To Oregon With the New Diesel

Thursday, March 31, 2016, Day 1, home to Yreka, CA via I-5: 317 miles

Having arrived home in mid-February from my last highway adventure, I hadn’t hit the road in about six weeks and I was overdue for some road time. This trip would be the shakedown trip aboard the new diesel.

I was delighted at the ride and the performance of our new-to-us big ol’ Winnebago Journey 32! On good roads the ride was so plush and quiet that I was amazed. It was all I had hoped for. On the rougher roads, which is much of Kalifornistan, the ride was still much improved over the harsh jolts of the steel springs that gas rigs usually have. The coach pulled up some lesser grades without shifting down, and when it did shift it was pleasant and powerful. The torque of that Cummins diesel is really something. And best of all, I averaged 11 MPG for the trip – 11.5 up to Red Bluff before the mountain driving. The big diesel generator, which I used briefly that first evening to run the air conditioner for a short while, was so quiet one hardly knew it was running. I was very pleased.2016-3-31a Sac River above Sacramento

Crossing the Sacramento River above Sacramento.

Of course there were new things to learn and fix, mainly the fresh water valve that leaked like a sieve. Under the coach there is a spout where the fresh water drains when the tank is emptied. The valve leaks and since the prior day when I filled it for the trip, it leaked perhaps 20 gallons – maybe more. Before leaving that first morning, I topped it off and figured I’d just add water when I got to my Oregon destination. But during the day’s drive I thought that perhaps a piece of rubber tightened around that spout with a radiator clamp just might stop the leak. At the Walmart in Yreka, my destination that first night, I bought a bicycle tube, cut the piece I needed, and blocked off that spout. And it worked! When I got home I’d have to fix the leak for keeps, but for this trip it would leak no more. I hoped.2016-3-31c Mtns above ReddingThe mountains above Redding were beautiful as always.

2016-3-31d Shasta Lake much higherIt was good to see Lake Shasta so full and gorgeous.

The drive was pleasant, the day sunny and bright, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I was very pleased to see Shasta Lake waaay up compared to my last drive through the area, and also to see Mt. Shasta loaded with snow. We surely needed a wet winter and while the drought still lingers, we’re a lot better off than we were.2016-3-31e snow packed Mt. ShastaMt. Shasta was beautifully packed with snow. Note the bulges of snow in the center that perhaps were from avalanches. 

I pulled into the Yreka Walmart at 1815. It was later than I would have liked, but I got right after the few chores, including fixing that water leak. I showered for the first time and learned that I definitely need to get another shower head. But the shower was larger than the other coach and the bathroom was gigantic compared to Big Blue’s two tiny closets that made up its bathroom.

After the chores and the shower I zapped a frozen dinner. The fancy microwave turned off every minute, exactly, and I couldn’t figure out why. I looked online and still found no reason. I’ll have to dig deeper or maybe have it fixed. The comparatively gigantic, four door fridge was a nice improvement, but it seemed pretty loud and seemed to run constantly. I think it may just be a fan and I’ll have to dig into that, too.

I spent the evening and night,  too, getting acquainted with the new toy. The water pump was very loud and needed attention, too. In time I’ll have all the little issues fixed – this is how RVs really are; it’s always something because there are so many systems aboard. It’s a house and it’s a bus and there is a lot of stuff in one package!

I poured a couple of cocktails, turned on the TV and DVD player, set back into the couch and fell asleep ’til about midnight when I got up and went to bed. Life is good.

Friday, April Fools Day, Day 2, Yreka to Keizer, Oregon via I-5: 288 miles

I had a good first night aboard. I had used all the facilities and everything seemed fine except for a growing list of things to do. I expected to find things that needed fixed or adjusted and I wasn’t disappointed.

I set the heater at about 65° and it kept me comfy through the night. I was up a bit before 0600 and worked through the usual morning chores.2016-4-1ab Yreka Walmart morningThe new (to us) diesel at rest at the Yreka Walmart before I headed out.

I took my sweet time getting out of Yreka for some reason. I took my morning walk around the store as I did a bit of shopping. It was 0930 by the time I left, then I stopped at Mickey D’s for a cup of coffee.

