We stayed in Susanville until the 23rd since the weather turned on us. A very unusual Pacific storm blew through and we got wind and rain. It rained again most of the night but it stopped by 7 am and was predicted to clear off so we got ready to leave. Just as we got in the truck to pull out of the park it started raining again and continued as we drove south into Reno and up I-80 over Donner Pass. It got down to about 43 degrees at the summit but there was no snow. Traffic was extremely heavy, including a gazillion motorcycles that had been at a rally in Reno for the weekend. They were not having any fun in the cold and rain.
Once again we enjoyed the power of our truck as we drove at the speed limit (which is 55 when towing in California) whenever the traffic would allow, and using the jake brake coming down the other side of the mountain kept the speed in check without touching the service brakes. It finally stopped raining as we neared Auburn in the western Sierra foothills.
We called Dianna’s cousin Carrie and made arrangements to park in her yard for a few days. She was thrilled but soon called back to tell us her idiot landlord would not allow us to do that because he was afraid we would sue him if our RV was broken into. That has to be the dumbest excuse I have ever heard! Carrie called another friend who was willing to let us park at their place, but when we arrived she was finally able to contact her brother Mike who said he had plenty of space for us to park at his new place so we went there instead.
Mike and Randi live a mile or so from Carrie so it is convenient and feels much better camping in a relatives front yard than in the front yard of people we had never met. Mike now has his own business fabricating and repairing harvesting equipment which he runs from a shop he has built next to his house. This means he is home most of the time.
We set up in their front yard, visited with Carrie who stayed for dinner, watched TV and went to bed.
We are using just our solar panels for power and it has been very sunny so we were able to recharge by about noon the first night but since then we have been using much more. It is still keeping up with our use just fine. Solar charging is really amazing.
Tuesday morning Mike finished work on the shuttle truck he had been fabricating for several months and its owner picked it up and took it directly to the field. We drove over in the afternoon to see it in action. Mike did quite a job fabricating this machine using a rebuilt diesel engine driving several hydraulic pumps and motors. It is really impressive. Its purpose is to shuttle nuts from the pickup machine to the transport trucks without requiring the pickup machine to stop. It pulls up behind the trailer being pulled by the pickup machine and bumps into it causing a probe to start the conveyor belt to unload the nuts into the shuttle truck. When full it backs off and then takes the nuts to the truck loading elevator. Fun to watch.
Dianna went over to Carrie’s again for several hours, and when she got home we had to run the A/C for an hour or so. It was about 85 yesterday.
We took a nice scooter ride today. Mike mapped out a trip for us that took us to two covered bridges. The first is in Roberts Ferry and is still in use. Actually it is a new bridge that was built less than 10 years ago to replace one that used to stand there. They had some interesting placards around the bridge that gave us a good history lesson about this area of the San Joaquin Valley.
Our next stop was at Don Pedro Dam visitor center. It was a good place for a stop and a good view of the lake.
Then we rode down to Knights Ferry where the BLM has campgrounds and an interesting collection of historic buildings and a covered bridge that was actually built in 1864. We were able to walk across it and they have kept it in very good repair. The buildings there were once a flour mill and later became a power plant. While we were in the visitor center talking to the ranger we mentioned that we were camp hosts for the State Parks. She was excited when she heard that and told us they needed some camp hosts and would love to have us anytime we could give them three months or so.
We stopped for a late lunch and then rode back home. The trip was about 85 miles and very scenic in the foothills of the Sierras. It was quite warm today, but moving along on the scooter made it bearable. When we got home we had to run the A/C an hour or so until the sun went down and it began to cool off. It was a fun day.