California/Baja Norte trip - Fiberglass RV


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Old 02-02-2008, 03:24 PM   #1
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In late December we departed from Eugene, Oregon on an adventurous journey to Baja. We left with visions of warm, sunny beaches and blue surf. We left in a flurry of snow showers and continued in snowy conditions on I-5 South to Grants Pass where we veered off to catch 101 on the coast since we were not in a time crunch and thought 101 would be a more beautiful drive. After a very windy, rainy night in Crescent City we cut over to the Avenue of the Giants. We had a break in weather and the views were spectacular. We stopped along the way to hike short trails with big beauty. On the way to the Redwoods we saw a majestic elk buck resting in the grass by the road. He was so still we had to check carefully to make sure he was real. Snow and rain found us again soon after we left the Redwoods. We stayed in Wiletz that night in a nondescrip rv park. The temperature dropped to 20. We continued down I-5 the next morning and found a wonderful wildlife refuge near Guistine, CA. A herd of elk were wandering by and there were many different birds and small mammals. We found a great state park near San Luis reservoir. There were few people there and the campground was wonderful. There were no showers and the bathrooms were outhouses but very clean. There was a bike path completely around the reservoir and a few dirt trails to explore. The reservoir has lots of bass and other fish. Birds were plentiful and it was another great place to birdwatch.

Heavy fog set in and stayed until sleet, rain and snow replaced the fog. With a few stops along the way, we made our way to Tehachapi. The rain and snow finally stopped and with the break in weather came a beautiful sunset. As we continued to climb we again hit fog and thetown was softly bathed with fog giving it a warm, festive atmosphere. It was cold again that night and the water spigets were frozen when we awoke. Fortunately we had disconnected so didn't have any problems. The campgrounds at Tehachapi were also terrific. The facilities were very clean and the views wonderful. We heard coyotes at night and saw some wildlife. This is another place to visit!

On to Protrero! There was only one other camper when we arrived in late afternoon. The temps still had not been above mid 30s. We explored a bit that afternoon before getting ready to cross the border the next day.

Crossing was very easy at Protrero. Very few people crossing compared to Tijuana. It was easy to get a visitor's visa (FMT) and exchange $ for pesos. We continued down. We stopped early to camp at Sordo Mundo, a school for the deaf. It was a highlight of our trip. We camped in an orchard of orange trees. The camp had previously been set up for volunteers at the school and has a bathroom and shower. There are no fees but donations are gratefully accepted. We were invited to tour the school and have lunch with the students. Each of us sat at a different table. I was fortunate to be sitting with a group of adolescents girls who loved to chat. The girls spoke ASL and so we were able to communicate to some degree.

Unfortunately, Baja Norte was hit by a big winter storm that had heavy rain for 3 days. The arroyos were flooded creating havoc for travelers. At that point we decided to head back to the desert, seeking warmth and sun. We went to Anza Borrego where we spent some time. The temperature never got above 63 degrees, but the state park was wonderful and there were many trails to explore and things to see. Anza Borrego is the second largest park in the US, covering more than 600,000 acres. Again, the coyotes sang their songs for us every morning and night. We met some wonderful people and had wondrous night skies.

Next we went to Indio where the scenes were gorgeous. The state park in Indio at Lake Cuhilla is surrounded by gated communities now. Once it was at the end of Imperial Valley, filled with agriculture. Although the camping was close, there was a couple of terrific places to go to get away from people. The sand by Lake Cuhilla was clean and inviting.

We then headed back home visiting familiar and new places, ending up in Elkton camping on the Umpqua river. From there it is just a hop, skip and jump to the coast. There is also a great bakery in Elkton that serves delicious dinners and nearby is a butterfly haven with interesting things to see. Finally, over to central Oregon where we again spent time in snow and below freezing temps. We finally are back in Eugene where it is still cold but finally with no snow!
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Old 02-02-2008, 08:30 PM   #2
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Charlene,

Nice pictures. I went to Lake Cuhilla for the first time last year. Wes and Maggie had a winter warm up there. It was pretty nice little place.

Say I was wondering where did you stayed in Tehachapi? I've never stopped there only turned off for gas.

