Moving on – from Quincy, WA to HOME! Happy May Day

5/1/17 Monday in Spokane Valley, WA (HOME!)

Oh, happy day, we’ve headed home, around 7:50. Here are some images looking out from the Crescent Bar campground – right on the Columbia River.

An interesting thing happened last night. John was in bed and as I was getting ready for bed I noticed orange flashing lights on our washer. Strange since we haven’t used it in over a week. Still, I didn’t feel good leaving the blinking all night, nor enjoy the thought of trying to fix the issue before we left in the morning. So I got out the manual. It said to unplug the machine, wait a minute, then plug it back in. So I called on John to get to the plug. Lots of unscrewing ensued, he got to the plug, unplugged the wrong one (for the dryer), then got the right one. Sure enough, after we’d waited our minute then plugged it back in, I checked and the washer gave it’s normal indications. Poor John had to put everything back before crawling back into bed. Just about then I realized that our power had been out, right about the time the flashing signal came on. Oh well, we were fine now.

In the morning all our departure procedures went smoothly. John loves that he knows these roads like the back of his hand, so I didn’t bother with Sygic.

We’ll be home for the next 4 months, so I’m not likely to post during that time. Just the same, we have some big news to share. After much discussion we’ve decided to sell our Miss Journey. This may come as a shock for many, so I’ll give an explanation.

About 20 years ago we bought a tent trailer, thoroughly enjoying how comfortable it was compared to tent camping. We got the boys to join us a few times but they were teenagers and disinclined to enjoy that time with us. Wouldn’t you know, just when we could afford a better way to camp, they weren’t so interested. After a year or so we joined Thousand Trails, getting access to many northwest campgrounds (they like to call them preserves), with nature as the priority. There we met “fulltimers” who told us about a lifestyle of living on the road. We were enthralled, knew that we loved traveling and nature so we saved and planned for our retirement as Rvers. Note: I wanted to travel to far away countries while John preferred traveling on the ground, in an RV, throughout our country. He felt that should be done first. So I agreed.

Financially we were close to ready and found the perfect (we thought) RV: Miss Zanzibar, buying her in 2010, using our next 2 years to get her ready and ourselves accustomed to life in a diesel pusher motor home. Memorial Day, 2012, we took off in Miss Zanzibar, sharing our experiences in this blog. We’d planned to travel through all the contiguous states within the next 4 years. We missed a couple on the East coast and decided it wasn’t worth the terrible weather (tornadoes, floods, high winds) to see the plain states (Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa…). In 2014 we admitted that there were problems with Miss Zanzibar that couldn’t be solved (the slides didn’t fit in their openings well) that created constant struggles with using our slides. So we found Miss Journey, purchasing her in December 2014. Overall, she’s been a dream; to drive, to live in, to keep maintained.

A couple years ago we figured it would work well to shift from RV travel to other forms of travel in 2020. We would use a car, plane, ship or train to explore places we didn’t get to in the USA as well as far away countries. As the months went by we found ourselves seriously considering making this shift sooner. John’s mom is 93, so any time we could get the call to be at her side. Getting our RV into storage or driving her for a great many miles swiftly would be hard. Meanwhile, our grandchildren will be 7 and 11 this summer. We don’t have many more years before they’ll be teenagers and wanting to spend time with their friends instead of Grandma and Grandpa. We’ve been on the West coast a good deal now, so there’s more often the feeling of “been there, done that”. Added to these is the reality that you don’t really escape the very cold/hot weather in an RV. You try, but it can catch you just the same. When you’re in a home, it’s so well insulated you hardly notice the weather outside and can control how much you are in that weather when you’re retired. Living in an RV you feel the effects of weather far more. The RV holds outside temperature more like a car than a house: they’re not so well insulated. When it’s 95 degrees and above (as it was for 3 weeks in Mesa, AZ), the RV’s heat pumps/air conditioners struggle, getting lucky if they can cool you by 10 degrees. When it’s below freezing you need to bring in your water filter and unhook your water line. We don’t heat during the night because it’s loud, so we burrow under covers and dread getting out in the morning. It takes a good while to warm up then and because our power is limited often to 30 amps (compared to 200+ amps in a home), so often we need to turn off our heaters while cooking breakfast, to stay within our amperage. Brrr. Lastly, our Miss Journey is 5 years old this year. Recommendations are to buy an RV that’s from 2-5 years old; old enough to lessen the depreciation loss and new enough so you’ll have many years of enjoyment before appliances and the like break down.

