We spent the winter at Casa Del Sol, a very nice gated retirement community made possible by our friends Jimmy and Glenn who got us into the place by watching and waiting for an opening (snowbird season). It was nice to be in one spot for a couple of months to relax and get some routine maintenance done on the rig and catch up with our friends who also fulltime in the same brand of 5th wheel. The winter weather in Peoria (Phoenix) area is pleasant and we also visited with my brother John and his wife Lisa who live nearby.
We headed out of Peoria en route to northern California with an overnighter at Harris Ranch off hwy 5 (you can park overnight in the parking lot for free space permitting), best steaks on the road! The next morning just south of Los Banos we heard what we thought was a tire blowout on the rig which was surprising as we had just had bought new tires on her all around before leaving Arizona. After successfully maneuvering us to the emergency lane Brad went to investigate. It's frightening to be on the side of hwy 5 with semis whizzing by and your loved one having to be outside with little room! What he found was that it had not been a blowout of the tire but the entire wheel with brake still attached had been ripped off and was no where to be seen. Luckily there was just enough clearance with the dangling remnants of the suspension to lump the 6 miles into Los Banos going no more than 10 mph. The mechanic that roadside assistance sent helped Brad find and retrieve the wheel in the median of hwy 5 and you can imagine how fortunate we were that no one was hurt or (worse!) when it spun across the freeway.
Later we learned that the culprit was a defective Dexter No Lube hub that had catastrophically failed and sheared off. Well, there was nothing to be done but to leave the rig for what we thought would be a week or 10 days and continue up to the Sacramento area where we were to go camping with family and friends. (Anyone that has spent time in Los Banos (translated - bath, bathroom, toilet!) will understand our haste to leave!)
Oregon House, Coloma, Nicolaus
As members of Thousand Trails (TT -nationwide campgrounds) we were able to stay in stocked manufactured cabins for a good rate and that made our time away from the rig pleasant enough to be considered a vacation. We did not anticipate having to be out of our home for what turned out to be a month+ so staying in the cabins helped alot. Our first stay was in Oregon House at TT Lake of the Springs campground. Our daughter Loretta and her fiance Jeremy and their friends came out from San Francisco to tent camp and it was a good thing we had the cabin as it rained over the weekend and we had room for all to hangout dry and warm!
Next it was off to Coloma and a stay at TT Ponderosa campground. The cabin was small but new and we made the best of it visiting friends and exploring a bit with a trip to Uncle Tom's Cabin and some other favorite rustic bars.
Our final cabin stay was in Nicolaus at TT Lake Minden which was by far our favorite cabin as it was on the lake with a porch that extended out over the water. We had beautiful weather during our stay and really enjoyed ourselves with all the revelers over Mother's Day weekend. After having to extend our stay another week due to still nothing happening on the rig we were anxious to get results and threatened to move back in to her repaired or not!
We love that our daughter lives in the San Francisco Sunset District which lends itself to visits in that favored city so we (again) made the best of it and stayed a couple nights on our way down to Los Banos. Jeremy and Loretta are gracious hosts and took us on a walk with their beloved Corgi "Zero" who zoomed along the sand.
Well the threat to take up residency at the RV service shop worked and they had the rig ready for travel less the replacement rim (which still proves to be elusive as of this writing 4 months later!) so we were able to use the spare rim and headed back up to Roseville.
We stayed at the fairgrounds and spent Memorial Day with our good buddy Scott Whitaker and his kin, always a feast and good time!
Lastly we stayed overnight in Sacramento and tramped around on our bikes to a few old hangouts while we waited to hear about the rim...
The rim being still no go we decided it was time to head north to Oregon and friends that were waiting for us. It was my 50th birthday (June 4th) the morning we left and Brad treated me to breakfast at the Tower Cafe before we hit the road. Later when we stopped for the night in Yreka (long ass drive) he bestowed my gift of a delectable bottle of Don Julio tequila and we drank to my health.
