2/7/2014 – This stretch of 99 SUX!

Well today’s drive was a mind-numbing experience in total dreariness.  We left Stockton around 10:00 with plans to drive through to Bakersfield.  If memory serves, it was about a 239 mile trip which is 39 miles over my highest daily preferred limit.  But, no matter.  Not much between here and there and Bakersfield Palms was offering that discount.

We had a couple of odds and ends to pick up.  Since we were going to be right on the freeway (Hwy 99), this seemed like as good a time as any other to shop.  We didn’t spot what we were looking for from the freeway so we took an exit at random in Modesto.  We were looking for a Dollar store to get a cheap steamer.  No luck at that exit so I got smart and entered “Dollar” into the Dora’s search feature.  Turns out there was a Dollar Tree just down the road.  We went there but, of course, they didn’t have any steamers.  However, in the same large strip mall there was also a “99 Cent Only” store.  We tried there and scored.  Stopped at a discount grocery for a box of Townhouse crackers and at Home Depot for some caps to close the ends of our water hose so it wouldn’t leak inside the cupboard and we were ready to get back on the freeway.

The traffic was constant and fast.  The sky was a uniform shade of greyish white and there was enough drizzle to require the use of the windshield wipers on “intermittent”.  Mile after mile of wet, high-speed traffic was beginning to get me down by mid-afternoon.  At 2:30 we still had something like 90 minutes to go and I wasn’t sure I wanted to face that just to get to Bakersfield and maybe save a couple bucks.  So, finally, we pulled off the highway at a town called Kingsburg.  Filled both gas tanks and then queried Dora for the whereabouts of an RV park nearby.  She said that the Viking Trailer Park was a mere 1.7 miles away so off we went.

It’s a small park with quite a few long-term residents.  Looks like a lot of transient workers (construction, oil wells, who knows?).  But there were a half dozen or so overnighter spots.  At first I was kind of put off by the sign that said the price for an overnight stay was $40.  But then, just below that, it said “Seniors: $22”.  Sweet.  But it got sweeter.  Just below that it said, “Club Affiliation (AAA, AARP, Good Sam, etc): $20”.  Yeah, baby, that’s what I’m talkin’ about.  We were told we could pull into any empty site so we picked one that turned out to be dead level.  Every site has water (they even provide the hose), 30 amp electricity, and a sewer hook-up.  No wifi but there’s a McDonald’s back at the freeway entrance.  They have one unisex bathroom/shower with a lock on the door.  If someone’s showering, you better have somewhere else to relieve yourself because it’s all behind one door.  Showers cost 25¢ per minute but we don’t really need them, having used the facilities at Riverpoint this morning.  They have a “Theater” which is basically a room with chairs and a big screen TV.  All in all, we feel pretty fortunate to have found this place.  Dora does it again.

While we were at the mall today, I inadvertently left my lights on.  That was actually fortunate as it made me realize that my right-side taillights were not working.  Turn signal was but not the lights.  This afternoon at the trailer park, I waited until the rain let up a bit and started troubleshooting.  Seems that one of the many driveways I’ve scraped on must have torn the wire nut off my ground wires.  The turn signal ground was hanging on by a thread.  Once I found the problem, it took maybe 5 minutes to fix it.

Not looking forward to more mind-numbing road, I started looking at the map this afternoon.  We may be a wee bit longer getting to Parker, Arizona than planned.  Depends on what we find on our possible alternate route.  Instead of driving to Bakersfield and then to Barstow and then to Parker, I think we may take a side trip once we get to Delano.  We can head towards the mountains and Isabella Reservoir.  We’ll also be heading towards a ski area but with California’s drought, I’m banking on there not being any snow to speak of.  If you’re following on a map, here are plans A and B:

Plan A:

Kingsburg>Tipton>Porterville>Fountainhead Springs>White River>Linns Valley>Alta Sierra>Lake Isabella>Weldon>Inyokern>Four Corners>Barstow.

Plan B:

Kingsburg>Delano>Alta Sierra>Lake Isabella>Weldon>Inyokern>Four Corners>Barstow.

Looks like there’s also something called Calico Ghost Town about 5 miles or so past Barstow that we’ll probably have to check out.  Have to occasionally remind myself that we’re not just on a mission to get to San Carlos, Mexico.  We’re on a mission to enjoy ourselves and see some interesting country.  All it took was a couple of hours on Highway 99 to smack me upside the head and remind me what the point of driving instead of flying was supposed to be.  However, in my defense, the only reason we’re on 99 is because it’s less hectic than I-5 and because Hwy 395 was ruled out due to the possibility of snow and ice this time of year.


Written at the Viking Trailer Park, posted at McDonald’s in Kinsburg, CA.


About sryoder

Steve & Lulu... retired. Had enough of the cold wet dreary fall/winter/spring in the Pacific Northwest. Bought a boat, fixed it up, sold our home and sailed to Mexico in November, 2010. Been here ever since except for occasional forays to the States (summer only, thank you) to visit the kids, parents and siblings. If you're looking for a sailing blog, this is the wrong place. This is a traveling, hunkering in, eating blog. Sailing is just how we get from place to place when we can't walk.
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5 Responses to 2/7/2014 – This stretch of 99 SUX!

  1. sryoder says:

    This just in: Just checked the road reports for our proposed run and it turns out CalTrans is requiring chains about the time we reach the ski area. So, abort! abort! We’ll still get off 99 by veering off towards Porterville and just see what happens from there.

  2. Don Strong says:

    You guys chose quite route. Had you passed through Bakersfield, you could have checked out the Albin House by Frank Lloyd Wright house. It is on my list, but Bakersfield is a long way from Davis and not too interesting in any other way. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jcbPehKUb4E

  3. Victor says:

    If you end up in Barstow, we stayed in the Shady Lane RV Camp mid December. Owners and staff were friendly and price was right for us. Everything was clean and neat.

    • sryoder says:

      We had planned to stay there. Even stopped in to check it out. The old guy running the place had a bit of an attitude about him and, when we found out that the wifi is through a separate provider at $5/day in addition to the $35/night to camp, we decided to look further. Of course, we cut off our noses to spite our face when we checked into the KOA east of town and paid $42/night, although wifi was included at least. Oh well.

  4. vickiel@q.com says:

    You and Lulu are the best fixers. Tail light…no problem. Enjoy the road. life is too short. Vickie

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