Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Windy In Bishop, Ca

We took highway 89 South from Woodfords to Highway 395. We intended to go out to Bodie, the ghost town, but highway 270 was closed so maybe we'll go another time. With that road closed our night camp location also changed since we had no access to any of the BLM locations on that highway.

We continued on to Mono Lake and went East on highway 120 stopping to look at the tufa formations in and by the lake.

It's too bad the lake was damaged by LA greed for water but it's nice to see some of the water returning. In 1992 a court settlement returned some of the water but in 15 years the lake has only risen 5-10 feet of the 25 or so feet it is supposed to rise. I guess it's trickling in?

The salinity of the water supposedly makes a duck float higher in the water. I can't tell a difference?
We continued on highway 120 to highway 7 then South to Bishop. The wind was becoming gusty and stronger so we stayed away from the mountains on highway 395.

We stopped at the fairgrounds (sorry, I forgot to take a picture) and will be here for the night. A school rodeo is here this weekend so we may not be allowed to stay longer if they need the RV spaces. We'll check in the morning. If not, we'll move south of town to another location.

The scenery has been great all day. There is a lot of snow on the mountains and we've passed through some on the summits we passed through. If only the wind would stop and it would warm up some. We're having gusts of 15-25mph or more this evening.

We checked at the fair office and found out we must move so we drove South of town to Brown's Town campground and got a space, no hookups tough. Actually we prefer the forest service like camps but so far on this trip, we've always had hookups, until now. Not a problem really. We do have solar and our site is in the open not blocked by the trees that are in most sites and so welcome by tent campers. Open sky to us means lots of power and an Internet connection to use it on.

Before we paid, I raised the dish to make sure nothing was blocking the satellite. It only had to raise, no rotation and it was connected. Right on! Perfect parking!

We went back to town for breakfast at a local donut shop after which we looked around town. It looks like we're just exploring towns on this trip?

When we returned to camp in the afternoon, after lunch and a nap, I turned on the satellite system. I knew it would need to park and re-raise because I had leveled the RV since I raised the dish. It did park but then it had to rotate around 360 degrees to find the satellite. Not right on this time. A little tilt evidently means a lot to the system.

Evidently the fishing season just started, so that explains the crowded campgrounds. The fair is busy because of the rodeo there. Lots to do and lots of people to do it with. We really don't like crowds, even little ones.

Lou fixed corned beef hash for dinner.

Friday: We had leftover corned beef hash for breakfast. We did laundry here at the RV park. Lunch was leftover spaghetti.

We then headed out the Laws Railroad Museum and Historic Site. It's about 6 miles East on highway 6. It's a very nice museum. It's like an old railroad town with lots of old stuff displayed in the towns buildings.

The old service station above was featured on a magazine cover. It looks muh like the old station my parents used in th 50's. Same pump, same bulk oil dispensers. There were some rabbits enjoying the green grass for lunch.

There is an old train depot, an old non operating narrow gauge train and a turn table. They have restored a railcar (trolly) that they hope to someday run into Bishop. There is lots of old farming, mining and logging equipment all around the property. It is a really a nice museum that looks much like an old rail town must have looked. The movie Nevada Smith ws partially filmed there.

After the museum, we went North of town to the Indian casino and had a excellent meal. Lou and Kenzie shared a prime rib dinner, I had fish and chips, both the dinner specials. The clam chowder was outstanding and the coleslaw excellent as well. The fries so so. And there were 5 huge pieces of good fish. The prime and baked potato were just Lou and Kenzie sized and very good. The vegetables were adequate frozen things. Kenzie also ordered some very good onion rings with Parmesan cheese, very good as well.

We then stopped in at the fairgrounds. The Rock And Mineral Show and the Home Show were open and we looked around both.

Saturday: French toast for breakfast. We were off relatively early to the swap meet at the fairgrounds. We though we would bea early but the parking lot was almost full. the line to get in was a block and a half long but nobody was crowding like at home and th line was moving at a slow walk continuously, not like at home. It was a nice swap meet that benefits the Laws Railroad Museum and Histori Site and it had some interesting junk, not the commercial trash of many flea markets.

