From Oregon and Down the Length of California

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.

Cali 2015-9ycogqd4ziWe usually don’t drive Island Girl in the rain, but when it rains every day it is impossible to avoid. Since the rain seemed endless, we decided to drive out of Oregon during very wet weather.floods_2023625

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.

best-sunscreenWinchester Bay-6Next 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.

il_570xN.521909692_o359Though 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.

Cali 2015-1Cali 2015-2The 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.Cali 2015-5Cali 2015-3Cali 2015-4

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.Cali 2015-7

We considered continuing down the coast but ultimately we decided that we couldn’t do it justice because we had limited days until our reserved campsite in San Diego.Cali 2015-6Cali 2015-10Cali 2015-11

Cali 2015-16Cali 2015-8So 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.

Then we drove through some remote and stunning redwoods and the cute town of Eureka as we headed south.  Cali 2015-12

Cali 2015-15

Cali 2015-17We continued through Sonoma Valley and stopped in the charming plaza of the town of Sonoma for lunch.

Cali 2015-21Cali 2015-22And 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.

The buildings house an art gallery with renderings of all of the California missions and a pretty adobe chapel, which was built in 1841 to replace the original wooden chapel.Cali 2015-24

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.

Cali 2015-27Though 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.

One of only four remaining B36a in existence, with matching atomic bomb!

One of only four remaining B36 “Peacemakers” in existence, with matching atomic bomb!

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.

a7e20ce80396e4092d51f1e787f0613aThis 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.

Cali 2015-42There 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.

Cali 2015-43Cali 2015-49And while this was not a place we would have stayed by choice, once we closed up all of our blinds and curtains we were home.

We met each of the security guards as they were the ones who would open the gate for us to leave and return.Cali 2015-50Cali 2015-51

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.

Cali 2015-55While in Los Angeles, we figured we would check out the beach. So we headed for the Santa Monica pier (a loooong way from Northeast L.A.) with Angel for a fun afternoon by the ocean.Cali 2015-54

Cali 2015-52Cali 2015-56

Cali 2015-61Cali 2015-62The next evening we drove through Beverly Hills and admired all the holiday glitz on Rodeo Drive, Wilshire Boulevard and surroundings.  Cali 2015-59

Cali 2015-60Then drove up to the Griffith Observatory for some cool nighttime views of the city.

Cali 2015-66Our 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!Cali 2015-63Now, 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.

~ BrendaCali 2015-65

9 thoughts on “From Oregon and Down the Length of California

  1. Murphy’s Law, it always happens that way. At least you got to it before any major damage was done. We as far as Tok when we realised that an air bag had a leak in it, and had to drive back to Fairbanks. And yes it was a Friday afternoon and the company we had to talk to was of course on the East Coast and they had gone home! Love the cartoons, I sent the Portland one off to friends who lived there, hope they see the funny side of it!

  2. What a relief to get that problem taken care of! And you got an unexpected vacation in LA:)

    John and I recognized that photo coming down the Avenue of the Giants. We did that road on a motorcycle; what a wonderful ride!

    The clarity of the ocean photos is just amazing. I feel like I could actually touch things. So beautiful:) Outstanding photos, Hector!

    It was so very nice to get together again if only for a short time. We really appreciate your stopping to visit:) Do try to make a few days visit to Moab. We will be there all of April. We’ll take you to some awesome places for photos with the Jeep:)

  3. Oh I like this story and I think I know how it turns out! So great to see you on San Diego. Heard you are in Tucson. Are you still there? We arrive to Catalna next week, probably Tursday. Would love to catch up.

    • The continuation of the story was just posted. We are headed to Benson tomorrow and back to Tucson on March 1st for the month. I believe we may be curling each other 🙂 Would love to catch up again sometime.

  4. We really related to your Oregonian rainy weather narrative. When we first went full-time in 2007 we stayed in our Motorhome (Hannah) in the Upper Willamette Valley during the Winter. We camp hosted at Champoeg State Park that year and were amazed at the way the rain fell horizontally rather than vertically! Now our travels back to beautiful Oregon always take place during the less rainy months. We always enjoy your updates and will be looking back on your previous posts as we plan a trip to the Canadian Rockies later this year.

    • Champing is a very pretty park, but probably not so much in the rain. Thanks, and let us know if you have any questions about the Canadian Rockies, we are always happy to share information.

  5. So glad you guys are safe and that Island Girl is back on the road. Karma kitty is beautiful!!! And of course, so is Angel Girl!!! Hugs, you two!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *