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A quiet two weeks [May. 28th, 2009|07:07 pm]
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It’s been a quiet couple of weeks.  After seeing the redwoods, we moved to gold rush country; Sonora, CA, in a fairgrounds campground for a couple of days.  Still no aircard service, though our phones worked fine and we found an internet café so J could work.  We drove the area and toured the local museum; we went to Angels Camp, home of the annual frog jumping contest -- Calaveras Co, if that rings any bells.. ;)  The record distances, immortalized with bronze plaques in the sidewalk (name of frog, year, distance) were startling: 20 feet, 22 feet, 24 feet.  I asked at the info center if they allowed teeny jet packs; the lady behind the counter was Not Amused, but did deign to explain that the winning distances were for three consecutive jumps.

Our campground in Sonora was pleasant, grassy sites shaded by large trees.  All around us was a gathering of E Clampus Vitus folks preparing for a weekend get together.  First I’d heard of them; they’re a drinking historical society, or possibly a historical drinking society, like yet strangely unlike such worthies as Masons or Elk.  They were all very friendly, anyway. 

On Wednesday we pulled out and made the easy drive up to Orland, CA, and a nice campground in Orland for J’s family reunion in Willows.  The weather turned hot for the weekend and the trees were producing pollen at an astounding rate.  I was ok but J’s allergies were in high gear.  We hung out with everyone on the covered patio at a cousin’s house, various people coming and going until the Saturday festivities.  It was a good party with lots of picnic food.  I couldn’t escape without being gifted with several containers of potato salad, which went well with my lunches for a couple of days.  We spent a few days in the area after the party and took advantage of the fact that we were close to Chico, CA to go by Transfer Flow, Inc and get a new fill neck for the truck.  It wasn’t too expensive, and it will let us fill our tank at truck pumps, often the only place we can get into to get diesel while we are towing.  We also made an appointment at the local Ford dealership to get Eloise’s oil changed and radiator flushed and filled, both of which were much needed. 

With multiple appointments and an early start time, I talked J into letting me take the truck in for the work while he stayed at the campground.  It turned out to be a good thing, because his work ramped up that day and he spent most of the day on the phone.  A couple of things needed his personal attention, as it turned out, so we had to revise our travel plans to fit.  From Orland we drove to Mount Shasta as planned, but instead of picking up our friend E at the train station in Dunsmuir and driving to see the coastal redwoods, we went from Mt Shasta to Corvallis, OR and spent the Memorial Day weekend in a KOA campground. 

Mount Shasta was beautiful; the campground, not so much.  The swimming beach on the lake had a stunning view of the mountain, and that was the best part of the park.  The sites were tight and the roads narrow.  Our site had no water when we arrived (quickly corrected) and the EMS system showed improper ground so we had no power either.  They came out and rebuilt the power post but it didn’t fix the problem, so we wound up getting 20 amp power from a nearby rental cabin.  Fortunately the weather was cool enough that we didn’t need our air conditioner..  Pulling out on Saturday was an adventure too.  Just before we were ready to get going, a truck towing a large toy hauler (type of fifthwheel) got stuck at the bend of the road right in front of our campsite.  He had to back up a few hundred feet to get out.  Between the tree on one side and the cabin porch on the other side of the road, that curve just didn’t have quite enough clearance: two feet less porch or one less tree and it would have been no problem.  We took the object lesson to heart and crept out of the site, swinging as wide as possible, almost scraping the front fender of the truck on the porch, and cleared the tree on the other side by a literal two inches.

After that, the rest of the day was a piece of cake.  We stopped for lunch at a rest stop and I did the last few grades into the Willamette Valley to get some experience towing on hills.  It wasn’t as bad as I’d expected.  The KOA was a pretty campground with very friendly folks.  We extended a day so that the drive to Newport would be on Tuesday rather than on Memorial Day.  E showed up just as we were getting the trailer in place and took us out to dinner in Corvallis once we were set up.  It was a nice restful weekend; we drove to the coast on Sunday and spent the afternoon in Newport so that we could check the route to our campground there.  On Monday we dropped J off at the airport in Portland for a flight to Philly, and on Tuesday E and I took the rig to Beverly Beach State Park in Newport.  It was a big help having her there to help back the trailer into the site.  Any number of trees and stumps were saved from a close encounter with the truck by her timely intervention.

Wednesday she and I toured Yaquina Head and then headed into Portland to drop her off and scope out part of our route eastward.  It’s an easier drive than the one from Corvallis to Newport, which is a good thing.  We’ve extended here at Beverly Beach until the first weekend in June, and if J isn’t able to be back by then I’ll take the trailer solo up to near Portland and then over to Boise.   I am really enjoying the campground and the Oregon coast, even if my instincts are betraying me.  Beverly Beach is Bethany Beach, and the ocean is east of here, right??