So above are our reasons for shifting to other forms of travel now. It’s not easy, because we also feel SO comfortable with this lifestyle and this RV compared to those first years. Really wish we’d had Miss Journey in the first place, but you could say we learned LOTS with Miss Zanzibar. Anyway, the challenges seem so much fewer with our 5 years of experience, thus the RV life is more enjoyable. Also we’ve made so many special friends in this RV world that we’re far less likely to see again. Very hard to contemplate that. You could say we’re torn. As John once said, we could just as easily make a case for waiting longer before making this shift as for doing it now.

Currently, we plan to put Miss Journey for sale on consignment in Spokane this summer. If she doesn’t sell, then this fall we’ll drive her (visiting friends and places along the way) to PPL in Texas, letting them put her up for sale on consignment. They have a really large base of possible customers – Texas sells the most RV’s in the country.

I’ll keep y’all posted. If you “follow” my blog you’ll get at email when I post and won’t need to check the blog for postings.

Our trip to Spokane was uneventful, arriving at 11:00. Good time for unloading all the food and whatever else we have the time and energy for.

Spokane

UPDATE: I intended to post this blog on Monday, but we were too exhausted after spending the whole day hauling our stuff from the RV to our home. We barely managed lunch and dinner.

Tuesday: Grocery shopping (discount day at Fred Meyer), then continued moving items from the RV to our now crowded-with-piles home. Treated ourselves to dinner out at Red Robin (buy one burger get one half off). We did get to see a bit of Joe then, as he was our server. Afterwards, John soaked in our Jacuzzi.

Wednesday: With most of the items out of the top, we took the morning for errands: among them stopping at the fire station for a bolt cutter, to get a stubborn lock off our tow equipment. The last stop was at Freedom RV, to see what they had to offer in the way of consignment. They don’t operate like PPL (in Texas) which will keep 10% of the sales price and give you the rest. In Spokane the simply say we’ll guarantee selling your RV for, in our case, $100,000. Whatever they make over that is theirs. Bummer. We paid $149,000 for Miss Journey only 2.5 years ago. The percentages these people take is worse than realtors take to sell your home. The guy in charge of consignments said that this was a good time since their stock of used diesel RV’s was low now due to a big sale they’d just completed. He also noted that it would be very helpful if we brought ours in before the weekend. We also realized that, after much rain and cold, the next few days would be the warmest yet. Just when people would get excited about purchasing an RV. So as soon as we got home I got busy washing out the cupboards, treating the wood, using Scotch Brite on the Corian, cleaning sinks and toilet and floors. By the end of the day my arms were so sore. I also called a competitor of Freedom RV, asking for their consignment figures. They’d only guarantee $95,000. So we decided to stay with Freedom. John worked at emptying the basement and vacuuming it out. Our older shop vac died, but he had a smaller one (we’d carried in the RV) to carry on. After supper we each spent time in our whirlpool tub.

Thursday: Time to wash Miss Journey. John did the majority of it, which I was extremely grateful for. Unfortunately he discovered that 2 (radio?) antennas on the roof had been knocked over by the tree we had to drive under for our Crescent Bar site. We should have taken the not so level but clear of trees site. Oh well. By 2 pm he drove it (I followed) to Freedom RV, where we signed the paperwork to let them sell it for us. Other than that they just needed a copy of our title (it’s paid for). We only had a couple hours to rest before Joe arrived. This is his birthday, so we took him to “HuHot” for an all you can eat Mongolian BBQ. Boy, was that ever tasty. The rest of the evening we tried to tackle the various piles we’d been negotiating around. We’d also contacted Waste Management (we’d signed up for garbage service Tuesday) to find out about the garbage and recycle carts they were to deliver. They said it was likely we wouldn’t get them before the trucks came to pick up our garbage/recycling, but we could use other containers. So before retiring, we got that out to the curb. Whew-we have so much trash from cleaning out Miss Journey it was a relief to learn we could get rid of much of it so soon.

Friday: John went to Justin’s to mow his lawn (it’s huge and, because of all the rain, hadn’t been mown yet). He loves riding that lawn mower! I stayed home to tackle this blog and end of the month computer jobs.

