April… and time to hit the road!
2018-4-18, Wednesday, Day 1, Home to my sis’ place in Gridley, CA via CA99, I-5: 118 miles
My beloved Big Blue was the shop for four weeks during March, and this month she got shiny, new aluminum rims. So she’s running and looking great! There were no major repairs in the shop, but several minor things needed fixed and adjusted. And… after all was said and done it was time to hit the road! Loading up for another adventure on the road!
One of the main fixes at the shop was the ridiculous fuel draw setup from the main tank to the generator. The fuel draw would stop at about a quarter of a tank because the folks at Fleetwood (And every class A we’ve owned, for that matter.) apparently believe we’re too stupid to not run the tank dry with the generator. So I had the shop drop the tank and lengthen the feed tube so that if I’m dumb enough to run the fuel dry with the generator, I was free to do so. I was sick and tired of not being able to park for the night and be able to run the generator if I had less than about three-eighths of a tank. And now I’m happy. I also had the dash air conditioner charged and serviced, and had a steering damper installed and the engine fuel system checked. We were ready to roll!
At 1100 hours we pulled out of our little gated senior community and headed north toward Gridley. The day was perfect for a drive; it was overcast and mild and the wind was calm.Crossing the Feather River as we drove near Nicolaus in Sutter County.
The orchards are all leaved out and lookin’ good in the farmlands.
Fueling up at the Bogue Rd. QuikStop in Yuba City, a station that has about the cheapest diesel I can find along the entire drive. Price checking before a trip pays off in cash! This “low price” was still $3.53 per and in Kalifornistan we’re conditioned to think that’s a great price!
The day before we began this trip, I installed a dash cam in the coach and learned how to use it as we drove. When we arrived at Gale and John’s I pulled the mini memory card from the camera and played it on my laptop. The little thing is smaller than a pack of cards, yet produces incredible videos that are time, speed and location (GPS coordinates) stamped. I’ve wanted a dash cam for a long time – even before our awful accident in October – and I finally have one installed. I’ll post a video later to show how well it works.Big Blue lookin’ good in the country near Gridley, CA.
Our drive was pleasant and without any problems. We arrived at my sis’ place in the countryside outside the small town of Gridley a bit before 1400 hours. It was good to see them and to while away the afternoon visiting.The Old Folks (l-r): The Tom Selleck look alike, Lavonne, Gale, and John pose during a break from our very pleasant afternoon visit. That’s Abbey the pooch with John.
John and I drove to Gridley’s Safeway store where I bought some deli fried chicken, Chinese salad, and potato wedges for dinner for Gale and I. John and Lavonne whipped up their dinners in the kitchen.
After dinner we visited ’til about 2000 hours when I returned to the coach to begin this travelogue. Lavonne joined me an hour or so later. We visited our favorite online sites and whiled away the evening ’til around 2300 when we called it a day.
Thursday, Day 2, Gridley, CA to Canyonville Or via CA99, I-5: 315 miles
We slept well ’til around 0600 when I got up and turned up the heater and turned on the water heater. We were cozy in the comfy Big Blue. But I noticed that I had another senior moment when I plugged into the electric of their house. I failed to plug in one end of the cord so while I thought we were on their juice, we were on battery power all night long! Our big bank of four deep cycle batteries handled it all well, but if I’d have checked the control panel I’d have noticed. But… I didn’t. It was yet another senior moment.
We continued our visit with Gale and John, including our usual Mickey D’s junk food breakfast. A run into town each morning for Mickey D’s has become a family tradition.
We continued our warm visit over breakfast and pretty much caught up on news and gossip about family and friends. I excused myself to go get the coach set up for our drive to Oregon.
Here I roll up the cord I didn’t use anyway due to… well, I don’t want to go there!
After we exchanged hugs and said our good-byes, we boarded the coach and began the drive to Oregon. Oregon! I’d be out of Kalifornistan soon!
Click for larger photos and captions:
The foothills and mountains near Oroville are beautiful this time of year. In a month or so it will all be brown.
