2012 - 2017 Travel Map - Now in Dickinson North Dakota

Travel Day: SF to Coalinga CA


Thursday:  October 11, 2012 

We got up late for us on a travel day. We were really just beat from the day before and from the entire time here in San Francisco.  We were up and moving slow at 8:30.  We studied the maps and decided we would skip going to Yosemite and Sequoia national parks this time here in California.  We decided to just jump on I5 and head down toward I10 outside of LA.  We decided to travel just 180 miles today to an RV park in Coalinga CA.

We left the RV park at about 11:30.  There is no real good way to get to I5 from here.  We will need to go across the Richman-San Rafael Bridge in to Berkeley and Oakland.  But first we need to get on route 101 out of the RV park. 

I traveled .5 mile to the right turn on to the 101 freeway and found that I just didn't feel comfortable making the turn.  The turn was in between two tight curbs and was a 180 degree curve.  The turn did have a lot of head room at the far end but just didn't look like enough for me.  I’m afraid of getting in to a turn like this and then not being able to maneuver out of it.

At the last minute I decided to go straight and find a place to turn around and come at it from the other direction.  We made several turns on very small streets until we met a sign that said the overhead clearance ahead was 13 feet.  Our rig is supposed to be 12 foot 10 inches, just 2 inches under the upcoming bridge.  I was a little panicked to say the least.  

Then we saw a fairly big church parking lot on the left.  The lot had a very narrow entrance/exit way and it was somewhat steep to pull a large rig into.  I had no real other choice and pulled the rig over the curb to get into the lot.  Turning around in the lot was easy but getting out, not so much.  I needed to make a right hand turn and  I was going to need the entire road, both left and right lanes on a fairly busy street, to accomplish that.   I found a space in traffic and then just held up  the remaining traffic until I could get the rig turned.  As I exited, the bumper hitch scraped the asphalt on the steep exit making a loud noise.  Now it was fairly easy to get on to route 101 but now I needed to get to I5 30 miles away through city driving.

The long bridge was not too bad after all.  The city freeway driving was not so fun and the roads were absolutely in terrible shape.  The road was so bad I was driving at 45 mph in a 65 mph zone.  We did that for about an hour before we finally got to I5.  I5 is mostly just a boring and dry freeway through the San Joaquin Valley.  It is very flat off to the east with high coastal mountains on the right.  There are lots of nut and citrus trees along the freeway.

Hazelnut trees



Coastal mountains off to the west

We arrived at the Sommerville Almond Tree RV Park in Coalinga, CA around 3:30.  It’s not a bad place at $24 a night including all of the CA taxes.  We have decided to stay 2 nights and get clothes washed and refill our rig propane tank.  Finally, after a little over 2 months, one of the 2 tanks is empty.  

Our site in in Coallinga CA
It was just starting to rain so I wanted to get set up and get inside to watch the VP debates.  They are on here in CA at 6pm.  I plugged in the 50A electric and the rig did not turn on.  This is the first time that the power management system has kept the rig from starting up.  The fault code says that the voltage is too high and in fact the monitor says the voltage is 134 volts.  The system will not let the rig start with anything over 132 volts or 10% over 120.  I tried the tricks I knew about like adding my extra 20 foot extension to drop the voltage with no luck.  I even tried to use 30A and the single 20A lines on both sites adjacent to me and nothing different.

Now I go to the park office and let them know the issur with the high voltage.  The only thing they could do was to refund our money and we would need to go elsewhere.  This is why we like to get to a park by no later than 2:30 so we could move if need be.  It was already now 4:30 and raining slightly with a very bad storm coming.  We did not want to move to say the least.  

I went back to the rig and started to put away our stuff and Patty started to look for another place to go.  Just before I put away the last power cord I decided to try it again.  The rig started up!  The power monitor said the voltage was now 129 on one leg and 131 on the other, very close to shut off.  We put on the heat to help draw down the voltage a bit and continued setting up.  The system again shut down the rig again around 2 am and came back on around 3 am for the same high voltage.

Most of the things in an RV today are electronic with a margin of +10% and -15% or 132 to 102 volts.  You may not fry anything at these limit voltages but the life will be greatly reduced.  The higher the voltage,  the worse it gets and quicker.  I could have bypassed the protection system and been probably OK at the voltage we were seeing but then we would not have had any protection for surges like lightning and a storm was coming.  I just wasn't going to take that chance. 

Tomorrow we will wash clothes, get propane and just chill a bit.  I think it supposed to rain most of the day tomorrow.  That will be first day of rain we have had since leaving NJ almost 2 months ago now.

Stay tuned!



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