On The Road to… Paducah !? Page 2

The adventure continues as I return home…

This is Page 2; Page 1 is here.

Day 10, Saturday, May 13, 2017, Paducah, KY to Macon, MO via I-24, I-57, IL54, IL3, I-255, I-64, I-70, US63: 351 miles

It was a very quiet and peaceful night in Paducah – it no doubt helped because I was in a remote part of the lot and didn’t deal with any traffic. I slept well, and was up and around at 0600.

I worked through the morning chores, and then posted the photos of the prior day for all the world to see. I didn’t dawdle much at the computer because I wanted to hit the road fairly early. I also had to sort out the bug collection on the windshields. After all these miles I hadn’t had to clean ‘em because of the rain and wind that keeps the little critters grounded. But half the prior day was warm and calm enough for them to take off and collide with my windshields. With decent weather I’d be tending the collection daily.

 Click for some of the day’s photos (To enlarge a photo within a series of photos, after clicking on a photo, you may scroll down a bit and click on “View full size” to enlarge it greatly. Click again for an even larger view.):

I enjoyed the rural drive, and before long I crossed the Missouri River into Illinois. The drive along IL54 was very much why I like to stay off the interstates. I drove for miles along that two lane stretch through small towns and big farms. I thoroughly enjoyed the drive. At one point I stopped at a small town Baptist church and parked for breakfast. It was the sort of neighborhood where I really should live. I took my sweet time over oatmeal while perusing the internet. It was very pleasant to pretend I was a part of that little town.

The day’s drive took me too close to the metropolis of St. Louis, MO for my liking. I drove several interstates as I passed below it as far as I could, and when I was well past the busyness and traffic of the big city, I was relieved. Eventually I drove in much less traffic and was back in rural Missouri.

More photos:

Somewhere before Columbia, MO I came across a station selling diesel for $2.25 per and I was due for a fill up. I was happy to pump on 72 gallons. They let me fill up my coffee water jugs with water, too.

I had planned to spend the night in Columbia, but I wanted to put a few more miles in before calling it a day. At Columbia I turned north onto US63 and headed to Macon, MO where I pulled into the Walmart store for the night. The Macon store was unusual in that it shared the lot with an independent grocery store. The Walmart didn’t carry groceries, but had soft drinks, liquor and the usual incidental items. I pulled in, having called earlier to be sure they allowed RVers to overnight. Once there I decided I wanted to park on the grocery store side of the lot, so checked with them to be sure it was Ok, and it was.

2017-5-13r MO along I-70A rustic old barn, and I just can’t resist shooting them.

2017-5-13t Macon, MO WalmartJacks down in the town that Ma Bell forgot, Macon, MO.

As I took my walk shortly after arriving, I grabbed my phone to set the timer for my walk. It was then I noticed the phone screen read “Off Network”.

I called home right away and discovered that the phone worked. Back at the coach I tried to get online and met only with frustration. The phone and the laptop showed good reception, but I wasn’t able to get online and stay online. I called AT&T but they were no help at all. I finally gave up and wrote the day’s travelogue on a Word document. I also edited photos of the day and was ready to post when I could get online.

AT&T really frustrated me, but I have to remember that this was the first time that this had happened in all the many days and thousands of miles I’ve RV’d. “Give me patience, Lord, and I want it NOW!”

During the evening I noticed the fridge was reading mid 50s, which was way too warm! uh-oh. I certainly did not want fridge problems on this trip – or any other issues for that matter. In the past I learned to run the stove which burns propane from the same tank as the fridge, and hopefully would move a bubble through the lines. At least I think that’s what it does. After firing up the stove for a bit, the fridge cooled down during the evening and stayed there. Voila! It worked. I was relieved. 

I spent the evening as usual; I mixed a couple cool ones, watched TV ’til I woke up on the couch about 2330 and went to bed. Life is good…

Day 11, Sunday, Macon, MO to Sioux City, IA via US36, I-29: 359 miles

I slept very well in the Macon, MO Walmart parking lot. The market I parked at closed and it was dead all night in the lot so far as I knew. I woke up about 0600 and fired up the heaters and went back to bed awhile. It wasn’t cold, but it was a cool morning.