It only took a couple of hours to finish seeing everything.

Kenzie had a couple of shops she wanted to return to downtown so Lou and I returned to the RV for a while. When Kenzie was through, Lou fixed somee stir fried vegetables with rice noodlesand shrimp for lunch.

After lunch we headed up highway 168 along Bishop Creek and into the mountains. We're a little over 4000 feet here in Bishop. Our drive uo the creek took us up to 9-10,000 feeet at Sabrina lake. We explored all the campgrounds that were open looking for our next camp. Since some rain and snow are predicted up there, we decided that we'd probably stay down in the valley so we'll head South tomorrow.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Crystal Springs CG, Woodfords, Ca

Monday: We prepared to leave Reno. We did some detailed shopping in preparation for being in the boonies.

We took highway 395 South to Carson City. Kenzie looked around the State Museum there while Lou and I took a walk. We then continued on to Minden and got gas then headed South on Highway 88 to Highway 89. We drove the other side of Markleeville to the USFS Markleeville campground, After turning in, and being fully committed, we saw the sign that said 24ft max RV. e continued down in hopes that that was an average limit. It wasn't. The host said we couldn't stay. I planned to unhitch and turn around in a small parking area before entering the campground but the host suggested I walk the road in the campground to see if i could make it around a loop at the end. I thought I might be able to get through. Wrong. So then we uncoupled and wound the RV between the boulders and back to the road to continue on. A good show for the one other camper in the CG. Thee host suggested Crystal Springs so we backtracked to Highway 88 again to Crystal Springs CG.

Our campsite at Crystal Springs CG, Woodfords, Ca.JPG
It's a nice place and has one spot that has electric and sewer but no water, so we took it. We're the only campers here other than the host. Should be nice.

Tuesday: The wind picked up in the evening and blew through the night. One of the reasons we're staying here is that the weather forecast indicated heavy winds today. We're hunkered down until the winds subside. The forecast indicated 15-25 last evening, 25-30 today with gusts of 50mph. I have no desire to be out in the open during those winds. Hopefully the forecast is correct and they become more acceptable tomorrow or the next day and we can continue South.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Reno In Spring

Friday: We drove over from Portola California on Highway 70 and highway 35 to Reno, Nevada.

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We stopped at Costco there to get something we forgot on our last visit. When we were pulling in to the Costco store our sewer drain outlet hit the ground and knocked the bump protector out of alignment. I repositioned it but there was a little damage to the connector pin on the bottom. I'm trying to protect it so I don't have to replace the outlet fitting again.

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We then went over to the Atlantis Casino and parked in the back of their lot across the street with the other RV's. We will be here a couple of days.The weather is great, possibly mid 70's. Here at 5pm our window thermometer says it's 95 degrees but it reads high when it's warm. We trust it for the cold readings though.

About 11:40 pm we were jolted with a 4.7 earthquake which we seemed to be right on top of. It felt like we had been hit by an errant driver but there was no noise. There evidently has been a swarm of over 100 earthquakes since yesterday here in Reno and the 4.7 was the biggest, so far.

Saturday: We were up with the sun. it is interesting sleeping here in the casino parking lot. It's very well lite and they pipe music everywhere. No need to turn on your own radio. Fortunately it is music we like, mostly oldies.

Today is my birthday. How opportune to be here to be able to celebrate, such as we do. Lou and Kenzie took the car on a thrift store and bookstore expedition while I took the bike around looking at an RC hobby store, Harbor Freight, and other nearby stores. We met for lunch at 13:30 at the buffet here at the Atlantis. We've never eaten here before though we've visited it many times. It was very good, worthy of my birthday repast.

After lunch, Lou and Kenzie continued their expedition while I continued my bike ride. I rode downtown and walked the casinos there then rode West of town a couple of miles and returned to the Atlantis to rest about 6pm. Enough exercise for the day! I think I did feel that extra year?

