Sunday, November 04, 2007

Trying to Get it Right

I think it's goodbye to Oregon for good. We kept lingering there because we liked it so much. The Valley of the Rogue State Park was nice though we didn't do any site-seeing or hiking. We spent our time getting to know Eleanor and Rich and watching Allison play with Emma. They hit it off so well we hated to pull them apart, but a good weather forecast for Yosemite urges us forward. We broke camp yesterday. Rich and Eleanor headed to Chico to visit friends; we headed to Redding. I had a vague idea that we'd find a state park close to Turtle Bay, but my research was shoddy and we ended up on the road to Whiskeytown and closed campgrounds. "Mrs. Jeeps," our GPS voice guide, was little help. She was as lost as we were. What information I could find online was incomplete and confusing. I was looking for Brandy Creek campgrounds but could never find it and finally Robert, worn out and frustrated, pulled into the parking lot of the Oak Bottom Marina and called it a night.

I really stink as a navigator. I don't get everything lined up before we take off and then I scramble to put it together in route. Maybe I think I'll have plenty of time on the road to research our next destination. Or maybe I think we'll change our minds and then my research will be wasted. Something wants me to be flexible, but more often it causes lost time and energy. I've promised to work on this, after all I'm not the one saddled with the job of driving. In fact, I get to relax, look at the scenery, play on my computer, and occasionally drift off to sleep. The least I can do it get us somewhere decent before dark.

But, selecting a place to land in a place you've never been before is not easy. You are considering so many factors. We've decided we like state and national parks best, but not all have campgrounds, and many campgrounds are closing for the season. Robert dislikes commercial RV parks. He hates being right up against another RV, and he hates paying for the night when the plan is to leave the next morning. My considerations are slightly different: I like laundry and shower facilities and internet access.

Three months on the road and we are getting wiser (the benefit of making mistakes), but we have much to improve on. Cutting back on expenses would be the first. It is easy to overspend. $30 dollars for an RV park is not uncommon. Restaurants, admission fees to various attractions, shopping, groceries, and gasoline can put us at $200 dollars in one day. If we were frugal we could bring that figure down considerably. This is the aspect of RV travel that I'd like to pay attention to now that the "honeymoon" is over.

Actually, in the last 24 hours I thought we'd done pretty well. $10 dollars for the overnight parking at Oak Bottom. I made potato and leek soup for dinner. Lunch, today, was leftovers eaten in the trailer at a rest stop. And tonight we are overnighting in the parking lot of the Flying J Truck Stop in Modesto. Pretty frugal, heh? However, we treated my aunt Rose and cousin Gigi in Folsom (the town, not the prison!) to dinner tonight and filled the gas tank twice. And with gas at $3.30 a gallon, well--goodbye, greenbacks.

Maybe we'll make more progress with this in Yosemite. But, once again, I don't really know what to expect there in spite of everything I'll read beforehand. This is the nature of the unknown. You just have to learn as you go.

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