I continued on past Bakersfield to the east on SR59 to Tehachapi where gas was still expensive but not as bad and it took 43 gallons... to close.
We found an RV Park at the Tehachapi Airport that was pretty nice, showers were good, took the little truck off the trailer and into town for some shopping. The elevation here is pretty high about 4000' and the temps were not bad in the night. The stars were well displayed across the Milky Way. And there are hundreds of those giant wind mills, and a bunch of smaller ones I hadn't seen before.
In the morning we continued east to Mojave then south on the 14 to Palmdale and east on 138 to the 15 then south via the 215 to the 76 & into Oceanside where my grandbabies waited. Hot humid desert, but it was clear that it had rained recently. Seems I have a knack for missing rain.
I spent more than a week with the grandkids and my wife flew home on the 30th. At one point she said "well what if I want to go with you?”.
I told her "You will have to enjoy looking at rocks and holes in the ground, no complaining nothing but joy to see them for at least a couple of weeks".
She said "I'll go home".
I didn't leave Oceanside until it hit 95 degrees on the beach, I knew I could handle desert at 100+ degrees better than 95 on the beach... what a time to cruise the deserts of the SW. I'll save the trip home for another posting. We'll see how this one is liked and if I'm wasting my time.