And……..we’re off! In an effort to escape the polar vortex we uprooted early from Portland to head South away from the rain! Through a frozen tree obstacle course we went, a couple casino’s, Wal-Mart stores and a small leak later we made it to California! Here’s a briefing of our trip South:
Portland, OR to Tigard, OR (15 miles)
We were advised to get South of Portland before the ice storm hit so we packed up a day early (in the freezing blustery rainy darkness) and headed 15 miles South to Tigard, OR and stayed in a Wal-Mart parking lot. We got drenched in the process and it poured buckets all night! Our evening in the parking lot was peaceful and uneventful. The official policy of this Wal-Mart was no overnight parking but we called ahead and got permission.
Tigard, OR to Coos Bay, OR (265 miles)
The next day Megann went in to her last day of work only to find that nobody showed up because of the “storm”, which we considered typical winter weather. All the roads were fine around Portland. So she left early and we headed to her friend Dave’s house near Keizer who promised delicious home-made carrot cake. We had a nice visit with Dave and scored the delicious carrot cake but should have left the RV in a parking lot. The roads all around his house were littered with downed branches and the trees were all encased in ice, hanging LOW over the roads. It was a sketchy drive and I hit some of those limbs a little hard. I also discovered while parking at Dave’s, which was on a hill, that our emergency brake doesn’t really do anything. After putting it in park and applying the e-brake it still rolls and just the transmission holds it. We verified by putting it in drive with the e-brake on and taking off – you can’t even tell its applied. Add that to the list! We continued down I-5 to Hwy 20 and took it West to 101 at Newport where we continued South. It poured down buckets of rain the entire time. The windshield wipers couldn’t keep up with it! The free parking places we researched didn’t pan out so we headed to Wal-Mart again. This one had signs everywhere prohibiting overnight parking but there were multiple RV’s and cars with people sleeping in them so we joined the group!
Coos Bay, OR to Trinidad, CA (164 miles)
It rained all night again and in the morning we discovered we have a small leak at the skylight in the shower. I got on the roof in the downpour to discover that the impact with the frozen limbs cracked it and ripped off the gray tank vent cover. Luckily the leak was small but we decided to try to get to drier weather so we continued South down 101 again. We saw quite a few cranberry fields and sheep farms along the way and stopped in Port Orford to see the great ocean view and go down by the beach. There are tons of great views and places to pull off the highway between Port Orford and Gold Beach. We noted that Humbug Mountain State Park looked like an awesome place to stay. That evening we stayed for free at Cher-Ae Casino. The lot for RV’s was really uneven and sort of freaked us out so I’m not sure we’d stay in it again if we wanted to level up. The casino had a free membership card and if you signed up you got $10 to spend on the slot machines. Amazingly we won $90 with their $10 so we had some food and a drink!
Trinidad, CA to Willits, CA (169 miles)
In the morning we went to fire up the water heater and…nothing. We’ve got spark but no gas folks! Propane everywhere else but at the water heater. So we decided to get out some tools and…the compartment that has all the tools was stuck shut! Huh? So we gave up and decided we’d be heating water on the stove to bath with. Just rollin’ with the punches. We went and we checked out the town and the views then headed on our way. We drove through the Avenue of the Giants and stopped at Grand Father tree and the One Tree House along the way. And, it finally stopped raining! Yay! That evening we found another casino, Coyote Valley, to stay at for free with a much more level parking lot. We signed up for their membership too and won a few more dollars so we had burgers and a beer!
Willits, CA to Winters, CA (sort of)
The next morning (after our stove top baths) we got moving and Megann drove the motor home (2nd time ever) all the way through Santa Rosa and she did great! Along the way we stopped at the Solar Living center in Hopland, CA. They had some pretty interesting “green” living displays such as a solar oven, exercise bicycles that turn blenders and a gift shop full of all sorts of contraptions. We ate our customary on the road sandwiches and the continued on through Farifield, Vacaville, Winters and up Hwy 128 to Canyon Creek Resort near Lake Berryessa. We checked in with security since the day staff were already gone. The spot they put us in is pretty narrow – not enough room to put out awning but we didn’t complain. We met a bunch of the other work campers (there are a lot of them). One of them loaned us a screw driver so we could remove the hinges of the cargo door that was stuck and get to our tools. Turns out the plastic latches broke, probably when we packed up in the freezing cold.
What we’ve learned so far:
Shit happens. Yes folks, it is as they say, shit happens with RV’s. The most important thing we learned though is that we always find a way to make it okay and still have fun. It may have gorilla tape on the skylight and have to take a bath from a pan on the stove top but we’re still having fun! It’s all part of the adventure. We also learned that we can travel for multiple days without hookups and stay places for free and survive just fine.
Next week we’ll tell you a little bit about our first week at Canyon Creek Resort!