Thursday, August 19, 2010

From Gilroy, the Garlic Capital

We rolled into our space at the Gilroy Garlic USA RV Park at 5:35 pm after 10 hours of driving. Nail biting, downright frightening driving. For the first 4.5 hours. You see, we made a rookie RVers mistake. We took a 40' RV on what is called a 'black' road about 10 miles out of Benbow. My friend Peggy said they never drive a black road, only red and gold. Black roads are not to be trusted as worthy roads for hunkin' big RVs. Okay, she was right. In my desire to see Fort Bragg and Mendocino, which are perched right on the rugged CA coast, we took Hwy. 1 from Leggitt. Check any map and it appears to be the shortest route to those towns. But, it is a 'black' road, the thinnest of black roads. Needless to say, if I am writing this, then you are assured that we survived it.

So here's what it was like for over 22 miles: avg speed 15 mph; width of road - bare minimum, absolutely NO shoulder, white lines on the side adjoined steep cliffs or giant redwood tree trunks; linearity of road - nary a straight line the whole way; curves? mostly hairpin. Ascent and descent? treacherously steep; Traffic? Logging trucks tearing up and down the road. Bicyclists here and there. NO ONE IN THEIR RIGHT MIND would want to EVER drive this road again, not for money and certainly not to save time. It took almost 3 hours to drive 40 miles.

Once we hit sea level, we saw awesome camping spots and lots of campers and I knew we were out of the woods, even though the road was still narrow. I thought. Many miles later, I wondered about the mental stability of those campers with their big rigs. You see, we encountered more curves and shoulderless roads as we made our way through Mendocino and back to the 101 by Cloverdale. In my opinion, the road less traveled should stay that way! And Fort Bragg and Mendocino didn't even measure up to my expectations! Poor Big Mac accquired a few new scratches from this adventure, meeting a guardrail on a curve that was too close for comfort. Just a scratch, but darn!

Upon rejoining the 101, we had to find a place to stop for lunch so Jerry could rest after that grueling drive. No rest areas so we found space in a Costco parking lot where we could R and R. Then, on to San Fran and the Golden Gate! As grand as that remarkable structure is, one needs to be able to SEE it to enjoy it. What you see in the photo is the best we got. It was still quite foggy even though it was 4 pm and the sun was shining somewhere in the world!

It took us another hour and a half to wade through the SF traffic and pull in to the Garlic Capital. Yes, we could smell a whole lot of garlic goin' on. That's what we expect when we drive through Gilroy.

So, friends, this ends this blog probably. Tomorrow, we go home. I want to drive on and on, but duty calls and we must return to reality and leave our dreamy two weeks behind, to exist mostly as a memory. It was a great vacation. Thanks to the excellent good nature and driving skills of my husband, Jerry, and the equally good natured and generous little sister of mine, Leslie. The trip was a rousing success. I can't wait to get on the road again. I have gained more than a good time. I have learned that if Jerry can drive Hwy 1 from Leggitt to Fort Bragg and then back to the 101 in Cloverdale, then he can also walk on water!

Happy trails to you all, and may we meet again........ (Dale Evans and Roy Rogers!)
Bonnie Jerry Leslie Lucy

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Garberville CA - Benbow RV and Golf Resort

Internet is impossibly awful the past two days, so this report will be uploaded when I can get a decent signal. Okay, it is now Thursday 1:14 pm and I have just gotten a connection. Geez, such a time we have had today. Will explain later. Now for the last two days...

Tuesday evening:

We stayed at the Honey Bear Campground near Gold Beach, owned and operated by a German couple who have developed a loyal clientele, mostly due to their evening Bavarian dinners and entertainment. Cabbage rolls, chicken, potato pancakes, etc. enjoyed over a class of wine, followed by the harmonica stylings of Mr. Honey Bear (don't know his name). He obviously enjoys entertaining, but could have tossed out a few of his ‘blue’ jokes. The food was good. We haven't eaten out all that often on this trip. The coach refrigerator is still loaded with frozen meat and other goodies. Just haven't eaten it all up. I can easily say I 'overplanned' the amount of food we would consume. Had to throw out some perishables because we never got around to eating them and they went bad.

