Ma Time (Las Vegas, NV)

It’s been a busy few days since my last post.  I’ll try to get caught up here.

We found a (somewhat) quiet corner of the truck stop in Barstow for Thursday evening as I mentioned in my last blog post.  Here’s a picture I took Friday morning before we headed on up I-15 to Las Vegas.


About 150 miles later we passed the Welcome to Nevada sign:


We found a RV park by using the “Points of Interest” option on the Rand McNally GPS.  Of course, I researched it quickly on the internet to validate it’s authenticity.  It was a very reasonable $20 per night.

We ended up at the Main Street Station Casino, Brewery, Hotel & RV Park near the famous (or infamous) Fremont Street.  That’s on the North side of Las Vegas.  I called ahead to confirm a spot and they assigned me to site 200… and what are the odds – we were parked right next to another Alpine Coach!  With only ~1,400 Coaches ever built between the years 1999 and 2009, that’s a somewhat rare occurrence.  Unfortunately, we never got to meet the owners in the two days we were there.  They were always seemed to be out and about at the times we were in the park.


It wasn’t long after we arrived that we were met by my brother Steve, his long-time girlfriend Cheryl along with my Mom and Stepdad in their chauffeured Escalade.  They have a time-share of sorts with Wyndham Resorts which is where they were staying.  The limousine service is courtesy of the resort.


They took us to Caesars Palace to enjoy the Bacchanal Buffet.



The food was excellent albeit rather expensive.  All the dishes are prepared by Chef’s.  Here’s a link to learn more if interested:

 And then we  supported the local economy by playing the slots.


Here’s an indication of how our evening went… notice that the “7’s” aren’t on the payline 🙁


Here’s my beautiful Ma and wonderful stepdad!  Love ya mom & Jimmy.


Obligatory picture of one of the Las Vegas signs.


We spent the rest of the evening touring the Fremont Street Experience.  For those of you that have never been, here’s a link:

The light show is pretty cool.




And there were lots of characters walking the street… many of whom I couldn’t post to this blog in order to maintain something less than an “R” rating.






This is the zip-line that runs above the street.  You can see some people getting ready to go in the second picture below.



These folks got stuck and had to be rescued.


We ended up at the Heart Attack Grill for a late night “light” snack 🙂




On Saturday morning, we said goodbye to my Mom, Stepdad, Steve & Cheryl after a hearty breakfast at the Plaza Hotel’s Hash-a-go-go  They have to get back home to Las Cruces to go on diets 🙂

After breakfast and goodbye hugs… Stilla and I then spent the rest of our Saturday checking out a few local tourist attractions… the first was one of my favorite’s, the site of American Restoration.





The free guided tour through the shop was really neat, but they don’t allow photos inside because customers haven’t seen their finished restoration projects yet.



I pulled the truck up front for a photo-op.  Rick didn’t come out to offer to restore the Harley for me 🙁

I did get the T-Shirt at the gift shop though.


Next, we went by the site of Pawn Stars.  I honestly have only seen a few episodes… not one of my favorites, but it was cool to see.





This Elvis painting was for sale at some outrageous price.


We must have arrived at just the right time… there was quite a long line forming as we exited.  Must be a popular site, or a tour bus might have shown up.


Then I tracked down where Counting Cars is filmed at Counts Kustoms was located and we headed over there.  I bought the T-Shirt.







Stilla and I visited Fremont Street again to close out the evening and took in some of the street band music that plays in a few different spots along the covered street.

On Sunday, we hit the road again for Saint George Utah.

We continued on I-15 and went through the corner of Arizona after leaving Nevada.


It had clearly rained the day prior as evidenced by the very soggy desert.



Interstate 15 passes through a pretty cool canyon at one point.




And here’s the Saint George, UT Elk’s Lodge 1473.  Now this has to be the most scenic Lodge we’ve stayed at to date.  Travel distance for the day was around 120 miles.


We pretty much had the RV Park portion of the parking lot to ourselves.  Only two or three other rigs there.  We heard that we just missed a busy weekend, the lot was full this morning.


Here’s a couple pics of the lodge.





The view from their deck.



And this was our spot below the cliffs.  It’s only $15.  Electric hook-up only.  Wish we could stay here longer, but son William is due in from Germany on the 5th of October, so we have to be back in Colorado Springs.  Also, we have a small problem with the rent – we haven’t gotten any for the last month or so…


Til next time… stay tuned.

Bro Time (Westley, CA)

It’s been a couple days since my last post.  We’ve been busy hanging out at my brother Ron’s house in Westley, CA.  Let me bring you up to date:

We arrived early Tuesday evening after our long day’s drive down I-5  and through Sacramento.  After hugs and a tour of the house and adjoining machine shop, we made a trip to the local WalMart to replenish the fridge and more importantly – get some steaks for the BBQ grill.     We spent time grilling and catching up.  It was great seeing them again, it’s been a long time… years in fact.

We parked on the street beside their house during our stay.  Ron graciously provided a power outlet so we could run one of the air conditioners or the microwave without having to start our generator.