The first order of business after chores was to get out of town as soon as I could to find a good AT&T data signal so I could get online. As I pulled out of town I checked my navigator for a Walmart along SR36. I found one about a hundred miles down the road in Cameron, MO. As soon as I pulled in I took my walk, then went into the store for some groceries.

Click to enlarge and to read:

I was very happy to get back online once I was back in the coach, and set about catching up with my posting. I also checked my favored websites, among them my Sunday morning comics.

Click ’em!

I also checked the Google Maps site, my bible for planning trips for each  day’s drive. I chose to drive to Sioux City, Iowa. Mainly, Sioux City was NORTH and I’d be driving north with the incessant wind at my back. That was reason enough. But I also had to choose the route home – should I go south and take the desert drive on I-40? Or I-70 through Denver? I-80 through Wyoming, Utah and Nevada as I’ve already done so many times? The preferred drive of just blasting through the country on US highways was proving to be too windy. I chose to go north on I-29 to Sioux Falls, SD then west on I-90 through South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana and to Washington, then south for home. I love I-90 through God’s country as it’s like a US highway since it’s so remote and lightly traveled. And also, I’d get to stop and see a couple old friends in Oregon.

After an hour and more I pulled back onto US36 west to I-29 and began my trek north. The difference in the wind was worth it alone! Instead of being shoved sideways by the infernal stuff, I was pushed along by a tailwind. The coach was quieter, easier to drive and I got better mileage.  I came up with a great plan! I hoped – it was a long way home yet!

The day’s drive was a pleasure. The rolling hills of Missouri were a real pleasure as was the farm country, also in Iowa. There is so much elbow room out there in God’s country. It’s where I should be and if we were younger…

Click ’em for larger photos and the captions:

Sioux City’s highway construction had my off ramp closed, along with several other exits. My navigator, bless its little heart, handled it all without a ruffle and brought me to my destination in good time.

When I pulled in to Walmart, it was very warm and also very busy. I found a reasonably quiet place to set up for the night, and turned on the generator and air conditioner right away. I ran it ’til the sun set behind the store. It kept me very cool and comfy.

Click ’em:

I spent the evening writing the day’s travelogue, editing photos, and doing the usual evening chores. Without this blog I don’t know what I’d do with myself during my hours at rest. I enjoy it, it keeps me busy, and in the years to come I’ll be able to relive this adventure in pretty good detail.

I watched more WWII documentary while enjoying a couple cool ones on the coach and nodding off. I finally gave up for the night and headed to bed around 2300.

Day 12, Monday, May 15, 2017, Sioux City, IA to Rapid City, SD via I-29, I-90: 430 miles

The day dawned cool and cloudy and I actually heard a few rain drops on the roof of the coach. The day’s drive would be a long but very enjoyable one as I would cross most of South Dakota. I love driving the scenic, solitary north route home and was looking forward to it.

After chores I headed inside the store to walk laps for 20 minutes and also to buy some ice. Then I moved the coach across the parking lot and parked next to the coin laundry to wait ’til 0800 for it to open. I had to get my laundry done as I was down to my last clean pair of socks!

2017-5-15a LaundromatNow, who would post a dumb photo of himself doing laundry?! That would be me, apparently. And this was posted for my loving Wifey to let her know that as I did my own laundry, I missed her even more than usual!

The coin-op opened a few minutes before 0800 and I was done a few minutes after 0900. The clothes were washed, dried, folded, and put away! I missed my loving Wifey more that day than usual!

I was done and ready to hit the road. While doing laundry the weather put on a pretty good show with lightning, rolling thunder and just enough rain to wet the streets. It was going to be a good day to drive – if the wind stayed down.

Be sure to click on any photo to enlarge them all and to read the story:

As I began my trek north to Sioux Falls and I-90 I drove right into an intolerable north wind that made the drive, and the mileage, miserable. And I was afraid I’d deal with the wind as a crosswind when I headed west on I-90.

