Thursday, April 19, 2018

BLOG IS GOING ON VACATION

Sorry, but my blog is going on vacation until sometime in mid-June.

Actually, I am taking a vacation from my traveling full-time throughout the U.S. and am headed to the UK for a few weeks.   I'll post a few updates when I get back and resume my U.S. travels. 

 

 So, yes, I am taking a vacation from my regular vacation. 

 

 

Thursday, April 12, 2018

4/12 Emigrant Lake & a Cold and Stormy Week

On Tuesday morning, I headed north from Orland Buttes Recreation Area, planning to reach Emigrant Lake in southern Oregon.  I was here last October during the fires and posted a lot of pictures of the hills being shrouded in smoke.  It was just barely within the "safe" for most people category in terms of smoke pollution.  

However, this trip turned out to be a lot more rainy and colder. It got cloudier and rainier as I got to the Shasta Lake area.  Tuesday night, it dropped to 40 and started to rain. 

Lake Shasta is looking pretty good these days.  When I took this route a couple of years ago, there was hardly any water in the lake.  Now it is very close to being full.  Unfortunately, no pull-offs to take good photos.  Maybe this summer or fall I will do more exploring around this area. 

Mount Shasta, I think.  
 

Crossed into Oregon and got to my campground.  No reservations, but it was fairly early in the day and I had my pick of sites, so I chose one of the ones on the higher level because they had a better view. 
 
A little sunnier here, at least briefly.  I signed up for two days because it was such a nice place with excellent Verizon signal so I can get good internet through my mobile hotspot.



The rest of these photos were taken Thursday morning.  It had rained all night with temps down very close to freezing.  Note the frost or snow line on the mountains across the lake.


This hill to the south had spots of actual snow.  



All of this snow seemed very close, so I agonized about whether to move on to Bullard's Beach or stay here for another day.  I checked the weather and webcams along I-5 and Oregon 42.   By 10 am, they looked wet, but with no snow.  One big consideration is the need to put chains on my vehicle.  Not only WILL I not do that, but I CANNOT do that.  If there is snow or a chain-up warning, I will turn around and go back.  No way am I driving 15,000 pounds on ice and snow!

On my way out, I found a man packing up his trailer and noticed he had Oregon license plates, so I asked if he knew anything about passes on the route I was taking.  He assured me there were passes, but they were all lower than the campground we were staying at.  That made me feel better. 

Whew!  The roads were nearly completely dry, although the clouds looked nasty and periodically produced rain. 


 
 Other than my GPS deciding that for some reason I could not make a left turn onto Highway 101 near the coast and rerouting me 10 miles to Coos Bay so I could go around a block so get me headed south!  

It does strange things like this once in a while.  A few years ago, it decided I needed to drive over 100 miles down the Key Highway in Florida so I could make a turn and drive 100 miles back to the campground!!  I saw the left turn lane to John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park and saved myself an extra 200 mile drive!  

Luckily, I am a little familiar with this part of Oregon and recognized I was getting close to Coos Bay, so I turned into a gas station and headed south, which was the right direction.  Glad to get parked and set up for three nights in this very pleasant campground.  Will post photos in a couple of days, assuming is does not rain solid for the next two days.   

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

4/9 Orland Buttes Campground, Black Buttes Lake, CA

I had never been here, but wanted to check it out.  It is a no-hookup campground along a lake.  There is another campground on this lake, but it has a bad reputation for attracting a rowdy crowd.  Not my style, so I checked this one out. It would be nice to have a cheap option for a campground on my way north or south on I-5. 

On the way in, I saw this osprey nest on an electrical pole. 

There was only one camper other than myself and the camphost, which was nice.  That gave me my choice of campsites. 

These are the black buttes the campground is named after. 


Self-check in means that you pick up an envelope, put your fee in it, and write your information on the envelope before you deposit it in the "iron ranger."  Cost was $10 for seniors since this is a federal campground, and I get a 50% senior discount.