Wednesday ended up being a full work day in the fully-appointed machine shop next to the house.  I conned (I mean, talked) Ron into doing some modifications to the Silverado’s bed-rails and motorcycle ramp.  Nephew James stayed home from work and helped out as well.  Ron figured out how to slice a long piece of aluminum off the bed rails so I can better secure my tonneau cover when I’m not carrying the Harley.  He also invented a quick-release mount for the motorcycle ramp to secure it on top of the rack.  Now I don’t have to struggle with a bunch of bungee-cords every time I transport the ramp.

Here we put everything back on the Silverado after having to disassemble the truck rack to make the modifications.


The tonneau cover now rolls shut and and fits tightly between the bed rails.  Thanks Bro!


Ron even took the time to modify the pivot bar that holds the three-piece motorcycle ramp together… the bar was too long and the hole for the pin allowed for too much movement between the individual pieces, so he cut it shorter and re-drilled a new hole for the pin.  Now it’s much safer to use, and there’s no chance for a foot or even worse – a motorcycle tire to accidentally slip between the pieces.


I forgot to take a picture of the quick-release mount that Ron invented to secure the ramp on top of the rack during transport.  But here’s some pics of Ron in action:



We closed out the evening with another great BBQ meal in the back yard.

It rained Thursday morning… just enough to make us not want to get packed up and move.  But, we need to move on down the road and get back to Colorado Springs before our son William comes to visit us in October.  So we slowly got packed up by noon, said our goodbyes’s  and thanked Ron & Terry for everything.  It was about 1 PM by the time we hit I-5 headed South.

Hopefully, I get to see my brother again on Thanksgiving… he’s planning on being in Arizona, as do we.

The roads between the many orchards in the area were muddy from the rain.  Lots of vehicles coming onto the roadway from the orchards had made a mess of the pavement.  Looks like I get to give the Urban Escape Vehicle and pickup a serious washing now.

The sun came out and it dried up quickly.  It wasn’t long before we had to turn on the dash AC again.

We started going through our routine of finding a campground or RV park while traveling down the road since we had good cell signal on I-5.  It looked like the Elks Lodge in Barstow would be a good destination for the day.  The website said it had 77 RV spots in the Lodge parking lot.  So I plugged it into the GPS and we decided to make it a long travel day.  Also, we still needed to decide what route to take back to Colorado, and Barstow happens to be located at the point where we can either choose to go North on I-15 through Las Vegas and then on to I-70, then I-25 at Denver to get to COS; or –  we can catch I-40 East at Barstow which will take us through Flagstaff and Albuquerque to get on I-25 to COS.

It so happens that my Mom, Stepdad, and other brother Steven along with his better-half Cheryl, are currently in Las Vegas on vacation.  So I contacted them to be sure they are still there (they will be until Saturday) so that cinches it – we now have our next destination… Las Vegas, here we come!


Typical highway scenery after we got close to Bakersfield.


It was 7 PM when we finally rolled into Barstow looking for the Elks Lodge.  We found it, but it was closed!  We wondered why the website didn’t show info on the Lodge but we did find all kinds of info and reviews on google.  The place looked like it was being sold.   Anyway, we chalked that up to another lesson learned… don’t trust google without verifying!

So we did a quick search for other overnight options and found a Flying J truck stop 4 miles further down on I-15.  Good enough for the night since it’s late anyway.  And besides, we now want to hurry up and get to Las Vegas tomorrow so we can get as much time as possible in with my Mom/Stepdad & other brother Steven and his better-half Cheryl before they go back to Phoenix and/or Las Cruces on Saturday!

We did 335 miles today… whew!  I don’t want to do that too often.

Signing out from the truck stop… C U tomorrow!

Avenue of Giants & Moving Day (Westley, CA)

We did it!  We completed the entire Hwy 101 “Pacific Coast Highway” although as I type this, I remembered that the signs started calling it the “Redwood Highway” once we dipped into California.

Our Hwy 101 adventure started in Olympia WA, where we went North to Port Angeles, and then headed South along the entire Washington/Oregon coastline – all the way to Leggett CA where you have to either choose to turn on Hwy 1 (which continues along the CA coast) or stay on 101 which starts inland.  We chose to continue on 101 inland so we could jump over to I-5 via State Highway 20.

We had decided to head down to Westley, CA to visit my brother Ronald.  Westley is located about 80 miles South of Sacramento.

So to catch you up on our continuing adventure – we left the Chinook RV Resort in Klamath CA on Monday at a leisurely 11 AM.  Our goal for the day was to take the “Avenue of Giants” because you just can’t get enough of these magnificent redwoods.

But first, we caught our last few views of the Pacific Ocean.






After driving through the town of Eureka we finally got to the turnoff for the Avenue of the Giants which is a 31 mile scenic byway that parallels Hwy 101.  It was awesome – but again, pictures just don’t do it justice.  Here’s a link to my friend Wikipedia for more information on the route:



We pulled off to the side at the first opportunity to view some of the trees first-hand.



Here you can see that the leaves are already changing colors… more evidence that it’s time to keep heading South 🙂



After our scenic (but somewhat slow-paced) excursion through the Avenue of Giants, we got back on Hwy 101 proper and noticed that the scenery was changing dramatically… it was definitely drier here.



We turned East on 20 to get over to 1-5 but it was getting late (about 5 PM) so we started consulting our resources to find a spot to spend the night.  Our Passport America app turned us on to Kelly’s Family Kampground near the town of Upper Lake which is on the North side of Clear Lake.

