Current Location: Orange Grove RV Park Bakersfield California
The good news is that yes, we are on the road at last. This time, however, we are traveling with family. Quite different for the two of us. Mo’s brothers, Dan and his wife Chere, and Don and his wife Wynn, are traveling with us as far south as Desert Hot Springs. It has been fun, and somewhat different, traveling in a caravan. We are in the lead, since we supposedly know more about this route.
Brother Dan and his wife Chere at the rest area on I-5 with the gorgeous Mt Shasta in the background
The joint adventure began on Monday, when the brothers arrived at the Sunset House in Grants Pass. We had moved the Tracker to the RV Shed, and left our MoHo half in and half out so it would be an easy hookup the next morning. Last fall when we built the new fence, we added another large gate, with entry from our quieter side street to the property and the option of an easy in and out.
It was only a little bit easy, since the big rigs still had to be incredibly careful to get through the gate and pointed in the right direction down the driveway. Our driveway is simple gravel and not exactly flat, but at least level enough that the guys could level their rigs. We also managed to get power to all the rigs, and hooked up hoses so that Don could take on water.
After settling in, it was time for a trip downtown to our favorite little bistro for supper. We had a great dinner at The Bohemian, in spite of the unexpected noisy late afternoon Monday crowd.
We were awake early, and I baked an easy eggs benedict casserole, mixed up a package of hollandaise sauce for a good departure breakfast. Paper plates, and cleanup was quick and easy and the entire gang was ready to roll at exactly 8:02 AM. Right on time.
The weather cooperated beautifully. So many times when Mo and I have embarked on this journey we have had to deal with fog and ice and snow and all sorts of bad weather. With a huge storm pounding the Northwest just days earlier, it was wonderful to see clear skies and dry roads, even over the highest point on I-5 between Mexico and Canada.
It took a bit longer to get to Lodi, our first scheduled stop, because getting three rigs going after stops instead of one takes a bit more coordination. We stopped at the gorgeous rest stop with views of Mt Shasta, and again at the rest stop close to Red Bluff. By then it was noon and time for lunch, and with dog walking and lunch making, that stop turned into an hour. With a gas stop in Dunnigan, which may or may have not been necessary, we rolled into Flag City around 4pm. The distance between our house and Flag City is 371 miles, and our rig can do about 400 on a tank. Dunnigan has an easy in and out Pilot, and is just 60 miles north of our destination. The price of fuel at the Flying J was exactly the same as the Pilot in Dunnigan, $2.77 per gallon for regular. Diesel fuel is much more expensive this year, but I didn’t pay attention to the price. Dan’s rig used diesel and the rest of us are gasoline.
Settling in to Flag City was quick and easy, and Dan and Don really liked the long, level, cement pads, with nice picnic tables, and spacing between rigs. With our Passport America, this park is now 33.50 per night. Can you imagine paying 67 per night for a space? Things are definitely getting expensive. I remember when we would think over $30 bucks a night was ridiculously high.
We took the dogs for walks, enjoyed a glass of wine and some snacks while visiting at Dan’s picnic table and finally settled into our own rig for a quiet dinner and evening with just the two of us First night on the road is always a bit disheveled, as we try to get everything into good rolling mode. Dinner was simple, reheated ribs and sweet potatoes.
Driving through the area burned last fall along I-5 is shocking. excuse the window shot.
We got a chance to check out the new TV with the park cable and it worked fine. However, the park WiFi is a joke. They have a new system, stating that the free version is for simple web surfing and email. Right. I couldn’t even load an email with it, so instead of using up our bandwidth on the Verizon hot spot, I opted to pay $2.99 for the high speed version. High speed my foot! I still couldn’t open smugmug or google photos or even get facebook to load. I set the phone hot spot, and now everything is slick and fast, but of course, I am using that supposedly unlimited bandwidth that will slow to a crawl after 22 gigs. With a couple of months ahead of us, I know we will have to get creative about when and where I upload photos and try to post blogs. And even though OLW isn’t always working for the entire process, I can at least write blogs each day and save them until I get a chance to upload, download, copy/paste, and do all the contortions I will have to do to make a blog post that hopefully is worth reading.
The MoHo looks so tiny next to all the big rigs. We love our small rig!
It is now a day later, and we have settled in to Orange Grove RV Park. I am on free WiFi, quick and slick and not a bit of trouble in the least.
We had an uneventful and delightful day today, continuing south on I-5 through brilliant late winter green hills. Overlooking the wide valley, with heavy fog/smog to the east, we were glad for the choice to travel the 5 instead of going south on 99 through the Central Valley towns. The pavement wasn’t half bad, with many areas smoothed out from what we remember from past years. The truck traffic was heavy and fast, however, and with three motorhomes in our caravan, there were a lot of lane changes.
Instead of getting fuel at Costco in Bakersfield, we chose to gas up at the Pilot in Lost Hills at $2.79 per gallon for regular, before getting off the Interstate. It was just 60 more miles to our destination, but with one of the bigger rig using diesel, Pilot is an easier choice.
We rolled in to Orange Grove RV at 2:30, in plenty of time to settle in before evening and show the family around the park. Everyone was thrilled with the sweet oranges and in no time we had our bags filled. This year the crop is a bit different, with many small oranges instead of the big oranges we are used to picking here. Ah well, free oranges are wonderful, and the little guys are just as sweet as ever. Time for a couple of weeks of fresh orange juice.
We shared a family meal at the picnic table, with a great chili stew that Don’s wife Wynn made for all of us. It was a great supper with lots of laughter. We were all tired and it was getting darn chilly so we made our goodbyes and retired to the MoHo thinking it was close to bedtime, only to discover it wasn’t yet even 6PM! All that conversation and coordination wears me out I guess. Also, dark and chilly means bedtime for me, but I at least managed to finish this blog before giving up and snuggling in with a good read and a warm comforter.
Tomorrow we all head out at 8pm to drive over the pass at Tehachapi to the desert. I am already anticipating that gorgeous moment when the wide open desert opens up before us on Highway 58 near Mojave. I love this drive, no matter how many times we do it.