The refrigerator is not functioning all that well. We will be replacing the ice maker and checking into the internal fan - it doesn't seem to be working all that well. Otherwise, and except for the wacky satellite dish that only connects once in a while, everything else seems to be working fine.

Wednesday evening:

We're back in CA at a nice campground along the East Branch of the South Fork of the Eel River (which we have crossed NUMEROUS times in the past several days) and I'm missing the beauty and rusticity of the Oregon coast already. We crossed the border about noon today, bid adieu to our last Fred Meyer in Brookings, OR. Once in CA, driving through the magnificent redwood forests was an opportunity to experience the 'forest primeval'... tallest trees I have ever seen, their uppermost regions obscured by deep, swirling fog. Amazing! Beautiful! Stunning!

This has been quite an adventure, driving the 101 along the Oregon and upper CA coast. Narrow curvy roads with no shoulder, just feet away from road edge, cliffs plunging hundreds of yards straight down into the raging waters of the Pacific, so many rivers emptying their precious cargo into the ocean, low tides and high tides surrounding promontories reminiscent of Morro Rock, trees like long sticks covered with boughs of green needles. Priceless. I am sad it is all behind us now, but I am looking forward to visiting Fort Bragg and Mendocino tomorroq. Probably our last experience with rugged coastlines.

I loved all the towns along the Oregon coast, not a big box store in sight from Astoria except for the wonderful Fred Meyer; all small businesses, dependent on logging, fishing, farming, driftwood designs and tourism. We saw herds of grazing dairy cows here and there too, unusual for these eyes as we see mostly angus and hereford and brahma in our part of the country.

One interesting sight we came upon was cranberry fields! They were empty, the harvest gone by, but it was interesting to see the structure of the fields. We've all seen those commercials on TV about cranberries from New Hampshire or wherever; I had always wondered how they were grown.

We stopped at a Myrtlewood factory store in Port Orford Tuesday, where we learned more about this unique wood, found only on the Oregon and CA coast. They showed us how they make the wooden bowls and other artifacts. Interesting, and here I was looking for 'Made in China' to be imprinted in all the items sold in the store! Not so, they were made in the back room!

Once we leave Mendocino, we will be on the homestretch and the territory we cover will be familiar. We should be home in Santa Ynez by Friday, our wonderful trek concluded.

Happy trails to all,
Bonnie Jerry Leslie Lucy

Monday, August 16, 2010

Astoria/Warrenton on the Oregon Coast

Off to the Oregon Coast via Hwy 97 from Crooked River...
After traversing the short bendy road from the CR RV Park back to the 97, we settled in for a long drive to Astoria, expectations for a beautiful drive were high. And I can tell you, our expectations were actualized!! The 97 wound its way north in a gentle and well maintained road north, Mt Hood always beckoning to us from the NW quadrant. We drove through fields and fields of bright golden wheat. Saw lots of grazing horses... it would seem that paints and pintos are popular in this area, as there were many. Several very small bedraggled 'towns' along the way gave way to signs of the mighty Columbia River ahead... the surprise in store for us was the fields of wind machines cresting the hills above the river. This state has more water than it knows what to do with and now they are harnessing the wind in a major way. Good for them!

Once the 97 merged with I-84, we ran almost the entire way to Portland skimming the banks of the mighty river. Bidding adieu to Mt. Hood and its majesticly high terminus, we became enthralled with the rivers and lakes and numerous piney state parks along the road to Astoria. We bypassed Portland and made our way west from the I-5, once again back on local style two lane roads. We crossed bridges, passed through tiny little hamlets, regretting we had missed this fruit stand and that antique store. We had a goal to make it to Astoria before Jerry dropped of exhaustion, so no stops along the way. Besides, where do you park a 40' monster on a narrow two lane road??