After turning off the highway for about 2 miles to get to the campground, our Rand McNally GPS guided us in.  What a beautiful campground… and we had it all to ourselves with the exception of the owner who bicycled from her house at the entrance road to greet us.  We decided to boondock for the night because the sites were heavily wooded with no line-of-site for the satellite.   Also,  it just looked so peaceful by the pond – so that’s where we decided to lower the jacks.



This is the road into the campground.  The owner – I think she said her name was Patti Kelly, only charged us $12 for the night.  Our travel distance for the day was about 230 miles.  The only bad thing about the campground was no signal on the iPhones with AT&T and only one bar on the MiFi JetPack with Verizon which also equated to no signal because we couldn’t get any emails or websites to upload.  But we had satellite, which was nice after sitting by the pond in our folding chairs to watch the evening local wildlife and stars.


The camp store and office – all but closed for the season.


Our boondock spot next to the pond.



That’s the Urban Escape Vehicle on the other side of the pond.


Our view out the front window.



There were wild turkeys everywhere.



Little Coach didn’t know what to make of the turkeys… he didn’t know whether to chase them or be scared.


In the morning (Tuesday) I did a PMCS, that’s Preventive Maintenance Checks and Services for you non-Army types, and found that one of the baseplate connections on the truck seemed loose.  It moved up and down and it shouldn’t do that!  This is the towbar connection point on the truck that is permanently mounted to the frame on each side.  I inspected further, and found that the bolts were slightly loose, the bolt head was gouging into the frame as you can see from the picture below.  There should be a flat washer  there.  I didn’t have any large flat washers on hand in my stash, just smaller diameter ones, so I tightened the bolts (on both sides) as best I could and made a commitment to stop at the earliest opportunity and get new washers.


So after just a few miles, we found a NAPA store in the town of Upper Lake with a big parking lot.  I broke out the tools and took the bolt out to go inside for the right sized flat washers and also new split-washers for the “nut” side of the bolt.


Good thing I had everything needed.  It pays to be prepared.  I had to use the cordless drill driver to grind down the edges where the bolt head had gouged the frame and then I used my red loc-tite to put everything back together.

I only did the one bolt because it was so difficult to get the lock-nut off in the limited space available, and the other bolt looked fine at this time.  I figured that once I get to my brother Ronald’s house, I could tackle the other one.  I purchased extra washers to keep on hand.


Here’s a picture of the “wallowed out” hole in the frame caused by the bolt head not having a flat-washer underneath it to spread out the clamping force.  There’s a lot of weight and pressure put on these two bolts when we are pulling the truck around corners and over some of the “fine” roads we have traveled recently.


With my confidence at a much higher level about the safety and security of the truck and Harley behind us, we continued our travel along State Highway 20.


Very dry with evidence of recent forest fire here.



Once we got to I-5 and started heading South, we stopped at a Pilot/Flying J to fuel up.  80 gallons at $4 per gallon 🙁

We continued through Sacramento – man do they ever need to fix these roads!  And the traffic was terrible… Lots of folks passing and weaving – in a hurry to get to who knows where – and lots of trucks too.  There were uncovered gravel trucks, open loads of tomato trucks, and even an uncovered hay truck, which reminds me – I need to check the intake to the air filter to clean some of that out!


After 196 miles today (Tuesday) we ended up at our current destination: Westley CA, home of my brother Ronald and his wife Terry.  Here’s a few pics of the route into their little town – don’t blink, you’ll miss it if you go too fast 🙂




Preview of the evening’s agenda.


Stay tuned…

Trees of Mystery & More… (Klamath, CA)

It was 2 PM on Sunday before we got away from the park today.  We changed sites 3 more times before we solved our power problem that I described in yesterday’s post.

The camp host was very accommodating and moved me to another site, but it was just another 30 amp pedestal and I had the same problem as before.  The Surge-Guard display toggled between “No Ground” and “Check Wiring” and wouldn’t stay connected to shore power.  So the camp host found me another site but I had to wait for the current occupant to leave.  It was also a 30 amp site and once I was able to pull in and plug in, I still had the same problem.  At least this time, I didn’t put the jacks down or the slides out before I plugged in.

The camp host kept checking on me throughout the morning, as did several other overly-enthusiastic camp occupants… Nice folks here.  I had just resigned myself to “boondocking it” for the rest of today and tonight (I even warned my neighbor about running my generator) when finally – a 50 amp site opened up unexpectedly, and the camp host moved me in.  Everything worked fine on the 50 amp in site #1 🙂  I was really starting to worry that my problem was with the Coach and not the park power.  Although, I’ve never had problems on 30 amp power before, that is – other than tripping the breaker because we forgot to turn off the coffee pot while we still had an AC running or the microwave.

It turns out that most of the tenants here at the Chinook RV Resort are long-term residents that stay for the entire summer fishing season or longer, and most have travel trailers or 5th wheels that are fine on 30 amp power.  All the other big rigs (Motorhomes) here are parked at the limited number of 50 amp spaces.  Of course, I won’t know for sure until I get to the next campground and I plug into 30 amp again, but I’m going to assume for now that my Surge-Guard was simply doing it’s job, and the park’s 30 amp wiring here needs an upgrade.  All the pedestals and boxes here are pretty old and deteriorated.  The first one I plugged into almost fell over, the wooden pole was so rotten.

