Wednesday, October 19, 2011
7/5/93 Continued - We drove through downtown San Francisco on a Saturday morning. There are lights at the bottom of steep hills, and every time there was a full car length space between me and the car in front of me, someone would squeeze in, so that several times I thought I was going right through the guy in front of me when a light turned red. For some reason it never occurred to me that US 1 would go right through the middle of a big city, but it does. We even went over the Golden Gate Bridge.
Then we spent two nights in CCC Campgrounds and one night boondocking on the Pacific coast in Redwood National Park, and got to Yakima late on 4/28. We left Mesa about 2 PM on the 21st, so it took 8 days, including the first one, to get to Yakima. It seemed as if there were nothing but mountains everywhere we went, but that’s probably not true. Starting in Mesa, we ended each day in the following locations: 4/21, Blythe, CA; 4/22, Ventura, CA; 4/23, Salinas, CA; 4/24, Ukiah, CA; 4/25, Orick CA; 4/26, Redwoods National Park, CA; 4/27, Newport OR; and 4/28 Yakima, WA.
We spent one night in a campground and got the holding tank shiny clean, then moved into Annie’s driveway on 4/29/93.
While here I got my teeth cleaned again (for $89 instead of $25 in Florida), made a large number of improvements to Annie’s house (reinstalled the wall heater and installed woodwork for the windows and doors because a friend's husband had "helped" her by ripping off the existing finish woodwork), spent a week by myself here and a week in Seattle with Annie, took off with the BW and Annie for a week to go to Roger’s wedding in Sacramento, and made numerous maintenance and repairs to the van and trailer.
We now have new everything on the brakes, even the hoses ($780); and we have new valve stem seals and coolant ($475), and new motor mounts ($105). I also washed the trailer and van and even waxed the van (a full two day job). I got touch-up paint for the white part of the trailer, but nothing for the brown. I rebuilt the two back beds, which were coming apart, using steel plates, corners, and screws, and I repaired the right rear damage I got (apparently) in North Bend, Oregon.
We stopped at Fisherman’s Grotto in North Bend and the food was as good as it was the first time – the best seafood ever, any time, anywhere. It’s really rare to go back to a restaurant that was wonderful and have as fine a meal as the first time, but that happened to us in North Bend.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
7/5/93 continued. – The BW loved Ventura – thought it was the prettiest little town she had ever seen – also the costal mountains, which were gold – some sort of weed with yellow flowers was blooming all over the bare mountains. The only problem was that everything looked fake, because the colors were too bright. So we saw the desert bloom (very impressive), then the beaches bloom.
We took US1 along the coast, and there might be more spectacular scenery somewhere, but it’s hard to imagine. From San Simeon (the Hurst mansion) to Big Sur the road was closed to trucks. I should have listened, because I drove 120 miles in second gear. I didn’t get any good pictures (no place to stop) and I didn’t see much because I needed to keep my eyes on the road. The BW alternated between crying because it was so beautiful and hyperventilating because of the heights. The road varied from a few hundred feet to two or three thousand feet above the water, the mountains sloped into the water at sixty or seventy degrees, and there was no coastal plan (no beach, no nothing). That’s what makes the trip from San Simeon to Big Sur so interesting
Monday, October 17, 2011
Note: When we first started life on the road we didn’t sell the house, and I bought an old three quarter ton van and an old trailer. The conversion van had gearing appropriate for a personal vehicle, which I changed to a 3.73 rear end, equivalent to a 4.50 in a pickup. The trailer was built during a period when people ran their gray water (shower and sink water) out on the ground. That was no longer accepted in campgrounds, so I bought a 30 gallon tote tank – a plastic tank with both hose and sewer fittings, wheels on one end, and a handle on the other. After I pulled a full tank uphill on a gravel drive a few times, I had the plumbing changed so that all our waste water went into one 40 gallon tank, and could be dumped to the sewer. At 8 pounds per gallon, a full tote tank weighed close to 300 pounds, and the wheels on it weren’t that big. The handle was right on top of the tank, so it was a lot of work to move it, even on level concrete.
7/5/93 Continued – We left Mesa when the thermometer was hitting 100 in the afternoon – and no shade. The oil cooler on the van performed flawlessly – and we went through the desert and up a very long grade with the coolant, transmission oil, and engine oil temperatures well down in the acceptable range – even had the air conditioner going full blast. When it is 100 degrees it’s hot, whether it is dry or not. In two days we wound up in Ventura – drove right past Pt. Mugu and suffered a slight pang of loss. I am an outsider now.
Sunday, October 16, 2011
7/5/93 – This journal missed all the travels – from Clearwater to Panama City Beach for a week, a couple of nights on the Gulf (at $18 per night), then a week in Destin, with the sand as white as snow in another membership campground for $2 per night. We visited San Jo Cove (our home campground in Texas) and Rainbow’s End, the original Escapee campground and national headquarters. Then we went down to Rockport just because there was a CCC campground. We stayed two weeks, doing a lot of touristy things such as taking a tour to see the whooping cranes and visiting the oldest live oak in the US. It was there on the Gulf coast when Columbus showed up.
After that we went west, visited Carlsbad Caverns, and on to Tucson where we spent a week. Then Mesa, where we spent two weeks and more than $3,000 to change the rear end ratio, carburetor, temperature gauges, etc. for the van, new plumbing for the trailer. Now I can leave the tote tank with Annie.
Saturday, October 15, 2011
This has been an exciting week so far. The BW didn’t feel that it was safe for her to drive with one of her pain medicines, so I took her to various places until Friday evening, when she went out for a haircut by herself.
For the last couple of years the BW has berated me about wasting money on cable because we don’t watch much – mostly just PBS Sunday evening if they have a mystery or Masterpiece Theater. Our bill has gone from $90 to $136 per month in the last two or three years, and she nagged me again, so I called Brighthouse and determined that Roadrunner was not taxed, and that it would be $50 per month alone. Roadrunner light is $35, and was supposed to be 7 MHz instead of 10, but I couldn’t get that if I kept the telephone. The telephone was $50/month, so there wouldn’t be much of a savings, as the cable alone was $65 per month. Obviously the package was saving us a lot of money.
When I asked what the least expensive telephone would cost, it was $30 per month, just for a dial tone and Florida service, which was when it was determined that I couldn’t get Roadrunner light with it – had to be what we had. I finally decided that I would let them keep the cable and phone, and signed up for Roadrunner light.
I noticed artifacts in the movie that night, and found them in both HD and TV shows, and then realized that the bandwidth was low. After measuring the speed on two different web sites, I concluded that we were actually getting about 1 MHz, not 10. When I called Brighthouse I got a man who told me that Roadrunner light was good for 1 MHz, and he was happy to switch us to 10 for an extra $15/month. So the bottom line is we save 86 dollars a month, the phone doesn’t ring all the time, and the two GoPhones we have had for years in the cars are now in our pocket and purse. The cost is down to 10 cents per minute, and I have $486 on mine and the BW has $180 on hers – only because she let it run out and lost a couple of hundred one time. Meanwhile, our normal cost stays the same, so we end up with no speakerphone capability but also with no nuisance calls. And we save about $1,000 per year.
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