Backing up, there are photos of our lunch stop and doggy potty stop at Ft. Myers State Park, some miles west of The Dalles. That was just a bit scary as we turned off the interstate, thinking we were going to a rest stop. Nope, we were going to a campground with one land road and no turning around. Whew, there was a boat launch area with a parking lot and turn around area. Whew, our first tight spot turned out okay. We turned around, ate lunch, took Lucy for a walk and then squeezed our way through the narrow road and back on to the interstate. A happy moment, free again! We had another scary moment this morning upon leaving the KOA in Warrenton/Astoria. More about that later. It did produce an undesirable result, but all is pretty much okay.

I can easily say that the drive down the Oregon coast from Astoria to Newport was stunning, beautiful, slow going (averaged 35 mph probably, due to construction, very narrow road, and numerous numerous bends in the road), and as picturesque as one could hope for.

Going back to the Astoria area and the KOA. We just couldn't wander around Astoria. It was late, cold, foggy and the roads would not have been kind to Big Mac. No Goonies house for us to visit. Sorry, H.

The KOA was a big plus. It had everything you could want in a campground and more. I have posted more photos on my gallery. Please be aware that most photos were taken through the front window of the RV, and some through the side window, which had a screen. I have uploaded all the photos taken since we left Crooked River and if I remember tomorrow, I will explain several of them. Otherwise, just enjoy... the camera's eye could not see what my eye saw, but it came close.

It's taking to long to load the rest of the photos. I'll do so tomorrow.

It is late and I'm so tired. I think I will close here and discuss today's drive more tomorrow. G'Nite.

Bonnie Jerry Leslie Lucy

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Crooked River, OR

With apologies to our Cornhusker friend, Sr. Villa, several days have passed since my last blog and they were busy ones! I have no photos from our days at the FMCA convention because I was way too busy attending seminars, visiting the vendors, talking to the vendors and buying stuff from them. Up to the moment we drove away from the Deschutes County Fair/Expo grounds, we were buying stuff for the RV. Six humongous tires were installed in the last hours, in our space, while we sat in the coach. How's that for convenience? They came right to the door. I think Les Schwab Tire Centers and all the other service vendors did very very well this week as there were over 1800 coaches there seeking information and repairs.

Just as the tires were done, the mobile screen guy drove by. Cute, loquacious and eager to please, he measured two of our western facing windows for screens and then helped us install the drop down awning screen we bought an hour earlier. The sun bore down on us unmercifully from the west every afternoon and we realized we needed more protection from the sun on that side.

On a last pass through the Beef Building (there was also the Swine bldg, Dairy bldg and more such named bldgs), I succumbed to one of the few remaining desires I had - I bought two folding 6-speed bikes on sale from Camping World. How fun! We now have transportation inside the campgrounds and about town. All I have to do is remember how to ride a bike! I actually think Jerry will get a kick out of riding one. But I told him he will have to change shoes and hats, cuz cowboys don't ride bikes!

We found other 'treasures' to purchase, all mostly necessary items for the RV. Yeah, sure. What a shopping trip! Haven't been that nuts since the time I went on a cruise with my sister and on the way home stopped at a Lexus dealer and bought a car! That was not an impulse really, I had been studying them. And the opportunity just seemed to present itself. Nuff said. Now, and especially now after this week, I'm back to being really really broke!!

I can't end this discussion of our stay at the FMCA convention without mentioning a few other important points. One, we met some really nice people! Thanks, Peggy, for the intros! Two, we learned a whole lot about this traveling apartment! Three, FMCA signed the Texas Tenors for a show on Thursday nite and it was wonderful! Their harmony and voices are amazing. I watched them progress through America's Got Talent and was sad they lost, but the ventriloquist they lost to was an outstanding talent. Piers the Negative said the TT's music was too cheesy, and maybe it is a bit, but we love to hear it. They sang opera, country, patriotic and Sinatra songs. Beautiful!

Sooo glad we went. So sad we blew so much $$. But you got to remember, there is NO SALES TAX in Oregon! Where else you gonna spend your kids' inheritance?

