Denver and Beyond! Again! Pg 2

(This is Page 2 of our RV adventure. Page 1 is here.)

September, 2016

Day 8, Labor Day, September 5, Greenwood Village, CO to Scottsdale, NE via I-25, E-470, I-76, SR52, SR14, SR71: 220 miles

The time had come to bid Allen and Nancy farewell and to continue our loop of the western states. I was unable to sleep after 0500 so got up early to enjoy the day. I tended to the morning chores at once as I had plenty more to do to hit the road. We all visited for a while in the living room as we often do as we begin our day at their place. Allen and Nancy would be leaving to the airport about 1300 to catch a flight to Salt Lake City. We wanted to head out at 0900 and give them a chance to pack, etc.

After our pleasant visit, I headed to the coach to get ready for the drive to Scottsbluff, NE. I unplugged the electric cord from the house and raised the jacks, etc. Allen helped me carry all the stuff back to the coach that found its way into the house during our visit.

We bid Allen and Nancy goodbye with lots of thanks for a lovely stay. We pulled out of their driveway at 0900 and headed for Nebraska. The drive through the Denver area on that Labor Day morning was uncrowded and unusual.

Before long we were out of the metropolis and on two lane state highways, my favorite driving. We were delighted, well… I was delighted to look out onto the vast prairie as we passed miles and miles of grasslands and crops. Lavonne tolerated the drive, and it certainly was more pleasant for her than crowded freeways!

2016-9-5d along Colorado SR76The Colorado plains, empty, beautiful, and chock full of great stories of hardy pioneers, I’m sure. This appears to be a long abandoned homestead; imagine the stories it could tell!

2016-9-5h leaving Pawnee GrasslandsWe drove through the Pawnee National Grasslands ’til we crossed the state line into Nebraska. Note the ever present Black-eyed Susans flowering along the roadside. They seemed to be all over the prairies.

We really enjoyed the many Black-eyed Susans along the prairie. Here’s more about the lil’ beauties: More info.

2016-9-5i Welcome to Beautiful NebraskaWelcome to Nebraska… and it certainly appeared to be the good life!

2016-9-5m BBQ  chicken lunch aboard Dale's Diner. Thanks AllenWe stopped at a welcome area in Kimball, the first small town after we entered Nebraska. We whipped up brunch there, and I had some of that great barbequed chicken that Allen sent home with me. It was delicious! Thanks, Allen.  

These photos of the Nebraska prairie (above) and the many formations we saw (below) are individually captioned. Just click on any to see all in full size and to read the captions.

The formations in Nebraska are just incredible. I read that they are formed by wind over sand dunes and are mostly covered with vegetation. However they were formed, they sure are eye-catching. More info here.

We arrived at Scottsbluff a bit before 1430. It was warm and although we tried to open windows to keep the coach cooled off, I finally fired up the generator and air to make it comfortable. I took my daily walk through the store where it was cool and found it to be very busy. I guess the holiday was shopping day for many folks.

We whiled away the afternoon and evening on the computers, Lavonne mostly on her Scrabble site while I edited photos and wrote this travelogue. I managed to use up the last of my 3 gigs of free space on this WordPress blog. I’ve been at this for years, and can’t complain. I purchased the Premium Plan with 10 more gigs of space, and figured that should last a lifetime. The price is just $99 per year, and I count it as money well spent considering the hours of enjoyment I find writing about our travels and reading past adventures. We also added 2 gigs of data to our AT&T cell phone plan to cover all our web browsing while we travel. I do upload a lot of photos!

2016-9-6a-morning-at-scottsbluff-neCecil the Diesel on a cloudy morning in Scottsbluff, Nebraska.

We spent the evening as usual; Lavonne online with her game sites, my blogging and watching the final episode of the documentary The Century: America’s Time. I then dug out the movie The Green Mile which I found in a Walmart bargain bin recently. I watched it ’til I fell asleep on the couch and woke up to go to bed. Again.

