October 14, 2016

First Time Away

We've been parked at our home base in Rocklin for two weeks now.  We've been working at the shop during the week, but our hearts are still on the road.  Here's how our first two road trips went.

They say it gets better the more experience you get.  We sure hope they're right because the first drive was quite hard.  We didn't know just how long it would take us to get Roamin hitched.  We didn't know just how hard it would be to load up our welding equipment with him in tow.  Never again!  We didn't know just how slow we'd need to drive with 7,000-8,000 pounds behind us.  We didn't know that the park would be down such a narrow, windy levee road.  We didn't know it would be pitch dark when we arrived.  So many unknowns...

narrow is an understatement!

nice and spacious sites though

Our first stop was at Rio Viento RV Park.  It's right on the other side of a levee.  The road from the main highway is a short distance but it's quite narrow.  The locals are probably better able to drive it compared to us occasional visitors.

I choose this location because it got high reviews and it was near our first repair destination: Antioch.  We left far too late on Sunday and we arrived after the sun had set for the day.  That alone might not have been too bad but the island (yes, it's on an island in the Delta) had lost power nearly an hour prior to our arrival.  So, our first time at another park was quite the experience.  Once we managed to get Roamin in the right spot, we worked together to get the hoses connected and the shore power hooked up properly.  Forget the 'pink vs blue' jobs.  We are a team and both help get it set up and torn down.

We stayed here for two nights.  The first night it was hot and we had no A/C.  Remember, the power was out.  The second night it was much cooler and the famous delta breeze was in full swing.  The spaces are nice and roomy, made with pavers.  The bathrooms are clean with a sitting area and showers too.  I didn't use the showers.  We would stay here again but we'd rather arrive when it's daylight!

Our second stop took us a few hours north to Chico.  I made a two night reservation at Almond Tree RV park.  Ron drove the entire drive, occasionally asking me if I'd like to drive.  Nope, not quite ready yet...

Red and Roamin at their first pull through site

We arrived at the park around 5pm.  Still late in the day but at least it wasn't dark outside.  The good news, the park hosts were still working so I was able to snag a key for the laundry room :-)  The bad news, I locked the key inside the laundry room (along with my clothes) after they had already gone home for the day :-(   Luckily for me there was a very nice woman walking her dog just then so I asked her if she had a key to let me in.  There's more than one reason to meet your neighbors...

Ron and I would stay here again.  In fact, there is a lot of things to do in Chico and the surrounding area.  I would easily stay here for a week or so and enjoy the local entertainment of hiking, biking and sight seeing.  Chico is also home to Sierra Brewing Company and they offer free tours too.  The park itself is fairly small.  Besides the laundry room they offer clean bathrooms, a nice pool to swim in, a rec room and a grass covered dog walking area.  All of the sites are pull through except for a single row of back in spots that seem to be used by the park residents.

Friday and Saturday were spent at our home base.  Sunday it was time to hitch up Roamin again for his second road trip.  This time we would be doing a much longer drive.  Our next stop was at Blackstone North RV park in Fresno.

a large concrete pad made pulling in simple

While Ron was driving I remembered that a high school friend of mine lived in the Fresno area.  I looked Ami up on Facebook (gotta love phone apps) and sent her a message saying we were in the area and asked if she had time for a quick visit.  She replied that she and her husband would love to have us over the next night for dinner.  Pretty cool!  Perry and Ami live in the country, have six dogs, a couple of cats and three horses.  The home made spaghetti dinner with all the fixings was delicious!

On our way from Fresno to Orange (near Disneyland) we stopped at a road side rest stop.  Ron drove us in.  I drove us out!!  After about an hour or so I felt comfortable enough to agree that Ron could nap.  I passed a couple of semi trucks with white knuckles...  I stayed in the right lane as much as possible...  I was passed by a lot of cars, trucks and even some RV's...  BUT we made it to the Grapevine in one piece!  I parked Red and Roamin at a large lot.  Then it was time for refueling our tummies.  I have driven a car over the Grapevine with no worries what so ever.  However, I wasn't quite ready to tackle it with an RV.  So Ron took over the driving duties once more.

I made a three night reservation at Orangeland RV Park.  I called to tell them we'd be arriving late and the woman on the other end of the phone said expect it to be a bit later due to LA traffic.  She wasn't kidding.  We did arrive before the office closed which was great because we got an escort to our site.  We paid a little bit more to get a pull through site.  We were placed in an end site with full hook ups, a grassy front yard with a patio table and four comfy chairs.  The wi-fi worked great at our site too!     

I enjoyed sitting here while using my laptop with their excellent wi-fi

If you find a need to be in the area, I highly recommend this park.  I wouldn't mind another stay at this park, I just don't like the traffic and the condition of the freeways down there.

After completing our work in nearby Garden Grove Ron and I had a long drive ahead of us.  Rather than spend the entire day driving home we decided to make a one night stop over in Coalinga.  Sommerville Almond Tree RV Park is conveniently located just off Interstate 5.

nothing fancy but it served it's purpose
Our pull through site was narrow and after we unhitched Roamin we found out our sewer hose wouldn't reach.  Back in the driver's seat for Ron.  What followed was a fiasco.  We were both tired after having driven a shared 5 1/2 hours behind the wheel.  Yes, I drove Red and Roamin again :-)  This makes Ron quite happy that he isn't going to be the sole driver! 

We did get Roamin in a better place so that we could open the slide (the electric pedestal was quite tall) and have a proper sewer connection. 

The next morning I took a small adventure with Rufus into the neighboring almond tree orchard.  I like how the trees are planted in rows that form straight lines in almost every direction you look.

rows and rows of almond trees
 Rufus liked that I took off his leash so he could zoom zoom all over!

such a good travel dog he's turned out to be

We don't have any future road trips on the calendar for now.  Weather plays a major contributing factor in our onsite work.  When we do manage another trip, we're hoping that we can have some time to explore the area.


  1. Very proud to hear that you are behind the wheel sharing the driving! Good for you! I agree that we would do just about anything to avoid L.A. traffic! Safe & happy travels!

    1. It was inevitable that eventually I would be driving. I'm the main driver when we go on long trips so it was basically adjusting to having Roamin in tow. Yep, LA traffic is a good meter of your driving capabilities... Thank you!

  2. You'll have many of those "firsts" and "oops". 2 1/2 years later, we still have them. You guys are off to a great start!

    1. I can only imagine... Thanks for joining us on this journey :-)

  3. Ooooh, I'm so excited that the dream is working for you! I think the last time we arrived after dark was our first time out :-))) I'm glad you liked your park in Orange, I'm always trying to figure out other places to stay in SoCal. Figured it wouldn't be long before you'd be behind the wheel with the towing getting easier each time. Once you've backed it in a few times you'll really know you can go anywhere! We see so many playgrounds in our travels, I should get a supply of your business cards :-)))))

    1. We're quite pleased with our new living arrangements so far. We reflect on all of the S & B chores and definitely don't miss the upkeep that goes along with a house! We honestly can't wait until our time comes when we can give up fabrication and go full steam ahead on the repairs. I think you would like Orangeland. I drove us home from Coalinga without any hick-ups and was so pleased with myself:-)) I even had to drive through a major freeway construction zone! I think I'd rather have Ron back us in for now though... Yep, lots of playgrounds to be seen! I can certainly send cards but for now we're trying to keep it more localized so we can service our customers in a timely manner. When are you coming back to the west coast? We should have another meet up. With our RV's this time, not just day dreaming anymore!!


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