grandson mason

grandson mason

grandson jaxson

grandson jaxson

Thursday, April 30, 2009

15-30APR09 - Monroe, WA (via centralia)

Wednesday, 15APR, we stopped in Centralia, WA, 130 miles short of our destination Monroe, WA, to celebrate Tax Day. Not really, we stopped because if we continued driving, we would have hit Tacoma and Seattle at the height of evening rush hour and we didn’t want to deal with that. We had dinner at the Country Cousin restaurant, where Corrie had the Yak burger. Turns out someone actually has a herd of Yaks in the local area.

Next morning as we got ready to leave the RV park we discovered that our tow bar for towing the Toad was broken. Amazingly the park owner was also a dealer of Blue Ox towing equipment and he was very willing to sell us a new and improved model. Soon we were driving north on I-5 with beautiful views of Mt Rainier off to the east. We arrived at the Evergreen State Fairground RV facility that we have stayed at in the past (see below BLOG).

We immediately headed out to our property outside of Sultan, WA. It turns out that western Washington had one of the “wettest” winters on record. The effects of all the rain and snow were clearly evident on our property; including one big pine tree that had fallen over due to the saturated soil. And thankfully our Toad had four wheel drive, because we got stuck in the mud several times. Saturday, 18APR, Dan’s cousin Paul Peters and his friend, Chris, came out to the property on their dirt bikes. Unfortunately, Chris’s stopped running for an unknown reason. We even tried to “pull start” it behind our Toad. Dan wasn’t sure this was a safe thing to do. But we gave it a try; the bike still wouldn’t start and no one was hurt.

We have quite a bit of tree limbs to dispose of on our property, so Dan has been looking a wood chippers that you run off the back end of the tractor. Dan found what he thought was quality model made in Canada. Corrie thought the price was too high and wanted to negotiate. The end result was not only the purchase of the chipper, but we also ended up getting something called a box blade.
Before we can build on our property, we need water; and since we are not near city water, we must install a well. Jerry Senner who Dan met at the Tractor Museum last summer, offered to “douse” for water & sighting of the well. Jerry even showed Corrie how to douse and it turns out she is a natural. The last four days of April Dan was in San Jose, CA, on a business trip for LSU.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

13/14APR09 - Sutherlin, OR

After a tiring drive through the constant ups & downs of northern CA and southern OR, we decided to take a two night break in OR. Our decision was also based on the fact that Tuesday, 14APR, was forecasted to be a series of rain bands passing through Oregon & Washington throughout the day.

On the drive up I-5 out of Redding enroute Oregon, Corrie was trying to get picture of Mt Shasta as we drove. One good thing about digital cameras is you can shoot dozens of photos of the same thing without running out of film. On the drive we noted a statue of a cow made of steel decorated with an Easter bonnet; but what caught our eye was sign advertising the “State of Jefferson”. Turns out that late in 1941 the citizens of North CA and South OR made noises about forming the 49th state of the USA (remember Hawaii & Alaska weren’t states yet). Why? Because they were dissatisfied with their roads! So there were some half-hearted actions taken to form their own state named after Thomas Jefferson. Before anyone could find out if they were serious or if their movement would grow, Pearl Harbor occurred. But apparently the “idea” still has some supporters. Here is their manifesto:

You are now entering Jefferson, the 49th State of the Union. Jefferson is now in patriotic rebellion against the states of California and Oregon. This State has seceded from California and Oregon this Thursday, November 27, 1941. Patriotic Jeffersonians intend to secede each Thursday until further notice. For the next hundred miles as you drive along Highway 99, you are traveling parallel to the greatest copper belt in the far West, seventy-five miles west of here. The United States government needs this vital mineral. But gross neglect by California and Oregon deprives us of necessary roads to bring out the copper ore. If you don't believe this, drive down the Klamath River highway and see for yourself. Take your chains, shovel and dynamite. Until California and Oregon build a road into the copper country, Jefferson, as a defense-minded State, will be forced to rebel each Thursday and act as a separate State.

We decided to stay at another Escapee SKP Co-op park Timber Valley in Sutherlin, OR. See the below Co-op parks and the Escapee RV Club. Although this park was not as scenic as the one in California, it still has a seven year waiting list to become a member! The park was also populated by numerous wild turkeys, rabbits and deer.
Even though Corrie woke-up to snow on Tuesday morning (by the time Dan got up, the snow was gone), we decided to do a little sight seeing to the Colliding Rivers at Glide, OR. This is where the Little River and North Umpqua River meet head-on, the only spot in the U.S. where such a phenomenon occurs. The river levels were not high so there wasn’t much colliding going on, and because of the trees we couldn’t get clear photo. Then we got hit with intermittent hail, rain & wet snow that forced us to scramble back to the car.