Day 9, Tuesday, September  6, Scottsbluff, NE to Gillette, WY via US26, I-25, SR59: 241 miles

We were up and about a bit after 0600 and awoke to a very wet morning. It rained during the night but we missed it! We usually hear the rain on the coach roof and enjoy the gentle sound.

We took our sweet time getting back on the road because we planned to drive to Gillette, WY – just 240 miles away. We were, again, back on the computers burning up the data gigs. We spent a couple of hours or so before we decided to get ourselves going. Finally, we continued on our adventure about 1030.

The day’s drive was very pleasant. We drove through Wyoming grassland virtually all day long and again enjoyed the wide open spaces and very light traffic that is usual for these two lane and occasionally four lane rural highways. Most of the drive was through rolling hills of grass, some green and some baked brown.

Click on any of the photos below for larger photos and my travel commentary on each one. Don’t miss out!

We noticed that we paralleled a major railway during our drive. My gosh! The hundreds, if not thousands of rail cars we saw were endless. We saw many coal trains, both empty and loaded, crossing Wyoming. It seems that rail is a major contributor to Wyoming’s economy.

The cattle were fairly abundant too, although not as much as we saw in Nebraska where cattle trucks were very common. We also saw oil wells along our drive, but few enough of them to think they were a sideline for the big ranches.

We drove over 100 miles on Wyoming’s Highway 59, as remote a highway as one might find anywhere. We turned onto it in Douglas, Wyoming and we drove it clear to Gillette. One stretch of 75 miles had only the small hamlet known as Bill, that had only a small store and post office. There was not even a gas station! We were entertained along the drive by the sight of a herd of bison and several pronghorn antelope. They were nearly all so far off in the grasslands that I couldn’t photograph them but I did get one shot.

We were blessed with a strong tail wind much of the drive. On occasion it would be a cross wind to fight against, but overall a very welcome wind. The drive is quieter with a tail wind as there is much less wind noise against the coach’s broad front. And it helps our fuel mileage as well.

2016-9-6h-wyoming-beautyThe highways and the grasslands seemed endless in Wyoming.

More photos:

2016-9-6q-widest-load-everOn Wyoming’s Highway 51 we pulled over for the widest wide load I’ve ever encountered. All northbound vehicles had to pull to the shoulder to let this behemoth by. It was a large dump body for a monster mine dump truck.

2016-9-6s-coach-washWhen we arrived at Gillette around 1530 we came upon a car wash with huge bays that would accommodate Cecil the Diesel and she needed a wash badly after the rains. I pulled in, was able to slide my credit card to avoid finding a hundred quarters, and got to work. In under an hour I had her looking pretty clean. The wind was howling, so by simply driving a few miles she was blow dried.

Our next stop was at a Loaf ‘n Jug station in Gillette where we filled up with fuel at $2.40 per. I pumped on 70 gallons and was pretty pleased with the price.

We pulled into  Gillette’s Walmart and decided to do a bit of shopping first thing. The place was huge as most seemed to be on this trip. We found everything we needed and returned to the coach having paid our “rent” for the night. Mr. Sam was pretty smart when it came to RVers and his open lot policy for us.

We drove to the other, quieter, side of the lot and faced the coach into the unceasing wind. I dropped the jacks and we were set for the night. As usual, we had dinner in the coach, but I was hankering for fried eggs having not had any the entire trip. We were parked very near a Perkins restaurant and I felt a pancake and egg breakfast coming on.

Our evening passed as usual. I spent too much time on editing photos because I shot way too many. I have such an itchy trigger finger and I should think twice before grabbing the camera! But the many photos remind me of the events of the day and that’s a good thing for an old geezer with little memory.

Before bed I watched more of the movie The Green Mile which I’ve seen so often that I can almost quote the lines. But I still enjoyed watching it. I also enjoyed a couple cool ones with the movie ’til almost 2300 when I awoke and went to bed. Some things never change.

Day 10, Wednesday, Gillette, WY to Laurel, MT via I-90: 251 miles

We awoke around 0615 to a breezy morning after a good night’s sleep. The notion of an eggs and pancake breakfast lingered, so after chores and a bit of ‘puter time, we strolled through the wind to the nearby Perkins restaurant for breakfast. It was a nice place, fairly quiet, and we were well served. I ordered the ‘cakes and eggs to satisfy my egg craving and the meal was excellent.

2016-9-7a-gillette-wy-walmartLavonne back at the coach after breakfast at Perkins. She was apparently  joyous and enthusiastic about the day’s drive!

2016-9-7b-gillette-wy-walmart-cool-muralGillette’s Walmart had this very cool mural up front for all to see. I’ve never seen such a mural at a Walmart before and it looked great.

We returned to the coach and made ready for the day’s drive. The wind continued and got worse as we headed down I-90 toward Montana. ln the small town of Buffalo, Wyoming I checked Google and found it to be blowing there at 27 MPH, and likely gusting higher. We both hate the wind as does every RVer and trucker, I would think. But we kept at it and in time the wind died down to a tolerable level.

Click on this montage of photos to see them larger – and don’t miss the captions !

2016-9-7l-rv-dump-near-sheridan-wySomewhere around Sheridan, WY we came across a rest area/welcome center that had a RV dump. I pulled in and found the dump to be clean, modern and empty! I pulled up to it like I owned the place and relieved Cecil the Diesel although she wasn’t anywhere near needing to be dumped. But it’s hard to resist free, and we wouldn’t have to find a dump for several days.

After dumping the tanks and adding fresh water, I pulled into an adjacent parking area and we enjoyed a raspberry muffin we couldn’t resist at Perkins restaurant. They displayed their baked goods in a way that could only be described as calorie porn and we had to have one.

As our drive progressed, the wind continued, varying from breezy to very windy. It made driving more difficult as I fought the wind, but our new diesel is much heavier than our previous gas coaches and is more stable in the wind.

Click on the above photos for larger photos and captions.

Our plan was to drive to Bozeman, MT but when I searched the navigator for a closer Walmart I found one in Laurel – which didn’t show on the Google Maps I checked earlier. We decided to stop at Laurel for the night, a drive about 125 miles less than planned. It was a good decision. We arrived at Laurel a little past 1430 and found a good place to set up for the night. It was too near I-90 to be called real quiet, but it would do.

The first thing we did was to take our walk through the store for about a half hour. Back at the coach we began burning the data gigs as we both were online most of the evening. Lavonne noticed a hair salon in Walmart and decided to see if they had an opening for a wash and style and they said to come right in. That was a first! She was very pleased with the results and it was a bargain at just $15 plus tip.

2016-9-7t-jacks-down-at-laurel-mt-for-the-nightCecil the Diesel landed at Laurel, Montana for the night. It was a comparatively calm and very mild evening.

Our evening at Laurel was as usual. We had dinner in the coach, burned online data most of the evening and I watched a bit more of Green Mile. We would head to Missoula, MT in the morning, about a 325 mile drive and hours of enjoying the beauty of Montana. Life is good aboard Cecil the Diesel.

Day 11, Thursday, Sept. 8, Laurel, MT to Missoula, MT via I-90: 335 miles

We awoke to a cloudy and cool morning in Laurel. The wind was dead calm, though, and we appreciated that. The night was not so quiet due to the traffic on I-90, just a couple hundred yards from our coach. Even so, we slept pretty well aboard our traveling luxury apartment.

2016-9-8a-tending-the-bug-collectionI bundled up that cool Montana morning to tend to my bug collection. It’s always a good idea to be able to see the road when driving. Those huge windshields provide a great view of the world as we travel. 

Our travel began about 0840 after the usual morning chores and running into the store for a couple of items including a couple pastries that I should not have bought. Lavonne didn’t eat the glazed donut meant for her, so a while after eating my cream filled donut, I had hers for dessert. Life is good.

We spent the entire day on I-90 in Montana. The scenery was wonderful but similar to Wyoming, much of it was very dry after the long summer. Even so, when we drove through areas with plenty of irrigation, probably from the rivers along our route, farming and ranching was big business. Even in the dry fields cattle were often seen grazing. The poor things must have had to graze 50 miles a day to find enough.

