We arrived at home base with a sick dog on two types of antibiotics who had a mass in her lungs. We took her to the vet and found out that her lungs were improving, but she had eaten about thirty rocks. You didn’t misread that, the idiot ate around thirty tiny stones. The vet said they would likely pass, but that if she started throwing up it could mean her bowels were blocked and she had to come back right away. This gave us the new hobby of counting rocks in doggy doo-doo. Possibly the world’s most disgusting hobby.
Over the five weeks at home, we did several doctor visits, a couple dentist visits, several vet visits, a trip to Seattle, a few hikes, and visited with friends. It was super busy and absolutely beautiful. Everything was blooming, it was sunny, and we are still glad this is where we will exit the road.
We had counted twenty-three stones and felt ready to continue our journey.
On the Road again
As our launch date approached we noticed our next destination — Bend Oregon — was going to be very cold. While we can deal with temperatures above 10F without winterizing, it blooming sucks. We decided that was a no go and Kendra hopped into action.
We had two nights at Harvest Host on our travels resulting in a lovely bottle of whiskey, and a very good meal with a pint and a half of stout. I highly recommend checking out Harvest Host for those days you just need a place to sleep as you hustle to a destination.
We disconnected and drove separately on Sunday morning to go over the pass from Oregon to California. Tortuga can haul the Honda up those hills, but it is slower and we have taken to not pushing the engine hard. When I was thirty minutes out Kendra called and told me the park had no showers or bathrooms. In the thirty minutes it took me to arrive, Kendra had already found us a new destination. We stayed one night, moved to a Walmart on lunch to finish my work day, and then headed into a remote section of California to be off-grid.
Black Butte Lake
Black Butte Lake has an off-grid campground with gorgeous rolling hills, a stunning lake, and great hiking. We loved it, the pets loved it, it was very quiet, very relaxing, and a true gem that we will likely return to. I will let the pictures speak for themselves.
On the Road again
We really combined three weeks of travel into two — because of a deadline — so we tore out of Black Butte with two long days of driving planned. Donner Pass was one of the areas that got a lot of snow and with the snow-swollen river beside the road, it was a lovely drive. We passed by Reno and hit a campground in the High Sierra that I loved. Shanti and I did several miles of hiking, but no time for true exploration.
Tortuga was built in 2015 with a batch of faulty material on the dinette. We might have been able to fight with Winnebago and get them to replace it, but honestly, they did such a horrible job in so many places we didn’t trust them. Kendra had found an individual who worked in marine grade materials and knew the ins and outs of dinette upholstery so we came to Bishop. We had a spot in a field at the local fairgrounds and had low expectations of the town. It was much better than we expected.
Bishop is nestled between the Sierra and Inyo mountains which were both capped in record snowfall and truly beautiful. The local bakery Schatt’s makes the best sandwiches you will find at a bakery. They cook real turkeys and hams every day and I recommend the #1 with dark meat and no mustard. Their pastries and bread are also magically delicious.
So Monday after my work day he shows up and tears out the dinette. He said we might get it by Sunday, but definitely by the next week. We told him we would move forty minutes away on Sunday so it would be best if we could get them by then.
They say an RV shrinks in the rain — which is true — but not as much as it shrinks if you cannot use your primary seating and workspace. We did our best in the tinier space, but it was tough and Sunday rolled around with no dinette.
Friends came to Bishop to visit — which helped keep us sane instead of stressing about furniture — and we squeezed in a little hike after work one day. Another exotically beautiful area to visit. Kendra was giving some serious eyeballing to a few of the boondocking spots, so I think I will see these again.
Without a useable dinette, we headed 40 minutes into the Inyo mountains and parked off-grid at Benton Hotsprings. This is certainly on my top five list for hot springs. If I am being honest, it is solidly in second place. A bit dusty and very dry, but the views are amazing and each site gets a private tub where you control the water temperature to match what you like.
The upholstery was to be completed and installed no later than Thursday as we planned to drive a couple hours after work Friday to visit with friends before continuing to Kaibab for two weeks of relaxing before we hit our next big spot. Wednesday night we get a call, someone called in sick and the upholstery won’t be until Friday. We cussed and changed our plans. Back to the fairgrounds.
One of us said, “I think he is having problems.”
The other replied, “If he doesn’t get it installed tomorrow his next problem will be a shallow grave.”
He did show up the next day, just as the dog got sick. Very sick. She threw up until nothing was in her stomach and then drank water and threw up more. As the installation happened. If you remember, we were warned that this could be a sign of blockage and could be life-threatening. We thought we would be at the emergency vet at 8am, but around 2:30am she kept some water down and we all finally got some sleep. We suspect she dug up and ate something she should not have just before we left Benton Hot Springs.
Anyway, the upholstery did get installed, it looks amazing, and it caused us to alter our route through a very pretty pass.
You shall not Pass
We left Bishop separately and took the 168 Pass through the Inyo Mountains. As I turned left there was a clear sign that read “Steep, windy, narrow. Tortuga not advised.” Well, I don’t remember the exact wording, but that is what it meant. I would say it was the number two craziest drive we took Tortuga through. The Google Maps voice apparently dropped a couple hits of acid just before the pass because it kept telling me to veer off the paved road onto two tracks that veered out into the mountains and rejoined the road a mile further down. I ignored that advice.
Just as I was entering the one-lane section with steep cliffs on either side I hear what I would best describe as my cat imitating the Exorcist’s voice. This long mournful yowling that sounded like demonic possession was followed by the hacking sound that indicated yet more vomit. Forty minutes later I pull in front of Kendra on the side of the road and we hook up for towing. Then we come inside and clean up the cat’s breakfast. Hopefully, the last vomit for 2023.
May peace find you.