Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Day 19 - Portland, OR to Kelowna, BC We are homeward bound.

6000 kms or 3700 miles total travelling distance. 

Cascade Locks near Portland, OR
Kelowna, BC, Canada
466 miles

Today was all about getting home. We chose to drive through the middle of Washington instead of up the I-5 through Seattle and over the Coquihalla (Highway 5 and 97C) for two reasons:  The border crossing near Vancouver would have very long lines on Easter Monday and a snow storm was rolling through the mountains.  There are 2-3 summits on this route that are about 1700 meters or around 5600 feet.  We took a pass. 

Our route is relatively low and crossing the border near Osoyoos is often very quick. 

After a second long day of driving we were pleased to roll up to our home near dinner time. 

It's good to be home!

Having arrived in the pitch black and pouring rain we can see that this is
a really nice campground.

Dominic checks the oil.  Mr. Thirsty likes to slurp oil some days.

Driving east on I-84 through the Columbia River Gorge.

Crossing the Columbia River on our way north.

Mt. Rainier off in the distance. Much prettier in real life.
"Has Uncle Vlad climbed that one, Mama?"

North through the coulees on I-17 near Soap Lake

The Gypsy Wagon is back on Canadian soil, eh!

Lake Okanagan driving north but looking south back towards Penticton.

Crossing the bridge into Kelowna.

Day 18: Redwood Forest, CA to Portland, OR

Paul Bunyan and Babe the Ox are alive and well at The Trees of Mystery. 

Humboldt Redwoods State Park, CA
Cascade Locks, East of Portland, OR
494 Miles

This cow is heading for the barn!  There will be no vista point stops and no scenic drives.  The Gypsy Wagon is going home.  Originally, we were to hit the I-5 after San Francisco; however, when I saw how close we were to the Redwood forest I added that little detour through the Avenue of the Giants. This means we need to pay the piper and have two rather long days of driving to get home.  That's OK - we are up for it.

I thought that once we hit Crescent City we would be on larger roads. Oh, contraire. This drive is really pretty but narrow and meandering right up to Grant's Pass (west of Medford there on the map below by the two white dots).

North of Grant's Pass we still had to ride up and down the rolling hills of southern Oregon. So, we played let's pass the semi on the ups and they played let's pass the travel trailer on the downs.  This repeated about 5-6 times.

Today is Easter Sunday.  It was really strange to be driving hard on a day that is typically spent listening to 'Christ The Lord has Risen Today' on the CBC in the morning, going to church and then relaxing with my parents as they visit us in Kelowna.  This is the second year in a row that we find ourselves on the road.  Last year we were at the Grand Canyon - a site better than 500 miles of driving. Maybe next year I will have to remind myself to shorten the trip and be home for Easter, eh?!

We were treated to two rainbows today.  One in the car spray during a little rain coming over a summit and one far off in a field as we stopped for gas and food.

Starting near Eugene the traffic was thick.  Moving fast but cozy.  We learned our lesson well from our trip south through Portland and peeled off the I-5 south of Portland to take the 205.  This skirts around downtown and connects with the I-84 that runs east along the Columbia River Gorge.  Good move, Mama, since it is now twilight.

The rain started and I basically floored it to stay within site of the tail lights of a car.  Visibility was very poor.

We arrived at the Cascade Locks KOA in the dark and rain around 9:15 pm.  How nice to pull through, get those corners down and start the heater.

We were in for the last night on the road about 30 minutes east of Portland.

494 miles - no wonder this was a long day!

Walking past the Visitor's Centre to the park headquarters parking lot where
I could keep the truck overnight since it did not fit in our spot. 

Going around the figure-8 'roads' in the campground on our way out. 

Speaking of figure-8 . . immediately after this position we swing to the right.
A little tight S-bend to start our day. 

I can't resist a few more Avenue of the Giants pictures as we depart. 

Ah, the ocean!

Trees of Mystery. I recall being here when I was 9 years old. 

No problem - we are used to this now. 

No point looking back. . . 

Dutch Bros. Drive Thru coffee is a big thing here. 

Small town America. 

Burl stores dotted this highway. 

Grant's Pass Walmart for oil and matches for Grandpa.
Score on the matches - right beside the toothpicks. 

Highway rainbow.

More gas for Mr. Thirsty

Another rainbow. 

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Day 17: San Francisco to Humboldt Redwoods State Park

Avenue of the Giants

San Francisco, CA
Humboldt Redwoods State Park, CA
238 miles

On this day we left the city and headed north along Highway 101 to the Redwood Forest. This was a gentle easy drive that oscillated between four lanes highways to goat trails and back again. Because it is Easter Weekend the traffic was lighter than normal which made this a pleasant journey. 

The highlight of the day was driving through the Avenue of the Giants as we approached Humboldt Redwood State Park.  I even managed to get the 'money shot' by stopping in the middle of the road, mindful to do so with plenty of straight road behind me, hopping out of the truck and snapping a few pictures.  I had to wait because as soon as I got behind the trailer there was a slow approaching vehicle cluttering up my frame. 

We arrived at 3:15 pm and the light under the dense canopy of Redwoods was faint at best. 

I am not sure what I was thinking as I anticipated this State Park.  In my mind State Park means big sites with easy access.  I seem to have forgotten that this park was cut into the middle of the Redwood forest.  The lanes were tight, twisty and the area of the site where your vehicle could be was narrow and short.  I booked this in a hurry one night a few weeks before we left and did not pay careful attention to my particular site number or pictures. This was not a good choice for the Gypsy Wagon. But, after a really tight jackknife, I got her into place.  It wasn't pretty but we were in for the night. 

One last coffee morning looking north towards San Francisco.

So many interesting abodes. 

OK, Mr. White Trailer, it is not helpful when you crowd me
along the railing on a curve approaching the Golden Gate Bridge.
Yes, your tires are in my little lane. 

We drove through tunnels. 

We drove through grassy hills. 

We crossed quaint bridges.

We pulled up awkwardly to small busy gas stations in small towns.

We rounded many shoulder-less corners. 

We did drive by site seeing.  The Gypsy Wagon will not fit everywhere.

We stopped in the middle of the road to take fast pictures.
Avenue of the Giants

We tried to take selfies while driving.
I will have to work on that. 

We cranked it hard to get into a short space at 90 degrees to the one way lane
in the campground with leaning trees.

We ran through the interpretive centre 15 minutes before closing time.

We were amazed at the age of this tree. 1000's of years old.

Alex joined me on a short nature walk in the dying light.

Yes, there is a Creator. 

Hmm, back to this interesting site. . . . That leaning tree beside the trailer and the massive tree
behind the trailer made for interesting parking.

It actually looks very civilized from this picture.

We are in the Redwood Forest and what does my son choose to do?
Sit near the ranger hut to get wifi signal.
I was not willing to die on this hill so I let him and went walking with Alex. 

A beautiful little bridge behind our campsite. 

Ah, campfire in a can to end the night.