How An Entire Downtown Ended Up A National Landmark in Oregon.

We drove through Jacksonville which is about 15 miles west of Southern Oregon RV Park in Central Point, Oregon. The downtown looks really old and I wondered if the buildings were original. We think we might come back here another day. We then drove Hwy 238 about half hour north to Grants Pass. The drive went through a few small towns. Saw a few small grape fields, and some cattle. The trees aren’t thick here but you get that “away from it all” feeling in some places. We headed over to Rogue Creamery farm stand and dairy. We knew we were almost 3 hours before the last tour so we wanted to see if it was worth hanging around for. The store was very small. The lady behind the counter said people can’t walk around and look at the cows because the farmers are working. Understand that. We quickly came to the conclusion that it wasn’t worth waiting for the tour. I grew up next to a large dairy farm and Kevin was around them growing up, too. We ate our picnic lunch and headed back on the old highway that we came on. Kevin said “I got a different view going the other way” on the same road, different direction. HAHA

As we got near Jacksonville, Autio (footnote 1) told us some very interesting things about Jacksonville: *the town was started around the gold rush 1851 *the town built up pretty big and was the largest in the area *when the railroad was being built, the town refuse to give the railroad a free easement *the railroad said fine and built the tracks away from here and over where Medford is now *the town started dying out *since it was slowly dying no one rebuilt or replaced the downtown *now the entire downtown is a national landmark because it is all original! Isn’t that something?! We had no idea! We will come over here after work this week.

Dinner On The Board, Central Point, OR 04/23

When we got home (footnote 2), it was too windy for a fire so we will try another night. I used my new Charcuterie board with Rogue Creamery cheese. Yum!

Packets Cooking On The Coals. Central Point, OR 04/23

The next day was better weather. Around 4:00pm Kevin started the fire. Got some hot coals ready and then we cooked packets. The recipe is Packet Taco Burger & Potato. Kevin cooked it all perfectly. We know it is done when I smell it!

Good Idea For Plates! Central Point, OR 04/23

I wondered about putting the large packets on plates when done. It would be big and hang over and I didn’t it want to burn my nice picnic tablecloth. So what did I come up with? Cookie sheets! I have the 1/2 size cookie sheet that fit in my oven. They worked perfectly for the packets as plates. The packets were so very tasty! And, it was fun to eat outside.

Country Quilt, Jacksonville, OR 04/23

We wanted to get back to Jacksonville and explore it. A few days later we drove to Jacksonville to Country Quilt. I wanted to pick up a few things and I found this store on Google. Debbie, the owner, has a great store with over 800 quilts! Some made back in the 1800s! She showed several of them to us. Two had red turkey. Beautiful work. The fabrics are very nice quality. She said she had only been in this building for about 9 weeks because she had a fire. Oh no! Mostly smoke damage and she had a “fire sale”. The fabric bolts have been replaced.  She seemed to be doing well with good attitude about it. She and Kevin visited while I looked around. I bought some fabric, paid with cash, and got $5.00 back. Then I saw a huge quilt depicting the area of this town. It is going to be raffled off in Sept – $5.00 a ticket. “Hey Kevin,” I said ever so sweetly, “may I have that $5.00 bill back?” HAHA Yep, got one ticket. As we left, Kevin asked his usually question: where is your favorite place to eat. She immediately said Back Porch BBQ & Grill. We laughed because I had told Kevin the other day that the next time we eat out, I wanted BBQ.

We walked around the downtown. We wanted to see what Autio had told us about this town. Fun to see the architecture: first floors had curves above the windows, second floors had straight lines. After walking around we drove the short distance to the bbq place.

Jacksonville, OR 04/34

The few spots to park were full so we crossed the street to a church. We were shocked to see these signs posted all over: “This is private property and remains open as a service to our community. Please use with respect. Do no leave trash, debris, or drug paraphernalia behind otherwise public accesss (sic) will be eliminated. Thank you! Relevant Church.” I thought that was really kind of the church.

If In Jacksonville, You Must Stop Here! Jacksonville, OR 04/23

Back Porch BBQ & Grill looks like maybe it used to be a house. Different rooms for seating and decorated with old cowboy themes. By the front door is hung cowboy boots from floor to ceiling. Kevin had ribs, Cole slaw and fries. I had brisket, potato salad and chili. We both rate it: Every Day! Outstanding. The sauce, which was on a plate with the homemade bread, was sweet and then later had a tiny bite to it of spice. After dinner we went home to sit outside to read and enjoy the rest of the evening.


  1. Autio is an iPhone app that tells all sorts of history and stories about places all over the country. It is narrated and with my iPhone on accessibility, it shows captions of the words being said. So thankful!
  2. “Home” is where we park it. Home is our 2022 Alliance Avenue 5th wheel.

Beauty We Didn’t Know We Would See!

This day was forecasted to be sunny and 60s. Yesterday I had checked, again, Crater Lake National Park website. Still closed. Some of the park is always closed in the winter but even Rim Road was closed now due to so much snow. Sad. We had not been to Crater Lake before. I suggested we drive as far as we can up there. Kevin promised me that as soon as we saw snow on the road, he would turn us around. Deal. We took Crater Lake Highway, Hwy 62. The highest point on the road was around 6000 ft elevation; Central Point, where our campground is at, is about 1200 ft.

Cinders Along The Road, Used For Traction On Snow, OR 04/23

Near Lost Creek Lake we saw cinders on the road in the middle and on the edges. We also saw a state truck sweeper. I later texted dad to see if his state roads uses sweepers. He said yes, and they don’t use cinders often because the businesses didn’t like the cinders tracked into their stores. HA As we climbed higher in elevation, the snow on the sides of the road got deeper and deeper. Soon it was taller than the truck! You could see where the snow blower had blown snow up and over the edges of the road – it looked like large snowballs on the trees. HAHA We kept going as obviously the road was open and no snow was on the road. Kept going and saw the entrance to Crater Lake National Park! We went to the guard shack and she said the visitor center and Rim Road are closed but the gift shop and cafe are open. Plus, we could climb a snow bank and see the lake. I was so excited.

As we continued down the road we saw a stop sign that had snow higher than it. We went to the parking lot where the road was closed past that. The lot was probably about 1/2 full. The building was buried completely in snow. We walked the path and went inside. We followed the signs to the 3rd floor for the view area. Nope, couldn’t see out – too much snow. A ranger on break told Kevin that we can walk up the snowbank and our shoes would be fine. We walked outside, crossed the road and went up the snowbank. As we came to the top of probably 75 ft snowbank, oh goodness, we saw Crater Lake.

What Looks To Be A Road Is Actually The Shoreline! Crater Lake NP, OR 04/23

The ground is covered in snow, the water a pure blue, the reflection made it hard to tell where the shoreline is. Kevin and I just marveled at the stunning, breathtaking, magnificent, picturesque…these words don’t do it justice. I didn’t take pictures at first because I just wanted to absorb what I was seeing. Then I took pictures. Put the phone away. Pulled it out again and took more.

Flip It Over, Which Side Is Up? HA, Crater Lake NP, OR 04/23

Repeat, repeat, repeat.  There were just enough clouds that added to the reflections and even some airplane contrails. We didn’t want to leave. Temp was 50° but the sun was warm and we had on our jackets. With no wind, the water was a mirror and we were’t cold.

