Monday, January 23, 2023

Jan. 23: Lake Cahuilla Recreation Area Campsite, La Quinta, CA

 It’s 0700 Monday morning and we’re all tucked in at our campsite on the edge of La Quinta, California. Every so often little Lucy is hit with a gust of wind that whistles round her curves and gives her a wee shake. The forecasted winds (gusts up to 29 in the early afternoon) have arrived.  The good news is we knew it was coming and made a point of travelling yesterday so we could settle before the winds arrived, AND we didn’t put the awning out.  We’ve done our share of anchor watches and prefer to sleep during the night when on land.  We would not be on the roads today with these winds, so we’re very glad we did the drive yesterday. This location is just fine and has everything we need… and it’s on the edge of a little lake with good places to walk.  We plan to be here until the morning of the 25th when we head to our first semi-permanent location, Rio Bend RV and Golf Resort. 

OK, it’s later now…and we’ve gone for a little walk. We’re going to just hang out this afternoon and enjoy the sun… and we’re looking forward to seeing my little sister and her hubby for dinner. Hope all is well with each of you.  CJ

Saturday, January 21, 2023

Waking up in Merced Elks RV Park…

 You’re quite correct in thinking we’ve never been here before. In fact we didn’t know it existed and had not intended to stop here.  IF I’ve learned anything these past few days it’s the value of being flexible (in mind… the body’s not that flexible anymore :-) and not making too many firm (as in paid in advance) reservations along our intended route.  It turns out most would have had room for us if we’d only called the night before seeking refuge.  

So, with new lesson in mind… when we stopped at our intended site for last night, we were struck by several observations.  First impression:  McConnell State Recreation Area was beautiful; rustic sites in a forest setting along side a tributary of a larger river, and lots of birdsong.  Who could ask for anything more?  That’s when a seedy looking character opened the latrine door of the washroom facility next to where we had stopped, and proceeded to pull up his sweatpants while he wandered out to the pickup truck and buddy who was waiting for him.  Not sure what was dragging on the ground when they drove off, but the truck didn’t sound all that healthy.  Once they’d left, we took another look at the place and realized a few facts. 1) There was no one else there.  The place was absolutely empty. 2) There had been no one on duty and no park host or phone number at the entrance… you know, to call if you have a problem. 3) There  was no power at any of the ‘rustic’ sites and, therefore, no opportunity to prevent frostbite overnight with our little heater. And, finally, 4) the only living creature larger than a bird present was a rather large, farm dog who had already spotted Maddie in the truck and apparently had no intention of leaving.  He actually was sort of stocking us as we cruised slowly around the circle of empty sites. 

You guessed it. We decided to high-tail it out of there and find somewhere a tad more civilized for last night.  We might try there again some time. It really is beautiful but just not for us this time.

Down the road we moseyed and  about 12 miles south of there we discovered the Merced Elks RV Park, one of the very few Elks RV Parks allowing non-members to stay.  The people were very nice, the site is wonderful (we love flat or almost flat sites for our one-nighters. We don’t have to unhook the truck unless we want to.) and we were able to set up our chairs and enjoy warm sunshine for the first time since last summer.  Yahoo!!!!

Today, is cold but sunny so far and the sun is supposed to stay out for the rest of the week.  We are happy.  We head out shortly to get ourselves down to the Orange Grove RV Park in Bakersfield.  We’ve been there many times before and word is the oranges are ripe. The RV sites are situated inside an orange tree grove and guests are invited to help themselves…. Yummy.  Will sign off now.  We are fine and hoping all is well with each of you.  Have a good and warm day. CJ 😎🌝

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Thursday Jan 19… Heritage RV Park, Corning, CA

 Our little plan worked well.  We did the long run and avoided (reports are) between 5-14” of snow at the dreaded Pass.  Our run was long but we arrived in Corning safe and sound and a little tired. Had a peaceful and long sleep even though the winds came up overnight… we were all tucked in.  This park has all we needed for a one or two night visit. We even had a Bocce game this afternoon.. under sunny blue skies.

Tomorrow (Jan 20) we have a longish trek to Ballico, CA.  You’ll find it in the area around Turloc or Modesto on your map; if you’re looking. This will be another ‘stop and go’ and the winds are expected to stay reasonably low and the skies clear. Ricky and Lucy have been behaving well so it’s onward and southward!! Despite the odds we are on schedule and all systems are ‘good to go’.

