Enjoyed my stay here next to the river quite a bit. There were many bikeable roads to travel, several properties for sale to explore, a nice bar cafe to visit, and a convenience store with a pizza, sandwich shop sorta setup. They had a fairly extensive menu actually, but I never ate there. I’d would ride over there in the mornings, get a fancy coffee and read the local newspaper. The store is just beyond that white storage and shop building there in the background of the pic below. I’m parked in my new permanent spot they had me move to. The services are very new so no worries about the power faltering or bad water. Each day around 11 AM it would get warm enough to need the AC, but it’s still much more comfortable here then in the desert of California. And by 4 pm it was back to comfortable so I’d go do some bike riding.
I was over the ‘strong’ dizziness stage so I went over to the canyon the day before I left for Walla Walla and carefully inched my way over to the edge. I’d get a couple shots and back way off for a few minutes for the woosieness to pass before coming back to the edge for another shot or two. It’s an impressive canyon.
Next morning (July 31st, 2015) I leave Orland and head due North on I-5. A few hours later and I exit I-5 and head NE on US-97. This puts me on the path towards Walla Walla. My plan was to stop and visit the Ice Caves near Tule Lake but when I’d checked the weather early in the morning, I found that it was going to be another scorcher, at least part of the way, and most likely near the caves. And though I would be comfortable down inside the caves (there’s ice down there!), I was fairly certain when I returned from visiting them the RV would be very uncomfortable and would take hours to get its temperature down. Even with my makeshift AC running while I was gone.
Well, OK, I thought, I’ll skip the Ice Caves until later in the year. This trip I’ll just drive up to near Crooked River Ranch in Oregon and stay at a little RV park up there in the foothills of the Cascades, off the beaten track. Advantage was that I’d get there around 4 or 5 pm while most of the travel day was in the foothills where I’d get some relief from the heat of the valley floors in California.
And sure enough, by the time I get to Shasta Lake, outside air temps are still fairly reasonable. In the 80’s. And it’s around noon.
Hey, that bridge to nowhere you’ve heard about…
A week after the sailing disappointment…
We headed back to Bluewater Sailing, and this time, we rented a smaller boat with sails that are just lashed to the masts instead of rolled up inside of them. I checked the weather that morning and based on that, I took my light jacket out of my carry all for some dumb reason. It didn’t take up much room, there was a ‘chance’ of rain, but I just didn’t think I’d need it.
And when we arrived at the harbor, here’s what was still left from an early morning rainstorm. Puddles all over the parking lot. Hardly any customers on this fine Saturday.
Brennan is smart enough to leave the soft top of the BMW up. Continue reading
A few days later, we went to a AAA baseball game in Lancaster. It was kind of exciting as the home team went ahead in the 5th with like 8 runs, then the opposing team came back and in the 9th, won the game 9-8. It was fun seeing all those hits of course. Too bad about losing the game though.
As I mentioned before, my friend and neighbor had a slick new to him BMW with a 500HP engine just itching to try out on a local race track, Willow Springs Raceway. As luck would have it, it’s just up the road from here, and on June 13th he and I headed over there to get on the track and give the car a workout. I’m the ‘pit crew’ so I’ll just get to watch while Brennan takes her out on the track. We arrive at the track pretty early in the morning after a night of intermittent rain, but the tracks already dry, so that’s good. And Brennan has to sit through the driver training and all so I had some slack time.
And here’s a shot of the hill the track goes up and circles off again.
It’s fairly boring here, but as I used to tell my kids when they’d complain about how bored they were, “A bored person is boring, an interested person is interesting, find something to be interested in”.
Ok, so I’ll do that. Dan’s next door neighbor, and I’d like to say my friend Brennan, lets me park my RV on his property next to his house and plug into AC so I can retreat here to watch TV, play on the computer like I’m doing now, and just hang out.
The day after I arrived last month, he showed me his new toy. It’s a 2007-8 BMW Convertible. Thing has a 500 HP engine and adaptive suspension, GPS, AC, killer stereo system, all the bells and whistles. All tricked out for both performance and comfort. Now, that kind of thing perks my interest as you’d imagine so I imposed on him to take me on a ride about. And the next weekend we headed on over to Tehachapi.