This Stunning Beauty Made Us Stand In Awe! Crater Lake NP, OR 04/23

We stayed there for quite a while. Finally we pulled ourselves away and started down the snowbank. My Sketcher shoes were sliding. I told myself if I fall, don’t put my hands out, just slide on my bottom. I said out loud that we should just slide on our bottoms and other laughed and said they thought the same thing. Kevin held my hand and soon…down I went on to my bottom. I started laughing at how funny it was that I told myself how to land if I fell. Yep, did it just the way I told myself. 🙂 Kevin kept ahold of my hand and I am glad he didn’t fall. I wasn’t hurt at all and just a tiny bit sore later. We went to the gift shop and bought an ornament and Kevin got his passport stamped and a smashed souvenir penny. When we got to the parking lot and it was clear full. Neat that many people went, like us, even though it was closed. Continuing on the drive we were quickly off the mountain and in a large, flat area north of Upper Klamath Lake. The drive up to Crater Lake was very mountainous with huge tall pine trees along the road. Sometimes you couldn’t see anything for the trees except the road in front of you and the blue sky way in the distance. Now this area was hilly with wide open lands. Looks like a lot of pasture lands. Along the road we soon came to a patch where to the left of us was the steepest slope and to the right was railroad tracks and then the lake. There were signs warning of falling rocks and they weren’t kidding! There was a very tall fence along both sides of the road – posts with wires about every 6 inches. And we saw huge rocks up against the fences. Kevin said he has seen the falling rocks signs before but never had seen a real reason for them like right here. We drive around the city of Klamath Falls and then the 1-1/2 hour west back home.

Southern Oregon RV Park, Central Point, OR 04/23

Got home to the campground and Kevin built a fire. This was our first real-wood fire since RVing full-time! It was so fun to watch the fire. We burned up most of the bundle and will have to buy more from the office tomorrow.

A Mirror Image, Crater Lake NP, OR 04/23

One more.  😃 I can’t help but share.

Sharing A Week In Our Traveling Full-Time Life! :)

Washer and dryer – two of my favorite things in our 2022 Alliance Avenue 5th Wheel.

Cold, down in the 30s overnight mid-April at Southern Oregon RV Park in Central Point. We didn’t feel cold inside HOWE (our 5th wheel, “Home On WhEels”). One morning we walked to the campground laundry. One of my favorite things in our Home On Wheels is my Splendide washer and dryer. They work great! This day I wanted to wash our large comforter in the large campground machines. We saw we needed quarters so went to the office and bought some. The lady there was new and being trained. The guy said that since Covid, the banks didn’t want to touch the quarters and so every business has to roll their own.  Back to the laundry to start the wash. The machine stopped counting my quarters so I was thankful the man and lady had just walked in to continue her training. He had to work quite a bit but finally got the quarters unstuck.

One morning I texted my uncle a happy birthday. Then I told Kevin it was his birthday. As soon as I said that, I realized the birthday app I had hadn’t refreshed and it was still showing there was a birthday from yesterday that I thought was for today. HA! I texted my uncle saying oops, his birthday is tomorrow but might as well celebrate both days. HAHA He liked that! 

My mom wants to pick up again on learning American Sign Language. I lost all my hearing 3 years ago and am 100% deaf. So once a week we have a FaceTime American Sign Language class. She is doing well! She works out the signs to tell me about her week. At one point I said the word “paper” for her to sign. All of a sudden I see across the room from me this dramatic flaying of hands and Kevin is at his desk and slaps the palms together. It was so loud that mom heard it through the mic on my laptop. But wrong, he signed “school” not “paper” and mom and I couldn’t stop laughing at him. 🤪

Mid-day we got a knock at the door. Kevin heard it and answered. Of course, he was on two phone calls for work. HA The guy told Kevin his truck wasn’t working and so he had a work van but no hitch and the campground was making him move from one side to over here. Could he borrow our hitch? Yes, Kevin got it for him. Then Kevin told me to keep a watch out and pointed out the window. (He was still trying to listen in on one of his phone call meetings and I didn’t quite get the story but knew I would later.) So I keep an eye out. A short while later the guy brought the hitch back. Later this evening when walking around the campground for fun Kevin pointed the guy’s trailer out to me. Oh goodness…I had thought he said to watch the guy right next to us. 🤪 Guy that borrowed the hitch was several sites down and could have totally driven away with it because I wasn’t watching that guy. OH we laughed at that. 

Ti’lomikh Falls, Gold Hill, OR 04/23

Right next to this campground is The Expo, Jackson County Fairgrounds. It looks like over the weekend they had an old equipment auction. Kevin enjoyed watching some of the equipment be started up today. Some of the tractors and truck spewed blue smoke and he got a kick out of that as it reminded him of growing up on a farm in Missouri. When Kevin was done with work we drove 1 mile to the post office. Then we continued driving around. We went west of Central Point, up along the hills. The houses are older but look well kept and yards are clean. We followed the road north to Gold Hill and then turned south. I saw a brown sign for Ti’lomikh Falls. I quickly looked it up and it was only a mile away so we turned around. It is up a canyon along Rogue River. We parked and walked a short distance. The falls aren’t big waterfalls but are a series of whitewater cascades. They are very impressive and we sure wouldn’t want to canoe down them! The weather at that time was cloudy and 50° so we were glad to have our winter jackets in the truck. Back in the truck we headed home to HOWE “unless you want to stop somewhere and eat” he said. Yes, I wanted KFC. Now, near where we used to live there were two KFCs and they were definitely hit or miss. Mostly miss. Chicken was usually raw or hard as a rock. We hadn’t been to one in years. I was so hungry for it lately and we decided to try one here. Jack pot! It was fresh, cooked, delicious and I told Kevin it was bad we found this great place when we just got here…two more weeks of being so close. HAHA (We didn’t go eat there again, though.) Here is a link to Central Point, OR history: Central Point

Working away and the power went out. Kevin saw there was no power to the site pedestal so he went to the office. He notice the exit signs were lite up and knew the power was off there, too. Lady said the area was out of power and power company estimated the time for it to be fixed around 2:00. It turned on about 1:15. So so so thankful for batteries – they stayed fully charged the entire day, for solar panels, and that Kevin was fully able to work and I was able to continue my stuff. So thankful also for Starlink, satellite internet, that didn’t dip at all. Kevin brought up the point that if we were at a sticks and bricks house, he wouldn’t have been able to work because the power would be out at the internet connection. So cool! At quittin’ time Kevin took a nap and I sat by him and read. Later he said he had a big question: Sonic or Taco Bell. HAHA Love those questions! I said, “does that sound better to you than turkey in a skillet and canned veggies?” HAHA Yep. Taco Bell it was. We had a movie night.

I put a pork roast in the crockpot with Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce for dinner one day. After work we drove a few miles to Rogue Creamery in downtown Central Point. It turned out to be a very small place, about the size of HOWE inside. Definitely not the size of Tillamook Creamry! They had cheese, crackers, and knickknacks for sale. Behind there is a window to watch something done with cheese but they were just finishing cleaning up. At the counter we tried a few samples. This place won the world cheese competition for blue cheese. We had to try some of that.

Off to the side is a kitchen where you can buy 2 kinds of grilled cheese sandwiches: Oregon Blue Cheese and Stout Cheddar. We decided to get one of each to share. Gooey deliciousness!

Central Point, OR 04/23

I made a “few” other purchases. HAHA A beautiful round, Oregon Red Alder cheese/cutting board, Smokey Blue Cheese, Jefferson Cheddar Cheese, and a bottle of Blue Heaven Blue Cheese Powder. I learned about a farm stand at the dairy farm in Grants Pass online when I was researching the creamery. The worker told us that tours at the farm are 10:00 and 2:00. We think we will go there this weekend. We were so full from the sandwiches that the BBQ pork done in the crockpot was served the next night. 🙂

Rice Farm, Where Is The Top & Weed

This travel day was a short drive and we headed to a Harvest Host. (Harvest Host is an RV Camping Membership where you can stay overnight at 4395+ farms, wineries, attractions, and more. Let us know if you want a discounted referral.) When I first looked it up, Chico Rice sounded so interesting – a father and son grow the rice, harvest, package, etc all there on the farm. Oh, I wanted a tour!

Pasture, Clouds, Mountains & Snow, Willows, CA 04/23

Driving there the landscape changed a bit, still flat with Coastal Range mountains on one side and Sierra Nevadas on the other. But now not so much orchards and fields as what looks like pastures.