The friends in Oregon earlier mentioned were expecting us to attend a work party to help set up for the "Oregon Country Fair" held in Vaneta, Oregon every 2nd weekend in July. The OCF is a huge cultural festival celebrating music, entertainment, craft and food artisans and basically everything 'Hippie'! I was fortunate to have my good friend Cher (Bear) invite me to be her 'Significant Other' during the Fair this year. We were also invited to an early work party weekend to help set up Traffic Camp, which Cher is a part of. Being there on site early allowed us to see the surroundings before all the structures and people are there which was amazing considering the 400 acre area is in a flood plain and most of the Fair is re-constructed every year. I have grouped all of the photos from the OCF together with a gap between Pre Fair construction and the Fair itself. Brad was also allowed to camp overnight with me and we had the best time, it was like no other festival or fair that we've attended and we look forward to being a part of OCF for many years to come. Indeed most of the volunteers are second and third generation Fair people having been in existence since the 70s.
2015 Oregon Country Fair
Our Sweet Hippie Friend Cher Bear
Many thanks to Cher for inviting us! I encourage everyone to attend (or volunteer!) the Oregon Country Fair and get your groove on!
Newport and Pacific City, Oregon
After the work party in June we headed out to the coast and the cool temps of Newport, Oregon, our favorite city on the coast. Because of our travel plans for the summer we had a shorter stay at our campgrounds on the coast but as always had a wonderful time and got our fill of oysters! Whaler's Rest Resort-
We celebrated our 26th Wedding Anniversary
Pacific City, Oregon
We were able to spend a couple weeks at Pacific City TT and visited our friends at the Sportsman Grill and Bar, best Razor Clams on the coast! I enjoyed hiking the hilly campground and walking the beach. We missed out on the 4th of July (better luck next year) but we had fine weather as usual.
Ocean Shores, Washington
After the OCF weekend and the warmer temps inland we looked forward to the sea breezes and quiet of Oceana TT campground on the Olympic Peninsula. The surf there is so shallow that the beach sand is hard packed enough to ride your bike and Brad and I wasted no time riding up the beach to our favorite bar the Green Lantern and saying "hi" to friends there. The quiet was short lived however as the weekend exploded with Bike Week put on by the local casino and bringing in hundreds of bikers. Actually, we planned to be there for it as we had an excellent time last year and this year was no different!
I had not been to my hometown of Fairbanks in over 20 years and it was time to fly up (after storing the rig outside of Seattle) and see my mother and family. Lots of change occurred in my absence but plenty had not changed at all. Fairbanks is beautiful in the summer months (July & August) and my mother's garden was in full bloom with all the midnight sun. We toured the surrounding areas hitting the dive bars and old saloons as we went. My excellent friend Julie Engfer Jones (since high school) and her hubby Nathan kindly took us around to their favorite spots and both being musicians/performers we heard more live music in Fairbanks in 2 weeks than we had in the last 6 months (excluding the OCF)! We were treated to the Alaska Salmon Bake and saw Nathan perform at the Palace Saloon; they brought us out to Ester's Malamute Saloon to hear 'The Milk and Honeys' (a female acoustic duo with beautiful harmonies) and to the Boatel Sleezy Waterfront Bar where we heard an awesome Dixieland Jazz band fresh from New Orleans! We had the best time with Julie and Nathan on our last day driving out to Chatinika Lodge for bloody marys and fried chicken and to listen to another of their lovely friends sing. Then it was back out to Ester to hear a jam session on the porch of the Golden Eagle Saloon and finally they let us hangout at their house til Julie took us to the airport at 11PM! What great frdsien, can't wait to come back! Next time we've decided we'll purchase a small trailer to drag up and do a more thorough exploration of Alaska.
Dive Bars & Saloons
Malamute Saloon, Ester gold camp
Chatinika Lodge, old gold camp mining dredge
Ester, Ak Golden Eagle Saloon
It's now the 3rd week of September and I can't believe were headed back down to Arizona for the winter! We've been fulltimimg for almost 5 years already and the time sure has flown by. (No, we don't plan on stopping any
Safe travels to all