RUNAROUND SUE'S RV TRIP TO OREGON


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Starting in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, through Colordao, Utah, Nevada, California, Oregon and back through California, Nevada, and Arizona, this page will offer highlights of our trip. I've included routes we took and links to many of the interesting and beautiful places we visited.

The following trip was made in my 1998, 28-foot, Gulfstream Conquest Motor Home. (V10) John and I left on June 4, 1999, with me driving, from Rio Rancho, New Mexico on Route 528 to Route 44 which took us West toward the Jemez Mountains, through Cuba. The road offers a perfect example of the beauty of New Mexico's diverse scenery. This road led us to Bloomfield where we took Route 64 to Shiprock. Then the "famous Route 666" (it was actually a very good road). Of course, Route 666 does pass by the new Ute Mountain Casino, so we visited for an hour or so, after making a small deposit into their machines. (No big winners at that place!!) We went on into Cortez, Colorado, headed for Moab, Utah.

Between Cortez and Monticello, Utah, we encountered gale-force winds and were forced to stop in Monticello and grab a four-hour nap amongst many large trucks who had stopped because of the high winds. The nap did us a world of good, so we continued on, with John driving this time, turning onto Route 191 in Monticello, Utah. We zoomed right through Moab and up to Interstate 70 to Route 6, through Price to Spanish Fork, Utah.

At Spanish Fork, we got on Interstate 15 to Salt Lake City, where we took Interstate 80. The Great Salt Lake is awesome. We made it to Wendover, Nevada that night, where there was another lovely casino. We spent the night in their parking lot, after making another small deposit in their machines. (No big winners here, either!!)

Still on Interstate 80, with me driving, we came to a neat little town called Wells, Nevada. We had a great breakfast at the cafe there, and made another deposit into their machines, but this time John came out a winner. On through Elko, Battle Mountain, Winnemucca and finally, Sparks and Reno. We parked at a truck stop on the outskirts of Reno, then took a cab to the Silver Club, downtown. We had a great evening - not too many deposits in Reno - came out about even. John was a little "under the weather" that next morning, so I drove again.

Still on Interstate 80 into California, then onto Route 20, through Grass Valley, Yuba City, and on into Clear Lake, California. (Route 20 is mountains, but beautiful). We visited friends in Kelseyville, which is on Clear Lake. The lake is very large and the surroundings are heavily treed, hilly, mountainous, gorgeous. The friends' house is situated on top of a mountain overlooking Clear Lake. We stayed there for two nights. Some of their night-time visitors include deer, wild boars, and bobcats. We toured the neighboring towns of Clear Lake, Lakeport, Nice, Lucerne and the Lower Lake. We also got a wonderful tour of the Kendall-Jackson Winery.

From Clear Lake, we continued on Route 20 to Route 101, up through Willits, to Garberville. We stopped at Garberville at a neat place along the road selling redwood carvings. There were several places to stop along 101 and I bought something at every one of them!!! We got to Eureka that night - stayed at a nice KOA just outside of Eureka. (Bought a lot of stuff at their gift shop also!)

From Eureka, we took a lot of time looking at EVERYTHING!! We stopped at Trinidad where there was a wonderful old lighthouse and a beautiful beach. We took lots of pictures here. From there we went on up to the "Trees of Mystery" but they were getting ready to close. They close very early. They have huge statues of Paul Bunyon and Babe. Also, somewhere along in here, we stopped at Chimney Tree and had a delicious hamburger. They also had a nice gift shop, but I didn't buy anything - they were really expensive!! The redwoods are unbelievable and breathtaking! We stayed at a KOA north of Crescent City that night.

The next day, we drove on up 101 to an RV Park called "Salmon Harbor", just inside Oregon, to visit Uncle George. He stays year round in this park, right on the ocean - a refreshing, pleasant spot! The Smith River is in this vicinity - worth taking a look at - reports of great fishing!! After our visit with Uncle George, we headed back down 101 to Route 199, north of Crescent City, into Oregon.

All I can say about Route 199 is, you're in for a surprise. If you're in a motorhome, it may cause diarreah, hives, or sudden heart failure. It's a "fairly decent" road until you get about 3/4 of the way to Grants Pass - then look out!! I found myself on a road barely big enough for 1 car, with a small rail on one side, pavement crumbling under the rail which overlooked a drop-off of about 2,000 feet (I may be exaggerating some). I found myself wondering if I had actually gone over the edge and just thought I was still alive. It would be a road that would slow you way down in a car, let alone a motorhome!! Luckily, nothing was coming from the other way.

