After more than a month hanging out near the coast and the big trees it’s time to head east to Fruita, mtn biking, and camp hosting for the summer. The boys are going to miss stalking gophers and playing with baby potatoes in Jim & David’s garden!
The trip from Cotati to Loomis is a back-track for us. We planned an o-dark-hundred assault on Donner Pass to beat an incoming snow storm and our base-camp-one was Loomis, CA
A little coastal flooding did not keep us from driving up the Pacific Coast Farm Road (They say PCH, but it’s a farm road!) to Still Water Cove where the water was anything but still. A big storm blew inland the day before we headed out to the coast. The forecast was for perfect weather the day we were planning to leave so we brought lots of firewood and food!
The Russian River was above flood stage as we drove along side it toward Jenner and many of the vineyards were under water (literally, not financially). As we wound our way up the PCH (farm road) we passed a few land slides and downed trees
The camp ground was very green and mushy. It’s about 200 feet above the ocean and I was wondering if a tsunami could sweep it away. There is easy access from the campground to the beach and also a bluff overlooking the ocean. I spend a fair amount of time on the beach or the bluff enjoying the crashing surf
I did some hiking up the canyon from the campground and managed to hoof it up to where the sun was shining. Next day a group of us hiked over the river on some downed trees and up to the old school house.
I barely escaped being snowed on here in warm and sunny* California! The snow level came down to about 400 feet! Eeek! Next morning there was frost on the pumpkin! Eeek!
Over the weekend we had a camp-out in the back yard. I remember doing that as a kid. Pitching a tent on the back lawn and sleeping under the stars – good times! As an adult we circled the RV’s around the garage, built a fire in the driveway and hung out in the garage when it was raining and around the fire when it was not.
Some family members camped out with us while others came and went as the beer-tide ebbed and flowed
Like everyone who has gone before me I’m going to talk about the weather, but not do anything to make it better.
When I started my little journey I imagined I’d be able to follow the perfect temperature north and south as the seasons progressed. North in the summer, south in the winter. Always 70ºF with the perfect amount of shade and always just a bit after lunch.
In fact I’ve been super glad to have bought a 4-season coach because it’s been real cold many times. We started this adventure last February when the temps were hovering around zero degrees F (Colorado). We sat through a month of temps over 100ºF in Montana (and Canada!) and traveled across Wyoming when it was -2ºF. Being able to follow the perfect weather has proven to be like catching rainbows – can’t be done! If you are one of the people who is happy where you are then revel in that! Stay put!
Now it’s February again and we’re in Northern California where the overnight low is between 34º and 50º – Highs between 50º and 70º. I can drive to the beach or the redwoods in about an hour which is kewl. Food and fuel are more expensive here than Colorado, but the car drivers are a lot more polite than they are in Denver. And I do mean car-drivers. There are fewer pick-up trucks here and lots of electric and/or hybrid cars. Big shout-out to my friends Jim & David who have a house here with a super big yard. It is through their kindness I am enjoying the good life near the beach! (plus the boys have a yard! YaY!)
Last week (end of January 2019) was when temperatures in the upper-mid-west plunged below -50º F and I’m happy not to have been there! I’m sure my 4-season coach would be frozen solid in -50ºF. You can read about it on NPR in case you need a reminder
Today (01Feb2019) a big wet-kiss of a storm is making landfall in this area. Coastal flooding, torrential rains, etc. Tomorrow the frogs will be very happy!
We went to Armstrong Forest a few days ago and looked at the very tall trees. The one named Colonel Armstrong is 308 feet tall and 1400 years old. It was a sapling in the year 600 AD. I took a bunch of pictures and there is no substitute for being there staring up at someone you cannot see the top of. Their trunks are so massive they create their own gravity well that sucks you right in to touch and hug them.
We took a drive from Cotati to Bodega Bay & Bodega Head to see the big water. It was a delightful no-rain day. The waves were fairly big and crashing into the rocks so I really enjoyed that.
