Bio-Diesel, Food Poisoning, Etc…


Mo's Restaurant in Florence

Mo’s Restaurant in Florence

Red if Fred's illegitimate son

Red is Fred’s illegitimate son

The beginning of installment #2 of documenting our travels to Florida (and back…) finds us in Florence, Oregon.  After getting settled into our campground, about 7 miles north of town, we headed in to fuel our truck and us.  First stop was Mo’s – a restaurant that sits right on the Siuslaw River and near the beginning of the expansive Oregon Dunes area.  We had been here a couple of times before so pretty much knew what to expect.  We did take a bit of a risk; the last time we ate here the food sucked (clam fritters that were more filler than clam.)  But, this time dinner was actually pretty good.  Seating is essentially a bunch of picnic tables and (hard) wooden benches.  Dinner was pretty good – and the clam chowder was excellent.  The fish tacos were pretty good, at least by Oregon/Mexican food standards.  Not exactly like traditional fish tacos, but close enough.

Leave detail

Leaf detail

Tree detail

Tree detail

Next, we headed off to the Safeway gas station to top off our tank and use our Rewards Points to get a 20-cent-per-gallon discount.  As I was BS-ing with the gas-pumper-guy, he asked me if I REALLY wanted to use bio-diesel which, according to him, was regular diesel cut with 15% used restaurant cooking oil – the discards of the stuff used to make things like French fry’s.  He said that they had received numerous customer complaints about loss of power, diminished mileage and clogged fuel filters (which in our truck cost about $100 to replace – parts and labor.)  He actually suggested we go down the road to Fred Meyer and get some ‘real’ dieseI – for 2 cents less per gallon (before our discount.) But, we took a risk and had him top off the tank to the tune of adding only about 10 gallons.

Turns out his observations seemed to be correct.  The next day as we headed back inland to Seven Feather, near Canyonville, I noticed a slight decrease in pulling power up hills, as well as about a 10-15% decrease in mileage.  So, we learned something…no more bio-diesel for us.  In the future, we will be careful to use only ULSD (ultra low sulfur diesel).  As a footnote, after we filled up again at Seven Feathers, things seem to return to normal.  Lesson learned.

Not the same as the movie...except for the 'gluttony' part...

Not the same as the movie…except for the ‘gluttony’ part…

Dee Dee getting The Bird, or is The Bird getting Dee Dee

Dee Dee getting The Bird, or is The Bird getting Dee Dee

Tree and fence, Seven Feathers

Tree and fence, Seven Feathers

We decided to have dinner at the Seven Feathers Casino (I made enough at the tables earlier to pay for it.)  Everything seemed OK – until about 1 AM when I awoke from a very weird dream with severe stomach cramps.  I spent most of the remainder of the night/early morning in the head.  (Dee Dee was fine, probably because she had a different dinner than I did.)

Topping the Siskiyou Summit

Topping the Siskiyou Summit

Next stop was about 260 miles down The Five freeway to Corning, CA, to the Rolling Hills Casino.  On the way there we crested the Siskiyou Summit and battled high cross-winds from Yreka to Weed.  Made for some tense driving.  Friends had told up about the campground there (at Rolling Hills) and said it was a pretty good deal.  Turned out to be excellent advice.  Friendly staff, inexpensive ($28) and well maintained.  Only issue happened that evening – after dark – when I was out walking Charlie on the perimeter of the park, where there was a lot of open space.  It was raining, and he was running off-leash.  This woman who was walking down the road (let’s call her ‘The Dog Nazi’) started giving me a load of crap.  “That dog is supposed to be on a leash!”  I restrained myself and did not say everything I felt like saying, but still got my point across to her regarding what I felt about her remarks.  She walked away mumbling.  At first I thought she was a campground employee, but it turns out she was just a nosey, busy-body who was just staying the night.

At the Oasis Grill, just north of Woodland, one of the best breakfast places we have ever been to

At the Oasis Grill, just north of Woodland, one of the best breakfast places we have ever been to

We are now in Modesto, after surviving the ‘highway construction gauntlet’ between North Stockton and Modesto – what a mess, and fairly stressful when you are pulling a 5th-wheel, competing with big-ass semi-trucks for road space.  We are lucky to have Al and Linda Cover as good friends; we are staying at their place in the country…we call it ‘Big Al’s Sheep Ranch and Campground.’

Steve, Big Al, Bob and Bud, long-time golf partners

Steve, Big Al, Bob and Bud, long-time golf partners (We all missed you, Bill, and wish you a swift and full recovery.)

Dennis, one of my very best Modesto friends

Dennis, one of my very best Modesto friends

Having a great time visiting many old friends, playing golf and reminiscing about ‘the good old days.’  I really was disappointed not being able to see my really good buddy, Bill, who has been quite ill as of late.

It has been pretty much non-stop stuff-to-do since we got here, and a lot of fun.  We really miss living in this great, friendly, community.   It’s amazing how Modesto has grown – from under 55,000 when we moved here in 1974 to over 203,000 today.  The sprawl is incredible.  And the College (MJC) has also experienced explosive growth, with many new facilities since I left in 2002.  The West Campus in particular has grown by leaps and bounds.  Dee Dee has really enjoyed seeing the several folks she worked with at the Frito Lay plant, and hanging out with her buddy, Dorlene.

(There are a few more things to relate about Modesto, but I will include those in the next installment, as this one is starting to get pretty wordy.)

