We left Indio around 11 am on March 19. We said goodbye to Bruce and Betty and the beautiful RV Resort. Our next stop will be Bakersfield RV Park with Rusty's Pizza for dinner. The drive around LA was pretty smooth. There was one point when the traffic came to a full stop so Larry thought he would be safe having a pee. Maureen held the wheel but sure enough the traffic started moving. She drove for about 40 feet and Larry took over. We took Hwy 57 to I-210 and then to I-5. The drive up the Grapevine was quite nice. There are a lot of trucks on this road, all struggling to get up the mountain. Over the other side there are miles of grapevines on each side of the road. We arrived in Bakersfield to stay just for one night.
We headed out on the 20th for Santa Cruz. We had met Cynthia and Mike while at Wayside near Peggy's Cove, NS. Cynthia has been encouraging us to visit on our way by. We got good directions from them and met them at a turnoff before their house, we unhooked the car and they led us to their house. The road to it is fairly narrow and quite curvy. The driveway down to our site (Mike has put in water, sewer and electric there) was a little hairy - very steep and we almost hit a post. We are here for two nights. The first night Cynthia made a wonderful tri-tip steak with grilled vegetables, potatoes and salad. On the 21st she and Mike drove us around the area for several hours. It is the first time we've seen an ocean since we left Texas and the first time we've seen the Pacific in almost 10 months. It was a beautiful sight! The day was gorgeous and we saw all the hot spots of Santa Cruz.
One of the points of interest is a concrete ship at Seacliff State Park. The ship is a tanker named Palo Alto which was one of three such ships built in 1917. She was built for wartime use as a tanker but World War One ended before ship construction was finished -- so none were ever used.
The Palo Alto remained docked in Oakland until 1929, when the Cal-Nevada Company bought the ship with the idea of making her into an amusement and fishing ship. Her maiden voyage was made under tow to Seacliff State Beach. Once positioned at the beach, the sea cocks were opened and the Palo Alto settled to the ocean bottom. By the summer of 1930 a pier had been built leading to the ship, the ship was remodeled. A dance floor on the main deck was added, also a cafe in the superstructure was built, as was a fifty-four foot heated swimming pool, and a series of carnival type concessions were placed on the afterdeck. The Cal-Nevada Company went broke after two seasons -- then the Palo Alto was stripped, leaving the ship and the pier to be used only for fishing.
Cynthia prepared another wonderful dinner for us. She is heading to North Carolina in the middle of the night to visit a friend. Mike will be there to guide us out in the morning.
Really an uneventful trip up the driveway to the top. It was quite narrow but Larry got a good run at it and didn't stop. We hooked up the car at the top and continued on our way. We went up Hwy 1 all along the coast to San Francisco. It gets a little hairy around the Devil's Slide road work. Kiewit (who built the Sea to Sky Highway to Whistler) is building twin tunnels through the mountain. The wind, rain and sea are eroding the cliffs so much that the road is in danger of falling in so a different route is being built. We took Hwy 1 through the west side of San Francisco and over the Golden Gate. The sun was out so you could see a lot. We then took 101 to Santa Rosa and stayed the night at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. Just gravel but level and 50 amp.
We left at 9:30 am on the 23rd and had the hairiest drive of our lives - hence the name "Hairy Highway" for Hwy 1 north of Santa Rosa (we took Hwy 12 to Hwy 1). The following signs seen along the way describe it perfectly: Narrow Winding Road Next 90 Miles, Narrow Bridge, Lanes Narrow, Cows, Pedestrians, Tractors, Bicycles, Deer and Tsunami Danger. Get the picture! It was a bit scary but Larry and the Coach performed perfectly! Would not recommend it and since we've now seen it, we don't need to see it ever again.
One area we went by was The Sea Ranch. It had a crooked wooden fence for a long way along the road. Research provides the following information. It is an unincorporated community of about 1305 (with 1818 buildings). It follows 10 miles of coastline. The original planner envisioned a community that would preserve the natural beauty. All the buildings are made of unpainted wood with no eaves. Lighting from the houses is baffled and there are no streetlights. The landscape consists of no fences, all native plants with a herd of sheep to keep the grass cut.
At least it was sunny most of the way and dry. There was not too much traffic although we did see skid marks from one who had just gone off the road. The picture on the GPS was reminiscent of the Ribbon Event in the Summer Olympics! The actual condition of the road was very good with very few bumps. We were so happy to finally get to Hwy 101 - mostly four lanes and shoulders. We arrived in Fortuna CA at about 5:30 for one night at Riverwalk RV Park. It rained in the night.
On the 24th the rain held off all day. We continued up Hwy 101 which continued to be nice, even though it did go down to two lanes - at least it had shoulders and passing lanes. The views are spectacular. We stopped at Brookings, just into Oregon, around noon for fuel and then for lunch as well at a rest area. Steve at the gas station said that last week they had 24 inches of rain in two days. That would explain the periodic sunken grades and recently cleared slides along the way. Rivers were high. There are a few curves and hills to climb but nothing like we've been through. We arrived in North Bend around 3:00 and are staying at the Mill Casino RV Park where we have stayed before for two nights. It rained most of the time we were there. We drove out to Horsfall Beach, right on the edge of the dunes to have a look at the ocean. Pretty dismal.
Monday morning the sun was out - none of the weather networks had called for that - and it was nice most of the day. It was a lovely drive up to Florence then across Hwy 126 to Eugene. We had an appointment with Cummins to have two of the axle gaskets checked and replaced. We had that done then went across the freeway to Premier RV Resort, where we've stayed before, and checked in. We got a great site backed right up to their little lake. We did a little final shopping in the three days we were here - tax free in Oregon of course. Wednesday the weather took a turn - lots of wind blowing in squalls. Thursday morning we woke to rain. We had another appointment with Cummins at 8:00 to check the generator. Because there was nothing wrong we got out of there earlier than we thought.
The original plan was to get to Vancouver WA for our free tow bar service late afternoon, stay overnight in their parking lot, have the service on Friday morning. Since we were so early we arrived in Vancouver before noon and were out of there by 1:30! We ended up at Wal-Mart in Lacey WA for Thursday night. Pouring, pouring rain all the way. We met a very nice couple, Jim and Marion, from Port Alberni who came over for Happy Hour.
Friday we drove to Ferndale and stayed the night at Cedars RV Resort, a Holiday Trails Park. We left there about 10 am on the 31st heading for the border. We had a very nice young woman border guard whose only real question was if we had any weapons on board! We are in site 56 at Pacific Border RV. We will be here for two months then on to Vernon.
Since April 11, 2011, we have put on 14,023 miles (22,568 km). We used 2021 gallons of diesel for a cost of $8,339.30. We averaged 6.94 miles per gallon. Phew!
This concludes our entries for this very long trip. We've enjoyed sharing our experiences with all of you and hope you have enjoyed it too. We've met some wonderful people along the way with whom we will remain in touch. Cheers for now and safe travels to all!
Larry and Maureen