Our Fall RV Trip – The Debriefing

11-2-15 to 11-09-15 Lake Cahuilla (28)
Sunrise at Cahuilla Lake

Our fall Rv trip was 6 weeks of great times covering 4000 miles from the Canadian border south along the Pacific coast east to Arizona and then the return trip through Nevada, Idaho, Oregon and Washington state.

In spite of the mechanical issue’s and tire problems, it was one of the best trips of our lives. An extended RV tour can be so much fun, from the planning and preparation, the trip itself, and finally the rehashing remembering and discussions after the return home. Traveling with a group adds so much more to an RV adventure.

No matter where you travel, or who you travel with there is nothing like returning home safe and sounds. Home sweet home.

Our last trip was greatly anticipated, it was the first time Lynda and I have traveled from beginning to end with other RVers. We were not disappointed I am sure everyone in our group had the time of their lives.

This is a summary of our trip click this link if you would like to read from the beginning.

The Route

The adventure began in the northwest in Canada Oct. 24. After crossing the border into the US we headed south on the I-5 to Olympia and then west to the coast. The first day ended at the Quinault Casino, we dry camped overlooking an endless sandy beach. The weather was cold but no rain.

The next day took us on one of the most scenic drives of the trip along the Washington Oregon coast. Unfortunately it rained heavy most of the day, it was still a great drive. It would be amazing in the summer.

Our next stop was to be the Oregon Dunes National Rec area where we enjoyed a couple of days on the sand dunes. Great fun, riding the dunes on an ATV is a similar feeling to snowmobiling. The scenery was exceptional and riding on the beach was a blast.

NOTE – To ride an ATV anywhere in Oregon requires a Ride Safe Card. The card is free after taking the free online course.

After the dunes we traveled hwy 101 the coastal hwy which meanders the coast and the redwoods. Another scenic drive. Our destination this day was the Bear River Casino in Loleta, California. We love casinos for overnight stops, easy in easy out and we can enjoy some gambling and dinner or just wandering through. To top it off they are usually free and secure.

Oregon Dunes
The Oregon Dunes, sand as far as one can see

The next day, number 6 of our adventure, the 101 took us inland for most of the morning with still several groves of misty giant redwoods hanging over the road.

Our plan was to head to the coast on hwy. 1 from Leggett, California, big mistake. This was poor planning on my part, the road to the coast was the most treacherous I had driven since our trip to Bella Coola, BC years ago.

A narrow windy hwy not designed for anything larger than a compact car or motor bike, maybe an exaggeration, but definitely not a large rig towing or not.

North Cal Coast
The coast after the hell drive

This was almost the worst driving day of the trip, the road along the coast was not much better, but the scenery make it worth while. By this time we hit Fort Bragg on the California coast the group was tired of the drive and ready for warm weather.

We decided over lunch at a fuel stop to head inland at the first opportunity. The next suitable road inland was hwy. 128, although not a great road it was head and shoulders better than hwy 1 from Leggett to the coast.

Our original plan was to follow hwy 1 along the coast to LA and then inland, with a jaunt east to the Napa Valley.  This plan was preempted, the group had had enough of the coast and windy roads.

Napa Valley was our next stop as it was, we had made a 3 day reservation at the Napa Valley Expo grounds RV park. After a great night sleep we headed for San Francisco taking the ferry from Marin on the west side of the bay to Fisherman’s Wharf.

A great day, the ferry trip was exciting, a lightning fast trip across the bay past San Quinton prison and Alcatraz. A $2 parking fee and no downtown traffic to deal with was a huge bonus this cool sunny day.

The stop at San Francisco ended up being one of the best days of the trip if you don’t count the $85 fish and chip lunch for two at Fisherman’s Wharf.

The cable car ride up and down the streets soon dispelled the expensive lunch disappointment. We road the cable car to Union Square for a beer at Lefty’s Bar, by the time we were back at the ferry night was upon us.

SF cable car
Ready to ride the San Fran cable car

The next day in Napa was more relaxing with a one store wine tour. The samples were free but according to the knowledgeable clerk there are few free wine tasting rooms left, it is becoming a for profit business.

Our revised route changed our next destination to Cahuilla Lake, just east of Palm Springs, skipping the windy coastal roads as was the previous plan.

Our drive to Cahuilla Lake was to take 2 days with a stop overnight at the Boron rest area, a perfect place for one night with a large parking area away from the highway.

