Tales From The Camping House

Tales From The Camping House

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Victorian Village of Ferndale

One of my favorite movies is The Majestic starring Jim Carrey.  It was made in 2001, and when I found out it was shot in Ferndale, just a few miles south, we had to go check it out.

Many of the original Victorian buildings have been carefully preserved making it the charming town it is.  The entire town is a registered historical landmark.

We parked our car and walked the town streets lined with magnificent architecture.

This is the Victorian Inn built in 1890 from Humboldt redwoods.

Here's the local grocery store.  Walking inside the store, you are immediately transported back to the past with the wooden floors and shelves.

The majority of the shops on Main Street also have living quarters on the top story.

There were also flowers everywhere!

We turned off Main Street and then began walking along the residential streets admiring the Victorian beauties.

This the Gingerbread Bed and Breakfast.  There is even a postcard of this house sold in shop on Main Street.

It was hard not to take a picture of each house.  They were all unique.

We loved the way this shrub had been cut in front of this house.

There were also these wonderful churches that had also been built in the late 19th century.

We turned back on Main Street heading back to our car.

It was a wonderful visit, but now I am going to have to watch The Majestic to see if I can recognize any of the places we saw. :)

Friday, July 26, 2013

A Visit To The Coastline

First of all, thank you to all of our friends and family that have checked on us and offered words of encouragement.  We're still playing the waiting game, but the parts were ordered on Tuesday and on Friday we received an e-mail from Lippert saying they were shipped.  Our extended warranty is paying about half, so we were glad to hear that.  We were pretty sure they would not pay for the other axle which hadn't been damaged yet or the tires and wheels that would need to be replaced.  Jim has had to spend a lot of time with followup phone calls to the various parties involved.

We have been trying to make the best of it and seeing some of the beautiful sights in the area.

Wednesday, we drove north to the Redwoods National Park enjoying the beauty of the coastline.

As we drove north, we came to a stretch of highway with Freshwater Lagoon on one side

and the Pacific coast on the other.  It was a cloudy day, but the fog hovering in parts of the coastline gave an interesting effect.

We walked along the coastline spying this rock formation with a natural window inside.

We were able to walk inside the rock to peer out the window.

We hadn't seen waves quite like these.  There were signs warning about them being rolling waves.  The swell would rise and then the waves just tumbled on top.  You could see how it could be dangerous swimming.  Of course, first you would have to brave the cool temperatures. :)

After our walk along the beach, we headed to the Redwoods National Park and spied some Roosevelt Elk resting in the shade.

We drove along the Redwoods drive heading towards the small town of Klamath.  That had been our original destination before our bearing/axle problem.

We drove up Klamath River Road to an observation point overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

To the right, we looked down to see the mouth of the Klamath River (on the right) flowing into the ocean.

We found a spot nearby to have lunch and then went back down the road stopping at this overlook.  The bear statues had attracted us.  This actually is what is left of the Douglas Memorial Bridge that was swept away in a flood during Christmas week, 1964.  The bridge had been constructed in 1924.

We then drove through the little town of Klamath to go to the other side which overlooked the ocean. The views were pretty spectacular.

It was a nice visit to another beautiful part of our country!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Avenue of the Giants

The weather in Eureka, California is really unusual for us being in Texas most of our lives.  There is a 10 degrees difference between the daytime high (around 64) and the nighttime low (around 54).  The area is usually in fog. The six days we have been here, we have had about two hours of sunlight all together.  Dreary yes, but when you are living in your rv on a dealership lot with 15 amp hookup, it is a blessing. :)

 100 miles from here in Redding, the high today is supposed to be 108.  

We learned yesterday, we could drive just a little ways inland and there was sunlight!  The dealership was closed for the weekend, we couldn't do anything about our axles, so we decided to make the best of it and head to the giant redwood forests along the Avenue of the Giants.

The avenue is actually a 31 mile road that was the original Highway 101.

We have been to this area before, but these magnificent trees are always a sight to behold.

There are several groves to stop at and hiking paths throughout the park.  It is part of the Humboldt Redwoods State Park.  

We loved the ferns and clovers that just grew naturally through the forest.

Here's a redwood tree that had fallen over with a natural garden growing on it.   Isn't nature beautiful!

 It's hard to imagine the massiveness of these trees without a little perspective.  We are dwarfs among these giants.  Many of these trees are over a 1,000 years old.

Some people will do anything for a picture, but I just had to get this view

from this perspective. :)

 As we drove a little farther inland, the sun came out and we peeled off our jackets.  We stopped for a leisurely outdoor lunch at a little sidewalk cafe in Miranda.

After a few more stops it was time to return to Eureka.  As we approached the town, we began seeing the fog build up and it was a heavy blanket by the time we got to the rig.

It was a wonderful afternoon seeing those beautiful giants again!

