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Cross-Country Journal -- October 2002


Tuesday, October 1 -- Today was Redwood National Park day.  We spent most of the day near Orick, CA and visited several groves of trees.  I will save any commentary on the redwoods for the national park write-up.  Later in the afternoon we visited Patrick's Point State Park.  Beginning to have more days that are cool rather than warm here on the northern CA coast.  The nights get down to about 40 degrees and the day time is in the 60's if the sun is out.  50's if not.  We are ready to move further south now and try for some warmer weather.

Part of the frustration of our visit here 10 years ago was we couldn't drive the road into the grove because our only vehicle was a 27 foot motor home.  Our jeep was perfect and the dirt road provided some driving fun.

Wednesday, October 2 -- Today was a day of driving.  We left Trinidad, CA at 8 AM and drove route 299 to Redding CA.  This route is only 130 miles but it took 4 hours.  The road is very, very winding across the coastal mountain range so our average speed was only about 30 MPH.  Needless to say this was pretty exhausting.  We stopped for lunch at Arby's and then Jackie drove the 150 miles down to Sacramento.  We drove east to Folsom and stopped at a State Recreation Area where we got surprised that they no longer offered electric hook-ups.  We spent the night in a campsite with no utilities.  It was a long day but guess what? ---- it's about 80 degrees and sunny here.

The campsites at the park were not what we had in mind but after driving a loop with very low branches we backed into a more open site, were able to get DirecTV and settled in for the night.

Thursday, October 3 -- At noon today we moved over to a KOA in Shingle Springs about 25 miles east of Sacramento on route 50.  It's also 75 miles from Lake Tahoe.  We drove around a little.  There are rolling hills of gold colored grassy pastureland with a high coverage of relatively short trees.  The green trees and gold grass and rolling hills are actually quite beautiful.  15 miles from Sacramento there is nothing but this open farm land.  We have a great  private site at this KOA, however a tree blocks the satellite dish on the roof.  I had to get out the portable dish and set it up twenty yards in back of the motor home.  Ready for Buffalo Bills on Sunday.  By the way, since the Bills play Oakland this week the game is on local TV here too.

we decided to move from the state campground.  The ground had lots of critter holes and then I saw a poster at the ranger's station with lots of different kinds of snakes!  Maybe I need a little more civilization.  We moved to a KOA.  We found a Safeway and then settled in to watch Survivor.  

Friday, October 4 -- Today was a nothing day.  A little cleaning.  A little project work.  I made a satellite dish stand out of an old camera tripod.  In the afternoon we received a call from Erica T. and ended up visiting her apartment and going out to dinner.  She looks good and seems real happy.  She is a very nice person.

We saw Erica's apartment and her two kittens, Nittany and Chloe.  Very cute.  It was nice to catch up with Erica.  We had not seen her since Jaimie and Mario's wedding.

Saturday, October 5 -- Relaxing again.  This campground is very calm and scenic.  Sat outside working on the computer and watching college football. 

Watching Penn State.  They have an exciting team this year. A very long black snake started to make it's way over to where I was sitting outside!  Not my favorite wildlife.

Sunday, October 6 -- Spent some time archiving photographs from the computer to CDRom's.  We had accumulated over 3 gigabytes on the computer's hard drive and needed to move some.  Moved almost 2 gigabytes onto 3 CD's and will need to by some more CD's to move the rest.  The rest of the day was football and reading.

Watched the Bills try their hardest to beat the undefeated Oakland Raiders.  They gave it a good try. 

Monday, October 7-- Today was a day to drive to Lake Tahoe.  We took route 50 to South Lake Tahoe and then went north on 89 to Tahoe City.  From there we went through Truckee where we caught I-80 for the return trip.  From here near Sacramento it was constant uphill to Tahoe and then constant downhill returning.  I have never been on a road with so much downhill.  Even all through the Rockies.  We went downhill for a continuous 40 miles.  Lake Tahoe is similar to Crater Lake in that it seems to be a lake surrounded by a mountain ridge.  The lake is at 6500 feet and the ridge around it is at 7300 feet.  Also the lake is 1600 feet deep.

Went to Lake Tahoe.  It is very beautiful.  We walked down to see some one's summer house, built in the style of a Viking castle.  The road back went through Donner's Pass and had an elevation change from 7000 to 800.  Constant 5- 6% grades and smoke coming out of trucks breaks.  Yikes.  Took Pep for a walk around the campground since she had been inside all day. 