The beautiful drive through Oregon’s endless green was very pleasant. I love Oregon and would still love to live there, but Wifey has delayed my wish for so many years that we’re probably too old to go through the hassle of a move now.2016-4-1b Oregon the BeautifulOregon welcomed me on a perfectly beautiful day.

2016-4-1d Beautiful OregonDropping down the Siskiyous into the Medford area. Gorgeous!

The drive was pleasant, to be sure, but it was a long one as I didn’t stop even to eat. Well… I gobbled a breakfast sandwich in about ten minutes, but I didn’t have a real meal the whole drive. I wanted to get to Al’s where I’d be treated to a wonderful dinner at McGrath’s Fish House, a favorite of mine and also one of Al and Betty’s favorites.

But first things first; Al had carved a wonderful salmon for me that I had commissioned, and he included a portrait of me as well, that I did not commission, and they turned out incredible! He reproduced it from a photo on this website and also included the actual photo on the plaque base. He really outdid himself on this project and I was delighted! He also included a real unveiling of it all.

2016-4-1df Al about to unveil my salmonAl prepares to unveil my salmon carving…

2016-4-1e Al presents my salmon carvingI was just stunned by his artwork; he is a true master of his craft.

2016-4-1f my salmon carvingThe salmon was just beautiful. The plaque at the bottom shows the photo that inspired this creation. Note closely the detail, hand carved, of hundreds of if not thousands of scales that made the fish really come to life!

2016-4-1i my portrait…and the wood burned portrait of Tom Selleck – er… well, he was having fun with my claim to look like Tom Selleck; the little notation reads “You may be thinking this is Tom Selleck, it’s really my oldest buddy, Dale Gillespie.”

This is the photo from September, 2012 that inspired the carving and the portrait. 

Al isn’t a hobbyist when it comes to art. He mastered in art at college many years ago, and taught art in public schools his whole working life. He is a very talented fella. 

After the grand presentation of the salmon carving and portrait that I’ll always cherish, we headed to McGrath’s for a wonderful dinner. I ordered a huge plate of coconut shrimp, and for the first time in my life, I think, I had leftovers to take home. How strange for me. But the long drive and not eating much of anything all day had me on the ropes and not feeling too well. After the wonderful dinner I felt a lot better and realized I’d better take time to stop and eat properly when I’m traveling – not that forgetting to eat has ever been a problem of mine!

We returned home after dinner, then Al and I set out to deliver some carvings to the local senior center for a show we’d be working that weekend. However, when we got there it was closed. We’d have to bring ’em with us in the morning before the show got under way.

2016-4-1j2 at Al's in OregonThe coach at rest at Al and Betty’s for the weekend. 

When we returned home, I bid them a good night and headed to the coach. I spent a lot of time on this blog, editing photos, etc. I watched a bit of TV, relaxed with a couple of cool cocktails, and was in my cozy bed around 2300.

Saturday, Day 3, jacks down at Al and Betty’s in Keizer, OR.

I slept well and was awake and getting after the morning’s chores a bit after 0600. I even gave the coach a lick and a promise with the vacuum cleaner. Al wanted to head to the senior center and set up for the show early, so we pulled out a bit after 0800. Both of us drove, taking their van and Ford Escape, both loaded with Al’s display case and artwork. 

2016-4-2a Al, Dale carving showAl and I at his booth at the carving show. My beautiful salmon and handsome portrait sit center stage, and the salmon was the star of his show. There were about 20 or so different display tables with many carvers showing their craft. 

After setting up as shown in the photo, we kicked back and spent most of the day with me watching Al as he talked to folks who stopped by to see his work. He certainly attracted a lot of attention with his many pieces. We had plenty of time to visit during the day, too, and that was very pleasant. The show lasted ’til 1600 when we left the whole display there at the center and drove home.

Back home, Betty greeted us with margaritas and we all sat back and visited ’til dinner. She whipped up some kind of Mexican dish similar to goulash, but with a decidedly Mexican flavor. She topped it with Fritos and it made for a very good meal. We continued visiting ’til around 1900 when I bid them goodnight and headed to the coach for the evening.

