When Last I Posted…

Wow! What changes have taken place since I last posted.

When I set out on my journey, I had two goals:

  1. Get my house cleaned out and sold
  2. Visit each of the lower 48 states.

    I got my house cleared out and sold in April 2014. In May 2017, I stuck my last state sticker on my map and I realized that I had achieved what I set out to do.

I was ready to go home.

It all happened so quickly! I was quite surprised, because the real estate market in Kalamazoo had gotten really tight and I wasn’t sure how hard it would be to sell Flo.

I was ready to stay on the road for another season, but things fell into place very quickly.

I will save those details for later in the story. I hope to finish telling my travel trails in the next few months.

Stay tuned!


Prowling Around Portland

It rained most of the night, but it had mostly stopped by the time I got up.

I can’t say it was exactly sunny, though. I’m not sure what the block was doing on the picnic table, but there is was.

And the sun did come out, eventually. Look! A shadow!

I set out to see what I could see in Portland. As a recovering elementary school teacher, I knew that Beverly Cleary was from the area. I had been hearing stories on the local NPR stations about her and the fact that she was turning 101. I decided to see if there were any sites in the area that related to her.

I found the Beverly Cleary Sculpture Garden at Grant Park.  It turns out that Beverly Cleary grew up in the neighborhood and actually played in the park as a child. I found the park without too much trouble and found a parking spot on a side street.

I ended up parking right by the Beverly Cleary School. I parked and started making my way toward the sculpture garden.

I found Henry Huggins…

and his dog, Ribsy.

Ramona Quimby was there, too, and the sun came out!

Ramona Quimby, Age 8. Kim Davison Age 61

It was a lovely little park. Based on photos I’ve seen on line, there are jets of water that shoot up around Ribsy and Ramona. There is also a splash pool.

I like the accessibility of the pool. Notice the curb cut so people in wheel chairs or other mobility issues can get in to enjoy the water. Of course, being that it was early April when I visited, the water wasn’t turned on yet.

I was starting to feel ready for lunch. A Facebook friend recommended a pizza restaurant and I set out to find it. I was making good progress when I saw a sign.

Voodoo Doughnut! I’d heard of this place! Change of plans.

It had been a while since I’d seen so much pink concentrated in one place.

I parked in their lot and headed for the door. This promised to be an interesting place. I got in and started looking.

There was quite an array. I decided to have the squid doughnut.

It was a lot of doughnut! They gave me a box to take the rest of it with me. There is no way I could have eaten that at one sitting!

They had a few interesting vehicles in the parking lot.

On the sidewalk nearby they had one of those bicycle rental racks. I had to take a look.

I always wondered how these programs worked and how much they cost. Now we both know.

Stuffed to the gills with doughnut, I set out to see downtown Portland. I arrived and started looking for parking. Parking Bart in a supermarket parking lot can be a big enough adventure. Finding parking in a city can be a nightmare. I decided to treat myself to valet parking. I pulled in and handed the attendant the keys and set out to see what I could see.

I strolled down the South Park Blocks toward the Oregon Historical Society.

Shemanski Fountain caught my eye. It’s a sandstone fountain that was donated to the city by Joseph Shemanski, a Polish immigrant and businessman. It was designed in 1925 and completed in 1926.

The fountain has two drinking platforms. Each level has three basins. The upper level is for people and the lower level is for dogs.

Originally, the fountain had a planter in the center. In 1928, Shemanski hired Oliver Laurence Barrett, an arts professor at the University of Oregon to create a bronze statue to replace the vase. According to Portland Parks and Recreation, Shemanski chose the Biblical figure of Rebecca at the well because of her hospitality to strangers and kindness to animals.

Lincoln was the next sculpture I came to. It was by George Fite Waters, cast in Claude Valsuani’s foundry in France in 1927, on Lincoln’s birthday, and was dedicated on October 5, 1928.

On my right side, I noticed Masonic Temple that had been repurposed as the Portland Art Museum.

A little further down, it was Teddy Roosevelt’s turn. This statue is called Theodore Roosevelt, Rough Rider. It was designed by American sculptor Alexander Phimister Proctor. The memorial was commissioned after Roosevelt’s death in 1919 at the age of 60. It was completed in 1922. Cast in bronze in Brooklyn, New York, it was shipped by sea via the Panama Canal to avoid having to cut the work into pieces. I think shipping it via the Panama Canal was a nice touch, as he was instrumental in its construction.

After all that walking and sight seeing, it was time to visit the Oregon Historical Society.

