Sunday, August 30, 2015

On the ROAD again !

After the wedding, we spent a week or so at my other daughter's home before turning the key and getting back on the road. With the words of Willie Nelson humming in my head, we headed  west to begin our 2015 adventure. Our plans were a jumble of possibilities and this would be our first year without too many reservations, something that made both of us a little nervous. Debi and I are planners and like to have some structure as far as destinations go. We feel more comfortable knowing where we are going to park the rig for the night. Since our coach is 45' long, many campgrounds have limited space for a rig our size. We also prefer full hookups and 50amp electric. It's true, we're spoiled but we know what we like and at our ages we want comfort whenever possible. Our tenting days are nothing but a fond memory at this stage of the game.

We headed west on SR20 towards US101. Our destination was the Redwoods National and State Parks near Redcrest, California. Enjoy the pictures.....Dennis

A question that's asked quite often is what is the best route for an RV to get from Interstate 5 to US 101 north of San Francisco. There are several roads that accomplish this but the best and easiest if SR 20. You can pick up SR 20 from Williams on the north and by connecting with SR 16 north near Woodland on the south.

Since we were already near the north end, we simply continued across I-5 and headed west towards Clearlake. SR 20 passes many farms and fields. Here, we spotted a crop duster plying his trade spraying the fields.

SR 20 is a nice comfortable drive on a two lane paved highway. There are some climbs and curves but they're pretty mellow. We encountered very little traffic. There are several campgrounds around Clearlake. We like Aurora CG in Upper Lake. It's owned by the nearby Indian Casino but it's on the lake not near the casino. They also have a fueling station that usually has the best fuel prices in the area.

In the background, you can see some of the small hills that you'll have to climb up and through on your way to the coast and US 101.

If you've ever worked a farm or have known a farmer, you know how hard they work. From sunup to sundown, they're constantly in motion. I have always been amazed at their work ethic, their skills and their ability to put food on our tables. 

After passing through Clearlake, continue west and you'll hit US 101.  Highway 101 north takes you first to the quaint town of Willits, in the Heart of Mendocino County. It's also the beginning of the fabulous redwood forests of California.

If their sign looks familiar, in 1995 that sign was donated to the City by Nevada's "Biggest Little City in the World" ~ Reno.

North of Willits, we entered the start of the redwood forests and home to the giant sequoias.

The further north you go the larger the trees become. If you're in this area, the Avenue of the Giants is a must see. Plan on spending at least one long day along this highway.  There are many smaller pull outs that allow you to hike into the forest and see the sequoias up close. All these hikes are short and easy. All the trails are wide and well groomed.

We booked our reservations at Ancient Redwoods RV Resort. This resort is big rig friendly and is surrounded by berry bushes. In season, you can fill buckets of black and red raspberries. There is no pool or spa but they have full hookups, clean facilities and a great store on site. The sites are level and will accept the largest rig. Many are pull thru. Excellent choice to tour this area.

This picture, the one above and the one below are of the Avenue of the Giants. As you can see, the road is not exactly big rig friendly but since our campground is right on this road, we had to take it for about a half mile or so. It is very picturesque.

Avenue of the Giants is a 31 mile hwy that parallels US 101. Surrounded by the Humboldt Redwood State Park, it is accessible from the south just north of Garberville and from the north just south of Redcrest.

A great day trip is to take Mattole Rd (Exit 663) off US101 to Honeydew, Petrolia and Ferndale then back to US101. Word to the wise though, it's beautiful, interesting but parts are very winding.  Once it reaches the ocean it runs alongside the beach and offers many picnic spots.
An interesting "log" truck at Ancient Redwoods RV Park. Yes, the "log" is a camper.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Time for the wedding !

As many of you know, our plans changed this year as my youngest daughter was getting married to her sweetheart. They spent this past year planning, re-planning and making sure everything was set to perfection. Our job was to get there a month or so ahead of the wedding to tidy up any loose ends. Anyone who has planned a wedding knows how things can change overnight. Anyway, we arrived and set up camp. The kids had done an excellent job of getting everything in order. All we had to do was get the reception hall ready and take care of some small odds and ends. It turned out to be a fantastic wedding, the weatherman cooperated and gave us warm weather under beautiful blue skies.

First of all, the setting was fantastic. Overlooking the small lake at a private country club, the ceremony would begin late afternoon.

Looking out into the audience across the temporary altar. Most everyone in their places waiting for the parents and the bride. I get to bring her in~!

First things first though. I had to have a short conversation with the pastor to ensure I had my lines down. He said I'd have no trouble remembering them, when he asked, "Who gives this woman?"

Meanwhile, out in the lobby, Debi and Josh wait for some final instructions so everything will go smoothly. Josh looked handsome in his suit and tie, although he wasn't too fond of the bow tie. Debi is always beautiful !

Time to get to it !

It was a long walk but what a beautiful bride. 

Dad's pretty proud !

Wait! Before the ceremony can begin, the Maid of Honor has to make sure the bride's train is perfect.

OK! Go!

After the ceremony, it's time for the traditional kiss above the waterfall.

One final picture before the reception. 

Presenting Mr. and Mrs. Jones