Friday, June 13, 2008


Just as planned, with no surprises or problems, we left Cal Expo RV park Thursday morning and hit the road for our summer travels. As always, I felt a few pangs of sadness leaving friends and family - we had enjoyed a lot of really fun activities including my niece Claire's high-school graduation party, my Dad's zip line ride, a visit from our RV'ing friends Mary and Elaine, dinners out with friends, movies. When my friend Becky stopped by for a last minute hug, I got teary-eyed.

My "homesickness" faded away quickly as we got underway. In no time, Luna was settled on my lap, the satellite radio was tuned in to a favorite show, and the scenery and temperature were beginning to improve.

The drive through the Sierra over Donner Pass is a bit of a challenge for Scoopy - a steady climb, steep in parts, that seems it will never end. Odel was on top of his driving game, though, and we passed the big semis without getting stuck behind them in the slow lane as they crawl up the grade.

Soon it was all downhill, alongside the Truckee River. Say good-bye to the lovely scenery - after coming down from the Sierra and passing through Reno, the flora changes to scrub, the trees disappear, and the arid miles roll past with a monotonous regularity.

Our target at the end of a 250 mile day was Rye Patch Reservoir (read our review here) between Lovelock and Winnemucca, Nevada. We hadn't been there before, but the distance was right and the image of water in this arid land was very appealing.

What a great stop! This photo is the view from our huge, shady campsite on the bank of the Humboldt River, which was dammed upstream in 1935 to make Rye Patch Reservoir. $10 a night, no hookups, just lovely, spacious sites, huge cottonwood trees and great views. We aren't avid birders, but enjoyed watching the Herons (Great Blues and small Greens) and the huge American White Pelicans with their showy black wing tips.

We stayed at Rye Patch unusually late this morning, taking advantage of the walking opportunity since we had planned tonight's stop in a casino parking lot. Fifty miles up the road, in Winnemucca, we stopped for fuel at Flying J and saw this interesting RV in a fueling station nearby: the Farmer's Insurance Mobile Claims Center.

While Odel filled Scoopy (gulp, gulp, gulp), I talked to the driver of the bus. He is on the way to Chico, California, to help at the site of the wildfire there. When he arrives, the bus becomes a claims office and food center; they also provide free phone service to whoever needs it, Farmer's client or not. The driver works for Farmer's, doing driving and maintenance. His wife is off at another crisis in their OTHER Mobile Claims Center. It was an interesting conversation with a guy who obviously enjoys helping to bring relief to disaster areas.

Our day ended, not in a casino parking lot as planned, but at the Beverly Hills RV Ranch (read our review here). The first time we traveled I-80 through Nevada, four years ago, we spent a night here. Since then, we remembered the park but not where it was located!

Well, it is just west of Wells, Nevada, about halfway from last night's stop (Rye Patch) to tomorrow night's stop (Salt Lake City). Hmmmm, let's see... drive on to West Wendover, NV, another 60 miles, and drycamp for free on the asphalt of a casino's Truck/RV parking lot, or pay $15 for FHU on grass with a gorgeous view and no neighbors? For us, no contest, so here we are for the night. Tomorrow, on to Salt Lake City.

1 comment:

  1. When I first started reading your blog about Winnemucca, I'm thinking, ick, what boring scenery, then, you come upon a campground that is beautiful. Next, you stop at another pretty place, so unlike the general scenery along I-80. Why stop at an ugly casino parking lot which is probably hot and dusty, when you can sleep in such beautiful green surroundings with trees! Hope you find as pretty an area near Salt Lake City, too. We'll be watching...

    Hugs, Sharon & Ron