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  • Writer's pictureRobert Gidley

Sloughing makes you slow

Updated: Feb 22, 2023

Feb 20, 2023 (Mon) Washington’s Birthday

6:30 am Eugene, OR 33°

Robert tends to wake up right away, while Gini takes a while to get all hr neurons engaged. Gini also likes to sleep in longer than Robert, which makes it challenging for her to drive. So after a rousing cup of coffee, Gini goes back to bed while Robert takes the wheel.

Sunrise in these parts is at7:00 am, so it’s already light enough to unplug Harvey and hit the road. It’s peaceful in the early morning. There are lambs in the frost-covered fields (but no frolicking, because they haven’t had coffee, yet), There’s a burning café with a fire truck in front.

Ahead—oh look, it’s a glitch in the matrix! A four-foot high wall of flickering black-and-white squares extends across the freeway. Ayeee! Oh wait, it’s just somebody’s trash bag filled with paper that got burst open and the traffic keeps the papers flying. It’s fun driving in the half-lit dawn!

8:45 am I-5 Rest Stop

We stop at a very nice Rest Stop (right outside a Casino, so that may be part of it). Lots of truck parking and we fire up the generator to cook up breakfast. (Harvey has a built-in generator that can provide power for our electrical grill, the toaster, and the microwave.) Bacon and eggs on the road! Woo hoo!

We also note that there’s a Winter Storm warning for here and a bunch of places near here—like the West Coast. We better scoot if we’re going to stay warm!

9:50 am Azalea, OR (35 miles north of Grants Pass)

Here we are in the middle of nowhere and—a traffic jam! Cars are backed up for miles and miles (and miles) and we’re scratching our heads about why. It doesn’t seem like that many people would live in Azalea and need to get to Grants Pass all at once (although with that Winter Storm warning…).

9:55 am Still in the traffic jam

We zip past a sign that says, “We’re sloughing the road starting today!”

This doesn’t clear it up for us. We’ve never heard of a road needing sloughing, but whatever it is, boy, it sure slows down traffic!

10:10 am Still north of Grants Pass

We see a sign proclaiming that Construction Has Ended!

A sloughing machine

10:40 10 miles north of Grants Pass 46°

Yup, it was another 30 minutes of slow traffic before it finally cleared. If traffic is like this in Nowhere, OR, we are definitely not looking forward to LA traffic…

10:45 am Siskiyou Pass

This is the highest point on I-5—which extends from Canada to Mexico—at 4,310 feet (over 100 meters!). It’s not a great view from here, because we’re surrounded by mountains. Lots of mountains. This entire area is infested with mountains.

Especially Mt. Shasta. Every so often, we’ll go around a bend and—wham! There’s snow-covered Mt. Shasta looming down at us.

Mt. Shasta looming in the distance

11:56 pm Inspection station in California

We are informed multiple times that there is an Inspection Station ahead and that All Vehicles Must Stop at it. As we get closer, we see more signs that tell us that this is an Agricultural Inspection Station, and we begin to worry.

What about our strawberries? Blueberries? Grapes? Will our trip be fruitless?

We approach the Inspection Station with some trepidation and then we see a sign:

“No inspectors available. Move along.”

Whew! Of course, we may end up responsible for the complete collapse of agriculture in California, but we’ll enjoy our berries while it happens!

3:38 pm Anderson, CA 77°

The town of Anderson (south of Redding) is mostly notable as the location where Gini was warm enough to remove her down vest. We’re getting warm, now, baby!

5:45 pm Colusa, CA

We were going to boondock at a Rest Stop (partly to see how rigorously they enforce the “don’t stay more than eight hours” rule), but this Rest Stop looks pretty bleak. No trees, no atmosphere, not a pleasant place to stay one hour, much less the 12 or so we planned.

Instead some internet searching turns up an RV park 20 miles away, where the lady tells us that there are more convenient parks further down I-5. Which just doubles our interest—what is she hiding?

Turns out she’s hiding a gorgeous campground along a river, just chock-a-block full of trees and greenery and yeah, we had to drive down five miles of beat-up road, but we’re in Yukon Harvey, where this kind of road is called an “Improved Highway.”

We settle in as the sun sets over the river.

Gini walking into the sunset at our campground

Our progress

Miles so far: 717 miles

Miles to Phoenix: 1,523

Looks like we’ll be lucky to make it in four days…

Our Day 2 progress

Gini & Robert

Harvey Staff

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