Lake Mead N.R.A.

Lake Mead N.R.A.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Dayton, Carson City,Virginia City and Lake Tahoe, Nevada

October 19-25, 2011 Susanville, California to Dayton RV Park, Dayton, Nevada.

October 19 was a travel day from Susanville, Ca. to Dayton Nevada about 120 miles. We took our time getting ready as it was expected to be a short trip. If you are a regular reader, you know that we are continuing to travel with Paul and Paula. We got on the road around 11:00 with Paul and Paula leading the way. The road was good and we expected to stay on 395 through Reno and into Carson City before getting on Hwy. 50 for Dayton. However.....

...Paul and Paula's gps took us on another route up route 341 also known as Geiger Grade a very steep and winding road that took us over Geiger Summit and into downtown Virginia City!
Geiger Grade is a 7 mile climb from Reno to a plateau about 3 miles north of Virginia City, NV. The earliest part of the climb is steep sometimes reaching 9-10%. The second third of the climb is not as steep at 5-6% grade. The last segment after a flat area is again at 9-10% grade. The climb ends at the Geiger summit (6,200 feet).

Of course, the descent from Virginia City down to Hwy 50 through an untold number of 25 mph hairpin turns was less than fun. After all that, we made it safely to our destination, Dayton RV Park and had a good laugh afterwards. 
The workamper couple that manage Dayton RV Park were very nice and got us assigned to sites 30 and 31 which are long pull throughs. We were all interested in exploring the area so, we each paid $184 for a week.. We were initially shocked at how small this park is. Sure looks different on their web page. 
What looks like grass is actually a type of astro-turf and I was surprised at how well it worked. Much better than trying to keep grass growing in the desert! The sites have full hook-ups to include very good WiFi and cable. Although the sites are narrow, the park was very clean and the residents were very cordial.
The day after arriving we drove into the Capital of Nevada, Carson City about 6 miles down the road and just explored and had lunch. Carson City has just about every major box store you can imagine.
On Saturday Joyce and Paula took a Ghost Walk tour through some of the historic homes in Carson City. (Check out Joyce's pictures on the America by RV Facebook page at the top of this blog.) Paul and I stayed at the campground and took advantage of the cheap breakfasts at the Terrible's Casino across the street.
On Sunday we took a ride in Paul's truck around Lake Tahoe. Lake Tahoe is about 40 miles from our campground and about 130 miles  round trip including driving all the way around the lake.
Boat Rental Fleet
Lake Tahoe is a large freshwater lake in the Sierra Nevada of the United States. At a surface elevation of 6,225 ft (1,897 m), it is located along the border between California and Nevada, west of Carson City. Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in North America. Its depth is 1,645 ft (501 m), making it the USA's second-deepest (the deepest is Crater Lake in Oregon, being 300 ft (91 m) deeper, at 1,945 ft (593 m). Additionally, Lake Tahoe is listed as the 26th largest lake by volume in the world at 122,160,280 acre·ft.
Joyce, Paula and Paul at Lake Tahoe
The lake was formed about 2 million years ago and is a part of the Lake Tahoe Basin with the modern lake being shaped during the ice ages. It is known for the clarity of its water and the panorama of surrounding mountains on all sides. The area surrounding the lake is also referred to as Lake Tahoe, or simply Tahoe.
Contrails in the sky over the blue waters of Lake Tahoe

Tahoe Queen
On Monday, October 24, we took the Jeep back up to Virginia City for some exploration. The roads in the city are very steep and the town is just full of history. We began our exploration with a walk to the local cemetery. We walked through the tourist shops on the old downtown boardwalks and explored some of the small museums and artifacts to include the Silver State National Peace Officers Museum.
View of Virginia City from the Cemetery
Virginia City is one of the oldest established communities in Nevada. Folklore indicates that the town got its name from a man named James Finney who was nicknamed "Old Virginy". Finney was credited with discovering the Comstock Lode. His real name was James Fennimore, and he had fled his home state of Virginia after killing a man.
Virginia City could be considered the "birthplace" of Mark Twain, as it was here in February 1863 that writer Samuel Clemens, then a reporter on the local Territorial Enterprise newspaper, first used his famous pen name.
Like many cities and towns in the state, Virginia City was a mining boomtown; it appeared virtually overnight as a result of the Comstock Lode silver strike of 1859.

