Monday, March 3, 2014

Born Again RV Virgins

Our grandson just celebrated his 4th birthday, which means it was 4 years ago that we were summoned home from our first long RV journey by his mother, who had been put on bed rest for the last 3 weeks of her pregnancy.  Choosing to opt to be our grandson's primary daycare providers, we put off our travel plans.  Just when we were about ready to start to think about hitting the road again, along came Grandson #1's brother.  We put in another 15 months as Grandma and Grandpa Daycare when our daughter found a "regular" daycare that met the criteria that she, my husband (Kim) and I were happy with.

We started formulating plans to leave March 1st, planned the itinerary, and started making lists.  I had forgotten how much work it is to load up the rig.  I'll let Kim post about all his work in prepping the rig itself.

Day One - We actually departed on time, waving good bye to our house sitters who were there to make sure we cleared the driveway without running over the boulders that line the driveway.  We had a short drive to Kelso, WA.  We stayed at a nice little park called Brookhollow RV Park.  Easy access about one mile off I-5.  $35 a night for full hook up.  We had stayed there on our way home four years ago.  You can see the pictures and read my review of that park here:

A couple of snags the first day.  The ABS light came on in the truck.  It is something that we will check out when we get to the Santa Cruz area where we will be for 5 days.  Research showed that even if the light comes on, the brakes are still working.  The other thing was that the propane sensor decided to shriek.  Not sure why this happened and there was some relief in remembering that it does this from time to time.  Perhaps it was just annoyed that we woke it up after a 4 year nap.  Who knows.  It stopped after we pushed the mute button, and we turned off the propane furnace just to be safe.  Thank God for space heaters and electric hook ups.

Day Two - We left only 5 minutes after our planned time of departure.  I was pretty proud of myself.  I'm the straggler.  I'm up early, but by the time I've done my morning spiritual reading and journalling, had some breakfast, and am starting to get ready to think about showering and getting dressed, Kim is up and chomping at the bit.  Oy vey.  Aren't we on vacation?  In an effort to keep the peace, I did a few things two months prior to our departure that I hope will help.  First, I cut off my hair.  This was not a big deal for me.  I had worn my hair very short for years.  In my late 40s, I decided to start growing it out.  A mid life thing?  Not sure, but I did it.  Even when it was long, there was not much styling involved.  There was, however, lots of time involved in washing and drying.  I am now sporting a short wash and wear hair style.   That cut (pun intended) about 30 minutes off my prep time.  The other thing I did, and I'm kicking myself for not doing this years and years and years ago is waxing.  I'm almost 60 years old now, and I experienced waxing my legs and underarms for the first time in January.  OMG, what a difference.  Not having to fuss with that aspect of my morning routine is such a blessing.  My first wax experienced lasted close to 2 months.  I'm sure part of that is my age.  The older you are, the slower the hair on your legs grows.  I wish I could say the same of underarm hair.  The underarm waxing lasts 2-3 weeks for me.  So worth the momentary discomfort of the waxing experience.  I'm glad I tried it out early so I knew what to expect.  We should make it to Phoenix before I will be looking for another wax job.

So groomed and on the road with a happy husband (not only that we were off pretty much on time, but the ABS light was no longer on) we headed south on I-5.  If you are going through the Portland, Oregon area and have no reason to stop in Portland, take I-205.  It bypasses all of the downtown area and its awful traffic.  (Does every big city have awful traffic?) It is so much better than driving through Portland.  We stopped for diesel just south of Salem, paying $3.99 a gallon at a Flying J station.  The drive was very relaxed and smooth.  Roundabout Rhonda (our GPS) took us on a different route from the one I had intended.  She took us off I-5, down Hwy 99 E (yes, I know, odd numbered highways should go north and south, but this is what it was called), to Hwy 36, then connecting with Hwy 126 into Florence. Oh well, we saw places we wouldn't have seen otherwise.  Lots of sheep farming followed by some delightful tree lined two lane highway, with very low hanging branches.  Very glad we cleared them and our AC unit is still intact.  It was a very pretty drive.  We had done it before, just picking up Hwy 126 in Eugene.

We arrived at Heceta Beach RV Park relatively early, before 3pm.  We had stayed here before as well.  You can read about our experiences by clicking here:

It is much the same as I remembered it.  Nice check in experience.  $36 per night for full hook up.  We couldn't get the DirecTV dish to cooperate, so we utilized the free TV cable so that I could watch The Oscars.  Ellen DeGeneres did a great job of hosting, and the musical numbers were great.  I am definitely going to have to watch The Dallas Buyers Club here sometime soon.

It was rainy and windy when we arrived.  Not a surprise if you are from the Pacific Northwest.  We are on the coast and it is March.  It would be more shocking if it were anything but windy and rainy.  What I love about this park are the pyimydalis arborvitae shrubs between the sites.  Great for privacy and in this case, great for wind block.

Tomorrow we are off to Crescent City.  This will be about 185 miles straight down Hwy 101.  Hopefully, an easy day.

1 comment:

  1. This is Kim. I'll add my comments here. Getting ready took a lot more time than I allotted. Partly because part of the time I was laid up with whatever illness I inherited from the grandkids, or it was just too darn cold or rainy or both to work outside. The 5th wheel had been laid up for about 2 1/2 years so there was plenty to check out. There were seams to re-caulk (and 90% of that job is getting the old caulk off!!), wheel bearings and brakes to check, etc. Then there was the truck. We have an 05 Ford F250 superduty with the dreaded 6.0L diesel. I noticed the water temp to oil temp differential (referred to as the delta) was starting to creep up indicating the oil cooler was starting to get clogged. I won't go into all the details on how or why, you can google that yourself if you want. So, a coolant system flush was in order. I gathered all the necessary parts and supplies and studied all the forum postings and you-tube videos on the subject and started in. Ran into various blips along the way, such as having to remove the starter to get at one of the engine block drain plugs (not nearly as big or heavy as I was expecting since all my prior experience with diesels were with the bigger commercial engines found the boats I worked on earlier in my life). Another was the short, about 3" long, hose that connects the EGR cooler to the oil cooler. Pretty simple in theory but it is in a tight little spot you can barely get your eyeballs into, let alone a hand. But, persistence prevailed and that was accomplished. Two days later, project done and DAMN! no change in the temp deltas. Just have to go with it. It's not critical yet but we'll be towing a 14K trailer. Jump ahead and the first mountain pass we hit and the oil temps are climbing fast. This is more stress than I need. I baby the truck up the hills keeping a close eye on the temps and we are just about at maximum recommended limits.

    By the next day it is more of the same but seems to be holding at those limits so we keep going. At one point we did consider going back home but we chose to continue and so far it has been ok.

    Meanwhile I contacted my friends on the FTE forum ( and found a member in the Escondido, CA area that can do the work of replacing the clogged oil cooler. Yeah, that takes a load off my mind. Looking forward to getting there and getting the work done. I will be able to watch so I can learn more about this engine.