We got to the farm and found our spot between the grain bins and the farm equipment on gravel. As we got set up a motorhome pulled in behind us. Later, a 5th wheel behind them. We walked to the kiosk and saw choices of things to buy: hats, shirts, rice, big rice bags, olive oils, etc.

My Purchases, Willows, CA 04/23

I purchased some bags of rice. A beautiful spot but we were both a bit disappointed in that we didn’t learn a thing about the farm or growing rice. It would have been nice even if they had a poster in the kiosk with explanations and such.

Lovely Fields Of Yellow With Orchards Behind, Willows, CA 04/23

The next day was about 4 hours of travel day. We took our time waking up and got on the road around 9:00am. The drive, all on I-5, was spectacular. Just before Redding we stopped at the TA for diesel. I was inside waiting for Kevin so I looked for a coffee mug with a handle on it like he wants. Found one. Met him at the drink machine and then said, come look, and showed him. He started laughing because when I was in the bathroom, he had also looked at the mugs, found them, and had planned to show me. HAHA He got one. Then we were off again.

Shasta Lake, CA 04/23

Quickly the landscape changed and we were in the mountains – we went from around 500 ft to 3500 ft elevation on the route. Lake Shasta was breathtaking. The bridge over the lake with steep mountains with green trees and then snow on some tops all so pretty.

Can’t See The Top Of Mt Shasta, CA 04/23

Mt Shasta, around 14,000 ft, looked like its top was cut off. It was covered with white clouds. (Saw it a week later from a distance and it looks cone-shaped at the top, it is an old volcano.)

What Do You First Notice In This Photo? Volcano Or The Sign? HA, CA 04/23

We learned about “Weed, CA” from Autio (the great iPhone app) – it was the last name of the guy who started there. HA, being CA, we thought it would be funny if it was named for pot.

Kevin Having A Good Chuckle Over The Name Of That Town, CA 04/23

On the other side of Mt Shasta the landscape is dry with cedar trees scattered here and there. So interesting all the climates we went through in just a few hours.

Southern Oregon RV Park, Central Point, OR 04/23

We got to Central Point, OR at 1:45pm and checked in. This campground – wow. It is part of Jackson County and is right next to  “The Expo” fairgrounds. The fairgrounds had a lot of old equipment set up. Looks like they must have had an auction the day we got there. Kevin especially liked watching the equipment being hauled away; he knew of some of them from his grandpa and dad’s farming days. A very good weekend.  We got a few rain drops as we got into Oregon. Cooler with highs in the 50s° at Central Point, OR.

🤣 Did you see the fishing bobber in the branch in the top picture? Isn’t that funny. Lake Minden RV Resort, near Sacramento, CA saw quite a few people fishing…and losing their bobbers, apparently. 😃

Finishing Up Around Sacramento, CA

Who Is Hungry? Come And Get It! Nicolaus, CA 04/23

For dinner one evening, Kevin cooked green chili smashburgers (recipe below) on the Blackstone Griddle. Oh, it was so good! I texted pictures of him cooking to my sister and brother. My brother wondered what the green stuff was. At first I thought he was asking about the green chilies but no, he was asking about the green grass! HAHA My sister said she was more salivating over the green grass than the burgers. I laughed out loud!

Ready For Lab Work And Then Exploring! Sacramento, CA 04/23

Kevin had a work holiday on Good Friday. This was a good day to schedule some lab work that I needed done. (If you read our blog in the fall of 2021, you will remember that even though I am all deaf, I have terrible ear nerve pain and I am on pain medicine for it. This lab work was just to make sure kidneys and such are still doing great; they are.) We headed to my lab appointment at LabCorp in Sacramento. My appointment was at 9:00am. It was a far cry better than our experiences with doctors and their labs when we were in the Flagstaff, Arizona area! (Blog posts about that during summer 2022.) You check in on the app but from your vehicle and wait there. I checked in at 8:40am and about 2 seconds later had a text back that the technician was ready for me. We went in and the place was clean, the staff friendly, the draw fast, and we were out of there before the appointment time. Awesome! Very impressed.

California Gold Rush Started Here, Coloma, CA 04/23

Grabbed some breakfast and up the mountain we went. Marshall Gold Discovery State Historical Park is in Coloma, CA. This is where James Marshall was working at Sutter’s Mill, looked down, and saw gold. That was the start of the California Gold Rush. We were surrounded by bus loads of school children on a field trip. Thankfully the place is big and it didn’t feel too crowded. I learned placer deposits are loose gold that is often found in sand and gravel along riverbeds. Lode is a vein of gold that has formed in cracks in the earth. California’s Mother Lode ran through the foothills and mountains of the Sierra Nevada range and stretched 0.93-3.73 miles wide by 120 miles long. From 1848-1967 over 106 million ounces of gold was mined here. Men were willing to pay a lot of money for a meal cooked by a woman. Lucy Ann Wakefield Stoddard baked apple pies for $2 a piece. In two years she had made $12,000 which is around $375,000 today! Smart lady! James Marshall, the man who discovered gold…never made a profit from this discovery. He was unsuccessful in making a claim in Coloma so he moved away. He returned to Coloma in 1857 and started a vineyard. He tried to start a gold mine in Kelsey, CA but nearly went bankrupt. In 1872 the California State Legislature gave him a pension. He died in 1885. Apparently Sutter didn’t make money from the gold, either. 

We drove to James Marshall statue, along California 153 – “California shortest state hwy”! It is 0.5 miles! The statue is of Marshall pointing to the spot he found the gold. It was made and dedicated after he died. 

We took a road to Placerville that was very curvy; it reminded us of Tennessee. Lots of trees along the way. Autio, the fantastic iPhone app, told us that Thomas Kinkade, the great painter, grew up in Placerville. Quite a few of his paintings show life in this town. One house, he said, stood out to him for years and screamed to be painted. He called it “Victorian Christmas”. That would be neat to see, I said. We wandered around the old downtown and then I looked up the picture of Thomas Kinkade and where the house was. (I didn’t add it here due to copyright but you should look it up. My 2nd photo is the angle he drew.) It turns out it was 0.6 miles from us on the other side of the old downtown so we walked there. We found the house and took some pictures from across the street. That was a unique find. 

Where to go the next day? We had done everything we wanted in Sacramento and surrounding area. We were at a loss. So, we just drove north out of Nicolaus, CA on highway 70. We saw a lot of orchards with “orange” trees. HAHA Remember, the last sign we saw telling us what the trees were was orange, south of Sacramento. Haven’t seen a new sign to tell us anything different…so they are still orange trees! 🙂 As we got to Oroville (Oro is gold in Spanish, Ville is town) we both saw a sign. I started to tell Kevin not to get excited because that sign and font looked similar to Maverik. (Maverik is Kevin’s most favorite convenient store in the entire world!!) And then? It WAS Maverick. Oh Kevin was giddy with excitement! We drove around main street and old downtown. We saw a park full of the easter bunny, food, bouncy houses, games, and people. Kevin heard the live band so we parked along the levee and he listened for a little while. I am deaf and was too far away to feel a beat but I enjoyed the scenery.

See The Vehicle On Top Of Oroville Dam? Oroville, CA 04/23

When we came into town I could see a lake above it. We looked it up and drove to Lake Oroville State Recreation Area and the dam. It is an earth dam and at 770 ft, taller than Hoover Dam. We were both surprised that we could walk and drove over it as some dams are off limits.

Walked around the parking area and saw the lake on one side and the steep drop off and valley below on the other. Kevin didn’t want to stop at the visitor center.

Driving Across The Dam’s Spillway, Oroville, CA 04/23

We drove on to the guard shack. The guard said we could drive past the spillway but don’t stop. Otherwise sirens will go off. That was really cool to drive slowly past and see how big everything was. At the boat ramps we turned around and went back.