But first, a stop at the drinking fountain.

That is a work of art all by itself. I paid my admission fee and took the elevator to the top floor.

They had a nice collection of artifacts from the first inhabitants of the area.

Unfortunately, the low lighting level, which is necessary for preserving the delicate artifacts, made it hard to see the artifacts.

In one of the stairwells, they had a collection of advertising art that was important to the area. I didn’t know it, but Jantzen was founded in Portland. It grew out of the Portland Knitting Company, that was founded by John A. Zehntbauer and Carl Jantzen in 1910.

In 1913, they were asked to develop a knit woolen suit for use by the Portland Rowing Company. They began making their suits in wool. I can’t imagine that they were very satisfactory for swimming, but that would be just the ticket for keeping rowers warm. Eventually they began experimenting with a fine elastic fiber, according to my ultimate source.

I was surprised to learn that it was such a long established company and that their swim suits are still available. The company was purchased in 1980 and has changed hands several times. Currently it is owned by Perry Ellis International, Inc.

I wonder if my campground has any relation to the company? I imagine so.

There was much more to see, and if you are in town, I would recommend a visit.

I headed back toward where I left Bart.

This is the First Congregational United Church of Christ. The congregation was formed in 1851, and the cornerstone of this building was laid 1893. Incidentally, this is just the side view of the building. It really is lovely.

I entered and noticed that they were having an art exhibit in the basement.

The exhibit was called Celebration of Calligraphy: Sacred Words in Art, by the artist Salma Arastu.

This one is titled, “Allah is of Infinite Bounties”.

This one is titled “Equal Rewards.”

What a lovely surprise! It is so delightful when you enter a building just to see what you might see and you find a jewel-toned art exhibit.

I went upstairs to the sacristy.

There was fine stained glass in all the windows.

Oh, horrors! Would you look at that organ! Luckily, no one was playing. (For those who don’t know me well, I detest the sound of the organ. It doesn’t matter of the skill of the musician playing. It just sounds dreadful to me.)

The pews are arranged in a semi-circle around the altar area.

I thoroughly enjoyed my prowl around Portland. It was time to ransom Bart from the valet parking and head back to Flo. I stopped to pick up a few things at the shopping center near the campground, and was treated to a little reward for dodging the rain.

I’ll bet there is a pot of gold inside Target! (Unfortunately, it I’m sure it has a bar code attached to it.)

Pulling into Portland

I set off nice and early for Portland – before noon, at least. It was a 280 mile trip. I was making good time and had about twenty miles left to go when I hit traffic.

That’s not all bad. When you are stuck in traffic you have time to look around and even take pictures.

For instance, this overpass caught my interest. What in the world is going on here? Of course, I had no one to ask, so I still don’t know. But, I did have time to look and ponder.

I was fine with just inching along with the flow. I had a reservation at a campground. I had called the campground before I left Medford just to make sure.

That is, I was fine with the traffic and the glacial speed until I heard the “low fuel” bell sound. I looked down and noticed that the gas distance to empty was getting smaller and smaller. Since I wasn’t really moving, I had time to check the mapping program and find a gas station. I got off the interstate and wended my way to a gas station in a residential neighborhood.

You should have seen the people looking at me in amazement! I guess it’s not every day that you see a full-size Airstream pulled by the world’s longest pickup inching by your house.

I got gassed up and back on the road. Fun fact: There are no self-serve gas stations in Oregon. It was quite a treat to remain seated in the cab of the truck and have the gas pumped for me.

I got to Jantzen Beach RV Park before dark. My site information was waiting for me outside the office. Even though I had been on the road for a good six or seven hours, my site was easy enough to back into

I unhooked Flo from Bart. While I was hooking up the water and electric, it started to drizzle. I got indoors and started getting some dinner together.

And then the rain started in earnest.

This is the Pacific Northwest, after all.



Medford, Oregon

I headed further north and bid adieu to California.

One of the things I was really looking forward to seeing on this trip through California was Mount Shasta. It was another one of those places that Dad used to talk about. I wonder if he ever saw it? It never occurred to me when he would talk about it that he was in southern California and Mount Shasta is in northern California.

My level of acquaintance with Mount Shasta was in the logo on the Shasta cola the hit the market in Buffalo in the ’70s.

Anyway, I was looking forward to seeing it. On my way to Medford, Oregon, I saw a rest area that doubled as a scenic overlook. I parked and headed over to the viewing spot.

On the way, I enjoyed reading the info they had stamped into pavement.

Fun facts to know and share!

