Monday, May 28, 2018

Things Seen on the Road

The Willamette Valley is just beautiful.  It is kept beautiful by very restrictive land use laws.  Thou shalt not buy a piece of prime farm land and subdivide.  Oh nay nay. One of the things they grow there is Meadowfoam.  Unfortunately I did not get a good picture out of the moving vehicle with all of the dead bugs on the wind shield.  It’s an oil seed, used for cosmetics.  The oil is very stable since it contains long chain fatty acids.  It’s pollinated by bees, they have a 24 hour window to get the job done on the flowers, so bee saturation is necessary. 


These are GE thrust reversers.  They will be used on 787 airplanes.  We know that because they had a label on each one.


Grain terminals along Columbia river near Kalama, WA.  According to the internet, its the largest grain elevator on the west coast.  Hopefully the proposed trade wars will not interrupt commerce here.


It always weirds us out a little to see deep draft ships this far inland.  The Columbia is deep.


I love this side car with the two people.  There is a dog in the side car – he has a windshield to protect his eyes, unlike his owners. 


The laurel has been growing since we were last in Issaquah.  We spent about an hour trimming it so we could put the slide out and open the door.


Look at the size of this thing! It’s an amazing plant.


Jim washed the windshield – too many dead bugs!  The weather is nice, it’s sort of unnerving, it usually rains Memorial Day weekend.


We’re here early enough this year to see some of the blooming plants.






We are here for a while.  Now it’s time to go buy an outdoor rug.

The 2018 Summer Migration North

Jim and I frequently can’t remember how we arrived at a destination.  This year I’m writing it down.

2018 summer route

Guaranty RV Park

While in Harrisburg for maintenance, we stayed at the Guaranty RV Park.  Here is a park map for your reading enjoyment.


I have mixed feelings about this “park.” 

The Good:  Power is good, water pressure is good.  Since Guaranty is in Junction City and not Harrisburg, the water quality is good.  The RV park wi-fi is actually good.  We did not turn the jet pack on the entire time we were there.  We were parked by a repeater, so I do not know what it would be like farther away.  Interior roads are paved, sites are concrete and fairly wide.

The Bad:  Look at the map, see where it shows “check in lane” on the upper right side?  More often than not, that lane is full of an RV with a maintenance ticket in the windshield or an RV for sale.  We ended up taking the next turn to the south, driving against the directional arrow, and going in that way.  From the signs it is not really clear what you are supposed to do when turning off 93.  Once in the park, we called the office and asked what site we were one (E3) and parked.  Eventually we walked back to the travel center to check in.  The other bad is the fact that the four washer/dryers are in the travel center in the very back of the store.  I hate walking through retail establishments with my dirty drawers. There is road noise due to heavier traffic on 93.  There are many trains and grade crossings where the engineers must blow their horns repeatedly, some of them are in the middle of the night.  Although sites are concrete, you will have to level, we were low on the driver’s side and on the nose.  Utilities are at the back of the site, if you’re a Class A towing you will probably have to unhook the towed vehicle.

The Ugly:  There are no showers – anywhere.  It’s not a big deal for us but it is for people who use their showers for storage, or have wet bathrooms.  The lady who runs the RV park leaves at 4:00.  After that time, no one can check you in, you look at the map of open spaces and go to one.  You pay in the morning.  I don’t know what time the RV lady come to work, but when we were there she was the only person who could accept payment for a site.

It’s my belief that they built the RV park for people who are in for service.  If you’re having work done by Guaranty then it’s extremely convenient.  Plus you don’t have the horrific water that is in Harrisburg.  We would probably go back, it’s 15 minutes from where we go for maintenance and it was nice having decent water.


Saturday, May 26, 2018

Eugene Saturday Market

We had given some thought to driving to the coast, but it would have been a long time in the truck.  Tomorrow will be a long drive to Issaquah, probably with stop and go traffic starting in Olympia.  I really hate that drive. 

So we went to the market.  This trailer was on the street.  I have no idea what it is.  The graphics on it are pretty good.


There was also a farmer’s market.  The white round vegetable are called “salad turnips.”  I have not seen them before.  They’re similar to radishes, and don’t need to be cooked.


The peonies are just gorgeous.


More gorgeousness.


French breakfast radishes.


We saw these shoes in the window of St. Vincent's (it’s a thrift store).  Do they not look uncomfortable?


This another shot of the crafts side of the market.  On the right, pretty far back is the drumming section.  There were a lot of people sitting on the ground smoking pot.  I guess the local police aren’t bothered by this because no one was looking furtive at all.  The kid fore ground appears to be homeless.  The number of hippies in Eugene is always amusing.  I guess the hippies from the 70’s are handing down the tie-dye and the vibe.


