Getting Closer

Getting Closer
Getting Closer

Thursday, December 29, 2016

12-28-2016 Arrival

Current Location: Los Angeles County Fairplex, Pomona California

(Very few photos.  If you want to see the rest it will happen long after I return to Klamath Falls in late January)

I so wish I had a photo of the Interstate from our drive this morning.  Almost everyone here at the Rally, including Jimmie and Nickie, have horror stories of the horrendous traffic over the Grapevine and on the 210.  I was driving, hence no photos.  Mo isn’t inclined to grab the camera for pictures of traffic, or the lack of it, and I didn’t think to encourage her.  I was too amazed at the ease in which I sailed over the legendary pass and into legendary LA traffic.

Somehow our timing must have been exactly right.  We left Orange Grove at 7am, fortified with their famous donuts and coffee.  It is smart to wait till 7 when the office opens so you can get a couple of those donuts for the road.  Another little perk for this place, and they are fresh from the bakery delivered moments before opening, and of course complimentary.

As we approached the pass, we could see a light dusting of snow all around the mountains to the south.  The snow was at our elevation, next to the road as we reached the summit, even though the temperatures were in the mid 40’s.  Glad we waited out the storm, since rumors have it that the Grapevine was closed a few days ago.

There are 5 lanes on the pass, two on the right for trucks, and only a very few times did a slow truck in the middle right lane cause me to jump over into the left lane to pass.  And yes, trucker daughter Deanna, there wasn’t a car for at least a mile behind me to get frustrated with the 60mph that I managed to do up the hill, only slowing to 55 in the steepest parts.  All three lanes to the left of me were almost completely empty until we were within a short distance of the 210 Pasadena offramp.  Once on the 210, it was again smooth sailing, with very little traffic.  I thought to myself, gee, LA traffic isn’t nearly as bad as I remember.  What are people complaining about?

We heard a lot of that complaining later in the afternoon as some of the folks here raved about the horrible traffic, the accidents, the complete stops and then stop and go for miles and miles on the 210 even today, after we passed through.  Travel angels are with us for sure!

The smog even left us this morning, with the folded, tortured and twisted ridges of the San Gabriel Mountains completely clear.  By the time we reached our turnoff, the skies were gorgeous, the mountains brilliant in the sunshine, with snow on Mt Baldy, and temperatures here in the low 70’s.  Time to peel off the sweatshirts, we are in Southern California!

This rally has shifted around a bit since we purchased our tickets last year.  Initially we were to be in a lovely county park at a lake in nearby San Dimas, big sites, lovely amenities.  Later on, we were told the venue had been moved to the KOA at the fairgrounds.  Even later in the process, were were informed that we wouldn’t actually be camping at the KOA, but on the pavement inside Gate 1 inside the grounds themselves. 

That didn’t sound too good to us, although photos and reviews of the KOA weren’t exactly riveting either.  Picture all those overcrowded KOA’s that keep you from going to a KOA if you can help it and you have the idea.  Our instructions were to check in at the KOA and then go to Gate 1 to find our group.  I do have to say that once we saw the KOA and then once we were settled into our spot here in the parking lot, we were quite happy to be right here where we are.

We may be on pavement, with no picnic table or trees, but we are parked along a large grassy space with plenty of room to walk the dog, set out our chairs when we get around to it, and enjoy the sunshine without all that crowding.  Twenty Seven rigs are lined up here, with 54 people attending the rally.  Many, like us, are first timers, but there are also about half of the group who have traveled with Adventure Caravans more then once.  One couple from South Carolina have been on 31, yes 31 tours with Adventure Caravans.  Sheesh!

I think there were several others who, like us, didn’t want to deal with the logistics of the parade and yet still dreamed of seeing it, either once again to rekindle childhood memories, or for the first time. Of course, during the orientation, there was the obligatory “Stand up and tell us who you are” thing that Mo really doesn’t like and I tolerate.  That is how I know why people chose to come on this Rally.  And Melody, just for you….one gentleman and his wife introduced themselves and said that they had been very busy campaigning for Hillary.  Of course several people popped up and said they voted for Trump, but several people also cheered Hillary.  So everyone isn’t of the same mold, which is nice. Hopefully that is the last time that political conversations are part of the entertainment.

