Saturday, June 9, 2012

Oakhurst, CA-Cloverdale, CA (June 8-9, 2012)

The next leg of our trek will take us to the wine country of the Sonoma Valley in Northern California or, as the locals call it, NorCal. It is a 288 mile journey so we decided to break it up into a two day event. We departed Oakhurst, CA around 9:30 AM  and began to back track our route towards Madera since it was the easiest to travel. We then turned north onto CA SR 99.  This road is being upgraded to Interstate standards resulting in a lot of construction so, needless to say, we did not make good time, but at least the speeds were kept down to a reasonable pace.

We turned onto CA SR 12 at Lodi, CA and headed in the direction of the coast. Lodi is a small town in the central valley (population circa 64,000), but the streets were heavily congested and the three miles form SR 99 to the outskirts of the town was nerve racking. At the outskirts of the town the road went from two lanes (in one direction) to one lane and the traffic become nil. The remaining ten miles to the Stockton Delta KOA was a breeze.

The RV park was very nice.  It is located on the Little Potato Slough which, ultimately, feeds the San Joaquin River.  It seemed to be a very popular place for boaters and fisherman. After a relaxing dinner we all walked a bit and watched the sunset over the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta and the Coastal Mountain Range.

The next day brought us through the Napa Valley and over the Coastal Range to the Sonoma Valley and into Cloverdale, CA. The destiantion, Dutcher's Creek RV Park, is located just off of CA US 101 and very convenient to the vineyards and other sights located throughout the area.

As we approached the park we became very concerned as the one lane road leading into the park was on an approximate 15° incline with multiple tight switchbacks. I did not want to get halfway up and meet another RV coming down so I called the park office and they assured me they would not let anyone on the road until we arrived. We then started up. After two 180° turns we made it to the office only to find out our site was at the very top of what seemed like a mountain.  One more tight switchback on another steep climb and we were there. Whew! The trailer's axles had to have been twisted from all of that as well as many miles of rubber rubbed off the tires. All-in-all, though, a beautiful view of the valley below.

Tomorrow we start our exploration of the Sonoma Valley and it's coastal region.

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