The Adventure that Ended in Tragedy…
During the days leading up to our Fall adventure…
Our adventure was planned for almost a month, and honestly, I was like a kid waiting for Christmas – I counted down the weeks, the days, and finally the hours. We’re getting wiser as we grow older, at least in some ways; we took two days to load the coach instead of one. And I’ve been taking two days to wash the coach for some time now. We may be older and slower, but we still get it done!
I prepped the coach during the week leading up to our road trip, including a full service of the engine and chassis. And as I learned a year ago when I had it serviced, a diesel service is not cheap! At least it’s required only every 15,000 miles instead of every 5,000 miles as a gas coach requires, but instead of something around $100, the cost is several times that. Nevertheless, owning our “short” 32′ diesel still pencils out for folks who put on a lot of miles – as we do. And along with the service, a wheel bearing seal that began leaking the last trip also had to be repaired. We parted with nearly $1100 to get Cecil the Diesel out of the shop! We take her to Mello Truck Repair in Modesto, a firm that also works on RVs, and they are very qualified to service the diesels, unlike many other garages. I’ve taken Cecil the Diesel there several times and have always been pleased with their expertise and service.
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Day 1, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, Home to Gridley, CA via I-5, CA99: 122 miles
We enjoyed a usual morning around the house ’til about 0830 when we began gathering the final “stuff” we needed to load. It included mostly groceries and a few more clothing items. We also shut down the house – the water heater, room fans, AC, triple check that all lights were off, etc. Craig, our very busy son, dropped in before heading to his business in Stockton. He wanted to bid us goodbye, and even helped load a few items. What a guy!
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We pulled out of our little gated community about 1030 and headed north to Gridley where my twin sis, Gale, and hubby, John live. It is a drive of something over a hundred miles and includes the heavy traffic of Sacramento along the way. Once past the big city we turned off I-5 and onto the less traveled CA99 which took us to Gridley.
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North of Sacramento it is mostly agriculture and we saw a lot of it along our drive. The rice was being harvested and that is interesting to this ol’ trucker who used to haul the stuff back in the 70s. A lot of the rice was shipped to Japan back then and probably still is. Rice is big business in the north of the great Central Valley.
We arrived at my sis’s country place near Gridley at 1340, after having lunch at the Safeway parking lot in town. We try to arrive after lunch so as to not burden John with feeding us lunch and dinner. We visited around the living room for an hour or two, enjoying the company and catching up on family happenings. I headed to the coach for my grandpa nap around 1530, and caught a few winks.
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We brought a Papa Murphy’s pizza to bake for dinner. It made for a tasty meal along with the salad John whipped up. We visited over dinner and after the cleanup I headed to the coach to edit photos and begin this travelogue.
About an hour later, Lavonne joined me in the coach. It seemed that I spent the whole evening editing photos and writing the travelogue – which I enjoy doing. Lavonne went to bed around 2200 and I joined her about a half hour later. I slept well, as usual, and it was a quiet night out there in the country.
Day 2, Tuesday, Gridley, CA to Winnemucca, NV via CA20, CA70, I-80: 305 miles
We were up and around at 0530 and it was a cool morning – I even fired up the furnace for a few minutes. After the usual morning chores, we sat at the computers awhile catching up on the news, etc. I dumped the gray (shower) water in the adjacent field and topped off the fresh water so we’d be full for the next few days.
At 0730 John called to let us know they were up and around, so we joined them in the house to begin the morning visit. Lavonne and John whipped up breakfast of some quiche we brought from home, and hash brown potatoes. We had cantaloupe too, and I figured I could have eaten a more heart healthy breakfast, but it was probably better than the usual Mickey D’s we have there.
Gale and I sat at the piano and sang gospel awhile, too. We enjoy the singing as we grew up singing those old gospel songs.
1000 rolled around and we had to bid our goodbyes and head up the mountains to Winnemucca, NV – a 300 mile drive. We shared hugs all ’round, agree we’d had another lovely visit, and then we pulled out of their driveway just a bit after 1000.
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The drive took us the back way out of Gridley to CA70 and on to CA20 which eventually took us to I-80. The drive was windblown and, of course, very mountainous as we ascended Donner Summit at 7227 feet. The wind continued the entire drive, some areas worse than others, but always a headwind or a crosswind. Between the mountains and the wind we got awful fuel mileage.
More photos to click and enjoy!
I planned to stop at a Chevron station in Fernley, NV to fuel up as it was the cheapest diesel I could find online for miles around. It turned out to be on an Indian reservation, so they didn’t have to collect certain road taxes – or so I was told. Whatever the situation, they beat the local Love’s station by 34¢ per gallon. By checking online and shopping price, I saved over $19 on just that one fill up – and I like to travel cheap!
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We pulled to the side of the gas station’s large lot and Lavonne whipped up delicious sandwiches made with her homemade meatloaf. After almost an hour spent there we continued eastbound on I-80 toward Winnemucca.
We arrived at Winnemucca, NV at 1645 and pulled into the Walmart lot where we have stayed many nights. First thing after setting up the coach for the night was to head into the store for some shopping. We count on Walmart for our groceries on these long trips, just as we do at home. Sam Walton opened his lots to RVers very early on as he knew we were good customers. We spent almost $100 for the things we needed! Mr. Sam was no dummy!