Friday, April 21, 2017

And the Jello jiggled......


7:21 am - Friday - 34º F, humidity 78%, wind 1 mph out of the northeast.......CLEAR BLUE SKIES from horizon to horizon......we are not in 'Kansas' anymore, and we are definitely not in 'Coastal California' anymore......elevation is 4,500'.  Forecast high for today is 67º rain, or snow in the forecast.

Thursday our plan was to be rolling our wheels eastward by 9:30-10 am.....we had sort of a complicated getaway plan, and when things get too complicated Mr. Jello begins to jiggle and giggle.....and giggle he did.  

Our first order of business was to drive the coach over to a local fuel station to pour in $200 worth of diesel......the needle on our gauge was right on the 'E' when we exited SR-101 in Petaluma on Monday.  Now, when the needle is on the 'E' that does not mean we are out of diesel, or even close......we usually have 10-20 gallons left in our 180 capacity tank.....nonetheless, once that needle hits 'E' we are looking for a fuel station.  Normally, I am always looking for a good deal on diesel when the needle gets past 1/2 full, but there are no good deals in 'Coastal California'.....most prices I have been seeing range from $2.93 to $3.09/gallon.  I know that diesel will be less expensive when we get to Carson City where it is going for $2.31-2.35/gallon, and I was hoping to get that far, but alas we were going to have to buy diesel in California for the first time in years.  The station we chose, Valero, was just a few blocks away, but it, as well as the other local stations were not trailer friendly, so we left the trailer at the Elks Lodge while we drove the Newell over to the Valero.  The price there was $2.87/gallon (cash price), so we put in $200 worth of fuel which bought us about 69.5 gallons of diesel.....more than enough to get us to Carson City where we plan to top off our tank for the summer.  That 69.5 gallons got us back to 1/2 tank on the fuel gauge, which means we had at least 10 gallons of diesel left.  That part of our plan went flawlessly......the rest, not so much.

We arrived back at the Lodge around 10 am thinking we would drop the trailer back on the hitch and be on our way by 10:30 at the latest.  As it turned out, where we had dropped the trailer using the 'Trailer Valet' proved difficult to get at with the Newell, and after a few attempts I decided, with TLE's encouragement, to use the 'Trailer Valet' to pull it out of the parking space in which it was parked.  Since that space was sloped significantly to the back it was a grind....I had to use the low gear setting for the first time, and in that gear it does not move far very quickly.  Anyway, by the time we had the trailer on the hitch once again and began to roll our wheels it was after 11 am.

Our goal for the day distance wise was modest......just 112 miles to the Elks Lodge in Auburn, CA.  They have no RV facilities, but they do have a large gravel lot where you can park overnight for one night.  I had called Bob at that Lodge the day before and he gave permission for us to do so.......on Google Earth the lot looked big enough, and it was......but I get ahead of myself.

Our initial route took us out SR-116 which took us through lush countryside to SR-37 which took us across a long causeway surrounded on both sides by water.....

.....eventually we merged on to I-80 eastbound and just cruised mile after mile on flat, smooth 1:15 pm we were exiting the Interstate in Auburn and heading over to the Elks Lodge......we noticed at we were very near their 'Old Town', and were already talking about walking over to have lunch as we turned on to Pine Street where the Lodge was located.....the first thing I saw was that the entire parking lot, including the gravel area was packed with cars, and to top that the entire lot was a 'sidehill lie' (a golf term) meaning there was no way, even it we could get in, that we could park there overnight.  Foolishly I pulled into the parking lot anyway and became immediately trapped.....doh!  There was no way I was going to be able to turn around and leave until most of the cars were moved.....very embarrassing to say the least.  Bob, the Lodge secretary, came outside and we discussed my situation.  Fortunately, the meeting that was taking place inside was due to disband at 1:30, and most of the cars would be gone shortly after that.  Bob was very understanding, and gracious even though I was completely blocking a large portion of his paved parking lot with my 62' monstrosity.

When I had looked up the Auburn Lodge originally I just looked at the Google Earth view and it looked fine....... can see the large gravel lot to one side of the Lodge paved parking lot.....had I bothered to look at the 'Street View' I would have immediately known this gravel lot was not going to work...... the 'Street View' you can see the significant slope of the entire parking lot including the gravel portion......lesson learned....always look at the 'Street View'.....don't assume facts not in evidence!

While we waited for the meeting to end, and the parking lot to empty out TLE and I decided we were not going to stay there.....there was no way..... it was so steep we'd be falling out of bed during the night.  We decided to just get back on I-80 and begin heading east and make a new Jello plan as we drove.  There was a nice Rest Area just 27 miles east where we pulled in to have a late lunch, and to make a decision about where to stay the night.......over the course of our 20 minutes there we decided to just continue on another 115 miles to Silver City RV Park where we were planning on staying for two nights begining Friday while we shopped and met my Cousin Lois for lunch.  I called Silver City and was advised there was a site for us, so we headed was around 3 pm by this time and our ETA was between 5 and 5:30 pm.  

Almost immediately we began the long climb towards the Sierras and Donner Pass.....the grades varied from 4-6% for 50 miles and we began to see snow...... 

.......and then a LOT MORE SNOW........

.....eventually we passed the Donner Summit sign at 7,227' elevation beginning our long descent towards Reno........ the distance you can see the long shed covering the railroad tracks as they snake their way through the Sierras.....without these wooden sheds the tracks would become impassible with the winter snows, and this year's snowfall is about 170% of normal.....probably similar to what the Donner Party experienced in their ill fated attempt to cross the Sierras in the winter time.....we all now how that ended........

.......the rest of our drive to Carson City, and ultimately Silver City RV Park was completely was just twice as far as I had planned to drive Thursday.  By 6 pm we were in our site, and hooking things up in preparation for a cold I write I can see the snow clad mountains guarding the Tahoe Basin where we will be in just a few days.  So, plans come and go......the Jello jiggles and you make a new muss, no fuss, no stress.

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  1. Some times you win sometimes you loose, but with this lifestyle there is always another option.

  2. Good for you, going with the flow even if the flow is choppy. The snow looks nasty!! Don't like it at all. Stay warm folks!

  3. So enjoy looking at the snow, but not to drive in it! Got a chuckle at your angst on our diesel prices, in SoCal anything around 3 bucks is pretty good.