A lot has happened. A lot that was scheduled to happen did not. We are now on the road home. The sheer size of the storm that was predicted for last weekend was enough to make this southern Californian decide that this had been a very lucky year and it was time to start south.
Unfortunately the start was about three days sooner than I had anticipated so two visits to see friends had to be forsaken for the journey out in fog and rain.
Last weekend brought the first significant storm of the season to Oregon. It went from major to scary Saturday when 4.0 inches of rain had fallen by 4PM on the coast and it was actually getting worse and the wind was 40 kts. and climbing in gusts. My plan had been to spend a day catching up on housekeeping matters in the Siskiyou National Forest and then head south, seeing friends along the way. At six that morning, all that changed. Water started to seep through a seal on the roof. It has happened before and I intuited that it wasn’t going to get better on its own. The immediate problem was solved by getting out of bed. The leak was directly over it. Now the choices were to find someone to fix it on a very rainy Saturday or try to control it and move right away to get ahead of the worst of the impending rain. The first has always proved the less favorable option, particularly on a weekend, when of course things like this always happen.
Apologies were made to my potential hosts and I hurried up through the passes and down into the central valley of California. The drive was not without its moments of beauty but mostly it was reminiscent of the cross country nightmare of two years ago. Fog was a near constant companion as was rain, very heavy rain. The good news is that the seal doesn’t leak when La Coachasita is moving. After a brutal 650 miles, we reached a place called Patterson, Ca and the “Kit Fox” RV park. It was seven o’clock, very dark and still raining, albeit with less force.
The Kit Fox is what I call an “out and in” park, a very large slab of cement meant to house those passing through and no reservations are needed. They are proprietary parks that charge a good deal for a one night stay, and range widely in amenities. RV parks in general never close. The offices do, however, so one must use the “after hours” check-in. There is no uniform system of after hours check-in, and the Kit Fox had an elaborate one. Without benefit of the feeble mental faculties I had possessed that morning, I noted that the bottom line of the directions was that the office would re-open at nine in the morning, so I dropped my name and the space number I was taking in the late arrival box and groped around until I managed to get in the space, got electricity to the camper, ate something, and went to bed in the hope that the “diverting” work I had done would suceed. It rained most of the night. I stayed dry, paid in the morning, and headed further down Interstate 5 still looking for dry air. It was getting better for about two hours and then it got worse. It stayed worse for another 400 miles until I was south of Monterrey. I moved back to the coast route at Gilroy, known as the “Garlic Capital of the World.” If you have a sense of smell, you can’t miss it. I stopped often, ate often, and checked the weather every chance I could. When I found only scattered showers near San Luis Obispo my spirits lifted. The wind was still harsh, however, so I decided to continued on to Lake Cachuma in the St. Yenez Mountains west of Santa Barbara where I assumed it would be better quicker and I could count on some warmth and less moisture. After the first night, when the showers were more than forecast, the weather turned warm and sunny. There are few campers here in this enormous park that I have written of before. The help is friendly and there is a bass tournament this weekend so more people will come in by the weekend.
In the end, a week planned further north exploring new things that will have to wait for another time and two visits were lost. Yet that is the nature of nomadic travel. I am enjoying watching the migrating birds and wintering hawks, eagles, ducks, geese, herons and all manner of woodpeckers here on the more than 1000 acres of park. The huge lake here supplies water for irrigation of the vegetables to the west and the drinking water to Santa Barbara and surroundings as the wells go dry in the summer months. The lake is high now due to the odd rain pattern and cool summer—down only sixteen feet by the testimony of the storekeeper. It is, as always, a peaceful place. A place I often try to make the last stop of a trip north, perhaps further set apart this year by the weather and the time.
Home is 350 miles away. The drive is easy enough and will be made when the food runs low or the clocks change. It has been a good trip taken all together and, since both La Coachasita and I have survived, will go down as another successful one.
Spring will come soon enough, new plans will be made, and we will be off again. I still am curious about what is over the next hill and, as Charles Kuralt used to say, around the bend up there.
Thanks for coming along.