And those animal tracks. 

They look kind of like bear tracks, but they seem kind of small. Maybe they are baby bears?

I wonder if they are putting the info on the ground because so many people walk around looking down at their phones?

I made my way over to the viewing area.

Do you suppose Mt. Shasta is somewhere behind the clouds? If so, I couldn’t see it. Back to the road.

Oregon was waiting! But first, I had to see Mt. Shasta. When I had the new power jack installed in Redding, the mechanic told me that I would see it right in the middle of the road.  (Yeah, more repairs.)

By golly, there it is! Right in the middle of the road, just like the guy told me! And it even looks like the logo on the Shasta pop can.

The only thing is that I was told that that wasn’t really Mt. Shasta. I don’t know which one it is, but a few miles down the road there was a rest area to pull over and look at the real Mt. Shasta.

So, I can’t say for sure which was which. I’ll let you make up your own minds.

Another hour on the road and I finally came to the last exit in California. 796 miles! That is one long state!

A few miles more and I was in Oregon.

My first mission in Oregon was to get a prescription refilled. Repairs and maintenance on the rolling stock and keeping my meds current are two of the most difficult parts of full time Airstream travel. After multiple go-rounds, it looked like I would be able to get my script refilled in Oregon. California declined to fill it because they had different regulations for the prescription form. The pharmacist I contacted in Oregon told me that they would be able to fill it, so I went there as soon as I got settled in to my campsite on the outskirts of Medford.

I got a spot in a brand new campground, Southern Oregon RV Park. It was so new that the wood chips in the landscaping smelled like the forest.

I don’t think the fire pit had even been used!

Anyway, I got set up and headed over to the nearest Walgreens.

After a little more hemming and hawing and phone calls to the insurance company, I eventually got what I needed and headed back to the park.

The next day, I set out to explore Medford. I stopped in to the tourism office. The tourist advisor was more than happy to tell me about all the attractions in the area. Apparently, the only thing to do in Medford is shop at cute little shops. Shopping at cute little shops for tchotchkes is something that doesn’t appeal to me, so I decided to head over to Central Point, just a mile or so from the campground. They have a chocolate shop and a cheese shop and they give free samples.

FREE?!  (My favorite word!)

I was on my way – but not before she gave me a free Oregon mug.

She told me to look for the big silo and then the chocolate shop would be just a block or so away – Lillie Belle Farms in the purple building.

It was hard to miss it.

The samples did not disappoint, and it smelled heavenly!

I was visiting just before Easter, and they had some lovely chocolate bunnies for sale. They also had some  *ahem* more “creative wares.

There were Voodoo Bunnies.

And this absolutely monstrous bunny.

It kind of reminded me of Franciso Goya’s “Saturn Devouring His Son.”  Once again, my thanks to Sister Jeanne for the excellent Art History education.

Anyway, after seeing those creations, I was ready – nay, eager – to move on. Having accomplished chocolate, I set out to find the cheese.

Normally, I would have cropped out the rat trap in the lower left corner. However, I found an interesting irony in a rat trap near a cheese shop.

They had samples there, too. I feasted on the interesting cheeses and admired the awards they had won.

Then I moved on to admire the cheeses themselves.

The wheels looked like works of art!

One of these days, I am going to get over feeling like I can’t afford foods like these. In the meanwhile, I guess I’ll have to settle for samples.

I set out to see what else the little town of Central Point, Oregon might have to offer.

There was the Central Point Cleaners.

This sign gave me a chuckle. I didn’t find any pants dropped on the sidewalk, and the store seemed to be closed for the day.

I wish I could have found someone to tell me who Fred was and where he might be, but no one was there to answer my questions.

Oregon is known for its pears, and there was this lovely sculpture in front of the grocery store. It’s entitled “Picking Pears.”

The artist is Jim Davidson. Lucky guy! I’ll be no one misspells his last name!

He even has his own foundry!

The for a small town, there was quite a bit of art. I was taken with the mosaics.

They looked like they were a community project.

I liked the individuality displayed.

The community must really enjoy this project!

There were so many of them.

They seemed to reflect the interests of the people of the town.

I also like how they use a variety of materials.

It was really worth the time I spend strolling around the CBD. (Central Business District.)

I picked up a few things at the grocery store ad then headed back to camp. One more night and it would be time to push on.

Next stop: Portland!



All Ready for Redding

After thanking Linda and Mike, I loaded up the truck and headed back down to Sacramento.