We departed the showgrounds about noon thirty for our 'resting spot', Crooked River RV Resort, nestled in a deep little valley surrounded by cliffs reminiscent of a small Grand Canyon. I took some photos finally, of us, Big Mac and the Big Crooked River cliffs and THE RIVER. Beautiful. To view, go to my gallery:

Tomorrow we head north to the Columbia River and west to Astoria. More on our adventure manana. Should be another beautiful trek through nature's wonderland.

Bonnie Jerry Leslie Lucy

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Day of Rest in Redmond

We had a leisurely morning, waking up about 7:30 am. It was cool out, nice. No rain though. Darn. Leslie and I decided to hit two of the local quilt shops, one in Terrebone and the other in Redmond. Both owners were transplants from CA - one from Escondido and the other from Santa Cruz. They really love the peace and beauty of Oregon. Can't blame them. You won't see the beautiful and careful urban planning of Santa Barbara, but you will see those majestic mountain tops and rushing riverlets. I asked how they account for no sales tax and the gal from Santa Cruz said they get you in their income and property taxes. She felt it was a wash economically. She also told us the local economy is highly dependent on tourism and that logging has suffered with the downfall of the housing market. The mill has closed and people have moved out of the area. Sad for them all. They handle the tourist market pretty well though, as they are all super friendly and nice.

After we left the quilt shops we went to the Fred Meyer store, a Target on steroids maybe. I thought the prices there were higher than what we see in CA, but the discounts they have if you have their Rewards Card are pretty good. I signed up for one as I can get diesel fuel with 3 cents off per gallon. When you fill the tank to 80 or more gallons, that is a good thing!

When we got back to the coach, we had a quick bite and ran off to the First Timers seminar. They went over the program and explained how it all works. I am finally making sense of the programs they are offering, and looking forward to sitting in on them.

We declined to go to the volunteer dinner and Debbie Reynolds show. Sorry, Heather, but I needed some time to review the program and I just wanted to do nothing. We did run out to Applebees for dinner. Gotta use that rental car, make it worthwhile.

Tomorrow is a busy day, lots of seminars. We'll be tired. I'll report on all tomorrow. For today, I'll be signing off. But first, a composite of my baby girl and the Sisters...

Monday, August 9, 2010

Redmond and the FMCA Rally

Plans were to meet Peggy and Vernon down the street at 11:30 at the Fred Meyer and refuel. Surprisingly enough, we timed it so well we were behind them in the fuel lane. Oregon does not allow you to fill your own tanks, so we had a most polite young man fuel us up. Don't be too shocked, but we have put over $300 of diesel fuel in the coach since we left. We had a half full tank today, but we wanted to take advantage of the lower price. Also, when we leave Redmond to go to Astoria, there aren't any big truck stops along the way. By the way, maneuvering Big Mac through a shopping center parking lot full of cars can be a challenge. We made it out with flying colors - Good job, Mr. Barber!

While we refueled, Leslie drove the rental car over to the fresh fruit stand and picked up some just picked marionberries (a relative of ollalieberries) and a bag of cherries. Those cherries are sweet and meaty. Absolutely delicious!!

We then proceeded to Redmond, caravaning with the Bullocks. Once inside the showgrounds, we were guided to our spots. Not bad - they are at the end of the line of coaches with no one on one side. Nice, because we have some separation from other coaches and a view to boot, even though part of the view is a low slung warehouse.

We settled in and then were invited to share dinner with several of Peggy and Vernon's friends, who have primo spaces right next to the seminar buildings. Peggy made an apple crisp which we baked in our oven since her coach doesn't have one. Leslie and I made what turned out to be a hit - chicken salad on a triscuit with a slim slice of cheddar and topped with a chunk of tomato. Everyone loved it. I thought it tasted great too.

As we ate and chatted, a chill wind began to blow and the sky clouded over. Some thought we might get some rain and maybe a thundershower. Several hours later, the wind has subsided and no showers yet. I really want to experience the raindrops falling on my head... do you know that song from so long ago? Here's hoping.

