Oregon or Bust!

To La Pine, Oregon – and Family!

Day 1, Sunday, July 17, Home to Klamath Falls, Oregon via CA99, I-5, US97: 355 miles

It had been almost a month since I returned from our wonderful trip to Denver to visit Allen and Nancy. I surely was ready for another adventure – even with fuel still over $6 per gallon!

I spent two to three hours each morning – before it got too hot for an old man to be outside – doing a couple of minor mechanical repairs and then cleaning the coach inside and out for the trip. Finally, after about a week of morning work, Big Blue was ready to roll.

Beginning the big job of loading all the stuff we needed for our trip. The Keurig coffee maker I’m holding is known as Little Blue – we bought it just for the coach, but Lavonne had taken it to the house for a good cleaning.

I headed down to the coach early, about 0700, and idled her up to the house to get started loading in the cool of the morning. By 0930 we were about loaded up, and after turning off all the house systems, we pulled out of our little gated senior community about 0945.

Our drive to Klamath Falls, Oregon on Day 1 – about 350 miles, is a bit farther than we like to travel in one day. But we didn’t want to spend the night in the valley because of the heat; Klamath Falls, at 4100 ft. elevation, would be much cooler than the valley. Redding, at the north end of the valley, was 105° as we drove through. It was a miserably hot day – one of several as a heat wave baked the entire valley.

It was good to climb up and up, reaching Shasta Lake, which seemed  as low as it usually gets in the summertime. A bit farther and we approached Mt. Shasta, which was pretty barren with very little snow. We surely need a wet winter, and we can’t seem to get one the past few years.

When we reached the junction of US97 at the small town of Weed, Kalifornistan, we turned off, heading to Oregon and our destination of the Walmart in Klamath Falls. Our drive on the two lane US97 was a bit cooler than the valley, but still hot – we ran the air conditioner the entire trip.

Click to enlarge and read captions:

Once in K-Falls, it was in the upper 80s – much cooler than the sweltering valley. Still, we had to run the generator and the house air conditioners to stay comfy. Finally, about sunset or a bit later, we were able to open up the coach and be comfy without the air conditioners.


Once set up for the night, I just had to have a couple cold beers – so I walked into the Walmart store for a six pack of Stella Artois – my favorite! After the very warm drive, made quite tolerable by the dash air conditioner, those two beers went down very, very pleasantly. And they should – Stella is the most expensive beer I’ve ever purchased at $10+ for a six-pack of small, 11 ounce bottles! (I am noted for my cheap ways when it comes to beer and liquor.)

We spent the evening aboard Big Blue as usual – Lavonne played her online word games, and I edited photos and wrote this blog. She retired a few minutes after 2200 hours, and I joined her about midnight. It had been a long, hot day of travel, but very enjoyable for me – if not so much for my Travelin’ Buddy. The next day would be much milder – and less than 120 miles.

Day 2, Monday, July 18, Klamath Falls, OR to La Pine, OR via US97: 114 miles

I slept a bit later than usual in the cool comfort of K-Falls. When I rolled out of bed a few minutes after 0600, Lavonne was already up and around. It was an absolutely beautiful Oregon morning, sunny and cool.

We took our sweet time dawdling around the coach. I headed into the store to shop for a few things we needed. When I returned, we took our time getting ready for the day’s short drive to La Pine, Oregon.  In La Pine, we would visit our niece, Jill, her husband Craig, Jill’s dad, who is our brother-in-law, John, and also Jill and Craig’s daughter, Kyleigh and her son, Ceddie.

We finally pulled out of the Klamath Falls Walmart lot at 1000 hours. Our drive continued on the very scenic US97, which took us past Klamath Lake, a very scenic sight itself.

Beautiful Klamath Lake as we drove by on US97. 

Somewhere along our route, we stopped at a rest area for lunch. Lavonne whipped up some very tasty meatloaf sandwiches, and along with some nectarines it was a very satisfying meal.

Our drive through the lovely Oregon countryside was a very pleasant one. The millions of evergreen trees seem to go on forever along Oregon’s roadways. But our relatively short drive ended as we entered the small town of La Pine.

We skirted the town itself, heading out of town before we really got into it. Jill and Craig’s place is out in the woods, in a forest of tall evergreens. It is, indeed, a lovely setting.