After we arrived, Mo and I decided to go to the RV show across the street.  Everyone was just soooo sooo friendly here at the rally and we weren’t quite ready to be all that social, so we escaped.  The “huge” RV show wasn’t all that huge, but we did enjoy checking out the new AXIS rigs, nice size at 24 feet, with a big class A type window that could entice us.  But in order to keep the price point reasonable, they don’t have many of the niceties that we have in the MoHo.  We are so dang spoiled, so even with 90K miles and 9 years on her, we are in no way ready to give her up.

Our “wagonmaster” Hex has been great.  We managed to get the only site that has only 50 amp posts, and we don’t carry a converter.  Within 5 minutes, Hex had one for us.  He also recommended a service being offered by Adrian’s, who was washing and waxing rigs.  We have always done our own washes, and have never succumbed to this kind of luxury.  We decided to give ourselves a Christmas present and paid $150. for the most amazing cleanup we could imagine.  The rig was washed and waxed to perfection, including the roof, and all that water spotting that I could never get off the windows completely is gone!  Worth every penny.  I am sure we won’t do that often, but it sure was fun.  The MoHo looks brand new!

As I walked around the complex, it began to dawn on me that I was standing next to the original garden railroad exhibit that was at the heart of the LA County Fair.  I stood here as a kid, enthralled by the trains and the miniature buildings.  I took Mattie walking around the empty complex, the huge buildings that house the exhibits were built in 1938 by the WPA. 

This fair, every September, was my annual birthday celebration.  Our family always had 6 little foster kids, always younger then me, but for this one outing every year, the kids were left at home with mom, and dad took just me to the fair.  I looked at the huge buildings, one for flowers, one for vegetables, one for housewares, and then walked out to the animal barns, now empty, but filled with memories of the Budweiser Clydesdales and huge pigs and cows and sheep. 

Whenever I go to a fair now, it is always colored by memories of this one.  Nothing can measure up.  It was crowded even then, back in the 50’s.  I can only imagine what a zoo it must be now, and have no desire to repeat the experience.  Walking alone around the buildings and walkways and midways and barns was a perfect way to relive the memories.

Later in the afternoon, after Jimmie and Nickie arrived, we settled into the big tent for “orientation”.  The previously mentioned introductions were part of the process, and then all that other stuff that seems to go with any kind of “tour”.  A few itinerary changes, the most disappointing being the EquestFest horse show.  Seems as though there is some kind of equine herpes virus outbreak going around and in order to protect the horses, all horse festivities prior to the parade have been cancelled.  Sigh. 

Raincoats are in order, however, and that is another sigh.  It has only rained 10 times on this parade, with sometimes more than 50 years between rains.  The last rained out parade was in 2006, and this year the weather predictions do not look good.  I guess we need to appeal to the weather angels to hold off just a bit.  Please?

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

12-27-2016 Traveling South Along the Great Valley

Current Location:  Orange Grove RV Park Bakersfield California  Clear and Chilly

For several winters now we have managed to travel south around this time of year.  It is familiar territory, and takes a bit of effort for either of us to step back and appreciate that 300 miles or so between Lodi and  Bakersfield, to see it with new eyes.  As is often the case, even on a clear somewhat sunny day, there was a bit of murk in the air, especially east toward the Sierras.  We are used to that.  We are used to the rattles of the poorly maintained pavement of I - 5 in this part of California.  Sometimes there are smooth stretches, with recent repairs, but more often than not the MoHo rattles and shakes and bangs when we hit road divots that should be on a back country road somewhere.

We held our noses as we passed the huge feed lots near Harris Ranch, a place where we once stopped for a steak dinner on Christmas Day.  We stopped for a few moments at the rest area near Coalinga, built with thought and care with local materials to look like the old agricultural buildings that have been part of this landscape for more than a century.  Again I drove up the little knoll to a vista point that gave us a view of the dual ribbon of the interstate stretching south into the distance, as far as the eye could see, thick with cars glinting in the sunlight, moving in both directions.

Today, however, there was just a bit of difference in the way I looked at the broad valley stretching toward the east from our elevated highway along the foothills of the coast range.  I recently discovered an environmental writer, a crazy guy that lives in Yucca Valley, and he speaks to my heart on so many things. Chris Clarke writes like Ed Abbey mixed up with a touch of Terry Tempest Williams.  The article that broke my heart was one I read recently, describing the paradise that was once the California Great Valley, as it was before corporate agriculture took it over.  I know we need food, but still…do we really need to export all the almonds in the world at the expense of our land and our water, to make a corporation richer? 