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Moving on – from Chehalis, WA

4/29/17 Saturday in Quincy, WA (Crescent Bar-TT)

This was a longer than normal trip for us, 251 miles, so we were glad to be on our way before 8. All went smoothly thanks to our reliable Miss Journey and our 5 years of experience. It feels like our departing and arriving  process is going really well these days. It was cloudy but no rain, so a great day to drive, mostly on familiar roads.

trip 1

As we approached Snoqualmie Pass

trip 2

At the Summit of Snoqualmie Pass

We arrived around 12:30. The road into the campground (Crescent Bar Rd) starts near Trinidad Store, where we like to unhook, because after that it is steep and curvy although very navigable for a big rig. This campground is well maintained. Beautiful bathrooms. Nice swimming pool and adult only spa. The gravel sites are mostly level, many with a tree or two, 30 amp service, plus water and sewer, even grass and a picnic table for your patio area. You might even snag a site that faces the Columbia River. We had good Verizon cell service and TV satellite reception. Nice in the Spring/Fall, really hot in the summer. Not a lot of trees – mostly you are on the Columbia River so it’s great for fishing and lake activities. Be warned, it’s generally VERY windy, so don’t think about putting your big awning out.

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Moving on – from Seaside, OR to Chehalis, WA

4/28/17 Friday in Chehalis, WA (Chehalis-TT)

First, a recap of our 3 weeks (almost) in Seaside: I got a new phone (no sales tax in Oregon), the Samsung J3. It was close to the same size as my old Galaxy SIII and only cost $168! So there was quite a lot of time and effort on my part to get it working to my satisfaction. I do really like it. We bought it at Costco, so I got a new Otterbox protective cover and a nice screen cover for $19.99. Verizon would have cloned my old phone info into my new phone, but I was just as happy that I did it all myself, because I could weed out extraneous items.

Meanwhile it rained constantly. We got a break on Easter and the following Friday with sunny days, but all that rain really restricts exploring nature. We’d already seen the tourist attractions. John managed to go golfing twice (the first time was a misery because the course was so wet. Other than that we did a lot of reading and watching TV, as well as visiting/walking with our RV friends in the park. I finished “Beneath A Scarlet Sky” by Mark Sullivan was fabulous. It reminds me of “Unbroken” – a true story of Pino Lella, an Italian who rescued many Jews, taking them over the mountains in snow to Switzerland as well as later working as a spy for the Resistance while he was a driver for the most powerful Nazi in Italy, who only took orders from Hitler. It was breathtaking what he endured, how he survived. Truly worth reading. Now I’m in the midst of “Alexander Hamilton” by Ron Chernow- the book that inspired “Hamilton” the play on Broadway. Wow. That man was a genius and it appears responsible for much of the amazing government, as well as financial, basis that this country was founded on. Just incredible. Also well worth reading. Take note, it’s not light reading, but my I’ve learned SO much. He was such a visionary….we are most fortunate.

From April 19th until April 23rd we enjoyed the Lewis and Clark rally here. Great food and fun times. Most of the rally activities revolved around meals (potluck, host provided, at a restaurant), visiting, and playing “Fast Track” at night. Wonderful time – so nice to experience while living in constant rain.

We were grateful that the weatherman predicted little rain for our travel day. We drove the RV and car separately to the Fred Meyer in Warranton to fuel the RV because it looked like a tight fit. This way, after fueling, we could meet away from the congestion and hook up. Thus we left the campground by 8:30 and left Fred Meyer just after 9. We took US 101N to SR 30E to Longview where we got onto I-5N until the turn off for the Chehalis TT campground, arriving before 11:30. It was a little exciting with Mario Andretti dashing through those tight curves in the beginning miles of SR 30, but I survived to tell this tale!

Images from our trip:

Trip 1 (2)

The gorgeous greens of Oregon – land of timber/lumber.

Trip 2 (2)

A view of the Lewis and Clark bridge into Washington, where we saw stacks of lumber on the Washington beach for the building industry.

Trip 3 (2)

A green view of Western Washington.

Chehalis campground, in short: The very first TT park. Beautiful heavy old growth woods. Lots of trails (once for motorcycles). Lots of bunnies here too. Long walks from campsites to lodge, most are power/water. Problems with electricity (old aluminum wiring underground, not protected). Good sections for motor homes: G & H

We’re staying only one night, so it’s just a time to regroup for tomorrow’s very long trip of 252 miles to Crescent Bar.