We shared hugs all ’round as we greeted everyone – and where two folks once lived, now five live. Their daughter, Kyleigh, and her son, Cedric, known as Ceddy, live with them in the cabin. Jill’s dad and our brother-in-law, John, has moved a fifth wheel RV onto their place, and lives there. It all makes for a pretty happy clan community.

We visited for a spell, and eventually I was shown the spot to park Big Blue, and backed her into her place for the duration. We were part of quite the family compound. Once I had the coach set up for our stay, we were settled in and comfortable. Although the afternoon was very warm, I simply fired up the generator and air conditioners, and we were very comfortable.

Big Blue parked among the conifers at Jill and Craig’s place in La Pine, Oregon.

Craig is a gourmet cook, and Jill is a very able assistant. I am always amazed at the wonderful treats they whip up, and it comes very naturally to them. Why Craig is not a professional gourmet cook at some fancy eatery is only because of the hours such a profession demands. He’s a family man, and his priorities keep him close to home.

A gathering of the hungry for dinner. (L-R): Kyleigh, Ceddy, Jill, Lavonne, that Tom Selleck look-alike, Craig, and John. 

The treat for dinner was marvelous chicken and pork, meant to be part of a salad. But I served mine separately, and the salad was on the side. It was all delicious. I ate my fill and then some.

We spent the evening relaxing on the cabin’s porch after dinner with the kids. Peach pie was served for dessert. After our warm visit, we returned to the coach around 2000 hours, and spent time on the computers, as usual. Lavonne headed to bed about 2100 hours. I wrote this travelogue and edited photos, and joined her about midnight. It had been a long and very pleasant day.

Day 3, Tuesday, July 19, at rest in La Pine, Oregon

We did a lot of nothing on Day 3, and that seemed just the right thing to do. We had breakfast and lunch in the coach, making a point of not placing more work on Jill, who is plenty busy most all the time, anyway.

The weather was warm, predicted to reach a high of 94°. The kids have no air conditioning in the cabin, but in La Pine, hot weather is rarely as hot as our valley at home. La Pine is noted for deep snow in the winter, not for particularly hot summers.

Ceddy visited us in the motorhome with Jill that morning, bringing big smiles to both Ceddy and Aunt Lavonne. I keep telling the family that Ceddy ought to be in modeling – that big splash of red curls and his million dollar smile would sell anything!

We visited with Jill, Kyleigh, and Ceddy on and off during the morning. We saw John as well, but he was gone shopping some of the time. Craig was required at the courthouse as he was called for jury duty. Having been excused as a juror, he was back home in the early afternoon.

More to click!

A margarita party was planned for about 1530 hours. We would host the affair in the coach because we had the air conditioning. Jill would provide the drinks because… well, because she makes very good and tasty margaritas!

And about 1530, the family showed up at the coach with all the makins’ for margaritas. Jill did the honors, and made a batch of very tasty drinks.

And, sure enough, everyone joined in on the margarita party – but we missed John. He joined us later and enjoyed a Sam’s Cola. A Shirley Temple was served to lil’ Ceddy. It is very clear in this photo why I say that little fellow ought to be a model – he loves the camera and the camera loves him – and he’s going to be a real heart breaker!

Craig and Jill served taco salad for dinner. As usual, it was a wonderful meal. We ate on the back porch of the cabin as the heat of the day had somewhat lessened. In La Pine, unlike at home in our valley, it cools off very nicely in the evenings.

Lavonne and I returned to the coach after visiting with family for a while. Our evening unfolded as usual, computer time, and bed time when it suited us. It had been a good day with family.

Day 4, Wednesday, July 20, La Pine, OR to Corning, CA via US97, I-5: 317 miles

We planned to travel to somewhere unknown; I thought going all the way home was a grand idea. Lavonne, however, didn’t want such a long trip, and we did agree to drive shorter days about a year or so ago. It would be good if I kept my word, and I did. We would decide about where we would overnight as the day progressed.

We bid the family goodbye with much thanks for their kind hospitality, and at about 0730 we began our return trip home. Jill and little Ceddy stood at the front of the cabin and waved goodbye with much gusto – especially Ceddy. I wish I’d have gotten a photo of them.

