We are working our way back east after 3 ½ months on the road. We stopped our northwestward journey at the redwoods in California. While we have had a most awesome trip, one-night stands will be the theme of this post. Keep your expectations exceedingly low and you will love this post!
While heading east we have stayed largely at private campgrounds, a truck stop or two, and even a state park. Unlike our attitude heading west with the spirit of adventure, once we got the idea of heading east and home in our minds, with long days driving, the thought of boondocking (no power or water) became somewhat repulsive and the thought of creature comforts like the electric coffee maker and our electric heating pads in our bed became all the more alluring.
As we turned Wanda around, our first stop was Santa Rosa, CA where we stopped for lunch at the Russian River Brewing Company, home to Pliny the Elder, Pliny the Younger, Blind Pig and other great brews. Ooh la la! For those of you unfamiliar with craft beers, Pliny the Elder is revered and incredibly hard to find. This is a small brewing company but the products they make are just delicious. Don’t ask me how I know that.
From Santa Rosa we made it near Sacramento where we camped in Lodi, CA at the coveted Flying J truck stop. If you haven’t stayed here, well, clearly you are missing the coziness of halogen lights, the sweet smells of diesel and the soothing sounds of truckers’ engines. Sorry, no pictures but I think you can conjure up an image on your own.
From Sacramento we made it to Ely, NV. The road (Highway 50) is a stunning road that was a pleasure to drive, and led us over the mountains and down into Lake Tahoe.
Lake Tahoe has been on our bucket list for some time, and we have previously tried to spend time there. I have to say that while the lake and surrounding mountains are beautiful, the area is so built up and commercialized that I think that for me I can check this box just having driven through.
From Lake Tahoe we traversed the middle of Nevada, continuing on US Route 50. What a great road and a beautiful state Nevada is! Views were spectacular almost the entire way and it almost became visual overload. Loved this road, as well as cute towns like Austin, NV. This is a must-drive road if you in the vicinity.
The next day we traveled on to Fruita, CO to the state park. While we were not able to take advantage of the park due to time constraints, this is a great place to camp. It is just west of Grand Junction on the western slope and right on the Colorado River.
We’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto. But wait – yes we are! We landed in Goodland, KS for a night at the KOA. This is hardly a destination campground, but it fit the bill – water and electric. And the town of Goodland was cute! There is a huge (80 foot tall) easel with a replication of Van Gogh’s painting “Three Sunflowers in a Vase”. How did he ever come up with that name??
We camped at an Army Corps of Engineers campground in Cleveland, OK on the shores of Keystone Lake. This seemed like it would be a good place for locals in the summer to launch their boats. With it being mid-week and early in the season there was plenty of open sites, but I imagine this is a zoo in the warmer weekends. Nice place for vultures to soar, and the lake is beautiful.
We drove across Arkansas, but to be honest we were just making time – no good or bad things to report.
We entered Tennessee and gave Jackson Mobile Village in Jackson, TN a shot at gold, but alas, this may not be your primo campground. The campground host was a dead ringer for Cousin Eddie. Let’s just say I was nervous about hooking up our water hose. We spent the night uneventfully, but we will never be back.
We continue our trip tomorrow where we will stay for a day or two at TCPC, the Airstream Park on the Cumberland Plateau near Crossville, TN. We will give long days of driving a short break until we head to Duke University in Durham, NC where we will spend time (can’t wait!!) with Child Unit 1 before heading home.
That’s it for now – see you soon!