Friday, April 14, 2017

Port Orford the Long Way

Odometer 56281
Trip meter 536 miles

Okay, we peeked.  We looked ahead on the weather forecast to see that if we dallied any longer in the Sierras, that we were going to get precipitation- some of which could be snow in the higher passes.  We decided to get over the Sierras and head costal before the next storm system arrived on Wednesday with both high wind and precipitation.

We planned out the next three nights, first to Redding, then on to my sister's house in Blue Lake, and then the final leg of this trip, our summer home, Port Orford, Oregon.

US 395 between Carson City and Reno

The overnight temperature in Carson City was only 41- which surprised me, at an elevation of nearly 5000 feet, and as much snow as we've see beside the road on our way here- I assumed that the night time temps were below freezing, and rolled up our water hose before going to bed.  The next morning I sheepishly rolled out the hose again so we could take showers.  Maybe next time I'll consult the weather forecast (naw!  I'm not that smart).  As we were getting ready to go, I noticed a red fluid drip at the rear of the coach and decided I'd better check that out, because the two fluids I knew of that are reddish are transmission and antifreeze.  Turned out that it was the latter, and it looked to be coming off of the lower hose clamp on the radiator.  I took a nut driver and tightened the clamp about a full turn.   I'll keep checking and see if that did the trick.

One nice thing that has happened is that for some mysterious reason, the turnsignal lights on the car have started working again.  Each time we un-hook at a campground we cross our fingers the next morning when we hook back up- great plan, and it's working for us. 😊

As we skirted around Reno we thought about stopping for some Starbucks but after considering bumping around the surface streets maneuvering the 57 feet of our rolling train in and out of a parking lot- we just weren't that thirsty!

Before we knew it, we were back in California again, being asked by the polite border guard if we had any Arizona home grown fruits, or any firewood on board.  Having neither, we were allowed to pass back into the great nation of California ;->)

Lunch stop beside US 395 at Honey Lake
There is a long stretch of 395 between the Nevada border and Susanville that follows Long Valley Creek as it meanders along a wide open prairie, flanked on the south by the Diamond mountains. 86 square mile Honey Lake sits at the northwest end of this valley. Honey Lake is what's known as an endorheic sink meaning that there is only in-flow, nothing ever flows out of the lake.  The major contributor to the lake is the Susan River, and thanks to a very wet winter, the the lake is higher and larger than we have ever seen it.

CIO Joan
My wife and life companion is looking happy today.  She is the CIO of our team here, I am only the chauffeur, and mechanic.  Joan makes up the route iteneary, reservations when necessary, calls out the turns and lane changes, and provides narrative and color to our surroundings.  How do you think I know of such things as endorheic sinks- she's the brains of the outfit, and I'm lucky to have her.

View of the Sacremento River at Marina RV Park
Because our CIO has been busy, we have an RV space waiting for us when we arrive at the Marina RV Park in Redding.
This resort is river front, so much so that this past winter the water level in the Sacremento River was within 4" of flooding the office, and many of the RV spaces were under water!  That may explain why we found no 50 or 30 amp power at the pedestal in our assigned space.  The camp host tried everything he could think of to remedy this, but we decided we were fine with 20 amps- and let it go.

Relentless rain on CA 299 in the Shasta- Trinity NF

We didn't find out until the next morning from our neighbor that there was only 20 amp power to our whole row of spaces.  This morning was wet.  We broke camp and hooked up in a lull between downpours, but the rain continued un-abated all the way to the coast.

Welcome to Weaverville

Down town Weaverville
Weaverville looked waterlogged as we drove into town, a far cry from the hustle we saw here on our way through last fall.  Founded in 1850 during the gold rush, the town once had over 2000 chinese workers and its own Chinatown.  Today's census show about 3600 full time residents and the area is in economic decline.  After the gold rush, Weaverville was sustained by a robust logging industry,  Today the largest employer in town, Trinity River Lumber remains and has now recovered from a devastating fire that crippled the mill in 2009.
Tourism, and recreation has helped to fill the economic gap.  Close to several high alpine lakes and with the hiking and camping opportunities of the Trinity Alps- Weaverville isn't going bust anytime soon.

Signs of the season

We had been warned by signs since leaving Redding that there had been some major slides that had blocked the road and that  traffic while restored, was one-way at a time over many of the clean-up areas.  CIO, Joan had even called the Cal-Trans hotline to be assured that we could get through this morning- given the rain that had fallen overnight.

Major Slide blocked CA 299 near Burnt Ranch

the highway follows the Trinity River for much of the way and as we got close to Burnt Ranch we were awestruck by the enormity of this huge slide.

Temporary road through the slide area

The contractor has built a temporary road through the slide area and it is rough and muddy, but we are able to get through and that is priceless!  To be turned back here would mean 6 hour 262 mile detour.
Joan and I are impressed by the power of nature to wipe out the "improvments" of man.  It is very costly to keep these coastal routes open to travel during the winter

Fly a loop?

We smiled at his sign, is it even possible to do that?  Well, as it turns out the road comes real close to doing that!  We turned left for so long that we lost track of how many times we made a complete circle!  All the dishes in the cupboard are a mute testimony to the g-forces we pulled in that maneuver.

Mechanic at work
Slides, rain, and looping curves not withstanding, we did, in fact, make it to Blue Lake by about 2PM.  The rain has stopped and it is pleasant.
We set-up the bus in the street out in front of my sister's house because the driveway transition is too steep for us, an even if we could get up there, we'd block all other access.  It is a dead end street, and there are only two, or three houses on past this point.
Phebe is still at work, so I use the time to check out why the water heater and gas furnace won't light.  Access to the furnace is a little complicated as is indicated by the photo to the left.  In the end, I find nothing out of order as far as I can tell.  I'm going to assume it has something to do with the propane delivery, because the tank is 1/2 full and supply should not be a problem.  I re-assemble the coach and thank our stars that it is a warmish 63 degrees here.  This problem will wait 'til we get home.

Chart Room seafood restaurant in Crescent City, CA

We always enjoy our visits with Phebe and Rockey, and this is no exception.  Phebe whipped up a wonderful Thai noodle stir-fry and we talked and laughed well into the evening.  After extracting a promise that they will visit us in Port Orford this summer, we head off to bed.

The next morning we woke to another very pleasant day.  Not sunny but not windy or rainy either.  We say our goodbyes and with little fan-fare slip away on our last leg of this journey.
 Our friend Mark has maintained for years that the best fish and chips can be had at the Chart House on the docks of Crescent City, so today we decide to find out for ourselves.  Joan had fish and fries, and I had the fish tacos- both, while not "best ever" were superb.

We pause at an overlook to snap a photo of our bus with the Port of Port Orford in the background.
The rain starts up again and we trudge onward towards our homeport for the summer.  We arrived at Port Orford at around 4 PM and set up in our RV dock.

Garrison Lake

After Raining all afternoon we see the sun come out and get this beautiful glimpse of Garrison Lake 

Home is where we park it- we're home!

Your Traveling Friends

Joan and Jeff

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