The road construction crews were out, repairing the damage from California’s wet winter. I had to stop and wait my turn at a couple places.

I got back to the Cal Expo RV Park, let Cora back into the trailer, hitched up Flo and headed north.

By the time you are reading this, you may have forgotten about the Oroville Dam.  There was much worry about the possibility that the dam could fail in February, 2017. More than 180,000 people living downriver were evacuated. Had the dam or its spillway failed, it would have sent a 30-foot wall of water into the Feather River. Luckily, a collapse never occurred, but the mail spillway suffered significant damage and the bare slop of the emergency spillway was significantly eroded, according to my favorite source.

But, when I passed this exit, I had to shake my head and say, “Dam!”

My next destination was Redding, and the attraction was family. I was going to see cousins! But first I had to get settled in at Green Acres RV Park.

The park was in a somewhat sketchy part of town, but it was nicely maintained. You’ll see an Airstream in the photo, but it isn’t Flo. It’s always nice to share a park with another ‘Stream.

I called Gretchen when I got in, and she came over to pick me up. She took me out to dinner in a lovely Italian restaurant and we spent some time catching up.

She and her husband Donny moved the family out to California from Buffalo sometime in the 1970s, I think. I always enjoyed them. Our visits have been few and far between, but I remember them fondly.

Gretchen took me around and showed me a few of the highlights of Redding. One of them is the Sundial Bridge.

Designed by Spanish architect and engineer Santiago Calatrava, it opened on July 4, 2004. It crosses the Sacramento River and serves to link the north and south campuses of Turtle Bay Exploration Park.

The central pylon is 217 feet tall and is made of 580 tons of steel. The deck is made of 200 tons of glass and granite and is supported by more than 4,300 feet of cable.

I was dodging raindrops when we visited. I walked out a ways on the bridge, but wet glass is slippery glass. I minced out a bit and then turned around and minced back to the car where Gretchen was waiting for me.

According to the literature, the Sundial Bridge is one of the largest sundials in the world. When the sun is out and the shadow is visible, it moves about one foot per minute. That would be something to see! Unfortunately, the sun was not out.

I also got together with Nora, Gretchen’s daughter and her husband, Bill.

We had a lovely dinner at a Mexican restaurant.

Of course, we needed a picture with me in it, or it didn’t happen.

I also got to meet another member of the family, Nacho.

Another day, Nora and I went out for lunch. We went to Anthony’s Mediterranean Cuisine, and we both ordered the Manakeesh. That was something new to me. It reminded me of sort of a cross between a pizza and a quesadilla. According to the menu, it was “a mix of delectable cheeses on Mediterranean flat bread.” If you ever see it on a menu, I would recommend it.

We also took in a movie. It was the bargain day at the local theater, and we finally got to see La La Land.

We went shopping to pick up the fixings for dinner. Bill was going to grill burgers for us.

I was quite taken with this Masters display. It had the famous Hogan’s Bridge that crosses Rae’s Creek on the way to the 12th green.

They even had the azaleas!

I wonder if they were stocked up on the Pimento cheese? Pimento cheese sandwiches are a “thing” at the Masters.

I do enjoy grocery stores!

While I was at Nora and Bill’s, I spied this refrigerator magnet. With the weather, I figured this was as close as I was going to get to seeing it.

Gretchen picked me up and we had another great day! I swear, I was so spoiled!

We went out to breakfast and then she took me to do my laundry. She even put quarters in the machines for me.

I just had to snap a photo of store. This supermarket chain is based in Western New York (otherwise known as Buffalo.)

Another day, Gretchen and I went to see Tarzan the Musical.

It was a fun show and it seems to have been put on by a local theater group. Speaking of theater, the theater itself was worth a visit.

This art deco gem opened in 1935. It suffered through the usual “improvements” and redesigns that were attempts to keep it in business. It finally closed in 1997. It was purchased by Southern Oregon University and the JPR Foundation and it reopened in 2004 after it was beautifully restored.

This is the ceiling in the lobby.

I loved these details on the stairs to the balcony.

This is the ceiling in the theater.

And what about these glittering details? This is quite spectacular. They don’t build them like this anymore.

Afterwards, we headed back to Gretchen’s place for the rarest of treats – a home-cooked meal.

We even had dessert!

And I had a lovely time in Redding.




Linda, a Facebook friend, invited me to visit her and her husband at their home in South Lake Tahoe. She told me that they had room behind their house for Flo. Cora and I could stay in their house and that the snow was gone from the roads.


