March 1-29, 2003 - Trip to California

March 1 we took off on our second trip to National RV's factory service, this time we didn't overnight at a Wal-Mart or Camping World the night before and instead went back to Brookhollow RV Park in Kelso, WA, a 145 mile journey.  This is a nice spot to stop for us, a mile off the freeway so its quiet, reasonably priced, and easy to get in and out of. 

On the 2nd we got an early start and made it all the way to Grants Pass, OR, 307 miles. We were now done with I-5 for a while.

The 3rd we drove across to Crescent City, CA via Cave Junction, OR.  This road scares some people because it has some narrow spots, but we don't remember it being that bad.  At Crescent City we were on US101 heading down the California coast, here are some pictures we took at a rest break:

Then we came around a corner and had to stop for pictures of Elk:

Evita was traveling very well, she enjoys the adventure:

We made it to Fortuna, CA, after a 190 mile day.

The 4th was more interesting.  We drove south to Leggett and stopped for lunch.  We had a purple lunch:

What is that stuff?  It is turkey ham with a blackberry sauce and black rice we got at Trader Joe's.  It was quite tasty, but we did think it was worth pictures for the humor.

We were fortifying for our trip on California Highway 1 to Fort Bragg, 44 miles of curvy and narrow road.  The first half is over the coast range and took about an hour.  We survived it fine.  The views when we hit the coast were wonderful:

The rest of the 44 miles took another hour, but mostly that was because it was so beautiful.  Our day was 119 miles, but much of it was at 25mph.  We stopped at Fort Bragg for two days so we could have one day to enjoy an area we hadn't been to since the early 90s.  The weather was really being good to us.

We really packed our time in Fort Bragg.  The day we arrived we toured the city and bought some Evita toys since the ones she already had were forgotten at the house.  The next day we drove down to Mendocino, here are pictures from the city park on the ocean:

Then we drove south on CA1, all the way to Gualala.  We pulled over many times both going north and south.  At one pull off there was a car stopped and feeding raccoons:

Turns out the guy does this about every day.

Some other pictures from our day trip:

We had a couple nice meals while in the area, one at Cliff House in Fort Bragg and a lunch in Greenwood, CA at the Greenwood Pier Cafe.  We can't remember the details enough from the Greenwood Pier Cafe to put it in the restaurants page.  We could stay and play in the Fort Bragg/Mendocino area for a long time, but we didn't have much time because we had people to visit.

On March 6th we drove across CA20 to US101 at Willits, still curvy but an easier road than CA1.  If you want to go to Fort Bragg or Mendocino, this road is your best bet.  But we still have bragging rights that we took CA1.  Once back on US101 we drove down and parked in front of Brian's house in Martinez for the night, we traveled 178 miles that day.  We last visited Brian on December 9th.

In the morning we drove 75 miles to Sunnyvale to Kristi and Ernest's house, where we hung the slide over some bushes:

We hadn't seen Kristi and Ernest for many years, Bill and Ernest worked together many years before and we had visited while we all lived in Washington state.  But a few years earlier they moved to the San Francisco Bay Area and we hadn't seen them in the interim.  We had a great visit, but were due at National RV soon so we only stayed two nights.

On the 9th we drove south to CA152, stopped at Casa de Fruita again for goodies and then headed south on I-5.  This part of I-5 has orchards on both sides the bees cross the freeway, so we had to stop and clean the windshield part way down.  We eventually stopped at Lost Hills KOA, whose main attraction was where it is on the road and all the truck stops.  We had gone 209 miles.

Diane was happy it was Bill's driving day on the 10th, we were driving into Los Angeles.  We did go inside city limits and the traffic was not fun, but we really were on the northern fringe as we worked our way back to Camp National RV in Perris, CA and stopped after 211 miles.  This time the place was full, not like in December.

We knew a bunch of people in for service, many had the same idea we did which was to handle the service before the National RV Owners rally.  Ken and Carolle were there, we would see them again in November at their home in Jacksonville, FL.

The morning of the 11th they took the motorhome away to fix the slide and the slide topper.  It was warm and we had to take our Hughes Autoformer to Anaheim to get it fixed so off we went with Evita in the car.  We started by heading to the post office in Moreno Valley to get our mail and found it wasn't there yet.  Then we took the CA91 freeway and learned that it was true, "you do feel like you are 91 when you get to the other end" due to the traffic jams.  They fixed the Autoformer quickly and we had lunch in Orange running the air conditioner in the car for Evita.  Then we made our way back to National RV and found our motorhome was ready.  The service writer told us, "this time they fixed it right", we paid for the parts for the slide topper and tested the slide out.  Everything was fine.  We were finished with our factory visit so we called Diane's sister and told her we were on our way and drove 57 miles to her house.  Diane's parents were also visiting, so we were all together again.  Everyone got to meet Evita.  One day Diane's parents drove us to Glendale in their car to visit Diane's youngest sister Kimberly and her husband Dennis.

On the 14th we drove down to Lake Skinner County Park in Temecula, CA for the National RV Owners rally.  On the way we had to detour to Moreno Valley for our mail, it was there and by the date on it we could tell the clerk hadn't looked very hard the first time since it arrived before our first post office visit.  Then we stopped and checked into the park and went to the volunteer meeting since we were helping at the rally.  It was a 104 mile day.

Bill was helping with parking and Diane with registration.  The next day it rained, so Bill spent the day in a raincoat directing motorhomes where to unhook their tow cars and which lot to go to.  He then moved to the overflow lot and helped park some of the last rigs since there were so many.  The rain did not let up for a couple days, we got over 4" and some of the activities were in a big tent.  Still we had a good time and visited with our friends.  On the 18th the skies cleared and here are some pictures, unfortunately this was the last day of the rally:

We lined up to caravan to the FMCA rally in Pomona:

Here is a large shot to show the lineups:

We drove in small groups to Pomona and parked at the L.A. County Fairgrounds, it was a 94 mile trip.  See those mountains?  We could see them because of the rain, but by the end of the convention we couldn't see them for the smog:

We were parked facing the Prevost bus conversions, these are over a million dollar motorhomes:

Our solar panels, extra batteries and inverter were very helpful here since it was sunny and we had no hookups.

Diane's parents were helping with parking and welcome bags so they had hookups, we visited them a lot.  Diane's sister Kimberly and her husband Dennis came over one day and we all visited.  We also visited with many others and bought a couple RV accessories.  Other than getting smoggier every day, the weather was good.

On the 24th we headed north and it again was Bill's turn to drive, so he once more drove the motorhome in L.A.   We again stopped at Lost Hills KOA after 170 miles, this time we took pictures:

The 25th was a long day, we drove all the way to Corning, CA for 357 miles.   We had seen the signs for "Pea Soup Anderson's" so we stopped there for lunch, we were not impressed.  Probably not our kind of food since others rave about it.

The 26th we drove back to Grants Pass, OR for 231 miles.  On the 27th we drove 179 miles to Blue Ox RV Park in Albany, OR, a favorite place.  On the 28th we drove 174 miles to Centralia, WA.  On the 29th we drove the 101 miles home.

Evita traveled quite well and we enjoyed being on the road.  Now we had to get the house ready to sell, get rid of most of our stuff, and, by the way, we had a cruise to take in April. 

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