|June 11, 2015 - Thursday
Okay, today we started the final journey home! 220 miles to Redding Elks Lodge. Pretty ride until we got to California, then everything is brown and dry! Fairly level easy drive as well, until we reached California! Up and down through the Klamath National Forest.
We stopped at a Pilot station for our final gas purchase under $3.00 a gallon! Paid $2.92.9 with our Good Sam 3c per gallon discount. For our RV friends, we are averaging 7.2 mpg on this trip. I usually am happy to hit 7 mg, let alone 7.2! I think the last 130 miles through the mountains will lower that for now.
Right after we went through Weed, CA and were approaching the construction of a new bridge across the Shasta River, I noticed some backed-up traffic on the other side of the I-5. At first I thought it was just due to the bridge construction, but as we crested the hill I could see it was backed-up for MILES! There was an overturned semi-truck on the North-bound I-5 Freeway causing a jam for almost 15 miles! Man, are we glad we were coming South!
As we were checking-in at the Elks Lodge, I mentioned the traffic jam and the girls at the desk said that several members of the Redding Lodge RV Club were heading North to another Elks Lodge that was hosting a Chili Cook-Off! I did see several RV's in the jammed up traffic. Tough!
It has been a terrific adventure. We did miss some sights as we went early in the season, but we got to see all the things we really wanted to. Portland, Seattle, Vancouver, Butchart Gardens, Banff NP, Lake Louise, Crater Lake, etc. We also went to some museums and attractions we did not know about, such as the LeMay America's Car Museum in Tacoma. Ate at some nice restaurants and met many nice, helpful people on the road. I have all the photos I took and many of Burt's and will go through them again and post to Shutterfly. I will send out a link to Shutterfly for those interested after I upload and categorize. Will take some time, but will do.
Set up at the Redding Elks Lodge where it is 98 degrees! Both A/C's are running and we are about to head to the pool to cool off. Will continue this one journal entry until we head home from Santa Maria Elks. Check out the photos of the pool! Delightful!
June 12, 2015 - Friday, Tracy Elks
Well, welcome to dry, ugly California! What a drive! Driving was not tough because we were mostly on the I-5. Very wide, mostly level highway. But, it was a boring drive. This part of the country, especially due to the drought, is brown and dry. Lake Shasta is VERY LOW! So much of the shoreline is visible it is difficult to look at. Every river we crossed, was obviously low. Boy, do we need rain!
So, after 220 miles the GPS says, "Destination ahead on the left." Then, "You have arrived" Only problem, the road is divided and there is no turn out to enter the lodge! We had to drive on looking for somewhere to turn around. I saw a Chevron station on the right at the corner and thought I would go through the station and turn left back on the street and, voila, problem solved. Nope! No Left Turn! I saw that the median ended about 100 feet to the right, so hung a u-turn and went back towards the Elks Lodge. Burt did the same. Not sure if it was legal, or not, but we got away with it! Not much of a Lodge, but they do have full hook-ups! Only 30 amp, so can only run one A/C at a time. Cannot run A/C and microwave either, as we found out! Blew the circuit breaker to our site. Camphost reset it for us and we are back! Closed the door to the bedroom and keeping what cool air we have up front. Did get over the air TV, so some entertainment! The Lodge is not near anything, so we are kind of stuck here. Will make dinner in.
Tomorrow is a long ride. 262 miles to Santa Maria Elks. Will break it up with a stop for gas at a Pilot Station in Salinas, about 118 miles down the road. Will fill up there, have lunch and hit the road. After Santa Maria it is an easy drive home. Will complete this final journal entry tomorrow night at Santa Maria.
June 13, 2015 - Saturday, Santa Maria Elks Lodge
A rather interesting ride from Tracy, (thank God we are out of there!) to the Santa Maria Elks Lodge for our last night on the road. It is 262 miles from Tracy to Santa Maria, so we were going to need to fill up somewhere on the way. I checked the Pilot/FlyingJ app and found a station 120 miles away in Salinas. Had almost 1/2 tank, should be okay.
As they say, the best laid plans.....lots of slowdowns and hill climbs caused us to use more fuel than normal. The digital dash gave a beep and flashed, "Low fuel". Thought there was enough fuel for the last 30 miles to the Pilot station, but didn't want to chance it. Saw a Shell Station in Gilroy and bought 10 gallons at $3.55.9 a gallon! Then went on our merry way.
Well, it was a good thing we did get those 10 gallons, as there was a car fire on the Northbound 101 which, of course, caused a 5 mile back-up on the Southbound lanes. Gulp, gulp goes the fuel! More slowdowns due to much needed roadwork. When we got to the Pilot station in Salinas, we were going to fill the tanks, then park and have lunch. Tight squeeze getting in and out of the gas pumps, then drove around to the rear where the trucks park. There were only back-in spaces! Nowhere for us to park! We had to go around to the front of the truck fueling depot, then make a U-turn to get out! Carole went in to the Subway to wait, so I had to double-park and run in to get her. She left her phone in the RV!
Burt remembered that where we filled up in King city there was lots of room to park, so we stopped there and had lunch, then pushed on.
Then after climbing the back side of the Cuesta Grade out of San Luis Obispo, we had to low gear it down the other side. Gulp, gulp again! When we got to Pismo, the traffic was very heavy, so we were crawling along and....gulp, gulp. Glad we filled up when we did!
Finally arrived at the Santa Maria Elks Lodge at 4:00 pm! All the full hook-up sites were taken so we have two electric and water only sites at the back of the main parking lot. Will certainly do for tonight. We can dump our tanks when we get back to the Leisure Village RV lot.
No dinner tonight at the lodge, so we went to a Chinese restaurant that Burt & Arlene have wanted to try. The food was excellent! Ate ourselves silly and came back to the Lodge. Arlene thought the basketball finals were on tonight so Burt dropped us off at the bar. Found out the game is tomorrow night! We sat and talked to some of the members. Very friendly folks! After about 30 minutes, we walked back to our respective RV's and settled in for the night.
After almost 5 weeks on the road, I finally vacuumed the carpets. Boy did I fill up the cannister! Will have the rig washed and waxed when we get home. It really needs it! Me, too, I think!
It has been a wonderful trip and I hope our journal has been entertaining and informative for those of you who have been receiving it. I will be writing reviews on the RV parks we stayed at and posting both to MyTripJournal and on the Good Sam Open Roads Forum. Some of the ratings for the parks does not tell the whole story. Hopefully that will also help you plan your stops on your next trip.
I think the ending is supposed to be......
That's All, Folks!
A,B,C,D (Arlene, Burt, Carole & Darryl)