Camp Duncan, CA to Washoe Lake State Park, Carson City, NV

Monday, October 7

Let’s get caught up on the travels of RVSue and her canine crew!  Get out your maps!  (Turn to page 48 if you have a California Benchmark atlas).  Okay.  Ready?

Here we go!

We leave Camp Duncan and drive seven miles on 139 to Canby, California (4318 ft.).  Route 299 takes us east to Alturas (4372 ft.).  From Alturas we pick up famed Route 395 and make a straight shot south, passing through Likely (4447 ft.) and Madeline (5314 ft.) .

At Termo (5300 ft.) a decision must be made.

Do we take Grasshopper Road west to 139 and go south to Susanville?  Or do we stay on 395?  I choose the latter even though it adds about 30 miles.  Why?  Because the other route gets all wiggly over by Eagle Lake, I’ve driven around the lake, and I”m not in the mood for mountain driving.  There’s a 1,000 foot descent near Antelope Mountain and Susanville that I’d rather skip today.

Route 395 is monotonous all the way to Litchfield (4068 ft.).

Sometimes that’s a good thing.  We roll along across the sagebrush plain, the sameness broken by views of Shinn Peaks (7559 ft.), Snowstorm Mountain (6561 ft.) and Shaffer Mountain (6735 ft.).

I’m in a zone, there’s little traffic, and we make good time.

We take a shortcut, bypassing Susanville.

Route 395 to Reno is miserable.  I’ll tell you why.  The speed limit for truck trailers and towed trailers is 55 mph.  However, the speed limit for everyone else is 65 mph.  It’s two-lanes, meaning we’ve got one lane going south.

You can imagine what happens. 

I’m putt-putting along at 55 mph.  All the car folks hell-bent for Reno are driving 65 mph or more.  They don’t understand that I’m trying to stay legal.  They think I’m an ol’ fart blocking traffic.  In order to alleviate the tension between us, I pull off the road like EVERY FIVE MINUTES the entire 80-mile stretch.

And then I have to cross effing Reno.

Enough of that!  Everything turns out okay.  The well-behaved BLT follows the PTV for the 200 miles and we make it safely to Carson City, Nevada.

Let’s look at some pics of Washoe Lake State Park.  You deserve it after wading through all those directions.  Time for recess!

1-DSC00689The cottonwood trees are at the peak of fall color.

1-DSC00706The gray-green sagebrush and tan grass are subdued companions to the vibrant gold.

1-DSC00701Red sumac is the accent color.

Campsites are neat and clean. 

The ground is covered with fine gravel and the parking pad is paved.  There are lots of convenient trash cans and water spigots (although shared, not at every site.).  I assume the restrooms have flush toilets.  Don’t be fooled like I was — There are showers in the rest room building.  I should’ve looked!  The fee is $17.

1-DSC00696Here’s  our campsite as seen from the campground loop road.

1-DSC00697These people have a nice campsite.  Actually Washoe Lake State Park doesn’t have any “bad” sites.

1-DSC00694While the crew and I walk the campground loop, we hear a covey of quail.  A jackrabbit hops along a path through the sagebrush only a few feet away.  The crew stops to stare at such brazen behavior.

1-DSC00699Don’t ask me why, but Bridget is the one posing in this photo while it’s Spike who runs to hide under the BLT.  I think Bridget needs to move up to a double-D cup size, don’t you?

Oh, yeah.  I almost forgot to show you the lake! 

That’s Slide Mountain (9798 ft.) on the west side of the lake.  Hmm . . . I wonder what it was called before part of it slided . . . er . . .  before part of it slid.

1-DSC00702Tuesday, October 8

I have several tasks to complete before we can get back on the road.  Yesterday, somewhere between Reno’s third exit and Hades, the idiot light for oil flashed briefly.  So at our campsite I put up the PTV’s hood and pull out the dipstick.

The dang dipstick on a Chevy Express van is about 15 feet long!

Well, maybe not THAT long.  I always have a terrible time reading it.  I pull it out, hand over hand, until I can bring the crucial last section up to my eyes to read.  By then the oil is smeared along the stick.  I’ve never had a problem reading the dipstick with any other vehicle I’ve owned.  Sorry to belabor that point, but it is a pain.

With trepidation, I add one quart of oil.

I still can’t be sure.  One thing I do know for sure is it’s bad to put too much oil in.  I don’t know if God gets involved in motor oil decisions, but, just to be on the safe side, I send up a prayer anyway that I’m not pouring in too much.

