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My favorite places

Happiness.jpg, 32kBMy friends laugh at how long it takes me to get to the coast from Chico. It normally takes me three days, whilemy friends can make it in 5 hours. The strong implication is that something is wrong with me or my transportation.Well... There is nothing wrong with my van. It is a 1997 Dodge 3/4 ton 2500 custom, geared for pulling. The DMV classifies it as a "truck". Truly, our society is goal-driven, with stress as the result. I can't defend against the rest of their supposition, and it leavesme in a vulnerable position.

I have a plack that epitomizes my stubborn position:
"Happiness is not a destination, it is a way of travel."

Win River Casino

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Heading north from Chico, we decided to stay the night at this Casino: Win River.That is a grand total of 80 miles the first day. (Just in case it matters.)

RVs are welcome, as they are at most Casinos.
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Park at extreme west end. There was plenty of room.
You may want to register and get some free plays.

Frances Mathews Rest Stop

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I like to make a lot of stops. And I stopped here both coming and going. The dog let me know the stop was comingup, by tapping me on the leg with her paw. And sure enough, she had to do her business.

There is my van in the background.

There are four or five pull-throughs, and non have shade except the handicapped pull-through. But in the middle of winter like this, shade is not a problem.
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Both Drinking (Potable) water and Wash water at the disposal site.As an RVer, we must protect these sites. They are getting fewer and fewer because of abuse. Do not dump chemicals. Please Keep it Green-and-Clean for all of us.
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There were three or four big Pull-Throughs for RVs
A lot of shade, which is not too good for solar panels.

Blue Lake Casino

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We stayed here one night.
Go in and register, and get some free stuff including 5 bucks of free play.The food is really great. It costs average to high, but is really top notch.

The dog had to go out at 2:30 in the morning. We stepped out to grassthat sparkled like diamonds. Everywhere was frozen. The grass crunched under foot.After doing her business, she immediately wanted back in. We jumped back into read the outside temperature on the thermometer. Amused, it read 32.0 degrees. The heaterhad been quitely coming on and off, holding the inside temperature at a pleasant 72 degrees. We had no clueit was so cold outside.
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I traveled over the mountains with only 20% fresh water. I have a 60 gal tank, that is only 12 gals. Now that I amout of the hills and unto the level, I can fill up. I filled to 75% fresh, and emptied the little bit of grey and black.We do not know which of the many cool places to go too. Some may have no facilities, and it is best to travel with afull fresh tank to be on the safe side, just in case you fall off the radar.

Patricks Point State Park

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This was my favorite spot, and the only pull through that I saw. I kept the van hooked up so as to point thelarge picture window one way in the morning and the other way in the afternoon to catch the warm sun both directions.Can just barely see the ocean either way.
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This is my "rig". Just the right size. I love it, in case you can not tell.
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Such a broad beach and such a white waved beach.
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But, for us, this is a real deal stopper. Our dog is always on a leash and never disturbs seals or wildlife. We will probably never stop here again...

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These rabbits are all over the place. We saw a half a dozen different rabbits. We were told that the parkhad a problem with foxes and had to eradicate many foxes. Now there be rabbits.Didn't any one ever study how fox and rabbit populations are oscillitory and somewhat unstable?
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There is fog, rain, and sun everyday.Patricks Point is beautiful.
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This is the night time temperature outside at Patricks Point.


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This is the day temperature outside at Mckinleyville.
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Here is what happens if you position the trailer to the sun in a parking lot at Mckinleyville.The warmth comes in and it feels so good.
This temperature is totally from the sun. I have the heater turned off.