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Day 3: Plans written in sand, below high water… & Mountain Gate RV Park

“Where is that, you’ve never mentioned it before?” you well might ask.  As I’ve said many times before,  travel plans should always be written in sand, below the high water mark; and here’s why.

As promised we’ve been keeping an eye on road and weather conditions and proceeding cautiously. Somewhat determined to stick to our itinerary (after all, booking reservations isn’t all that much fun; never mind having to cancel and rebook them), we pressed on as planned yesterday to get to Columbia Riverfront. We headed out early this morning; destination Seven Feathers RV park, just outside Canyonville (which is north of the dreaded Siskiyou Pass).  We hoped to get there early and give Maddie a good walk, enjoy a hot tub soak and a swim and then relax as tomorrow was to be a run of  265 miles.

This morning was one of our usual starts; plan to leave at 0730 hrs. and get up early so we could. But, as usual it was 0820 hrs. before we pulled out.  No problem as we always allow extra time… (things learned over the years:-). We then carried on down the road, stopped for fuel, carried on south bound and, about 1100ish stopped at a rest stop to stretch all our legs.  Maddie was doing pretty well but was starting to offer her opinion from time to time so it was, indeed, time to stop.  Again, as planned, we made lunch and went for a walk.  just as we were about to leave and head to Canyonville, we met a guy who had a Casita 17, just like our Lucy.  It wasn’t just any old Casita…it was a 2022!!  And it was shiny new.  The good news is, Lucy didn t look much older (she is  2001) and so we had a quick chat with him about trailers and destinations.  Just as he was leaving, heading south as well, he said he was pressing on to get over the Siskiyou Pass as it was forecasting snow there for tomorrow and the next day. Well, didn’t that throw a wrench into our plans.  Even though we are devotees to Windy (our favourite weather predictor) our ears are always open to other news and, armed with this most recent news, we had a team meeting to discuss our options. 

After considering all options, including the one where we get snowed in for several days on the wrong side of the pass, we decided to press on; and press on we did. We took turns at the wheel and while one was driving the other was researching places to stay. We decided to give up our reservation at Seven Feathers ☹️and get ourselves over the pass and into California before the snow started 😃. During our drive we saw the temperature drop to 0 and then come back up to 7 (that’s Celsius of course) and by the time we had negotiated the very busy highway, the multitudes of huge transport trucks and other folks rushing to get somewhere (and who obviously should have left home earlier) and kept our little rig to an appropriate and safe speed, adjusting lanes as required to avoid certain death by crushing (between vehicles)…. we found ourselves at tonight’s location; Mountain Gate RV Park, situated just off the highway about 17 miles north of Redding, CA.

Some of you will want to ask why we don’t just pull over into a rest stop or Walmart parking lot for the night - instead of driving for ten hours (the longest we’ve ever driven I might add).  The answer is simple. Little Lucy (our trailer) came to us from Las Vegas. She has a great air conditioning unit but she does not have a heating system.  This means that, in cold weather, we choose to plug in so we can run our little electric heater and keep from freezing to death over night. Asked and answered.

So, tonight we are in a nice little RV Park, enjoying clear skies and brilliant stars.  You know, if we hadn’t pressed on, it would be snowing on us… oh yes it would.  We three will sleep well tonight and tomorrow we press on to Corning where we will relax for a couple days.  

We have added a few photos from our drive today, including Maddie and her travel crate (still working 🤞).   

Will check in again in a couple days.  Stay well everyone…  CJ.   Photos by Kathy 

Day 2… Kayak Point Regional County Park & Columbia River Front RV Park

 Kayak Point Park was a little ways off the highway but well worth the drive. The sites are nestled in the woods just back from the beach (no view per se of the beach but there is a trail).  We arrived late, the Park Host was very nice, and there’s an automatic pay station as you enter the park.  It was pouring rain and almost dark when we arrived so no exploring this time; we’ll be back.

Back to Day 2: Our drive south to Woodland, WA was as expected; fairly heavy traffic, many in a giant hurry, pot holes where they shouldn’t be, combined with wonderfully smooth and well marked traffic lanes… a potpourie of driving conditions. The Columbia Riverfront RV Park has grown considerably since we were here last (several years ago). It’s still a lovely location, right on the Columbia River, complete with a small sand beach and lots of grass for the puppies to use (on leash). We’re just here for one night, what we call a ‘stop ‘n go’ so no fancy set up… just a couple of boards under the truck’s rear tires to lift up the front of the trailer just a bit… levels everything up and we’re good to go.  