I spent time on the blog, editing the one photo of the day’s events, and visiting online sites I missed in the morning. I spent the rest of the evening as I usually do, watching a DVD movie, Oh Brother Where Art Thou, enjoyed a couple of cold ones, then hit the sack around 2300. It had been a good day.

Sunday, Day 4, another day at rest at Al and Betty’s.

I had a good night aboard Cecil the Diesel, the name Al gave me for the new coach. It’s got a good ring to it, and I adopted it with thanks to Al.

It seemed to be a cooler night, in the mid 40s I read, but the heater kept me comfy. I was up a bit after 0530 and got going on the morning chores. Al and I had another day of presenting his fish carvings at the show, and we would arrive there around 0930. I took a morning walk in their nice neighborhood, then returned to help Al at the show.

I can’t call it work because I sat nearly all day watching the crowd milling around. Al was announced as the winner of the Vendors Award for his smallest, very colorful blue gill carving. It was not a contest, really, as Al doesn’t care to join contests, but the three or so vendors who sold carving wood and tools chose one piece of the hundreds presented as their favorite. I thought it was quite an honor for Al.2016-4-3a Al's Vendors award winnerAl’s little bluegill that won the Vendors Award of all the many carvings at the show.2016-4-3b carving showView of some of the many carvers and their show tables at the Fifty+  Center for seniors in Keizer. 

2016-4-3 ChickadeeAl presented this little Chickadee on a cup (The cup is carved from wood, too.) to me after the show closed. I loved the little Chickadee from the first time I saw the piece some months ago, and I guess Al felt benevolent. This is the fifth piece in my collection of Al’s work and I’m mighty proud of them all.

After the show, Al and I packed all the pieces back into boxes and moved them back to the cars. As we were leaving, a fella came up and told Al that we had missed an item. Really?! We went back and, lo and behold, we forgot my magnificent salmon!  I was downright embarrassed and figured I’d lose my job over such forgetfulness, but Al forgot it, too, and I guess that’s why I wasn’t fired. We loaded my salmon and headed for home.

At home, Betty had brought in Chinese food for dinner, and we sat right down for a big meal and a good visit. After dinner we watched a bit of TV together. Naturally, the Final Four women’s game was on, and we enjoyed an after dinner cup of coffee together. After half an hour I bid them goodnight, then headed to the coach. We were all pretty whipped from the long day and it was time to rest.

I began updating this blog and editing the few photos. I tried watching more movie on the TV but the HDMI cable had been damaged and would keep shutting off. After a few tries to get it working right, I gave up and watched a documentary online for almost an hour as I enjoyed a couple good Tom Collins and called it a day. I was in bed a bit after 2230 and slept very well.

Monday, Day 5, Keizer, OR to Anderson, CA via I-5: 394 miles

I enjoyed the sound of rain on the coach during the evening and overnight. At one point the pounding rain woke me up and I just smiled and went back to sleep; I love to sleep in the coach when it’s raining.

2016-4-4b farewell photo

Our morning photo before heading for home. It had been a lovely visit but it was time to climb aboard Cecil the Diesel and head south. That’s spoiled Tommy in Betty’s arms. He’s quite a pooch and pleasant to be around. 

I was up sometime after 0600 and began my day which would take me to Yreka, or perhaps to Anderson if I felt up to it. I worked around the coach quite awhile, trying to solve a water mystery as in… where did all the water go? I added fresh two days before but the indicator showed empty that morning. It turned out that I added very little water, and used it all. I added water again, watching the indicator read 2/3 full before I turned it off. That would get me through the day and home the next. I checked the fix at the freshwater discharge thinking it had leaked again, but it was just fine. I went into the house when I knew Al and Betty were up and around. I had coffee with them and enjoyed a short visit. I prepared the coach for the trip home, converting my new and luxurious home into a grand highway cruiser that rides so much better than the gas rigs. Around 1030 I bid them goodbye, and headed for home.2016-4-4e a dark and stormy driveIt was a dark and stormy… drive. By Roseburg the rain was behind me.

