Friday, June 27, 2014

Catching up on the last week or so.

Location, Whistler, BC

We have been busy and too tired to blog at the end of the day for the past week plus so here is a quick synopsis covering that period.

On Tuesday June 17th we drove from Fall City, WA to Lynden via several 2 lane back roads. Being back roads, they are also much slower as we drove through small towns and endured road construction in several areas. We are camped in Hidden Village RV Park for the duration.

Our time in Lynden has been a blur, with preparations for the wedding of our nephew Michael on Saturday the 21st, visiting with family, a rehearsal dinner on Thursday in Snohomish, and a BBQ for friends and family in Lynden on Friday night.

On Saturday we all drove south to Snohomish arriving about 11:30 for photos by the wedding photographer. Son Tim and Grandson Matthew arrived late due to a faulty input in their GPS. A phone call from them corrected their error and they arrived at the church on time.
Matthew and Tim.

The wedding was at 3 PM so there was a lot of hang loose time by all the relatives.

Michael and lizzy.

The ceremony was beautiful and the couple were excited to be married. A dinner followed the wedding. The newly weds departed in a car filled with balloons for which the groom had been provided a pin to burst enough of them to gain entry into the car. It was a nice send off.

Everyone departed for the long drive home about 7 PM.

On Sunday we all were invited to Dawn and Matt’s house for a BBQ and to see all the improvements they have made since last year. They have an impressive garden, lots of fruit trees planted and major improvements to the house. Tim and Matthew tried out the wood splitter while we were there.

Dawn's garden.
 Tim and Matthew splitting wood.

On Monday all the chairs and tables used for the family BBQ were returned to where they belonged and things got back to somewhere normal.

On Tuesday morning the 24th Mark, Candi, Clyda, and I drove to Harrison Hot Springs Resort near Hope, BC in Canada. This trip had been planned a year ago as a get away after the wedding.

We spent 2 days soaking in the hot pools, taking a cruise around Lake Harrison, and generally relaxing. The resort is set up like many European hot springs resorts where everyone walks around in white robes as they go from pool to pool. The water is about 95 to 98 degrees in most pools with one pool being much warmer. There are 4 out door pools with one being a cool lap pool and 2 indoor pools one of which is a regular swimming pool and the other is a large circular hot tub. There is also a spa onsite for those who want more pampering.

Harrison Hot Springs Resort.

 Hot  pools.

 View from our window.

The weather was beautiful with temperatures in the high 70’s and no wind. The surrounding area is very green with beautiful high mountain vistas in the distance. All of this made for a very relaxing 2 days.
 Boat ride on Lake Harrison.

On Thursday we drove to the ski area at Whistler, BC for 3 days at a lodge called First Tracks which has a ski lift at the back door. Our drive was over 4 hours as we drove back roads and stopped a few times along the way.

We are in a 2 bedroom 2 bath condo which is very, very nice. We have maid service each day.

We had to grocery shop for breakfast and lunch items but go out to dinner each evening. There is a BBQ restaurant in the condo complex which makes it very convenient for dinner.

Our goal is to ride the gondola up the mountain and take the new Peak 2 Peak Ariel tramway from Whistler Mountain to Blackcomb Mountain if the weather cooperates. Right now we have light rain and the mountains are not visible.

Monday, June 16, 2014

A change of plans.

Location, Fall City, WA

A Correction: The quilt show in Sisters is next month, not next week as stated in yesterdays blog. Sorry for the mix up.

I thought we would have a peaceful night at the Elks Club in Selah last night but just before dusk a train whistled and we realized that the train tracks ran right near the campground. Fortunately, they don’t whistle near the campgroud.

We were woke up by a very large blower being pulled by a “gater” which was clearing the parking lot of dust and leaves. They do start early to get done before the golfers show up.

We left about 9:15 and drove north on Hwy 82 to the junction with I-90 westbound. Most of these 30 miles is climbing and then lots of downhill.