Oroville Dam Spillway, Compare The Roads For Size! Oroville, CA 04/23

The guard had also suggested for us to go to the stop sign, turn right and then we could see the dam and spillway from below. We did and wow! The water came shooting out. It would go over some concrete things and than loudly crash down to the bottom. Kevin could hear and feel the vibrations. We could just stay there and watch forever.

Kevin’s “Heaven” – Maverik, Oroville, CA 04/23

From there we went to heaven, I mean, Maverik. I wanted to get Kevin a coffee mug that would fit in the truck’s cup holder and our couch cup holder. But they were out of them. That was disappointing. But, we got our drinks and treats and he was a happy boy. We went west and grabbed highway 99 and went all the way south to the campground. It was a nice drive.

RECIPE: (not like the one in last week’s post!HAHAHA)
Green Chili Smashburgers
1 lb ground beef
2 oz can green chilis, drained
1/2 cup chopped cilantro (this can be omitted if you don’t like cilantro)
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/8 tsp cumin
salt and pepper
In a large bowl, mix all ingredients together. Divide into 4 patties and shape. Cook or grill as your normally would. The “smash” part comes from using a spatula to smash the meat flat as soon as you put it on the grill. Hold for a few seconds to get a nice crisp texture and then just let it cook normal.
We first made this recipe with just ground beef, onions, and some seasoning and yum! We tried the green chilis, cilantro, and cumin and we haven’t gone back to the regular way. 🙂 Enjoy!!!

Apple Park, Computer Museum, A Boat & Food Prices! Oh, & A RECIPE!

Before we got evacuated on March 10, we had reservations for March 26-April 16 at Morgan Hill, CA. Well, that one was also still closed due to flooding so we had to make other plans for those three weeks. Morgan Hill is close to San Jose and we thought we would have time to explore San Jose and San Francisco. Before we moved to the replacement campground near Sacramento, CA, we decided to drive to San Jose for a day and do some highlights.

Now, you might say I am an “Apple fan-girl”. I like everything Apple. Kevin is pretty close behind. We drove to Apple Headquarters in Cupertino, CA. Thankfully, I knew ahead of time from researching that visitors can’t go inside. Otherwise I would have been greatly disappointed! But there is a visitor center. We were able to find parking easily. The building feels clean, bright, happy, and sunny. Tons of windows brighten up the entire rooms. We started at one end where we saw a long display of the Apple offices that is a huge circle. A worker brought over an iPad for us to use. You hold it up to this display and the iPad shows you inside the grounds and buildings. It was a fun and neat way to see inside. Although I would have liked to be able to go in or at least walk the grounds. Kevin reminded me of all the secrets there and that made sense to me.

Cute Display Of Apple AirPods On A Wall, Cupertino, CA 03/23

On the other side of the building was a coffee shop.

Apple Symbol In Coffee, Cupertino, CA 03/23

We hadn’t had breakfast and I thought it would be fun to have something from there. Kevin’s coffee had the Apple logo in foam. So neat! I had white hot chocolate that tasted dreamy and creamy. It was only $5.00. We took it up to the roof top and there we had a good view of the Apple circle and lots of trees. HAHA I wanted to buy something like a mug or water bottle or something but they don’t have anything like that. They had about 5 shirts to pick from and a canvas bag. We didn’t buy those. It was a thrill for me to be there were such literal earth-changing, universe-changing, things happened.

Next we drove a few miles over to Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA. I had read reviews and Trip Advisor recommended 1-2 hours. One person wrote that he was there 5 hours. Another person said he needed 2 days. HAHA We got there at 11:30am. It starts way back in time with the abacus, moved to slide rules and finishes with current computers, robots and Artificial Intelligence.  One sign said, “Pixar initially produced medical imaging hardware, creating short films only for demonstration. But hardware sales faltered, and Pixar saw that profits lay in making movies.” Wow! Pixar made Toy Story, Cars, and many other movies. Around 1:00pm a worker came around and said there was going to be a demonstration. We went to it. They had punch cards and everything from typing to printing. It was the first time we had seen a demo like this. At the end we were able to type in our name and then watch our card go through punch card readers and then the printer. All on the IBM 1401. They gave us the punch card and the big print-out.

Kevin Pointing To Same Type Computer He First Had, Mountain View, CA 03/23

We went back to where we were in the museum and continued on…for 5 hours! 🤪 Not kidding! By this time we were half starved, having only had our drink treat at Apple. We found Wagon Wheel BBQ from Apple maps and it was close by. It was the best smoked brisket ever…or perhaps it was awful and we were just starving. HAHA Nah, we would go there again. Happy with full bellies, we drove over to Cisco Systems. The campus is massive – we saw 20 buildings just along the road. It was a very nice day.

Lake Minden RV Resort, Nicolaus, CA 03/23

Travel Day: we got packed up and left Casa de Fruta, Hollister, CA around 8:00am. A beautiful clear day. It was cold, though, and the ground had some frost on it. Headed east through the canyon and then north on I-5. The roads were pretty rough and some places had deep holes – Kevin said they were 8-10 inches deep. Terrible! I am always so worried about breaking a wheel, axle, or something inside HOWE (our name for our Home On WhEels, 5th wheel). It was about a 3 hour drive to Lake Minden RV Resort, north of Sacramento, CA. Saw a huge container ship at Stockton and what a surprise! I always wonder what is planted in the fields along the roads. My soapbox is the farmers need to post a sign what is planted…it should be a law…we want to know! 🙂 Somewhere south of Stockton we saw a rectangle board with two posts that said “oranges” and were we thrilled! Then, those trees look different, but they must be “oranges” because there isn’t a new sign. Right? Every tree we see – short, tall skinny, fat, all colors of trees are now “oranges” until we see a sign that tells us differently!!!! HAHAHAHA We pulled into Lake Minden RV Resort at 11:00am. They don’t use the guard shack you just go to outside of the welcome center and get your welcome packet off the wall. It works well. As we started watching our Sunday night tradition YouTube, Kevin asked if I wanted pizza. Yes! I had been thinking the same thing. Looked up pizza, ordered it and drove up to Linda, CA. On the way back we went through the tiny, I mean… 5 building town of Nicolaus. (Population 124).I was gazing at a two story house that looked really old and I started wondering if it used to be a hotel. I was so deep in thought that I wasn’t paying attention to Garmin GPS RV 1090 (we had turned the sound off because it doesn’t always say the right directions that it displays) and we drove right past our turn. That made Kevin laugh hard because that hasn’t happened before. I am always have an eye on the map. 😉 Next, yep, right past the entrance of the campground less than a mile away. That one wasn’t my fault, though, Garmin GPS RV 1090 was taking us to the back entrance. It was so funny to go around the bend and…”that was our turn” again.

The Spirit Of Sacramento, Sacramento, CA 03/23

Another day: Lots of rain this morning here and snow in the Sierra Nevada mountains that we can see. After work I suggested we drive to a post office. A little drive would be nice and I had several cards I wrote this morning. We saw the Nicolaus post office is 0.7 miles away. It is in a small building that has a for sale sign outside. Wonder where the PO will go. We decided to drive on a little bit. Soon we were driving the road on the Sacramento River levee. It was neat to see! Large river on one side and farms of orchards (“oranges” – see above words about this) and pastures on the other. The road was narrow and the banks steep. Soon we saw houses that had stilts! The water was under a lot of them. It was crazy. We thought that was only in New Orleans area. At first there were pretty worn down houses but a ways farther they were huge and fancy. We past an old paddle boat that was on the side of the river. It has signs all around saying keep out. I had to get out and take pictures. We wonder the story about it. It looks like a show boat. Got home to HOWE and looked it up. You should too. Google: The Spirit of Sacramento. Built in 1942. Even JOHN WAYNE used it for a movie!