Here’s one of many long stretches of highway on the route where we got up over 100 MPH. Thing is, he’d gotten up to 115 on this stretch and I’d not known until he pointed it out. It was that smooth, quiet, and comfortable. Nice.
After a nice night’s sleep at Meteor Crater RV Park, it was back on the road heading due west to just 80 miles north of Los Angeles, Rosamond. Home of Edwards AFB and my brother. I wasn’t looking forward to being in the desert for a couple months but, he’s family and needs assistance so whatcha gunna do?
Plan is to help get his project car up and running. A 1966 Studebaker Daytona. Far too many problems with the car to detail here, but I’ll note that the engine AND tranni were both rebuilt last year. Thing’s a wreck in my opinion…but, it’s his money, his baby. I’ll help where I can, but my shoulder is still bothering me so I can’t lift much, can’t really torque a bolt very tight, or work underneath where I have to extend my arm over my head.
After the Studey is up and running, if ever, then it’s time for him to empty the house, put it on the market, and head north to be closer to his son and family. That’s the plan.
Just a hour after leaving the RV park, I pass through Flagstaff. This first picture was taken shortly after I got on the road. Nestled on the slope of big hill up ahead is where Flagstaff is. Because of it’s elevation, Flagstaff has some pretty nice year round weather. One of my favorite places to stay when it’s hot.
Some old volcanic cone?
Next morning, awoke at 5:30AM and couldn’t get back to sleep because of the stink blown on the wind from the nearby cattle pens. The winds were not helping. Yesterday afternoon when I’d stopped here, wind was light, and didn’t notice any bad smells.
Not a bad spot. Nice and long spaces.
Headed off at 7:15 to Roswell and found a nice Mexican restaurant for breakfast…
I tried several times to get a good photo of these green alien statues they’ve installed all over Roswell. This is the only one good enough to post.
Left Van Horn around 9AM and headed up to Carlsbad Caverns for a second visit. This time I planned to walk down into the cavern from the ‘Natural Entrance’. This starts at the surface and winds down 750 vertical feet by the bat cave. Nice improved trail, but a bit steep. I don’t have joint problems as a rule so I didn’t think there would be too much trouble for me to hike down.
As you can see from the pics, weather was beautiful. Temp was in the high 60’s so it was a comfortable ride.
Enjoyed my visit to Van Horn. Super fast WiFi, fast enough that I could watch a complete HBO or Amazon movie without a glitch. Nice flat countryside for bike riding. A store right next to the RV park. And several highly recommended resturants that the owners of the RV park had personally visited in the 5 months since they’d bought the RV park. Decided to try what I was told was a very good steak house just a block away. With a bar. Cool. So my first night here I bike over to the Cattle Company and find that they do indeed have an incredible steak. The Flat Iron. Tender like a filet mignon, but with the flavor of prime rib. Yum. Bad part was here I’m getting an expensive steak, and they only have those damned sweet rolls. Like Hawaiian type bread. Comes with honey butter cups. Gah! So I ask for just toast. I mean, really, who doesn’t eat their steak with garlic bread? Nope, they don’t have regular bread. So I ask for a couple pads of butter. They charge $0.50 for them even though I don’t even remove the lids from the honey butter cups. Order the salad, and typically, it’s not a salad. Two kinds of lettuce and 3 cherry tomatoes. That’s not a salad. OK, I try again for some veggies and order corn on the cob. I find out that they cook the cobs in hot salted water, then keep them warm in melted honey butter! Damnit! What the fuck is wrong with restaurants these days that they won’t even attempt to provide a decent, healthy, dinner??? No vegetables in the salads, mass quantities of sugar on everything. Well, the steak was good.
Three days later, I check the weather up at Carlsbad Caverns (CC) and it’s a little dicey but not too bad, so next morning off I go. Forty minutes later, and I’m heading into this. Looks pretty. But ominous.
You climb from Van Horn at 4,000 feet, to CC at 6,000 feet. So you’re bound to run into some bad weather. Or have to drive through some interesting clouds.