Click on this tiled mosaic for some gorgeous views of Montana:

Around 1100 Lavonne was ready for breakfast so we pulled into the Mickey D’s in Livingston, Montana. I was dealing with the sleepies already, so I ordered, for the first time, a pumpkin spice latte. I’ve never ordered a latte! But I understood it was made of coffee and that’s what I needed along with a Reese’s McFlurry snack size for my caffeine/sugar jolt to wake up. Lavonne, ever the healthy eater, wanted french fries. It was a weird breakfast but it’s what we wanted and we continued down the road fat and happy.

It was flat calm as we began our drive, but the day would become the windiest yet of our trip. I fought the wind almost all day long, and almost as bad was the awful roar of wind across the broad front of the coach. It’s so loud in a 20 MPH headwind that it’s not comfortable to talk and the radio talk and music isn’t worth the effort. When we drive into a wind that strong at 60 MPH the wind against the coach is 80 MPH and often more in gusts. And it really hurts mileage. We usually get 11 MPG and according to our trip computer we got 9.4 that day. That’s a loss of 15%! By the time we were within 100 miles of Missoula we were both just sick of the noise and I was tired of fighting the steering wheel.

Click for larger photos and commentary:

Finally we reached Missoula and were out of the wind. We pulled into a gas station and filled up with fuel at $2.50 per. Walmart was right across the street and soon we were set for the night. It was very satisfying to be done with the wind-blown drive.

I took my daily walk in the huge Walmart store soon after we arrived. We could put two of our Walmarts at home into that one huge store, and we’ve seen several like that lately.

I headed back to do a bit of shopping when we decided we needed a few more things. We had dinner in the coach, as usual, then spent much of the evening on the ‘puters. We enjoyed the sound of rain on the coach for quite a while during the evening and all that rain was a real treat. We hadn’t had a good down pour this whole trip! I watched the end of The Green Mile, then dug out some Muhammad Ali DVDs given to me while visiting my sis earlier this trip. I enjoyed a couple of cool ones along with the TV watching, then went to bed around 2300. It had been a long day.

Day 12, Friday, Missoula, MT to Kennewick, WA via I-90, US395: 339 miles

We awoke around 0600 to a cool 43° morning and cloudy skies. I turned up the heaters and went back to bed while things warmed a bit. It was refreshing to experience a taste of wintry weather which we haven’t seen since springtime. Change is good!

2016-9-8n-missoula-wmartCecil the Diesel at Missoula, Montana’s Walmart.

We were in no hurry  to hit the road as we would gain an hour this day when we crossed into Idaho and our home time zone. We lollygagged through the morning online while enjoying our morning coffee.

The first thing I checked after the morning chores was to see if AT&T had added our five gigabytes for the coming month, always to arrive on the 9th of each month. And they did; our monthly allotment had just been freshly deposited for us and we wouldn’t be buying any more this trip! The three gigs we bought so far at $15 per were penalty enough.

We also walked into Walmart and bought some fruit and a couple other items. When we finally got around to leaving, it was a bit after 0900. We had over 330 miles to drive to Kennewick, WA.

2016-9-9bOur drive was through some tinder dry lands. This is just after we headed out of Missoula. The area was beautiful as is most of Montana, but the brown grass, not so much.

2016-9-9cThe Clark Fork River which we crossed probably a dozen times as it meandered along I-90 through the valley. 

2016-9-9d-rest-areaDale’s Diner, er… Cecil the Diesel at the rest area along I-90 where we stopped for breakfast. It was a gorgeous area, but the cell phone coverage was hopeless.

About an hour into our drive we stopped at a beautiful, wooded rest area for breakfast at a – you know! – yet another Dale’s Diner out there in the middle of nowhere in Montana! We had some instant oatmeal from a recent shopping trip, and had bought a second small jar of peanut butter as the first had been gone for a couple of days. I enjoyed oatmeal with peaches and a couple slices of toast with peanut butter and honey. mmmmmm. When we returned home I would have to crawl back onto the diet wagon.