The next day was a disaster, I lost a rear wheel off my truck just before Palm Springs. Thankfully no one was injured although the truck suffered considerable damage.

Our plan was to dry camp at Cahuilla Lake for a week, a good price at $75/ week. Lucky for us, my truck took almost all of the week for the repairs to be completed.

Cahuilla lake Camp
Cahuilla Lake Camp

The week at Cahuilla lake was good for most of us, I think Lynda and I suffered from the shock of the accident for most of the week. The weather was great, warm and sunny except for some blustery days.

The next stop on our adventure is Squaw Lake north of Yuma, Arizona on the Colorado river, a scenic spot considering we are in the middle of the desert. The several days we camped here were good with trips to Yuma for Friday fish fry and the flea market. The only down side was our neighbors ordeal, getting lost in the river for 10 hours.

From Squaw Lake we moved a mile up the road to Senators Wash Reservoir. A nice spot next to the large reservoir, we fished, enjoyed boating, kayaking and ATVing. This area is on the same ticket as Squaw Lake $75 a year for 14 day stays.

Squaw lake
Squaw Lake

Alamo Lake  was the groups’ favorite week, our camping spot was beach front. The weather was almost perfect, except for the wind again and the near freezing morning temperatures, although  daytime highs were in the mid seventies.

11-20-15 Alamo Lake (2)
Alamo Lake camp

Fishing was decent, we caught crappy and catfish, with the fish we had caught at Senators Wash we had enough for a great fish fry.

The final stop before heading home was Sunflower RV Resort before heading north and home. My thoughts while planning this adventure was to end with a relaxing week of full hook ups and a pool in the warm sunshine.

In theory it was a great idea however the weather didn’t cooperate, although sunny it was cold and windy, not pool weather.

The trip home was eventful, click here to check out my previous article, “The Trip Home,”

Group Traveling

Lynda and I have traveled with others before,this was the first time traveling for an entire trip with a group. It was one of the most enjoyable experiences of our lives. Even if we exclude the fact we had all the help we needed from our group when disaster struck twice. Especially ‘R’ who drove me to the repair facility 60 miles round trip several times and helped me change a blown tire in the dark on the side of the interstate on the way home.

Traveling with others in some ways makes the trip more relaxing, camping together in remote areas or rest stops is far less worrisome than alone.

With a group there are more opportunities to try different experiences. Everyone has a different idea as to what is fun. ‘H’ and ‘A’s suggestion of taking the ferry to San Francisco is a good example of this. Lynda and I would not have had such a great experience alone.

When Lynda and I travel alone we rarely have a campfire and most of our evenings are spent inside our rig after the sun goes down. The trip with this group had us around a campfire every night enjoying pleasant conversation and laughs, although I did miss a few evening hockey games on the TV.

Left's Bar
The group at Lefty’s Bar in San Fransico

 

Traveling with others is never boring, the guys are usually taking care of a maintenance issue on their rigs or enjoying an academic conversation, while the women are discussing their grand children or some craft project.

The only down side of traveling with this group seems to be the trek from one point of interest to the next takes much longer than google maps or the GPS indicate. I still cannot figure this, we seem to do the speed limit most of the time, maybe it is at the stops probably too much visiting and laughing.

The other down side is the wine bill, we are obviously having too much of a good time when our wine bill seems to be in competition with the grocery bill, fortunately the grocery bill did win out.

I am definitely not saying that any group as a whole can or may not even be possible to get along while traveling, there needs to be a chemistry, a respect for each members’ opinion and craziness.

Traveling together in RVs allows everyone to have their own space, a place to be alone for what ever reason, an escape from the group if you need some private time.

I have heard of vacations turning into a torturous experience, most time it’s one person in the group who spews their stubborn will upon their easy going fun loving victims.

Fortunately this was not the case with our group, no one had an axle to grind or control issues to throw over the group.

We were all very lucky to have had the fantastic experience of this adventure.

With the help of my lovely companion Lynda I have published my first kindle book, “Our RV Travel Tales” for those of you who read my blog frequently there may be some similarities. From the initial review it could be a best seller.
I would be pleased if you purchase my book, but if not please  visit the link below to Amazon.com read the first 10% of the book for free and take the time to leave a review. Thanks so much.

My book is also available on Amazon.ca. click on the link below to check it out and write a review.

Thanks for visiting and reviewing my new book.

Gord B.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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