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:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avenue_of_the_Giants



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…