Sunday: We went downtown to the CalNeva casino for breakfast and a look around. I'd seen it Lou and Kenzie hadn't. I was then returned to the RV and Lou and Kenzie continued their exploration of th thrift stores and book shops.

About 3pm a security guard from the Atlantis Casino dropped off a warning to register the RV. All the RV's got one, theeir were none registered. I went in per the instructions, found security and registered. They have to do this because some people wear out their welcome by staying forever. Oh well, how did they know?

When I returned to the RV at 4pm, we were then the only registered RV there.

I then took a walk around the stores nearby. Lou called about 6pm and picked me up for dinner. We went to Harrah's Napa Cafe. They had prime rib and I had steak and scampi. Weekday dinners were <$10. That's a nice farewell dinner!

Western Railway Museum, Portola

Dawn At The Portola Ca Library.JPG Portola Ca Thrift Store.JPG
We went back to Portola from the rest stop, about a mile. It was about 9am and nothing in the town opens until 10 am. We took a walk around town and determined we like the place. Dawn stopped at the public library and bought a fe books and tapes. We also browsed at a downtown bookstore. It was now 11:30 so we stopped at the pharmacy for lunch. They have a nice fountain there and we had a couple of bowls of navy bean soup and a ham olive loaf and cheese sandwich.

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We then, finally, went to the Western Pacific Railway Museum, the reason for our return. They have a lot of equipment and you can roam around the yard and shop looking as you like. They had some military cars we hadn't seen before. They have operating diesel engines and run them on their short track on the weekends. They have some grand plans for a very impressive museum but,for now, they mostly have a lot of unrestored equipment and some restored equipment siting on the track outside. It consists mostly of diesel engines and rail cars, not much of the small stuff. The snow blower engine is impressive.

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Most of the engines are diesel but there was at least one steam engine being worked on at the shop/

We had a nice time looking around. We then headed off toward Reno.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Portola, Ca

We finally got away from Oroville about 11:30. We headed East on Highway 70 along the North Fork of the Feather River. The weather was clear and warm. We noticed some people stopped at the side of the road by a railroad bridge. We hadn't seen any trains on the track that parallels the highway all day. The people waiting said that trains were being held for some track work and that there were two headed East and two West. We waited for a couple of hours enjoying the view and chatting. He is a retired fire captain with CDF (state fire) and had a lot of interesting stories. No trains appeared.

Our Campsite In Portola At the Rest Stop.JPG Portoal Ca Icy Drain Pipe.JPG
We headed on stopping in Portola at a rest stop for the evening. Nice view here! All the Forest Service campgrounds along the way are still closed as is the Eureka State park. We don't want to stay at a private campground so here we rest. The rest area here in Portola has a wonderful view of the snowy mountains all around it. It was quite cool last night. Our window thermometer read 28 degrees. We confirmed it was cold by looking around. The ice cycles on the dripping drain pipe look like cold? By 10 am it was shirt sleeve weather again, even here at 4800 feet elevation.

Our toads right rear tire pressure alarm went off a little after midnight. No problem with the pressure though? Must be the temperature. I shut off the alarm for the night. In the morning I reset it by removing it from the tire for a minute or so and then reinstalling it. The the left tire alarm sounded. I did the same to it and all is well. I hope this isn't a habit!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Casinos and Paradise, Ca

Monday: I relaxed in camp today while Lou and Kenzie returned to downtown Oroville to the book and antique shops. They returned to camp to pick me up about 3:30 and we went down the hill to the Gold Country Casino for the buffet dinner. Today is 2 for one dinner so their already excellent and cheap buffet is even more of a bargain. It's too bad you couldn't join the three of us because you would have gotten a free meal.

After dinner we went a few miles South to the other casino in town, the Feather Falls Casino (no where near Feather Falls). It's about the same size casino but looks older than the Gold Country. It does have a KOA RV park but doesn't seem to allow overnight RV parking in the lot. Gold Country does but we only saw one RV staying during our whole week in the area. I asked security and they said it was OK and that we could plug into 20amp outlet on the light poles at the back of the lot. We were already comfortable where we were at the state park but next time? Free stays at casinos is always nice.