Tomorrow we will attend a 'First Timers' Seminar in the early afternoon. Debbie Reynolds will be here in the evening showcasing a movie on her life. Not sure if we will go, but sounds good. There is a volunteers dinner at 5:30 which we will go to. We are volunteering to serve ice cream on Friday with the Full Timers club. Thinking I might sample it a lot, especially if it warms up!

So that's about it for today. Oops, lest I forget entirely, here is a photo of the two Maltese pups who were next to us in Bend. Already I can't remember their names! They were soooo cute, friendly and huggable. I hugged them both with lots of love. They liked it too. I was so tempted to steal them! Didn't.

Cheers from Redmond, OR....
Bonnie Jerry Leslie Lucy

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Sisters went to Sisters...

Leslie drove, dragged Jerry along with us, and off we went in the rental car to Sisters, OR., home of the biggest outdoor quilt show in the states. I couldn't be this close and not go there. I also wanted to see where the RV parks are in case we went to the show, which is always the second Saturday in July. I can tell you this, the town is a Western themed boutique, kind of like Solvang but smaller and cuter. On Sunday, the traffic is dense. U.S. 20 routes people right through town. Don't go on a Sunday!

I loved the fabrics and quilts in the Stitchin' Post in Sisters, but my favorite shop was a brand new one in Bend called Quiltworks on Greenwood St. No website for them yet, but the shop has great fabrics and design ideas and the gals in there are really really nice. If you're in Bend, check it out. Within maybe three miles of each other, there are three quilt shops in Bend, and a new super JoAnn's opening up. This town does fabric!!

In addition to devoting the day to quilting, we ventured a bit north and east over to Redmond to seek out our Aug. 15 accommodation at Crooked River RV Resort and to see where the Deschutes Co. Fair grounds is, where we will camp for the next 6 days. And yes, I used the word 'camp'. We will be boondocking, drycamping, hoofing it! - no water or sewer service or cable or wi fi. We will be parked with over 2000 motorhomes in a parking lot!! Okay, confession. We will have 'some' electricity - 30 amps, which will maybe run a few house electric items at a time. Fingers crossed the weather holds in the 80s.

We've been battling with our worthless on-board self-seeking DirecTV satellite dish. It worked in French Camp and hasn't found a satellite connection since. We've had cable but won't in Redmond. We'll be too busy anyway. We do have some great DVDs if we want to watch a movie at night.

This is beautiful country, Bend and Sisters. I can see why people love this state. I can even see me living in it, if my family would all come. Good roads, no sales tax, unparalleled scenery from your front doorstep, inexpensive properties on huge plots of land. Nice.

Redmond is a bit more like the high desert in CA, think Palmdale with pine trees. Crooked River, 12 miles north of Redmond, wants to look a bit like the Grand Canyon. Huge vertical bluffs colored in reds and browns dipping down into a river... probably a crooked river, dontcha think?

If I had time, I'd inform you all of the history of these very interesting places. Maybe you would like to Google them and see what its all about yourself. But I have to go. The washer is finishing up and I have to check it out. This roughing it is so burdensome. Where are the maids when I so desperately need them??????????

Over and out,
Bonnie Jerry Leslie Lucy

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Bend, OR

We left Klamath Falls about 9:30 am, after a more leisurely rising this morning. Within 10 minutes or so, we were riding alongside Upper Klamath Lake. It is so huge it looked like we were on the Rincon on 101. For those not familiar, I will interpret: it looked like the Pacific Ocean with the three islands peering out of the mist. The drive was not as white-knuckle as I had been warned. It is quite spectacular to see so much water when you come from southern CA. Most of the drive to Bend was through pine forests, obvious logging areas. We could see groves of newish trees along the road, reseeded by logging companies some years ago. Log cabin shanties appeared here and there, scarce in this stretch of the road. I wondered who would live in the middle of nowhere, surrounded only by blue sky and tall pines. Ha, nirvana for many. A bit too isolated for me. But unquestionably beautiful!