I was still hankering for fried eggs, so at Sioux Falls I pulled into the first Denny’s I’d seen in days. I walked through rain to the restaurant and ordered chicken fried steak with hash browns and fried eggs. And pancakes. What was I thinking?! I enjoyed the feast and it satisfied the craving I’d had for days.

I was on I-90 heading west almost as soon as I pulled out of Denny’s. I was pleasantly surprised to find the wind I feared would be an intolerable crosswind was instead a wonderful tailwind. The ride was much quieter and the mileage improved greatly. And it stayed that way clear to Rapid City, SD! I had beat the wind by heading north, at least for that day.

The rolling hills and somewhat curvy I-90 created some great photo opps as I drove, and I shot many photos of just the highway flowing like a river through the hills of South Dakota.

Here are some of the best shots of the day, just click on any photo:

I didn’t stop for lunch all day as the late and large breakfast counted as both. I spent the whole day just enjoying the endless hills of South Dakota and the beauty of the place.

Here are more photos of the beautiful drive:

At one point during the drive, a pilot pickup truck with a tall mast to measure the height of the overpasses drove by me. That told me that a huge load was coming up behind me, and I grabbed my camera.

I had no idea what that monstrous load was, but here are the photos; click for larger photos and the captions (I learned later that the load was the base section of a large wind turbine. That is a Schnable trailer, a frameless trailer that permits the load to ride low as possible.):

Here is a video about the heavy hauling industry that covers much information about transporting the large components of a wind turbine, including the Schnable trailer:

It was almost 1730 when I pulled into the Walmart lot in Rapid City, SD. I had called earlier to be sure they’d permit me to spend the night, and I couldn’t get anything but the song and dance about the city’s no overnight parking ordinance. That usually means nothing; the city cops have bigger fish to fry and Walmart’s policy still usually allows RVers to park. So I drove on into the lot and asked the kid who was retrieving carts in the parking lot if he had seen RVs parked overnight. He said “Yes, all the time.” That was the answer I was looking for! And besides, we had stayed in that lot just a year earlier.

I still had to fuel up, so I drove about a mile to one of the lower prices in town according to the ‘net. I pumped on over 80 gallons at $2.50 per, and had a full tank that would get me through the next two days of driving.

Back at the lot I spent about an hour talking with the fellow RVer that parked next to me. He had a very cool “toad”, a Smart Car, and a very nice Mercedes based Class C coach. I had met him at the gas station where we both filled up with diesel at the same time. It turned out we had a lot in common and chatted on and on. Check out the photo of his very cool rig:

2017-5-15w jacks down Rapid City SDJacks down at the Walmart in Rapid City, SD for the night. Check out my neighbor’s very cool Mercedes based Class C and Smart Car “toad”.

My evening was a bit different in that after dinner I didn’t watch any TV and spent the entire evening updating this blog and editing photos. This blog takes almost as much time as the driving!

I called it a day around 2330 and climbed into bed for a good night’s sleep.

Day 13, Tuesday, Rapid City, SD to Billings, MT via I-90, US85, US212: 338 miles

Day #13 of my adventure dawned as one might expect from the 13th. After rolling out of bed I turned on the furnace but it didn’t work! Nothing. My batteries were so low that it wouldn’t fire, and when I tried to start the generator it wouldn’t turn over. Using the MOM switch (momentary) to have the chassis batteries jump the house batteries, the generator started. And from there all was well except that I had a battery issue. Again. I suspected a dead cell in one of the three batteries that power the house.

I proceeded through the morning chores, etc. and then checked the batteries and found no loose cables or low water. I’d have to deal with them later.

A little before 0900 I continued my adventure and would drive to Billings, MT. My route would take me up I-90 to US212 which was over 200 miles of some of the greenest, most beautiful country I’ve ever driven. I saw more pronghorn antelope than on any such stretch before. And I managed, for a change, to get some decent shots of them.

Click on any photo:

I began and ended the drive on I-90. US212 was simply a shortcut across a loop created by I-90. The photos will show some of the beauty of the area, but they will not do it justice. 

