Saturday, August 7, 2021

Made it to Sacramento Area - a 3,700 Mile Trip

 

A 2,800 mile trip which turned into 3,700 mile trip.  Left on Tuesday June 22nd, in what normally would be a 7-10 day trip, turned out to be a 6 week 2 day trip.  But it included a visit with Marcia's brother and sister-in-law, visit with her friend of 60+ years, seeing my entire family (children & first wife) with the wedding celebration of my youngest son, meeting my daughter-in-laws entire family, a dinner with Marcia's cousin, lunch with Marcia's niece, and some extended stays at a northwest Georgia RV park, Cleveland Fairgrounds, and introduction to the Amana culture in Iowa.  Had some hot weather, some hot and sticky weather, some hard rains, little bit of hail, high winds, low humidity and extreme fire weather.  Other than having to replace a toilet, and losing our Microwave/Convection Oven to an Atlanta pot hole, our motorhome worked flawlessly, and we are thankful for a safe trip...despite the many patches of rough roads which made driving a bit uncomfortable.  

Dad, it is SOOOO nice up here...there are SO MANY birds and little squirrels, and so far I have seen EIGHT other dogs.  Do we REALLY have to leave?

Yes Indy, we do...but I promise you, you will LOVE Sandy and Arny's backyard...you can run, you can smell, you can ... ummm ... do your business in MANY different places, AND you get Arny treats in the morning and Sandy treats in the afternoon.  And I am sure Patti will bring Parker over for some cousin time now and then too.

OK dad, but I am telling you, it has been a LONG LONG LONG trip so far...I hope we don't have to leave too soon once we get there.

Well Indy, the plan is to stay through Thanksgiving...that is nearly FOUR months from now!  And when we go home, we will be taking the shorter route for sure.

Oh Dad, YOU were so right...I just LOVE this yard, and I can still smell things that I smelled last year when we left...and I think Bubba left something way over in the corner of that old shed over there {snicker - snicker}.

Well, I don't think Bubba left anything like that, but you might still be able to smell Bubba, Skruffy, Parker and Charlie, along with other dogs that have visited Sandy and Arny's backyard over the years.  

Hey, gotta go...I think I see me a squirrel to chase!

The 'famous' Naked Ladies

On Wednesday a new fire started up just north of I-80 which we wondered might close the Interstate down...but the wind blew it north and northeast...it was not a problem for us on Thursday, but it sure did blow up fast and do damage (still doing damage) to the area.  We had an easy trip down the mountain to Sandy and Arny's backyard and by noon we were all settled in.  

Indy RAN and RAN and RAN all over the backyard, and loved seeing Sandy and Arny until they came up to the motorhome where her instinctive reaction is to protect us from intruders.  That, we hope, will change real soon.  This morning she went up to the sliding glass door and looked in hoping for her morning treat of pork.  Once she saw someone moving, she barked...was a bit shy at first when Arny came out, and enjoyed the treat when he gave it to her.  This afternoon (and yesterday) she enjoyed Sandy's afternoon pork treat too, even sitting down when Sandy asked her to.

Mom and Patti came by Thursday late afternoon, and I took mom back to her facility...then picked up Marcia and my dinner meal from Jimboy's Tacos (2 taco salads), the first of many meals we will get from Jimboys while we are here.  

It is nice to be back with family...


Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Truckee California ... Now THAT'S What We're Talking About!

 

Camping along the Truckee River

With CLEAR, BLUE Skies!

With some Snow Geese riding the river looking for food...

Just enough solitude that you can forget the passing cars going up and down highway 89, knowing that as night falls, the amount of traffic dwindles down to an occasional vehicle which can't pierce your good nights sleep.

 

It is even quiet enough that you can hear the river from inside the motorhome if you listen hard enough.  With temps in the high 80's, humidity at a paltry 17%, it feels nice...it feels like you never want to leave until the bitter cold and snow forces you away.

But for one of us, it is her FIRST TIME here at Granite Flats Campground just outside of Truckee, California, along highway 89.  She wants to see everything...she wants to see the other dogs, the other people, the young kids running along the campground road, the little chipmunks, the splash of the water and the sound of the geese.

And when dad goes out capture a picture of the geese, she whines at the doorway to get his attention.  Hey, did you forget something here?  Hey DAD!  I am still behind this door here!!!!

We have not been here since 2017...and things have changed.  There are no more "walk-in, first come-first serve sites, at least not this time of year.  If you have a tow car behind your motorhome, it says it cost another $5 for an extra vehicle, but they did not charge us for the car. (If you have a truck pulling a trailer or 5th wheel, you only have one vehicle and you don't pay the extra $5 either...so it makes sense.)  The campground road is in desperate need of improvement...it is full of potholes, bumps (frost heaves perhaps), and it is pretty hard to get into without a reservation during the Thursday-Sunday time periods, unless you plan way in advance.  They still charge a reservation of fee of $8, does not mater if it is for one night or 14 nights (good luck getting a site for 14 days straight).  Overall, it cost us $30 for two nights with our senior pass ($11 per night plus $8 reservation fee).  When we first stayed her back in 2013 or 2014, it cost us $7 per night, you did not have to reserve.  