Signs along the road indicated 'chain zones' where cars could pull over to put on chains in winter. Most side roads were dirt and gravel. No signals on cell phones. Just us and a whole lot of 18-wheelers chugging up and down the long sloping road. The roads are in outstanding shape, interesting considering snow falls here and often roads are degraded because of rough winter storms. Our passage was quiet, Big Mac's rear diesel engine purring softly along the way. I could wish all our travel to be that wonderful, calm and peaceful. I am loving this.

Bend was just 130 miles from Klamath Falls, so we got there around noon, and then embarked on a search for the Budget Rent A Car office, where we had reserved a small car to toodle around in. After much frustration, we found it and were rewarded with an upgrade to a huge Mercury Grand Marquis. Then off to our new home for two days at the Scandia RV Park, just a mile away. Lo and behold, we find that our space is a bit unusual. We're parked alongside the office, the last spot available it seems, even though I made the reservation in June. It turned out okay really. We have a nice private little lawn area and two very very cute Maltese puppies as neighbors. When they come out for their walk tomorrow, I will grab a photo of them. They look just like Lucy. She growled at them, but was otherwise non-aggressive.

After getting settled in our 'space', friends Peggy and Vernon Bullock joined us here at the park and we went for Chinese food. They are staying about 20 miles out of town and we will park with them on Monday at the FMCA rally in Redmond, some 18 mi north of Bend. It was good to see them, it's been over two years since I have seen them at a CAWEE conference. We were both high school teachers prior to retirement. Peggy and Vernon are 'full timers' in their RV, having abandoned home ownership to travel the states. They are the inspiration for my sudden urge to buy an RV and travel. It's all their fault!!

I must defer a moment to reflect on my sister Susan and her family's yearlong European sabbatical in a VW camper van almost 40 years ago. I can say this: how did they do it with 2 adults and 2 children in such a cramped space??? and in Spain and Morocco and Turkey and Austria and France and more. Now, that is a grand adventure. I am sitting here in a luxury motorhome with a washer and dryer and wi fi and cable/satellite tv, queen size bed, two sofas, a 4-door refrigerator, oven and microwave. What a long way we have come!! Kudos to the Lordis for their adventuresome spirit. I wish I could have done that with my children. Sorry 'bout that, M H and P. It's never too late though. Missing you, by the way.

Here is Jerry and Lucy, enjoying a beautiful evening, nice and cool. Actually getting quite cool. Time to go in soon.

Another view of our 'space' next to the office. We have our own private little garden, complete with pretty flowers. We are parked parallel to the interior road of the RV park, but it isn't at all bad, all things considered.

Well, blogger is NOT letting me post the other photo. So frustrating. I'll get it in there one way or another, but for now, aloha.

Bonnie Jerry Leslie and Lucy

Friday, August 6, 2010

Klamath Falls, OR or bust...

Nope, not busted, just cringing from massive mosquito attacks. I haven't been surrounded by so many mosquitos since I left Indiana in 1970! We're cowering inside Big Mac, windows closed, A/C on. Nuff of that though. I have to tell you about our trip here from French Camp. We left at precisely 8:45 am and decided to try US 99, since we were so close. Road was full of 18-wheelers and pretty rough so we decided we should go back to I-5 and continue north on it. Good idea. Better road, actually less crowded.

We saw thousands of acres of rice fields, walnuts (or some kind of nut) and a whole lot of olive trees. Add in grazing cattle and enormous alfalfa and oat and wheat fields and you will be aware of the landscape. As we passed through Redding, we could see the promise of what was to come - foothills California style, golden brown speckled with green sagebrush. But... throw in what looked like pine trees and we're getting closer. Closer to the Mount! Shasta that is. Before we knew it, we were surrounded by green pine, and a brush with some white knuckle co-piloting. The co-pilot would be me. And the white knuckles would be mine. I didn't even take photos of Shasta Lake, a beautiful, enormous body of water... why? cuz the curvy downhill uphill road left me kinda nervous. My poor husband had to listen to me all the way. SLOW DOWN!!! DONT PASS SO CLOSE!!! YOU'RE TOO FAR TO THE RIGHT!!!