Tuesday: Today we were on a mission, to find some craft items for Lou and to do laundry. The craft stores here in Oroville and very limited and didn't have the items she needs when we checked them yesterday. We'll need to visit Chico to find a better store. I have a short attention span so I added a drive through Paradise. It just sounded good. Paradise is a pretty good sized town (23,000+) 12 miles East of Chico and 12 mile North of Oroville. It seems to be a very nice city.

We had lunch at the new Black Bear Diner there, which just opened. We all shared one of their country fried steaks. Just after lunch it started to rain, and rained heavily.

We found a nice new laundromat there, opened just the day before so all the machines worked and were very clean. Unfortunately they didn't use coins but used debit card that you loaded from a machine there. No refunds for over filling the card so the place isn't really for travelers but for locals. Our clothes came out all clean and fresh as the should and we only lost 1.70 due to not using our full $20 debit card. We made a gift of the remainder to another customer. I manned the laundromat while Lou and Kenzie visited the book stores and shops.

We then headed on the Chico to visit Costco, Michael's Crafts, and JoAnn's Crafts. We then returned to Oroville with a stop at the market just before heading back to camp.

The heavy rain continued through the night.

Wednesday: We intended to head East this morning but decided to stay another day due to the threat and forecast of more rain. It hasn't rained much but is cold and threatening.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Feather Falls Hike

Breakfast was leftovers from the past few days. Lou and I planned on a hike to Feather Falls, the sixth tallest water fall in the US. Dawn planned on a relaxing day in camp. Lou and I started our trip with a visit to a local hardware store we couldn't pass by. Never can! Good thing too. We found something we've been looking for, 36" wide stick on drywall tape. It's used to fix cracked walls and we have some. Just think of this as a component of 36 inch wide putty. We then headed on up the road East 17 miles to the trail head.

Decision, High Road Or Low Road?.JPG Bald Rock Dome.JPG
The trail, one way, to the water falls is either about 4 miles or about 5 miles depending on wheather you take the lower trail or the upper trail. We intended to take both, one at a time, total hike about 9 miles. Now the decision here is important. Which will be the easiest return. By reading the signs here at the trailhead and having read about the trail on the Internet we knew we should take the lower trail to the falls and the upper trail back because the lower trail is a strenuous trail and the upper trail is moderate. The lower trail goes down steeply for 3/4 of the route then up steeply the rest of the way. The upper trail is a gradual slope back to the top on the return. We noticed that most of the hikers hadn't read about the trail, not even the sign at the beginning of the trail. Most of the people were returning via the strenuous lower trail. It looks easier for the return when you start because you're headed down hill. Anyway above left I'm standing at the decision point, the wye in the trail. Above right is a view of this areas equivalent to half dome in Yosemite, Bald Rock Dome.

Middlw Fork Of Feather River.JPG View Thru Trees.JPG
The hike travels along the side of the hill adjacent to the Feather river for part of the way to the falls. The forest here is one of the nicest we've been in. A nice variety of trees, not too dense, with nice trails. Above right is a view through the trees.

Feather Falls.JPG Feather Falls.JPG
Here is the reason for the hike, Feather Falls. Feather Falls is actually not on the Feather River but is a fall of the Fall River. Fall river joins the Middle Fork of the Feather River a short distance beyond the falls. A nice looking water fall but not a clear drop, somewhat of a cascade. There is an excellent view point in front of the falls and you can hike to the top of the falls as well but we didn't, just the view point this time. The trip to the top would just add about a 1/4 mile of fairly level trail to the trip. I'm sorry my camera can't get the whole falls in one shot. I did take a vertical panorama shot of it and will try to stitch it together sometime later.

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We saw more wild flowers on this hike than we've ever seen before. Not only abundant but there were so many types, many we've never seen before. I'll try to add some names to some of these as well. I'm sorry some of these pictures didn't turn out clear either but I included them because they are different and to show how many types there were.

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