It has always been a pleasure to drive down US97 toward home. The traffic is usually light and the scenery beautiful. The drive was very enjoyable. We stopped at a rest area about 0900 hours for breakfast. Lavonne had peaches in milk for breakfast; I zapped a frozen Jimmy Dean breakfast sandwich.

While at the rest area, I dug out the ladder, bucket, etc. to wash the many grasshopper carcasses  from the windshields. It would likely be a temporary fix, as we would drive through more of the grasslands that were plagued by the grasshoppers.

When we arrived in Klamath Falls, I searched for a gas station with a less outrageous price. I stopped at one and pumped on $175 worth when it cut me off. Instead of swiping the card again, I decided to continue on and find a bit cheaper station. I found one selling the stuff for $6.20, a bit cheaper than the first, but still plenty outrageous. The current prices are all very discouraging. And we continued on.

We stopped at a rest area for lunch a few miles before we reached I-5. It was right smack in the grasshopper infestation, and sure enough, by the time we reached I-5, the windshields were splattered with grasshoppers again. And so it goes.

Our drive down I-5 was mostly downhill, and we made excellent time. Once below Redding, we were in the valley and it was hot! The high for the day was predicted to be 106° in Redding – and it was already 102°. Although I’ve lived in the Central Valley for most of my life, I’m growing less fond of the place each year I grow older.

Once in Redding, we had to decide where we’d spend the night. For once, we chose to stay in a RV park. We figured that Corning would be a good area, and we decided on the Rolling Hills Casino’s RV Park. We called, and they had plenty of room, so I set the navigator to take us there.

We arrived a few minutes before 1600 hours, registered for our stay and coughed up the $50 fee. We found a decent spot, pulled in, and set the coach up for the night’s stay.

The RV Park - Rolling Hills CasinoRolling Hills Casino RV Park (online photo)

The first thing I did was to plug into the 50 amp connection and turn on the air conditioners. We ran the air all afternoon and evening. We had run the generator for so many hours the day before at Jill and Craig’s, that we wanted to spare it from another long day and evening of powering the air conditioners. We avoided putting more hours on the generator, but we paid a pretty penny for it!

Once settled in, it was a comfortable afternoon and evening. Well… except for the hour I spent repairing a sudden water leak at our fresh water pump. The hose to the several faucets, etc., in the coach simply popped off its connection to the pump. Water spurted out of the pump and eventually onto the ground outside the coach.

The pump and hose were in a most difficult place to reach, inside a basement storage bin, accessed from outside the coach, and, naturally, during the maximum heat of the day. After some difficult stretching and bending and cussing, I got the hose re-connected to the pump – and we had water again. It’s always something!

Back in the coach, we settled in. It stayed hot all evening, and the high temperature recorded for the day was 105°. We ran both house air conditioners ’til nearly midnight. Our faithful generator was very pleased to have the night off.

The forecast for home the next day – when we planned to arrive – was an even 100°. Summertime in the Central Valley is pretty challenging. During my younger years dealing with the heat was not so difficult, but it sure is tough for us older folks.

We had dinner in the coach; I zapped a frozen meal which seemed the easy way out. Lavonne just hunted and gathered, and enjoyed fruit along with crackers and cheese. It was definitely a dinner at home choice, as we had no desire to go into the casino to peruse their dinner offerings. The shuttle from the RV park to the casino was an open electric cart, and it was simply too hot outside for us.

I called it a day around midnight, as usual. Lavonne had retired a couple hours earlier. We looked forward to arriving home the next day.

Day 5, Thursday, July 21, Corning, CA to home via I-5, CA99: 170 miles

I rolled out of bed around 0600 to find Lavonne was already up and sitting at the dinette perusing her favorite sites on the ‘net. We were just 170 miles from home, and we were ready to be home. 

We pulled out of our RV space at the Rolling Hills Casino at 0745 and continued south on I-5 toward home. Having stayed in the coach all evening, due mainly to the heat, our wallets remained unscathed in spite of all the gaming very nearby in the casino.

The drive down I-5 was a pretty boring activity. Everything was brown and dry except for the irrigated farmland – and there wasn’t a whole lot of that. All too soon our rural drive became a very busy drive through the city of Sacramento and surroundings. It is not at all pleasant – especially since we had been used to miles and miles of open country. 

