3/18/16 (Friday) in Santa Barbara, CA (Santa Barbara-Elks)
PS we did manage some small projects before traveling day: John wiped the leveling jacks clean with WD40 and I cleaned up our RV headlamps. My process: clean headlamp, use old toothbrush to scrub toothPASTE (not gel) on it. After cleaning that off then wax as you usually wax your rig. They look brighter for a couple months or so, making your RV also look newer. I also managed to successfully clean the black mold from our washing machine-at the front seal, after much research and prior efforts using vinegar and the organic eating “bugs” we use for our holding tanks. I got reassurances from Splendid and the holding tank “bug” people that the bleach I would be using wouldn’t harm the washing machine or the process by the “bugs”. So after soaking a white rag in 50/50 bleach solution for a minute or so, then putting it, sopping wet, into those folds with the black stuff for 30 minutes +, all but a little gray color was gone. Then I carefully scrubbed those mold areas with a toothbrush, then wiped them dry, then ran my bleach rags in the washing machine at its hottest setting. THEN I put 2 C vinegar in the soap dispenser and ran another hottest load with some white towels. Finally got those buggers!!!
Travel Day: On our way by 9:15, yet it was about 9:25 before we left the campground, due to the long, slow process driving out. We took I-14W to I-5N to SR 126W, then US 101N. For the most part SR 126 was 4 lanes without the heavy traffic of roads closer to LA. Lots of agriculture along it too, including orange trees. There were white nets covering some that we saw. That was a first. Wonder what they were for. Another nice surprise: US 101N, where we merged onto it from SR 126W, was 6 lanes wide, until Carpinteria where it dropped to 4 lanes and was not as smooth. Not long after that town, though, the road was pretty smooth most of the time, with views of the ocean as well. This is such a beautiful drive, lots of green in the surrounding hills. Unfortunately, my camera only focused on the bug spots on our windshield, so no photos for you all.
We arrived at the Santa Barbara Elks Lodge by 11:40, getting settled in soon because we had an assigned site. There are only 16 sites (water, power-50amp), so it isn’t hard to find yours. They are level (gravel), with room enough for your slides. $25/night (you must be an Elk). You can even reserve, which we’ve found isn’t the way most Elk lodges with RV sites work. Nicely laid out with tow cars in a separate lot nearby. We are quite close to all the amenities of town: grocery stores, church and US 101. Plus we have free WiFi!
We still had enough energy to drive up the San Marcos Pass (CA 154) then Paradise Rd, then their 1.5 mile paved “driveway” to the TT campground, Rancho Oso. I’m the reason we’re not staying at the TT campground. I’d heard so many stories of the bad (single lane, hairpin curves) road that I wanted to stay in town. Also, this Elk’s campground, because it is in town, gives us much closer access to the places we wanted to visit this time: Solvang and the Channel Islands National Park. So sweet John drove more miles up to Rancho Oso. We rather agree that the San Marcos Pass was similar to our road up to/out of Silent Valley, CA (ROD) with going up a steep way and lots of curves and twists. Doable, especially is you’ve unhooked your towed car before tackling it. Then there is the “driveway” when you turn off of Paradise Road. It is on Los Padres National Forest land, thus that road is an easement, where TT has no control over it’s upkeep or width. That said, it is paved and wide enough for 2 cars most of it’s 1.5 miles. There are about 3 hairpin curves (with a large mirror to help you see if anyone’s on the other side of that curve-but it can glare from the sun), that require finesse. Our thoughts for next time: Coming north (from the south as we did this time), it’s best to use the San Marcos Pass (CA 154), with your toad apart. Then when you turn off at the TT sign for Rancho Oso (onto their “driveway”, then drive the car ahead of your RV. When the car driver meets an oncoming party, then they should communicate with their partner in their RV (we have walkie talkies) a warning to find a place to turn out. There are a few of those. The next day we drove to Solvang and returned via CA 154 coming south, from north of Rancho Oso. That part of CA 154 is longer, with fewer twists, and you don’t have to go as high. You’d probably be fine waiting until the “driveway” to unhook your toad BUT there isn’t much space there (as you turn off Paradise Road at the Rancho Oso sign) for that. That “driveway” goes steeply up very quickly there. NOTE: you have less likelihood of meeting oncoming traffic if you drive INTO Rancho Oso in the afternoon. Similarly, you’re better off when leaving the campground, to leave well before noon.
As others have also noted, that campground is just lovely, all green, with lots of horses and fun places to stay (log cabins, Indian teepees), as well as historical sites. Not so good is that they have no cell service.
Once we got back to Miss Journey I was determined to take care of another project: water leaks from our shower onto the bathroom floor. I spent several hours taking off the old silicone caulking. Use a razor/mat knife to cut through the beginning and ending of your “bad” section of caulking, then carefully try to pull the old caulking out. What won’t pull out, you need to scrape with a plastic scraper. When there is just bits of it left, then scrub with a “Scotch Brite” green scrubber and rubbing alcohol (or paint cleaner solution).
Boy, was I ready for supper and bedtime then!