We are, of course, tracking the weather and road conditions and it looks good to go for the next leg south to Canyonville (Seven Feathers RV Park). 

This portion of our journey is about getting south and, as we’ve travelled this path many times in years past, I’m keeping my comments brief; just letting you know where we are and how we are.  Our plan for Maddie, ship’s canine who had developed some anxiety around long trips, is working well so far.  We are driving for a couple hours at a time and then taking a short break. She is enjoying her open door cave (a portable crate set up and secured so she can come and go) and the right kind of music seems to be helping too.  One song, had Kathy and I singing along and good old Maddie joined in as well and then, thankfully, went back for another nap.

That’s it for now…time to get ready to leave.  Hoping all is well with each of you. TTFN  CJ 

Sunday, January 15, 2023

Loooong day to Kayak Point Regional County Park

 But we made it.  The day started out well; actually left the house only five minutes later than planned (at 0820 hrs.). Yup, having Ricky and Lucy ready to go made it a lot simpler in the misty grey light of dawn.  We were first in line for the 1040 Duke Point (no surprise) and had a relatively quiet and uneventful trip across.  After a quick stop by the beach for Maddie to stretch her legs, we were off to the border… even managed to negotiate the myriad of tricky off ramps that now make up the (once simple) highway drive to the border .  Last time we accidentally ended up heading to New Westminster, all the while trying to get to Ladner!

And that’s where the efficient use of time STOPPED. We spent over two hours sitting in a lineup that was reported to have a 25 minute wait time.  Enough said about that… lest I get diverted from what really is the delightful first day of our get away…    

We had a friendly fellow at the border kiosk… and he didn’t delay us at all. He did however confirm we could have (should have) used the Nexus line that was totally empty while we ‘sat’. And so, even after all that, I can honestly say we are glad…” to be on the road again…”.

And so, here we are, having arrived at Kayak Point after ‘dusk’ which was reported as the time they closed shop… only to be greeted by Becky, a lovely and friendly camp host.  “Choose any site you want… OK to pay in the morning at the pay station.”  We are in an almost flat pull thru site and we are happy. It’s raining but not windy and we shall all sleep tonight; even Maddie (who I must report did very well and made good use of her ‘on board cave’; a folding crate that allows her to crawl in when she feels the need).

So that’s it for today.  Hope all is well with each of you.  Tomorrow we head to Woodland where we will camp alongside the Columbia River.  Will report in again in due course.  TTFN for now.  CJ

PS: It’s raining too hard for photos (and it’s dark) so maybe tomorrow.

Day 1: and off we go...

 Good morning folks.  It is indeed Day 1 and, yes, despite some horrific weather attacking parts of California, we have decided to leave here while we can (and before it snows again).  Ricky and Lucy are all hooked up and packed to the gills. After all, 3 months is a quarter of a year and that requires a lot of 'stuff' to go with us. True, if we had a larger trailer the load Ricky carries would be less, but hey... we love little Lucy and she just comes right along with ease - so there you have it.

First stop, hopefully by mid afternoon, is to be at Kayak Point Regional County Park in Stanwood, WA. It's only 63 miles south of the border but after leaving home by 0815 hrs to catch the 1015 Duke Point Ferry and then driving to the Border and crossing and into the US... that'll be enough travel for one day.  I should also explain that, since wee Maddie has developed some anxiety around long highway driving trips, we have decided to slow down our usual pace and enjoy each day. We've set a limit of 250 miles per day which means an easy 1.5 hr. drive + a 1 hr. lunch break + another 1.5 hr. drive and voila!! we arrive in time to explore a bit of each stop before dinner.  That's the plan today anyway  :-)

We've had enquiries from a few of you about driving into a tempest (weather wise) so I want to assure you we will be assessing our progress each day.  If things ahead of us look iffey, we plan to stay and wait a day (or two) if necessary; easy peazy. 

Thanks for coming along for the ride. We hope you enjoy our photos and stories as they unfold as we enjoy sharing them.  Take good care and have a great day!!  CJ