The scare of Route 199 was worth it though, as we did make it to Lake Selmac and camped there for two days. This is the most beautiful area I have ever seen. It's at the town of Selma, Oregon. The campgrounds at Lake Selmac are run by the Josephine County Parks Department, $16 per night. While John fished, I had the binoculars and watched a bald eagle for about 4 hours. He was in a tree overlooking the lake and dove for fish once - but I didn't get a good picture. I will look for a house in which to retire in the Lake Selmac area.

We drove into Grants Pass for a day, still saving our spot at Lake Selmac. We had reservations for the jetboat trip down the Rogue River, through Hellgate Canyon. This was probably the highlight of the trip for us both. John was a little shocked that I was brave enough to go, but after the deal on Route 199 I figured I could survive anything!! The boat held about 62 people - there were three boatloads on our trip. The Rogue River is quite large and pretty. We saw lots of deer, ducks, osprey, fish, beavers, blue herons and raccoons. It was a 4-1/2 hour cruise. After going through Hellgate Canyon, the boat turned around for the return trip and stopped at the OK Corral along the river for dinner, then back to the original loading docks. This trip is highly recommended if you are ever in Grants Pass. (Reservations are advised) When we go back we will take the extended jetboat trip - it goes down through the rapids. We stayed another day at Lake Selmac. The local Kiwanis Clubs were having a "Fishing Derby" for all the local kids. There were thousands of kids all over the lake!! They were having a ball! We left that morning and didn't attempt to fish anymore. I've included a link to the Southern Oregon Vacation Guide. You can have one mailed to you if you like.

We went back into Grants Pass for breakfast, then got on Interstate 5 through Medford (the turn-off for Crater Lake is Route 62 out of Medford - but we didn't go there this trip), then Yreka, California, past Mount Shasta (pretty, with lots of snow on it), and onto Route 89. Lassen Peak was also covered with snow. This was a pretty good road, lined with wonderful tall pines. I stopped along here and got some pinecones that were on the ground. Went through Pondosa, Hat Creek, then got on Route 44 to Susanville. From Susanville, we took 395 and guess what??? Here we were in Reno again!!! Oh well!! We turned off at the first exit for Reno and ended up at the Bonanza Casino. We had a great meal and played some video poker. Stayed in their parking lot all night, then headed out of town, but not before we came across a place called "Rail City Casino." It was an older place - but we liked it and stayed for a little while. They were having an arts and crafts fair in the parking lot, so, yes - I got some more gifts to take home.

From Reno, we headed out Interstate 80 to Alt. Route 95 at Fernley, through Yerrington and Schurz, to Route 95 and stopped in Hawthorne at the "El Capitan Casino," a place my family has visited while staying at June Lake in California. By the time we left there, it was getting dark, but we plodded on. We made it to Tonopah that night, but I don't advise driving Route 95 between Hawthorne and Tonopah at night. There was lots of road construction and it's a dangerous road at night. Tonopah was a nice little town, and the Casino there has an RV park with hookups behind the casino for $12 a night.

The next day, Route 95 into Las Vegas. We turned off at Rancho Road to go the "Fiesta Casino," a place I had been before. We met one of John's friends there and visited with him for several hours. (Of course, I had left the headlights on and we had a dead battery, but it was easily taken care of.) Getting back on 95, through Las Vegas, to head for Hoover Dam, we encountered more road construction, combined with rush-hour traffic and an accident. We were sitting on the freeway for approximately 3 hours in 100+ heat. We finally got through that mess and ended up at a glorious State Park at Lake Mead. It was $16 per night.

Early the next morning, we headed for Hoover Dam. When I first got a motorhome, I didn't believe I would be able to drive over Hoover Dam. Well, once again, after the Route 199 mess, I can drive anywhere. So, we made it over the Dam. However, John did look a little tense!! We took Route 93 to Kingman, where we got on Interstate 40 and headed for Albuquerque.

There's a nice KOA in Flagstaff - at the Route 89 exit (north). We didn't stay there this time, but I stayed there on a previous trip. We made a stop near Williams, west of Flagstaff at Buckles Restaurant and Truck Stop. We always stop there when traveling on Route 40. (There were lots of gusty winds all the way through Arizona.) The next stop for us was the Giant Truck Stop at exit 39 off Interstate 40, New Mexico - it's a great travel stop - they have everything!! Bluewater Lake is great fishing if you have the time - it's the Thoreau exit off of Interstate 40. We stopped there for our last night on the road. John did some fishing, then we took off for home. Before we made it home, we spotted "Sky City Casino" at Acoma Pueblo in New Mexico. Our "will power" (spelled p-o-c-k-e-t-b-o-o-k) didn't allow us to stop at "Sky City."

We made it home, safe and sound. In all, we had gone 3,200 miles, and spent 13 days on the road.



In Loving Memory of Mocha Jean and Foster

neonsue@yahoo.comJuly 12, 2009.
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