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Moving on – from Keizer, OR to Seaside, OR

4/11/17 Tuesday in Seaside, OR (Seaside-TT)

We were on our way before 9. Smooth departure procedure. So glad the weather was taking a break on this particular day – our travel day, so no rain or heavy wind predicted this morning. For this trip from Keizer to Seaside, we went I-5N, SR-217W, US-26W, then US-101N. All good roads, with lots of passing lanes on US-26. We arrived at 11:20. The rain is supposed to start at 3. We’re happily tucked into Miss Journey for our day. Maybe some hot tub time.

Seaside-TT: There is the South section for 30 amp rigs and the North section is more open, with 30 and 50 amp sites., nice for big rigs. There are plenty of treed sites for those who like that. Asphalt roads, graveled sites, all level, with grass, trees. There is a wonderful natural area (meadow, forest, lake) along your route to the North side. Indoor pool and hot tub (both are large), cafe, pay for WiFi. Full Hookups (we have 50 amps), good power. Lots to do at the campground and in the area. This is a very popular campground, so it would behoove you to reserve early. We’re next to the adult lodge, getting the WiFi in our rig, at site #121. Let us know if you’re around.

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Silver Falls State Park

4/9/17 Sunday in Keizer, OR (Keizer Elks-$20)

We went to Mass last night so we could get to Silver Falls State Park early this morning, before the predicted afternoon rains limit our enjoyment of this rain forest. As it was, it was very cool and some water was standing in many areas of our trails when we were there, starting at 9:30. The good news is that this place is just SO green and the waterfalls are roaring with water because of all the rains delivered here this Spring.

First we stopped at South Falls:

We followed the Maple Ridge Loop for quite a ways, with steep switchbacks, not seeing the falls we thought we would. By then my knees were sore from all the steep downhill, followed by steep uphill. We did come upon some lovely images, so it was all worth it: (the bird is an Acorn Woodpecker.

Next we tackled Winter Trail, to the Winter Falls:

On to the North Falls (136 feet) Viewpoint trail

North

From another trail to the North Falls, we got a different view and John went into the area behind the falls to get this photo. My knees were hurting and the standing water on that path looked like I’d get wet feet, so I refrained from going behind this falls.

North behind 1North behind 2North behind 3

After our picnic lunch we walked to the Upper North Falls (65 feet)

We took the leisurely route back to Keizer Elks’ campground. When we pulled near our site we were amazed to see that Kathy/Jim were parked just a couple rigs from ours! Wow, we had no idea that they were headed here. So we visited with them, catching up. They had been traveling even farther and faster than we (from Casa Grande, AZ), so they needed to rest the rest of the day. We got to visit a while the next morning, before they took off for Kelso, WA. While visiting with Kathy/Jim I got a phone call – it was Nancy/Roger letting us know that they live in Keizer and had noticed my Facebook message that we were here. So they’ve invited us plus Loyce and Wendle to come enjoy dinner with them and then play some Fast Track. Good times!

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Moving on – from Myrtle Creek, OR to Keizer, OR

4/7/17 Friday in Keizer, OR (Keizer Elks-$20)

Last night was horrendous. We experienced heavy rain and high winds, with 60 mph gusts that really rocked Miss Journey throughout the night. Thank heavens we put our big slides in before the rains started. We lost power a few times, into the morning. The prediction was for this weather to continue until 5 pm today (Friday). So during that terrible night I decided there was no way we would travel north. Having seen the predictions I’d asked at the office if we could extend our time there. Nope – full up. So during the night I figured we’d try 7 Feathers Casino RV resort, even though it’s very expensive. What’s money when it comes to your well being? By the morning things seemed to have quieted some. I checked the weather report (Weather Underground app). It had changed to say now a Wind Warning where the gusts and all would decrease by 11 am. John looked at the Salem area. It seems the wind will pick up there later in the day.

