Sunday, December 26, 2004


Here’s where we almost spent the night.  We had headed for Sonora Pass on 108 but just outside of Oakdale, we found that the pass was closed.  We should have called ahead or checked online before leaving, but I missed that 8th grade boy’s course.  We headed back to Oakdale to look for a campground that we thought wouldn’t be able to accomodate our trailer (as the 2003 book said no longer than 30ft vehicles) but were pleasantly surprised to find we would fit.  Since we haven’t yet dumped our tanks (crapper, etc.) we decided to dump first and then get a campsite.  We figured we’d be the only campers based on the campgrounds we patronized on our journey West.  I"ll bet you know where I’m going with this…  So, off to the dumper we headed and as we found with the one other dump station, the slot is incredibly narrow.  I got the trailer in by backing up a few times to avoid going over a curb and into a sign and thought the worst was over.  I think you might know where THIS is headed also…  :) 

Somehow, one (or more) of the valves had been opened, so when we took the cap off the sewer pipe (to attach the hose leading to the drain) raw sewage started leaking out.  Ugh.  Luckilly, the makers had probably anticipated this and made the drain sloping on all four sides so it all drained into the drain.  It was also raining so I guess that helped a bit also.  The rest of the dump went without incident and we hurried everyone back into the van (I gave the kids a snack in the trailer while we dumped) and started pulling out.  There was VERY little room to pull out and instead of the dreaded backup, I decided to pull onto grass; I figured that I’d be using only a little of it, and it looked like thick grass.  I misjudged.  We got stuck.  I had one tire on cement (rear driver) and the rest in the grass.  Rear passenger was up to the rim spinning.  Jamie saved the day and drew upon his experience in digging the Westy out of similar situations.  He dug out behind the rear wheel and layed down leveling blocks.  I backed up (jacknifing) and managed to somehow, backup; go forward, back up, go forward; get 3 wheels on the cement and finally somehow (I’m still not sure how) got out.

We found a lovely campsite next to the lake but were surprised to find the campsite nearly full with Class A’s, Trailers and Fifth Wheels.  I had to drive around 2 or 3 times to find and get into our spot, but breakfast should show us a gorgeous view.  We’ll see…

We now have running water (finally flushed the antifreeze) and HOT running water.  What a luxury!  We’re not camping - we’re hotelling on wheels!  Tomorrow we head down to 99 on J14 (instead of retracing our route back to 99 on 120) and head for Baja.  We decided to bypass Death Valley and try to hit it on the way back.  I’d rather go in the Spring and visit Joshua Tree also than go south; go east; go really north; visit Death Valley and then head south again to Baja.  We hope to do 150-200 miles a day and really enjoy the trip instead of pushing4e the miles out.

Each time we sojourn at my sister’s house (I have to remember to look up "sojourn" once I get online and make sure I used it correctly) I hit a thriftstore and stock up on books.  I then read voraciously and leave them with her.  She loves it.  :)  I recently found an after Christmas sale and Barnes and Noble (and also updated my educator discount card) with the same prices as Thriftown.  I purchased Bill Bryson’s "In a Sunburned Country" and it was an absolute delight.  Dispatches from his travels in Australia; it is witty, funny, serious and thought-provoking.  I highly recommend it and will ask my sister to forward it to Gen in Australia and Harriet in Tasmania (two friends of mine from MotherSpirit) so they can enjoy it even more than I could.  My only complaint is that after reading his prose, mine seems so terribly stilted by comparison.  I also picked up "A People’s Guide to Mexico" for full price (minus the 20% educators discount) and can’t wait to delve into that.
Sigh…  11:30pm and the girls are still going strong. 

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