It was interesting.  The weather was much better than it has been, so it was a good day for it.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Redmond, OR to Junction City, OR

Today we drove from Redmond to Junction City.  We’re trying out a new RV park in Junction City.  There will be more on that later.

Since I have previously documented the route in excruciatingly boring detail, I will refer you to that post, which is here.  I would like to remind us that after the Detroit dam, there is STILL a lot of descending to do.  Please make a note of this.

The dam.


Tomorrow we have maintenance.  We’re staying in Junction City on Saturday because we’re hoping the traffic will be less terrible on Sunday, what with the holiday weekend and all.  We’ve learned the hard way to never do the drive to Issaquah on a Friday.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Boise, ID to Redmond, OR

Today was better than we had been expecting.  I have written notes on my atlas and my Mountain Directory West about how terrible the route between Ontario and Juntura was.  They paved!  We took I84 to exit 374 in Oregon toward 20 west.  There is a Love’s at exit 374 and it’s a good place to fill up before heading out into the great wide open.  We came up the back roads to Redmond and avoided the terrible traffic in Bend.  We’re back at the Deschutes Country Fairgrounds RV park.

The drive starts out with mass agriculture.


From Ontario to Juntura is very hilly with a lot of curves.  But the road is better than it was.



After Juntura, it gets flat and remote again.  We were talking during the interminable drive about how remote the area is and how there is nothing out there.


About six to eight miles west of Millican, there is a two mile 6% downgrade that is not signed.  It was a sneaky little hill.  Please make a note of this.

We made good time with the improved road surfaces.  Tomorrow will be a shorter day, and we’re happy about that.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Twin Falls, ID to Boise, ID

Today was a short day.  Basically you’re on I84 for all of it.  It was good, we’re tired.  We’re going to have to rethink these marathon dashes across the country.  Actually, we did have plans to go other places and then mosey on up to Harrisburg, but then we were overtaken by events. 

Much of it is not so interesting.  There was a lot of this.


Once we reached the Boise outskirts the traffic picked up and got crazy.  Look at the burgundy car, notice the car in front of it that is 90 degrees from the direction of every one else’s travel.


This guy started out on the right hand side of the freeway.  For some reason he did a 360 degree spin and then crossed all lanes of the freeway.  Nobody hit him!  He hit the barrier very gently, put his car into reverse and then drove away.  This scared me to death.  If there had been a collision, probability was high that we would be involved.


We were in early enough that we could do a neighborhood walk.  The street ends at an area of trails for hikers and mountain bikers.


The neighborhood is rigorously landscaped.  I think this is a peony.  They’re just lovely.


We’re back at Hi Valley RV Park, where we have stayed in 2014 and 2017.  Most of the permanent residents that were here last year remain.  It’s still a nice looking park.  It’s not so great for an overnight because it is six excruciating miles from the freeway, full of traffic and traffic lights.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Ely, NV to Twin Falls, ID

It’s a straight shot up US93.  The road surface is pretty good until you get about 20 miles from Twin Falls.  Between the construction and two foot drop offs on the side of the road, it’s somewhat harrowing.  It won’t last forever.

It’s pretty out there.


What there IS to be concerned about is animals.  There are signs for pronghorns, deer and elk.


We saw the first pronghorn standing on the right side of the road.  He proceeded to move towards us.  As we rolled over the rumble strip it made him start and then he moved to the right and we did not hit him.  Scared me to death.  The second pronghorn was on the right side of the road, crossed and kept going to the left.  He then kneeled and went under the barbed wire fence.  Pronghorns do not like to jump.  They evolved to run fast in an environment of low bushes.  Read this article if you don’t believe me!


The signs are also up for deer migration.  We noticed that the fences in the migration areas are much higher than the standard three wire fence, and they’re put in wildlife migration corridors over the roadway.


This is the outskirts of Twin Falls.  it goes from sage brush to agricultural land almost instantaneously.


It was enough day.  We’re only going to Boise tomorrow.  Jim needs a break.  We’re back at the Twin Falls 93 RV Park, where we have previously stayed.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Kingman, AZ to Ely, NV

Today was a veeeeeerry long day.  It was windy for most of the day.  And we had to go through Las Vegas.  Las Vegas offends me.  We drove I40 to US93 to I515 through Las Vegas, north on US93, to NV318 to US6 to US50.  We’ve done part of the route southbound before, but today we got to drive over the new bridge near Hoover Dam.

There was scenery.


