We have been on a pretty long break from blogging, so here is our very late post about our adventures and misadventures during our drive from Oregon and down the length of California.
We knew some roads were flooded to the north of us but happily no flooding was reported on our route going south. As we continued however, we passed by areas where the waters were rising and with the continuing rain were likely to flood the roads. We also drove by a small flooded farmhouse, hoping that everyone was safe.
Next we spotted some official vehicles with their lights flashing as we drove by a bridge, Police officers scanned the waters below. But we got through safely and it was good to know that roads were being monitored this closely. We are thankful to all of those who serve to protect us.
Our destination was the Lucky Seven Casino for a quick overnight stop. We stopped for a pizza and I ran out in the rain to pick it up. Then we settled in for the night in the back parking lot of the casino. Hector ran out for a quick walk with Angel, fortunately there was a covered walkway with a grassy patch, so they had a bit or protection from the rain.
Though we usually like to patronize the places where we overnight for free, we never even entered the casino, it was just raining too hard to venture out. Check out my review of the casino here.
The following morning it was still raining quite hard, but as we drove south the rain abated. We reached Crescent City during a lull in the rain and decided to go for a long walk along the shore.
The sea was still churned up from the recent storms. We walked out onto a jetty for a better view of the Battery Point Lighthouse, always a pretty sight on its tiny islet.
The islet is connected to the mainland by an isthmus, and only accessible to the public during low tide, not the case the day we were there. And the rain caught up with us just before we got back to Island Girl.
So we gradually headed inland along the storied US 101, with one more casino stop at Coyote Valley, Ukaih for the evening. Check out my review of the casino here.
And we couldn’t resist a quick tour of the northernmost Mission of California, Mission San Francisco Solano, now part of the Sonoma State Historic Park.
The buildings have been restored and contain a museum with historical information about the area including a replica of the original state flag of California which was created here.
A bit further south, we made another quick stop at the Castle Air Museum. I actually found this museum, to Hector’s delight, on the Campendium campground review site while searching for an inexpensive place to stay overnight.
Though we did not stay at their campground, Hector made a quick visit to the museum. It is located on the site of the former Castle Air Force Base and has an impressive collection of WWII and later warplanes.
Now that we changed our route, I planned to visit a friend and her husband in Fresno. But on route to Fresno, our check engine light started blinking and we got a datalink error message on the dashboard.
This issue first came up briefly back in Canada, but by the time we reached the closest Freightliner shop, they could not diagnose the intermittent error easily but assured us it was safe to continue (famous last words). We knew it was just a matter of time and this time we stopped at the nearest town that had a Freightliner dealer, Stockton. Unfortunately, by the time we arrived at the dealer all of the lights and warnings had returned to normal.
So, after two nights at the Freightliner in Stockton and the possibility of endless hours of diagnosis, we opted to leave. The techs cleaned some connectors on the transmission, which was a possible culprit, but as it turned out that was not the case.
We continued on to Fresno, where we had dinner at my friend, Suzanne’s, and her husband Frank’s house. An evening full of good food, great conversation and lots of laughs (and one gorgeous cat, Karma).
We now were headed to Anza Borrego to meet some more friends and get a little desert time before landing in San Diego. We had lost a couple of days in Stockton, but still had a few days before our campground reservation.
But it was not to be. Check engine lights and dashboard warnings came on once again and this time our engine brake stopped working while we were on a fairly steep downhill.
There was a wide area where we were able to pull over while we figured out next steps. We located the closest Freightliner in Rancho Cucamonga northeast of LA. Then we headed there without turning the RV off, this time hoping that the problem would NOT clear up before we arrived so they could diagnose it. The downhill portion was almost done, so we were ok without the engine brake.
This time Island Girl had apparently reached her limit, as the warning lights never went off from that point on. And we were fortunate that the repair shop was relatively close by. But it was late and they were going to close so we had to wait until the next day.
This Freightliner service center does not normally allow RVers to overnight, but they felt sorry for us and let us stay. Which was a good thing since L.A. is so expensive.
The next day they discovered a couple of cracked J1939 connectors on the data network that runs all through the chassis. Unfortunately, they did not have any in stock and had to order them. And of course it was a Friday and the parts would not arrive until Monday. But they were kind enough to let us stay once again, this time for the weekend and while they were closed.
The guard that was there most often was a Middle Eastern gentleman named Shah. It was ironic that while we were in San Bernardino County, we were protected by a Middle Eastern man. He was a total gentleman.
Then drove up to the Griffith Observatory for some cool nighttime views of the city.
Our desert stop and visit with friends was not to be, but we still had a chance to reach San Diego on the first day of our reservation. On Monday work was completed on Island Girl and we were on our way. Yay!Now, with Island Girl finally back to normal after chasing down this elusive electrical problem in multiple attempts, we drove to San Diego, one of our favorite places, just in time for the holidays.