Northern CA/Southern OR Sept. 20-Oct. 1, 2020

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Northern CA/Southern OR Sept. 20-Oct. 1, 2020

Postby tseeb » Tue Oct 06, 2020 8:34 am

My wife and I, along with our two dogs, recently returned home from our longest camper trip. From our home in San Jose, we went N, mostly on US-101 (Golden Gate Bridge is free NB and lower speed than other options to cross Bay)
0103GGBridgeCR.JPG
for about 425 miles to Oregon, then continued on 101 in Oregon for another 145 miles before turning inland at Reedsport. Going E, we mostly followed the Umpqua River before turning S and driving past Crater Lake. We spent a night at Lava Beds National Monument, then stopped at very busy Burney Falls the next day. We stayed two nights at Mt Lassen National Park, with nights at wineries in foothills above the Sacramento Valley before and after Lassen. On our first day, after crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, we stopped at B.R. Cohn winery in Glen Ellen, Sonoma County where we made lunch in the camper before an outdoor tasting,
0119BRCohnCR.JPG
0120BRCohnCR.JPG
then spent our first night at Nelson Family Vineyards, S of Ukiah (our first use of Harvest Hosts).
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One trailer and bus stayed for the night. Bathrooms were about 5 minute walk at their wedding venue.
We had a lot of heat and smoke the first day of our trip, then got out of it for most of our trip, had rain two nights in OR, almost missed seeing Crater Lake where it was 39F, windy and misty. We got back into smoke our 2nd night at Lassen and had near 100F temps our last two days. We crossed a still smoldering burnt area E of Roseburg where utility crews were replacing power poles and lines. Some of the guardrails in the area were bent from heat from fires.

Our trip was almost 1500 miles. My 2006 Dodge RAM truck with Cummins diesel performed well and averaged about 12.5 mpg during trip that included going above 7,000’ passing Crater Lake and almost that high approaching Lassen before we dropped to 2,000’ feet for night at winery NE of park. Crossing Lassen we went over 8,500’. The wildest road we took was 6 miles of gravel that is limited to vehicles 8’ wide (which camper is) and 24’ long (we are under 23’) to Gold Bluffs Beach (part of Prarie Creek Redwoods State Park) where had campsite next to dunes with view of ocean.
0133GoldBluffsBeachCRR.JPG
0148GoldBluffsBeachSunsetCRR.JPG
Sunset from our campsite at Gold Bluffs Beach
We were only able to reserve one night, but probably could have stayed a second night, except our 12 year-old beagle was not doing well so we drove to Crescent City to see a vet who thought she had a cold and gave her meds for cough and infection which seemed to help. After the vet, we stayed at Jedidiah Smith Redwoods, a place I was unable to reserve in advance.

We never used any water, sewer or electric hookups (besides dumping our waste tanks and refilling fresh water). All of the places we stayed had bathrooms available; a couple had showers and we also used shower in the camper. Managing fresh water (35 gallons plus 6 in hot water heater and we carry a couple of gallons of drinking water) and grey water (18 gallons from kitchen sink and shower drain) was challenging. We really needed showers our 2nd night at Lassen after a couple of hikes and added 14 gallons to fresh water by filling 2 x 1 gallons containers from faucet behind nearby bathroom and carrying it across parking lot where we used a funnel I made from water bottle to get it into tank.

We ran onboard generator twice; first was at Lava Beds to run microwave to defrost lamb shanks my wife had pre-cooked and were frozen and second time was last night when we arrived early at winery in 99 degree heat and ran air conditioner on and off for a couple hours to keep camper under 85 until it cooled off outside. We had many excellent dinners - my wife is a great cook - including clams purchased nearby cooked with garlic and chopped tomatoes from our garden at Sunset Bay, OR where we spent two nights. We also had fried seafood lunches eaten outside S of Eureka and on the boardwalk in Coos Bay at a great place I had been to before. We made all breakfast and most lunches in the camper. We only used the heater a couple of times: first was while making lunch as Crater Lake ‘viewpoint’ and second was during 39F night at Lava Beds.