I mapped soils in California, I know how beautiful it can be in so many places.  I have seen bits and pieces of the valley that hint at what once was.  But this verbal visual picture of what we have completely lost made me cry when I read it, and today as I drove south along that valley, I remembered Chris’s words.  If you want to read something beautiful, and heart rending, and important, read this article from his Coyote’s Crossing.

We were slowed by two large accidents, one semi that looked like maybe someone had fallen asleep, or as my trucker daughter said, maybe texting.  The next accident looked as though it may have been a couple of cars that decided to change lanes one time too many and into each other.  Traffic was fast and crazy, and lane changes were frenetic.  I was happy to see no ambulance at the second wreck, and to see a woman holding her big white dog in her arms as she stood next to her upside down totaled van.

We left at 7:30 am, allowing enough time to cover the miles and not worry about arriving after dark and by 3 we were parked and set up in Orange Grove RV Park, east of Bakersfield.  I have no idea how many times we have been here, but it is quite a few.  The oranges keep bringing us back. 

In keeping with our techie issues, Mo discovered this morning as we left frosty Lodi that the Tracker was dead.  With a pull through site, we hadn’t unhooked, and decided to just pull her along until we arrived at Orange Grove.  The park here was mostly empty, we pulled in straight, unhooked and I pulled the MoHo out and backed in, battery to battery.  In minutes, the Tracker was purring again.  We had left the fan on the last time we drove it and with the key to “accessory” in order to stay in park and still allow the steering wheel to turn, the fan was on, quietly enough that we didn’t hear it. Dead Battery.  It has happened before, but not too often.  The fix was easy, thank goodness.

Then we set up the satellite, with the phone at hand ready to call King.  In minutes we had both satellites, a great signal, and Direct TV channels popped up just fine.  Nothing was different than yesterday afternoon, and yet for no reason we could figure out, everything worked just fine.  I simply have no clue, but here we are, dinner in our tummies, a good glass of wine, and the news keeping Mo company while I write.

Somehow, everything that seemed to be a problem yesterday has been resolved today, without any real effort.  I love it when that happens! Not long after we arrived, I was out picking oranges, with an extra bag tucked away for Nickie and Jimmy, who are now settled in a bit north of us in Wasco. 

The oranges are bigger and thicker and even sweeter than I ever remember.  Even though things were empty when we arrived, the staff warned us that the park would be full to capacity tonight and in the next few days would no doubt move into overflow only.  Whew.  Don’t try to come here without a reservation.

Tomorrow we will drive the infamous Grapevine, a highway I remember from my childhood trips to Yosemite.  Back then, in the 50’s it was an 8 hour drive over the mountains to Fresno, a wild and curvy drive, hence the name.  There are still some pieces of the historic highway left for motorcyclists and hikers.  Ah such wonderful memories, waking at 2 am to tuck into the back of the 52 Buick with blankets and pillows as my dad drove that winding road, watching the sun rise as we dropped down into the Great Valley. 

Monday, December 26, 2016

12-26-2016 Laughing at the Jello

Current Location: Flag City RV Park, Lodi California

I had no more finished publishing the last post than things started changing.  First of all was a sweet solution to the Mattie problem.  Our blog friend Laura read the post and immediately wrote saying she might have an idea.  I met Laura last summer for lunch in Ashland when she and Alice were traveling.  We had followed each other for some time and it was great to get together and meet in person.  Laura is a dog person, and a motorhome travel person, and since she lives near the Pomona fairgrounds, she sweetly offered to come during the days we had to be away and take Mattie for a potty break and a walk.  Amazing! 

Next I called Orange Grove RV to confirm a two day reservation.  That place is getting so very popular with people traveling to and fro in Southern California that we learned the hard way that reservations are in order.  Well, popular is an understatement.  The price went from $34 a few years ago to $37 last year (with a cash discount) to $47 per night this year with no cash discounts offered, just $4. off with AAA or AARP or Good Sam.  Geez.  We looked at each other and said, “Why not just stay right here for two nights?” 

