We were up at 6:15 on the morning of October 21st and ready to go by 7:00. It was still dark! We were hooked up and on the road by 7:15, and at the ferry terminal second in line for the 8:20 ferry. When we got to the Peace Arch border, there was about a 40 minute wait. As we found going North in the Spring, this is an ideal border crossing for a big rig like ours. There was a shift change in border guards just ahead of us and the new one asked very little - where were we going and for how long. Have a nice day! The coach handles extremely well and after filling up with groceries at Haggen's in Ferndale, it was smooth sailing through Seattle and Portland. Larry had phoned ahead and it was ok to park behind Camping World in Wilsonville OR for the night. There were a few others there as well. Of course we had to go in to buy something - our step covers had totally fallen apart so we needed new ones.
Next morning we left in the rain and made it successfully over the Siskiyous and landed in Red Bluff at Durango RV Resort. This is a beautiful park we discoverd years ago when it was almost new. They've done a nice job around the pool area with some amazing big, new umbrella structures. We met Norm & Jan from Swan Lake in the hot tub. Again leaving in the rain (they really need it) we stopped briefly in Corning for olives, olive oil, and pickled mushrooms. Next stop was at Pinto Lake Campground in Watsonville CA. We skirted San Francisco and the only part that was a bit difficult was coming down Hwy 17 because it was so curvy. We had met Mike and Cynthia in St. Margaret's, Nova Scotia three years ago. We stayed in their yard last time we visited two years ago. This year we decided to stay in a campground and after we received a price from the local KOA of $80 for one night, we found Pinto Lake for $35. It is a small, 28-site park, all grass on a little lake. Lovely lady Patricia greeted us warmly and put us in site 28 which we had read on RV Park Reviews was a good site for a big rig. Mike and Cynthia came over for a drink then we went to California Kitchen for dinner. It was great to catch up with them, although we follow each other quite closely on Facebook.
Next stop on the 24th was at Orange Grove RV in Bakersfield. We had stayed here a few years ago. The trees were filled with oranges which will ripen in January. Maureen walked over to the California Fruit Depot for some dried fruit and nuts. We had Rusty's Pizza for dinner which is a must for us when in Bakersfield. Maureen sent an e-mail and complained that it was barely warm when it arrived and we now have another free one on file for next time. The first time we got a free pizza because Maureen had sent an e-mail telling them how wonderful they were! It really is good pizza.
We arrived in Las Vegas on the 25th, a couple of days earlier than planned. It's a good thing we did because it turned out that the annual Halloween Party was that night. Almost missed it! We had to make a quick run to the grocery store for potluck fixings - frozen meatballs. They have an amazing band every year and a good turnout for the evening.
It's still very hot here with the usual wind. We did some more exploring and stocking up of things in the first few days. Hine and Olwyn are here from Swan Lake, leaving Wednesday. Two other couples arrived Wednesday for a few days. Wednesday we had the coach and the car washed on our site. We think we finally got rid of that Edmonton mud! On Thursday night we met Angela and Ramu for dinner at Osaka Teppan Restaurant. We had met them last year using the same Groupons. By the time we were out of the parking lot, we were friends on Facebook and have kept in touch. It was the first day of the races on Thursday as well. We weren't there very long, as usual on the first day. There's not much going on.
Friday was Halloween. We took our lunch with us to the track. It's great that they allow you to do that. We also freeze bottles of water that stay cold for most of the day. Better than $4 for a bottle of water from the track! Traeger had a display of smokers for sale. We put some money down on one and will pick it up in Oregon on our way North in March. We went right from the track to Fremont Street and met the Swan Lake gang at Tony Roma's for dinner. Then we wandered up and down Fremont Street and saw some amazing costumes. Most of the gang left on Saturday to head further south. Sunday we were at the track the whole day. The temperature had cooled off and it was breezy. Such a treat!
We left Vegas the morning of the 3rd. We went straight down Hwy 95, through Needles, then down to Hwy 62. This is a two-lane good quality road that goes around the north side of Joshua Tree National Forest and re-joins I-10 near Desert Hot Springs. It added about and 1 1/2 on to our trip but was much more enjoyable. There was hardly any traffic and few trucks.
We arrived at Prado Regional Park in Chino, CA about 3:30. First impression is that this is a lovely park - about 2000 acres in all - with 75 RV sites, all large enough for us to fit into with full hook-ups. There were a lot of flies when we arrived. Apparently this is because of all the dairy farms in the area and a combination of heat and humidity. The next days weren't too bad. There are some interesting noises in this park: we can see the women's prison from our window, they have a very loud public address system that announces things like "the yard is open" at various times of the day beginning at about 6:30 am; there are also two shooting ranges from where you can hear gunfire. But on a positive note there are many different species of birds here and lots of grass. There are 2 soccer fields, 2 ball diamonds, a reservoir for fishing, group tent sites, and an equestrian centre with trails. Within a mile there are three prisons - Women's Prison, Men's State Prison and a Youth Detention Centre.
We didn't hook up everything because we knew we had our appointment with M and M Coach Specialists the next day. On Tuesday we were at the service place by 8:30. They had the coach all day and asked us to stay overnight. We found out later this was for our extended warranty - they said the mileage couldn't be different (Larry phoned the next day and got approval to go back to the campsite.) It was a quiet spot and we had water and power. The next morning (Wednesday) they phoned the extended warranty people to begin the authorization for service process. The company decided because there were more than three items to repair and it was over $1500 they had to send an inspector. Back to the campsite to do laundry - we had no underwear left!
We received a call about 9:00 the next morning that the inspector would be there within the hour. We hustled to pack up and were there within a half hour. We left - Larry had to get his iPhone battery replaced under a recall. We finally got a call about 12:30 and found out that the insurance company would not cover the replacement of a couple of gauges because they worked when the inspector was there. Of course when we got back to the repair place they still did not work as they were supposed to. Back to the campsite!
Now a bit about the repairs:
(a) Last March our big awning had stopped working properly. We got it repaired in Oregon. In August it stopped working again. Larry had a part sent to us along the way which hopefully would fix it. It turns out the awning has a "wow" in it and the whole thing has to be replaced. It will be covered by extended warranty but the parts will take 7-10 days. Good thing for Extended Warranty as the replacement awning costs $1,700. Luckily we will be in the area for the next couple of weeks.
(b) Cracked fog light. Will not be covered.
(c) Interior night shade motor. Larry had talked to the manufacturer who is in Canada and had two motors sent to us free of charge. The blind that was not working is under the valance behind the couch and we would be unable to do the work ourselves. This will be covered as well.
(d) Two gauges that show the levels of battery voltage, fresh, grey and black water. Works intermittently. This was the easiest of the jobs but the insurance company said they would not cover it. The fight is on! Update: not much of a fight required. With photos of the broken gauges and more of an explanation from the Larry and the service people, the gauges are now covered!
On the 7th we stopped at the Yanks Air Museum. They have a great collection of bi-planes from the 20s and 30s. Plus some fighter jets that were based out of the Chino Airport. A very good display.
On the 8th we went to the Ontario CA Home & Garden Show. It wasn't as big as expected and it didn't take long to go through it - free admission but $9 to park! We found some interesting windows there and when we were talking to the woman she told us they were made in Canada. Small world!
Relaxing last few days at Prado. Saturday the 9th the park became a zoo! It filled up totally - every RV site, every tent site, every group tent site - mostly just for the night. Some sites had visitors - up to 10 bikes at the site in front of us. Everyone was well behaved but not as friendly as we're used to.
We packed up Monday morning for our very long trek to East Shore RV - 18 miles!