Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A Couple of Challenges

When I woke up very early this morning, one of the first things I noticed was that the wind was gusty and this caught my attention. I decided to check out the weather in Redding, while Steven checked out Grants Pass, OR, our next scheduled stop.

It looked like it could turn out to be a bit challenging for us newbies. In Redding, the wind was already gusting, and was predicted to be up to 17 mph by 11:00 a.m., with gusts of 25-30 miles per hour. In Grants Pass, the wind was already gusty and "small hail" and "snow" were in the forecast for Siskiyou Pass.

Crap. What do we do? How much wind is okay? How many "gusts" can we handle? And what about that hail and snow in the pass?

On our second day of Boot Camp, the winds were fairly gusty, and our mentors advised us carefully on traveling in windy conditions. Based on that, we figured our best option was to bug out immediately to miss the coming winds in Redding, get over the pass and get settled in Grants Pass before the any bad weather hit.

We jumped up and ran through our checklists and got ready to depart. We hoped we were doing the right thing, because we don't have the luxury of waiting for better weather. We still have jobs and children to tend to, so we are on a schedule.

We rolled out of Redding at 7:49 a.m. We had sunny skies and bouts of wind, but it was not too much to handle. As we climbed to higher elevations we were somewhat shielded by the mountains, so it wasn't too bad. The view was spectacular. Still, we did not waste time with rest stops. We were on a mission.

One thing we were not aware of prior to leaving Redding was all the current roadwork that was being done in the higher elevations. At times, we would be funneled into one narrow lane, only to find it open up again shortly thereafter.

If you know anything about us, then you know we are always on the lookout for a Starbucks. And having left so early in the morning, we both were seriously jonesin' for a coffee. Yes, it would have been an unscheduled stop, but hey, we were desperate. About the time Steven took out his tricorder (aka iPhone) and starting scanning the landscape for a Starbucks, we both momentarily lost our road concentration. When we realized we were once again being funneled into a narrow one lane construction zone, this time with concrete barriers on BOTH sides, we simultaneously said, "Oh, shit!" We didn't really "say" it as much as we screamed it.

This narrowing of the road happened on a curve, so it seemed even more significant. I entered that curving teeny little lane at 60 miles an hour, but somehow, I threaded the needle perfectly. I believe I will never, ever again be that lucky, so from this point on, the Starbucks tricorder is dead to me! That goes for every other distraction as well!

As we recovered from that scare, Steven answered a phone call from RV fulltimer friend Gordon, who was calling to check in on us. He and Juanita are coming tomorrow to visit us from Port Orford, OR, where they are settled in for the summer. Steven informed him that we were "white knuckling it" at the moment, but otherwise doing okay. Gordon confirmed the coming weather was to deliver snow in the mountain pass, and he was happy to know we had managed to stay ahead of the worst of it.

Getting more comfortable with big trucks at close proximity!

Creeping along at newbie speed!

Long range sensors detect a Starbucks 65 miles away!

Mount Shasta

Road trippin' in VistaVision!

Weird and wonderful landscapes

Mount Shasta

Didn't need it but somehow comforting!

Views from Ashland, Oregon

We are currently settled into the wonderful Joe Creek Waterfalls RV Resort campground just north of Grants Pass. This is the first place (out of a whopping three!) we've been where our site is not so level. While Steven was outside running through his checklist, I went through mine. As I began lowering the jacks, the two in the rear seems to just keep going and going. The front ones touched down in no time. I had to keep adjusting until our high-tech device (the bathroom door) confirmed that I had Scoopy completely level.

When I went outside, she just looked ugly! The back is so jacked up, the tires are very nearly off the ground. And the front is so close to the ground. This can't be right, Scoopy looks so uncomfortable! I checked over and over to make sure she was really and truly level. She apparently was. Still, I wasn't buying it, so Steven went over to the funky little campground store and bought a spirit level. Sure enough, that little bubble was dead center!

I kept whining about how awful Scoopy looked, and Steven asked me if I wanted her to be level on the inside, or to look good on the outside? Ideally, I want both! I fired off an Email to Laurie, and she replied that nothing I described was alarming. We might try to re-level using a couple of blocks under the back jacks and see if that helps.

Scoopy looks so uncomfortable. Notice how jacked up she is in the back?

Since we were set up fairly early in the day, Steven got in a bit of photography time. He continues to ask random people if he can take their photo, and he found a willing subject in the camp store. I sometimes think people, especially women, might think he's creepin' on them, but he has an introduction all worked out so they can check out his website and know that he is legit before they agree to be photographed.

Audrey graciously allowed Steven to take her photo.

Minutes after we arrived at Joe Creek RV campground it began to rain

A beautiful sunset over a beautiful campground

The end of a wonderful day of new experiences!

We spent some time learning new things. For the first time, we actually opened some cabinets to see what goodies were left for us. We also learned to swivel the front chairs around to make them part of the living area. That was fun. We've had to turn on the furnace for the first time. It's freakin' cold here!

Swivel chair goodness...we are all set up for some serious entertaining!

We're looking forward to our visit with Gordon and Juanita. No doubt we can find some kind of trouble to get into.


  1. OMG, we are SO PROUD OF YOU! The road construction...!!! So scary, especially when you already had the weather to worry over. And on NO COFFEE! By the time you get home, you will be seasoned and experienced: urban traffic, hot weather travel, wind, construction... you are doing SO WELL! And, yes, Scoopy does look uncomfortable. I used to think just the same thing. I'm glad your heart for her is so soft. She's fine.

  2. third landing under your belts! Good job!
    enjoy your visit with Gordon and Juanita!

  3. Have a wonderful visit with Da Godfadda and Da Missus! We will be with y'all in spirit. Just a word to the wise on leveling: Front wheels off the ground are AOK. Back wheels off the ground are an absolute no-no. We carry along some 2x4s to put under the wheels (or jacks) as necessary. And, those skinny little one-lane constructions zones? There will come a day when they don't feel like a butt-cramping needle threading. Really! I promise!!! Hang in there. You're doing fine!!!!

  4. I love following your blog. It brings back so many memories. I hope we meet up along the way. I can't wait to meet Gordon and Juanita, I've read their blog for a long time.

  5. You guys are doing awesome. Meeting the challenges and coming out fine. One of the challenges that never gets easier is trying to fit yourself into parking lots of your favorite food locations (and yes that will include Starbucks). But of course you will soon outfit Scoopy with your own coffee making equipment so you'll be able to get on the road with beverage in hand.

  6. My heart was racing when you described the feeling of going through the cement barriers. Oh, what memories ... LOL.

    You are doing an AMAZING job of driving your beast !!

    PS - Glad you did not have to use the truck run-a-way lane ;-)

    Take care ... TnT