You Thought Prices Are High Now? Gold Rush Prices! Sacramento, CA 03/23

On a Saturday we drove 30 minutes south to Old Sacramento State Historic Park. I was glad to have read about this place the other day because it gave great directions on where to park; option of two parking garages. This day was glorious sun and warmed up to 70°. Yes! Old Sacramento has several large blocks of old buildings (or redone old buildings) with lots of shops and restaurants. In fact, I only saw 1 or 2 empty stores. We think that is neat when the old buildings have new life in them. We walked the few blocks to Old Sacramento History Museum. What a delight! The thing I enjoyed the most was a huge wall called “Acorns to Avocados” and talks about Gold Rush Grub to present day. I spent a long time reading it. The Gold Rush prices? 1851 prices with equivalent price in 2019: butter $660.00 lb, cheese $625.00 lb, coffee beans $8.26 lb, eggs $97.94 each, oranges $8.25 each, rice $269.11 lb. Can you believe that????! 

Oh This Recipe…Makes Me Laugh…And Gag! Sacramento, CA 03/23

The WORST is this: “Recipe for raccoon from 1853 Life on the Plains and Among the Diggings: First catch your coon and kill him, skin him, and take out the entrails; cut off his head, which you throw away; then if you have water to spare, wash the carcass clean. Parboil an hour, then roast it before the fire on a stick.” Oh my gosh!!! If you have water to spare? I can’t stop laughing and being totally grossed out. HAHA. A sign from The Blue Ribbon Cook Book “Sauces accompanying various meats should increase its palatableness.” HA After reading all this, we were hungry…but not for raccoon! 🤪 We asked the gals at the front desk where to go and they both recommended LaTerraza Mexican Restaurant. We walked there, took the elevator to the second floor and got seated since we were the first ones there at 11:10am. The guacamole we ordered tasted homemade as well as the not-spicy salsa.  We rated this place: Once A Week. Then we went back to the museum. The lady had told us our receipt was good for the whole day. We learned that Sacramento added levees to keep the water in the river. But in 1863, there was so much water that it was trapped on the other side of the levees and stayed in Old Sacramento for more than 3 months! The water was 230 miles long and 20-60 miles wide. That is a lot of flooding! The city started raising the buildings between 1861 and 1873.

Bridge Open To Let Boat Pass, Sacramento, CA 03/23

We walked to Sacramento River and we saw the bridge turn so that a boat could get through. That was so cool to watch. Then we walked along the streets of Old Sacramento. It was quite busy; the line for ice cream was too long for us to get any. Next we went to Sketchers Outlet and got Kevin some new shoes. McDonalds drive through for drinks and ice cream and then we headed home to HOWE. Very nice day.

A Buoy, Garlic, Lighthouse, And Part Of The Donner Party.

After walking around Monterey, California (see last week’s post) we drove a few miles to Point Pinos Lighthouse.  It was built and lit in 1855.

Point Pinos Lighthouse, Pacific Grove, CA 03/23

The light is on top of the house not a separate tower. The tour closed in about 15 minutes when we got there. The volunteers outside said we could pay to look inside or just walk around the grounds. We decided to just walk around the grounds.

Fascinating Information! Pacific Grove, CA 03/23

We saw a large red buoy on the grounds. The sign said it weighs 4 tons but it floats. It is similar to one you can see in the ocean at the entrance of Monterey Bay. It is anchored to a chain to a concrete slab that weights over 3 tons and is 200 ft deep to the bottom of the ocean. The buoy pictured above is 17 ft high and 22 ft around its widest point. About 7 ft of a buoy would show above the water. Who knew all this great information! That is one of the things we love about our travels.

Looking Across Monterey Bay, Pacific Grove, CA 03/23

We drove around the point on Ocean View Blvd, stopping often for me to jump out and take some photos. 🙂 The beaches are very rocky and make beautiful scenes as the water splashes on them. Part of the drive back to HOWE (our name for our Home On WhEels) was out and around and through Salinas. Salinas is “salad bowl” as most things grown there can go in a salad. I thought that was a fun nickname. We hope to come back here and learn all we can. We still want to know what is growing all along the way. It was a great day. (We weren’t able to go back there due to rains and floods. Another time.)

Steak Bites Made With Local Products, Hollister, CA 03/23

Another rainy morning in Central California, I know – shocking! It changed our plans just a little so we didn’t do a history walking self-guided tour of Gilroy, CA. That was fine, plenty of other things to do.  We headed the 25 minutes north to Gilroy at 9:30am. We got to Garlic World when they opened. It was a tiny bit disappointing in the fact that from their website, we thought there would be a lot more history and information but there was zero. Glad we had read about it online before we went. This area, years ago, was all orchards with a small patch of garlic. Garlic did so well they tore out the orchards and planted garlic. Gilroy is self-proclaimed garlic capital of the world. This store was just a store, no history or museum. I bought Big Paw’s Garlic Olive Oil, made in Hollister, CA. Also a jar of minced garlic grown at Christopher Ranch in Gilroy. It is fun to buy things that are so very local. 🙂

The next stop didn’t open until noon so we drove around the city. Kevin said we had an important stop to make…Starbucks. HAHA He is still using the gift card he got from his work for Christmas. Our next stop turned out to be fantastically full of information: California Welcome Center. It is located at the outlet mall. The ladies were so friendly and offered great answers to our questions. Besides little souvenirs to buy they had racks and racks of free maps, guides, things to see/do, etc. They even gave us a garlic shaped sticky pad. HAHA They had a darling Christmas ornament – a few cloves of garlic. Kevin asked if I wanted it but since we didn’t see or do anything really having to do with growing garlic I said pass. The best pamphlet we got was one about the fruits and veggies grown in a large area around here. She said they (welcome center) work directly with the Farm Bureau and the paper is as accurate as can be. Finally! A way to see what is planted and harvest times. When I asked when the Garlic Festival is this year she had a sad face and said not sure. She continued that now there are three small, local get-togethers for it. I was confused. Gilroy town website says it grows over 50% of America’s garlic and 90% of the country’s garlic is processed here. I asked if Covid had shut it down and she said yes “and other things”. I was mystified but we didn’t ask more, as she seemed to not want to say more about it. (As I am typing this up, I googled for the percentage info to get it right. I saw an article about Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting! 2019 a gunman killed 3 and injured 17 on the last day of the festival. THAT is why they haven’t had one since. So sad!!!!) We did our usual, which was to ask her where her favorite restaurant is. She marked some places down for us on a paper but when we got in the truck, we decided we weren’t hungry yet. So we headed southwest for about 15 minutes, to San Juan Bautista. 

Plaza Hotel, Established 1856, San Juan Bautista, CA 03/23

As we drove to the San Juan Bautista State Historic Park we saw a lot of cars around it. The Catholic Mission church is right across the road, and it is Sunday. We parked about 5 blocks down. The ranger was extremely nice and enjoyable to chat with. He lives in Hollister and knew all about our evacuation. The museum gave us so much more information than we expected.

Part Of The Donner Party, The Breen Family, San Juan Bautista, CA 03/23

We were surprised to find that Donner Party Patrick & Margaret Breen Family with their 7 children, who all survived the 4 months in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, had settled in this exact place! This exact building in San Juan Bautista! The Breen family was from Ireland, Canada, and then Iowa. In February 1848, almost a year after they were rescued from the Sierra Nevadas, the Breens arrived in San Juan Bautista. They were welcomed by the priest. When they were introduced to Prefect Jose Antonio Castro, he gave them the use of his two-story abode, refusing to take any rent. He suggested they work the neglected pear orchard to make their living. Later the Breens opened their doors to travelers heading to the gold fields. The adobe became knows as “The United States Inn.” Even General Sherman stayed here. One of the sons, John, went to the gold country in 1848. One day in the spring of 1849 he returned with gold dust worth more than $250,000 today. He bought the Castro adobe for his parents and land near the mission. He married Leah Margaret Smith and they had 10 children. He became a well-known rancher. Patrick Breen wrote in his diary of the time they were stranded, “Hungry times in camp, plenty hides but the folks will not eat them. We eat them with a tolerable good appetite. Feb 26, 1847.” This family didn’t partake in cannibalism.

