Another Denver and Beyond Adventure Aborted!

To Denver and the kids… and then?

June 11, 2018, Monday, Day 1, to Gridley, CA via CA99: 117 miles

It was back in April that we visited Oregon, and my “Search for Sunshine” adventure to Texas was back in January. It had been nearly eight months since our long trip to Denver in September and October. That was the trip that ended in tragedy as we were heading to Graceland. In other words, I was waaaay overdue for a good, long road trip. And finally, we were on the road again!

It was a few minutes before 1000 hours that we pulled out of the little senior gated community we call home, and headed to my twin sister’s place near Gridley. The drive was pretty much a busy commute ’til we finally got north of the overcrowded metropolis of Sacramento.  When we turned off the interstate to take the more rural CA99 through the farmlands of Sutter and Butte counties, the traffic was much more tolerable.

2018-6-11a Sacto TrafficDriving through the very busy Sacramento area was not pleasant.

2018-6-11b riceThe endless rice fields along our farm drive looked like well manicured lawns.

2018-6-11c farm countryCountry driving is such a pleasure! 

2018-6-11d Feather RiverCrossing the Feather River.

2018-6-11e Sutter ButtesThe very picturesque Sutter Buttes rise high above the valley in Sutter County.

After we turned off the interstate and drove through farmland and small towns, the drive was a pleasure, and I enjoyed it. But not for long because that drive is only about 50 miles. We arrived at Gale and John’s place a few minutes after noon.

2018-6-11h lookin' goodBig Blue lookin’ good out in the country near Gridley. I think those window shades are a nice touch – and they work well on a warm, sunny day.

We visited with them for a spell after we arrived, then returned to the coach to set it up for an overnight stay. Lavonne and I had sandwiches in the coach for lunch as Gale and John had already eaten. We make a point of having only dinner with them so as to spare John the effort. My dear sis, Gale, deals with a form of Parkinson’s and cannot walk. Most of John’s life these days is taken up caring for her. There must be a special place in heaven for spouses that care for their handicapped mate.

We visited in their home awhile after lunch until it was time for my grandpa nap. After our rest, Lavonne and I headed  back to the house to continue our visit and decide what we’d have for dinner. We all decided “yo quiero Taco Bell” as their old ad goes! Now, I haven’t had such food in ages, but I’ve seen that very tempting ad for their Chalupa taco and have wanted to try one for some time. John and I drove into town and picked up dinner. Back home we all sat around the table enjoying the good Mexican food and even had ice cream bars for dessert.

2018-6-11i the old folksWe old folks enjoyed a Mexican dinner followed with ice cream bars. And nobody had to do much work!

It was a warm day, as usual in the valley this time of year. The coach air conditioner ran all day and into the evening, and did a good job of keeping us comfortable.

John headed to town for a meeting a bit before 1900, and I headed to the coach to edit photos and write this blog. Lavonne and Gale whiled away the evening as they visited in the house.

When John returned, we visited awhile over old family photos I carry around on my laptop. And there was that high school senior photo of me – taken 56 years ago – which these days serves only to remind me of how old we’ve all gotten.

I returned to the coach for the night and Lavonne joined me a while later. We spent the rest of the evening on our laptops. I watched an old documentary called The Century: America’s Time which I have on video tapes and have watched several times over the years. Now I watch it on You Tube. Who needs a VCR player when the ‘net is available?!

We slept well out there in the quiet countryside near Gridley.

Day 2, Tuesday, Gridley to almost Grass Valley – and back to Gridley – via CA70, CA20 and some backroads: 89 miles

We enjoyed the morning with Gale and John, including breakfast that we brought in from McDonald’s in town. As usual, I enjoyed a delicious McGriddle and had one of their little breakfast burritos for dessert. mmmm. I rarely allow myself such fare, but when I do I sure enjoy it!

We pulled out of their driveway at 0900 and planned to drive to Winnemucca, NV on the second day of our trip. But our plans went awry a few miles west of Grass Valley on CA20 as we climbed toward the high Sierras and Donner Summit.