Gale and I lived in the Gridley and Biggs area with (and later, near) our mom and step dad during some of our high school years and some years after school. It was not a good time for us dealing with that mixed family situation, but Gale met John there back in those days, so it wasn’t all bad!Lake Shasta appeared to be nearly full and that’s always an encouraging sign in Kalifornistan where whiskey is for drinking and water is for fighting over.
Welcome to Oregon! This pretty little sign meant I was out of wretched Kalifornistan! That made me happy. I smiled.
The long drive through the mountains along I-5 to Oregon was my old truckin’ route back in the 70s when I’d haul loads of lumber from Northern California mills to SoCal. The small town of Hilt, right on the Oregon line in California, had a lumber mill back in those days. The feds shut it down long ago because it was too old fashioned for their EPA standards – and too expensive to comply.
We drove on to the town of Canyonville and the Seven Feathers Casino where we would spend the night in their parking lot. When we arrived we took a walk into the casino to look it over, and while it was a beautiful casino, we were not tempted. But it was a good walk!Parked in the casino’s “dry lot”, so named, I guess, because they also have a RV lot with hookups. We prefer free since we don’t need hookups and this lot was free. The casino has beautiful landscaping as shown above.
We wondered what we might be getting ourselves into by parking at the casino, but it turned out to be a quiet and safe place. I noticed the shuttle bus around quite often, and also saw the security vehicle patrol our lot. And it was a lovely setting.I had to tend the bug collection if we were to see our way to Al and Betty’s in the morning!
We spent the night as usual, mostly on the computers and also had dinner aboard. I had to tend to the bug collection, but that was about all the work I did. When we retired for the night we slept well, and were not disturbed at all.
Friday, April 20, Day 3, Canyonville, OR to Keizer, OR via I-5: 166 miles
We had only a three hour drive to Al and Betty’s place in Keizer, so we had time to do some chores and have a pleasant morning in Canyonville. We were up around 0600 to begin our day, and we took it slow and easy.Morning aboard Big Blue at Canyonville’s Seven Feathers Casino. Life is good!
Incidentally, Canyonville is where Al and I met waaay back in 1957 at Canyonville Bible Academy, a boarding Christian high school. Al was a mighty senior and I a lowly freshman. He took me, one of the littlest guys in the school with one of the biggest mouths, under his wing as his roommate. Yep… we’ve been friends for a long, long time.
I wanted to do some housework that morning, so I dug out the vacuum and tidied up the coach a bit. I also had to adjust the steering damper we had installed during Big Blue‘s recent visit to the shop. The steering wheel pulled a bit to the left as we drove and such adjustments, maybe two or three times, are necessary to get it running straight. I pulled out the little shop creeper I keep stowed below, grabbed a wrench and rolled under the coach to make the quick adjustment.Climbing under the coach for a quick steering damper adjustment.
This file photo of a Safe-T-Plus steering damper shows how it is attached to the steering. They reduce the wandering, the buffeting by cross winds, and help retain control in the event of a front wheel blowout.
A bit after 0900 I zapped an egg white and turkey sausage sandwich, took a clementine orange from the fridge, and called it breakfast. It had been a pleasant morning and after breakfast the time had come to continue our drive.
We had the pleasure of driving through some of the most beautiful country. Oregon is green! And springtime is the most beautiful season of all. I took way too many photos but how can a fella resist when the place is so gorgeous?!
Check out the beauty; I didn’t post captions here as the beauty speaks for itself. Click any photo to enlarge:
We had 165 miles to drive that day, and our only planned stop was to visit the Walmart in Cottage Grove, OR for some groceries. And to readjust that steering damper again – it takes several adjustments to get it just right.
After an hour or so at Cottage Grove, we continued north, arriving at Al and Betty’s lovely home a bit before 1500 hours.
We were welcomed with hugs all ’round, and it was good to see our old friends once again. After a few minutes I returned to the coach and set it up for our two night stay. This time, I actually plugged into their electrics and our tired batteries would get a good, full charge.Big Blue parked at Al and Betty’s lovely home in Keizer, OR for a couple of nights.