We were on the road by 6:30 this morning...both had an ok sleep at the Welcome Station RV Park.  It is really a good park for a one or two night stay...but with little in the area to see without a long drive, it really is just a place to crash and recuperate.

With the highway speeds of 75 mph, the only thing we passed all day was this wagon train!  This one is outside the California Trail Interpretive Center just west of Elko.  Had a few road construction spots, but nothing that slowed us down much. 

Of course, we always have made fun of the BIG "BM" on the mountain outside Battle Mountain as kids, still do today too. 

The smoke from the California and Oregon fires was very evident...had me a bit worried about how it would be in Truckee even though I looked at about a dozen online cameras the past few days.

Here is someone riding in her bed in the back, taken through the rear-view mirror.  Boy, she looks like she has had enough of this driving!

We finally arrive in the Golden State, given the nickname because it takes Gold the pay the taxes they extract from you each year!  (lol)  We had driven the remaining 345 miles into California with stops for gas twice (have to get that cheaper (barely cheaper) Nevada Gas while you can, a stop at a rest area for breakfast, showers and dumping our tanks, and a few more rest area stops tossed in for the bladders. 

It is always nice to see my ancestral home name on a road sign indicating just how far away we are.  Let's see...Sacramento is 125 miles away, Truckee is 19 miles away, so we have about 100 miles left when we leave here on Thursday morning to get to Sandy and Arny's house in Citrus Heights.  But for now...we are going to sit back and chill...after having a nice lamb burger from one of our favorite Burger Stops, "Burger Me", which is just 2 miles down the road.  YUM...and we get to eat there again tomorrow night too!!!!!


Monday, August 2, 2021

Finished Nebraska, through Wyoming & Utah, into Nevada

 
At Little America in Wyoming

Our first night at Cabela's was beyond interesting.  Around 11:40 I heard water running. Thinking it is a broken water line, I open the door and realize they are watering the lawn...but one sprinkler is broken and shooting water sky-high just in front of our motorhome.  Ok, all is well except now Indy wants out...so her and I go out and get wet, she does her stuff and we get wet coming back in.  All is well...until around 2 am when the SKIES opened up.  For nearly 30 minutes it rained and rained and rained, with lightening and thunder and winds.  Fortunately the National Radar showed no warnings, and sure enough it passed without incident.  The second night was fine...although the lawn was again watered (along with the roadway where the broken sprinkler's water landed.

We were up by 6 am and hit the road within 20 minutes.  Even then the sun was being blocked out by the smoke from the western fires.

Looking west, you can see the smoke off in the distance, despite the rain the area got 36 hours earlier.

Very quickly we were entering Wyoming.  We zipped through Cheyenne, and we had already gained 2,000 feet in elevation from Sidney.  My plan was to stop for breakfast at the Rest Area between Cheyenne and Laramie. 


At 8,640 feet in Elevation it is the highest spot along I-80...higher than Donor Summit which is only 7,239 feet!  

This part of the Interstate is linked up with US Highway 30, which is the Lincoln Highway...so they have this wonderful monument of Lincoln at this rest are.

After a quick breakfast, we hit the road again.   Wyoming is full of hills, rocks, ranches, weeds and sagebrush.

At another rest area we saw these two guys (the gal stayed with the truck) working with this dog on these large boulders.  Marcia thought they might be training the dog, and sure enough they were...but neither of us thought about taking a picture of them working with the dog...our bad.  Anyway, the dog is on its way to Utah to get more training, and then it is going to Africa where it will work to track down and fight elephant poachers.





 These four pictures above were taken around Rock Springs and Green River.

By 2 pm we reached our destination of Little America, about 60 miles away from the Utah boarder.  The first picture in today's blog was were we first parked...we were a bit worried about how many RVs were there when we arrived...but they all left within the hour, and we picked a good spot in their RV area for the night.  Except for a bit of highway noise, we did not have to fight any truck noises, although a few latecomers were a bit noisy.  Not bad for a free night's sleep.  It is good to see that Little America, first built in 1952, is in such good shape.

We hit the road by 7 again, and found overcast skies, and very soon a light, but persistent rain.

But it did make for some nice pictures, smoke free pictures.

Soon we were across the Utah border.

Stopped for breakfast at a rest area a few miles into Utah.

And then found ourselves headed down Parleys Canyon.  It was a bit of a white-knuckle drive down the canyon and through Salt Lake City...and the light rain did not help any.

Along the receded Great Salt Lake shoreline is Saltair III.  Number one blew down and then burned down.  Number two was set afire by an arson.  Number 3 lies there mostly unused.  Never seen the inside, but have seen pictures of all three.  Number 1 was very popular, and the other two never could reach the popularity of the first one.

WOW, look how far down the Great Salt Lake is right now!  I have seen it low like this before, have also seen it reaching the roadway of I-80...held back in a few places by sandbags.