I have more pictures than I have time to edit and post, but leaving again today for 4 nights at nearby State Beach where I had reserved 7 nights six months in advance. We cut it back since we have only been home for 5 nights and fireworks that were to be in Capitola for our last night have been canceled.
Attachments
0172StoutGroveCR.JPG
Stout Grove which was across Smith River from our campsite in Jedidiah Smith
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Shore Acres Gardens near Sunset Bay, OR. We also drove to nearby Cape Arajo.
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Ocean was rough after Sept. storm. People come to OR coast in winter to watch the big storms.
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Sunset Bay, about 10 min walk from our campsite, on 2nd night there.
0284BurntUmpquaRiverCR.JPG
Burnt area along the Umpqua River
0286LuciaNoCraterLAkeCR.JPG
My wife at our first Crater Lake stop
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Re: Northern CA/Southern OR Sept. 20-Oct. 1, 2020

Postby tseeb » Tue Oct 06, 2020 9:03 am

Adding more pictures and a trip summary...

We spent two night at each of:
-CA Redwoods Parks in far NW corner of CA
-Sunset Bay State Park in OR
-Lassen National Park. My reservations canceled as they let me book two nights then canceled our reservation as campgrounds were closing early. We stayed at Summit Lake the last night campground there was open ($7.50 with Senior Parks pass), then spent 2nd night in parking lot at S entrance where there is a walk-in campground for $8.

We had one night was at Lava Beds National Monument, CA - about 50 miles S of Klamath Falls, OR. It was the first clear night there after a fire, that unbeknownst to us, burnt 70% of the park. I went into two lava caves the next morning including one where you were underground for 1000 meters between entrance and exit.

We spent four nights at wineries that were free using Harvest Hosts that we recently joined for $61 for the first year. We always had a tasting where we spent at least $50 to as much as $80. We had a lot of wine at Indian Peaks before entering Lassen as it was Sunday night owner kept pouring since he did not expect any visitors during week and wanted to empty any open bottles and opened one of their Pinots so we could try it. Hickman Family winery where we stayed also had a distillery where we tried two of their grappas (they also made vodka and brandy) and bought one.

We also visited two breweries:
-7 Devils in Coos Bay, OR that I had visited both of my nights on previous trip
-Sierra Nevada in Chico, CA that was only open for takeout that was brought outside to after ordering online or by phone. In the camper, we shared an excellent brined chicken with bacon and cheese sandwich with garlic fries and got a 6-pack of Tropical Torpedo and a large bottle of Trip in the Woods, an Otra Vez Gose aged in oak barrels from Reposado Tequila.

More pictures may be added when I have more time.
These two are at Henry Family Vineyard in Umpqua, OR, the only winery we visited in OR.
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0280HenryWineryCR.JPG
And a picture of me and our two dogs at Crater Lake when you could see some of it. I was wearing both jackets I had brought.
0293TonyCraterLakeCR.JPG
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Re: Northern CA/Southern OR Sept. 20-Oct. 1, 2020

Postby Tony Crocker » Tue Oct 06, 2020 10:18 am

tseeb wrote:...we mostly followed the Umpqua River

That comes out at Diamond Lake, home of Mt. Bailey snowcat skiing. Did you notice Mt. Bailey, a volcanic cone topping out about 8,500? Terrain quality there is excellent. Adam and I skied it in spring corn before the April 2000 NASJA meeting at Mt. Bachelor.

tseeb wrote:Managing fresh water (35 gallons plus 6 in hot water heater and we carry a couple of gallons of drinking water) and grey water (18 gallons from kitchen sink and shower drain) was challenging.

Is that a lot less than full size RV's like admin has? I have not heard him complain bout water rationing.
tseeb wrote:We ran onboard generator twice; first was at Lava Beds to run microwave to defrost lamb shanks my wife had pre-cooked and were frozen and second time was last night when we arrived early at winery in 99 degree heat and ran air conditioner on and off for a couple hours to keep camper under 85 until it cooled off outside.

I know from admin that this is a more serious issue with boondocking. In summer 2018 he planned his route diligently to avoid locations where he would need air conditioning. He was coming down the WA/OR/CA coast, got as far south as Mendocino and decided then to run east to where he could camp between Mammoth and June at 8,000 feet. Admin carries portable solar panels that take about two hours to charge I think. That will sustain his refrigerator and TV while boondocking but not A/C.
tseeb wrote:We always had a tasting where we spent at least $50 to as much as $80.

How could you avoid overheating the wine you bought? I hauled 9 bottles to Florida but the Tesla has "Dog Mode" where I could leave the A/C on when I stopped for lunch or sightseeing on hot days.