We also stopped at a different spot on the beach where the under-toad was very strong! There is a big sign warning beach-goers of the danger. Apparently the surf can kick your legs out from under you and drag you far out to sea where only sea lions dare to go.
After the beach we stopped for fish and chips at a great local restaurant. I saved part of the fish for the boys 🙂
Spent the day at friends house on a cliff overlooking the ocean. The hawks were soaring and the deer were browsing while the wind blew rain against the windows. It was lovely even though we were too far from the ocean to walk down and touch it.
Wendover to Elko NV Up and down the mountains across northern Nevada we went. I-80 is mostly smooth asphalt and the ride was nice – EXCEPT for the nasty rotten no good concrete section west of Wells NV. I hate concrete highways!
There is noticeably less traffic on I-80 west of Salt Lake City. Across Wyoming there were many many trucks and plenty of cars too. Once we headed west from SLC the traffic dwindled to about half the cars and trucks. It’s nice to have the road to ourselves, but it makes me wonder which way all the things that get sent in trucks are going. I’ve been watching the weather on the pass west of Reno and the roads are very snowy. Maybe the smart truckers have a secret route with no snow.
When we got to Elko we spent the afternoon at Home Depot buying parts for an upcoming Repairs and Mods project so stay tuned for that!After our shopping spree we headed over to the Valley View RV Park and grabbed a $14.00 spot for the night. I’m usually a cheap-skate when it comes to overnight stays, but when it’s this cold out (High 27º, Low 12º) the options are to run the generator a lot or leave the truck idling. Idling the truck overnight in Wamsutter WY (low temp -2ºF) ended up costing $29 in fuel. Running the generator in Wendover only cost $9 but I didn’t run it all night.
Elko to Winnemucca NV I saw a bald eagle trying to out-fly a crow and get her to drop the tasty morsel she had in her mouth. The smaller crow can turn much sharper than the eagle and she was using that advantage to lose the bigger bird (avian dinosaurs!). I didn’t see how it ended and I’m rooting for the crow.
Lots of mining in this part of Nevada. Lots of mountains too, but no big trees. Scrub oak, pinions, etc.
I managed to get through this section of the trip without being snowed on. The day after I made the trek west it snowed a fair amount between Elko and Winnemucca.
Winnemucca to Reno NV
I have to give NDOT two thumbs up for the smooooth asphalt roadway almost all the way to Sparks NV. It didn’t turn to rough concrete until 10 miles east of Sparks and speaking of Sparks – I didn’t like it. Not one bit. The energy there was wonky, the place is loud, and drivers are rude.
Reno to Loomis CA
We left at the crack of dawn, which for us is about 3 hours after we wake up, and headed over Donner Pass before anyone got eaten. CalTrans did a great job of cleaning up the last snow storm and we had about a 1-day window of clear sailing. Next storm was due the day after we got over the hills.
CA seems very different from Nevada. The road is lined with big trees and other plants, the highway curves and twists, the are many small hills closely spaced together. In Nevada the road only turned every twenty miles or so and the hills are spaced far apart. Crest a hill in Nevada and we can see an arrow-strait ribbon of asphalt 25 miles into the distance. In CA the view is far shorter, maybe only a mile or so.
Green. Everything is green. And the water is not frozen.
Loomis to Cotati CA
Except for that one butt-head driver who tried to cut me off the drive was nice. We came down from the hills, crossed the marsh, and headed back into the hills near Napa. Wine country plus some cows. I can see why people want to live in this area. When it is raining it looks very lush and green. I saw some wineries for sale, but I didn’t have time to stop and buy any. Maybe later.
This was the last day of eight strait days on the road and I’m glad to not have to drive for awhile. The trip started out sunny and warm, switched to sunny and super cold, then changed to cloudy, cool, and wet. Now it’s time to help friends fix up their place and go for bike rides. Plus trips to the ocean and the redwood forest. Stay tuned!