We crossed the border without incident if you don’t count Mr. Grumpy, as no incident, he demanded that I remove my sun glasses, where was our ID, I guess he wanted to see my beautiful eyes. Oh and, “what is the license number of your trailer”.
I hadn’t a clue so out I got and hustled to the back of the trailer, to retrieve the license number, I am sure the other border crossers to the rear were thinking, ”rooky”.
My navigator explained after we left Mr.Grumpy that she said, “you should take off your sunglasses,” apparently I was not listening “as usual”. She let out a big sigh of relief as we pulled away. Not sure what she was smuggling…… I will probably never know.
All was good, the first major hurtle past us, now it was time to fuel up, set the GPS for Tulalip Casino where we would spend the night… free.
Leaving late afternoon or evening always gave us a head start on the journey, we would cross the border, do some shopping and do whatever had to be done to get phone service. We would be ready to hit the road bright and early the next morning.
Just a note on US phone service, it is far cheaper than in Canada. We bought an android phone and had it unlocked so we could use it in the US. We did this a couple of years ago unfortunately the only company that our phone would work with was T-Mobile, not the best coverage. We bought their sim card and replaced the Virgin card we use in Canada. With T-Mobile it’s pay as you go, unlimited talk and text and a data plan for $50 per month. They say the data is 1 gig.
It was Saturday. It was planned that way. In past years we would leave at night usually Sunday after spending the weekend visiting the children, grand children and a few close friends. The only problem was we usually had to travel until midnight or so to get past Seattle or spend several hours sitting in Monday morning rush hour. Not a good way to start a journey.
After hitting Walmart we were escorted to the Tulalip RV lot by the shuttle driver, I stabilized the trailer for the night. The shuttle driver’s job is to pick up customers from the parking lot and take them to the casino door, very thoughtful or maybe to get you inside faster.
The couple in the RV next to us were having furnace issues, not fun on this very cool evening. They were not there in the morning, I am guessing they were not able to handle the cold.
Beverages were served by my multi- talented navigator, then dinner and a good nights sleep.
The night was good at Tulalip casino.
The Morning After
The next morning was sunny with frost, as luck would have it no frozen water lines.
Leaving Saturday and traveling on Sunday through Seattle and Portland was a great move, less traffic and less stress. As it worked out, we also passed through Sacramento and Stockton before rush hour. We have always tried to get through a major city before or after rush hour, saves time and aggravation. Although some cities like LA seem like every hour is rush hour.
I had been checking the I-5 highway weather for more than a week to make sure we would have a good weather window. I always pay special attention to Mt. Ashland and Mt. Shasta, the two critical weather areas. There had been a 75% chance of frozen mix the week before but it had been gradually reduced to 40% by Saturday morning. Good to go.
If it was later in the spring or early fall we would have taken I-15 to Twin Falls Idaho and then directly south. This alternate route is by far the shortest and easiest, but some areas like Ely, Nevada are subject to cold temperatures and snow. The temperature was supposed to drop far below freezing during this trip, so I opted for the I-5. We actually spent a snowy night in the mountains above Ely during our rooky years.
Sunday was a good and boring drive. Sunny most of the day making for a pleasant trip. We arrived at Seven Feathers Casino in Canyonville, Oregon, right on schedule. Another free night.
My navigator, at my direction, figured out that we were making decent mileage of 11.1 miles per US gallon, 3.78 liters. I know it’s supposed to be kilometers per liter but I don’t know what that means.
I was happy with this. Our motorhome not towing would get a gluteus seven miles per gallon. Our new rig is getting over 50% better fuel economy, that amounts to very nice saving when traveling +4000 miles.
We awoke to rain showers at Seven Feathers, I thought oops I hope we are not in for a surprise through the highway passes. We got away by 8 am ish on damp roads that soon turned to dry. Traffic was light and we made good time, we were through the passes and past Redding Cal. by lunch time. The rest of the day was uneventful with sunshine and a dry highway made for a pleasant drive. As I said we were lucky and passed through Sacramento and Stockton before rush hour
We had made a reservation at Kit Fox RV park in Patterson Cal. a nice park and far enough from the I-5 for an undisturbed sleep. We paid 50% off the normal rate, click here to check out Happy Camper club for 50% off RV parks.
Another Day Another Mile
It’s day three on the road and we know if all goes well it should be the last full day of travel. So we head out knowing that this would be the longest traveling day. Our route takes us on I-58 through Bakersfield, Mojave, Victorville and then east on I-10. I always like to get off I-5 before grapevine hill climb to over 4000 ft. and then down into L. A., the route along I-58 is probably slowere but less congestion and less stress.
We needed to make Quartzsite Az. before dark so we could find a spot off Dome Rock Road just before Quartzsite. Why Dome Rock Road you say? Its free you see. We realized we forgot to make allowance for the change in time as crossing the Colorado River and mountain time. We arrived just before dark, set up and spent the night.
Dome Rock area in Quartzsite is a popular dispersed camping area just west of town on the south side of I-10. There is a 14 day limit but I am not sure if anyone actually checks. It has many private camping areas, but most of the spots are less than a mile from the highway, too close for me, although it is free and good for a night or two.
The Last Day
We got away later than we hoped, probably the change in time. Our goal today was to drive to Surprise on the northwest corner of Phoenix, pick up our satellite dish that we left behind last season, more about that later. The drive to Surprise was only a couple of hours and then a couple of hours more to our destination.
The day was uneventful, which of course is the best day when traveling. I dropped Lynda off at Walmart to get more supplies (wine), while I retrieved the satellite dish.
We were planning to spend most of March in the desert beside a lake (reservoir), I cannot mention the name or suffer death and dismemberment from my friends.
The fishing is supposed to be good by all accounts, but you know fish stories. It will be nice to relax after 2000 miles in less than 4 days. I was saying to Lynda after we left Surprise, “next time we will take a break in the middle of the trip”. She nodded approvingly but she knows that pigs will probably fly first.
Arrived at the lake in the late afternoon, there seemed to be more campers than last year. The camping is free and your are only supposed to stay for 2 weeks but again I don’t think anyone checks. I got the skinny on the fishing and as usual I was a week late. How many times have I heard “you should have been here last week, couldn’t keep them off our hooks”. Another fish story I’m thinking.
The weather is fantastic not a cloud in the sky, highs in the low 70’s F or 20’s C, cooling off a night with a light breeze.
As I am writing this it is Saturday, a week since we left. We have recovered nicely from the trip with some good nights sleep…. .oh and wine.
The Bottom Line
For those of you who would like to know, it cost…. $514.00 diesel fuel at an average price per gallon of $3.10, traveling about 2000 miles or 2700 km.
My truck is a 2004 Chev Silverado 3500 duramax diesel and our trailer is 36’ long and weighs 8800 lbs, 3992kg loaded, although I never travel with the tanks full, even the fresh water, maybe a quarter of a tank.
Last note my fuel cost does reflect a discount of $.03 cents per gallon at Pilot and Flying J because I am a Good Sam member. Click here to join.
I have compiled a comprehensive list of a the items you may need while traveling in your RV click here to see the list.
I hope you enjoyed this article and it will help in planning your RV travels. If you have any comments or suggestions I would love to read them.
Thanks for visiting.