With the power problem solved for now, Stilla put some more clothes in the washer/dryer combo while I got tips from the camp host and others on local sites to see.  We left at 2 PM with a list of things to go see and do today, so follow along and enjoy the pics.

Our first tip was the Klamath River Overlook on Requa Road which is a loop that climbs the mountain, (hill), that overlooks the mouth of the Klamath River at 600 feet.  It was only 1/2 mile from our campground.  Here are the views.





We still didn’t see any whales 🙁

Our next tip, which is a place we had passed on the way into town the day before – and knew of already, was the Trees of Mystery and Sky Trail (Gondola) Ride.  This was one cool place that has a lot of history.  It was founded in the early ’30s right off Hwy 101 and is only 3.5 miles North of our campground.  Many of the trees here have been seen in Ripleys Believe  It or Not.  I’m sure this is one of the most visited and photographed sites in Northern California.

Here’s a link to their website if you would like more information.  Enjoy the pics… although, as usual – the pictures don’t do the place justice.



The entrance fee was $15 per person.  Now this was definitely high on my personal value-meter.  Well worth it!













We passed some folks on one of the trails that were fascinated with something on the ground and were taking pictures… it turns out this is a rarely seen banana slug that was crossing the trail.  So, I followed suit and took a picture also.  So enjoy.









Once again, I don’t know how Stilla does it, but she found some more Germans.  There was a film crew from Germany climbing one of the trees.  They were doing a documentary on the Redwoods.  We watched them for a while, at one point they even put a camera drone up in the air to film the climbers.



We continued on with our tour after the climbers were out of sight.












A highlight of this Place of Wonder is the Sky Trail (Gondola).  It was included in the entrance fee.  We had a six-passenger gondola all to ourselves.  It takes 8 – 10 minutes to make the 1570 ft trip up the mountain.

Here is the entrance at the bottom.




Going up…



and up…


Our obligatory selfie:




Here we are at the top.






Here you can see the Pacific Ocean in the background.


After our fantastic trip above the trees, we drove back to the Coach to get little Coach so we could go through a tree.  Unfortunately, we had left him in the Coach because we assumed the Trees of Mystery park wouldn’t be dog-friendly – the opposite was true, they allow dogs on leashes  everywhere in the park, even the gondolas!  But it was too late for little Coach to make his mark on any of the greater than 2,000 year old trees.  So anyway, we picked him up and continued 1.5 miles the other direction (South) from our RV site to the next tip we got from folks at the campground – The Tour-Thru Tree!


I had to pull the mirrors in, but we fit.  Here’s a picture I took in the mirror after we passed through and I pushed the drivers-side mirror back out.




When I said we fit – it was with one caveat.. I had to loosen one of the bicycles on the rack because the tire was starting to rub on one side.  But hey, we fit 🙂


That was worth the $5 entrance fee.  The tree is approximately 785 years old and the opening is 7’4″ (2.23 m) wide and 9’6″ (2.90 m) high.

The next tip we got from the camp host was to take the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway which is a road that parallels Hwy 101 and goes through some more of the fantastically huge Coastal Redwoods.

But first we had to cross the Klamath River bridge.


This is the Klamath River.


After driving through some more of the scenic forest along the Newton B. Drury Parkway  (which used to be part of the original Redwood Highway) to the Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park we arrived at Elk Prairie and the Ranger Station.  It closed at 5 PM and it was now 5:30, so we just toured the outside of the building, took pictures of Elk in and around the meadow there, and took a short walk in the woods to close out our evening.







This picture of the map on the ranger station wall shows our location.  Sorry about the quality, but as always, if you click on any of the pictures you get an enlarged view.


We took the long way back along a rarely used coastal road.



For those interested in WWII trivia; we came upon a “farmhouse” that was really a radar station in disguise.  It has been preserved here on the coast just south of the town of Klamath.  The placard below provides some interesting information.


Here’s the roof of one of the disguised radar stations from WWII.


We finally got back to our campground just after dusk.  Shore power was still working fine and we even have satellite TV through the rooftop dish at our latest spot.  I worked on this blog post while we watched some TV.  We’ll head on a little farther South tomorrow (Monday) before we start moving back East towards Colorado… at least that’s the plan for now 🙂

Site #1 at the Chinook RV Resort, Klamath, CA.

Redwoods – Jedediah Smith State Park (Klamath, CA)

We got a somewhat late start on this lazy foggy Saturday morning.  We didn’t leave the Elks Lodge in Brookings, OR until almost noon.

If it seems like we are moving along from place to place at a fast pace – it’s because we are.  We want to be back in Colorado by October because our son William is coming in from Germany for a three week visit with his girlfriend.  He intends to use our house in Colorado Springs as a jumping off point to visit the area.

Anyway, just South of town we crossed into sunny California – only it wasn’t very sunny today.


About 25 miles later, as we got close to Crescent City we spotted the signs for the Redwood National and State Forest Visitor Center, so we pulled into an empty lot out front and went inside for information on the Redwood Forests.  We’ve never been here before and wanted to get the scoop on what is where – and more importantly, where we can go in the big rig.