Poor John had to do his jobs in pouring rain (ah, spring on the Coast), but all went smoothly and we were off by 9:10. Our brand new windshield wipers, that Len helped us install at Soledad, were working beautifully. Everything was so green, it was just gorgeous.

green

After lots of rolling, green hills with pasturing animals (cattle, sheep and horses), we came to flat land. All this while with rain until the latter part of our trip. Also the last half was largely going straight on flat land. The terrible wind (30-35 mph) was mostly behind us, with gusts some of the time, so our fuel mileage got up to 9.9 mpg. All in all, not nearly the terrible trip we were expecting.

As we exited I-5, John didn’t quite negotiate to the appropriate left, concentrating instead on the path that his GPS was giving, we followed that way. I was freaking out, because we appeared to be going farther away from our destination all the time, but it turned out fine. We arrived in cold, pouring rain around noon.

This is one of the more special Elks’ “campgrounds”: FHU, 30/50 amp (good) power, Verizon service, TV satellite reception and even free WiFi. Very level sites, where you park the rig on gravel, your car nearby and you have a lovely asphalt pad for your patio area. All this for just $20/night. Not to mention Elks’ campgrounds are usually within cities and the Elk Lodge provides a bar, meals, and sometimes fun like dances.

After lunch I took a long nap and John relaxed.

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Moving on – from Redding, CA to Myrtle Creek, OR

4/5/17 Wednesday in Myrtle Creek, OR (Tri City Park-PPA)

Smooth departure, on our way by 7:45. We’re traveling 226 miles today, another long drive. This trip is basically all I-5N, so I won’t bore you with the getting from and to our campgrounds details this time. 🙂 It’s also all through the mountains, starting the minute we get onto I-5N, traveling uphill with a beautiful view of Turntable Lake. Lovely purple flowering bushes brightened our way.

purple (2)

There were plenty of mountain passes at the beginning, then we came to a valley that was a relief. At the rest area John filled his travel mug with water, but carried it back to his seat by the lid. This became a self induced adventure when the lid came off and all that water spilled onto my computer, and cell phone settled on my chair (since I was gone to get myself a water refill). Some water even fell on my camera set below my seat. Thank heavens my computer was closed at the time. All seem to have survived that incident. Lesson for John, don’t carry your mug by the lid!

We were about half way through our trip when John started getting concerned that we could run out of fuel, at the low fuel mileage we’d been experiencing. We’d just passed a Pilot at Weed. Soon after that we were in a valley, with the wind at our backs. We were feeling hopeful. Then the Siskiyou mountains, but we were already at a high altitude when we were in them. It seemed that we hit one of their summits soon after the Oregon border. Then we experienced a great sigh of relief, because it was pretty much downhill from there. We had plenty of fuel to make it to the Pilot at Medford. Whew!

It was such a relief when we arrived at the Tri City RV Park at 12:10. Since it was after noon we knew the office would be closed, but when John found our site #44 paper marked with someone else’s name, the office gal saw him pondering and came out to help. She’d been the lady who’d originally put us in site #44, so she checked the computer and was not happy that someone had put another camper at that site. She fixed it for us and put the other campers in another site. Another Whew!

We LOVE this place. Note, we reserved at this campground because it rated an 8.6 on Rvparkreviews.com. FHUs, Verizon service, TV satellite sky clear and lovely pull through sites where your RV rests on a LEVEL concrete pad, next to a grassy area with a picnic table. The bathrooms are immaculate. The trees are flowering now, so we get to watch white petals falling like snow all around us.

John cleaned off those pesky bugs from our windshield and talked awhile with our neighbor while I took a nap. We walked a couple blocks along the highway, then turned down through a residential area to their high school, with it’s ball field, track, and lots of grass. Speaking of grass below is a picture of the neat barn we saw on our way back home.

Myrtle Creek 1 (2)

Great chance for our exercise after lunch. Next, we needed to give the car (battery) exercise (that’s our excuse) and drove to the Seven Feathers Casino for their $7.99 buffet deal (when you get your Player’s Club card), available Monday-Wednesday. That place is incredible. Their air conditioning manages to suck out most of the cigarette smoke, we “won” about $30 using our free play tokens, then enjoyed the best buffet food for that great price. So we had to waddle out of there to get home. Such a wonderful treat!!!

Myrtle Creek 2 (2)

Tomorrow we will rest. Ah, it’s about time. I’ll be doing our wash and computer jobs with all our great FHU’s and free WiFi, while John will simply NOT DRIVE, (much) because we plan to visit Seven Feathers for Senior Slot play and check out their RV park.

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