Don’t believe everything you read on the Internet

Capturevegetation transects on extremely stony Knotmer soil, OR683Seems as though time just slides by beautifully when winter slips in.  This was a work week for me, and the one day I had to drive to town to the “real” office was the day before the huge northwestern snow storm blew in.  Lucky me!  The rest of the week I worked at home, snug as can be in my little office with the wood stove cranked up high and the cat snuggled in next to me in his bed.  Mo plowed a few times, I shoveled and ran the snow blower, and we hauled half a cord of wood to the porch, but the storm didn’t cause us a bit of trouble.

I am working on a rocky soil problem, and my head is filled with stones, cobbles, boulders, and gravels of all sizes. Each of these has a specific size and description of course, and eventually I will get it all sorted out and plugged into all those nice little NASIS fields and someday someone will request some interpretations for the Knot Tableland and out will pop a nifty little report, generated specifically for their area of interest from the data we gather, refine, and populate.

As I sit in the office fiddling with numbers, my mind wanders back to 2004 and 2005 when I was mapping out on the Knot Tableland, and dug a ton of holes in those stones, cobbles, and gravels and described those soils.  It was hot and dry, and most of the time I was alone.  That is the way we work in soil survey more often than not.

Deanna and Keith are a true team, in life as well as drivingSo this week, my mind has been split between recalling those memories as I look at my old descriptions, and talking on the phone with the project leader in Klamath till my ear was sore. ( I gotta get another ear piece!) We resolved the issues, and on this Saturday night, two more soils are written, cleaned up, and put to bed in NASIS.

bet that little girl of mine gets some double takes when she is behind the wheelThen, right in the midst of the worst of the windy snow, I got a call from my daughter Deanna saying that she and her husband were coming down the five and did we want to meet them for a short visit before they chained up to go over the Siskiyous.  Wow!  Deanna and Keith have their own truck and haul jet engines all over the country, but they haven’t been down this way in at least two years.  I don’t get to see my daughter very often, so Mo agreed to drive, whiteouts or not, and we headed over the pass to Medford. 

We had a great visit at Shari’s, next to the big Pilot truck stop where they could park the rig. I even remembered to bring the sweater I am working on for Deanna to check the fit.  It was perfect and she likes the colors. I still can hardly believe this little girl of mine drives that great big truck. 

Somehow, in the midst of everything else, remembering the last days of our trip home from the desert up the California coast just slid right by with an occasional thought, “Oh yeah, that!”.  So here is the promised “rest of the story”.

morning fog as we leave VandenbergWhen we left Vandenberg, there was a bit of fog hanging around making the hills look mysterious and mystical. The route led through Pismo Beach, a beautiful place to spend some time, but since it was only 9:30 in the morning when we arrived and still quite foggy and chilly, we decided to continue on to San Luis Obispo. First I had to check out the local quilt shop, and with early morning traffic in the small town almost non-existent, we had no trouble parking the MoHo right in front of the store. I browsed through the windows, but decided that waiting another 90 minutes for them to open was silly and we continued on toward breakfast.

driving Highway 1Our route home from Vandenberg AFB could have been simply a run up the 101, but why do simple when challenging is an option.  We instead decided that we were up for the winding beauty of California’s scenic coast highway 1.  Listed in many places as one of the most beautiful drives in the world.  Why in the world would we miss the chance to crawl along the steep cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean in a motorhome towing a car. 

California scramble.  YjummmOne of my favorite restaurants along this part of the coast the the Apple Farm in San Luis.  We were seated in the beautiful glassed in gazebo with brilliant sun shining in the windows framing the lovely hills surrounding us.  As usual, breakfast was scrumptious, with home fries and “California Scramble” which included lots of spinach, artichokes, olives and other California stuff.  I really appreciate my California upbringing and being exposed to things like artichokes, avocados, and olives as everyday food. I grew up eating lots of fresh stuff from the lush gardens and orchards where we lived that are now just pavement.

driving Highway 1We continued north to Morro Bay and our last chance to hightail it back over to the simpler route along 101.  The sun was out, the skies were clear, and when we saw the sign  saying it was only another 135 miles to Monterey we decided to go for it.  It was a great drive.  Winding and a bit challenging at times, but nothing too difficult.  The only thing about this road that is bothersome is the lack of places to pull over and actually spend time.  I was in the passenger seat, and the skies were a just a little bit murky from the morning fog, so my photos aren’t that great.  Of course, with the proliferation of digital photography and google search, there are at least a bazillion photos of every single stretch of this beautifully amazing stretch of road.  I even have some from other trips we have taken, so I wasn’t too concerned about missing out.  In fact, it was nice just being able to do the white knuckle thing now and then without worrying about photography.

Naval Military Family Camp Monterey Pines very short space 22Our evening destination was the Military Family Camp at Monterey Pines RV Park and Golf Course.  This camp is on the grounds of the Monterey Naval Postgraduate School.  We called ahead for a reservation, because even at $30 a night, that was cheap for anything else around that part of California.  It was good that we did, because the camp was nearly full.  Our rig is technically 26 feet long, and that is what I answer when asked when making a reservation.  We were given a nice pull through site on the phone, but when we arrived we were told she had moved us to space 22.  I think it was the shortest, tightest space in the park, and a big 40 footer was in our originally assigned space. After crawling around slippery ice plant to try to hook up, and struggling to get level, we decided that in the future we should say we are 30 feet long so we won’t get relegated to the worst sites in the camp!