I stopped in the town of Spearfish, SD for a Mickey D’s sausage, egg and cheese McGriddle. And a large coffee. I took them to the coach, cut up an orange, and enjoyed a very good breakfast. I could eat a McGriddle every morning, but I dare not. And I continued the long drive through Big Sky Country.

More photos and story to click on:

The drive included South Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana but I missed shooting photos of the welcome signs, too engrossed in the beauty of the drive, I suppose.

Somewhere along US212 I must have driven through fresh cow manure dropped by cattle trucks that mixed with rain enough that I didn’t see it. But later, when I stopped and got out of the coach I saw the mess that had to be washed off ASAP. Besides looking so bad, Cecil the Diesel smelled like a barn. My first priority was the cow poop, the batteries I could deal with later.

More photos to enjoy (and much better if you click on ’em):

I stopped at a rest area before Billings and went online to find a wand car wash tall enough for the coach. I drove through Billings several miles to get to it. I washed the coach with particular emphasis on the mud flaps and wheel wells. When I was done I had gotten most of it and the aroma was gone. And I was pooped – that was my cardio for the day.

I then proceeded to Walmart, nine miles across town, and settled in for the night. It had been a long day and it was good to be done. I just hoped the batteries would see me through the night.

2017-5-16u jacks down Billings, MTJacks down for the night at Walmart in Billings, Montana.

When I finished the writing and the photo editing I kicked back to enjoy an hour or so of TV along with a couple cool ones. I made a point of running the generator during that time. When I went to bed I unplugged the TV and DVD player so even their small draw when off was also off. I didn’t set the furnace, either, hoping to keep the demand on the batteries to an absolute minimum with only my white sound machine drawing. And I slept just so-so that night, dealing with those abominable leg cramps now and then.

Day 14, Wednesday, Billings, MT to Missoula, MT via I-90: 352 miles

When I climbed out of bed around 0530 I was pleased to discover that the furnace fired up which it wouldn’t do the morning before due to what I believed was a bad house battery. And the batteries actually started the generator, too. I ran the generator as I worked through the morning chores, and all was well. I turned off the generator when I headed to the store and took my walk.

Back at the coach I found the Interstate Battery dealer in Billings and set the navigator to take me there. After updating the blog, I set off to get the battery issue fixed.

The shop was a distributor for Interstate Batteries and just a couple miles from Walmart. I was the only customer, and walked in to find one fella working the warehouse and asked if he sold batteries retail. Sure, he said and proved to be a very helpful, likable and knowledgeable guy. I loosened the first of three batteries while he grabbed his hi-tech tester. To make a short story shorter, he did all the lifting, most of the work, and then replaced the bad battery with a new one at no charge. Nada. Nuthin’. He didn’t even charge for the labor. My bad battery was an Interstate battery, less than one year old and under warranty.  I thanked them profusely and was one happy camper as I pulled out of town at just 0845 with the battery issue solved. That’s a key reason to buy Interstate batteries; they have country-wide warranty and service.

It’s good I had such a wonderful start as the day was not so pleasant as I continued west. The day began cloudy and windy but the wind blew in my favor. The further west I drove the more the weather seemed to deteriorate. By the time I got to, I think Bozeman, MT, the rain was turning to snow. I pulled into a Mickey D’s there and ordered a coffee and a couple oatmeal cookies for the sleepies. It worked, and I continued.

Click for the continued story and large photos:

I’ve driven this highway several times in the past, but of course I forgot about Homestake Pass a bit above 6000 feet, and I was heading straight for it. The snow got heavier as I drove, and eventually my windshield was covered in snow. Then I saw the sign! Chains Required. What?! I had no chains. What to do? I was on wet but clear pavement, yet trucks were pulled over putting on chains. And I passed trucks grinding their way up the pass with chains on bare pavement – it made no sense. I kept on truckin’.

Then came the big traffic jam as we approached the pass, snow was falling off and on, but not sticking. I was held up there for an hour and a half, wondering what the rest of my day held. Would I be spending the night at 6000 feet? Fortunately I had all the comforts of home with me, but that didn’t make the idea seem like a good one. Eventually I walked up to the fella in the car ahead of me and asked if he knew anything. He’d heard it was an accident but didn’t know for sure. I thanked him and went back to the coach to wait it out.