“Double-Decker…What?” HAHA San Juan Bautista, CA 03/23

We toured through the Plaza Hotel that was established in 1856. Guys on horses would ride them right into the saloon reach down and get their drinks and even gamble, all from on the horse. Out the back was the most unique outhouse! It has doors to two pits. Above it, with a bridge from the 2nd story of the hotel, is a pit on top of the bottom two. The top runs between the bottom two. What a great idea and fancy! The people didn’t have to walk through the hotel and down the stairs to go to the bathroom.

The Pear Orchard The Breens Took Care Of, San Juan Bautista, CA 03/23

The pear orchard now has several different kinds of things growing. One is a prickly pear – it was taller than Kevin! It was neat to walk through the adobe and just ponder on if the walls could talk, what stories they would tell!

Horse Feeding System, San Juan Bautista, CA 03/23

Next we went across the street to the blacksmith shop. They had a lot of carriages in there from different years from plain to fancy. Kevin noticed in the middle of the barn there are horse stalls and they have two openings per stall in the wall. This is where hay was dropped from above. How ingenues!

“Free Take One” Doesn’t Mean The Rack! HAHA San Juan Bautista, CA 03/23

Kevin made me laugh out loud! He “wondered” if that sign meant he could take the rack where maps and brochures are suppose to be. (Just kidding!) We walked back to the truck just in time before it started raining again. That was close. HA It was a really enjoyable day.

Pinnacles N.P. & Monterey, CA

A few days after being evacuated due to flooding in California: It was forecasted to rain later so Kevin suggested we drive to Pinnacles National Park this morning. It was a gloriously beautiful morning- sun shining and everything looks spring-fresh. Pinnacles is about 40 miles south of where we are at in Hollister, CA. We knew we wouldn’t do the hikes to the Pinnacles because of severe rainstorms coming.

Pinnacles National Park, Paicines, CA 03/23

We stopped at the store and he got his National Park passport stamped. The ranger told us the original volcanos that started these pinnacles were 100 miles away and moving due to being on the fault. Pacific plate is going under the Sierra Nevada plate. I find that so fascinating.

Look At All The Holes! Woodpecker, Paicines, CA 03/23

We were told Bear Gulch is the best place to drive since we aren’t hiking. We went there and walked around. Kevin spotted an acorn woodpecker and was mesmerized watching it. I loved watching him watch the bird.

I Love The Happiness On Kevin’s Face, Paicines, CA 03/23

We soon headed back home. It rained a little throughout the afternoon but the clouds were sure dark just north of us.

This Old Barn Just Needed To Have A Picture Taken! Tres Pinos, CA 03/23

We walked to Casa de Fruta restaurant for dinner from our campsite. It took less than 5 minutes. We laughed about if it started raining when we were walking home: he said I would ask him to walk all the way and get the truck and come back and pick me up, but I said I would call Lyft/Uber. HAHAHA

Low Clouds On A Beautiful Morning. Hollister, CA 03/23

Today was sunny and warm and we went to explore Monterey, CA. So excited for this place. I have heard about it, we drove past years ago, but never stopped. The fog hugged the mountains in the valley of Hollister. The green grass and yellow wildflowers really popped. We saw workers in the fields. Driving along the coast we see it is a lot of sand dunes there and some are pretty tall. I had read last night the website for Old Fisherman’s Wharf and it is good thing, as they gave detailed instructions and GPS points where to park. That helped since there is construction in some of the parking lots. We got there really early with only a few cars in the lot.

Old Fisherman’s Wharf, Monterey, CA 03/23

We walked along the harbor path and a short distance away to Old Fisherman’s Wharf. Beautiful clear skies, blue water, colorful boats, and bright colored buildings over the water. The water is extremely clear and we can see the bottom quite a ways out.

The Custom House, Monterey, CA 03/23

We stopped at The Custom House. This is the oldest government building in California. From 1822-1846 Monterey was the capital city for Mexico. On July 7, 1846 the US military raised the US flag there. A sign is at the door: “Earthquake Warning – this is an unreinforced masonry building. Unreinforced masonry building may be unsafe in the event of an earthquake.” The wharf was built of stone in 1846 and was later used for commercial fishing in the early 1900s.

Old Fisherman’s Wharf, Monterey, CA 03/23

We looked across the harbor and saw another pier with a long wooden building. There were vans, crates, and all sorts of happening there. It is the Monterey Fish Company, Monterey Abalone Company and Robbie’s Ocean Fresh Seafood. Kevin said it was so very loud with all the seals talking. I am deaf so it was quiet to me! HAHA The seals would gather there as something was thrown into the water for them to eat. They were enjoying whatever it was.

A Colorful “Train” Monterey, CA 03/23

It was fun to walk past the shops on the wharf. One point we saw a train coming right at us. Well, it was a train of garbage dumpsters all hooked together. Bright colors of lime green, and blue and black. It was funny but a smart way to move them.

Harbor View Doesn’t Get Much Better Than This! Monterey, CA 03/23

For lunch we ate at Rockfish Harbor Grill. We were the first ones there and they gave us the best spot, they said, right at the end corner with great views. I had fish tacos and Kevin had shrimp Alfredo. We both said it was fine but not worth the price. Rated: Once A Year. However, the views were worth the cost. This weekend is Whalefest Monterey. Lots of booths set up, performers of music, synopsis, all made for a people drawing event.

Cannery Row, Monterey, CA 03/23

We decided to walk the 1/2 mile to Cannery Row. Kevin likes when old buildings are repurposed. This place has a lot of history. It was incredibly busy with people everywhere.

Is That Part Of The Statue? Monterey, CA 03/23

At one point we saw a statue of several people. At the top was a seagull on the man’s head. It was holding still and looked to be part of the statue! HAHA By this time the sky was getting cloudy but it wasn’t cold at all. Fun to look at the old building bustling with people going through all sorts of shops. Down by the water it was fun to see people playing in the sand. 

So thankful the weather was pretty fine for exploring this weekend.

Pre-Evacuation & Evacuation Update

Note: This travel journal entry is from the week before we were evacuated. You can read that crazy story from last Friday’s blog post. Update below. Pre-Evaucation we were in the San Diego, CA area.

Path Leading To Garden At Mission San Diego De Alcala, San Diego, CA 02/23

We went to Mission San Diego De Alcala. This building was completed in 1813. It was the relocation site of Alta California’s 1st Mission. The night before we came we watched a very informative video of the history on the Mission’s website. It was good to have that information before we went and saw. We knew there were several masses going on today and we definitely didn’t want to be a distraction. We started at the gift shop. She was so friendly, gave us a map and a time between the services that would work for us to see inside the church. We walked out and I saw a sign saying $8.00 per adult. We went back into the gift shop to pay but she said we didn’t have to pay today. Very kind. 

Mission San Diego De Alcala, San Diego, CA 02/23

The white walls of the church were brilliant white against the blue sky. Beautiful!  We saw the 5 bells and read they are rung together once a year for a celebration. Later Kevin heard one bell ring at the start of the next service/mass.

Church Bells Reflecting In Old Brick Pathway, San Diego, CA 02/23

It had rained right before we got there and there were puddles everywhere. I got photos of bricks, worn down in the middle – the shape of sandals – with reflections of the bells. The grounds were beautiful, of course, with several very peaceful gardens. When the church had cleared out, mostly, we walked into the side door (following the guidance of the map). We stepped inside but we saw people praying so we left. We wanted to be respectful and didn’t want to to intrude. As we were finished up walking around it started to slowly drop rain.