I didn’t stop to consider that Lake Tahoe was in the mountains. In fact, it is 6225 feet above sea level. That is especially impressive when considering that I was starting my trip from Sacramento, which is 30 feet above sea level. That is considerable gain for a 100 mile trip.

I decided to leave Flo at the Cal Expo RV Park. I figured that, with the cost of the fuel and the wear and tear on the brakes, I’d just about break even paying to leave her there.

I packed up Cora and all that we’d need for out excursion, secured Flo and headed Bart west on US 50. We arrived at Linda and Mike’s place at the same time as they did. What synchronicity!

Lake Tahoe is absolutely beautiful.

Linda tells me that the water level has come up quite a bit with all the rain that has fallen in the past year.

The first day I was there, we took a little “get acquainted” tour. It was just lovely.

Even though it was summery in Sacramento, winter was lingering in the mountains.

When you have snow like this, you have the equipment to take care of it. That is one mammoth snow blower!

And how about those tires and snow chains? After enjoying the sights, we went over to State Line for coffee. State Line straddles the California/Nevada border.

One side of the city has gambling.  One side doesn’t. Can you guess where the gambling is?

We got our coffees and sat down to watch the ski lift in action. It reminded me of the rides at Crystal Beach Park, where I used to go when I was a kid.

After dining al fresco at a restaurant by the lake, we retired to get rested up for the next day’s adventures.

We stopped to see Emerald Bay. If you look carefully, you can see a small structure on the top of the Fannette Island. It is a tea house that was built by Mrs. Lora Josephine Knight so that she could entertain friends who were visiting her and her husband at their 38 room castle, Vikingsholm. An interesting fact I found when trying to locate the names that go with the place is that the Knights were the primary backers of Charles Lindberg in his solo flight across the Atlantic in 1927. Another thing I learned was that the tea house is in poor shape due to the weather and vandalism.

At one time, there was a tomb on the island, too. It was built by Captain Dick Barter, who was the caretaker of a summer villa that was owned by Ben Holladay, Jr.  He was quite a character. When he felt the urge for some bourbon whiskey, he would row all the way to Tahoe City to one of the bars he liked to visit.

In January 1870, as he rowed back to the villa from Tahoe City, a fierce storm blew up about two miles off Sugar Pine Point. His boat was capsized and it was hours before he managed to right the boat and get inside. He managed to survive the ordeal, but lost two of his frostbitten toes.

Either as a reminder of his ordeal or as a conversation starter, he salted and preserved his toes and kept them in a box.

He started thinking of his own mortality and decided to prepare his final resting place. He excavated a tomb on the island’s summit and erected a small chapel over it. Unfortunately, he never got to take up residence there.

In October 1873, he rowed over to have some of his bourbon whiskey in Tahoe City. On his return trip, he got as far as Rubicon Point, when his boat was smashed on the rocks and his body was never found.

Anyway, if you would like to see if I left out anything of the story, click on this link.

We stopped by a beautiful sand beach and strolled about.

I was taken by the driftwood structures people had made.

The water was lovely. It changed colors depending on where you were standing and how the light reflected.

Here, the color almost reminds me of the Caribbean.

The boulders were striking, too.

I saw some snow and knew I needed to make a snowball. After all, I was wearing my Buffalo, New York tee shirt. I had to represent!

A lot of volunteer effort goes into keeping things so nice. I noticed one way that they honored their volunteers.

The top washer says, ” Volunteers and their hours.” Underneath that, you see the people who did the work and how much time they donated. Bob Mc Millan 529. John Levet 247. What a nice way to honor people!

Of course, Linda and I had to have out picture take together. If there isn’t a photo, it didn’t happen.

Linda is quite the birder. She took this picture of a merganser that we were watching. I’d love to have one of those cameras that make details stand out so sharply. My photo of the bird looked like a spot on a rock.

After having fun by the lake, we headed over to Carson City, which is the capitol of Nevada. 

I snapped some photos as we drove past, but none of them turned out well. I borrowed this from the internet. I’d like to cite my source, but that great box telling me the right way to do it didn’t pop up. So, if you want to know who should get the credit for this in focus and properly framed photo, click here.

Our next stop was Genoa. The first stop was the Mormon Station, which was the site of Nevada’s first permanent non-native settlement.

Unfortunately, it was closed.

It was built in 1851 as a trading post along the Carson Route of the California Trail. The original trading post burned down in 1910. They rebuilt it as a museum, and they say it houses original pioneer era artifacts.

I’ll have to take their word for it.