Next I get out my handy-dandy allen’s wrench tool that has many sizes.  I swing out the size that fits the bolts that came loose on the solar panel.  I always glance at these bolts before getting into the PTV.  Over the miles they loosen.

I call them bolts.

I’m not sure that’s the right word because I don’t have a PhD. in machine shop.  If you think I’m kidding, click this link and scroll down to the chart with all the names of bolts and screws.  It boggles the mind.

I climb up in the open side door and tighten the bolts.

The crew waits in the PTV.  I secure the inside of the BLT and we’re off to the park’s dump station (free if you camp here.)  I dump both waste tanks and fill up the water tank.  I clean my hands.  Lastly I get out the windex and paper towels and clean yesterday’s bugs off the windshield.  Finally we can pull out!

1-DSC00708On the short sprint to return to Route 395, I meet a motorhome with a familiar driver at the wheel.  Later I learn it’s Nina and Paul from Wheeling It blog on their way to the state park!

Next post:  Carson City, Nevada to Mono Lake, California!



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Bridget and Spike had some difficulty with their resolutions for the year 2012.  It did not go well.

“The canine crew’s resolutions for the new year”

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65 Responses to Camp Duncan, CA to Washoe Lake State Park, Carson City, NV

  1. Scott Deney says:

    Why don’t you put ” lock-tight ” on those bolts ? That way they will never come lose again. Or do you need to tilt the panels…. are they the same bolts ?
    I use lock-tight on everything that needs to stay put.
    Are you going to Quartsite, for the winter ?

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi,, Scott,

      No, the bolts aren’t involved in the tilting of the panel. I’ll wait to hear from the designer and advisor on all things important before I do anything. I’m hesitant to “lock tight” anything that may need to be de-assembled in the future.

      I don’t know if I’m going to Quartzsite or not. It hasn’t been my winter home up to this point. Maybe I should try it.

      • Alan Rabe says:

        Blue loctite is removable, just prevents vibrating lose, while red is permanent.

        • Alan Rabe says:

          Never mind, I guess I need to read the entire blog before responding so I don’t seem redundant.

          • rvsueandcrew says:

            No matter… We aren’t looking for perfection here. I think it’s great that you take the time to comment regularly. I appreciate that.

            I know I’m repeating myself almost every day!

  2. Wheeling it says:

    Now how did we not notice the lovely Sue driving out of Washoe? Oh well. By the way there are showers in this State Park, right next to the toilets. The doors look exactly the same so it’s hard to figure it out unless you open up and look inside. We’re stuck here a few more days handling some engine stuff (oil for us too!) before we head south.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Dang! I didn’t know there were showers! AAaarggh! (I’ll correct the info in the post.)

      I’m easily missed, but the PTV?

      • Wheelingit says:

        I think I was rather stressed. We’d just had some nightmare service, a night where we barely slept and done two huge drives. I was too focused on that darn road. So sorry we missed you, but it was probably safer that we did. I probably would have screeched to a halt if I’d seen you LOL!

    • Ladybug says:

      I don’t know how you missed her either. Every time I see a Casita/Skamp/anything of that ilk going down the road, I’m always looking to see if it’s Sue, even though she doesn’t come east of the Mississippi!

  3. Cinandjules (temp in CA) says:

    Sure you had to start it off with……..class take out your textbook and turn to page

    You did well with the 55mph limit on trailers. CHP has zero tolerance with that limit.
    If it was one lane….then all the hell bent could have taken their chances passing you! Drive 55 mph and don’t subject yourself to pulling over every 5 minutes! The task of doing that subjects you and the crew to hazards.

    Once again you have found a gorgeous spot! Love the pictures the colors are so vivid!

    And no Ms Bridget doesn’t need a double d!

    Showers? The magic word! Have a warm and cozy evening!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, cinandjules,

      Oh, that stretch of road … People couldn’t pass me because of oncoming traffic. It’s a heavily used thoroughfare. Some would try to pass and then realize how long we are and change their minds in the face of an approaching vehicle. Not good. Plus it’s not fun to have a humongous truck bearing down on us.

      Don’t worry. I give lots of warning and am careful where and how I pull off the road.

      You’re right about CHP taking limits seriously. I saw some hiding in the bushes along the way.

      • Cinandjules (temp in CA) says:


        Trucks fall within the 55mph laws because they have a trailer. Truckers are safer than the average John Q Motorist and most likely using you as a draft.