Taking Wool From Sheered To Sewing, San Diego, CA 02/23

We then decided to go to Old Town San Diego. I didn’t expect much from this place. We both thought it would be old-looking buildings selling tourist stuff. Were we wrong! This place was great. We got parked in the free parking lot close by and then walk to the grounds.

Old Town San Diego Shop With Potbelly Stove In The Middle, San Diego, CA 02/23

The buildings were just like back when. All workers are dressed in period costumes. Some buildings had burned and been restored. Each building had some history in it.

“Secrets Within The Walls” San Diego, CA 02/23

Have you ever heard about a document being found in a wall more than 100 years old?! The story in the picture above was a great discovery! Incredible!

My Favorite Candy! San Diego, CA 02/23

By this time it was around 3:00 pm and we were pretty much done. One more stop… Cousins’ Candy Shop where they have world famous handmade saltwater taffy. We were able to watch the workers wrap the fresh made taffy in wrappers. I “needed” some. Soon Kevin started looking at mine and I said, “NO way! Get your own.” “Ok” he said, laughing, and got his own bag.

Road Closed Past The Campground, Jamul, CA 03/23

On one day the road in front of the campground had signs “Road Closed” and barriers across because the creek was completely flooding over the road. Then to my shock? I big box truck just drove right on through and all the other vehicles, probably 8. No one pulled over nor turned around. They didn’t even slow down. Kevin said he would drive through it; I said I wouldn’t because I follow rules. HAHA Silence…crickets… 

As we were ready to leave on travel day I went to take the trash to the dumpster and I didn’t know where the dumpster was. I asked Kevin and him being the most amazing man grinned and said, “I  am so glad you don’t know where the dumpsters are!” That is because he is so loving and always takes out the trash. The morning was sunny. Kevin did amazing driving through all of Los Angeles! The traffic wasn’t bad at all this Sunday morning. Not too crowded and only slowed down a bit where I-5 and I-10 go down to two lanes (bad design!) and then just north of Burbank. 

Giant Waterslide? Kevin Wishes It Was! Sylmar, CA 03/23

At one place we saw water rushing down an open canal. It turns out it is the Los Angeles Aqueduct. It looks like a giant waterslide and Kevin wants to ride. 

Freeway Lanes On Opposite Sides, Castaic, CA 03/23

We came upon a very unique thing: at Castaic, I-5 north was on the left side and I-5 south was on the right side. It just seemed odd. Kevin came up with a good reason – and he was right – it is too much of a grade, because it is steep, for one side so they built it on the other. The south bound lanes, on the right side, were definitely way up higher than the north bound. Anyway, interesting. You can read about it here:

Orchards, Bakersfield, CA 03/23

After getting set up a campground for the night we drove 12 minutes to Coalinga,CA. We passed the state prison and state hospital. I told Kevin that I remembered seeing signs “don’t pick up hitchhikers” and would know that meant there was a prison around. Apparently I said the word wrong and Kevin did the biggest belly laugh I have seen in years! I said, “high-checkers”. He kept having me repeat it and then he would go into his fit of laughter. It was awesome! And no, there wasn’t a sign to not pick up hitchhikers. HAHA We ate at New China Restaurant. The food was very good and we must have been hungry, only had snacks during the day, because we consumed all the food! Kevin’s fortune cookie gave us laugh: Happiness is found in those things that make you happy. HAHAHA Well, duh. On the way home, Kevin asked me, “What are you not suppose to pick up near a prison?” Just to hear me say “high-checkers”. Silly guy. I laughed too!

Hum, Duh? HAHA Coalinga, CA 03/23

Update: Casa de Fruta, Hollister, CA ended up having cancellations so we were able to stay here through the time we were suppose to be at San Benito Campground. That campground is still closed from the flooding. The campground where we have reservations for next (on 03/26/23)? Yeah- it is still closed from the flooding as well! That place hasn’t told us they are closed. They even sent the email to do a pre check in and I did. It is only by us being vigilant that we even knew it was closed. So yesterday (3/23/23) was a busy day of finding new places to stay. It has worked out and I can’t wait to share that with you in the next post. We are so thankful for each other, for our home (home-on-wheels) that is with us and has no damage, and for those unexpected changes that can open up new places to see and things to do. 🙂

Evacuated From Flooding In California

The Only Way Out Of San Benito RV Campground, Paicines, CA 03/23

EVACUATION!!!! Friday March 10, 2023

It started out as a normal Friday. We had no idea of the “not-normal” that was coming! Here at San Benito RV Campground, Paicines, California, it had been raining a lot that week. I sat down at the table and starting putting together our travel blog for the weekly post that day. Kevin was doing his remote job. It was raining hard. I suddenly saw someone in a yellow vest run over – quickly – and knock on our door. Kevin answered, since I am deaf, and we were told that the campground was being evacuated…”you can leave your trailer here if you want but you must go!” Boy does that get ya moving! We talked for about 10 seconds if we should go to a hotel or not. We didn’t know how long the evacuation would be. Kevin said, “This is our home” so we started throwing things to pack up our 2022 Alliance Avenue 5th Wheel. Kevin emptied the black and gray tanks and put some water in the fresh tank because we didn’t know where we would end up and for how long. I had breakfast dishes and pan but just put them in the sink. We got packed up pretty fast. 

Banks Overflowing With Water At The Campground, Paicines, CA 03/23

At first, Kevin said, he thought it was probably the campground being overly cautious but then…we drove over the one-lane bridge at the campground entrance and then he knew why everyone had to leave. The creek we thought, even laughed at the idea a few days ago, would never fill up had indeed, filled up, was over the banks and just a few inches from overflowing the bridge. This is the only way in/out of the campground. Yikes!!! As we left we stopped a worker on a golf cart and asked how we would know when the campground opens. He said they will email us.

A Few Evacuees From San Benito RV Campground, Paicines, CA 03/23

Heading down the road past another river crossing the water was out of the banks and flooding all around including the road. We were a parade of trucks and RVs moving out. We estimate there were probably about 100 RVs in the campground.

Our Truck/5th Wheel With Other RV Evacuees At Target Parking Lot, Hollister, CA 03/23

So…where do you go, with a 36 ft 5th wheel, when evacuated? Pretty quick we decided to go to a Target parking lot we had seen in Hollister, which is about 30 minutes away. There we could get a plan together. As we pulled in there were about 15 other RVs from our campground. Kevin went over and talked with one guy who said he was staying here in the Target parking lot tonight. I was pretty sure we could stay in this parking lot for the night, too, but that would be a last resort for us.

We walked through the pouring rain across the parking lot to the Panda Express for an early lunch. We needed to eat and think. 🙂 I remember reading that Thousand Trails (a campground membership) had helped someone find a different place when they had to leave a campground a few weeks ago. So Kevin called member services; it was an hour wait but they called back. The lady was helpful and had to look a lot of places up because so many were full of evacuees or evacuated. She finally came up with Thousand Trails Russian River. I quickly looked it up on the map and it is about 4 hours away, even farther north than San Francisco. She said it was open and we had her change our reservation to that for tomorrow through the end of March. Very helpful. I continued to use my laptop to look up some campgrounds in this area for several reasons: 1- north of us is getting even worse rain and flooding 2- we really want to explore this area we are in 3- then to come all the way back down to our next reserved campground in Morgan Hill, CA the end of March is just a lot of back and forth. I found two campgrounds in Gilroy, CA, 30 minutes north of Hollister, CA. I don’t know if they had openings but the roads to them were closed due to flooding. Every direction out of Hollister practically had closed roads due to flooding. I even looked around San Jose. Kevin called one resort in the San Jose area and it is $95.00 a night and only a few sites left because of all the evacuees. That was more than we wanted to spend if we could find something cheaper. He called Bolado Park in Tres Pinos that we passed on the road. Left a message since they are on lunch break. (Never called us back.) I checked a few others out online through RV Life, Good Sam, Compendium, and even Harvest Host. Kevin then called Casa de Fruta campground. The lady said they were closed for this day because workers couldn’t get to work due to the flooding but to be at the campground after 8:00am tomorrow morning and we should be able to get a campsite. 