Mattie loves heat, crawls as close as possible to the fire at home

We have open skies to fiddle with the satellite, paved space to keep out of the mud, a nice big doggie park, and sunshine.  With our Passport America this park is only $27 per night.  I really do need my oranges, so we will still go to Orange Grove, but for one night only.  Oranges for $17 bucks extra and 25 miles out of our way.  They really ARE that good. 

Mattie isn’t too impressed with the electric substitute for the fireplace

Next up was going to the park office to pay for two nights instead of one.  I asked about the TV thing, and sure enough, this past year they upgraded to digital.  At the moment, Mo is outside hooking up a very long cable that we can bring inside so that we can hook up the digital converter box and hopefully will discover that it actually works and we can get digital cable from the park.  Our other techie problem is our TV antenna.  It isn’t digital either, so when the girl at the counter said, “Just put up your antenna and you can get 45 channels from Sacramento”, we just smiled.  Mo purchased a digital antenna long ago to replace the original one, but it didn’t have room to retract on the top of the rig, so she removed it, so no, we don’t have a digital antenna either.  Technology shifts so fast you can’t be slow!

We do have a digital to analog converter, but so far the problem has been figuring out how to make it actually work.  It is now noon, and we have given up.  When we hook up the box, it can only be seen on input 3 and cable can only be seen on input 7, and when we program the box on 3 we get a bunch of strange channels that the maintenance guy can’t figure out at all, not the regular digital channels that come across the Direct TV cable.  It is all too weird.  Solution?  Figure out how to get a digital TV  in the space that we have and for the time being, forget about TV!  A big glass of wine should get us to the next project….getting our King Flex satellite to work with our new Direct TV receiver.  A BIG glass of wine.

A bit later, after the wine and lunch, we tackled the King Flex satellite system.  The system worked fine for a few years, since we got it in 2014, so it obviously isn’t that old.  Last year, when we had to upgrade our old Direct TV receiver, it quit working.  After a long day on the phone, I learned that it needed updating, and King sent us a big update file that had to fit on a 4 gig or less USB stick.  You can’t buy those any more, but I did manage to find one buried in an old drawer.  We upgraded the system, but it still took a long time on the phone to get it to work.  That was back in May.

When we traveled last summer to the family reunion, for some reason it would no longer work.  Direct TV isn’t very helpful because they don’t understand how these RV satellites work, and they keep wanting us to do things related to the big satellite at home where the system works just fine.  Sigh.  So this afternoon we hooked the system up again, with completely clear skies, and in a fairly short time the converter showed full reception on the satellite system.  The Direct TV receiver, in spite of tracking the numbers of the transponders, still said there was “no signal”.  I forgot this was a holiday, but was reminded quickly when I put the call into King.  They are closed for the holiday.  Of course. 

So we put the satellite away, put the non working cable digital converter box away, turned off the TV and spent the afternoon laughing and playing cards.  In spite of the tech issues, it has been a lovely day of down time.  There haven’t been many down time days in our life lately and that is the one thing we can count on when we get away in the MoHo.  We will usually manage to have some quiet days without a lot going on.  Much like being on a cruise, we have learned after more than ten years of RVing that you don’t have to keep running around doing everything all the time.  Whatever wonders may be out there will still be there next time.  We could have dressed to go wine tasting (we love Old Vine Zin’s which Lodi does better than anywhere).  We could have visited the Jelly Bean factory.  Instead, we hung around home, and thoroughly enjoyed it..

It is still fairly chilly, even with the sun shining, so I wrapped up in a warm coat to take Mattie to the dog park.  The “park” is simply a fenced storm water control basin, but is full of grass and good smells with lots of room to run.  Surprisingly, both times we visited the park, there were no other dogs around so Mattie had the place entirely to herself.  Today there were only a couple of Snowy Egrets pecking around, but last night there were more than a dozen, including three Great Egrets as well.  Their view from this spot certainly isn’t what our Klamath Basin egrets enjoy!

Our plan now is to leave as early as reasonable tomorrow morning with hopes that we will get to Orange Grove RV in time to set up the satellite again, and make the call to King on the east coast before they close.  Mo is a lot more patient than I am with all this stuff, and after things don’t work I just throw up my hands.  She wants to keep trying.  Our testy comments to each other are good natured most of the time at least. I just want to buy all new stuff and have someone make it all work. Mo, in her best thrifty fixit self, wants to make what we have work.  Most of the time it eventually does work out.  I guess we will find out tomorrow!