Click for the snow story:

Finally, we started moving. Not far, just a few feet, then wait. Repeat. Repeat. Finally we kept moving but only 20 MPH or less. Meanwhile trucks were stopped dead, blocking the right lane while putting on chains as a state trooper was directing. We drove on by the parked trucks and eventually into the slush and crud of the snowy pass.

2017-5-17n finally moving Finally moving over the summit of Homestake Pass.

I made it on over and gradually increased speed as I moved beyond the snowy roadway. In a few miles I was humming along at my usual 60 MPH in the ceaseless snow. It snowed for about 100 miles, none of it sticking to the roadway, and then it rained the last 50 miles or so to Missoula. What a day!

I pulled off the freeway in Missoula only to drive into another traffic jam where I saw cars stopped for three blocks. I worked my way through a shortcut with the help of my navigator, and finally pulled into Walmart around 1715.

Click on any photo for the full story:

I relaxed awhile and checked some ‘net sites as I waited for the traffic to lighten up. After nearly an hour or so I drove one block to a gas station and filled up with fuel. The best price I could find on the ‘net was $2.59 per. I’m afraid the cheap diesel is east of me and it will likely get more and more expensive as I get closer to Kalifornistan.

Back at the Walmart lot I settled in for the night. It was good to have confidence in my house batteries again. I whipped up a frozen dinner and began updating this travelogue and editing photos. One good thing I can say about the snow and the delay is that it gave me some dramatic photos and a less boring story. Hopefully.

I spent the evening reading Part 1 of this travelogue from the day I left home. I read just a few days, I think, then woke up and called it a day and it had been a long one. I hit the sack around 2300. I think.

Day 15, Thursday, Missoula, MT to Kennewick, WA via I-90, US395: 339 miles

I was up around 0500 to turn up the furnace and the water heater, then went back to bed while things warmed up. When I got up I worked through the morning chores as I wanted to take my walk as well as shop for some groceries that I needed. Then to the ‘puter to peruse my usual morning sites.

The prior day’s adventure up on Homestake Pass in Montana was on my mind as I checked weather and mountain pass information for the two Idaho passes that awaited me for the day’s drive. Lookout Pass and Fourth of July Pass were listed on the Idaho DOT’s website as clear and dry. Excellent! I hoped things wouldn’t change before I got there.

The day’s drive was without drama, just what I hoped for. I drove straight through stopping only for breakfast and lunch aboard the coach. And also dumping the tanks during my lunch break.

Photos always seem to tell the story best, so please click:

The drive took me south through beautiful Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, on to the busy-ness of Spokane, and south on US395 to Kennewick, WA where I pulled into the Walmart lot for the night. Those lovely, lonely drives through South Dakota, Montana, etc. are going to be just memories now, and the continuing drive through Washington and Oregon will see much more traffic. And the drive in Kalifornistan will be atrocious. I already dreaded it.

A few more photos to click on:

It was good to drop the jacks in the Kennewick Walmart lot and be “home” for the night. The weather was perfectly calm and mild. As the afternoon wore on I had to turn on the air conditioner for about an hour, if that.

I brought this blog up to date after editing too many photos. I don’t post half the photos I take. I’m just too trigger happy as I drive but it keeps the days and evenings more interesting. At least for me.

I wanted to get some housecleaning done since I had extra time on my hands. So I did a bit of vacuuming, spray washed the two small floors, and dusted. I was keeping things up to date. What was needed most was to get the coach washed. I looked for a truck wash or a tall enough stall with a wand to do it myself, but didn’t see one all day.

The evening was as usual with the TV, the couple cool ones and falling to sleep on the couch. My evenings seem to be the same whether at home or on the coach…

Day 16, Friday, Kennewick, WA to Keizer, OR via I-82, I-84, I-205, I-5: 254 miles

This would be the day I arrive at my friends, Al and Betty, in Keizer, which is cheek by jowl to Salem, OR. The area is all one big metropolitan area, really. I planned to spend the night at their lovely home – well, their lovely driveway, actually. I hadn’t seen them in a while and it would be good to see them again.

