The temperature was in the high forties inside this morning. Once the sun started to hit windows and the little electric heater had time to work the inside temperature rose quickly into the comfortable range. Outside the temperature never got above the mid fifties. Monday overnight into Tuesday the temperature is forecast to get down into the high twenties in this area. The temperature trend turns warmer from Tuesday forward.
Probably because this is the last day of September, several of the long term residents of the park packed and departed today. Last Thursday when I arrived the park was full at night. With the weekenders and many of the long term residents gone the park feels almost empty. Some of the long term residents that are staying have started to get ready for winter. Tonight’s forecasted low in the twenties probably pushed their time line a little. During my late afternoon walk, I saw one guy putting skirting around the outside of his trailer and a couple of others adding heat tape to their water hoses. For this little single night cold event, all I’ve done is turn off the outside water and disconnected the hose. If I were staying in this area for the winter I’d be doing all of the things the long term residents are doing too.
I made an attempt at shoe shopping today. The shopping area I went to was a real maze of roads and buildings. As near as I can tell the store buildings were in two concentric circles separated by roads and parking lots. I found one of the stores I was looking for, but not the other despite driving in circles. I’m still being too picky looking for a pair of New Balance walking shoes like I’m wearing out now. Before to long I’m going to have to settle for a different brand. They will probably be better anyway.
It was 46 degrees inside my RV home when I got up this morning. The reported overnight low outside was a little warmer than the forecast at 34 degrees. I spent a warm night in bed after adding an extra blank before I turned in. The high temperature for the day was 48 degrees. It’s hard to believe it was in the low 90s when I arrived in the Reno area on Thursday. The expected highs this time of year are in the mid seventies. A return to those temperatures is forecast for the second half of this week.
I spent most of the day inside watching NFL football games and the NASCAR race on TV. The local game in this area was the Oakland Raiders vs Indianapolis Colts. My eyes were focused on the scores crawling across the bottom of the screen more than on the game action. I was interested in the Patriots vs Bills score. The NASCAR race from Charlotte was different. This is the second year the race has been held on a modified course called a “Roval”. They added road course elements to the banked oval.
After the race I bundled up and went outside for a walk to get some exercise. Walking around the park I noticed some of the trees are turning yellow. I think the last couple of cold nights have accelerated the change. With a couple more cold nights in the forecast, there may be some real fall color in the area before I move on next week.
The campground has many openings tonight. I hope all the California people that left this morning had success getting home. Donner Pass on Interstate 80 was closed for awhile last night for a weather related accident. There was also a chain requirement at times late yesterday and overnight. The Sacramento area is a little over one hundred miles west on Interstate 80, so I’m assuming that’s where many of the Californians that left today are headed.
While I was on my walk a train went by the campground. I’m used to trains passing campgrounds, but they usually make a lot more noise. These tracks are not as close to the campground as some, but more significantly they are down at the level of the Truckee River about 300 feet below the campground. The train got my attention because it wasn’t your everyday freight. It was Amtrak’s California Zephyr headed east. The passengers on board will arrive in Chicago in about forty eight hours if they go the distance.
I tend to write about the weather too much, but I need to vent about winter in September. The temperature went down all day from the starting point in the fifties. Around noon clouds started to appear over the mountains to the west. A little over an hour later it was raining hard. Three hours later the sun was back out and the temperature was in the thirties. It has showered off and on since. One of the showers sounded more like sleet.
When I took a walk before darkness, I saw snow on the foothills to the north. There was a clear line between the brown ground and the think layer of snow. Checking a detailed forecast online indicated snow is possible down to 4500 feet in elevation in this area. Checking my altitude brought the added insight that I’m above 4800 feet. I guess I may see snow before this early winter weather episode ends on Monday. The temperature is only supposed to get down to around thirty in this area during the period around dawn. That shouldn’t be enough to freeze water lines inside the RV basement.
The cold weather and a little bit of snow aren’t a big problem when your prepared. The problem is I’m only half prepared. My current campsite only has 30amp electric service. I can not run multiple electric heat sources at that amperage. Running the propane furnace is the alternative, but I haven’t filled the tank recently. I only have a quarter of a tank. All this means I have to conserve. I’ll use one electric heater and turn it off when I need to run other big draws like the microwave. The gas furnace will only get used early in the morning or when I need to make a quick change in the temperature. Leaving my site to get more propane is a last resort.
Before the weather deteriorated this afternoon, I spent some time shopping in the nearby Cabelas sporting goods store. This store provided the full Cabelas experience. Large areas of the store were filled with stuffed wild animals and aquariums filled with native fish. Viewing the museum like exhibits breaks up the shopping experience. I didn’t find anything that I wanted to buy today, but I may be back before I leave the area. I want to check out a couple of other places first.
After two straight days of travel it was nice to take it easy today. The weather was a little more seasonable than Thursday’s ninety degree high temperature. The temperature peaked in the mid seventies under a bright sunny sky. The only down side to the day was a very strong wind. I’m glad I wasn’t driving the RV today.
After a leisurely breakfast with a rare second cup of coffee, I finished some of the set up tasks I didn’t do yesterday. The bicycle and rack are off the car making it ready for touring and I stowed all of the car towing equipment. Working outside was complicated. There are a lot of bees around. They were buzzing all around me and even landing on me. Buzzing bees are distracting, but landing one can be painful. The next step after landing could be stinging, but I survived. As the wind got stronger the bees went for cover.
There was a fair amount of turnover in the campground today. I thought most of the people arriving yesterday were here for the weekend, but many of them left this morning. The park has more than a normal number of motorcycles in residence. A little research on the internet turned up the fact that the twenty fifth annual occurrence of a large regional motorcycle is running from Wednesday through Sunday. The bikers are spread out from Reno down to Carson City and Lake Tahoe with events and rides in all the major areas.