Now, for those of you who said you were glad I was posting again….really?? 

Hopefully as the week progresses there will be more interesting stuff to talk about.

12-26-2016 Traveling South

Current Location: Lodi, California at 30 degrees F with clear skies

This trip has been in the making for almost a year.  While we watched the Rose Parade in 2016, I remembered the fragrance of the flowers from all the years that I attended that parade growing up in Southern California.  I once again said to Mo, “We have to get back to the Rose Parade someday”.  I have no idea how Adventure Caravans showed up in that picture, but on January 1 2016, we booked our very first formal “Rally”. 

I thought that we could “do” Christmas with the family before we left, but as is often the case when traveling south in winter, weather stepped in and changed those plans.  The MoHo is stored safely at the Cottage in Grants Pass, protected from Klamath Basin snows and extreme cold.  Instead of three passes to get over to go south, she only has to manage two.  Mo and I, however, still have to get over the High Lakes Pass.  It isn’t a problem most of the time, especially since the vehicle that makes the trip back and forth to Grants Pass is our trusty little Dakota. 

This year, however, a “big” storm was predicted for the day we planned to travel, with an even bigger storm coming over the Siskiyous and Mt Shasta.  Our plan to head south on Monday the 26th began to look like a real fiasco.  Instead, we decided to skip the Christmas festivities and use the tiny little window of clear weather and open passes to get to California. 

After a sweet early Christmas Eve Eve celebration with Melody’s family at the apartments, we loaded up the truck and managed to get over the snowy High Lakes Pass without a hitch.  Whew!  With an extra day to prepare the rig for traveling, Christmas Eve was enjoyed with a nice long visit with Daughter Deborah and Grandson Matthew.  So instead of the big family celebration with food and photos, we had special times with each family before beginning our southern adventure.

I love being in Grants Pass in the winter.  It can get frosty and foggy, but when that clears and the sun shines, it is pure gold, and the grass is gorgeous and velvet brilliant green.  That same grass goes dormant in the hot summers, but oh what a treat on a cold winter day to see green grass all around.  Nice too that it is cool enough that it doesn’t grow fast enough to need mowing. 

We woke on Christmas Day to cloudy weather and a gentle sunrise and temperatures above freezing.  What a delight!  Even more delightful, as we merged onto the Interstate from the Rogue River Highway, there wasn’t a car in sight!  I have never in all the years I have traveled this road seen it as empty and quiet as it was at 8am on Christmas morning.

South of Ashland, the Siskiyou Summit is the first hurdle encountered on the route south.  It is long and steep, and can be a tough pass, with chains often required during the winter. 

We sailed over the Siskiyou’s, with roads clear and almost completely dry except for a very few bits of ice at the top.  Down the southern slope are some steep grades toward Yreka, and then the valley opens up to views of Mt Shasta to the southeast.  Clouds obscured the mountain a bit, but she loomed white and brilliant over the landscape in the morning light.

The pass over Mt Shasta isn’t as dramatic as the Siskyou Pass, but it was colder and more icy between Weed and Dunsmuir.  That part of the highway can be treacherous, with lots of semis negotiating the curvy interstate and weather often choosing to slam into that southfacing slope with a vengeance.  Once again, we sailed past Shasta and Dunsmuir without a hitch, across the gorgeous new bridge that has been years in the building over an arm of Shasta Lake and then into Redding.  We both agreed it was the easiest most traffic free I-5 trip we have ever managed in all our years of driving south on this route.

With the plans moved up a couple of days, we then had to decide just where we would spend the extra night. Our first stop on this route almost always seems to be the Flag City RV Resort in Lodi.  It is quick and easy, a Passport America Park, with level pads and no reservations needed.  However we decided that we weren’t up for wine tasting in Lodi and wanted to continue south today after a single night here.

Originally I thought we could boondock at the Flying J on the north side of the Grapevine before heading into Los Angeles early Wednesday morning.  I looked for something along the southern route that might be worth spending an extra night, and found nothing we wanted to do.  Instead, we decided to go a bit off track toward the east to our favorite stop over on the way to the desert, Orange Grove RV Park.  Mo laughed and said, “You just want to go there to get oranges!”.  She was partially right, but it really was the best choice, both for comfort and price and an open sky to fiddle with our satellite on the extra day we will spend there. Now the plan is to spend the next two nights there, and leave early on Wednesday morning to return to I-5 and the Grapevine, south toward the 210.  Somewhere along the way that morning, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see our buddies, Jimmy and Nickie traveling south as well.  We are all supposed to arrive at the Pomona Fairplex KOA by noon on Wednesday.