We continued our visit ’til talk turned to dinner. We decided on Chinese take out, and Al and I headed across town to get it. Honestly, the heavy traffic at home has nothing on Salem, OR. It was Friday afternoon, nearing evening, and every street was jammed with traffic. We eventually arrived back home with lots of delicious Chinese, and enjoyed a wonderful meal. And our visit continued.
We headed back to the coach a bit before 1930 to give Al and Betty – and ourselves – time alone to do our evening things. Visiting with Big Blue meant we didn’t have to be together all the time as we had our own little home on wheels just outside their front door.
Lavonne and I whiled away the evening on our computers as she played word games online and I edited photos. I also watched a very good documentary on Youtube about the famous WWII P-38 fighter – a plane my Uncle Harris flew back in the 1940s during the war. God bless our Greatest Generation!
I went to bed around 2300, about an hour after Lavonne. We slept very well, indeed, in the comfort of Big Blue.
Saturday, Day 4, a day in Keizer, OR with Al and Betty.
We were up and around about 0630 having turned on the water heater and turned up the furnace a bit earlier. During the night we enjoyed periods of hammering rain, and always enjoy that sound when we’re in the coach.
After morning chores, I set about dumping the grey water and adding more fresh water. We’d had three full days on the road, including six showers, and we had about run out of grey water storage.
A bit later we joined Al and Betty in the house and watched on TV the funeral for First Lady Barbara Bush. It was a very lovely and touching memorial for her.
We’d had breakfast separately, but talked of having an early lunch, due to a planned early dinner out. For me, the left over Chinese was perfect, so we had more of that wonderful Chinese food. After lunch we headed back to the coach and our computers, and to take my grandpa nap.
The lovebirds celebrating our anniversaries, all of us having married on April 21st; Al and Betty six years ago, and Lavonne and I 28 years ago.
The time rolled around quickly to wake up and prepare for dinner at our usual haunt when in Keizer – McGrath’s Fish House. It is Al’s and my favorite and we seem to always choose the incredible coconut shrimp. Dinner was as good as we remembered, and with good friends, too. We may have started a tradition – I hope so!
After dinner we hurried home to meet Al’s daughter, Amy, and her husband David, and their daughter, Annie, who dropped by for an anniversary get-together and dessert of strawberry shortcake and ice cream. The whole party posed for a photo, (l-r) Lavonne, Dale, Amy, David, Annie, Al, Betty, and Tommy the pooch.
They helped us celebrate our anniversaries with strawberry shortcake and ice cream. We were entertained by the lovely duet of Amy and Annie singing one of my favorite hymns:
What wonderful harmony! It was the first time I’d heard Amy and Annie sing and I was just stunned by their beautiful harmony.
The evening was well spent with friends and family, and we all had a grand time together. But we old folks tire early, and around 1900, after the kids left, we thanked Al and Betty for a wonderful evening and bid them goodnight. We headed to the coach and did our thing as they relaxed in the house doing their usual evening routine. Yep; we again spent the night in our own cozy home on wheels!The four anniversary celebrants (l-r), Dale, Lavonne, Al, Betty, and the pooch, Tommy.
Back at the coach Lavonne perused her favorite ‘net sites and enjoyed her online word games. I edited photos and brought this blog up to date. I also watched a documentary on YouTube. By 2230 we retired and looked forward to heading back home aboard Big Blue the next morning.
Sunday, Day 3, Keizer, OR to Yreka, CA via I-5: 286 miles
We were up around 0600 and began our day. After morning chores, each day begins with coffee and perusing the net where we get our news and entertainment.
A bit before 0900, Al knocked on the door with a box of books, all westerns written by such notable authors as Louie L’Amour and Zane Grey, for me to give to John, my sis’ husband. We’ve hauled books between these two a couple of times already, as they want to pass on books they’ve read for others to enjoy.
Al and Betty gave us a beautiful bouquet of flowers to celebrate our anniversary. It was a large bouquet in a large vase, and we loaded it on the coach, too. Al packed it in a box for the trip, and we put it in the shower for safekeeping. When it came time for my shower that evening, I upgraded it to the kitchen sink, and there it would stay for the rest of the trip.Our beautiful bouquet after it was upgraded to kitchen sink status.