My morning was per usual, but it was hard to be relaxed. I had a lot of traffic to face this day, and it was likely I’d be back in Kalifornistan the next day. I planned to spend the last night of the trip at Yreka’s Walmart and the next stop would be home! And it’s time to be home. I sure missed my dear Lavonne.

I certainly didn’t relax much as I pulled out of Kennewick at 0715. I had Friday traffic to deal with as I drove very near Portland and south to Salem. The good news was my drive through the beautiful Columbia Gorge. It is one of the most scenic drives I’ve experienced.

I began the drive in the gorge about an hour or two into my drive. Once I crossed the Columbia River again, this time into Oregon, I was soon awe struck by the mammoth cliffs on either side and the wide Columbia River which was below. It was amazing to see the traffic moving down the gorge, both on the river in the form of towboats and barges and the freight trains that were visible across the river on the Washington side.  I’ll let the photos tell the story of the gorge a lot better than I could tell it…

…just click on any photo to see them all enlarged along with captions:

Once out of the gorge I dealt with Kalifornistan type traffic all the way to Al and Betty’s place in Keizer. It wasn’t a pleasant drive in light of the over 4000 miles I have driven in the past two weeks, mostly wide open highways with light traffic. But I still had the drive from Keizer to nearly Sacramento that would be somewhat rural.

I arrived at Al and Betty’s a few minutes after noon. When parking in Al’s steep driveway, I have to remove the big, heavy flap at the rear of the coach. I tackled that before Al knew I was there.  When he came outdoors and the flap was nearly off, I complimented him on his timing – the flap work was done! It’s a one man job, after all, and I was just teasing ol’ Al. Taking it off is the easy part. Putting it back on in the morning would be the challenge.

After a few minutes visiting with Al and Betty, Al drove us to McGrath’s Fish House in Salem which is our favorite because of its wonderful coconut prawns and clam chowder. Those two dishes are about as good as it gets, and we both ordered them. It was a grand meal and since Al and I go back over 50 years, to high school in the 50s to be precise, we have lots to talk about when we get together.

Back home at Al’s I dug out the movie Intolerable Cruelty and we watched it and visited ’til about 2100 when I gave up and returned to the coach. I caught up on my writing and photo editing, and tackled a few evening chores. And, as usual, I watched more WWII documentary and enjoyed a couple cool ones ’til I woke up on the couch and headed for bed around 2300. It had been a long day and I slept very well.

Day 17, Saturday, May 20, 2017, Keizer, OR to Winston, OR via I-5: 153 miles

I was up around 0530 and turned on the heaters and went back to bed for about 15 minutes. First thing on my mind was that I had to hook up that damn flap again! Ugh. But it wouldn’t ruin my day; I got started on morning chores.

When I finished the chores and headed outside to set up for the relatively short drive to Rich’s place in Winston, Al joined me and we chatted while I rolled up the heavy electric cord which had been plugged into the new 30 amp plug that Al and his step-son Marty put up for me. Then I joined Al and Betty in the house for some morning coffee and visiting. After a half an hour or so visit, the time had come to tackle that dirty, heavy flap. Al joined me for the job.

2016-4-1b-journey-rear-viewThe flap shown at the bottom with “Winnebago” written across it is the one that was removed to back into Al’s driveway. Left on, it gets pulled off as I ascend their steep driveway.

I pulled the coach out into the cul de sac where they live and then dragged the heavy flap to the right position to mount it. It was about a 20 minute job and not a complicated one, and Al helped me. When we were done, I bid Al and Betty and Tommy the Schnauzer good-bye, thanked them for the nice stay and headed south at 0845.2017-5-20ab leaving All'sThat’s Tom Selleck on the left with his good friends Betty and Al and Tommy the Pooch. I was just about to head for home after this photo was taken.

I stopped at a rest area about 20 miles south for breakfast and whipped up some oatmeal in the coach. With a cut up orange and a toaster waffle, it made for a pretty Ok breakfast. I continued on toward Winston.