The park rangers inside were very helpful and gave us a tip about the Jedediah Smith Redwoods which is part of the Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park.  They told us about a nice drive on Howland Hill Road just outside of town here with a highly recommended “must-see” hike through the Stout Memorial Grove.  And they were right – it was truly awe-inspiring!  The intended destination was definitely not big-rig friendly, so we unhooked the truck and left the Urban Escape Vehicle in the parking lot behind the building.


Once on Howland Hill Road, the pavement quickly turned to dirt and it got very narrow.  I kept wondering why they didn’t make this a one-way road through here, because we had to back up or pull off on the side more than a few times to let others pass, and vice versa.


Wow… these redwoods are awesome!  They don’t grow trees like this in Colorado.




At one point, out in the middle of the forest, we met up with some other RV’ers from Colorado that we recognized from our stay at an Elks Lodge in Kelso/Longview some weeks ago.  Small RV world 🙂  They told us they were staying in Klamath at the Chinook RV Resort, and recommended it to us for tonight’s destination.  We thanked them and since we (surprisingly) had a cell-phone signal, I called and made a reservation for us to arrive later today.  With that out of the way, we parted ways and continued our scenic drive.



Here are the pictures of our hike at Stout Grove.  All I can say is WOW!  The pictures don’t do justice to the magnificence of these redwoods.













After our tour of the redwoods here near Crescent City, we hooked the truck back up to the Coach and headed on South to Klamath.  We felt lucky that we had a little sun while we were in the woods because the fog seemed to roll in just as we hit the Pacific Coast Highway again.






We arrived at our destination and decided to stay for two nights.  Since this is a Passport America park, we only had to pay $15 per night.  The camp host directed us to a 30amp hook-up spot next to the river, which we found out later wasn’t such a good thing… Stilla put a load of clothes into our Splendide washer/dryer combo and the motorhome’s Surge-Guard kept cycling on and off.  The display for the Surge-Guard flashed the warning “Open Ground” and “Check Wiring” a few times, but it never popped the circuit breaker, it just kept switching power from the park pedestal to our inverter… back and forth.  Since it was late and the office was closed, we just unplugged and ran the generator to finish our load of clothes.  Once our clothes were done, I tried plugging into park power again and it kept doing the same thing, even when I had everything turned off , and I mean everything: no TV; no surround sound; no Direct-TV; no AC or heater; no Keurig coffee maker; nothing plugged into any outlets; etc.,  The only items drawing power would be the inverter/charger itself and the residential refrigerator, and I have to leave those on.  So I unplugged again and we just boondocked for the night.  I figured we would deal with it in the morning.  More to follow on this.

Meanwhile, here are some pics of our current location.







We only went 45 miles today from Brookings to Klamath, but there is just so much to see here – so stay tuned!

Lighthouse Celebrities & Sunsets (Brookings, OR)

We started our Friday beach tour before 10 AM.  We weren’t sure where we would end up at the end of the day, but we had another Elks Lodge in mind.  We continued our route down the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) through the picturesque town of Bandon.



We of course stopped at most of the pull-offs to enjoy the views.  The weather was nice again, but a little windy.





We wanted to stop at Oregon’s westernmost lighthouse, so just South of the small town of Sixes, we turned West.

This is the road to the Cape Blanco Lighthouse.  The lighthouse is a 5 mile side trip off the PCH.


Notice below how I utilized my keen photographic skills and managed to capture the lighthouse inside the hole at the top of this sign 🙂


We were able to park the Urban Escape Vehicle in the large turn-around parking area located a little ways from the lighthouse.


It was a decent hike from the parking area to the lighthouse as you can see from this photo with Stilla in the foreground.


When we arrived at the gift shop/greeting area that is separate from the lighthouse, I immediately recognized Chris & Cherie from their full-timing RV blog, “Technomadia”.  I have followed their blog for quite a while and especially enjoy their tips for staying connected on the road.  They are volunteer hosts here at the lighthouse.  And guess what – I found out that another couple is also volunteer hosting here at the same time – Paul & Nina from “Wheelingit”.  I also follow their blog, they were up at the lighthouse whereas Chris & Cherie were down at the gift shop doing the meeting & greeting.  Here I posed with Chris & Cherie in front of the lighthouse.  It was neat to finally meet them in person after reading their blog all this time.. it’s like meeting celebrities!


Here is Chris & Cherie (above). Their website is:….  Check it out!

Dogs aren’t allowed in the lighthouse, so Stilla walked Coach around the grounds while I went up for the lighthouse tour.


This is the light at the top of the lighthouse.  Cool pic eh?


I zoomed in on the Urban Escape Vehicle back at the parking area.  Good to see it was still there.


Here’s Paul from “Wheelingit” explaining the inner workings of the lighthouse at the top.


And this is Nina from “Wheelingit” giving the tour in the downstairs area of the lighthouse.


Nina graciously posed with me for a pic.  Must be nice to be a celebrity 🙂


Paul & Nina’s website is:

Another view of the Cape Blanco Lighthouse which was built in 1870.

Cape Blanco Lighthouse.

Here’s a view of where we are on the Rand-McNally.


We snacked in the Coach before we continued on down Hwy 101.  It was nice to get out of the wind here.  Then we motored on.

Here are some views down around the town of Port Orford.