As the sun set this afternoon the temperature dropped quickly. Tomorrow is forecast to have a high temperature around fifty with a chance of rain in this area. Sunday is currently forecast to be even cooler with a chance of snow in the high passes. The next three day’s weather will be similar to what this area gets in November.
Today was filled with small annoyances. The first one was sleeping until almost 8:30. It didn’t work well with my plan for an early start. Since it was only an overnight stop I didn’t have a lot of prep work to complete. I pulled out of my site at 9:30.
That’s when the second annoyance came along. I had an unusual amount of difficulty getting the car hooked up for towing. One of the two bar arms didn’t lock into place when I pulled forward. I had to stop and unhitch the car and try again after repositioning the car. On the second attempt the other tow bar arm didn’t lock into place. My third attempt was on the other side of the campground on more even ground. That one worked. I’ve never had to try three times before. It may be time for a new tow bar. This one has over 35,000 miles on it.
The next annoyance was at the agricultural inspection entering California. This is the third time I’ve crossed into California with the Motorhome. It is the first time they asked about plants. My Christmas Cactus, that has been riding with me for four years, got a cursory inspection by a young guy that probably wouldn’t know an invasive bug if it crawled on him. It was only a couple of minute delay, but an annoyance none the less.
A few miles down the road my plan to put gas in the RV changed. The station I’d scoped out on Google Maps was not as easy to get into as I’d hoped and the cost of gas in California was over four dollars a gallon. I had more gas in the tank than I’d thought when I made the plan, so I continued on to Nevada for gas. As it turns out, I reached my destination west of Reno with a quarter tank of gas without stopping. I’ll buy gas when I leave in two weeks. This will be a bigger annoyance if gas prices climb significantly during that time.
The last big annoyance was the temperature. It was just below fifty when I got up this morning. I started my travel day in long pants and a sweatshirt. As I traveled the temperature kept climbing. Since I didn’t stop for gas and I didn’t see any open rest areas, I never had a chance to take the sweatshirt off. The temperature kept climbing. By the time I reached Reno it was 91 degrees outside. Inside wasn’t much better. When I pushed the button to turn on the coach AC it didn’t start. Somewhere along the cool Oregon coast I turned off the fan. Once I got to my destination and had time to study the switches, it only took a few seconds to fix.
I’m at the Reno KOA in Verdi Nevada for the next two weeks. I stayed here in May of 2017. The atmosphere of the campground has changed. This time it has more full time residents. Many of the trailers don’t even have license tags. When the school bus pulled up in front of the campground at least a dozen young kids got off. It is still and OK parking lot style park.
Today’s hot weather in the Reno area may be the last hurrah of summer. A cold front is coming in from the northwest that has the weekend forecast in this area calling for rain with highs in the forties. Snow is in the forecast for the nearby mountains.
I hoped to get an early start this morning, but it didn’t happen. Since I refuse to set an alarm, I slept an hour later than I’d intended. I got up at 8AM and was on the road a little after ten.
My first order of business was to fill the RV’s gas tank. It right around a quarter tank when I arrived last week, because I couldn’t buy gas at the station I chose. Today I had two stations with good access that I already scouted. I filled the tank with over 60 gallons at $2.94 per gallon. There were other stations down the road a few miles, but they weren’t as easy to get into and most were more expensive. Once I turned south east off of US97 on Oregon 31, I didn’t see anymore opportunities for fuel. Tomorrow will have similar long gaps between stations, so I’ll probably fill the tank early in California. It’s better to spend the extra in California than risk running out before I get to Nevada. Although, I can probably make it on fumes.
Traffic was light to non existent as I navigated the narrow one lane in each direction roads. Most of the roads were OK, but there were stretches that were very bumpy and bouncy. I hate it when the bumps want to send you to the left when the road is turning to the right. I had one interesting climb. The caution sign said “Shoulder Steep Drop”. That was a bit of an understatement. Three feet from where the pavement stopped, there was a 300 foot high cliff with no guard rail. I had to keep two hands tightly gripping the steering wheel for about 3 miles while I wound my way up the side of the cliff.
The terrain went from National Forests filled with pine trees to high desert. Some of the desert was irrigated for farming, but most of it seemed to be used for cattle ranching. I don’t think that the highway was passing through open range, but I did pass a group of three or four cattle grazing on the side of the road without any fence keeping them out of the road. I slowed down for a few miles so I didn’t come around a corner to find a huge hunk of beef in the road.
My stop for the night is at the Goose Lake State Recreation area just on the Oregon side of the state line with California. This is a small, older state campground. It only has twenty amp electrical service, but on the plus side, it has a herd of mule deer that share the park with the campers. One crossed in front of me as I arrived shortly after 2PM. I went looking for the rest of the deer just before dusk. I spotted a few, but they were on the other side of a large field. Maybe they’ll be nearer in the morning.
I’m about half way to my destination in the Reno Nevada area. I have another 220 miles to travel tomorrow. A departure between ten and eleven should get me through Reno traffic before the heavy afternoon rush.
I got a slow start this morning. The sun had already warmed the interior of the RV to seventy. Outside it took until afternoon to reach the days high temperature in the low seventies.
I spent the day at home working on various chores and getting ready to travel tomorrow. I’ve completed most of the outside travel prep tasks so I can get an earlier start than normal. My next two week long stop is in the Reno Nevada area. It is about 450 miles from here. I plan to stop one night along the way, but I haven’t made any reservations. I have a plan A and a plan B for stopping tomorrow night. I can always come up with plan C if necessary, even if it is driving all the way to Reno. Check back tomorrow night to see what happens.