Location of Virginia City, Nevada

During its peak, Virginia City had a population of over 30,000 residents and was called the richest city in America. During the 20 years following the Comstock success "about $400 million was taken out of the ground.
The current population of Virginia City is 1,000 people in the town. 4,000 live in Storey County. It has one elementary school (Hugh Gallagher Elementary School), one middle school (Virginia City Middle School) and one high school (Virginia City High School). Many locals work at the shops in town that cater to tourists, while others seek jobs in the surrounding cities.
During our stay we've seen lot's of wild horses in the hills and along the highways. This band of wild horses we discovered on the edge of town (Virginia City).
Nevada is home to most of the nation's wild horses and burros. In fiscal year 1988 the estimate was 26,160 horses and 1,318 burros. Many herds have grown significantly since then.

Okay...I just like this picture.
We really enjoyed our visit to Dayton, which is itself steeped in history as Nevada's first settlement. There is so much to see and do in this area which boasts relatively mild winters and summers. This is certainly a place that we will put on our list as a future home... when that time comes. Our week long visit just flew by and before we could get comfortable it was time to move on again.
We are all heading for Lake Mead National Recreation Area with a few overnight stops before getting there.

Joyce and I accepted volunteer jobs at Lake Mead National Recreation Area for the winter months. I'll explain more about it in a future post.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Susanville RV Park in Susanville, California

October 17-18, 2011 Collier Memorial State Park, Oregon and Susanville, California.

We awoke to subfreezing temperatures. We were fine, but Paul and Paula's hose spigot had frozen overnight. We quickly got ready and hitched up for our trip into California and Susanville RV Park. A trip of about 200 miles.
As we hitched up I noted that my TST tire pressure monitor was sounding the alarm as one of my tires was reading 99 psi in the 30 degree temps. The others were 100 or 101. The norm is readings of  107 to 110 cold on our TST.  Paul has the same system and tires on his rig. He reported the same pressures. We carefully pulled out of our sites avoiding the trees in the tight turns inside the state park. We got rolling down the highway taking it easy until everything warmed up to operating temperatures and our trailer tires pressurized to 110 psi and above.

The trip south on Highway 97 took us along Klamath Lake through the city of Klamath Falls, Oregon and past views of snow covered Mt. Shasta in the distance.
On highway 139 we experienced a twisty bumpy up and down highway that often kept our speeds around 40-45 mphs. After several hours we began descending towards Eagle Lake and into the town of Susanville California. In fact, the downhill run into Susanville on Hwy. 139 was very steep and I did part of the downhill run in second gear with the exhaust brake to keep the speed down on the twisty road. 
We pulled into Susanville RV Park in town and met with the friendly workamper who got us registered for $34 a night with our GoodSam discount. We were directed to sites 25 and 26. There wasn't room at the site for our Jeep so we were allowed to park it outside the office. 
The sites were pull throughs in the middle of the park each providing full hook-ups including WiFi, Cable and 50 amp electric.
We were exhausted from a long day in the saddle and before long we all decided that we would spend two nights and just relax in the warm sun of the next two days. Something we had missed while in Oregon!

So the next day, the girls did laundry and some grocery shopping and Paul and I rode around Susanville on our bicycles enjoying lunch at a local Mexican restaurant. 
We enjoyed our relaxing two days and made plans for our next destination: Dayton, Nevada outside Reno and near Carson City, Nevada.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Crater Lake National Park and Collier Memorial State Park

October 15-16, Collier Memorial State Park Chiloquin, Oregon.
We got a late start on our travel day to Collier Memorial State Park from Casey's Riverside RV Park. However, we only had just over 100 miles to travel. 
Once on the road we continued to enjoy the fall forest colors and the good relatively smooth roads. We did however unexpectedly climb over a small 5K foot pass.
Willamette Pass (5,128 ft/1,563 m) is a mountain pass crossing the crest of the Cascade Range in the U.S. state of Oregon. The pass is traversed by Oregon Route 58. The Willamette Pass Resort ski area is located at the pass.

Our destination today was Collier Memorial State Park in Chiloquin, Oregon. This area of Oregon is relatively undeveloped and we later discovered groceries and fuel were hard to find. However, it would serve as a good base camp for a trip to Crater Lake N.P.
Upon arrival at the state park, we picked our own site and self-registered. The sites are first come first serve and in this off-season only $17 for full hook-ups including 50 amps. However, with our "extra vehicle" we had to pay an additional $5. Again, I don't think it's right to be charged more if it fits on our site. But, it is what it is. We took site B4 and Paul and Paula took B6.