Sometimes little Coach doesn’t want to get out of the Coach, he’d rather just watch us silly humans take pictures.


Sometimes there weren’t any pull-offs for pictures, so I just took pics from the cockpit.




Near the town of Gold Beach we pulled into the parking area for the Prehistoric Gardens.


Have you ever had this view outside your window?



They wanted too much for admission.  $12 per person just didn’t register on my value-meter, so we passed.  Coach was more interested in the chipmunks and bluejays anyway..




I took advantage of a photo-op along a wide pull-off just North of Gold Beach to get a possible new Cover Photo for the blog or maybe Facebook.


Another historical bridge leading into Gold Beach.




More over-the-road pics:



This was a nice rest area with a hiking trail – Arch Rock.


Located here:







A couple artists were using watercolors to capture the view.



Then, we drove over the highest bridge in Oregon – at least, that’s what the sign says.


We ended up at the Elks Lodge in Brookings, OR.  Total distance traveled for the day was a little less that 90 miles.  The Lodge RV Park, located in their parking lot, had full hook-ups with the exception of sewer.  A dump station is on site.  They had a suggested donation of $18 per night, and it was Friday which at most Lodges we’ve visited, means they serve dinner.  Tonights menu included Fish & Chips or Hamburgers.  Stilla had the fish and I had a cheeseburger that was undercooked.  It must have been a bad day for the waitress, I think she quit while we were there.  (Hopefully not because of my undercooked burger).  Stilla played a little on the slots.  I forgot to take pictures of our RV site and the lodge.


After our dinner, we drove around town and checked out the harbor and then decided to drive a couple miles South of town to a nice beach where we could  enjoy the sunset.  The beach happened to be just across the California border.  So here’s the sunset from sunny California… it looked the same to me as the one in Oregon.  What do you think?








Tune in tomorrow to see where we are…


Lighthouses, Dunes, and RV Park Poles (Bullard State Park, OR)

We left the Three Rivers Casino RV parking lot by 10 AM on Thursday.  It rained off and on all night.  It was still overcast and a little foggy in the morning, but by the time we made our first stop in Reedsport, the sun was out again.

We wanted to check out the sand dunes that  I had read and heard so much about.  All the tourist guidebooks and pamphlets we picked up along  our Hwy 101 travels, mention this “must-see” area when visiting the Oregon coast.  Here’s my friend Wikipedia’s scoop on the place:

The only problem with visiting the 40 miles of dunes, is figuring out which areas I can get into – and more importantly, back out of – with a 38 1/2 ft Motorhome pulling a Silverado.  So, my solution was to stop at the Oregon Dunes Visitor Center in Reedsport, OR.  The nice power ranger, er, I mean park ranger behind the counter gave us maps and info flyers but she was unsure which access roads were big-rig friendly.  So to be safe, I asked her if we could leave our motorhome in the parking lot while we unhooked our truck and drove on to check it out.  She said no problem.  Here’s a picture of the Visitor Center parking lot where we left the Urban Escape Vehicle for awhile.


Here are the informational placards in front of the Visitor Center for your viewing pleasure:




We chose the Umpqua Dunes & Beach Access Road for two reasons; 1) It was just South of town and therefore the closest, and 2) There was another lighthouse there.

Our first stop was at the beach.  Here you can see the lighthouse in the background.


Little Coach had fun once again running around on the beach.  He was as curious as I was about what all those floats (drums) were about in the water between the two jettys.  I’m guessing they might have something to do with an oyster farm or some such thing.  I forgot to ask someone.. so I guess, it’ll remain a mystery.




Here’s some pics of the dunes.  Pretty impressive, sure wish I had my ATV.  It also got me to wondering if my fine younger brother in Casa Grande, AZ is taking care of my Can Am.  I left it at his 5-acre “dirt farm” (his term, not mine) back in January.  I’ve heard a lot about sand storms and floods in that part of the country. HMMM?




We watched some ATVs running up and down this hilltop for awhile, pretty awesome.


And then of course, we had to check out another lighthouse.



The museum near the lighthouse was pretty cool.  We took a tour, but this time I’ll spare you the inside pictures.


Boat in front of the Umqua River Lighthouse Museum.
I made Stilla stop and turn around for a picture in front of the museum… she likes it when I do that.
RV parking at the Lighthouse Museum. I’m pretty sure they belong to volunteers. I’ve read a blog or two of some folks that do this sort of thing pretty often.

Here’s the view back to the beach over some dunes from a viewing platform in front of the lighthouse, which also doubles as a whale watching station… we didn’t see any whales 🙁



After our lighthouse, beach, and dune excursion… we went back to the Visitor Center where we had left the Motorhome and made ourselves lunch.  Then we headed on South again.  Here’s another one of those bridges designed and built by McCullough, this is the one over Coos Bay leading into North Bend.




Once through the towns of North Bend and then Coos Bay we motored on down towards Bandon.  Our destination for the day is Bullards Beach State Park, and guess what… they have a lighthouse there!  Here’s the Coquille River Lighthouse built in 1896.


We rode our bikes here from our RV site.  We didn’t know that it was 3 miles, one way.  Oh well, the exercise did us some good and the weather was perfect.





We also spent some time on the beach here as well.  Coach always likes that!


And now, I saved the best for last… as I was pulling into our designated spot at the RV park, I tagged this pole with the Coach right behind the front passenger side tire.


