A memorable RV trip west

In April 2010, my son, Jamie, and daughter-in-law, Rita, invited me to go on a trip in an RV to California. Jamie, a pilot, flew me from Sheridan to Salt Lake City where Rita met the two of us with an RV ready to go.

We were gone for two weeks to see the Pacific Ocean and the redwood forests in northern California.

Our trip began by driving to a boom town overlooking the Truckee River outside of Reno, Nev. We drove along switchbacks in the Sierra Mountains to Fort Bragg, Calif.

While there, we ate seafood at the elegant Mendo Bistro; the bistro is located upstairs in the old Union Company building which once was an old lumber company started in 1891.

Most of the restaurants served only wine and beer (no liquor) because we were in wine country.

We saw lots of ocean.
Outside of Mendocino, Calif., we took the RV off the beaten path to get closer to a beach. It was the opening day of abalone season and there were lots of seaman.

We saw a sick female sea lion that had come up close to our RV. The area conservationists arrived to put the sea lion in a large kennel.

Jamie helped and Rita took photos of the event.
Jamie and I were walking along the beach on the Pacific one day when we came to a fresh water stream flowing to the ocean. Seagulls were flying overhead.

The seagulls would drop down and wash the salt water off their wings before retiring for the evening. They wouldn’t land to wash until we went away.

Traveling north along Highway 101, we went drove through the town of Uriah to the redwood forest where we camped along the Smith River in the Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park.

We walked through the Chandelier Drive-Thru Red Wood Tree; our RV was too large to drive through. We discovered that our cell phones would not work when we were among the trees.

We drove north to Eugene, Ore., to see my daughter, Tyler, in her new condominium. While there, we toured the King Winery vineyard outside of Eugene.

It is a very old and beautiful vineyard.

The main building looks like a castle on top of a hill. The vineyards were terraced along the hillside. The salesman there got to us: before we knew it, we were walking out of there with two cases of wine!

Heading home, we spent the night in a little town along the Snake River. The last leg of our adventure included a visit with my nephew, Bob Hayden, who took us for a visit to Antelope Island in Utah. A low cloud cover socked us in for three days and we could not fly home until the fog lifted.

Jamie flew me home to Sheridan where we concluded our adventure with a dinner at the Country Kitchen with George Ewing.

We stayed at KOA campgrounds on our trip. I had never known how wonderful the KOA campgrounds can be. They offer water, electricity and hook-ups for the bathroom. We had a wonderful little kitchen in the RV. Jamie and Rita cooked fine breakfasts, lunches and suppers.
I couldn’t get into the RV without my Senior Center exercise class. I couldn’t’ climb a dune on the Pacific Coast without my Senior Center exercise class. I couldn’t have gone up a high stairway to a glamorous restaurant without my Senior Center exercise class. I could not go down a stony path to a river flowing swiftly to the Pacific Ocean without my Senior Center exercise class.

I’d like my next adventure to be a trip to Texas to see my fifth great-grandson, Hank.

Guest columnist Mary Burgess is a Sheridan resident.
Center Stage is written by friends of the Senior Center for the Sheridan Community. It is a collection of insights and stories related to living well at every age.

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Tom Cotton

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