The inside temperature got above 73 degrees!
Outside temperature is 48 degrees.
All of the other widows not exposed to the sun have to their blinds pulled.
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While my wife is shopping, I will show you some other stuff...
The solar panels are charging 5 amps into the batteries.
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Here is the microwave, which I can not run off the panels, nor batteries.
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Here is the water pressure. I built my own accumulator out of PVC to soften the pressure. But it was only "helpful" and did not solve the problem. I found later that 50 lbs and above is too much. Eventually, one after another, I had lost almost all of the factory installed lines due to leaking.If that was not bad enough, I found that if the batteries were drained down to 11.5 volts, the pump could not pump to its cut offpoint at 52 lbs. The pump would set there forever, buzzing away, draining the batteries further,and never reaching cut off. I disassembled the pump and found no pressure adjustments.I solved the problem by buying a $12 dollar standard external pressure switch.Simply wired in series with the pump. I adjustedthe pressure to 32 pounds. Works great!
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Here is the inside refrigerator temperature down by the crispers. Never need to open the doors to tell if the refregerator is working.I found these little remote termperature meters at Marlin P. Jones for just a couple of bucks. They run about a year on an internal watch battery. The included watch batterycosts more than the meter. Figure that one!
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We don't have too much in the refrigerator, despite the fact that we spent $120 for food at Safeway a few days ago.
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Here are the tanks.

If you buy from SeeLevel, beware there is a bit of misleading advertising:
The sensors do NOT read out in percent - to the implied resolution of a percent.Instead they read out in groups of 6%. There is NO RESOLUTION down to a percent, as implied.What ever you do, DO NOT CUT the sensors as recommended. Keep the sensors to full length and slant the sensorsto fit the height of the tank. This way, you will keep the resolution as high as possible.I found no warnings or discussion of this problem on the internet.Garnet has misleading claims and bad instructions. Although, I am unhappy with SeeLevel, the system is betterthan it was, and now I can use any kind of toilet paper. It does not matter if it sticksto the old conductive sensors. I have better accuracy now, although I conceder it is still unnecessarily crude.


Weaver-2011-11-01.jpg, 27 kB2011.11.01 WeaverVille
WeaverVille is a good place to rest, and it is about half way.
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Round Table Pizza
Burger King, fast food
CVS store, open 24 hrs.

Weaver-Fire.JPG, 15 kB 2011.11.05 WeaverVille
This is on the way back from the Redwoods...

My wife loves stores, and as soon as we stopped, my wife bailed.She bought a few little things here and there, but mostly likes to look.WeaverVille CVS is open 24 hours. And we slept here, under the smoke that you see in the distance, with no problems.I do not know what is the official policy, but there was another RV at the opposite end of the parking lot.

However, when we awoke the next morning in the parking lot, it was starting to snow. I feared this development because I could have problems getting over the summit which was a little over 3000 feet. We quickly got dressed, and had a bowl of cereal from the small dinette table as we watched the sky. We could see occasional rain drops starting to turn to soft snow flakes. We ran over to Burger King for last minute rites and teas, and and headed out. The outside temperature was 34.1 degrees. As we traveled, and as we rose in elevation, the outside temperature continued to drop. I looked again to see the the outside temperature at 33 degrees with heavy white snow flakes floating around in front of the windshield. The van has a 5.2 liter or 318 cu in engine and could pull ok, if only I could keep my speed up. The trailer is 3933 pounds dry. But with about 40 gallons of water, at 8 pounds/gal, that is 320 pounds more. Also two 17 pound canister propane tanks with one of them full, which is 4 lb/gal or 20 pounds more. But it does not matter and there is no time to figure this stuff...

I just had to keep my speed up on the up hill pulls - and all without slipping. No matter the weight, I am full out. Pushing hard!
The snow was just starting to stick with the pretty white stuff turning to a dull grey translucent covering on the pavement. In spots, you are all too aware of it; You can hear the slush under the tires. Tracks from previous cars were just starting to form. The lingering tracks are not a good sign at all. Too much gas, and it is all over! Too much brake on the down hills, and it is all over too.I reached under the dash and switched to a little heaver braking from from the trailer. By pushing the thumb rollerfurther, I could feel the trailer brake more than the van, evidenced by a quicker and harder pull from behind.I gave the van almost all the power it had - even on down hill runs. It felt good to feel the "bite" of the tires,and as long as I had bite, I would even give more power. With both hands on the wheel and my knees shaking, it was achore to keep everything lined up. In the dips I was really flying with my speed well above 65. At such speeds, theremust not be any slow cars in front of you because it is unsafe to change lanes, turn, or manuever even a little.

We made it over the last summit before entering what I call the "twisties". These are the curves 10 miles west of Redding on 299.These are a welcome sight if you are on a superbike motocycle or - in this case - coming out of heavy snow into heavy rainpulling a trailer. We were so relieved, to say the least! I had no chains, and lots of fraid nerves.