In the park in front of the Mormon Station was a statue of John A. “Snowshoe” Thompson. I was particularly interested in his story, as he was born in Norway, as were my mother’s ancestors.

Thompson was born in Telemark, Norway in 1827. The name he was given at birth was Jon Torsteinsson Rue. That must have been changed when he came to America with his mother at the age of 10. His father died when he was two, so he and his mother set off to find a better life. They settled first in LaSalle county, Illinois, but continued to move west.  Eventually, his brother and sister were able to  join them.

I find it amazing that John Thompson got to California by driving a herd of milk cows all the way from Wisconsin. It makes me wonder if they had to stop and milk the cows every day or what? In any event, walking from Wisconsin to California? With a herd of cows?! Somebody remind me of this if I ever again complain about a tough day of driving.

He did some mining and saved his money and in 1860, Thompson homesteaded a 160 acre ranch in Diamond Valley, south of Genoa.

Between 1856 and 1876, he delivered mail between Placerville, California and Genoa, Nevada. If you look at the photo of the statue, you can see that he didn’t use snowshoes like we think of them. He used ten-foot long skis and a single sturdy pole that he held in both hands at once. Despite delivering the mail for twenty years, he was never paid for his service.

If you would like to learn more about John Thompson, click here.

We headed across the park to our next stop, and we came across this rock. The way it is situated, with the walkway seeming to flow around it, makes me wonder if it is a Rock of Possible Significance. However, I don’t know what it might signify.

We came across this marker for the Pony Express.

The Pony Express has captured the American imagination, in spite of the fact that  it was only in operation for 19 months. It was put out of business by the advent of the telegraph. In reading up about the Pony Express, I learned something that never occurred to me: The Pony Express was not part of the United States Postal Service.

We headed across the street and this building with a Masonic symbol caught my eye. The building is now an antique store. Our goal was the building on the other side.

We were heading toward the Genoa Bar, Nevada’s Oldest Thirst Parlor. It has been in operation since 1853.

“Thirst Parlor” I like that notion.

The bar was filled with all sorts of old-timey bric-a-brac and such.

This Buffalo Gal had to photograph the buffalo hanging in the corner.

This Bud’s for me. You can go get your own!

On the way back over the mountains to Lake Tahoe, Mike pulled over so I could take a photo of the rain shadow. You can see how much drier it is on this side of the mountains. As the air rises over the mountains, the temperature drops and eventually the moisture falls as rain or snow. By the time the air gets to the other side of the mountain range, there is little moisture left. If you want to learn more, click here.

After a good night’s sleep it was time to load up Cora and head back to Sacramento to pick up Flo. I had a lovely time visiting Lake Tahoe.

Thanks, Linda and Mike!


My next stop was Sacramento. It was just an overnight, as my next real destination was Lake Tahoe to visit a friend. Since I wasn’t there for long, my priority was to be able to get in and get out easily. What is more easy that a parking lot with hook ups?

Yes, I was staying at a fairground – Cal Expo RV Park. The most exciting part of the stay for me was that they assigned me a site with one of my “lucky numbers.”

Whenever I’d see numbers that were in sequential order, like 12:34, I’d comment to my father that it was a good luck  number. He seemed to enjoy this little game, so now whenever I see numbers like that, I feel that my father is with me.

Anyway, I got settled in to the asphalt oasis and decided to see what I could see of Sacramento.

I consulted my HISTORY Here app and found a couple places I wanted to check out: the California State Capitol, the Pony Express Terminal, the place that received the first intercontinental telegraph and Old Sacramento.

I drove into town and found a place to park. At first, I was dazzled by the credit card option to feed the meter. Then, I felt my heart leap with joy when I noticed that today was free parking day and no payment was required.

I strolled over to the capitol. According to my HISTORY Here app, it was finished in 1874. When the architect Reuben Clark broke ground in December 1860 the budget was $100,00 for a steel and stucco building. Clark recommended stone, which lead to spiraling costs. It ended up costing $2.5 million dollars, which would be nearly $60 billion in today’s currency. Political controversy, labor difficulties and floods proved to be too much for Clark. In 1864 he was committed to an insane asylum.

Not an easy gig.

Speaking of gigs, there was a jazz group playing on the steps. People would stand and listen for a while and then drift off.

The building was quite lovely, with a lot of classical touches. It was rebuilt beginning in 1975. The effort lasted six years and cost $68 billion.

Golly! No wonder the building looks good!