We banged and bounced along the rough sections I-5 and CA99 through the Sacramento area and south toward home. Construction never ends on our highways. I grumble about our roadways when they don’t fix them, and I grumble about the inconveniences while they are fixing them.

There were miles of relatively new and smooth highways, and for the highway/gas taxes we pay, it seems they should be paved with the very smoothest gold! Kalifornistan’s highway/gas taxes are the highest – by far – than the other states. Ours is 86.55¢ per gallon while the national average is just 57.09¢ per gallon. Diesel, which Big Blue is very partial to, is a whole ‘nother story – in Kalifornistan, we pay almost 97¢ total tax per gallon! Just this month, Kalifornistan added 3¢ to its gas tax. It never ends!

But I digress… We arrived home about 1115 hours, and I got right to work unloading the coach. All went well, both at the house where all the stuff was put away for another day, and at the RV lot where I cleaned and dumped and filled.

At the RV lot I dumped the holding tanks, filled the fresh water tank, and scrubbed the very, very buggy front of the coach ’til it was good and clean. It’s amazing the bugs one can collect this time of year. Once done, I backed Big Blue into her covered space. Our RV adventure was complete.

That same evening, after getting myself all cleaned up and ready for a restful evening at home, I dealt with pretty severe angina. Having much experience with heart disease, I knew it was time to call for help. I asked Lavonne to call 911 for me, and in moments a huge firetruck pulled up out front of our house.  The firemen assisted me while an ambulance was on its way to take me to the hospital.

I was transported to St. Joseph’s hospital in Stockton, Code 3, meaning lights and siren were flashing and blaring all the way. It was quite a memorable ride! I spent six days there where yet another stent was added to my collection. I now have nine stents keeping my heart’s arteries open and flowing.

And now, over a week later, I’m doing much of my normal activity around the house. I have yet to resume my daily walks, but will do so as I feel stronger. I’ve dealt with heart issues since 1995, and am very thankful that we live in a time when such marvelous medical technology is available to us.

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: Oregon. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Oregon or Bust!

  1. Melissa Maston says:

    Dear Fishwisher, Very glad to know you are now safely home. I have enjoyed reading of your travels since seeing your humorous remarks on Arcamax. Knew something happened when your story ended abruptly. Best wishes for your continued healing, and may you and your “dear wifey” be able to continue your happy adventures in the future.

  2. FishWisher says:

    Hello, Melissa,
    Please pardon my tardy reply, but thank you for your very kind note. It was good to hear from you. It’s now been over a week since the heart attack, and I’m feeling pretty good, although I’m still pretty weak. This one was a pretty tough one. The thought of ending my RVing has crossed my mind because I’d hate to be in the middle of nowhere when a heart attack hit. But for now, I’m not considering that. So far, I’m still having fun.

    Thanks again for your visit – I really appreciate your kind words.

    – Dale

  3. Sandy and Jim Aerts says:

    Oh Dear God, Dale! Today is Aug. 15th and I just now remembered to finish up your blog! I had no idea!

    I’m so happy that everything turned out to be alright! I often have to remind myself to check my email accounts. I know that stents are easily put in and usually they do it in the morning and out by quitting time. Jim has one and that’s how his went. They went throught his wrist to the clogged up artery on the outside of his heart. He, too, felt so much better after.

    The best part about yours? YOU WERE AT HOME WHEN IT HAPPENED!

    I hope you continue to have good health now that number 9 is in. I don’t think that I know anyone who has that many. You best stick to your diet even if on the road! LOL

    Take care, Dale, and say hello to LaVonne.

    Sandy and Jim Aerts

  4. FishWisher says:

    Hi Sandy & Jim –

    Thanks for the good wishes. This latest heart issue was tougher than the past ones. It seems that it will limit my RVing to lower elevations, which would eliminate travels to Denver and even Oregon. I’m not sure just what I’m going to do – perhaps one of those units that make oxygen out of the air would work. Time will tell.

    I once did a google search for most stents, and one fellow was mentioned that had 30 some stents. So I’m still in the minor leagues as stents go – and I hope to stay in the minors!

    Thanks again for the note.


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