2016-9-9f-both-direction-truck-scaleHere is a Montana truck scale that can weigh trucks in both directions from one scale house. Trucks exit and re-enter in the left lanes which is a bit of a drawback, but what an idea! I don’t think I’ve ever seen this arrangement before.

2016-9-9h-welcome-to-idahoWelcome to Idaho! This is near the top of Lookout Pass at 4700 feet. 

2016-9-9j-traveling-gillespiesVery near the state line (above) is a turn off for a history of the area. Here the Travelin’ Gillespies pose after the long climb to Lookout Pass. 

The drive included some of the driest landscape we’d seen yet. Some of the drive along I-90 was irrigated while much looked as would be expected after a long summer. Then on US395 from Ritzville, WA to almost Kennewick it was mostly tinder dry and some areas were burned away. It was not so pretty but the drive was pleasant.

Click on the photos!

We arrived at the Kennewick Walmart a little before 1630. After finding our spot and setting up for the night we took our walk in the store. It was a busy Friday afternoon and we had to dodge customers on our walk. We bought a half pint of ice cream. Back at the coach I zapped a frozen dinner while Lavonne called her share of the ice cream dinner.

We whiled away the evening as usual, burning up those expensive AT&T gigabytes on the ‘puters. I watched more Muhammad Ali videos and enjoyed a couple cool vodka tonics. We both retired by 2300 and slept well.

Day 13, Saturday, Kennewick, WA to Al and Betty’s in Keizer, OR via US395, I-82, I-84, I-205, I-5: 253 miles

2016-9-10a-kennewick-wa-walmartMorning at the Kennewick, WA Walmart.

We were up and about at 0600 and our immediate goal was to leave early and beat the wind that is so prevalent through the Columbia Gorge. I’ve driven that long, beautiful drive at least twice in the past and dealt with a terrific headwind.

Click on any circle to see ’em all:

We pulled out of the Walmart lot at 0730, our earliest departure yet. The drive was long and even though beautiful, very tiring. Much of the drive was very dry, and ugly too, but the gorge was, as always, beautiful.

The good news was that the gorge was flat calm! We had no wind to speak of as it was an unusually calm day. We stopped at the little berg of Rufus, right on the gorge, for breakfast. We simply pulled to the side of a road in town and whipped up breakfast in the coach.

We dealt with heavy traffic once we turned off the gorge and headed south toward Al and Betty’s. We had several miles of bumper to bumper traffic that was no fun. Al later told us it was likely due to a college football game in the area. 

Click on any photo to see and read ’em all:

2016-9-10k-mt-hoodDuring much of the drive along the gorge, Mt. Hood dominated the landscape.

We finally made our way to Keizer and Al and Betty’s lovely home, arriving a bit before 1500. The first thing I had to do was to remove the big “Winnebago” mud flap that hangs near the rear of the coach. The first time I was at Al’s with Cecil the Diesel, my maiden voyage with her, I backed into the steep driveway and, because of the steep driveway, part of the frame ripped a couple of chain links from the flap hangers and pulled the whole flap off. This trip I would take the time to remove it and then replace it before we left. I asked Al and Betty to buy a new house with a flat driveway before my next visit, but I’m not going to hold  my breath for that one.

2016-4-1b Journey rear view.jpgThe big “Winnebago” flap that I had to remove is shown above in this file photo. It’s dirty and heavy and no fun to manhandle.

Soon after our arrival and a few minutes visiting, we all climbed into their car and headed to our favorite restaurant in the area, McGrath’s Fish House in Salem. I don’t do fish, but they have great coconut prawns, and I always order ’em when we’re there. We all had great meals and a wonderful time together feasting.

Back at the house, Betty scooped up ice cream for us all. She broke Oreo cookies over the ice cream and it proved to be a wonderful touch. I’ll remember that trick! After dessert the gals played dominoes while Al and I retired to the living room and watched the UFC 203 preliminary fights for a couple of hours.

2016-9-11a-at-alsCecil the Diesel backed into the driveway of Al and Betty’s lovely home.

Around 2000 Lavonne and I headed back to the coach for the night. I edited photos and took a shower, then poured a couple of cool ones and watched more Muhammad Ali documentary. Lavonne played her word games and did her usual evening things. We were in bed by 2300; it had been a long and eventful day. We slept well.