The drive through that area of Oregon in springtime is just drop-dead gorgeous. Everything seemed to be in full bloom and it had been a pretty wet year. I took entirely too many photos, naturally, and I will post some of them here for all to see.

Click ’em to view and read the captions:

I arrived at Rich and Juanita’s lovely little ranchette in Winston around 1300. Rich helped me settle the coach in for the night. He has a space wired for 30 amps for RVs and I’ve spent nights there in the past. We visited most of the afternoon, and I picked his brain on a number of coach issues as he’s a mechanical whiz although he’d laugh if you told him so. He had some good suggestions for me regarding changes and improvements for the coach.

Sometime in the early afternoon we headed to McDonald’s for lunch, then returned to the chairs on the shady lawn in front of his home to chat some more. We go back a bunch of years when we used to fish together many times on the California Delta. (You’ll see a section titled “Fishin’ with FishTracker Rich” on the right column menu.) 

2017-5-20L Chinese with Juanita and RichA smiling, well fed group at Mar’s Garden Restaurant in Winston, Oregon as we feast on Chinese. That’s me, Juanita and Rich.

Around 1830 Juanita joined us as we headed to a local Chinese restaurant two blocks from their home and enjoyed very good dinners. We ordered peanut chicken, an old favorite of mine that I haven’t seen on Chinese menus for a long time.

2017-5-20M Parked at Rich's placeParked in the RV space at Rich and Juanita’s lovely home in Winston. 

2017-5-20n Ol' Rex is now Rich's coachThis is Rich’s RV barn where Ol’ Rex resides. She’s a Rexhall and was my first class A coach. I drove her all over the USA. He bought her from me about four years ago and they use her regularly. She’s been a very dependable and comfortable ride.

Back at their home I bid them good-night as it was nearing 2000 hours and I had a number of things to do aboard the coach. Rich and I agreed that we’d eat at Mickey D’s again and I’d hit the road about 0800. I had a long drive on Day 18 because I was going to drive all the way home!

In the coach I caught up on my travelogue and photo editing, then tackled the evening chores. I watched a bit more documentary on the TV and after waking up on the couch headed for bed about 2330. It had been a fun day with friends both in Keizer and Winston.

Day 18, Sunday, May 21, 2017, Winston, OR to home via I-5, SR99: 464 miles

I was awake a bit after 0600 and turned on the heaters to warm things up, and then crawled back into bed. I was too focused on getting home that day to fall back asleep, and was up again in just a few minutes. I set about the morning chores at once, wanting only to have breakfast with Rich and then hit the road.

I pulled out of Rich’s driveway at 0700 and followed him to the local Mickey D’s for breakfast. I enjoyed my second sausage, egg and cheese McGriddle in two days while Rich settled for a burrito. We visited about half an hour as he had church to prepare for and I had 464 miles to drive. My visit was very pleasant and I envy Rich and Nita living in Oregon. My, how I’d love to live in their area!

It was 0740 when we said our good-byes and headed our separate ways. It was a perfect morning to travel and I had a lot of it to do.

I thoroughly enjoyed the drive through Oregon, but that morning’s pleasure was tempered by knowing I’d be back in the rat race of Kalifornistan that afternoon. Instead of all the wide open spaces and beauty I had enjoyed the past couple of weeks, I’d be back in the land of dead weeds, too many people, too many cars and waaaaay too many stupid politicians. But nevertheless, home is where your honey is, and mine is in Kalifornistan.

Click to see the beauty of Oregon:

I drove almost to Grants Pass when I pulled into a rest area and got online to find some cheap diesel nearby. The Towne Pump in Grants Pass was selling the stuff for $2.60, the best price I could find. I followed the navigator a few miles and pulled in and pumped on 78 gallons. That would likely be the last diesel under $3 I’d see for a long time. I enjoyed the moment.

I continued the drive through Oregon, over the Siskiyou Pass and all too soon into Kalifornistan. The dedicated gal at the fruit inspection station where every vehicle must stop simply said “Have a nice day” and I continued south.