We chose these two sites because we had a clear shot over the river in the back of us to the South sky for our satellite dish. There is no digital over the air television reception. All the sites are paved and back-ins with the exception of the curved pull-throughs like the one below.

We arrived on a Saturday so the park was busier than we expected for this late in the season. We were perhaps the longest rigs in the park and I had some difficulty maneuvering into my spot due to the proximity of the trees. The weather was fabulous and for a while I was tempted to put on shorts but, that quickly faded along with the sun. Paul and I explored on bikes the trail along the river behind our rigs and the logging camp museum on the park property. 

The next morning, we woke to cool temps and got a late morning start for our trip to Crater Lake National Park about 40 miles away. As we drove to the park we gained altitude and the weather became cloudy, then rainy and sleeting. We used our "Volunteer Pass" and didn't have to pay the $10 entrance fee. We made a quick visit to the visitor center before continuing our drive up the steep switchbacks to the crater rim @ 7000 ft. We posed for pictures at the first turnout between rain drops. The temperature was in the upper 40's!

Joyce and I

Paula and Paul
We came across the Lodge on the Crater rim and decided to get out of the weather and enjoyed some hot chocolate next to the huge fireplace inside. The lodge actually closed for the season the next day. The weather cleared a bit as we continued our exploration. We drove 33 miles around the rim as the roads were all open. This is not always the case this time of year. In fact there was evidence of recent snow fall.

Wizard Island

Storm Clouds over Crater Lake

The Sun peaking through.

More storm clouds on the lake.
The sun finally appeared for a short while and we were able to see the famous deep blue waters of Crater Lake below.

Okay some facts about the park from Wikipedia:
Crater Lake National Park is a United States National Park located in southern Oregon, whose primary feature is Crater Lake. This National Park was established on May 22, 1902, and it is the sixth oldest National Park in the U.S. This park encompasses the Crater Lake caldera, which rests in the remains of a destroyed volcano (eventually named Mount Mazama) and the surrounding forestland and hills. This is the only National Park in Oregon.
The lake is 1,949 feet (594 m) deep at its deepest point, which makes it the deepest lake in the United States, the second deepest in North America and the ninth deepest in the world. However, when comparing its average depth of 1,148 feet (350 m) to the average depth of other deep lakes, Crater Lake becomes the deepest in the Western Hemisphere and the third deepest in the world. The impressive average depth of this volcanic lake is due to the nearly symmetrical 4,000-foot (1,200 m) deep caldera formed 7,700 years ago during the violent climactic eruptions and subsequent collapse of Mt. Mazama and the relatively moist climate that is typical of the crest of the Cascade Mountains.
The caldera rim ranges in elevation from 7,000 to 8,000 feet (2,100 to 2,400 m). The United States Geological Survey benchmarked elevation of the lake surface itself is 6,178 feet (1,883 m). This National Park encompasses 183,225 acres (286.29 sq mi; 741.49 km2). Crater Lake has no streams flowing into or out of it. All water that enters the lake is eventually lost from evaporation or subsurface seepage. The lake's water commonly has a striking blue hue, and the lake is re-filled entirely from direct precipitation in the form of snow and rain.
We enjoyed our visit to Crater Lake National Park even though the weather wasn't ideal, it did change from time to time and location around the park. We were surprised that we didn't see any wildlife as we drove around the lake. We brought our gear to do a hike in the park but the weather didn't cooperate. There weren't many visitors probably due to the late season and weather. We all felt that our one day visit was sufficient. Back home the weather was perfect and we enjoyed a relaxing evening.
The following morning on the 17th we awoke to morning temps of 29 degrees overnight. Paul and Paula's water hook-up froze overnight but we were fortunate. We got packed up and hitched up by 9:30 and hit the road after carefully pulling out of our sites. Our next destination was 200 miles away in Susanville, California.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Westfir, Oregon and Casey's Riverside RV Park

October 13-14, Casey's Riverside RV Park Westfir, Oregon.

As you know we are still traveling with Paul and Paula and have been for most of the summer. Collectively, we decided that we had enough of the gloomy coastal weather. We enjoyed our visits along the beautiful Oregon coast despite the rainy weather.  We decided however, to head inland towards Crater Lake National Park. But first, we would stop in Westfir, Oregon about 145 miles away.

