I do so love to drive our RV. Our little Excursion is responsive; needing only the lightest touch on the steering wheel and I often describe driving the rig to my wife as more of a dance and never a chore. Unfortunately the dances on our trip to the south have been more of a rumba than a smooth waltz with only short patches of smooth pavement scattered among a predominantly cracked and potholed highway.
|Hyped as the "Trees of Mystery" (Not sure why)|
Over the past three days we've covered over 800 miles and I would love to say we've seen some stunning scenery and all sorts of critters but... It rained. It rained from the north. It rained from the south. Well, you get the idea; it was wet.
We had originally intended to travel the Avenue of the Giants and see the giant redwoods but, you guessed it, weathered out. I'm sure we could have taken the drive but we were getting a slushy rain and the temperature was taking a nose dive – so there will be other chances. The glimpses we did see along the 101 were enough of a tease to ensure our return someday.
I for one would really like to see the north end of these southbound elk.
Our first stop was in the dark gloom just before sunset outside of Willits, CA at the Golden Rule RV Park and while I would like to write a review, I can't. It was dark, rainy and what I'm sure is a fine RV park just off the Old Highway 101 but for us it was a break from watching the windshield wipers going back and forth.
We survived the spaghetti mess that is San Francisco crossing the Richmond bridge and running through the outskirts of Oakland and Alameda on our second day. We even spotted Coast Guard Island, looking nothing like the place where I went to boot camp nearly (gasp) 40 years ago.
We eventually made it to I-5, which is long, straight, bumpy, smooth and for the most part windy. Oh, and did I mention rain? Yes, it was raining – AGAIN. No wait, again implies it stopped at one point, I should say it was raining STILL.
Near Coalinga is the Sommerville Almond Tree RV park. Located sort of behind the Jayne Truck Stop, the park offers a respite from what can best be described as a most boring stretch of I-5. The truck stop is old style, not one of those fancy travel plazas where it looks like a big shopping mall and during our stay, appeared overlooked as a place you can do a semi-quiet dry camp. I mention this stop because for just a brief moment the rain stopped and the clouds cleared away for the beginnings of what was going to be a wondrous sunset. I was in the process of getting the camera out when the pitter patter rain drops began again to strike the roof of the rig. Before I could get to the edge of the park to take the planned sunset shot over the almond trees, the spill gates were opened and within what I swear was less than a blink we were back to full monsoon conditions.
Ah, our final day of travel. Our goal has been to get within one day of travel from the Escapees Convergence this month and the Soledad Canyon Thousand Trails park meets our goal. The only obstacle? The Grapevine. (Yes, I know NOW there's a probably better route, yesterday? Not so much.)
So, in the rain we began the long grade into the Grapevine. Traffic was light probably due to the weather and those on the road were actually driving as if there actually were hazardous conditions. Rain drops became larger and larger as we went into the mountains and just as we were reaching Gorman – snow.
The road to our campground brought us through the town of Acton, whose main street was covered by flood waters 4 to 6 inches deep in places. There were some minor rock slides to wend around and the ever present fear we may get stuck in a place where we could not turn around. Obviously we did make it will be sitting still for about a week as we take a break.
Oh, and the sun did rise today. I leave you with a shot of the San Gabriels dusted in snow.