Next stop was Cavitt Creek covered bridge built in 1943. The design is unusual in that it features Tudor arch portals to accommodate heavy log truck usage in the past. And the upper and lower chords utilize raw logs as its members. Each side of the roofed structure sports three windows, and long narrow slits above each truss allow "daylighting" as well as ventilation for the bridge interior. Since the weather remained miserable, we headed back to the RV.

Trivia – What is unique about the Oregon state flag?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

11/12APR09 - Lodi & Redding, CA

After leaving the Yosemite National Park area on Saturday, 11APR, we decided to spend less time sight seeing and more time driving to get to Seattle area quicker. But we did take time to stop and visit Dan’s niece Aimee & husband Ben Conant outside of Lodi, CA, along with two of their three children, Dustin & Fallyn. Aimee is the oldest child of Dan’s sister Sharon and husband Tim Tompkins, whom you have read about many times in this BLOG. We interrupted their work on improving the house they are renting, but truth be told Ben didn’t seem to mind! We had a great, but short visit. Dan “suggested” to Ben that he might want to install a RV spot with 30 Amp breaker for our future visits.

The next morning we continued north on I-5. We saw several billboards advertising the Olive Pit in Corning, CA. So naturally we had to stop and try the many free samples. For some reason Dan had to have a bottle of the jalapeƱo stuffed green olives?

After driving a little farther than normal we decided to overnight just north of Redding. We knew it was Easter Sunday because we found one forlorn easter egg that everyone had missed right next to our RV spot.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

07-10APR09 - Coarsegold, CA (via bakersfield)

After leaving the Palm Springs area Tuesday morning we decided to travel in the most direct way north and then to just overnight in Bakersfield, and skip sightseeing for a day. One hour after our arrival at the RV park dust storms closed down I-5 and other local roads. In fact, there was a fourteen car/truck pile-up because of the dust on I-5 that closed the freeway for several hours.

The next morning we began driving toward Coarsegold, CA, so that we could visit Yosemite National Park. Enroute we stopped at Bravo Farms Cheese Factory to check out the cheeses and have breakfast. Bravo Farms is one of those “tourist” businesses that you see the billboards for miles and miles as you drive the freeway. Anyway, it turned out to be pretty good, with lots of free samples, and we even bought some cheese.

Right around lunch we arrived at Park of the Sierras RV park right in the foot hills of the Sierra Mountains. This has to be one of the most beautiful parks we have stayed in; even as scenic as some state or national parks! As described in the below BLOG link we are members of the Escapees RV club, and this park is what they call a “SKP Co-op” Park that our membership allows us to use. All the RV sites are owned by members, and are rented out when the owner are RV’ing elsewhere. Turns out there is a five year waiting list to buy any spot that is put up for sale! And even though we were in the middle of nowhere, there is one very big Indian Casino right next door run by the Chukchansi. That night no one won any money but Corrie “earned” a t-shirt as a comp.

Next morning it was off to Yosemite National Park. Most parks roads are closed until June due to snow, but Yosemite Valley, the main attraction, is open all year round. Based on our limited time in the park we wouldn’t recommend visiting here during the “busy” season because there is very limited parking and the roads are easily congested. And once the snow pack melts, many of the spectacular falls dry-up. Interestingly, portions of Yosemite National Park (ie the Yosemite Valley & Mariposa Grove) were the first federally protected lands in the USA. In 1864 President Lincoln signed legislation setting aside these two areas for the use of all Americans and their protection forever. The first ever such action by the US government. Eventually these two areas became the core of Yosemite National Park when it was finally created in 1890.

At lunch time we headed to the Ahwahnee Lodge for a bite to eat. This is a spectacular building built in 1927, and we could have easily spent hours viewing the beauty and details of the lobby, the main hall, various meeting rooms, and even the bathrooms. We decided to spend a little extra money and eat lunch in the main dining room, a truly magnificent venue! We were fortunate to get a window table with a view of the granite cliffs surrounding the Yosemite Valley and deer grazing in the meadow

After lunch Dan headed off to check out the Miwok Indian Museum and to take the afternoon Ranger led tour; while Corrie remained at Yosemite village and even rode the free tram around the valley floor to view the sights. By the time we left the clouds had set in with drizzle and snow falling. Corrie was not too pleased to have wet snow falling on drive home, but we made it safe and sound.

We decided to just sit around on Friday and do nothing, before hitting the road Saturday, 11APR.

Trivia – Why was Yellowstone the first National Park and not Yosemite? Why were Buffalo Soldiers sent to Yosemite in the summers of 1899, 1903 & 1904?