When we arrived around 4:30 PM, we unhooked at the park entrance and Stilla followed me in the truck to our site.  They only had a few sites left when we checked in and this was supposed to be the largest of those according to the power ranger at the gate that took my $28.

As you can (hopefully) see from this pic, our site is on the left where the Silverado is parked.  It’s a back-in site, and the pole I hit is at the entrance to the site on the right.  I guess I was so worried about clearing the tree and bushes on the left, that when I pulled partially into the site on the right to get positioned to back into our site, I overlooked the pole because I had already passed it and I was busy looking in my left mirror to make sure the rear cleared.  When I turned the wheel left and backed up, I heard the sickening thump and screech.  The bottom-line is that I should have waited for Stilla to ground guide me, which is our normal procedure.  What a bone-head move.


Here’s the damage.



And here’s what it looks like now after a lot of frantic polishing.  I found a (somewhat) appropriate sticker to put over the biggest scrape…  So what do you think?  Go ahead… I can take it 🙂



Total distance travelled for the day was 70 miles.

Stay tuned for more Urban Escape Vehicle adventures…

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$$ Casino $$ (Florence, OR)

We decided to check out the Three Rivers Casino & Hotel on Wednesday.  Website Link:    Parking is free, and Stilla had her casino itch, so we packed up and headed on over.  Total travel distance for the day: 6 miles.  We arrived around noon-time.


The casino simply asks that you register at the security desk so they can monitor the parking area and keep people from abusing the privilege.

It rained off and on all day.  Nothing much, mostly drizzle, just enough to keep everything wet all day.  I tucked the truck underneath the awning to help keep the Harley somewhat dry.


Here’s our view this morning (Thursday).



We didn’t spend the whole day in the casino.  We took advantage of the buffet for $10 to do a late lunch / early dinner at around 3 PM and then did a little shopping in town.  In the evening we went back in for a few hours and played the slots.  We pretty much broke even, so that’s a good thing 🙂

I did some more research on destinations to our South, so check back in to see where we end up.

Sea Lions & Lighthouses (Florence, OR)

Tuesday was very nice weather-wise.  We left the AC(s) on in the Coach for the dog and headed back North on 101 a few miles to the Sea Lion Cave.

Here’s a picture of the building which doubles as the entrance point and gift shop.  We took this pic yesterday at a pull-off  on the way down to the RV Park.


This is as close as we got to Sea Lions for the day (pic below).  We were told that at this time of year, they are all out in the ocean “fattening” themselves up for winter.  They offered a discounted price and a “rain-check” if you come back within a year.  And oh yeah, they gave me a free popcorn for being a veteran.  Their discounted price was still rather high at $24 for the two of us.  Since we’re only here once, and here now… we paid and walked down to the pathways behind the building.  One of the two paths goes North down to a viewpoint and the other goes South to the elevator that takes you to the cave.


Lookout point along the pathway to the Sea Lion Cave elevator. No whales here today 🙁
One of the pathways and a lookout point behind the entrance of the Sea Lion Cave.
Looking back up at the Sea Lion Cave entrance building and gift shop from the North pathway.
Pathway to the Sea Lion Cave elevator with Lighthouse in the background.


Looking back up at the Sea Lion Cave entrance building and gift shop from the South pathway.

Here’s the elevator that takes you down to the cave.



Here’s the empty cave.  Still impressive even without sea lions.




This answers one of the questions you always wondered about but were afraid to ask:








The Sea Lion Cave has a secondary lookout point with a view of the Heceta Head Lighthouse.



These next three pictures were taken with my camera instead of the iPhone.  I was able to zoom in on the only “real” sea lions that we would see today.




Nice view of the Heceta Head Lighthouse  as seen from the Sea Lion Cave that would be our next destination.



We toured through the gift shop at the entrance after going back up the elevator and long pathway.


I spotted these Cool refrigerator magnets in the gift shop that I probably would have purchased before we went full-timing in the RV.  RV style refrigerators are generally not conducive to magnets.  Although our refrigerator is a residential style Amana stainless model  it still won’t hold magnets – besides, who would want to keep picking magnets up off the floor all the time after a road trip?


We were a little disappointed with not seeing sea lions, except for the couple we were able to see from a distance out at sea.  But, the cave was definitely worth seeing.

We left the Sea Lion Cave and went up the road to the Heceta Head Lighthouse which was our next intended destination for the day.  We drove through a tunnel and across a bridge and then looped back under the bridge to the parking lot.


And of course, we get to pay for this pleasure.


Here’s the tunnel and bridge we went through and crossed over then under to get to the parking lot.



A little interesting trivia on the bridge.



We pulled the folding chairs out of the back of the Silverado and sat on the beach awhile.  We enjoyed the sandwiches we had made to take along with us today.  Mine was peanut butter and jelly, made with the cranberry jam we bought while on Long Beach.






When we returned to our chairs after walking around on the beach, we found that this bird had pecked away at our plastic trash bag we left hanging on one of the chairs.  He must like cranberry jam.


How about some more pics on the beach:





After our lunch on the beach, we hiked up the pathway to tour the lighthouse.


Informational placard on the pathway to the lighthouse.


And here it is!  Another lighthouse… you haven’t seen enough of these in this blog yet, right?

