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On April 15,2000 we left Phoenix heading for the Escapade in Lancaster. Because we were in a hurry (having been delayed because Ron had to fly to Michigan to be with his mother who was hospitalized) we had to drive I-10.  We got such a late start that we spent the night in the rest area at Blythe and were very comfortable.

The Escapade in Lancaster (off of Highway 14) was fun as always and we delighted in visiting so many of our friends. The only damper was the cold, rainy morning we did our seminar. We were amazed that so many got up so very early to walk a long ways in the rain and to sit in a cold building. To top that off the floor in our room was covered with water and in some places it was one quarter of an inch deep or more. As we were getting ready to go, we bet each other that maybe only 6-12 would be in attendance and we were delighted that there were several hundred.

From Lancaster we headed back down CA Route 14 to visit my son, Mark and his family in Saugus. We spent two weeks in the area and most of the time we were at Valencia Travel Village. See what I wrote about the urban campgrounds in that area in Thoughts from Barb. There's no Comparison.

When we left Saugus we headed west on 126 and met friends in Ventura at the Rincon Parkway. I loved it there and we wrote about that in the above story. I really wanted to stay longer than the two nights that we did stay, but Dick and Carol were ready to move on and they wanted to show us a secret campground at Jalama Beach. While in Ventura we visited the Mission there. Dick was on a mission to visit all of the California missions. The gardens were beautiful and we enjoyed our day out and about. 

We left the Rincon Parkway and headed west on U.S. 101 until we came to CA Route 1 where we took a left. then at Jalama Road we turned SW for 14 curvy, steep miles. Some curves were so narrow and severe that our fearless leader, Dick, used his air horn as he entered the turns in case someone was coming from the other direction. Once we got into this public park we were amazed at the beauty. Some of the sites are on the sandy beach but we opted for the sites on the cliff overlooking the rest of the campground. In order to get up to those spots we had to traverse a small switch back. Neither of our rigs could make the turn so it meant pulling beyond the curve then backing up. It was a bit of a challenge but we made it.

 What a view! 
But the wind blew hard every afternoon and by the third day, we had had it; we pulled up stakes drove those 14 hairy miles all over again. Our next stop was the Flying Flags Campground at Buellton. This is a very nice campground and it is near Solvang a very cute Danish town. We discovered ableskevers and other goodies in lots of bakeries. 
Gary and Maryellen Mencimer joined us in Buellton and the six of us were together for the first time in two years. It was fun to be with them. The next day they took off towards Pismo Beach with Dick and Carol who have family there; we headed to Visalia to meet up with other friends, Judy and Cec. Ron was in the process of  reinstating his Elks membership at the club in Visalia where Judy is a member. We drove to Visalia by driving north on U.S. 101 then at Paso Robles we turned east on CA Route 46. At highway 41 we headed north east until turning east on highway 128 which took us right into Visalia and the Elks club where we enjoyed four days camping. Camping at Elks clubs puts us near the center of action in town and we like that. Judy and Cec took us to the town of Exeter where we enjoyed a lovely afternoon. Click here to see the story on Exeter

Our next stop would be Petaluma which is north of San Francisco. Starting out was easy and the drive on CA Route 99 was easy although busy. It was a beautiful drive with lush farmland all around. Our view from the windshield was of huge bushes covered in bright colored blossoms. At Mantica we turned west and by traveling freeways 580, 680,  780 and 80 we skirted the busiest part of San Francisco. We got off the Interstate at CA Route 37 and headed west until we came to CA Route 121 which took us north to Route 116 and we headed west to the Elks Club in Petaluma. Now the Petaluma area is definitely a place I could live. We had a nice full hook up site at the Elks and were across from a bird sanctuary with a 2 mile walk around the lake. That was a nice way to start out each day. Since it was spring there were lots of new babies and it was fun to watch them. We stayed at the Elks club for a week. 

Here are a few fun facts about Petaluma.

  • The town was untouched by the 1906 earthquake that toppled San Francisco and so many beautiful Victorian homes stand as a stately reminder of a time long ago.
  • Petaluma had the world's first and only chicken pharmacy. 
  • Eggs are a big thing in Petaluma and more than half of the eggs used by San Francisco come from this area.
For us the most fun fact was that my son Robert was teaching at the Coast Guard school a little ways outside of town. He is a chef in the Coast Guard and primarily teaches baking. We did a neat story on one class and all the goodies they baked. See that story by clicking here. Coast Guard

We were loving the area so much that we decided to move out to the Coast Guard base and even though there were no hookups it was quiet and we really enjoyed being close to Robert and Kristen. It was easy to take nice long walks on the base; we read and relaxed too. One night we joined them for a game of bowling at the bowling alley on base. It had been at least 15 years since either of us bowled; Robert bowled for the first time last year and is on a league with a high average. We were impressed and we didn't do too badly either. It was fun. 

We took a couple of drives while out in the country. One day was to the Muir woods near San Francisco. We never tire of being with these giants. Another day we drove Route 1 north to Bodega Bay and beyond. It was a gorgeous drive but the water was almost always obscured by clouds which is really quite normal for this part of the country. 

While we were camped at the base and because we were dry camping, we depended on our batteries, inverter and generator. The batteries were not holding a charge very long and we had to run the generator more and more. Suddenly it quit too. We limped along for the last day then headed north towards Eureka. 

It was an easy drive up US 101. We had traveled this route 10 years ago when we had our little Mallard and we remember being so excited at seeing the redwoods. We had taken the scenic loop off of 101 which goes right through the trees at that time. Big signs warned us not to take that loop now; we are too big. We are so glad that we did it when our house was smaller. We also did a lot of hikes in the area 10 years ago so this time we just kept on going. As it was in some spots it was tight anyway. Look how close that giant is to the edge of the road. Most of the trees close to the road had lots of gouges on them where vehicles had come too close.

Eureka was as we had remembered it. We camped at the Elks there and that put us close to town which was good for what we wanted to do; we needed to get mail and we wanted to experience the Samoa Cookhouse again. Ron thought that a picture in the cookhouse would be good for our new guessing game. It was easy; so many of you knew it and had been there. 

The Samoa Cookhouse is the last lumber camp style cook house in operation in North America. The cook house was originally operated by one of the last company owned towns in the U.S and meals have been served here continusouly for over 105 years. In fact the camp workers were served until the late 1960's when the cook house was opened to the public.

1)The long tables      2) Jeanette our server         3) Ron with dessert.

Each meal is served at long community type tables and is family style so it is all you care to eat; there is no menu. You get what is being served for the day. The day we had lunch there, we were served pea soup which was excellent, salad, bread, short ribs, noodles, green beans, drinks and cobbler for dessert. We did not eat anything for dinner that night. Meals are reasonable too. Lunches are $8.45 and dinners are $11.95. Oh and seniors get a 10% discount. They also serve breakfast but I didn't notice the prices. Since this place is so much a part of history we think everyone needs to eat here at least once. 

From Eureka we headed to Medford, Oregon, where we had appointments at Andy Anderson Enterprises (in Rogue River) to have our house batteries replaced and Cummins/Onan for an oil change on the generator. That story will continue in the Oregon page.

Our route out of California was 101 until we met up with U.S. 199. That was a very exciting road with so much breathtaking scenery that I couldn't begin to do it justice with mere words. Here are a few pictures from our windshield. 

But we loved California as always. One of our readers suggested that California should be made into a national park and no one would be allowed to live there except us RVers. He also added that he didn't think it would fly. Of course not, but it is so beautiful that it is well worth visiting lots and lots. 

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