It all started when Bruno (Daddy) said, “I want to see the Big Trees one more time.” At 87 years old, this request was not taken lightly. “As you wish,” replied his sons.
Flights to California
|Dad & Tim||
Tuesday July 6
July 6 — the Big Trees adventure begins! Sacramento was our ground zero launching pad. From the North, James flew in from Michigan; from the Southwest, Tim and Daddy arrived from Texas, and Andy took flight from New Mexico; and from the West, Dan coordinated our arrival at the airport via his home in Lodi, California. Tim and Daddy were first to arrive from Dallas, and Dan promptly took them to the waiting area for about an hour. Minutes after James touched down and made his way to baggage claim, Tim called and asked for the terminal location. No sooner had he hung up then Andy walked into the claim area looking for James who was standing next to a pile of luggage reaching from floor to ceiling like the Cliffs of Insanity. We piled our bags into the pickup and took the hour-long drive from the Sacramento airport to the RV place in Lodi.
“Farm boys, fetch me the RV.” But where was it? At 2:00 p.m., we arrived about 20 minutes early at the Rent My RV office. Then the RV was delayed, because while Charlie, the RV hand, went to fill the RV with gas, a cabinet door flew open — and crash! — the dishes fell out and shattered. 30 minutes later a new set of dishes was delivered. “How many of you have operated an RV before?” asked Charlie. Silence. “Okay. Nobody. I’ll walk you through the process.” The RV checkout (this button is for water, this hose for sewer, this button for the heater, this one for the slide out and do it in this particular order) took about 45 minutes, and we were cleared to start the adventure, no quick start manual in hand. Oh well, it’s going to be an adventure.
First stop was at Dan’s house in Lodi to pick up supplies. Dan’s wife Sue had stocked up on groceries which we loaded into the RV, along with camp chairs. We were off on the first leg of our journey only two hours behind plan.
Tim drove the RV on the first leg, which went through California’s central valley. This is a rich agricultural area. We saw fields of tomatoes, corn, strawberries, vineyards, and orchards. We stopped at a roadside stand to buy 6 pints of fresh strawberries. Oh, were they good! Most of us had not eaten since early morning breakfast before our flights, so we stopped at Taco Bell before continuing.
The trip up I-5 was uneventful, but after we got onto CA-20 the road began to wind as we traversed the hills between the central valley and the coast. I found it interesting that the central valley is approximately at sea level – the GPS was recording elevation between +20 and -20 feet. Even the hills did not rise above 1500 feet.
It was a long and winding road. So winding, in fact, that James and Andy were turning green in the back of the RV. So at the town of Lucerne Dan and Tim moved to the back and James and Andy took over the driving and navigating. Despite traveling slower than the recommended speeds on the yellow caution signs, the passengers in the back were constantly fighting carsickness.
By the time we got to Leggett, it was dark. All of us have jobs and families, so in the rush no one had brought written directions to the Redwoods River Resort. No problem — with two iPhones we should be able to pull the information off the Internet. But AT&T has no service in Northern California, at least not in the Redwoods region! Inconceivable! The campsite was not listed on any of the maps we had with us. As we traveled US 101 along the Eel river we tried to correlate the curves in the road with our recollection of the map showing the destination. “It’s on the left, just past a big curve.” We were saved by Tim getting a weak Sprint signal, and found that the RV park was just a couple miles ahead.
Finally, we arrived at Redwoods River Resort about 10:30 pm. Of course, the office was closed, but they had left info about our campsite taped to the door. We found site #16, with the campers next door connected to our power. They were nice about disconnecting. Before long we were hooked up to power and water, had the slideout opened, beds made, and were sleeping the night away.
2:00 PM Pick up RV; 1935 South Stockton Street, Lodi, CA 95240
Redwoods River Resort
|241 miles||4 hr 25 min|
Wednesday July 7
Friday July 9
View 7-Redding to Lodi, CA in a larger map
10:00 AM Return RV; 1935 South Stockton Street, Lodi, CA 95240
|Dad & Tim||
These are expenses incurred by the group, which we split among ourselves.
|Type||Description||Amount||Per Night||Per Person Per Night|
|RV Rental||Rent My RV, LLC||$2050.44||$292.92||$58.58|
|RV Park Rent||Park Fee, extra persons fee, firewood, internet||$267.81||$38.26||$7.65|
|Fuel||Gas for the RV||$437.07||$62.44||$12.49|
|Entrance Fees||to get into attractions||$19.00||$2.71||$0.54|
|Gift||Grandfather Tree tee-shirt for Bruno||$21.63||$3.09||$0.62|