Thursday, August 30, 2007

RVing Northern California Part 3

Ladies and gentlemen, take this advice from a seasoned RVer: NEVER drive California Highway 101 north from Yreka at night. The warning signs posted will take care of most hazards: rough road, bump, road work, rock slide area, hairpin turns, 6% grade, swerving cars, deer crossing, elk crossing, pedestrian crossing (!). There are hidden dangers too. For example, the freeway will end for no apparent reason. This usually means the two-lane highway where you can travel 65 mph will become a one-lane highway with few or no turnouts to let people pass. There will be huge redwood trees along the highway almost on the right shoulder, forcing you to hug the center divider. There will be sharp turns with no signs or arrows that a car can take at 40 mph. A motorhome or other RV will need to slow to 35 or 30 to be safe--that is, unless you want to find out how well you really stowed your stuff.

There are brightly lit areas of the highway showing the high fence holding back the rocks from the slide. The lights have swarms of insects around them. There are sections of the highway that have concrete barriers on them, the only sign of road work. I wondered what they were for since there didn't seem to be any equipment in the area.

Willits has you slow to 25 mph so that you can enjoy your travels through the middle of their town. Eureka has a 35-mph speed limit and several logging trucks on the highway traveling through. I wondered idly whether the two towns had special arrangements with the state so we could appreciate their communities. Willits does have the Skunk Train.

I was determined to reach Eureka and find a Denny's. After four and-a-half hours (RV Time), I saw a Denny's in Fortuna and turned off the highway. It had a big parking lot and was bordered by two chain hotels. I pulled into the back and parked near the end by a tree. It was 10:30 pm and I knew I had driven much too long without a break.

I went inside and had something to eat, asking permission to park for the night. It was granted and I went to bed, awakening at 5:30 am when the garbage truck arrived to empty the Dumpsters. Then I went back to sleep until 7:30.

The waitress had an RV and told me it would only take 90 minutes to reach Klamath. I asked if that was RV Time or Car Time. She smiled and said it was RV Time. I was getting close. She filled my commuter cup with coffee and I left at 9.


  1. I noticed that you've been posting about Yreka and Eureka and it's a little confusing.

    Places like Willits and Fortuna are near Eureka along Highway 101, while Yreka is on the Interstate 5 close to the Oregon border.

    I lived in Eureka for a number of years and for a while worked at a chain motel as a desk clerk. We'd get people in our lobby, jumping up and down and cursing at us because they swore they had a reservation, but we didn't have any record of it. Nine times out of ten, we'd call the Yreka motel office, and sure enough, the reservation had been made there.

    You might want to go back and edit your posts to make corrections to avoid confusing people.

  2. You're right. I was referring to Eureka and it should have been Ukiah. I was traveling on I-5 last month on my way to Oregon and I confused the two cities. Thanks for the heads up.