The approach to the new Hoover Dam by-pass.  People used to be able to drive across the dam.  I never did that when I lived here and I wish I had.  Here is a quote from wikipedia.
There are two lanes for automobile traffic across the top of the dam, which formerly served as the Colorado River crossing for U.S. Route 93. In the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, authorities expressed security concerns and the Hoover Dam Bypass project was expedited. Pending the completion of the bypass, restricted traffic was permitted over Hoover Dam. Some types of vehicles were inspected prior to crossing the dam while semi-trailer trucks, buses carrying luggage, and enclosed-box trucks over 40 ft (12 m) long were not allowed on the dam at all, and were diverted to U.S. Route 95 or Nevada State Routes 163/68. The four-lane Hoover Dam Bypass opened on October 19, 2010.
It can be really windy through that area.  There are signs that high profile vehicles should stay in the left lane.  We’re assuming that the prevailing winds are from the left and if your vehicle is pushed, at least there is a lane to get pushed into.


Lake Mead, formed by the Hoover Dam.


This giant Love’s is at the turn off to US93 from I15.  We stopped for fuel, it’s good to have a full tank when heading out into the great wide open.


This is an Advanced Trucking truck.  See on the side of the truck, it says “Love for all, hatred for none.”  Drivers own their trucks and decide where they want to drive.  After seeing the W. Kamau Bell special on the Sikh religion, I strongly suspect that the owner is a Sikh.  Their religion is one of love and protection of people who need help.  One of the things they said on the show is that if someone is stalking you to rob you, run to a Sikh, they’ll try to protect you.  I like that idea, I hope it’s true.


US93 is the Great Basin Highway.  It’s out there.


I took this on the turn off to NV318.  It’s also out there.


This is good!  Getting fuel in Ely used to be difficult.  Now there is a Love’s at the corner of US6 and US50.


We’re on our way to Harrisburg to get our slide seals on the forward slides replaced.  They leak when it rains.  Of course it is raining in the desert in Nevada.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Kingman KOA Journey

While overnighting in Kingman, we stayed at the KOA.  It’s called a Journey because it’s not a place a person would consider a destination resort.

GPS directed us to take exit 53 off US93.  If you are a 40 foot class A towing a pickup truck, don’t do this.  See the left turn bottom right, down there by the Flying J Travel Center?  That’s a tough turn to make if people are making a left out of that side street.  The curb there is pretty black from people running their tires along the curb.  We lucked out, and the car coming up to make a left stayed back and gave us room.  Instead, use the next exit to the west.  Then you can go up Stockholm and go right on Kino. 

kingman koa

The KOA is ok for an overnight.  Roads and sites are dirt.  Right after we pulled up there was a very impressive dust devil in the middle of the park.  Power is good, water pressure is ok.  We have four bars of Verizon LTE.  The HWH was required to level, we were low in the front and on the driver’s side.  Staff is friendly and helpful.  The kid that drives the golf cart offered to help us with the utilities.  Water, power and sewer are grouped together about mid site.  Fifteen feet of sewer hose were required.  We’re on site 64 and there are no pesky overhanging trees to interfere with satellite.

By and large Kingman is not an attractive area, and neither is the KOA.

Tucson to Kingman AZ

The drive from Tucson to Kingman has some tedium.  We went I10W to AZ303 on the far west side of Phoenix, to AZ60 and then US93.

This is the new over pass at Ina Road in Tucson.  This project closed the bike trail and is keeping it closed for a very long time.  They’re rerouting the freeway to go underneath the new over pass.  I think the purpose is to remove a level grade crossing of the double track main line.


Here we are in the Phoenix megalopolis.  It’s just amazing to me how the various small towns that used to exist have now been subsumed into one mass.  It’s also clear where most of the state’s tax dollars for highways goes.  It’s not Tucson!


A car dealer somewhere in the Phoenix area.  Cows and cars are king in the southwest.


The 303 is now open in Phoenix.  It is a beautiful new highway on the far west side that goes along agricultural fields, light industry and new housing developments.  One wonders if that highway was put in because that is where growth is going, or if that’s where the city movers and shakers want to encourage growth.  Or maybe it’s the only place left to put a freeway.  Anyway, it was much nicer than driving surface streets from the 101 to get to highway 60.


Both AZ60 and US93 have sections of really terrible pavement.  Interestingly enough there is a Joshua Tree forest out there.  We’ve been down that road before, but neither one of us remembered seeing them.


Sorry about the poor photo quality.  The dead bugs on the windshield make it difficult for the camera to focus.  You can sort of make out the large number of yuccas.  What was also interesting was a sign that said that US93 would be part of the future I11.  Yep, that’s Interstate 11.  A new route is being proposed from Phoenix to Las Vegas, with future extensions to Nogales, AZ and Canada.  I think pigs will fly before that happens, but it would be nice if it could be easier to get to Las Vegas than it is.


A canyon along the way.


It’s not a terrible route.  There is some up down but it’s not completely awful.