I've been by San Luis Reservoir a million times and have never stayed. Always wondered how it was. I've got it on my list of short trips. It's only 3 hours from my home. I thought it might be a good place when the birds are migrating.
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Old 02-03-2008, 10:03 PM   #3
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Say I was wondering where did you stayed in Tehachapi? I've never stopped there only turned off for gas.

We stayed at Mountain Vellye RV Park right near the airport. Phone number is 661.822.1213. The sites were gravel pull through. The park had a laundry and dump station but still was small and felt rustic. The airport was very small and had only gliders or 1 and 2 engine planes. It was surrounded by fields that were great for walking the dog.
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Old 02-03-2008, 10:19 PM   #4
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Where did you camp in Elkton? I would like to stop in that area overnight on the way home next August... my sis says it is horrible for mosquitos in the summer, though.

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Old 02-04-2008, 01:23 AM   #5
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Sounds like a great trip - even if it wasn't as warm as you might have expected!!
How was it taking Luna across the border? Did you have to do/bring anything special for her (vet records, etc).
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Old 02-04-2008, 07:05 PM   #6
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We camped at Sawyer's Rapids. We also camped there early last summer (end of June) but didn't have any problems with mosquitos. I think that it helps being up on the flat by the river where you usually get a slight breeze in the evening. Here's a photo of the camp site.


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Where did you camp in Elkton? I would like to stop in that area overnight on the way home next August... my sis says it is horrible for mosquitos in the summer, though.

Bobbie
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Old 02-04-2008, 07:14 PM   #7
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Sounds like a great trip - even if it wasn't as warm as you might have expected!!
How was it taking Luna across the border? Did you have to do/bring anything special for her (vet records, etc).
There was no problem taking Luna across at all. Before going across we had a visit with the vet to get a current health certificate and an international certificate that has been required only recently for entrance back into the U.S. Regulations stated that the vet had to have seen the dog within 30 days of crossing but papers were not even checked when we went through Tecate. It is random whether the US customs check papers upon your return. Our trailer was searched but no questions were asked about the health certificate. The week before we returned a fiberglass trailer had gone through the border and had lots of money stuffed between the interior and exterior wall, or so we were told. Besides searching the trailer by person officers checked the trailer and car with heat sensors. We assumed that they were looking for other life forms. The Mexican officials were warm and cordial. Coming back was a different story.

We were relieved to have things go smoothly with Luna. She loved the trip and was a great traveler. I think that it helped that we were traveling with another friend who also had a dog so she had lots of play time and was exercised a lot.
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Old 02-15-2008, 06:10 PM   #8
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I decided to try the San Luis Creek Campground, since I've never stayed there. I revisited the San Luis NWR and the Merced NWR. Great trip! Lots of white geese, ducks and other birds. The wind drove us out on Thursday.

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Old 02-15-2008, 10:15 PM   #9
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I decided to try the San Luis Creek Campground, since I've never stayed there. I revisited the San Luis NWR and the Merced NWR. Great trip! Lots of white geese, ducks and other birds. The wind drove us out on Thursday.
Sorry to hear about the wind. I am glad that you saw lots of birds. What a beautiful photo of your camp.
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Old 02-16-2008, 08:58 AM   #10
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Charlene,

The photo was a quick one taken after the wind started, when I realized the sun was setting and I hadn't taken one yet. There was a great view of water and ducks from my bedroom window! I stayed 3 nights and the weather was mostly good. This campground appears to be a popular overnight roost for snowbirds from Canada, who were on their way to Baja or the desert. There was one Boler owned by an elderly (older than I) couple from Vancouver, BC. They didn't show much interest in my pitch for FiberglassRV.com. I failed to mention several hundred sandhill cranes I saw at Merced NWR. I think you mentioned the tule elk. Most have been relocated to other sites in CA. This time there were only 10-12 at Los Banos Wildlife Area compared to a huge herd last time I was there. I'm definitely going back again.
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Old 02-16-2008, 10:22 AM   #11
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I would have loved to see the sandhill cranes. I agree that this seems to be a layover place for migrating birds. I definitely would go back there, too. Thanks for the tip about Merced. One evening when we were there, I took out my chair, binocs, bird book and was able to identify over 30 birds from one spot. Pretty amazing!
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