I noticed that the flags were flying at half staff, so I went to see if I could find someone who could tell me why. I figured that there would be a guard near a door. I did find one, but she didn’t have any information about it. Later I Googled and checked on HalfStaff.org  and I couldn’t find a reason. I even asked on Facebook. No one knew why the flag was at half staff. I wonder if they just forgot.

I thought the palm trees were a nice touch – so California!

Another interesting fact about this capitol is that Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme attempted to assassinate President Gerald Ford in 1975 as he walked across the grounds.

I headed back to Bart (the Big Ass Red Truck). I passed an interesting memorial to public safety officers who died in the line of duty.

I appreciated the sacrifice made by the families that were left behind.

After that it was time to check out the other places I thought would be interesting.

I had no trouble finding Old Town Sacramento. The Pony Express Office was there, as was the office that received the first intercontinental telegraph. What I did have trouble finding was parking.

Given the abundance of salt water taffy stores, T shirt shops and places that sold every manner of kitschy souvenirs, I decided that I had seen all I needed to see.

I headed back to the RV park to get rested up for the next day’s trip to Lake Tahoe.


Just a few more things before I leave Lake McClure.

The area was surrounded by rolling hills that were well-suited to ranching. The grass was lush and the cattle enjoyed the shade when they were taking a break from their eating duties.

One geologic feature that repeated caught my attention were these rocks. They stuck up just above the ground.

In some places, they reminded me of rows of grave stones. It was hard to get photos of the ones that were most interesting because there were no shoulders and it was hard to find places to pull over.

La Grange was the closest town to the park. Well, there wasn’t a lot there, but they did have a church, a school, rodeo grounds and a saloon. They also had cell reception, which made stopping in for lunch all that much more appealing.

La Grange was founded in 1852 by French miners and settlers who struck gold in the nearby Tuolumne River. Not only was there a strong French presence in the town, there was also a significant Chinatown in the early years.

By Saeidb – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21530013

St. Louis Roman Catholic Church is the oldest functioning church in Stanislaus County.

This small town has a historic district. Actually, the whole town is a registered California Historical Landmark historic district. But, down at the end of the town, they have a few artifacts on display.

They even have the old county jail.

And, hey! The Clampers helped restore the jail! I have got to get to know these guys.

By Saeidb – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21530197

I had a little trouble uploading pictures, but at least I found a few that I could share. The white building to the right of the jail was the old stage stop.

And, that’s all I have to say about La Grange. On the morrow, I roll!

Next stop: Sacramento.



Horseshoe Bend and Yosemite

After the pricy stay in Carmel-by-the-Sea, I sought out a cheaper campground. I found one on Lake McClure that was run by the Merced Irrigation District.

It was a lovely campground. They had just about every sort of camping accommodation you could think of, from very undeveloped to paved sites with electricity, water and little shelters with picnic tables.

I ended up at a site that was in an older part of the campground. I still had electricity and water, but my shelter and table were quite a bit older. But, there were beautiful trees and maintenance workers were busily cleaning up the park.

They were very accommodating. In fact, the ranger even brought me a burn barrel so I could have a campfire.

I did my part by helping to take care of some of the branches they were cleaning up. Team effort!

One of my reasons for camping here – in addition to a cheaper campsite – was to visit Yosemite National Park. When the ranger brought me the burn barrel, I asked him for directions to the park. His directions took me hippety-hopping all over the back country. It was pretty, but I am sure glad I didn’t need any assistance along the way. I didn’t see anyone after I left the main road.

I got to the road leading into the park. I picked up information at the tourism office and filled up my gas tank and headed up the road toward the park.

It is interesting how these different entities exist in close proximity. They all have different uses and different purposes.

Aren’t these rocks incredible? I wish I knew what they were. I need a geologist to travel with me!

The road wound its way up the valley, following the Merced River. Some stretches were rather smooth.

Other sections had robust rapids.

At the entrance to the park, you pass a natural gateway. I continued along until I came to an amazing sight – a place to park!

Oh, okay, the parking spot was nice, but the view of El Capitan is what really caught my attention. I stopped and looked and read the plaques. One said that I might see a climber if I looked closely enough. One of these days, I am going to get binoculars!

I’m not sure, but this might be a climber. I zoomed in on the photos and I decided that this might be a climber. On the other hand…I don’t think so.

On the opposite side of the valley was Bridalveil Fall. According to my ultimate source (Wikipedia), the waterfall is 617 feet tall and flows year round from Ostrander Lake.

I had to go explore.

The water was just gushing!

I walked up to the base of the falls. They were very concerned with our safety.

Yes, it looked like there was a strong current.