big fast ducks on the golf course at the Naval Military Family Camp Monterey PinesThe campground is adjacent to a beautiful golf course, but the camp itself is really crowded and tight, and is backed up directly to the airport and hangars.  Loud noise for much of the night, and the occasional bomb going off now and then made things interesting. We settled in, and decided to try to find a grocery store.  Safeway was only 1.5 miles away, but my gosh, the traffic was horrendous!  One of those things I forget about California until I get back there.  We were glad for a nights rest and hookups, but might not try to come back to this one unless absolutely necessary.  There aren’t any Passport America parks anywhere in the vicinity, though, so it was good for a night.

the very worst Passport America campground we have even seenThe next day we decided to do another 250 mile run and spent some time searching around Streets and Trips, CampWhere, and AllStays for a place to spend the night.  We considered trying to get as far as Trinidad and the free casino, but then found a beautiful little park right on the 101 just north of Willits.  Creekside Cabins and RV Resort looked really great on the internet.  I tried calling to verify the Passport America Park status, but no one answered so I left a message.  After driving through the Bay Area, we were ready for a nice night in a quiet place. 

Creekside Cabins and RV Park, what it really looks likeWinding down into a damp, dark canyon, we felt a bit of consternation, but thought maybe the park would be OK.  The turn in came up suddenly and we pulled into the driveway only to discover a huge iron gate, tightly closed.  It was dark and spooky there, even in the afternoon, but I got out and rang the bell.  No answer.  We were in a pickle because the rig was cocked at a weird angle and there was no way we would get the car unhooked and we couldn’t back up or turn around.  I finally walked into the park and realized that this place might not be the best place to be.  There were really old rigs with blue tarps, big dogs with spike collars, strange looking people, and a LOT of junk. 

instead we settled in to Richardson Grove RV Park in GarbervilleI finally flagged down a somewhat “high” dude and asked him if he could open the gate to let us come in and turn around.  He was hemming and hawing but then the camp host appeared, another strange looking woman with wild hair and a gazillion tats and piercings, and said we could come in and look around.  One of the reasons we wanted the park was to see some TV that night, Mo was looking forward to one of the debates, and when this woman said, “Yeah we have maybe 6 channels”, we decided boondocking was a far better choice and we managed to get turned around and outta there!  Whew! 

view of the ocean (when the mist clears_ from our space 12 at BrookingsIt was getting late  and dark but we got back on the highway thinking we could find a casino, or a pull out or something.  I had no cell phone signal, but unbelievably there was still a Verizon signal on the MiFi and I found a park about 40 miles farther up the road.  We pulled into Richardson Grove RV Park a little bit later, settling in just before dark and hard rain started falling.  We thought we had it handled when we left Monterey.  I used all the tools available, found a Passport America Park, used the MiFi and GPS to find it, and still ran into the unknown factor.  We still laugh about just how much different that Creekside park looked in person than it looked on the nice internet web site.  By the way, it was no longer a Passport America Park, either, and the fees would have been 40 bucks for one night if we had decided to stay. 

We surely were glad to return home the next day to our beautiful, safe, cheap, gorgeous space A12 at Harris Beach State Park in Brookings.  Ahh, home, or almost home.  It was so good that we settled in for two nights and three days before packing up the Tracker, putting the MoHo to bed in the storage building, and traveling home to Rocky Point.

Author: kyotesue

Soil scientist/mapper working for 35 years in the wild lands of the West. I am now retired, enjoying my freedom to travel, to hike without a shovel and a pack, to knit and quilt and play, to play with photography and write stories about all of it.

12 thoughts on “Don’t believe everything you read on the Internet”

  1. I've learned to search out several parks within a 40 or 50 mile radius and to get to the first one early enough to give me time to move to the next one – if I get to one of the parks that obviously uses photos from somewhere else on their website. Traveling alone, I do all of this research before I head out, writing the info (address, phone numbers, directions) on index cards.


  2. Phew…glad you got outta there safely!

    I found your description of your job interesting (although I didn't understand much of it). Could you please elaborate and explain more? Why are these rock samples needed?


  3. Isn't that annoying when the website is SO out of date. When I'm searching for a place I rely alot on the RV Park Reviews website. Only once did we turn around and not stay at one place, and it was due mostly to the sites being covered in snow not the state of the park.


  4. Sometimes finding an acceptable place to stop overnight is a real crap shoot. With no navigator, I too am a user of index cards written out the night before.

    I'm with Karen. Could you explain what you do with your box of rocks?


  5. Sue, I agree with Ruth: you REALLY need to add to your research tools. I really laughed when I checked out Creekside after reading of your experience! RVparkreviews is where I start if O and I need a place to stay in an unknown area.

    What an experience you had! We've done a few of the drive-in, drive-out tours, too. Funny afterwards. 🙂


  6. Back to Karen and Judy: I sometimes talk a little bit about soil survey, but in the next month or so I will try to write a little more about my line of work, the how's and the why's. Might be fun. AND> Laurie is so right! I looked up Creekside in RVparkreviews and it was all right there! Add that site to my tools as she suggested.


  7. I do hate to admit it but we have lied on our reservation forms with regards to length of our rig for exactly the same reason..say you are small and you wind up with the worst site in the campground!!


  8. I pulled into a place like that once but I had to stay I was to tired to go on. I call it the Bates RV Park. I could here that ugly music from the Hichcock movie all night in my head.


  9. What a ride. We had considered taking the 101 from LA up to Pismo Beach but had been a little apprehensive of the freeway system in that area. You make it sound like a piece of cake.


  10. What a ride. We had considered taking the 101 from LA up to Pismo Beach but had been a little apprehensive of the freeway system in that area. You make it sound like a piece of cake.


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