Saturday, April 11, 2015

Northern California and Oregon

Odometer 47903
Trip Meter  360

Wednesday April 8, 2015

Truck stop sign in Fernley NV

Up early again.  This is becoming a habit with us!  We pull out of the Churchill County Fairgrounds in Fallon, NV at 9:08 AM and point the bus west on US 50 towards Sparks.  We don't have a hard destination for today, but we think it may be Susanville, CA- we'll see how we feel by then.  Susanville is 145 miles or about 3 hours, not our average day but close.

Route Marker on US Highway 395 North
We do a confusing set of turns at Fernley that switches us from US 50 to Interstate 80 which will carry us into Reno.  As we are changing from I-80 to US Route 395 in Sparks/Reno Joan finds a Starbucks that we can get to quickly with bus and car in tow.  Sure enough, she deftly guides me to Starbucks right near an off-ramp and it even has a vacant lot next door where I can park the motorhome!  Minutes later, we are flying up 395 toward the California border with hot decaf, soy mochas, and a warm morning bun- that's living!  Is it any wonder that we own stock in the company?

A short while later we are driving along the shores of Honey Lake.  Looks like a very popular summer place with cabins and RV parks. Sadly the lake is nearly dry- only a little water way out in the middle somewhere.  Drives home how serious the the Western drought has become.  California is in the 3rd year of the worst drought of this century. According to an article in USA Today "More of Western North America has been persistently in a drought state during the past 15 years than in any 15 year period since the 1150s and    1160s".

California Highway 44 West

Surprisingly, when we roll into Susanville on Route 36 at 11:30 AM, we both feel like we want to got a bit further for the day.  On to Burney Falls, or McCloud- maybe we'll stay there.  Just west of Susanville we turn off Cal route 36 and onto route 44.   California 44 heads us northwest towards Mt Shasta, where route 36 heads due west to Red Bluff.

California Highway 89 North
One more change-up as we turn off 44 on to 89.  If we stayed on Cal 44 it would take us west to I-5 at Redding whereas 89 will take us northwest to McCloud and Mt Shasta.  Just after we turn onto 89 we see a good paved place to pull over for lunch. We park in turnout with a gorgeous view of alpine forest and heat up some excellent spaghetti leftovers and lightly toasted ciabatta bread.

One of the things Westerners count on is snow pack in the mountains to meter out water in a more or less even flow during the spring and early summer months.  We can remember times when there would have been snow banks lining the road at this time of year.

After a great lunch we are fat and happy, and ready to continue north.  We pass through an area called Hat Creek.  We stayed here one night in November of 2012 on our first voyage as full-timers, recently retired and off to see the USA (Click here to see that post:  BRJ Hat Creek )

Wintry scene on California Highway 89 near Hat Creek

After Hat Creek we begin to see a little snow accumulation beside the road and under the trees.  By the time we get to McArthur-Burney Falls State Park there is 2-3 inches of snow everywhere but the road, and the clouds are sprinkling a dusting of snow- but it doesn't look serious.  This is a beautiful park and well worth stopping- but not for either of us on a day this cold!  By now we know we will continue on to Medford, Oregon.

We join the I-5 freeway at Mt. Shasta and glide down the asphalt ribbon we know so well, through Weed, and Yreka and up the Siskiyou pass.  Siskiyou pass at 4,310 feet is significant, but seems to pale in comparison to two days ago when we climbed 10 passes all over 6,000 feet.  Perspective.

As we near the first city over the border in Oregon- Ashland, I prevail upon Joan to let me visit my old buddies at the home office of Adroit Construction where I used to work.  We stopped out front at 4:30 PM and I went inside to renew friendships.  I worked at Adroit for 20 years and these folks are like a second family.  Travis and Josh greet me warmly and as we are talking I realize it is like time has stood still, and it was only yesterday that we were working together.

Since we never thought we'd travel this far in just one day (360 miles) we had not called ahead for reservations.  The Medford area has too few parks for a metropolitan area of this size and it can be hard to find a good spot.   When you do find a  good place it will be expensive.  Our first choice is usually Holiday RV Park in Phoenix, Oregon, just 7 miles south of Medford.  The Phoenix interchange at I-5 is being replaced and due to the construction, you have to really want to go here to make it worth it- we did.  Holiday RV was full up however, park owner Joyce called over to the Pear Tree RV across the freeway and secured us a pull through site there.  At $46 per night this is the higest price we've paid for an overnight spot this year.  Highway robbery.

We called good friends Doug and Kathy to see if we could get together tomorrow for lunch and as luck would have it, they offered to meet us for dinner tonight!  I met Doug at Adroit Construction and the four of us have been friends for more than 15 years.  We ate and talked until the restaurant closed and only then said our goodbyes.

After an overnight rest, we'll be on the home stretch to the Oregon coast and our summer place.

Your Traveling Friends

Jeff and Joan

1 comment:

  1. Please tell me where that truck up on posts is located.