2016-4-4d grass capital of the world

The Willamette Valley is “The Grass Seed Capital of the World”, at least according to them. Grass grew everywhere and many growers advertised what type of grass seed they were growing. 

The drive was rainy and wet much of the time ’til somewhere around Roseburg. At times the rain really came down in sheets, and it was wonderful! I wish we would get that rain at home but it’s been dry the past week or so.2016-4-4f beautiful OregonBeautiful, beautiful Oregon! I love the place and wished we lived there.

I stopped in Central Point, just north of Medford, and filled up with fuel to avoid the higher Kalifornistan price. Fuel was $2.20 in Medford and it was $2.34 per in Weed.

Weed? Yep. I drove on past Yreka to Anderson, another 110 miles or so, because I felt up to it. Also, it was to be mid 30s in Yreka overnight while Anderson was to be in the 50s. And I’d be home sooner the next day to unload and perhaps beat some of the predicted heat. It was to be in the 80s at home the next three days. Ugh.2016-4-4 coach at Shasta 72dpi

I stopped at the Mt. Shasta view area and took several photos of snow-laden Mt. Shasta. It was a beautiful sight and rated two photos! And what a gorgeous coach, too!

While parked at Anderson’s Walmart lot, I went into the store and bought a new HDMI cable. And there was a Panda Express very near where I parked, so I had Chinese for dinner twice in two nights. Life is good.2016-4-4i Anderson WalmartJacks down at Anderson’s Walmart store for the night. It was good to land and rest for the night.

After that good Panda dinner, I showered and settled in for the night. I spent a couple hours editing photos and writing this blog, naturally. I dug out The Godfather movie and watched it for about half an hour while enjoying a couple of Tom Collins. I climbed into my cozy bed about 2230 and slept well.

Tuesday, Day 6, Anderson to home via I-5: 211 miles

After a comfortable and restful night, I greeted the last day of my Oregon adventure at 0530. The morning was breezy but sunny, and at least it was a north wind which would push Cecil the Diesel towards home and save a bit of fuel. I whiled away an hour or so on my usual websites, then dug out the stepladder and bucket and began washing the very dirty windshields. At 0745 I pulled out of the Walmart lot and headed for home.

The breeze turned into a serious wind, creating dusty conditions along my drive. It did help the mileage and according to the computer I got almost 13 MPG. I hoped the little computer was accurate, and the next time I fueled up I would get my own numbers to figure the mileage.

I stopped at Mickey D’s in Williams for breakfast. I got two sausage, egg and cheese McMuffins and a large coffee to go, and continued my drive. mmmm. My dietary sins would have to stop when I got home because I’d been just awful the past few days.

2016-4-5a near Red BluffApproaching Red Bluff, my home back in the early 70s.

2016-4-5b SactoDriving through Sacramento and nearing home.

The trip down I-5 was unremarkable other than the ceaseless wind. I arrived home at 1145, and after a big, warm hug from dear Wifey, and a few minutes chatting, I got to work unloading the coach. It’s a big job for an old man after driving a few hours, but I got it done. After unloading I dumped the holding tanks. Then, due to my vanity, I just had to wash my new toy. She was so dirty from the rainy drive in Oregon that I just couldn’t put her away. I dug out the bucket and wash brush and washed her very well. And she looked great when I backed her into her barn. I was dog tired but very pleased.

The Oregon Adventure was a lot of fun, and I  really enjoyed my time with Al and Betty. I was real pleased to have the maiden run aboard the new diesel go so well. Yes, I accumulated quite a list of small things that need to be fixed such as the radio, the water pump, the fridge, and a few other items. But the new toy was everything I hoped for! I was very pleased with the smooth ride, the quiet interior, the powerful Cummins performance, and the economy at over 12 MPG. And I am looking forward with great anticipation to my next trip!

About FishWisher

Over the years I have posted many exciting fishing and boating stories here, but now in my seventies, it was time to sell the boat and find less demanding pastimes. All the fishing stories are still here! I will now post my travels aboard the motorhome and other activities. I hope y'all will still enjoy the fishing and boating adventures and perhaps peek in on my post-boating activities on occasion. Thanks for dropping in and I hope you enjoy your visit.
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