The tour was free.  They only take groups of 4-5 people at a time to limit the weight and vibration on the spiral staircase.



Picture of a picture – Lighthouse keepers and their families taken in 1904.
Out volunteer tour guide leading us up the spiral staircase.



Glass inserts in the floor, as seen from underneath, around the rotating light.




And of course, we had to do the selfie while we were at the lighthouse.


After our two tours for the day, we headed back to the Coach to get little Coach (our dog).  Once again, he was just just fine.

We did some exploratory driving around the town of Florence.  It turns out that it is only 1 about 1.5 miles South of the Elks RV Park where we are at.


There seem to be a lot of sand dunes around this area.  Here’s a view across the channel below.


We walked around the “Old Town Florence” and stopped here for some calamari and liquid refreshments.


We toured through the little shops in the area and found a doggie carry bag.  It’s like a backpack but for front use.  I guess you could call it a frontpack, right?  It should come in handy on the rare times we are allowed to take dogs on hikes in the future.  So we bought it and put it to use right away.

We then drove over to the Elks Lodge in town to check it out.  As I mentioned in a previous post, they also have RV parking with hook-ups – cost is $15.  Here’s a pic.


View of the Lodge parking lot.


We went inside and ended up staying for Bingo.  Yes, I said Bingo.  It’s was kind of fun, although we didn’t win anything.  We stayed until 9 PM.  We were able to bring little Coach inside with us.  He stayed in his new frontpack on my lap while we marked bingo cards.

The lodge also had burgers, dogs, and fries to order courtesy of the vets group.  We shared some fries and Stilla had a kosher dog.  After bingo, we left about $10 in the slots and then headed home.

Tomorrow (Wednesday) we plan on packing up and driving over to a local casino parking lot that we scoped out while driving around town earlier.  There were lots of motorhomes and RVs in the free parking area.  Free sounds good for a day… so I’ll post from there tomorrow.

Moving Day (Florence, OR)

We said goodbye to our neighbors, Orman & Susie Claxton on Monday morning and were on the road by noon.  Our destination for the day was the Elks RV Park near Florence, Oregon.  We got the tip for this park from Orman & Susie and it was also mentioned by Mary Langord (Alpine Coach Association) on Facebook.  Thanks guys… and it was great seeing you again O&S!

The sky was overcast when we left Tillamook and after a few miles it got worse.  It seemed like we drove straight into a fog bank that stayed with us for most of the drive.


We pulled into a rest area with a view of the ocean (picture above) but it was too foggy to see very much.  I noticed a couple that had stopped in the rest area in their car and they were taking pictures of our rig.  The guy walked over to ask about how we towed the truck.  It turns out the couple was from Switzerland and the guy was fascinated by the set up.  I answered his questions, he spoke pretty good English.  Then Stilla jumped in and we were all talking German.  The Swiss couple was doing a 3 week whirlwind tour, trying to see as much as possible of the West coast in the short time they had.  We parted ways after exchanging pleasantries.


Here are some pictures we snapped while heading down the Pacific Coast Byway:




I caught a picture of the billboard for the Sea Lion Caves that we heard about.  We intend to visit there on Tuesday.



The sun actually peeked out once or twice during the trip.  I couldn’t help but notice that lots of the trees on the beach-side of the road were all permanently deformed from the constant wind from the ocean.



The shocks on the Coach sure got a good workout today!  Many stretches of Hwy 101 were full of bumps and dips.



At one point – after missing a nice looking pull-off with a view because we were traveling too fast to get slowed down – a second pull-off came into view around a corner… I made a split-second decision to turn in.  After I was already committed to the entrance, I saw the sign “Not Recommended for RVs or Trailers”.  Now, I ask you, Why can’t they put those signs before the entrance?  Anyway, we had to disconnect and jockey around to get back out of there, and darn it – the view wasn’t even worth it.  This makes the second time in our travels over the last 4 months that we had to unhook the truck to get turned around somewhere.  Oh well, Life is still Good 🙂

We did  another stop later at this pull-off where we could look down the cliffs at the ocean.  It remained foggy, cold, and sometimes drizzly all day.



We got to the park shortly before 4 PM.  Travel distance for the day was about 110 miles.

It’s $20 per night for full hook-ups but no sewer.  We can dump on the way out.  We paid for two nights and made sure we had the option to extend if we wanted without having to move sites.

Our site at the Elks Lodge RV Park near Florence, OR

I’m starting to see a theme here on the West coast with these Elks Lodges and their RV Parks… this will be the second RV Park we’ve visited that is not physically located at the Elks Lodge itself. However, I understand that the Florence Elks Lodge that owns this park does in fact have more RV parking at their lodge in town.  This park is really nice!  Maybe even nicer than the one we just left in Tillamook.

For the rest of the day, we just chilled out and mostly stayed inside.  I heated up some of those pre-cooked pork ribs for dinner by putting them in a pan on the stove… it worked out pretty well.  It was just too chilly outside to break out the grill.  Plus, who really likes to clean the grill up after all that BBQ sauce gets everywhere?

Well, that’s all for now folks… check back in to hear how our Tuesday sight-seeing goes…  Stilla is still on the look out for whales, and we hope to check sea lions off our list if we visit the caves as planned.