Well, a couple of boondocking nights, a couple of nights back at the Grand Canyon RR RV Park, and back into California we go. We boondocked in a field across from the Silver Moon Cafe in “beautiful” downtown Santa Rosa, NM. It seems that truckers and RV’s are welcome to overnight in just about any open space in this poor ol’ rundown town. We dined at the cafe and were treated to a cool double rainbow in the sky immediately following a pretty heavy downpour. Our stop at the Grand Canyon RR RV Park in Williams, AZ, included a visit to the newly relocated Grand Canyon Brewing Co. just across the street. They actually had a couple of IPA’s that were palatable, me not being much of an IPA aficionado. Our other boondock night was a very wide shoulder of Hwy. 58 heading into the Tehachapi Pass. This is a busy boondocking area for truckers and RV’s as well, you just have to be able to sleep with traffic noise. We were treated to a nice sunrise to boot.
Our first stop in CA was in Coarsegold to visit Jeanne’s mom and her partner Fred. Fred just happens to live across the street from his daughter’s vacation home/property and he was gracious enough to allow us to “mooch”-dock in her driveway. For those of you who are not in-the-know, moochdocking is mooching space on someone’s private property where you can dry camp for free. We had a nice visit with Yvonne and Fred, went out for chow to a pretty good Mexican restaurant called El Cid in Oakhurst, took a drive over to the Bass Lake area, and the highlight of our stay was to watch Yvonne feed the neighborhood “cats” on her back porch. The photo says it all…
On moving day I woke up to the smell of propane on the outside of the rig. Great, I just love surprises. I popped the bay door for my propane tank and could hear a feint hissing and smelled the strong odor of propane. Being in the middle of nowhere and not willing to postpone our departure, I turned the gas off and we hit the road. From Coarsegold we popped over Hwy. 41 into Paso Robles for about a week’s stay to visit our son Chad, daughter-in-law Crissy, and our almost 2 year old granddaughter Hailey. The Vines RV Resort was our home while there, a very nice RV park we have stayed at many times and it just happens to participate in Passport America. Don’t ask me why but after set up, out of curiosity, I turned the gas back on to try and find the leak. No smell, no hiss. Wow, Murphy took a day off from his law-making duties and fate smiled down upon me. But that was soon to correct itself. After a couple of days, the odor outside was back. A little soapy water revealed my little pigtail hose from the regulator to the tank valve was the culprit. Tempting fate I decided to try the fix myself. These fixes are never simple for me, I carry very limited tools, unlike a lot of handy fix-it fellow RVers who carry multiple tool chests loaded with every tool known to man. So besides picking up the pigtail, I had to hunt down the right sized open end wrench. With the tools in hand, I swapped out the pigtail and, for some unknown reason, no more leak!
So we had a nice week with little miss Hailey. We took her to a children’s activity museum, a converted fire house in Paso Robles. She got in a day of playing in the pool at the RV park. And we took her and her daddy to the Barrel House Brewing Co. for dinner and a concert by a band called the Blimp Pilots. Taking a toddler to a brew house?!? Well, this place is very popular with the locals and they ALL take their kids, some even bring their dogs since there is ample outside seating. I got a kick out of watching Hailey “rock out”.
After this initial visit with Hailey (there will be more, we are planning to float all over the “left” coast area for quite a while now) we headed into Santa Rosa, CA to visit with the Gladiator (Max, our almost 6 year old grandson). We were happy to see clear skies and no fires while on the central coast area. The past 2 years, as we have returned to the area, the central coast has had massive, devastating wildfires, but this time it was “clear sailing”. Our happiness was quickly doused as we neared the bay area (SF bay area that is) and encountered heavy smoke. Santa Rosa was suffering a devastating fire which was just one of a whole slew of nasty wildfires covering all of northern CA. Our former home of 25 years which we sold to start our full time RV lifestyle was reduced to ashes in the Coffee Park section of the fire. The last of all of our Earthly belongings are stored in a storage facility right in the middle of the firestorm and we are still waiting to get the OK to enter the partially burned business to check their welfare. Family pictures, heirlooms, kids schoolwork, etc. may or may not have been affected by the heat/smoke/flames…we will see.
We usually try to stay at the Sonoma Co. Fairgrounds RV park when we come to Santa Rosa. However, being in the middle of this current, evolving disaster, with thousands of evacuees looking for shelter and particularly those with trailers/RV’s needing space, we chose to park on the street in front of our daughter Jenn’s house. She lives just close enough to some of the flames that we waited anxiously for the mandatory evacuation notice that, thankfully, she never got. The disastrous wildfires brought thousands of outside agency first responders, even firefighters from Australia, to the northern CA area. I had heard our Sonoma Co. Deputy Sheriff’s Assoc. was looking for volunteers to help prep and serve meals to the emergency personnel who were working 12 hour shifts, so I rounded up Jeanne, Jenn, and even Max and we spent 2 days at the DSA office serving the heroes. Max actually was the big hit, especially with his new friends from San Francisco P.D. He made out with a handful of badge decals and even one SFPD uniform patch!
As the light at the end of the tunnel gets brighter, we wait to learn the fate of our family pictures. Next post will tell the tale…