OTRA – CA – Raymond
Jul 19, 2012
I really don’t know what town this is near because, believe me, we are out in the middle of nowhere!! If I had known this was so far away from anywhere, I certainly wouldn’t have booked it. We are at the Codoniz Recreation Area Campground on Eastman Lake which is about 25 northeast of Chowchilla which is right along CA-99. Now, 25 miles isn’t normally all that bad but about 12 of those miles are along some really bad road (Avenue 26). Although that road is perfectly straight, we couldn’t go faster than 30 mph and often were crawling along at 25 mph because the road construction twists the truck and trailer every which way. When we finally got set up and into the trailer, there was stuff displaced all over, stuff that hasn't moved in all the miles we've traveled. Of course, don't know how much was Route 99 and how much was due to Avenue 26 but...
Once we turned left on Road 29, the road surface was a little better but it was up and down hills, around curves….on and on and on.
Oh, but again, the scenery was beautiful...grassy plains with rock outcroppings and cattle placidly standing in knee-deep stream cooling their hooves...and a deep blue sky covering everything.
So we finally get to the campground, sign in, and off to find our lot. Missed a turn and we ended up going the wrong way on a one-way road! (But then again, we were only going one way!) Ooops, here comes another camper, coming in the right way, so I had to back up enough to let him take a short cut around us through an empty site. We continued on in hopes of finding somewhere to turn around but never did so once again, had to back up about 50’ and then finally got turned around going the right direction. Whew!! During this whole episode, we passed the site we had reserved and it was just too much on a hill so we stopped at the office on our go-around trip and got another site. This one is on the level and, although it’s along the main road around our loop, there’s no traffic to speak of. Took us about 30 minutes to get the RV leveled, though, and I was ready to pack it in, forfeit our camping fee, and go back to one of the campgrounds we saw advertised along 99 on the way up!! But finally we’re in and cool…and I’m pooped. I’m sure Bob is, too. So I’m off to take a nap. Can’t get internet or phone service down where we are so we’ll get an early start tomorrow and see if we can find a hill where the phones work or go back in to town where, hopefully, they’ve heard of Verizon! We stopped at a grocery store on the way in and while Bob went and got milk, I found a geocache right in the parking lot so at least I’ve got my cache-of-the-day. Bob said the store was really neat…and he saw mussels there…so maybe we’ll go there tomorrow. Bunk and Brenda aren’t due in ‘til late tomorrow night so we have tomorrow to ourselves to do some exploring.
So, off we go to do some exploring today. Once we were out of the park, we took a different route than the one we came in on yesterday and it was just as rough! How in the world a state that is bankrupt can afford to build a high-speed rail line between San Francisco and Los Angeles and not afford to fix the existing roads is beyond me. Anyway, although the road was very rough, the scenery was beautiful and the little ground squirrels kept us amused by darting across the road in front of us. These guys look like regular squirrels but they’re a bit smaller and have a white collar around their neck. And no matter what side of the road they’re on, they want to be on the other side when they hear a car coming and across they dart. Within 100 yards, about 25 crossed one way or the other in front of us. Funny, silly varmints.
Passed, again, acres upon acres of what we think were pistachio trees…and, of course, vineyards. This area is also noted for its almonds so we’re not sure if the clumps of nuts were almonds or pistachios.
We ended up in Madera where we found a Walmart to do some grocery shopping then it was off to find my geocache-of-the-day which was nearby…but on the way, the brakes on the truck started grabbing with a loud “clunk” whenever I pushed on the brake pedal. Then they’d “clunk” again when I pushed the gas pedal. So back into Walmart’s parking lot we limped where I called Good Sam Club. They sent a roll-back and that took us to the local Dodge dealer. After an hour there, the service guy comes out and tells us that one (or was it 2) of the bolts on the left front caliper was missing which allowed the caliper to just rotate loosely. It was that hitting the wheel that made the clunk. So…this is Friday and of course, they don’t have the parts they need and those won’t be in ‘til Monday (the day we’re supposed to leave for Reno) and do we want the back brakes checked, too? These are the brakes I had just had installed, all 4, about 6 weeks ago to the tune of $1300! But, yes, I want all 4 of those brakes checked because I surely don’t want to run into any trouble while we’re going down the interstate.
The service guy called Hertz for a rental for us so now we’re driving a little Mazda something. After driving the truck, this thing is so quick but it feels like we’re in a roller skate. One thing in its favor though…it’s blue, like the truck. But it sure looks funny, parked in front of the Ti!
Stopped at the grocery store on the way back and picked up the mussels. Oh, were they good!!
I waited up ‘til the kids got here around 1:30 a.m. We had a short visit and then they set up their beds in the Audi and it was off to bed for all of us. They had had a long day with Brenda in class ‘til 3:00 and then a 7-hour drive from Vegas. Tomorrow we’re off to Yosemite National Park.