Day 14, Sunday, 9-11-16, Keizer OR to Yreka, CA via I-5: 290 miles

We slept very well in the quiet driveway of Al and Betty’s home. The night was mild and we didn’t need to run the heater that morning. We busied ourselves with chores and prepared for the second-to-last day of travel on our Western States Loop. I watered Al and Betty’s flower bed with grey water to be sure we had enough room in the grey tank for the rest of the trip, then added fresh water as well so as not to run out in the middle of a shower during the last evening of our trip!

2016-9-11b-groupThe Old Folks (Dale [L], Al, Betty, and Lavonne) over coffee the morning of Day 14 before we continued our adventure. 

A bit before 0800 we walked to the house and visited with Al and Betty over coffee before continuing our drive. Al joined me outside as I re-attached the fancy mud flap on the back of the coach. We went back inside after the work and continued our visit ’til almost 0900 when we bid Al and Betty good-bye and thanked them for the lovely visit. We then boarded the coach and continued south.

I had checked diesel prices online that morning before leaving and found that the best price was in Salem and that prices just got higher as one headed south – especially in Kalifornistan. I programmed the navigator to a station in Salem and pumped on nearly 60 gallons at $2.46 per to fill the tank. I wouldn’t likely see a similar price again any time soon.

Oregon was both dry and green, thanks to the millions of evergreens and some irrigated farmland. Click on any photo:

We continued south through the dry Oregon countryside, kept somewhat green by the many evergreens and some irrigated fields. It was not the Oregon I was used to seeing, but then it was near the end of a long summer.

We stopped at a rest area when we decided it was time for breakfast. I made some PBJ toast for breakfast and had an apple for dessert. Lavonne had some yogurt. Cheap is both delicious and good for us! We continued south.

For the first time in recent memory I got a bad case of sleepiness and didn’t want to find a Mickey D’s for my usual caffeine and sugar jolt; I simply wanted to sleep. I pulled into a rest area, walked back to the bedroom and plopped onto the bed. 40 minutes later I woke up and found that the chief chef at Dale’s Diner had brewed coffee and my travel mug was full and ready to go. We hit the road again and I was good the rest of the day!

We climbed the Siskiyou Pass just before entering Kalifornistan. They make a pretty big issue of its steep climb and descent – and for good reason! It is steep and long in both directions. Click the photos!

We drove across the state line into Kalifornistan, and I did so with the usual mixed emotions. I’d be home the next day, but it was difficult to return to a place so overrun with people and cars and crime and stupid politicians after driving all those miles through sparsely populated farm country for days and days. But I had no choice; Kalifornistan is where the home is even if not the heart. We continued on. Dear Lavonne was not so disheartened as home is near where the kids are, too.

We soon arrived at Yreka’s Walmart lot and settled in for the last night of our Western States Loop. My morning weather check advised that Yreka would be windy and smoky. It was. The place smelled of smoke the whole afternoon and it was in the high 80s. There must have been a wildfire burning somewhere near. We ran the air conditioner much of the afternoon and evening which filtered the air and we managed to keep the smoke out of the coach. We shopped for a few items we knew we’d need when we got home because I didn’t want to have to go shopping right away.

2016-9-11k-dinner-at-dalesI bought a big ol’ rotisserie chicken for dinner. Lavonne settled for a homemade sandwich. Mine was an excellent pig-out before getting back home and back on the diet!

We spent the evening on the ‘puters as usual. I edited photos and added to this blog. This would be our last night on the road and, as much as we enjoyed the trip, it would be good to arrive home the next day.

After my computer time I enjoyed a couple cool ones, watched the rest of the Muhammad Ali DVDs and remembered what a fan of Ali I was back in the day.

We were in bed a bit earlier than usual, around 2230. We wanted to get an early start on the final day’s drive to HOME!