We took the time to stop along the coast at the overlook of another light house.
Over the side of the lookout point we heard a ruckus down below at the surf. Looking over we saw these seals.

After enjoying our break, we continued down the coast before heading east towards Eugene. The further we got from the coast the weather in general improved. Driving through Eugene was a bit challenging on the narrow busy multilane streets. However after leaving Eugene the forests revealed their fall foliage and it was a beautiful drive.
We didn't have great expectations so we were pleasantly surprised when we arrived at Casey's Riverside RV Park. It's a beautiful park on the Willamette River surrounded by the Willamette Forest. The sound from the rushing waters of the river was just beautiful. We were assigned pull through sites 48 and 49 facing the river.
We paid $74 dollars including tax for two nights with full hook-ups to include cable and WiFi. It was a bit more than we like to play at $37 a night with the GoodSam discount! However, the sites were beautiful as was the park.
Truly a beautiful park about 6 miles from the small town of Oakridge that has the necessary fuel and shopping amenities. After getting set up Paul and I drove into Oakridge to buy diesel fuel paying $4.05 a gallon. We also stopped at the Forest Ranger Office near the park to get information on hikes in the area.
The next day, we took the Jeep into Westfir, a very small town with minimal services. However, we were only passing through on our way to a hike driving through the covered "Office Bridge" built in 1945.
It was a beautiful day for a hike and it felt to good to be out enjoying nature as we did a hike along the North Fork of the Willamette River.
The Willamette Forest is very dense and moss grows everywhere and clings to the trees.
We got back to the Jeep after hiking 5 miles. Perhaps a bit too far considering we hadn't been hiking over the last few weeks. I know my feet were sore as my Plantar Fasciitis flared up. But you kinda felt good! Later we explored some more of the town and did some grocery shopping in Oakridge.
The morning of the 15th we got hitched up and set out for a state park near Crater Lake National Park.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Exploring the Oregon Coast

October 11, 2011 McKinley's Marina and RV Park Waldport, Oregon.
The weather has been miserable the last couple of days. Dealing with the wind, rain and fog makes us all yearn to head south and chase the sun. 
We have made a new friend here in the park, Danine. She recently moved to Oregon and this park to begin a career with the local power company. Unfortunately she had to leave her home and husband in Arizona while they wait to sell their house and he searches for work in Oregon, unfortunate hostages to the current state of the economy and housing market. 
Joyce and Danine
A couple days ago, Denine made an excellent Lasagna dish for all of us! She's a Full Time RV'er having now lived in her rig since January. However, unlike us, she doesn't have the freedom to move much. We've really enjoyed her company.
This morning the sun came out so we decided to take advantage and head to the shore to explore and take pictures. First the four of us (Paul and Paula, Joyce and I) stopped for lunch and by the time we got on the road, the clouds were beginning to roll back in.
Joyce and Paula
Seal Point
Seal Point
Fighting the wind at Rocky Creek
We continued north up the coast to the "World's Smallest Harbor" Depoe Bay. 
Depoe Bay is a city in Lincoln CountyOregonUnited States, located on U.S. Route 101 next to the Pacific Ocean. The population was 1,174 at the 2000 census, with an unofficial estimated population of 1,355 in 2007. The bay of the same name is a six-acre (24,000 m²) harbor that the city promotes as the world's smallest.
The waves were crashing against the seawall along highway 101.

Below is the actual harbor with the entrance under the Highway 101 bridge. There's a small Coast Guard contingent in the harbor. Today the harbor was closed due to rough seas (above), with no boats coming in or out through the narrow passage to the harbor.
Heading South back towards Newport, we stopped at Cape Foulweather and checked out the views.
Cape Foulweather was discoverd and named in 1778 by the famous British navigator Captain James Cook. It was at this Point that Captain Cook first sighted the mainland of North America on the Pacific Coast, and one of the sudden storms which greeted his arrival almost put an end to his historical expedition. The fierceness of the storm is reflected by the name he gave this rugged landmark - Cape Foulweather.

By the time we got home we had been thoroughly soaked at least a couple of times having been caught in sudden rain storms. Oregon and Washington have some amazingly beautiful coast lines, but I could never get used to the weather.