The rain started to let up out by Tooele (pronounced as Too·i·luh), and it was gone for the rest of the day.

The Tree of Utah sculpture created by Swedish Artist Karl Momen, was put alongside the roadway in the 1980's.  For decades folks would park near it and take pictures, but now there is a fence and highway sign which says "No Stopping".

Marcia did a great job getting this picture as I slowed down to 55 mph.

Our destination for the day is the The Welcome Station RV Park about 8 miles west of Wells, Nevada.  There are around 20 RV sites, just less than half are pull-through, each full hook-up, and the rest pull-in or back-in, some with full-hookups and other with just water and electric.

It is a Passport America campground, but only on Sunday through Thursday and only for one night...so we were only charged $17.50 for our one night stay.

Glad I called yesterday because the park is full.  Who would have imagined that here in eastern Nevada, as dry and desert-like that it is, that you can find an Oasis like this with plush green grass, large shade trees, and friendly folks running and owning this park.


Friday, July 30, 2021

Done with Iowa, Through Most of Nebraska

 

Thursday morning we left Amana around 7:15.  The evening before I emptied our tanks, unhooked the water supply, and hooked the car up.  We were awake by 6:45.  By 7:30 we were on I-80 headed west.

Look, we have been on the road for OVER a MONTH now!  You keep talking about "Aunt Sandy" and "Uncle Arny" and Grandma and Patti and some dude named Parker.  Hey, I just want to get there...How Much LONGER are we talking about????

Indy, we will be there when we get there.  Just enjoy the scenery will you?

Every time you get into Mom's arms, you fall asleep...you can't expect her to hold you the rest of the trip you know.  Why don't you play a game...

Hey dad, do you know what you get when you stick your head out the window?

No Indy, what do you get?

A REAL bad hair day!   Are we there yet????

Sigh...

After a fairly easy drive through three major cities (Des Moines Iowa, Omaha and Lincoln Nebraska) we pulled into the Blue Valley Camping Area, in Seward, Nebraska, for a nice, quiet, very reasonably priced nights sleep.  Arrived around 2 pm, we were the sixth RV in the spot which can handle 16 RVs.  Immediately after our arrival a 5th wheel pulled in and parked right next to us...but that was it for the night.  $10 is their senior citizen price, I wrote a check and put it in the envelope with the required info, and put it in their metal drop box.  It is electric only, but they have a dump station, but not a water station.  

Like many of the Middle America County Seats, Seward has a prominent County Courthouse...

...surrounding the square with older business buildings.  In this case, all of the buildings seemed to be filled with active businesses. Seward, first platted in 1873, has a population of just over 7,000, and it represents about half of the population of Seward County.

We were on the road today by 7 am. It was a quiet night, and around 6:30 two trains went through town and the blows of the whistle got us out of bed.  A 325 mile drive, straight west on I-80, with only one major, and one minor work area to worry about.

This is the Great Platte River Road Archway Monument (also known as The Archway that went Bankrupt, paying off bonds of $20 million for only $100,000!)  Built in the year 2000, it finally turned a profit in 2017.  The City of Kearney now owns the archway.

 

Hey dad, you look like you're in need of a better hair day...why don't you stick YOUR head out the window?

Are you trying to tell me that I did not comb my hair this morning?

You said it, not me...

At 1:00 we pulled into Cabela's in Sidney, Nebraska.

Did not know until today that Bass Pro Shop bought out Cabela's.  Cabela's started in 1961 by Richard N. Cabela.  By 2016 they had over 80 stores, and in 2017 they were bought out by Bass Pro Shop, and many Bass Pro Shop items are sold in this Cabela's.  But we are not here to shop...


...we are here to camp.  This Cabela's has a RV Park, and it is a first come - first serve park.  I figured that we would need to get here early to ensure a spot, and arriving at 1:00 pm (Mountain Time now) was perfect.  We got to select a spot on the end, with a tree on both sides, full hook-ups for $40 per night, but with 10% discount for AAA members (and Good Sam and I think AARP) if you go into Cabela's to pay.  We decided to stay 2 nights so that we don't have to fight for a place to stay on Saturday.  We have a week to get to Sacramento, and we should be able to spend three nights in the Truckee area as long as there are no fires in the area.


Glad we got here early because by 5:30 there was only one back-in sight left, and it was near us...a guy backed his 5th wheel into that slop around 6.  Of course, you can park in their lot for free...which is what we did in Anchorage Alaska back in 2016.  This Cabela's has 27 full hookup pull through sites, 4 full hookup back-in sites, 8 electric only pull through sites, 14 electric only back-in sites, as well as 6 tent sites.

If you ever visit this Cabela's, be sure to stop and look over the Pony Express Monument that is along the main entrance.  It is a good tribute to those men

There are many Pony Express monuments, I have seen the one in Sacramento and the one is Salt Lake City...perhaps others.  When I was in 6th grade, I loved reading about the Pony Express, and Buffalo Bill, and other western stars.