Tuesday, October 8 -- We decided to go into Sacramento to visit "Old Sacramento".  This is an area along the river where the original town was established during the gold rush days.  It is amazing how these 15 square blocks have been preserved just as they were 150 years ago.  You can walk along the boardwalks (instead of sidewalks) in front of the original storefronts.  This whole area was raised 12 feet because of persistent flooding of the river.  This raising was done using chuck wagons to haul dirt in 1860.  Just amazing.  Some of the original buildings were also raised.  It was an interesting morning.  This afternoon we relaxed did some chores around the house.  Watched the Twins beat Anaheim.

Went to a Greek "restaurant " in Old Sacramento.  It took care of the hunger for Greek food like we used to get at one of our favorite restaurants in Rochester.

Wednesday, October 9 -- Our last day in the Sacramento area.  We enjoyed the beautiful weather all morning.  This afternoon we took a 10 mile trip to Coloma to visit Sutter's mill where gold was first discovered.

The washer/dryer works great.  Clean clothes.  We hang things out to dry and in 80 degrees it doesn't take long.  Louie enjoyed outdoor time.  Sunshine and blue skies are very nice. 

Thursday, October 10 -- Once again we pulled up stakes today and headed for San Francisco.  It was a nice week in Sacramento.  We drove south on I-5 to Stockton and then went west to Hayward where we crossed the San Mateo Bridge.  From there we stayed on route 92 straight to the coast at a town called Half Moon Bay.  Half Moon Bay is 15 miles south of Pacifica where Jaimie lives.  We stayed overnight in a State Park on the beach.

There was fog on the coast so it was a little chilly.  The state park was full but we could stay in the overflow area (parking lot)  We were not alone so we felt fairly secure.  Mario stopped in and had dinner with us.  

Friday, October 11 -- We drove up to Pacifica around 10 AM and parked on the street near Jaimie's apartment.  We washed the Jeep and went to the grocery store.  At noon we arrived at the apartment.  When Mario got home from work at 12:30 we loaded into the motorhome and headed for Yosemite National Park, nearly 5 hours away.  The traffic was heavy heading out of San Francisco area on Friday afternoon.  We took the San Mateo Bridge again and made our way east.  The last hour was increasing elevation to about 6000 feet.  We arrived in a campground just 7 miles from the park at about 6 PM.  Long day.  We made a nice dinner and watched a movie.

Mario turned the voice of the GPS on and we named it Jaimie.  We enjoyed asking, "Jaimie, are we there yet?"  and hearing the computer respond.  After a lot of effort the DirecTV was operational.  This is camping?  Jaimie and Mario set up their tent next to the motor home.  They were not concerned with the campground sign announcing, "The bear is back!"  We told them we wouldn't lock the door.

Saturday, October 12 -- We all headed into Yosemite at 9 AM and we spent the entire day there.  Go to this link:  Yosemite National Park for commentary on the park.  It was dark when we got home.  Once again dinner and a movie.

The park is very crowed and we felt like we were walking at the start of a marathon along a trail to see Vernal Falls.  The scenery though is spectacular.  We put the top of the Jeep down and although it got chilly it allowed great viewing.  The walls of rock for rock climbers are daunting.  Some climbers were half way up El Capitan and had a "site" set up for their overnight stay.  We drove up to Glacier Point to view the valley below. 

Sunday, October 13 -- Slept in some this morning and then made a big breakfast for the four of us.  We all decided that we had seen enough of Yosemite on Saturday, so Jackie and I watched the Bills game while Jaimie and Mario went for a bike ride along the Merced River.  We packed up and headed toward San Francisco at 1:30 PM.  We dropped off J & M at their place and decided to head across the Golden Gate Bridge during the light traffic of Sunday night.  We ended up at the Petaluma KOA (30 miles north of the bridge) where we plan to make our home through the holidays.

We drove the last bit in the dark.  We usually don't travel at night time but we wanted to get to the place we were hoping to call home for a few months and check it out.

