Oh dear, oh dear.

This story is short and sad.  We left Bishop yesterday a.m.  Beautiful day.  Took some fabulous pictures.  Everything was great until we hit a sign that said, “Chains required in 10 miles.”  That news put a sudden stop to our trip north.  After much gnashing of teeth, we decided not to chance going any further.  Snow on the side of the road was mounting and we did not have chains for TDH.  So, we reluctantly made a U-turn and here I am sitting in the Orange Grove RV park in Bakersfield.  OMG.  The Orange Grove RV park has orange trees with oranges on them and we collected about 8 fresh navels from the trees.  Boy are they good.  I made a salad of greens, orange slices, red onion slices and squeezed OJ with EVOO to go with our baked chicken breast.  The chicken was like eating shoe leather but it was very healthy.  And I almost ruined the two pieces of Corian material that sit atop the stove.  Didn’t realize the oven vented.  Well, no excuses.  Left the covers in place and, boy, did the back one get hot.  They seem okay today.  Close call.


View in the rear view mirror.

We weren’t sure what we would do tomorrow.  Continue on up to Corvallis via the coast route, 101 and 1.  Or just give up and go home.  Rayman could fly to Oregon to visit Ryan.  Will slept on it and decided this morning.

So.  Here I am writing from TDH parked in Vacaville.  We are parked on Chardonnay Lane at the Vineyards RV “resort”.  And it is raining.  Not hard but it is raining.

Today, Rayman started driving.  We headed up 99 thinking it would be easier.  NOT.  I’m here to report that the infrastructure of the CA highway system is a mess.  We were shaken up, literally.  Narrow lanes, road under construction signs.  Ruts.  Bumps.  Pot holes.  When it was time to trade off driving, we pulled off the freeway.  The app said the truck stop was good.  It wasn’t.  We pulled into the gas station.  Didn’t think we could get out without backing up which is a gigantic no-no since we are towing a toad.  Managed to extricate ourselves without uprooting a gas pump or buying gas.  Rayman was too nervous to pump gas.  We moved to the next station.  It was an Arco.  What is their business plan anyway?  They wouldn’t take our debit card, our credit card, our first born.  So we left there and spied a Starbucks across the intersection.  It was on the wrong side of the street.  I swung a u-turn, parked illegally in the shadow of a “No parking anytime” sign.  Rayman ran to the store (I think he was burning mad energy).  Finally, we turned right to get on the freeway and there was no on ramp going north.  For heaven’s sakes.  What else could go wrong?  Well.  I’m here to report plenty.

It started raining.  And the driver’s side wiper did not work worth a damn.  Forgot to check that.  Who knew?  So, I drove as best I could seeing not as good as I should, dodging those pot holes and road under construction areas.  Why is 99 so bad?  We would go from perfect freeway, to total 3rd world type roads in the snap of a finger.  Some spots that were ‘fenced” off  with white concrete barriers protected freeway lanes that looked like hadn’t seen any repair action for months.  There was no meaningful pattern to discern.  And all the roads leading to Interstate 5 went south before they went north.  We just preservered.

Then it was Rayman’s turn again.  He picked the place to stop.  Luckily, the spot had a great grocery store.  So, we shopped for dinner.  Clam chowder.  Rayman took the wheel.  It continued to rain.  The road kept being terrible until we transitioned to the 120 where it became the two lane from hell.  And we just kept on.  I”m pretty sure everything in TDH has been rearranged inside the drawers and the closets.  Rayman chose a route that included all kinds of backroads.  We saw sheep, wet sheep.  We saw drawbridges (went over it.)  It was much more fun than the big highways.  Wish it was all backroads but we need to get to Corvallis by Feb. 5.  No time to dilly dally.

Now the Broncos just fumbled for the third time.  It’s a rout.  I can identify.

We’re ready to eat clam chowder that I screwed up.  I was suppose to warm the half and half with the clams and clam juice.  I instead put it into the pan with all the other ingredients including the half cooked potatoes.  The cream is not to be boiled.  As a result we had to wait much longer for it be done.  And did I mention, we are starving?  Desperate, I let it boil a bit.  And then we consumed it.    The recipe:

  • 4 slc bacon, coarsely minced
  • 3 green onions, minced
  • 5  red potatoes, medium size, unpeeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/3 c. rreen or red pepper, chopped
  • 1/3 c. celery, sliced
  • 3  eloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 c. water
  • 1 c. clam juice, (bottled is OK)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp Worchestshire sauce
  • Tabasco sauce to taste
  • 3 cans of choopped clams, (canned) with juice
  • 2 c. half and half.   NO SUBSTITUTES


  1. Saute bacon.  Pour off half the fat and add onions and brown.  Then add the potatoes, green pepper, celery and garlic to bacon and remaining bacon fat.
  2. Add in water and clam juice, salt, pepper, Worcestershire and Tabasco sauces.
  3. Cover and simmer for 15 min, or  until potatoes are tender. In a separate pan, heat the clams in their juice and add in to other mix, along with the half and half. Don’t BOIL!   Add to potato mixture.  Serve in heated bowls.
  4. Makes 8 c..
  5. Serves 6.  We ate most of it!!

And now the Super Bowl is just about over.  What a boring game.  The announcer waxed on about how he didn’t see this kind of victory coming.  Sort of sounded like Rove on election night.

But I digress.

So, many lessons learned.  Good thing I’m blogging so I can review all our mistakes to laugh at later when I’m not so tired and void of humor.

Tomorrow we head for Ashland.  Let’s hope it’s easier.


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