Eureka update- Lippert will have to build axles as they do not keep the ones we need in stock.  We can't order parts until our extended warranty company gives the o.k.  We figure we will be here at least two weeks.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Eureka! We're Here For Awhile

When last I wrote we were spending the night in a logging camp about 35 miles north of Eureka, California.  We slept great and were ready for the mobile tech to come and get us going again.

The mobile tech arrived and was able to get the bearing off, but when he did he found the spindle on the axle was bent.  He would not be able to repair it there, we were going to have to find a dealership

We called a little rv dealership in Eureka who said they would repair axles and had to begin our journey back on three wheels.  I thought the ride into the logging camp was harrowing,  following a three wheeled fifth wheel for 35 miles was more so.  The tech followed us too as he was also worried about the one tire carrying the right side load.  We slowly crept back to Eureka, all of us with our blinking lights on.  Thank goodness it was a four lane highway giving people plenty of room to pass us.

We were relieved when we made it!  We pulled into the dealership and they examined the axle getting the part numbers.  They called Lippert who then told them they don't make those parts anymore and would have to call them back with compatible parts.  Lippert never called back.

We were able to pull into the parking lot and plug into 15 amp power so we can at least run one appliance at a time.  We have our hot water heater and refrigerator on propane.  Last night we were able to watch tv and we can recharge our ipads, cell phones, and laptops, so we can get by for now.  We're not sure how long we will be here.  Lippert never called the rv dealership back (we are talking a very small dealership).  Jim called Lippert this morning and they asked Jim to send them a picture of the axles.  He then called back and found out the lady he was talking to left work to take care of a sick child.  He called back after 11 and started over again with another technician.  We're also dealing with the time zone difference, they are in the Eastern and we are in the Pacific, so if we don't start talking to them early, by 2 o'clock our time, they are gone.  It would probably be easier if we were nearer a more metropolitan area, but we are about 300 miles from any large population area.

So here we sit waiting.  It is extremely hard not being in control and not having really anyone to call for help. We just have to hope someone from Lippert will take the time to get back with us.

There are so many wonderful things about this lifestyle and we're going to make the best of it.

Now the good stuff, we are safe, we have a place to park, we have cell phone and internet access.  We are in a town with a Costco and have a movie theater next door that we can walk to.  There are lots of things to see here, we're not far from the redwoods and we are right on the coast.  There could definitely be worse places to be stranded.

One thing you can always be sure of, it always an adventure.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A Long, Long Day in the Long, Long Trailer

Well today was going to be a long trip for us, about 250 miles, but we didn't know how truly long it would be.

Our destination was Klamath, California just past the Redwoods National Park. We stopped in Eureka for diesel and I thought I smelled something burning by the tires. Jim thought it was the brakes since we had just gone through some mountains so we waited awhile and the tire cooled down.

We continued on and I radioed Jim that I could smell something burning. He stopped a few miles at a rest area and realized the tire had heated up again. He crawled under the rv and noticed something seemed to be rubbing the tire. We only had 38 miles to go to the campground and he thought if he took it slow he could make it.

No such luck. We probably only went two or three miles and the tire blew. Jim had to drive down a little way where he could pull off the road in front of a little country road, so we thought. It was 3 and he didn't want me to call Good Sam because he thought he could change the tire faster than it would take a tech to get to us. As he proceeded to take the tire off, a big truck came down the little county road followed by a logging truck. I spoke with the driver and sure enough we are stopped smack dab in the middle of a logging company. He asked if we could pull the rig a little farther up which Jim was able to do and the trucks pulled around us.

He got the tire off and then realized it looked like the bearings had gone out. We had one bar on our cellphone and could not make any calls, but we did have 3G on our Millenicom mobile hotspot. I was able to call out using Skype. We have Good Sam roadside coverage and just as I was about to complete the information, the call dropped. So, I called again and started over telling another person what had happened. She said they could send a mobile tech, but since we had an extended warranty with another company we should call them first. Jim calls the extended warranty company and they say they don't do mobile repairs. By now I have reached my frustration point. I called Good Sam and said we just need some help. They gave me the number of the tech service. It is now 5:30. Two more phone calls later and the tech guy told Jim with the parts needed he could not get to it until tomorrow morning.

So here we are on the side of the road, no way of getting the rv fixed today. Fortunately, there are people put in your life that offer you some hope. The owner of the logging operation had told Jim we could pull up in the yard and spend the night. He also sent one of his guys to see if he could fix the wheel. It was so nice of him to help!   Jim went ahead and pulled the rv up the road (without the tire on the wheel). I can't tell you how scary it was following the rv up, but we made it.

Jim went out to get us something to eat and tonight will be our first real night of boondocking.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, July 15, 2013

We're in Wine Country!

