Yuma Camp Site

On the road again.  We’re just outside of Yuma, Arizona on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land.  Forecasted to reach 70 degrees today and sunny which is just what we came here for.

We had planned to depart Chelan on January 2 but bad weather to the south blocked our way.  It looked as if we would have to cool our heels for at least another week and we had resigned ourselves to the wait but on Tuesday, Jan 3 I noticed that the  forecast for southern Oregon/Northern California had changed.  It was calling  for a break in the weather on Thursday and Friday.  After that, a massive snow storm was to come ashore and create travel havoc for another week.  We would have to thread the needles, run the gauntlet (take your pick), to make it through.  We hurriedly loaded the truck, hitched up the trailer and headed south.  If our timing was right, we hoped, we would hit the Siskiyou Pass about noon on Thursday and (hopefully) have a snow-free highway.

The same weather system that was causing the clear skies over the Siskiyous was composed of polar air that dropped the temperature to near zero.  Portland, Oregon which is near sea level and normally temperate was only 19 degrees when we camped at a rest stop Wednesday night.  The parking lot was a solid sheet of ice and deserted all night – kinda creepy.  Our RV batteries were unusually low on charge because the solar panels had been covered for months by a tarp so the heater fan was too feeble to power itself through the night.  Result: a very cold interior to our trailer.  It was so cold that Rudy (our dog) was allowed the rare privilege of sleeping on our bed with us.  We drew the line at allowing him under the covers which is where he tried to insert himself.

Oregon was sunny and frosty.  The Willamette Valley had a rare snow cover.  Quite beautiful.  Sure enough, the highway surface was snow-free through the mountain passes.  Hats off to the road maintenance people.  It was obvious from the overturned semis on the roadside that the previous night had been a snowy mess but the roads had been scraped clean by the time we passed through.  Threading the needle, indeed.  Redding, CA, which has traditionally greeted us with temperatures in the seventies on our winter migration was only in the forties but that was good enough for us after our frosty passage through Oregon and Washington.

Reports are that the big storm is dumping several feet of snow on the mountains up north so we made it just in time – which only adds to our sense of relief.