There was another sign, right at the end of the path. Oh, you can’t read the sign?

I’m happy to oblige!

The mist coming off the falls was intense. I was drenched! It was hard to find a place to have a photo taken in front of the falls.

I offer to you this photo of my wet glasses as evidence of the dampness.

Also according to Wikipedia, the Ahwahneechee tribe believed that inhaling the mist of the falls would improve one’s chance of marriage. If that is true, I guess I should start planning!

I returned to Bart and had a little picnic while enjoying the sights.

I headed off to see what else I could see. There might have been many other things to enjoy on my quick trip to Yosemite, but unfortunately I couldn’t find anywhere else to park. The traffic was incredible and they were working on roads all over. There were signs warning us to follow the detours and not to rely on GPS.

After battling traffic and confusing traffic patterns I decided to proclaim a touristic victory and head home. After all, I still had to drive back to camp, and the route was going to require my complete attention.

I decided that it was not a good idea to try to retrace my route for my return trip. For one thing, I wasn’t sure how I had gotten there. I took California Highway 49 on the way back.

Oh, that was quite a trip! The road was steep and full of hairpin turns. I mean, some of the turns were so tight that they recommended driving 10 mph. I was grateful that there was this turnout for me to catch my breath.

Hey! Would you look at this! The marker was put up by E Clampus Vitus. I wrote about them in my post about going to the dentist.

Just to refresh your memories, according to Wikipedia, the members of this group are called “Clampers”.  The Ancient and Honorable Order of E Clampus Vitus (ECV) is a fraternal organization dedicated to the study and preservation of the heritage of the American West, especially the history of the Mother Lode and gold mining regions of the area. The fraternity is not sure if it is a “historical drinking society” or a “drinking historical society.”

After this road, I could have used a historical drink, myself.

As I mentioned earlier, I need to travel with a geologist. I saw these rocks across the road that had fractured off the road cut. They were quite lightweight, but then, again, the pieces were small.

As I was getting read for the descent to the lake below, this hawk swooped in front of me. In fact, he obliged me by doing it a few times so I could get a decent photo.

Just a few more miles and a bunch of hairpin turns and I was back at camp.



Somewhere Near Salinas, Lord…

So, one day while I was staying at Saddle Mountain RV Park near Carmel-by-the-Sea, decided to look for a cheap lunch. I got on Yelp! and found Grandma’s Kitchen. There were so many positive reviews that I had to give it a shot.

The food was good and it was reasonably priced. The one review that piqued my curiosity, though, was that it was identified as an “owl-themed restaurant.”

Why, yes…


Yes, it definitely was owl-themed.

I kind of felt that I was being watched.

I finished my lunch and then headed over to the cash register to pay.

Yep, there were owls over there, too!

My next goal was to find John Steinbeck’s house in Salinas.

Mission accomplished! However, there was a small problem – just a small one.

Can you see what the problem is?

I was visiting on Monday. Ah, it’s the story of my life. I guess it makes when I actually get to visit a place, these minor setbacks make the successes all that much more satisfying.

John Steinbeck was born in this house in 1902. It was a fairly new house back then, as it was built in 1897. The Steinbeck family bought the house in 1900 and John lived here until leaving for college in 1919.

The Valley Guild purchased the house in 1973. The Guild was formed by eight women who shared a common interest in gourmet cooked and wanted to showcase the Salinas Valley produce. They renovated and restored the house and opened it to the public as The Steinbeck House Restaurant on February 27, 1974 – the 72nd anniversary of John Steinbeck’s death.

I walked around the house. I liked the gift shop name: The Best Cellar. Best Cellar – get it?

It’s good to know that the cats are well taken care of.

That long flight of stairs is a bit intimidating.

I did like the Viking sprinkler alarm. I like it when I see my ancestors represented.

Eventually, all stays come to an end. I hitched up and headed out.

I minced my way down the narrow road, with Flo in tow. Down at the bottom of the hill there was a little collection of stacked rocks that I meant to get a photo of. This time, I had a few moments to take a picture. “Why?” you might ask.


After coming and going on this narrow road for four days, I finally met another vehicle coming toward. There was no way we could “share the road.”

I turned off the engine and went to discuss things with the driver. I couldn’t imagine how we were going to work this out. But, he was going to the campground to the right of the one I was at – he didn’t need to go up the road I had just come down. I backed up about 20 feet, and he pulled into a driveway. Then I pulled past him and I was on my way.

Next stop: Horseshoe Bend and Yosemite