With clear skies and cool air, it would be the perfect travel day.
After a quick breakfast, we finished getting ready to leave. The guy from the RV park read our electric meter and to our surprise, we received a $12 refund from the $50 deposit. We disconnected from the water, sewer, cable TV and power. Jeanne aired up the coach suspension, raised the stabilizers and pulled in the slides. I put away the wheel blocks and hooked up the Jeep. One last check and we were on our way.
We traveled north on US-395 to Reno then transitioned to the I-80 west. I-80 is one of the few all-year routes over the Sierras and uses the famous Donner Pass. Readers of this Triplog may recall that a group of pioneers (known as the Donner Party) were trapped at the pass during a terrible snowstorm. When the food ran out, the survivors resorted to cannibalism. It is not hard to see how this could happen. The route passes through some rugged country and even in the middle of April there was still deep snow in areas. Clearly, there is nothing growing or moving around. Unless you can digest wood, you’re out of luck.
Just west of Reno we noticed the truck lane was deeply rutted, which Jeanne concluded was from trucks using tire chains in bad weather. It got worse as we gained altitude and when we crossed the border into California, it got much worse. In fact, parts of the road on the California side were not much better than driving on a dirt road. The road surface was broken up, uneven, deeply rutted and without painted lane-lines. Without a doubt, this is some of the worse road we’ve seen. The fact that this is an interstate highway is shameful. It damn near shook the fillings out of our teeth. The road didn’t improve until we got near to the small town of Auburn. Welcome to California.
Before stopping for the night, we fueled the coach at a Flying-J. We used about 21 gallons to travel 220 miles over some terrible roads. Not bad at all, although most of it was downhill.
Our destination was the KOA in Lodi, California. The grounds are nice, but it is located directly beside a frequently used railroad crossing. About every 45 minutes, all night long, trains would signal at the crossing and the rumble of the freight cars would shake the coach. It was disappointing, since this was the first time in weeks that we could sleep with a window open.
We were running dangerously low on propane. Of all the things you don’t want to run out of, propane is high on the list. Especially in a cold climate. The KOA sold propane and although it was a little expensive, it was a convenient opportunity. 21.3 gallons and $52 later, the tank was full. Let’s do the math. The coach has a 32 gallon propane tank, but the tank can only be filled to 80% of capacity or 25.6 gallons. This means we had only 4.3 gallons of propane left in the tank, or less than most people have to fire their backyard Bar-B-Que. We cut it close this time, especially in a place like Carson City where it drops below freezing at night.
So, today we bought and loaded the coach with over 42 gallons of flammable hydrocarbons. If it catches on fire, move a safe distance and watch it burn.
One final note. After we set up for the evening, we noticed our surroundings had changed. Unlike the high desert this time of year, the air was warm, things were growing, animals were moving around and you could go outside without layers of clothing. Even the air felt alive. Carson City is off the list.