We have started our two week break, driving to Southern California where we are renting an RV and driving around the Death Valley and Palm Springs areas.
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA TO GRANTS PASS, OREGON
We departed early in the morning, watching sun rise as we headed South on Highway 99 towards White Rock and the border.
Crossing Peace Arch border control was relatively quick and uneventful. As we still travel on British passports we had to go into the immigration office to complete the Visa Waiver forms but Mojo passed their examination with a couple of quick questions and a wave to proceed.
Once firmly inside the US we continue south on Interstate 5, which will be our main road for almost the entire journey until just a few minutes before Bakersfield in California.
We pass this Amtrak passenger train between Vancouver and Seattle.
Views of snowy peaks on the Olympic Penninsula.
Approaching Seattle. Interstate 5 follows a line right through Seattle’s downtown core.
Views of the Space Needle
Passing through downtown Seattle.
We continue our journey South on Interstate 5 through Washington State. I realise now that we didn’t take ay more pictures in Washington as the scenery was OK but it was cloudy at times so we were less inspired to snap away.
However we sped down the highway without any delays and crossed into Oregon. This bridge over the Columbia River marks the border between Washington and Oregon.
Shortly after entering Oregon we pass through the city of Portland. Interstate 5 passes close by the downtown core but on the opposite side of the river giving good views of the skyline. The river here is the Willamette River, which merges with the Columbia River nearby.
Our journey continues south on Interstate 5 through the Willamette Valley and around the cities of Eugene and the state capitol, Salem. This valley is predominately rolling hills, farmland including cattle and sheep punctuated by the Cascade Mountains on the East and the Coast Range on the West.
With the short December days our journey on the first day ended just after sunset, staying in an excellent Travelodge in Grants Pass in Southern Oregon on the edge of the Klamath Mountains.
GRANTS PASS, OREGON TO FIREBAUGH, CALIFORNIA.
The next morning we rose promptly and were on the road by about 7.30am, so a comfortable start. It had been a cold night and even by then the temperatures were still –9c
The roads in Southern Oregon were nice and quiet for ‘rush hour’
A little further south we head towards the city of Medford and this view I think it shows Soda Mountain on the horizon.
For several more miles we continue South on I5 through the Klamath Mountains which had recently received a dusting of snow.
We cross the California border.
The first town on Interstate 5 in California is Yreka, these views nearby.
About 30 miles south of Yreka I5 comes close to the Cascades Mountain range, including beautiful Mount Shasta, which is a terrific large volcano.
The high elevation of the highway on this section of the journey meant that it was quite snowy in places.
More views around Mount Shasta and the Cascades.
South of the city of Redding the landscape changes significantly into a big valley basin with low sandy hills to the sides.
Gradually however the valley becomes more green and fertile with much farmland, vineyards and growing of nuts, fruits and so on. This landscape continues well south of the city of Sacramento. As we approach Sacramento the traffic levels increase but never in a way to hinder our journey……we simply had to turn cruise control off for a few miles !
Once past Sacramento (and the turn for San Jose), cruise control comes back on an the roads get as quiet as ever.
As we head south in California we meet more hills with some snowy tops. This is more unusual for Southern California but a cold winter storm had passed over the day before bringing the snow level down to about 2000ft in many places.
More empty roads towards the end of our journey on the second day.
We had arranged to stay at a small pet friendly motel in a town called Los Banos, just off of Interstate 5.
Unfortunately however, we can find nothing good to say about either Los Banos or the motel we expected to stay in. Therefore we got a refund at the motel and continued our journey down the interstate and stayed in an excellent Best Western about half an hour south of Los Banos.
Mojo likes this room very much and adapted to his new nomadic lifestyle on the journey down well.
The next day we collected the RV and continued our travels which will be on the next post (once I’ve sorted the photos !).