Monday, October 14 -- Today was a resting day and we also visited the only other campgrounds between here and the bridge.  They are basically parking lots.  One night would be bad enough at these places.  The Petaluma KOA is very nice with many trees and grass.  We returned happy in the knowledge that we had the best campground.  The monthly rate is very good also at $615 plus electricity.  Should work out to around $22 per day.  (And we are about 10 miles away from 200 wineries)  Watched Monday night football and the Giants win the game to go into the World Series.

Stopped in at the Petaluma visitor center.  Only other campground in the area is the fairgrounds.  Full hookups for $17 a day but again just a parking lot! 

Tuesday, October 15 -- Today was moving day.  We had spent two nights at the KOA but not in our long term site.  We met with the owner and selected a site that is very nice.  We have lots of space, quiet, sunshine, DirecTV, Verizon, cell phone access to the internet.  We took a couple hours settling in to the site, then went grocery shopping. 

The campground only allows one small friendly dog or cat.  We had talked to the owner about this before and since he has a black lab we were hoping he would approve Pepper.  He saw she is very friendly and told us to just keep her out of sight and never leave her outside alone.  Something we never do.  He didn't seem to mention the fact that we had a cat too.  Louie was right there to greet him at the door.  She wanted to go out and check out the new site.  

Wednesday, October 16 -- We found a Wal-Mart and a Home Depot (both vital for survival) just 9 miles north.  We are learning the roads around here.  We also found a great grocery store called G+G Market.  It is an upscale, possibly local market.  We'll try it and see how expensive it is.  We refilled prescriptions at Wal-Mart.  Relaxed in the late afternoon sun and made pasta for dinner.  We have found that the coast of Northern California and Oregon are prone to have fog right along the shoreline.  Some days the fog comes inland 5, 10 or 20 miles.  We are about 10 miles from the ocean and the fog is usually covering us until 10 or 11 AM each day.  When the fog is covering the temperatures right now stay in the high 50's or low 60's.  Once the sun burns through the temperature goes into the 70's or 80's.

Watching The Amazing Race on TV I was surprised to see that the finish line was at Dunottar Castle, near Stonehaven, Scotland.  We had visited the castle last May.  

Thursday, October 17 -- Today the fog stayed until after noon.  This morning we did some work around the house.  At 12:30 we decided to take a ride to the Camping World store in Fairfield which is straight east of here.  As soon as we had gone 5 miles we were in the sun.  The road to Fairfield goes over a hill into Sonoma Valley and then over another hill into Napa Valley.  Needless to say the landscape is covered with vineyards.  Sonoma Valley is a less well known version of Napa.  It was a nice drive.  We picked up some supplies at Camping World including some special wash and wax for the motor home which is on the list of activities for the near future.

Louie looked out the home window to see three peacock eating out of a birdfeeder.  She was very excited.  The KOA has a mini farm and there are turkey or geese walking down the entrance road.

Friday, October 18 -- This whole day is foggy in our minds.  I spent some time doing web page work but that's about it.

???  Guess this day got away from us.

Saturday, October 19 -- We started out the day at 9 AM watching Penn State beat Northwestern.  Obviously the noon games come on early here.  At noon, after the game, we headed east because the sun was not out yet in Petaluma and because we were going to Jaimie's place to upload 100 photos to the website.  On the way we went past an alternative campground over near Oakland.  We are still considering moving to a location, probably, more inland that does not suffer from the morning coastal fog.  Again, when the sun burns through the fog the temperature jumps at least 15 degrees and if you are standing in the sun it feels like 80 degrees.  Until the fog lifts the temperature is in the 50's.  Unfortunately the alternate campground was completely unacceptable.  We have found that there are many campgrounds around here that are simply "parking lots" without grass or trees and with motor or mobile homes side-by-side with no space or grass.  The KOA where we are is an exception.  We have a large space with grass and trees.  We arrived at Jaimie's apartment at 2 PM and spent the afternoon with Jaimie and Mario.  I used there fast internet connection to update the web site.  All four of us went to The Olive Garden for dinner at 7 PM.  We arrived home at 9 PM.

Louie traveled with us to visit Cali.  Jaimie and Mario are traveling in November and we wanted to see if Cali might want to come and stay with us.  Words were spoken between the cats but no physical hostile moves.  Cali will visit us and see how she likes Pepper.  Louie seems to enjoy traveling in the car now. 