Finally, I calmed down and looked up and saw this HUGE TRIANGULAR SNOW COVERED SHAPE looming before me, tucked between other less significant ranges. Of course, it was Mt. Shasta herself. Wow. Beautiful. I did take photos. I'll share some here, but you really have to see it to appreciate it. The photos, taken through the front window of the RV, have a tint to them and of course, aren't too sharp. You'll have to remember that DH had the petal to the metal. We were moving on.

We proceeded down several 6% grades, white knuckle all the way, going through Shasta City, Dunsmuir, Weed, etc. until we hit the Butte Valley floor - a stunning high desert landscape filled with fields of wheat and some lucky bovines who got to live alongside.

As we neared the Oregon border, we passed the CA Inspection Station in Dorris, where all cars must stop and relinquish all plant materials. We'll have to eat up all the produce we brought with us from CA when we reenter on our return trip. How would we prove it was 'Made in Santa Ynez'? We thought of labeling all the tomatoes and nectarines, but forgot the label maker, so no go on that. LOL. Just kiddin'.

Anyway, Dorris looked like an old gold mining town nearing extinction. Not quite like Bodie, as 1000 people still live there, but you get the picture. Very interesting. It was nice to go through towns instead of roaring by them on the interstate. Local color and all.

As we approached Klamath Falls, we could see canals full of water on both sides of the road. Water for all the farmers to access. We expect to drive around (read ON THE EDGE) of Klamath Lake tomorrow morning when we head for our destination in Bend. Talk about white knuckle. My good friend Peggy suggested I close my eyes through that portion! Oh no!!!!! Deep breath.

Here's a few photos from the past two days... they don't do justice to the places we drove through, but they suffice as a memory or two.

See ya tomorrow.
Bonnie Jerry Leslie Lucy

Thursday, August 5, 2010

French Camp near Manteca

Here we are, one year since my last post. A long time. A lot has transpired since then. One biggie - we have ventured forth on our first RV trip. We're going to Disn.. oops, REDMOND. Oregon. For a FMCA Convention and then after that, heading north to the Columbia River, due west to Astoria on the Oregon coast, and south on the 101 - homebound.

So, today we started out at 8:39 am - precisely. Getting out of the driveway is the most difficult part of our journey. This 40 footer just gets by our fenceposts on the way in and out. Once we managed that, we headed out the 246 to the 154 and the 101. Turned east at Paso Robles to meet up with I-5 and head north. We made such great time that we changed our reservation from Santa Nella to French Camp, an interesting name, the history of which I must delve into.

What we have seen of our trip thus far are lots of tomato trucks, walnut trees, a feed lot with thousands of cattle and expected odiforous sensations, two closed rest areas, and finally an open one. We pulled up next to the 18-wheelers, and while those hard working fellas lumbered off to the rest rooms, we pulled out our delicious deli sandwiches, potato chips and dip, nice cold sodas and sat at the dining table with air conditioning blowing us into a comfort zone no one outside could have felt. 4 Diamond meal and ambiance. Oh, yeah!!!!!

As we approached Manteca, I noticed a wonderful building on the right. A Ghirardelli Chocolate factory, complete with demonstrations, cold ice cream and other delights I will never know of. You see, this behemoth we are driving, does not stop until it reaches its destination for the evening. Not many parking lots accommodate its length. When we get more experienced, we will fit it in to any place we want to go, but for now... we just don't.

It's late now, and I need to sleep. I will tell you one thing about our accommodations for the evening... French Camp RV Park. It is sandwiched between a dying golf course, and appropriately, a very large cemetery! It's not a bad place, couple shade trees. Not too crowded. It's okay. Give it 6/10 stars.

Photos later. Bed calling me. House Hunters is just ending... our DirecTV satellite dish worked after taking forever to lock in to the satellite. See... this is called 'roughing it' in the 21st century!

Bonnie and Jerry and Leslie and Lucy