We have been at the Russian River Thousand Trails RV Resort in Cloverdale, California this last week.  We are near all the wineries in Alexander Valley, Sonoma, and Napa Valley.  There are a lot of them, too many wineries and not enough time to enjoy them.  ;)

Our first visit was to Korbel.  The Korbel brothers had originally settled in the location because of the redwood tree forests and made cigar boxes. They began the winery after all the redwood trees around them had been cut down.  After some experimentation, it was found that grapes could grow very well in this region. We were able to take the tour through the old sparkling winemaking facilities and learned about the tedious processes necessary to complete their product.  We finished the tour, then had our tasting, and it was time for the tour through the gardens.

One little bit of trivia we learned was that the 1960's TV series Combat! was shot across the street where there were still stumps left from the redwood trees.  The stumps were blown up in the war scenes and other scenes were shot around the vineyard.

We also drove over to Napa Valley and visited the Vintage Sweet Shoppe.  We had purchased a Groupon for a chocolate and wine pairing.  Oh my goodness, it was good!  We couldn't believe how the different kinds of chocolate would change the taste of the wine.  The chocolate is made in the shop and is excellent!

Our favorite visit was to BobDog Wines.  I had e-mailed and made a reservation for Jim and I to visit.  Tim, the owner, got back to me and plans were set.  The winery was the closest to where we are staying, we just had to drive 2000 feet up a mountain.

It was a beautiful drive up, there are some winding curves and the road is narrow, but it is worth the visit.

Once we were near the top, the views began to reveal themselves.


Tim greeted us and took us out to the vineyard for an up close and personal view of the grapes.

Tim's wife, Kandy, joined us and we then spent the next two and a half hours talking and tasting wine as well as learning about the wine and the process to make it.  Tim and Kandy love what they're doing and are very happy to share their knowledge.  We had such a wonderful time and the wine was good too.

Francis Ford Coppala also has a winery in the area.  There was an original Tucker car in a room by the tasting room.

One of the prettiest wineries we went to was Ferrari-Carrano Winery.  There are gardens around the tasting room that were absolutely gorgeous and are free to tour.
 It's been really fun to visit the different wineries, but tomorrow it's time to move on as we head to Klamath in northern California.  We want to spend time in the Redwood National Forest.

Monday, July 8, 2013

A Visit to Alcatraz and Angel Island

We really wanted to go to Alcatraz, but when we looked at the tours for when we would be in the area, the only thing available was a tour to both Angel Island and Alcatraz so we decided to take that one.

We booked the tour a little over two weeks ago and were glad we did.  Once we got to San Francisco, all tours were sold out until the end of July.

We left bright and early in order to make our 9:40 departure time.

The one nice thing about the heat is that San Francisco has not been foggy.  A local told us that when there is no fog around San Francisco, it usually means the inland is very hot.

San Francisco still has cool temperatures. Today it was in the 60's most of the day.

We loaded on our boat to cross over the bay to Angel Island, but first we crossed in front of our afternoon destination, Alcatraz.

We crossed in front of the Golden Gate Bridge.

This was our first glimpse of Angel Island which was used from 1910 to 1940 to process immigrants, mostly Chinese, as they came to the U.S.   It is often referred to as "the Ellis Island of the West".  It was also Fort McDowell in the late 1800's and was used to process returning Spanish-American War soldiers.

During World War II, many soldiers returned here for their processing home.

Today, it is a California State Park.

Once we arrived, we were given a brief lecture by a park ranger and we then boarded trams to take us around the island on a narrated tour.

There were some pretty neat views, here is Alcatraz in front of San Francisco.

I got a picture of the Italian's America Cup catamaran practicing with the San Francisco backdrop.

After our tram tour, we had a relaxing lunch on the terrace overlooking the water at a little sandwich shop.

It was then time to get back on the boat and head to our next destination, Alcatraz Island.

Alcatraz is best known for the penitentiary that operated here from 1933 to 1963, but the fort was originally built to protect San Francisco during the gold rush and Civil War.

Today, Alcatraz is a National Park for us to visit as well as a bird sanctuary.   I snapped this picture of a pelican looking out, however there is nothing behind it, so it is free to fly out.

The thing that really struck me about the island was the contrasts.  At one point it looks like an Italian villa overlooking the ocean.

Flowers and gardens were all around.

Then there was the prison.

As we entered the prison cell area, we were given headphones for an audio tour.  It was very well done with commentary by actual prisoners and the haunting sounds of closing cell doors and prison riots.

This was one of the main cell blocks.

Here is the recreation yard.

This was D Block, the maximum security unit.

There were even cells set up with some of the activities of some of the prisoners.

The sea gulls are all over the island right now with their babies.  Here is one with her baby that took over the fireplace in the warden's home.

 We saw another one sitting on the concrete rail among the flowers and when you look below her,

there was the baby.

There were more great views.

Here is Oracle, the U.S. America Cup catamaran in front of San Francisco.

We enjoyed watching the birds and admiring the views as much as the visit to the prison.

About 4, we joined many others as we boarded the ferry back to San Francisco.

We were really glad we had not only gone to Alcatraz, but also Angel Island.  It was a wonderful tour!