        RT 12 in NY is a one lane road. It is an everyday occurence that some hell bent person passes three cars at once! We ALWAYS drive with our headlights on just for that reason! 99p percent of the crashes are head on! Why people are in a hurry to die? Passing cars gets you what?

        Oh a math problem…..Sue and her crew are traveling south on 395 at 55 mph. You are behind the BLT and decide to pass. If you are successful at completing the maneuver how far ahead will you be in a hour?

        That is your homework for the night. And no you won’t need your benchmark atlas!

        Safe travels!

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          I always try to be considerate of truckers. I see so many drivers acting like a tractor-trailer truck can stop within a few feet.

          I always feel a bit guilty when a truck is tight behind me because I know time is money and shifting those things behind every slow driver must get old.

          Okay, students . . .

          If you’re driving 80 miles from Susanville to Reno at 55 mph and you have a truck up your rear-end, don’t stop to do the math.

      • Sue from Nova Scotia says:

        The last time I was on the road to Reno there was a huge bikers convention. I should have known from the number of bikers on the highway that there was no hope of getting anywhere in downtown Reno. It really put me off ever wanting to go to Reno in the future.

  4. It’s nice to see you living a stress-free lifestyle, well except for having to decide between taking a right or a left and adding 1 quart or 2. I enjoyed the post. Oh, and those cottonwood trees really pop in your pictures. Beautiful!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Troy,

      Yes, it’s a tough life. You neglected to mention having to decide which photos to take. Such stress!

      Thanks for the compliment on my photos.

  5. John K - Mobile, AL says:

    I had forgotten about the dipstick on these vans. You are right, they are very long. You almost need to have 2 other people to hand off the handle in order to get to the other end.

    If you do decide to loctite those bolts, be sure to use blue and not red loctite. Red is bad if you ever need to remove the bolts. Requires heat in most cases.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, John,

      I appreciate the advice on loctite.

      One thing I like is being able to keep a close watch on the oil level. But that dipstick is terrible. I’ve driven into garages simply to ask them to read the stick for me.

      • Chuck Hajek says:

        You should take out your dipstick once and wipe it clean, then restick it in. Wait a moment or three and take it out again. That will give you a MUCH more accurate reading and EASIER to read amount needed.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Chuck? You really think I don’t know that? Sheesh. You must think I’m totally clueless! LOL

          Thanks for the advice anyway. I know it was given because you care about me.

  6. Diann in MT says:

    Nice photography, Sue.
    Look at that lil’ ole Bridgy sittin’ on her pillow, all beautiful and warm in the sunlight! Cute!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Bridgy . . . a new nickname! Ha!

      She is my cutie. Another photo I like is the one of her in the link I put at the bottom of the post. She looks so bright and youthful.

      Thanks, Diann, on the photos.

  7. Jean/Southaven, MS says:

    I always loved school. I bet I would have loved your class. You have a way with words and pictures. The colors in your pictures are beautiful. It’s a wonderful time of year. Can’t wait until we can retire and hit the road. We are selling our Ford Ranger and taking the money to help buy a used Class C RV. We are hitting the road all because I found your blog by accident just before you sold your house. Been following ever since.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Jean…

      You have been with us a long time! Gosh, that seems like ages ago, sitting in my yard under the redbud tree with my huge vegetable garden needing to be tended, sweltering in the heat, unfulfilled dreams of a life on the road . . . And now everything is different.

      Best wishes as you prepare for retirement and new experiences!

      • Sue from Nova Scotia says:

        Any regrets about giving up the permanent home-base?
        Just asking, because I don’t know if I could give up my lovely home despite my urgent need to get on the highways and byways to see the world.
        I just love the idea of your way of traveling, but I think I would like to have a home to come back to.
        BTW – I just love your way of describing your environment. Wish I had your knack for putting a great sentence together.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Hi, Sue,

          No, I haven’t regretted selling my house. Not for one minute. In fact, whenever I think of it, which isn’t often, I feel relief.

          I have a lovely home right now. Yesterday was another lovely home, and the one before that . . .

          That doesn’t mean you should give up your home. What’s important to you is for you to figure out.

          There may come a day when I’ll want a home base. Right now a home base seems like a tether.

          Thanks for the kind words about my writing!

  8. Nivrapa in AZ says:

    Hi Sue!

