Thursday, November 5, 2009

Red Bluff to Bakersfield

This was a 400 mile day, so we left Red Bluff early, at 7:00am.  We drove to Williams for breakfast and ate at Granzella's, exit 577 (turn right and go about 4 blocks).  There is RV parking in the lot across the street from the restaurant, and behind the gift shop.  Great food.  Nice little deli with olive tasting.  We did not stop in the gift shop.  It was a beautiful day with the sun shining brightly, right in our eyes.  Note to self, make sure baseball cap is in the truck before leaving.  It saves a quick stop at the rest stop to retrieve cap from rig.

I know I have said this again, but there should be a law that the crops growing next to the side of the road be labelled.  I know we saw olives, almonds, pistachios, tangerines and other stuff.  We also saw many acres of unfarmed land.  There were signs along the way stating it was a "Congress Created Dustbowl".  I did a very little searching on the subject and apparently the Delta Smelt, a small fish, has been placed on the endangered species list, and thus water from the local rivers and aquaducts has been severely limited to the local farmers.  I have no opinion on this topic as I know very little of the facts.  It was just sad to see all this land going unused.  Last time we drove this section of I-5 was in 1990, on our way to Mobile, Alabama.  It was filled with a variety of crops being grown, which is when I first thought that crops should be labeled.  (Note - I'm not implying I was the first to come up with this thought - just that this was the first time it occurred to me that it would be nice to know what was growing where.)

Anyway, we continued on down the freeway, looking for a rest stop to pull into for a lunch break.  Many of the rest stops are closed along I-5 southbound.  I'm not sure if there were under repair or if it was due to budget cuts (like the rest stops in Arizona).  We stopped at the rest stop at mile marker 386.  There was a warning sign about rattlesnakes, so chicken that I am, I ran from the truck back to the rig, making as much noise as I could (stomping my feet, etc) to use the head, and make lunch.  Then I insisted on eating inside, even though it was quite pleasant outside.  (FYI, I've since learned that rattlesnakes are basically deaf, but they can and do pick up the vibrations created by people walking - on in my case running - nearby.  And of course, there were no snakes to be seen in the parking lot anyway.)

Next stop was for diesel at Harris Ranch, exit 334.  I'd been watching the price of diesel since we last got fuel, after crossing the California border.  At that time, I commented on what I though was a higher cost for diesel.  Coming down through the San Joquin Valley, I noticed the prices dropping to less than the cost of regular gas.  Woo Hoo!  It had been costing us about $100 to fill the tank.  Saving $15-20 in fuel would have been nice.  Not so at the Harris Ranch Shell station.  We paid $3.349 per gallon.  We get back on the freeway, and see a sign advertising diesel at $2.88 at the very next exit, Jayne Avenue.  It must be a new station because it was not listed in the 2009 Next Exit book.  Drat!  Hopefully just mentioning this will help someone else save a few bucks on fuel.  BTW, we have been using Shell because we have a Shell Gas Saver card.  It is supposed to work as a debit card, and in using it, you save 5 cents per gallon of fuel until the end of 2009.  We've found that at some stations it works, and at others it doesn't.  We are going to call Shell and find out why that is.  It could be the amount of fuel we are using.  It could be a trigger if you fill up more than once in a day.  It could be the station's equipment.  We aren't sure.  Unfortunately, it didn't work at Harris Ranch and we paid full price.

We love our GPS, and wonder how we ever did without it, but sometimes the route 'she' picks is not always the most convenient.  I call 'her' Roundabout Rhonda.  She had us take the Stockdale Highway exit, and then turn down a 2 lane road that parelleled the freeway.  The road surface was actually better, and the speed was the same - 55 mph.  (Note, if you are pulling a trailer, your maximum allowable speed on I-5 in California is 55.  Cars have speed limits anywhere from 55 - 70 mph, depending on the section of the road.  Anyway, Rhonda took us in what I thought was a very weird route, but we did arrive at Bakersfield RV Resort, safe and sound.

Another very nice resort - boy can I pick 'em!  Easy check in, and a valet guide to our site.  Another pull through site, with grass between the spaces.  There are a minimal number of picnic tables spread around the resort.  Our site, #120, did not have one. 

The hook ups could be a little more toward the middle of the space.  We had to pull quite a bit forward to put out our slides, and not hit anything.  In doing so, it was a stretch for the sewer line and water hose.  Water may be on a timer as the pressure dropped suddenly during my shower.  Kim went over to the showers by the pool, and didn't have a problem.  The shower stalls are all private.  You have a locking door with a dressing area, and a regular shower with glass doors (rather than curtains).

The resort has a great restaurant and bar.  It was dark after we finished setting up, and after the 400 mile drive, we treated ourselves to dinner out.  We split orders of coconut shrimp, coleslaw and stuffed mushrooms.  If you don't want to come to the restaurant for dinner - they will deliver to your site!

This resort offers free cable and wifi so we watched a little TV after dinner before going to bed.  Although there is a major road outside the resort, we slept soundly.  We did hear a train early in the morning - maybe 5am or so, but we were already awake so it wasn't an issue for us.

This resort is pretty much as described on their website,  We paid $70 for two nights, using a Good Sam discount.

I've been surprised at how well we are doing on our first major trip.  In fact, I was a bit suspicious because things were going so well.  I should know better.  All of a sudden, all the sensors on our gray water and black water tanks are reading full.  We know this can't be so because we just emptied them yesterday.  The battery reads charged, so there must be a short somewhere.  Hopefully, it is something simple as Kim doesn't want to address it until we are in Phoenix.  In the meantime, we will empty the tanks (especially the kitchen and shower) each day, just to be sure.

We stayed an extra day here in Bakersfield, and were able to accomplish a few errands.  Roundabout Rhonda took us to Trader Joe's for some groceries, and to Wal-Mart for a spring tension shower rod to use to hang up wet swim suits.  It was a little too cool to swim today, but we are planning ahead. 

We also drove out to see the California Living Museum.  

"California's Premier Native Zoo and Garden

Founded in 1980 and opened to the public in 1983, CALM displays and interprets native California animals, plants, fossils, and artifacts to teach a respect for all living things through education, recreation, conservation, and research."
I wanted to go to make some peace with the rattlesnakes.  We had a nice chat, and with the safety glass between us, I was comfortable.  I enjoyed especially the pelican exhibit, the roadrunner, and the fox exhibit.
We got back to the rig about 3:00pm and having been doing some computer work - our Verizon wireless card works very well here - and just taking it easy...watched a few early episodes of Gray's Anatomy, and then fixed dinner.
When we checked in, we were given a coupon for a breakfast deal - buy one, get the second at 50% off - so we plan to enjoy the restaurant one more time tomorrow morning.  They open at 7am, and then we head off to Laughlin for a few days. Tonight, we will catch the new CSI episode, and then I will flip a coin about whether to watch Project Runway or The Mentalist....probably The Mentalist as I can catch reruns of the PR episode tomorrow.  Now, you'll have to excuse me, I've got the gambling books out - I need to refresh my memory on playing 3 card poker and pai gow.

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