Sunday, October 20 -- Today the sun arrived through the fog by 10:30.  We watched the Buffalo Bills win their game and also saw game 2 between the Angels and the Giants.

We borrowed Jaimie's bread maker and tested it out. 

Monday, October 21 -- Today was a beautiful sunny day.  We went grocery shopping to stock up again.  Later we enjoyed the sunshine outside, reading and walking.   Watched Monday Night Football.

We found a Great Clips and we both got haircuts.

Tuesday, October 22 -- We had planned to begin cleaning and waxing the motor home today but the temperature never rose out of the 50's.  It's just too cold to do that.  Instead we drove into old-town Petaluma.  This town was not touched by earthquakes so the buildings are still in there 19th century design.  Many of the buildings have cast iron front faces because in that era it was theorized that having a cast iron face would deter the spread of fire.  I don't know if it worked.  Because of the preserved nature of Petaluma old-town these 3 or 4 streets have been the set for many movies.  Watched game three of the World Series and rented a satellite movie (High Crimes).


Wednesday, October 23 -- Fog, fog, fog again.

Spent time watching CNN.  

Thursday, October 24 -- 

Foggy again.  Watched the Series game and Survivor.


Friday, October 25 -- It seems that cooler overnight temps result in fog free mornings.  That's what we had today.  We ran into a guy who had been in Rochester last week on business.  He said that the fog would be lessening at we moved on through the fall.

The sun was out today which made our campground a much happier place to be.  We got up on the roof and cleaned about two thirds of it.  It came out looking bright white.  Wonder how long it will last.  

Saturday, October 26 -- Today was a great day.  Sunny and warm.  Jaimie and Mario came out and we went winery hopping in Sonoma Valley.  We had a lot of fun.  Put the top down on Jaimie's car.  One of the wineries is family owned since 1854, seven generations.

Made a pumpkin pie.  The convection oven works great.  We drove to Sonoma with Jaimie and Mario.  Stopped at four wineries.  We had fun sampling wines and enjoying the countryside.  We cooked a turkey breast and had a pre Thanksgiving dinner.  Cali came and checked out our home.  The verdict is out whether she will come to stay while Mario and Jaimie are in Australia. She might be happier in her own home.

Sunday, October 27 -- We had fun checking in on 12 other NFL games while we watched the Bills.  

Bill's game day.  Watched them beat Detroit.  Successfully clipped Pepper's nails.  

Monday, October 28 -- We  have been toying with the idea of moving to a campground that is a little south of San Jose in order to find more sun.  Thursday, Oct 31, is our last paid day where we are so we need to decide if we will pay another month here or not.  We decided that today we should make the 200 mile round trip drive and get it over with.  We got the car washed on the way and stopped at a store to get more of the rubber roof cleaner.

Sunshine!  We drove to Morgan Hill, south of San Jose to check out a campground.  This one was nicer than most.  Each spot had grass and it was in the open so no lack of sunshine when the sun is out.  We found a smaller campground in the area that was nice.  A little over an hour from Jaimie's.  We drove back and found Pacifica was fogged in.  We drove into San Fran.  Drove behind a cable car and then down Lombard Street.  We met Mario and went to an Indian restaurant.  Great food. Drove along the pier area and past Pac Bell park.

Tuesday, October 29 -- I have been working on a countertop addition for the last weeks or so.  I made the wooden structure piece last week.  Today we went to Home Depot to buy all of the other materials.  Decided to use off-white  4 x 4 tiles with fruit pieces interspersed.  The counter will mount to the current counter just to the left of the sink with one leg for support.  All the materials totaled $70.  Should be nice.

Another day of sunshine!  We decided to get out and do errands.  We drove over to Dillon Beach.  Very windy.  Pepper got out and ran around a little.  We drove up the coast to Point Reyes Station and saw the last campground in the area.  Not very nice.

Wednesday, October 30 -- Worked on mounting for the countertop and it worked out well.  Very solid.  This extension is removable for traveling or when we don't need it.   It clamps to the current counter and the leg comes off.  Began gluing on the tiles.

Finished cleaning the roof.  

Thursday, October 31 --  We have not seen fog since last Thursday.  The sunshine makes these late fall days nice and warm.  Finished gluing all tiles.  Had to make a half dozen cuts to fit some of the tiles. 

We had 6 trick or treaters!  More than we ever had on Park Place.