Man From Food Bank Offering Food & Place To Stay To Flood Evacuees, Hollister, CA 03/23

We saw a Food Bank truck pull up and park in-between two RVs just down from us. Soon a man came over and he obviously knew we had all been evacuated. He said there was a place we could go, even had hook ups, and gave us the address. I am deaf but Kevin told me the man said 3 or 4 times, if we need food we were welcome to go to the food bank. Kevin told him thanks, we didn’t need food, but a place of the night would be great.

Set Up With The American Red Cross, Hollister, CA 03/23

We headed to where he told us which was just about 8 minutes away. It turns out this is San Benito County Farm Labor Association located at the Migrant Housing Center with rows and rows of housing. We saw signs for “evacuees” and followed them. We stopped at the big building and it turns out the American Red Cross had set up here for flooding evacuees. So cool! We have never had that before, actually, never been evacuated before. They told Kevin they had 4 RV spots and 2 were taken and one person was coming so we could have the other spot. We wondered about all the others who the food bank man had offered to come. Another person in an RV came up but he said he would go to the Elk’s Lodge. It turns out this place is government owned and ran by the county. The Red Cross was here for the flooding evacuees. A county worker told us to pull around and then follow him. It was some tight turns but we made it fine. Followed up zig-zagging through the rows of houses and to the back where there were some stationary travel trailers that look like overflow housing. We weren’t given a site, just pull off here, on the road, no hook ups, but that was fine. Our 5th wheel is self-contained. We were way high above the flooding and could stay there just fine. We are so thankful! Of course Kevin had to stop his remote work this morning. He told his boss we were being evacuated and he said be safe and see you on Monday (online). So nice. Once we got settled at the Red Cross Evacuation Site, Kevin put up Starlink and he did some work for a few hours. With all that is happening, we decided we wanted to go out for dinner, especially since tomorrow is a travel day…somewhere. HA 

Flooding In Fields, Hollister, CA 03/23

We drove out and oh, the gate doesn’t open. Well, it is the entry gate; the exit gate is way over there. Drove back around and the exit gate would open but, we don’t have a code to get in. This could be bad. Kevin parked right there and walked through an open gate in the fence to go the main building. There was a van that pulled away from the main building and the lady stopped to talk to him. He said we needed a code and she told him there isn’t a code, it is a badge. She ended up giving her county work badge to him and said to drop it off at the main building tonight. So nice! Kevin had picked Running Rooster Restaurant. There was a 50 minute wait but we figured by the time we found somewhere else and waited it would be the same or so. The hostess used American Sign Language with me and we had a nice little chat! She learned ASL 5 years ago. Her name is Nikki. It was a fun surprise. It is a cute restaurant with all sorts of American food. Kevin had a burger that he said is better than Red Robin and I had BBQ chicken, bacon, onion pizza. Delicious. Brought home most of the pizza for Kevin’s breakfast tomorrow. 🙂 We were pretty exhausted from the day and were in bed around 8:30pm. We stayed up and read for awhile. I read that another campground 30 minutes north of here was evacuated at 3:00 AM and they had to leave their trailers there, leave immediately. Wow! 

To wrap up this day: we are safe, we are together, and we have our home with us. We were calm and able to think things through. So much to be thankful for.

Flooding Everywhere You Look. Hollister, CA 03/23

Some answers the next day.

We slept really well; Kevin said he slept much better at the American Red Cross Evacuation Center than he would have in a parking lot at Target. We pulled out around 7:20am. The road out is a maze and the exit road is blocked due to flooding so we had to zigzag around. Kevin did great, I got out and spotted a few times but thankfully the road worked fine for us to navigate through. We headed to Casa de Fruta and saw a lot of flooding along the way. I would look at fields and say, “I don’t think there is suppose to be a lake right there.” 😦 For roads that had been closed yesterday the signs were just set to the side because they know another storm is coming. We got to Casa de Fruta and wow, what a neat place. I said later that if we have to be stranded somewhere, this is the place! It has a lot of history, the grounds are huge and gorgeous, there is a fruit stand, deli & wine building, treats, restaurant, gas station w/ diesel, a campground, and a train to ride. We pulled in behind another trailer and Kevin went to the office. Yay, we got a site. I felt extreme relief wash over me. We have a site until March 16. The lady in the office told Kevin that they usually only let people stay here up to a week at a time but since we are evacuees, they will let us stay for another week IF there is a cancellation. They have 2 clubs coming in for this weekend and they are booked solid. Thankful we have a place for at least the next few days. This campground, like the rest of the place, is great – all asphalt, long nice wood picnic tables, and all have electricity, sewer and water. We see there is a river behind here and said, oh, it won’t flood up here…and our eyes got BIG as we looked at each other and said, “That is what we said about San Benito RV Campground!” 🤪HAHAHAHA Seriously, we are much higher than the river and a good distance. 🙂 Kevin called San Benito RV Campground ranger number and a lady answered. Turns out she is staying at a hotel as an evacuee. Kevin told her about a package that was delivered to the campground for his work and that is in their office. She said the hotel doesn’t give out paper and pens anymore so please text her the information about the package. He said he would give her a FedEx label to have it mailed somewhere else. She was very nice and willing to help. (Note: this package wasn’t worth life and limb but if the campground was opening today he just didn’t want it to get shipped back in all the shuffle.) She said San Benito RV Campground is closed until at least March 21st. Good to know. I cancelled our reservation for Russian River campground that started today. It is a long ways and since we have Casa de Fruta, and Kevin has a box he needs, plus we would like to explore this area, and our next campground is back here at Morgan Hill, we decided to stay in this area longer. It was a good comfort that we had a site if needed and Thousand Trails member services helped a lot yesterday. Kevin tried to call Russian River several times but no answer so we didn’t even know if they are evacuated or not. They are getting the same storms.

Flooding In A Field, Paicines, CA 03/23

At 10:30am, the San Benito RV Campground lady that Kevin talked with on the phone called. She said they were allowing a small window of time for people to get their RVs and anything they left at the campground and get it out. He asked if we could get the box and she said yes. We didn’t leave anything at the campsite there. So we jumped in the truck and headed out.

Rivers Flooded, Tres Pinos, CA 03/23

The road is closed but of course we can go to get our things. There is a long, spread out “parade” of people coming and going. Trucks going in, trucks and RVs going out. We were so surprised at how much land is flooded and the rivers flowing out of their banks. We got to the campground and stopped at the check point right before the bridge. After helping the people in front of us, the lady there told us many RVs/trucks have gone over this bridge but “cross the bridge at our own risk.” We drove to the office and no one was there. Kevin called the lady who said she would have someone there. Just a few seconds later the lady from the bridge came up. As she opened the office door and let him get the package, she said that Rancho Oso (where we stayed in December; it’s near Santa Barbara, CA) had so much damage they are closed until at least July 1. They are taking this time, since no one is camping there, to redo the roads and fix up some things. She said this here campground is closed until at least the 21st but they are looking at staying closed and doing some much need things around there. If they can find the money, she said. That is a good idea – get things in better shape while the campground is closed. It is hard for the workers who live there, she said, because they were also evacuated. I hope they will be able to find a place to stay while things get upgraded, if it does. All the rivers are way out of their banks around here. So much water. There are mountains all around so the rivers get that water besides just the rain right there. 

All Set Up At Casa de Fruta, Hollister, CA 03/23

Back home Kevin worked all day. Even though it is Saturday, he wanted to make up for missing yesterday. Might as well, can’t get around and explore right now with lots of places flooded.

We continue to count our blessings. We didn’t get upset and actually had some good laughs throughout this ordeal. It was an experience…all part of the adventure. Coming up next week I will share more things of what happened after these two very full and eventful days! 🙂

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