Large parking lot and boat ramp.

My site was very high on a bluff over the lake.  Great view, but no lake access.  Another problem was that most of the sites were pretty small, so if you had a tow vehicle, you would probably have to park it on the grass. 
 

4/8 Napa EXPO

Most fairground campgrounds are pretty rough--dirt, dust, broken electrical posts, and no attendants to keep the place safe and clean.  

Napa County's EXPO is different.  It is clean, has paved roads and campsites, and is nicely landscaped.  It is also within walking distance of downtown Napa and several other spots near downtown.  Frankly, the only negative is that it backs up against a busy highway and is it a bit expensive.  I stay here every time I come to Napa to visit my son and his family. 




   
 These animal barns were full of cows, horses, pigs, dogs, and llamas, I was told. 


 There is a bathhouse and small laundry here, even if most units are self-contained and have their own facilities.  All sites are full-hookup, which means water, electric, and sewer at each site.

 If you are so inclined, there is bingo here every Friday night!  Parking lot really fills up on bingo night.

Other fairgrounds buildings can be rented out for special functions. 

This field is where they shoot fireworks every 4th of July.  During the Napa fires, they used this field to park their heavy equipment, which really created deep ruts and other issues. So, they have been adding gravel and packing it down. I hope they pave it when they get done. 

This is the main fairground's roadway.  Obviously, you can't drive or park there during the fair, but there are several buildings that are rented out for banquets or other events.

Need to make some wine?  You can buy bottles and corks and also rent things like a wine press and other equipment.  They also sell beer-making equpment is you prefer to make that.   http://www.napafermentation.com/

There is also a model railroad club in the EXPO.  Usually it is open for visitors on Friday evening, but unfortunately, it has been evicted by the Napa EXPO Board and are fighting to save their facility.  Also, some of the club members drive the Wine Train in Napa.   http://www.nvmrc.org/ 

So, if you are an RVer and choose to go to Napa, the EXPO RV Park is really the nicest and most convenient place within at least 30 miles.


 

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

4/2 Rio Viento RV Park, Sacramento River

After returning from my trip to Georgia, I left Las Vegas and heading for California.  After a couple of days in Tehachapi, I ended up at this RV park on the Sacramento River, about 60 miles east of Napa.  It is one of the cleanest campgrounds I have stayed at.  It is also very windy here because it is on the river, so it attracts a lot of wind surfers. 

Besides the wind, the tricky part of getting here is driving on a narrow road on the levee.  


The roads and sites in the RV park are brick.  I assume there must be some cement underneath because there is no evidence of shifting or lifting up of any bricks.  


The only negative is that the tall levee blocks the views of the river.  


If I ever had to stay in this area for a substantial period of time, this would be my choice of RV parks.

 

3/20 Desert Botanical Garden WIldflowers & Butterflies

I know.  I disappeared for a while and got behind with my blogging because I had to fly to Georgia to visit with some elderly relatives.  It took me a while to recover from my least favorite form of transportation, but I am back now and trying to catch up.  

On this day, I went back to the Desert Botanical Garden to see the wildflowers in bloom and the butterfly exhibit.  Note the terrific bus and RV parking at the Garden.  

Bus parking is really very close to the entrance.  


It has been about a month since I was last here, and I was hoping more things would be in bloom by now, but it has been a cold and dry winter.  

Bats and birds love these large blooms.  They will produce sweet fruit in the middle of summer. 


This is the entrance to the wildflower garden.  


This tree is in full bloom!  

This round-tailed ground squirrel lives along the flowers. 

Here at least is one cactus getting close to blooming. 

And another. 

Lots of wildflowers in bloom. 


This is the butterfly house. 
 

And some assorted photos of butterflies.  I have no idea what kinds they are. 










Time for a quick stop at the goft shop and to go home. 

This impressive yucca was in the parking lot.