We are here for a couple of more days, then we will be heading off to Bakersfield, Dagget (where there is a free catch-and-release pond in the campground) and then Las Vegas, where we will be for 4 days, over Thanksgiving, staying near Fremont Street – our favorite Las Vegas place-to-be.

But that’s the next installment…

And Away We Go…

And Away We Go…


Finally.  We are on the road to Florida, with many stops planned before we get there in February.

We got the house closed up (well, except for leaving Bert and Ernie, our loyal pit bulls, on the premises…) and departed Silver Lake at 9 AM in 27 degree F, clear and sunny weather.  As usual, we hit the first major obstacle, getting out of our driveway, within the first 20 seconds of the trip.  We made it up the first try, which sometimes does not happen.  Dylan and Charlie were settled into the back seat and ready for their next big adventure.  We just had to be careful not to say ‘beach’ or ‘ball’ in front of Charlie.

jet crop comp

We took The 5 thru Portland and eventually connected with Highway 18, which we followed all the way into Lincoln City.   As a side note, as we were cruising down 18 just SW of McMinnville, we were startled (I mean STARTLED!) to see a Boeing 747 parked in the middle of a plowed field.  Closer inspection revealed it was ‘parked’ in front of the Evergreen Air Museum, a large and impressive place.  If you are an aircraft aficionado, then this place would be like dying and going to heaven.  IT’S HUGE.  And believe me, that 747, along with another one sitting on the roof of one of several museum buildings, will definitely get your attention.

deedee sign

deedee comp

After a brief stop, we continued on to the Logan Road RV Park in Lincoln City.  This place is affiliated with the Chinook Winds Casino, owned by the Confederate Tribes of Siletz Indians.  The RV park advertises itself as being ‘adjacent’ to the Casino.  (As Dee Dee says, ‘adjacent’ is the operative word.)  As soon as we pulled into the place, I knew it was not going to be (anything) like we had envisioned.  All concrete, narrow spaces.  But, clean and a HUMONGO dog run that pleased Charlie to no ‘end.’  And, Norman, the campground host was one of the friendliest guys you would want to meet.  The Wi-Fi in the parked was pretty much non-existent as the many long-term renters all seemed to be streaming movies from Netflix all at one time.  We just gave up on it. They do have a free shuttle that will take you back and forth.  We tried it once and it was actually pretty good.  They will also take you out to the Tribe-operated golf course for free…but Bob skipped it…too COLD to play.

casino mirror comp

bob casino comp

The Chinook Winds Casino is huge and not too bad.  Very nice bar overlooking the ocean, with decent food.  (If you want to sit near the windows, you have to order food with your drink.  Even though there were 20+ window tables and only 2 were occupied.  And, the drinks are watered…so if you want any kind a buzz, order a double.  Our first waitress (we ate lunch there 2 times) was pretty snarky, but the 2nd time our new waitress was great.  The Casino is 19 years old and beginning to show its age, but it’s still in pretty good shape.   And, they do bring in some big name entertainment (Willie Nelson and Foreigner, for example) at very reasonable ticket prices.  If you are into slots (we’re not), there are only about a billion machines there.  As well as an ample supply of blackjack and crap tables.  I had a blackjack dealer who was ranked as one of America’s Biggest Jerks – total butt-head.  Even so, I walked away relatively unscathed after only about 45 minutes of play.  Dee Dee’s favorite thing was the free Pepsi and chocolate cake.

charlie beach

crab comp

Charlie ran his ass off on the beach…we took him down 3 times and at the end of each session his tongue was dragging on the ground.  That dog will chase a tennis ball until he has a coronary.

We explored Lincoln City a bit; Dee Dee picked up an ‘authentic’ glass Japanese fishing ball.  BTW, Lincoln City has a cool tourist thing going where they deposit – above the high-tide line – glass balls, and other artifacts, made by local artists.  We did not see any.  Sigh…

Lincoln City, along with most other towns on the northern Oregon Coast, is an incredible compression of humanity and traffic congestion.  If you are looking for not-too-many-people-and-no-traffic, head further south, at least past Newport.

Florence Beach comp

After 2 days, we continued south on Highway 101 to Florence, Oregon, a delightful down, far less-congested than Lincoln City (which we will skip – with no regret – the next trip.)  There are many, many Oregon State Parks on the way to Florence from Lincoln City.  Next time we will do more careful checking and try to stay at one, or more, of them.

So here we now sit, at the Hecata Beach RV Park, as I type.  This is a wonderful place; friendly office staff, lots of trees, very quiet, and only about .2 of a mile from beach access – and it’s a very nice, very dog friendly, beach.  Charlie met several new friends…or should I say they met him.  He was pretty much fixated on his tennis ball.

I will mention again that the Wi-Fi at the Logan Road RV Park more than sucked.  Not the case here in Florence.  Good, strong signal.  (Hence the 3-day delay in our first blog installment.)

Tomorrow we turn away from the Oregon Coast had head overland for The 5, and then south to Canyonville to the Seven Feathers RV Park, one of our favorite places.  Nice casino, too.  After that, off to someplace in Northern California, with maybe a brief stop in Ashland, Oregon, to see an old friend.

Stay tuned…

(As a side note:  our posts to this Blog depend on our ability to connect to the Internet.  Crappy WiFi = No Communication.  So, we may go a few days between posts, either because there was not that much to report, or we could not get online to make a post.  So, please be patient.)