Day 15, Monday, Yreka, CA to home via I-5: 319 miles

We were up early for the big day, and worked through our chores so we could get an early start. We pulled out of Yreka’s Walmart lot at 0630 and continued our drive south on I-5. It was cool and clear, a perfect morning to drive home. I was surprised how cool it was, down into the 40s. I turned on the headlights as we began the drive, the first time I’d had to the entire trip.

2016-9-12a-early-morning-dashPardon my vanity as I post this photo of the dash lit up for an early morning drive; I happen to think it looks very cool!

Our drive would take us through the southern Cascade range along miles of curvy mountain highway, across Lake Shasta and down into the San Joaquin Valley, the very route that long ago I hauled lumber from mountain sawmills to the Los Angeles area. It is a very pleasant and scenic drive.

2016-9-12b-mt-shastaPardon the rather poor shot of Mt. Shasta in the distance. My usual shot of Mt. Shasta is taken above Yreka, but this trip the smoke made a decent shot impossible.

2016-9-12c-low-lake-shastaLake Shasta was down significantly, but probably no worse than other years in September.

Click on either circle to view the parched foothills and valley near Redding, CA and throughout the valley:

Back in the San Joaquin Valley the scenery was one of parched fields after a long, hot summer – just as it appears every year about this time, I suppose. And the traffic! I was already longing to drive the lonesome byways of Colorado, Nebraska and other places far behind us.

2016-9-12e-rice-harvest-prepThe rice was ready for harvest along the thousands of acres we saw in the valley. Here double sets of hoppers await the harvest. A bank-0ut wagon will take the rice from the harvester to the hoppers and then it heads for the dryers and rice mills. I hauled my share of rice back in my truckin’ days. 

2016-9-12d-rice-paddiesThe Yolo Bypass is a flood control area near Sacramento. Rice is grown here during the summer and this crop seems about ready for harvest. More information.

 The drive through the San Joaquin Valley was not a pretty drive. It seemed barren – ’til we drove by the thousands and thousands of acres of rice ready for harvest and a reminder of how prosperous our big, parched valley really is.

2016-9-12f-crossing-the-sac-river-above-sacramentoCrossing the Sacramento River near Sacramento. The river flows from Lake Shasta. 

2016-9-12g-drive-along-parched-i-5-nearing-stocktonThe parched landscape below Sacramento on I-5 en route to Stockton was just ugly. And wind blown. Hurry rain!!

We stopped twice during our drive home, once for breakfast at a Mickey D’s where I ordered two of their irresistible sausage, egg and cheese McMuffins; after all, they were on special at two for $4! Who could resist such a bargain?! Lavonne had a bacon and cheese biscuit. We enjoyed our last breakfast of the trip aboard the coach, then continued toward home. We stopped again to remedy a severe case of the sleepies that was likely brought about by the big breakfast. I stopped at another Mickey D’s for a Reese’s McFlurry and large coffee. That sugar and caffeine combination never fails to jolt me wide awake – and I was fine all the way home.

We pulled into our lovely, little senior gated community at 1320 and were delighted to be home after two weeks and a day on the road. And then the work began! We unloaded all the clothing, groceries, etc. that accompanied us on our trip. It’s hard work for old folks, but we got through it and were done after an hour or so. I still had to dump the holding tanks and wash the front cap of the gazillion bugs we’d accumulated – but that would wait ’til the following morning. We were plumb tuckered out!


Our Western States Loop covered 3686 miles. The seemingly very accurate trip computer built into the coach reported our overall mileage at 10.6 MPG. That was a bit less than the 11.0 that I expect, so I’ll blame the windy conditions we drove through in Montana for the somewhat disappointing fuel mileage. Much of our drive was through the Sierras, the Rockies, the Cascades and probably other mountain ranges; that might explain the mileage. I can at least round out the mileage to 11 MPG!

2016-9-7a-gillette-wy-walmart                                           It was a grand tour!

The coach performed flawlessly. I am very pleased with the improved ride of the air suspension and the quietness of the rear mounted Cummins. The wind noise when driving in windy conditions is a bit of a disappointment but I suppose all Class A coaches with the aerodynamics of a brick have that same noise.

…and next I’ll plan another adventure aboard Cecil the Diesel!

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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