Who knows what we are in for.  The rally people have communicated often, mostly by email, with different suggestions.  The campground venue changed from the original beautiful park in San Dimas to this KOA in Pomona.  Not optimal because instead of being half an hour from Pasadena it is now more than an hour.  (The change was made AFTER the trip was paid for!)  We then got a communication from the rally “wagonmaster” that we would be actually camping at the fairgrounds, not in the KOA itself?  What? 

They told us that dog sitting was included, and later mentioned that was an extra fee.  We reviewed the papers required by the dog sitters and thought, No.  No way.  The fine print states that they are not responsible for death of your dog if attacked by another dog while they have your dog out with them, among several pages of other sorts of liability releases,  including damage to your rig while they have the keys. No thanks.  Mattie will have to manage on her own on any of the long days we are away from the MoHo. 

No matter what, the Rose Parade is the goal of the trip, and the minor details are just that, minor.  Sitting in the bleachers smelling those flowers and listening to the marching bands will be wonderful, and no traffic and crowds to negotiate.  All handled by our rally wagonmaster.  Should be a real treat.

Thanks to my friend Erin, I am trying something different for the blog during this trip.  Both of us are often slowed in our writing process by the time it takes to select and process the photos we want to use to illustrate our stories.  Erin has decided to write more and worry about photos less.  Her reason for doing this is probably a lot more valid than mine, since she will be on a ship, but it still will work well for me.  Check out Erin’s upcoming adventure here.

I pay for bandwidth to upload those photos to SmugMug, and would much rather process all those photos at home on the big computer.  My laptop also has Lightroom on it, but oh my it is sooo slow.  I am spoiled with the hefty GIS ready desktop that I have at home, so will wait to process and add photos when we return to the apartments. 

I am sure that 99 percent of those reading this blog will NOT return to see the rest of the photos, so there you are.  You will get a few, but the rest will come later. Thanks for the great idea, Erin!

Now for a little bit of mechanical misery.  Our rig is almost ten years old.  It is a fabulous rig and we love her, but one problem that seems to keep cropping up are issues with the jacks.  Mo had the solenoids replaced and pump rebuilt last summer.  The jacks work just fine at the repair shop, but then when back out on the road, they refuse to extend, most often the rear jacks.  Our site was level, but we still wanted to work with them to be sure all was operating well.  Nope.  Not extending.  Mo crawled under the rig and fiddled, pulled them down manually, and put WD 40 on them.  They worked again, after being cleaned a bit.  All that road grime and snow stuff must get in there and make them sticky.    Hopefully they will work when we get to Catalina Spa after our Rose Parade week is over.  We love that place, but the sites are notoriously not level.

More misery with television.  I almost hesitate to talk about this, because it shows our unwillingness to move into the current technology.  The rig is from 2006, so our tv is a lovely flat screen, but is not digital.  Lately it seems that many of the RV parks are moving to digital cable that either requires an expensive box rental from the cable company, or a digital tv.  Last night we couldn’t get tv to work at all, and of course since no one was around on Christmas day, we have no clue if it is us or them.  Many folks in the park seem to be using their own satellites, but we didn’t want to fiddle with that for just one night, so no TV.  Thank goodness we have our own WiFi.  From the review that I read, while WiFi is supposedly available, it never works, and some people said the cable doesn’t always work.  Maybe they didn’t have digital tv’s either?

We hesitate to replace the TV because the current one is somewhat square and the newer digital models are longer and won’t fit properly into the perfectly shaped cubbyhole that we have now.  It would require a much smaller screen or a complete redo.  Of course, if we could get our satellite to work properly with our Direct TV box that we bring from home that would help as well. That is another mechanical issue we plan to address tomorrow on our layover day at Orange Grove, remember those open skies I mentioned? 

In the mean time, we have a lovely sunny day ahead of us to travel the short distance to Bakersfield and Orange Grove RV Park.  No worries, we will travel the 5 rather than the 99 freeway just because we like it better.  The mileage difference is miniscule.