I drove the long and winding I-5 up and down the mountains ’til I finally got to Redding where I dropped into the valley of ugly brown weeds and crowds of people and cars. The traffic moved smoothly through Redding and south to Red Bluff where I found a Dale’s Diner in one of the rest areas. I zapped the remains of the prior night’s Chinese dinner and called it lunch. And it was still very good. For dessert I had an apple. Good choice!

I stopped at Williams’ Mickey D’s and ordered a small Reese’s McFlurry and a large iced coffee to beat the sleepies that had come over me. As always, the combination of sugar and caffeine soon had me wide awake and I stayed wide awake the entire drive home. That was my first and last iced coffee. As hot as the day was, hot coffee would have been the better choice.

Soon I was fighting the traffic through Sacramento and on down to Stockton where I turned off and caught SR99 to our home. I pulled into our little gated community just after 1700 and I was home!

2017-5-21v Home gate opens for meThe gate opens for me as I arrived at the little senior gated community where we live!

It was great to be home! I hugged dear wifey for a long time, and it was so good to be with her again. But I had a few things I had to unload from the coach, so I removed just enough to get through the night and the rest would wait ’til the next day. I parked Cecil the Diesel in her RV barn and our trip was done. I enjoyed the long adventure even though I had to endure the many areas of wind and the snows of Homestake Pass, Montana. 

In less than a month we’d be heading to Denver to visit the kids there and I am already looking forward to that adventure!


And now I can say it without fear of jinxing myself: Cecil the Diesel ran flawlessly the entire trip with no issues whatsoever! Well… there was that battery that misbehaved and got fired, but that wasn’t her fault and it didn’t cost a dime. And also the cracked windshield, too, but it was caused by a pebble slamming into it which wasn’t her fault, either. She kept me warm on the cold days and cool on the hot days. She proved to be a completely comfortable ride for over 5000 miles and a cozy little home on wheels every night. I couldn’t ask for more from her.

This adventure covered 5462 miles through Kalifornistan, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Kentucky, Illinois, Iowa, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington and Oregon. I think that’s all the states – all 16 of them!

From the first fill-up in Fresno to the last fill-up in Grants Pass, Oregon, I purchased 507 gallons of diesel and, allowing half a gallon per hour for each hour of generator run time, she gave me 9.9 miles per gallon. Now, that’s shy of my 11 MPG goal, but considering all the wind and the mountains of the trip, I am a happy camper!


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.
This entry was posted in Travel: Dean's, Travel: Interstate Adventure!, Travel: Oregon, zTravel: Adverse Weather Adventures (never on purpose!). Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to On The Road to… Paducah !? Page 2

  1. Sandy says:

    Part 2 had me laughing so, what with the way you word things. From our house to Menno, SD it took 10 hours of driving, and now, no reason to go out there any more, as our friend is gone. We went 1 year and took her along to Mt. Rushmore and other places she took us to. It was so much fun. Have the pictures for memories.

    Sandy, a.k.a./crash3289

    • FishWisher says:

      Hi Sandy, thanks for the visit and it’s good to know you enjoyed the story. I guess it’s the way things have to be when we lose friends and loved ones we’ve known. But as you said, we have the memories…

  2. FishWisher says:

    oops. Thanks, Sandy, for the heads-up. – Dale

  3. Anonymous says:

    Enjoyed the blogging…..well done !
    And a very good visit it was.

    Winston OR

  4. FishWisher says:

    Thanks. And yes, good people, good Chinese food and Mickey D’s is always good!

  5. Sandy says:

    Went back today, and noticed you had entered more…I swear, some of the way you put things…I can’t help but laugh. Tom Selleck! Just funny, yet due to the stash, ya. I also noticed in your writings that you have many friends that you visit. I like that.

    I’ve noticed also that you’re not commenting on the strips. Reason I came back here and noticed more of your blog. Hope all is well.

  6. FishWisher says:

    I’ve made a few comments during my trip, but have bigger fish to fry most mornings on my trips as I get ready to hit the road each day. I’ll be back more now that I’m back home. It’s good to know I was missed…

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