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Our time in Redding is almost up, and I wanted to talk a little about how we decided where we’re going next and how we will get there. The basic idea behind our choice of any location will generally be related to a few factors: distance from our current location, weather, cost, activities and bike-friendliness.
When we chose Redding as our first stop, we were looking at 2 general areas: either the coast or inland, both north. The idea of heading north as the weather gets warmer is to avoid staying somewhere that’s too hot. We picked inland because it was more cost-effective, and would require fewer moves over our first month while we were trying to recuperate from our preparations and remodeling. We took a risk with the temperature, and hit some unexpectedly high temperatures as well as some nice cool days when it rained. While we have two air conditioners in our rig, we are still living in a older vehicle, and a large one at that. There is only so much insulation that can be fitted into ~1.5 inch sidewalls and roof, and in order to keep up with the temperature here in Redding the air conditioner has to run constantly all day long (and sometimes all night as well). It never gets the opportunity to cycle off. In order to reduce the stress on the motors for these units, I typically run one for a few hours, then turn it off and run the other. We didn’t intend to be somewhere that it would be so hot. The average temperatures for this time of year were expected to be a high of 94 (which the AC can handle just fine). At 105 like it was today, it might feel like about 90 in the cab area, which is furthest away from both of the AC units. I’m just glad that I replaced the curtains in the front with light-blocking, insulated ones before we left, or I think we’d be in huge trouble right now.
Regardless, we’ve had quite enough of the heat, thank you very much. We want to get into much cooler weather as quickly as possible. Going straight north doesn’t help much; even as far as Portland, which is 400 miles away, is still in the 80s right now. That might not seem too bad, but our goal is to be somewhere we don’t have to run the air conditioner at all. In fact, that is our general wish no matter where we go–no air conditioner, and no heater if we can help it.
I looked at many options, and decided that the best plan is to head directly west to the coast and then north from there. I have to admit that I waited until the last possible minute on this one. It’s completely out of character for me, which speaks to either how well I’m adapting to this new, free-spirited life, or the general hectic nature of the past few weeks and my corresponding exhaustion. I’ll let you pick one. ; P
While we are going to an area of California that we haven’t spent any time in, we really want to get into Oregon–a place neither one of us has been. It took some maneuvering, but we are going to put in over 350 miles of travel from this Friday until July 4th. Then we will stay put until the end of the week, and strike out for a new place (as yet undetermined).
Now, those of you who have been reading from the start may remember that in this post I talked about how we want to stay in one place for a while and get to know the area–live there, not just camp. Well, this leg of the journey will be an exception for a few reasons:
- It’s a holiday weekend and most places are already booked
- We have a location in mind and want to get there as quickly as possible
- The stops along the way don’t look like they could hold our interest for more than a few days
So we will be camping for a few days. In fact, we will be doing what’s called dry camping–stopping someplace that has no hookups. Not only that, but it looks like we will be staying at 3 casinos in a row, the third one having an RV park with full hookups. Casinos are great options for RVers. They typically offer free spots for RVs and truckers alike in the hopes that you will come in and spend money. Some offer free amenities to those who come to visit if you let them know you’re there, while others just let you park there for a night (or longer) without even checking in. Also, they have huge parking lots and (outside of Las Vegas) typically have more than enough room for anyone who stops by, usually with designated parking areas that are big enough for oversized vehicles.
We have done dry camping before, and it isn’t as rustic as it sounds. We will still have water (from our fresh water tank), battery power and propane. I also have a solar panel that can be used to keep the house battery charged, assuming we have access to direct sunlight. The battery, which is a 12 volt, powers basic items like the lights, the fans in the vents, the vent over the stove, and of course any 12 volt outlets (we have 3). The propane runs the hot water heater, the oven and cooktop and the refrigerator. The only things that will not work are the air conditioning, heater and anything that plugs into a 120 volt outlet, such as the microwave and television. However, we have a small converter which plugs into a 12V outlet and can be used to charge our laptops or similar low-voltage appliances if needed.
In an emergency, we also have the generator. It can run anything in the coach the same as if we were plugged into shore power, assuming we have the gas to power it. But that is a last option, because it’s noisy and smelly. It’s also considered poor etiquette to run your generator when you are parked right next to other RVs, especially at night. But it’s there as an option if we run into some extreme weather and choose not to try to out-run it.
The numbers-cruncher in me is excited at the prospects because it means we will have 2 days where we don’t have to pay a dime to be parked there. Casino parking lots are also relatively safe; they usually have security cameras and regular patrols, so they are definitely safer alternatives than some of the rest stops out there.
350 miles seems like a lot of driving between Friday and Monday. When you’re in a vehicle as large as our, you shouldn’t (and sometimes can’t) travel as quickly as a smaller car. We try to stop at least every 2 hours, and any time there’s an incline or decline we’re going to be doing a lot of deceleration. But because we’re splitting the trip up over 3 days, it isn’t that much. Here’s the breakdown:
- Friday: After our referee smog appointment, we will leave directly for a casino in Blue Lake, CA. This is a 138-mile trip. We will stay there for 2 days. Weather forecast: high of 73.
- Sunday: We will head north on highway 101, possibly making a few stops along the way and stop just below the Oregon border at a casino in Smith River, CA. This is a 95-mile trip. Weather forecast: high of 73.
- Monday: We will arrive in Coos Bay, OR at a casino that has an attached RV park with full hookups and stay there until Saturday. It’s 118 miles between Smith River and Coos Bay. Weather forecast: high of 72.
So we’ll be in temperatures that are almost 40 degrees cooler by the end of the week. I can’t wait!