FYI admin's extended RV trip this year is different. He's staying in RV parks so he can work remotely Monday-Friday. So he needs a good WiFi connection in addition to the water/electrical hookups. When I stayed with him at Lake of the Ozarks it was low 90's and very humid, would have been impossible without A/C.
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Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
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Re: Northern CA/Southern OR Sept. 20-Oct. 1, 2020

Postby tseeb » Tue Oct 06, 2020 11:46 am

We could barely see base of Mt Bailey below the clouds and could not see any of Mt. Theilsen, the lightning rod of the Cascades. All roads off the highway between Glide and Crater Lake were closed as was Diamond Lake due to danger of falling trees and downed power lines from recent fire(s) and most of the closures were manned.

35 gallons is not that bad and with the 6 in hot water heater weighs over 300 lbs. Van-people have to make due with a lot less.

My camper has three permanently-mounted panels on roof which usually are enough to bring batteries to fully charged even on cloudy days. I've heard that for best long-term you don't want batteries to go below 50% charges and mine usually are 75-80% in AM after spending night in camper. I have two batteries for camper and two under hood for starting diesel.

We only had high temps the last two days of our trip, really was not much more than 24 hours from noon in Chico to when we got home at 2 the next day. We moved wine to floor of shower where it does not get that warm. We also have storage ahead of wheel wells between camper and truck bed which I quickly realized was not a good place for wine as it gets close to outside temp. Generally inside the truck stays cool enough for dogs to be left for a while without air conditioning as camper shades the cab, and inside of camper does not heat up very fast.
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Re: Northern CA/Southern OR Sept. 20-Oct. 1, 2020

Postby Tony Crocker » Tue Oct 06, 2020 1:31 pm

I forgot. Tseeb needs REAL "Dog Mode!"
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Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
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Re: Northern CA/Southern OR Sept. 20-Oct. 1, 2020

Postby Sbooker » Tue Oct 06, 2020 4:01 pm

Looks like you had a great time. That area of the US has some great stuff to see.
You're a suave looking chap Tony (especially with ski goggles on) but I must say you're punching well above your weight. :)
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Re: Northern CA/Southern OR Sept. 20-Oct. 1, 2020

Postby tseeb » Wed Oct 14, 2020 9:20 pm

Sbooker wrote:I must say you're punching well above your weight. :)
Thanks Simon. You should have seen her 10 years ago.
Adding a few more pictures from Lava Beds and Burney Falls.
Attachments
0308LavaBedsBurnedArea.JPG
One of the few campsites that burned. Note collapsed table.
0312LavaBedsDinner.JPG
Dinner we ran generator for 30 min to defrost. We left enough meat for sandwiches the next day. Henry III from Henry Family Winery in Umpqua, OR was Tempranillo/Grenache/Malbec blend which tasted way better than it sounds. $40/bottle which was the most expensive wine we bought during trip.
0314LavaBedsFireMap.PNG
Not only did fire burn 70% of park, it burned more acreage outside of park.
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Our campsite at Lava Beds
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Not sure if this is Sunshine Cave that had a couple of holes where sunlight came in or 1000m long Sentinel where you entered and exited in different places
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Burney Falls was too crowded and a little overrated
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Re: Northern CA/Southern OR Sept. 20-Oct. 1, 2020

Postby tseeb » Wed Oct 14, 2020 9:33 pm

More pictures, all from Lassen except for one during sunrise at winery the last morning
Attachments
0343LassenPeakSummitLake.JPG
Summit Lake and Mt Lassen
0351SummiLakeCampsite.JPG
Leaving our campsite at Summit Lake. I twice made reservations for two nights that were both canceled, one a night before our arrival. But since we arrived early, we had choice of a few sites.
0354LuciaColdBoiling.JPG
My wife at big lake near Cold Boiling Lake which was mostly dry and not boiling.
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My wife on boardwalk through Bumpass Hell
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More Bumpass Hell
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Lassen Peak and Lake Helen where we had lunch after hiking to Bumpass Hell
0380LassenCharging@Sunset.JPG
Smoke moved in for our last night at Lassen where we paid $8 to 'camp' in parking lot near visitor's Center and Walk-in Campsites.
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We saw a couple of Teslas in Lassen. That is Lost ski area above SUV in background. I have friends who moved to Red Bluff in the 60s and skied there before it closed.
0402Sunrise@LastWinery.JPG
Sunrise at Hickman Family Winery, Bangor, CA
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Re: Northern CA/Southern OR Sept. 20-Oct. 1, 2020

Postby jimk » Thu Oct 15, 2020 10:28 am

Very nice Tony. Way to get out there. I've been lying low since returning from UT to the East Coast in late July.
Although, did spend some nice time at the NC shore in Aug.
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