After we stowed the books below, we joined Al and Betty in the house for a few minutes’ visit. They would normally be in church at this time on Sunday mornings, but Betty was recouping from a broken hip and didn’t feel up to it. I’m happy to report that she is well along on her recovery and gets around very well with a cane – and sometimes without the cane!
I had already powered the slides in, and when we returned to the coach, I raised the jacks and we were ready to roll! We bid them good-bye as we pulled out of their driveway and headed to a nearby Mobil station that sold diesel for just $3.20 per, a price I have been conditioned to think is pretty good. I pumped on $203 worth to fill the big 90 gallon tank. And we would top off the tank again as we approached the state line because fuel back in Kalifornistan would be much more expensive.South of Keizer, in Willamette Valley, grass is king! The area is known as The Grass Seed Capital of the World. Believe us… grass fields cover thousands of acres! Read more here.
We began our return home as we pulled onto southbound I-5 and headed toward, probably Yreka, for the night. It was a perfect day for traveling and we even had a light tailwind helping us along. I again took in all the beauty of the Oregon countryside as we cruised along.I would have bet dollars to donuts that this was a field of mustard. I would have lost; it was a field of turnips in bloom!
We approached the small town of Myrtle Creek around lunch time, so we pulled in to a large parking lot next to Mickey D’s for lunch. But first things first… I crawled back under the coach to adjust that darn steering damper again. It’s not a big deal unless you’re in your mid 70s and don’t much like to work anyway.
After I cleaned up from the third attempt to get the steering damper adjusted correctly, it was time for lunch. We whipped up a couple ham sandwiches and enjoyed a good meal. I had been struggling with sleepiness before we stopped, so after lunch I headed into Mickey D’s for a small Oreo McFlurry and a large coffee. To go. And we continued south.
I am pleased to report that the third steering damper adjustment was a charm, and the coach tracked properly, pulling neither left nor right. I was right pleased with myself!
Click for larger photos and captions:
We continued south as I enjoyed my McFlurry, and then the coffee. And I was wide awake the rest of the trip, as usual after a good sugar and caffeine jolt.
I pulled into a Valero station in Ashland to top off the fuel at Oregon prices, and was pleased to see diesel for just $3.40 per. I added 29 gallons to fill it to the brim. Back home the nearby Flying J was charging $4.01 for the cheaper bio-diesel, some of that thanks to the recent boost of 20¢ per in Kalifornistan taxes. We just can’t win!Topping off the tank with “cheap” Oregon diesel in Ashland, OR.
I was pretty pleased with myself as we continued south, knowing I had done my best to beat the high price of diesel. I planned to top off again at the QuikStop in Yuba City where we first filled up on Wednesday as we began our trip. Their price is lower than any other station I know of in our area.
We continued south and as we neared our destination of Yreka, we pulled off at the view area that looks out toward beautiful Mt. Shasta. We stopped and took photos of that awesome sight. And I was reminded that I wrote earlier that I would post a video from our new dash cam to show how well it works. So here it is:
I saved this little blurb from the recording that captures all of the driving as shown here when we pulled into the Mt. Shasta view area. If your cursor is not on the video and you have not enlarged it, you can read across the bottom of the screen our speed, our location by GPS coordinates, the date and the time. All this info makes for very compelling evidence in the event of an accident.The Traveling Gillespies at the view area overlooking beautiful Mt. Shasta.
After our photo shoot at the view area, we continued on to Yreka’s Walmart, and pulled in for the night. We’ve “camped” there many times during our travels, if you can call carpeting, a hot shower, air conditioning, and a real bed “camping”.
We settled in about 1700 for the night. First thing, we headed inside the store where Lavonne did some shopping as I took my walk. When we were done we headed back to the coach and stashed the groceries.Parked for the night at Yreka’s Walmart lot.
I showered, then whipped up a frozen dinner. After dinner I began a long evening of editing photos and writing this blog and I’m not complaining; I enjoy continuing my blog as we travel.