    I don’t know which entry I enjoyed the most–the current one or looking In the Rearview Mirror. Both had me laughing out loud. It’s great fun to look back and fondly remember previous travels. The photos in today’s post are awesome!

    I take great pleasure in seeking out and then reading your posts. Not since Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys have I awaited the next edition of an adventure with such anticipation! And that’s saying somthin’ since I’m on the north side of sixty years! Seeing a new post pop up just helps to make a good day.

    Question for you–what in tarnation ever made you decide to document your travels? I’ve been riding along with you and the crew for so long, I can’t remember how/why the blog got started.

    Give each of the crew a scratch behind the ears from me. The warmth and sun of the desert await your arrival and more adventures.


    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Audrey,

      Wow! That’s quite a compliment! Thank you very much. I never thought my blog would be placed in the same category as the Nancy Drew books. I’m pleased you get enjoyment from it.

      The new year’s resolutions post is one of my favorites. It came out of nowhere and was fun to write.

      Why did I decide to document my travels? I learned about full-time rving through Tioga George’s blog (now inactive). I found his blog helpful and interesting, so I thought I’d do the same.

  9. AZ Jim says:

    I would not use Loctite those bolts. If they don’t have lock washers (the ones with the split in the ring) they would be a smart move. We had a nice rain last night, cleared the air nicely. Bridget would only need a “c” cup based on my expert opinion. Keep rollin south missy. BTW we did get some snow in the higher elevations, but I got a call from a nephew up in South Dakota talking about their snow……MUCHO!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Jim,

      Snow in South Dakota in October? Isn’t it a little early?

      I appreciate you sharing your expertise re cup size. Haha!

      This missy will keep rolling south. Right now I’m in a spot I don’t want to leave right away… You’ll see what I mean.

      • AZ Jim says:

        Early? Not always. In ’96 we had a record blizzard. I had snow all the way to the eaves of the house on the windward side. This storm was up around Rapid and dropped 21″ with strong winds. I couldn’t wait after 10 years there to sell out and come back out here where I belong. BTW Born in LA and lived all over Calif., Nevada, Arizona, Idaho so I knew the difference between snow and no snow.

      • Connie & Mugsy (MN/AZ) says:

        In the Dakotas the first snow can even come in Sept… pretty rare, but has happened. (actually it has snowed in every month of the year…) October snows are not unusual. But normally not like this blizzard where it is measured in feet. Hundreds of cattle were killed in the fields. It will be a bad year for the SD cattlemen on that side of the state.

  10. Betty -Shea says:

    Rvsue…beautiful pix and I enjoyed your post.:) I have to know….how are The Crew keeping up on thier resolutions !? Love those two :).

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Betty-Shea,

      Thank you.

      The 2012 new year resolutions? As you can tell from the post, they were a bust! I had a lot of fun writing that entry. It was one of the easiest and made me laugh, too, as it unfolded on my laptop’s monitor.

  11. Ladybug says:

    I follow along on Google; got lost there at Litchfield because I didn’t see it on the map. Had to run directions to see it near Susanville.

    Ahhh, Susanville….I remember one time we were stuck in Reno because the Donner Pass on I-80 was closed due to snow. We were heading to Seattle, so we thought maybe we could sneak up to Susanville and work our way through the mountains that way (this was in the mid-90s, mind you, before the digital age and laptops). We made it to Susanville, but going through the middle of town there was a snow-covered incline we had to traverse. But because of the speed (30 mpg?) and the snow, we got stuck. Had to tuck tail and return to Reno. Then we were told another snowstorm was coming in. Finally had to go to Winnemucca, NV and take US 95 to Boise and cross over thataway.

    Now then….I noticed on the map ‘Infernal Caverns Battleground Memorial Monument’ along your route. Sounds interesting; I’m going to go check it out.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Ladybug,

      That’s the way it goes when traveling, especially when having to cross mountain passes or going north during the winter months. It looks simple on a map, but reality can be a lot different, as you can attest! Interesting comment.

      Hmm… The title of the monument has me wondering… What’s infernal? The caverns? The battleground? or the monument? 🙂

  12. Joy A. No. Cal. Sierra Foothills says:

    Hey Sue,
    I’m surprised no one mentioned “lock nuts”, or did I miss it.

    Any way, that’s what I’d change to. They are the nuts with nylon inside. They work great.

    I would not use Locktite on those particular nuts no matter what color the Locktite is.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Joy,

      I don’t think lock nuts would work in this design. You’d have to see it to know what I mean.

