Wednesday, April 2, 2008

2. First Week on the Road

On Wednesday, March 26, we finished loading the RV and pointed it south on I-405. We took just about everything we owned, except the piano, but still wondered “what did we forget?” Sure enough, Ron forgot his pants, which were left hanging together in the closet where he wouldn’t forget them. He did remember such important things as the Frisbee, bag of mixed nuts and a combination lock that he lost the combination to.

It was an easy drive down I-5 to Portland before the weather turned on us. Short bursts of rain, hail and snow were interspersed with bright sunshine for the next three days. We turned right at Eugene, gassed up the RV ($3.50/gal.), crossed the Coast Range and checked into the South Jetty Campground in Florence in the early evening. It’s a very nice forested campground and just a mile or so from the Oregon Dunes Nat’l. Recreation Area and beaches.

On Friday, we were visited by Eric and Lynne Dittmer, long-time friends from Medford. We spent the afternoon watching dune buggies and motorcycles challenge the dunes, exploring Old Town Florence and looking at boats along the Siuslaw River. A great seafood dinner at Mo’s capped off the day. Willing to try anything once, Eric and Lynne agreed to spend the night on the fold-out couch in our RV. It was a freezing cold rainy miserable night. We awoke to “corn snow” on the ground. It was an experience they'll probably not soon forget. After a hearty breakfast at South Jetty Betty’s campground cafĂ©, we were warmed up and feeling good again.

Saturday, the big night at South Jetty, started off with an excellent prime rib dinner, cooked and served up by South Jetty Betty herself. After dinner, Betty called BINGO. Bonnie won the final game and a $10 prize for the blackout. BINGO was followed by an ice cream social, also served by Betty who seems to do it all. What more could anyone ask?

We hit the road again on Sunday (Mar. 30). The southern Oregon coast was warm and sunny and the scenery outstanding. We stopped in Brookings to buy Ron a pair of tax-free pants before continuing on to Crescent City.

We spent the night at a small campground near the mouth of the Klamath River. At the suggestion of our host, we drove up a short steep road to Requa Viewpoint to watch the sunset and look for migrating whales. Didn’t see any whales, but the sunset was very nice!

We stopped at Eureka to fill the gas tank again ($3.80/gal.) before continuing south through the redwoods. Much of this highway was crooked, hilly, narrow and slow-going – a white-knuckle ride for Bonnie who frequently cautioned Ron about “speeding” through the curves at 30 mph. Since we weren’t in a hurry, we had plenty of time to enjoy the beauty of the forest, including a lunch stop at Richardson’s Grove to view the Grandfather Tree and too many chainsaw sculptures. And on we went down Highway 101 and into California wine country.