Click for larger photos:

As I returned from my Texas trip in January the engine overheated on a long pull. I slowed at once and brought the temperature down and the rest of the trip went just fine. Back home I had the thermostat replaced and was told that was likely the culprit. Again in April it overheated one time during our Oregon trip as we pulled to the summit of the Siskiyous in Oregon. Again I slowed and it cooled down. And again I checked with my mechanic who seemed to think I’d be alright on a long trip this spring.

While that history of overheating made me a bit apprehensive, we chose to head to Denver, and found out the hard way that I should have insisted on getting to the bottom of the problem. Yep… as Big Blue began the climb into the foothills, somewhere west of Grass Valley, the engine overheated again, and although I shifted down early to avoid it, the temp gauge shot to over 200°. There was no way we could continue our planned trip. 

So… we turned around and returned to Gale and John’s for another night and would return home in the morning. Driving the coach on the flats or short pulls was no issue; it was the long climbs that caused the overheating. Talking to another mechanic, his first thought was the thermostat, but having told him it was replaced, he suggested perhaps it was the fan failing to turn on when needed. We would find out soon, and whatever the problem, we would get it repaired!

Back at Gale and John’s for another night, we decided on meat loaf that Lavonne prepared for the trip, and made sandwiches with it. John whipped up a salad and we also had corn on the cob. For dessert we enjoyed strawberry short cake – and it was delicious.

2018-6-12h dessert timeDessert time at the Sample’s dinner table…

2018-6-12g leaning tower of strawberries… and my memorable Leaning Tower of Strawberries!

We spent awhile after dinner and dessert visiting, then I headed to the coach to update this travelogue and get after the evening chores. Lavonne joined me awhile later and spent time on the ‘net, too.

I was pleased with the performance of the house air conditioners during our abbreviated trip. It was near 100° in Gridley that afternoon and the coach stayed comfy in the high 70s. I did miss the basement air of Cecil the Diesel, as it runs so much quieter than the roof mounted ones on Big Blue. But the first consideration is that they work properly – and they did. 

We were in bed a bit earlier than usual as we’d be heading for home in the morning!

Day 3, Wednesday, June 13, Gridley to home via CA99: 117 miles

Gale and John had to prepare to go to a morning funeral, so our morning visit was brief but warm and then we were on our way. We pulled out of their driveway at 0800, probably our earliest departure from their home ever.

The weather was predicted to be hot again, almost 100°, and we wanted to get home and unloaded before the worst of it – and we had a lot to unpack!

2018-6-13a oopsAs we drove through the little town of Live Oak on CA99 we saw this big rig in the ditch. The little car ahead was smashed as well. Somebody was having a very bad day.

We did make one stop at the Yuba City Quik Stop store, the one that seems to sell the lowest priced diesel we can find anywhere in these parts, including home. I pulled in and pumped on 64 gallons at $3.78 per. The big boys’ prices are now $4 per, and more. So with that one fill up, I saved over $14! And of course, my PenFed credit card, which I’ve written about here before, rewards us each month 5% of our gas and diesel purchases. So our actual price at the Quik Stop was just $3.59 per. We are conditioned to think that’s a real deal!

After fueling, we pulled into a parking area at the station and whipped up a quick breakfast in the coach.

We arrived home at 1100 and began unloading. It was already pretty hot and uncomfortable outside. We got the whole coach emptied and parked in the RV lot by noon, so we made excellent time considering all the stuff we had loaded for our planned two week (or more) road trip.

It was good to be home and back in the recliner, but I am greatly disappointed about calling off our big trip. The last two really long trips we’ve had, both to Denver and beyond to Graceland, have been aborted before completion – something we’ve never had to do in the past. I would get the coach overheating problem fixed as soon as possible, and we would reschedule our trip to Denver and Graceland!

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: Allen's, Travel: Gale & John, Travel: Interstate Adventure!. Bookmark the permalink.

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