We spent the evening aboard as usual, online as Lavonne played word games and I edited photos and blogged the evening away. It was a quiet night and we slept well.
Monday, April 23, Day 6, Yreka, CA to Gridley, CA via I-5, CA99: 192 miles
We thought we’d be heading home on Day 6, but with the books to be delivered to John, we arranged to spend the night at their place again. After all, we don’t have to be anyplace at any particular time – life is good with Big Blue!
We were up and about around 0630 to begin our day. It was another beautiful day to be traveling, and we were having a grand time. We dawdled away some of the morning, taking our sweet time to continue south as we had just a couple hundred miles to drive to Gale and John’s.
We headed into the store where, again, Lavonne did a bit of shopping and I took my walk. It was a beautiful, albeit cool, morning in Yreka. After the store visit we headed to the coach where we both enjoyed a muffin for breakfast.
Eventually it was time to hit the road if ever we were going to, and we pulled out of the Walmart lot at 1015 and continued south toward Gale and John’s near Gridley. The drive was the same as we had covered when we headed north, so I didn’t feel too compelled to shoot a bunch of photos. Nevertheless…These snow capped mountains and green meadows lie to the west along I-5 south of Yreka.Stunning Mount Shasta is irresistible as she dominates the entire area.
Our drive south on I-5 eventually took us past Shasta Lake and down into the Central Valley where we were once again in heavy Kalifornistan traffic. At the city of Red Bluff we turned onto CA99 and continued south toward Gridley. We found a Mickey D’s in Red Bluff, where I lived for several years back in the 70s, and pulled in for lunch. We each had a Filet-O-Fish sandwich, and I had a small McChicken sandwich for dessert. For safety, I also ordered a snack size Reese’s McFlurry and a large coffee that would keep me awake all the way to Gridley. And it did.
We continued south on CA99, a mostly two lane drive through countless orchards and small farms. During the drive, Lavonne called Gale to offer a home delivered Starbucks’s coffee, and she gladly accepted. So we pulled into the Gridley store and purchased three small Frappuccinos. We then drove the mile or two into the country to Gale and John’s, arriving about 1415 hours. After warm greetings, we enjoyed our over priced, glorified milkshakes. At least that what they seemed to be to me.
I’ve never been to a $tarbuck$ on my own before, and that’s not likely to change.
I delivered the western books to John from Al, and it was good timing as it was John’s birthday the next day.
It was a warm day in the valley, reaching the mid 80s in Gridley. We used the dash air as we drove, and at Gale and John’s we used the house air for the first time. I had to clean the filters to get them to work well, and it kept the coach comfy. I sure missed the basement air we had on Cecil the Diesel as it ran much quieter than the roof mounted units on Big Blue.Big Blue parked for the night at Gale and John’s for the second time in a week. Note the little window awnings – it’s the first time I’ve used them and they worked well to keep the sun off the windows.
For dinner, Lavonne bought pulled pork and buns during the morning shopping at Walmart, and it all made for delicious dinner sandwiches. We also had a tossed salad and coleslaw – and some ice cream for dessert. After dinner and a warm visit, I headed to the coach for a shower and to add the day’s travel to this blog. Lavonne joined me a short time later and we whiled away the evening in the coach. We hit the sack around 2230 – our last night aboard for this adventure.
Tuesday, Day 7, April 24th, Gridley, CA to home via CA99, I-5: 121 miles
We were up and around a bit after 0600 to begin the last day of our Oregon RV adventure. Though we ran the air conditioners all afternoon the day before, the morning was cool enough to run the heater, but not for long. Spring had sprung and the weather forecast for home predicted a high of 87°. It won’t be long ’til we’re dealing with hot days here in the valley and it will be summertime again!
Lavonne and I worked through the morning chores, then perused our favorite sites on the ‘net ’til John called and said Gale was up and around and to come on over. We visited briefly ’til John and I headed to Mickey D’s for our traditional breakfast of delicious junk food. For the first time I used the kiosk to place the order myself, and was pleased I could even customize sandwiches. It took a little longer to order as I learned the procedure, but I believe I’ll be using those handy kiosks at every opportunity from now on.