      The need to tighten is not a problem. One can expect things to loosen when I go over these rough roads to boondocks.

      • Cinandjules (temp in CA) says:

        Locknuts will work in place of a regular nut. They are the same size of the nut that is on there now with the exception of nylon at the top….that prevents it from loosening.

        If you add a split lock washer…there may not be enough thread on the bolt.

        Good call Joy!

        Any how you choose to keep the nut secure is part of your walk through! I do think it’s awesome that you climb up there and do your own preventive measures! You go girl!

      • Alan Rabe says:

        Sue said she used an allen wrench to tighten the screws, no mention was made about a wrench. Therefore I believe that these aren’t bolts but are actually cap screws that screw into a threaded hole in a frame. So there is no nut. So there are only 3 options.
        1. A lock washer, there are several types available
        2. Blue loctite
        3. She continues doing what she is doing, occasionally tightening them.
        Sue in the event you chose three I suggest you go into a home depot with one of them and get a few spares.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          I suspected I wasn’t right calling them bolts (hence the link).

          I consulted with Mick and he says “loctite 242, medium strength” , so Door Number Two!

  13. Susan in Dallas says:

    The crew needs to try again with those resolutions! Can’t wait to see what they come up with next. Love the pictures of the leaves. In Dallas most trees just drop their leaves after they turn a shade of brown. We do have some color foliage but not nearly as pretty as in your pictures.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Susan,

      Having grown up on the NY and VT border region of upstate NY, I recall some vivid foliage… the reds and oranges especially. That’s why the bright gold and yellow cottonwoods were a delight.

      Your Dallas foliage sounds like Georgia’s.

  14. Rita says:

    So far Spike hasn’t run off that much (I don’t rmember you running after Spike in 2013) and only a couple of snide remarks about Briget this year….I think the crew partly met their resoluation from last year. And, Bridget is not as shy and actually poses for some photos. BTW the fall photos are gorgeous!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Rita,

      You’re right! Spike hasn’t run off as much. He tries to stay with us on walks now. Bridget isn’t running away from the camera. So, yes, we’re making progress.

      Thanks on the pics.

      • Connie & Mugsy (MN/AZ) says:

        I wonder if he runs off less because of his poor hearing… and his aging making him stick closer to the rest of the “pack.”

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          You’re absolutely correct, Connie. He checks our (Bridget and me) location frequently as we walk so he can keep pace with us and not be on his own. He didn’t care when he was younger.

          • Connie & Mugsy (MN/AZ) says:

            Sad to see them age, but it does make your life a bit easier when you don’t have to be running around trying to find which other campsite with dogs that he is visiting.

            • rvsueandcrew says:

              That’s what used to make him run off… other campsites with people in them. When we boondock alone, he doesn’t have that temptation. Yeah, I hate to see Spike aging.

  15. butterbean carpenter says:

    Howdy rvsue & crew,
    It’s so funny, talking about the VERRRRRRRY LOOOOOONG DIIIIPPPPPPSSSTTTTIIIICCCCKKK, today we drove our ‘new-to-us’ Dodge van and had to check the oil & transmission fluid….. THEY WERE 18 FEET LONG AT LEAST… BOTH OF THEM….AND YES THE FLUIDS RAN OFF BEFORE YOU COULD READ IT!!
    You think that’s bad driving try going North on ARKANSAS HIWAY 7 from Arkadelphia!
    Mannnnnny hairpin curves AND PEOPLE KEEP TO the INSIDE coming HEAD-ON…..

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, butterbean!

      You got that right… The fluids do run off before you can see. It’s impossible! I try to look cool if there are people around when I check it, but probably look like a total fool. It’s hard to put back in, too.

      Don’t let me get on that highway 7 . . . Congrats on the new van!

  16. Jeff says:

    I hear ya on the dipstick. The first time I took mine out to check the oil on my chevy based motorhome I thought someone must be taping me for candid camera. I felt like a clown taking out a handkerchief. The transmission dipstick is actually harder for me to read than the oil.

  17. Connie & Mugsy (MN/AZ) says:

    Those cottonwoods are so pretty… and completely different from the cottonwoods that we have up in the Dakotas. At first I thought that you had mis-identified them. So I googled and found that most of the photos looked like yours… except for the examples posted by the University of ND. We must have an odd branch of the family up in this part of the country. (pun intended?)

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