After we were on the road I realized that our destination at Cle Elum was only 60 miles away so we stopped at a rest area while I refigured our route to this Fall City campground.

We had to convoy over Snoqualmie Pass because they were redoing the highway by removing the old snow sheds over the highway and removing lots of rock also. The slow convoy lasted for 5 miles.

We have stayed at this camp ground before but it is not our favorite place. It is in a bend of the Snoqualmie River and is damp but very green and you park on grass. At times it floods, hence the stair step pedestals for the utilities. We had sprinkles off and on most of the day but no real rain.
The dogwoods are in bloom.

Tomorrow we will be in Lynden and plan to stay until after the 4th of July. Our route will be up several 2 lane roads which bypass all of Seattle. We have done this trip several times before and prefer it to the busy I-5 or 405 corridors.  

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Fathers Day and tales of an Army convoy

Location, Yakima, WA

Happy Fathers Day to any fathers who may read this.

We spent several hours yesterday in Sisters, OR.  Why is it called Sisters you may ask?  It is named after three mountain peaks located west of town. The peaks are called North, Middle, and South Sister or also called Faith, Hope, and Charity.

Sisters is located about 18 miles northwest of Bend, OR and is the MECCA for any quilters who live in the west as Paducah, KY is for those in the east. Next weekend is the big Quilt Show when about 1300 quilts are displayed around town. Don’t even think about coming unless you have had a reservation somewhere in the area for at least the last year.

As we approached the town we came across signs saying SLOW – EVENT AHEAD and traffic increased proportionally. What the heck… the Quilt Show isn’t until next weekend. The main cause was a PRCA sanctioned rodeo held a few miles before entering town. The streets in town were jammed as were the sidewalks. We found out later that they had just finished with a parade through town. As we slowly drove through Clyda spotted a quilt shop, our main reason for visiting, so I turned down a side street and found a place to park the truck in the lot of a closed store.
  Rodeo parking.

The main street had recently been paved and new sidewalks have been put in but not completed. They really make the town look spiffy.
  Side walks.

Clyda headed to the quilt shop while I decided to stay outside and sit on a bench. Bad idea, as the wind was cold, so I moved around the corner out of the wind and in the sun which was much better.

Quilt store.

Quilts painted on side of building.

Clyda eventually came out and we wandered the streets looking at touristy shops of which there are plenty. We ate lunch in a nice cafĂ© with good food, in fact so good that I took half my meatloaf sandwich back to the RV and had it for dinner last night. 

Cinderellas Coach (a metal sculpture).

We also stopped at the town park where an art and craft show was set up. It didn’t take us long to peruse the whole event and we did not buy anything.

Today was moving day for all the RV’s at the Bend Elks Club as tomorrow the parking lot will be recoated. Most had left by 9 AM when we pulled out.

We had a leisurely drive north on Hwy 97 to Biggs which is on the Oregon side of the Columbia River where we pulled into a truck parking area behind a gas station to have lunch. As we pulled out of the lot I noticed an Army convoy coming from the east and as we crossed Hwy 84, the Columbia River highway, there was another convoy coming from the west. Highway 97 climbs a very steep hill on the Washington side and comes to a stop sign at Washington Highway 14. Part of the convoy was stopped at the stop sign while waiting for cross traffic. I put the truck into low gear so as to make the final climb to the stop sign then proceeded west about ¼ mile where Hwy 97 turns north again and climbs another steep hill. Of course the small convoy of army vehicles was ahead of us doing about 40 MPH. As we climbed I saw in my rear view mirror that all the rest of the convoy from Hwy 84 had now caught up to us along with a lot of cars and trucks. The convoy speed varied from 30 to 50 MPH but mainly traveled at 40 MPH. There are a few passing lanes but for the next hour or so I only managed to pass two of the Army vehicles. We traveled this way as a very long convoy of Army vehicles, cars, and trucks for 60 miles until we got to Toppenish, WA where the Army went one way and we went another.

Crossing the Columbia River at Biggs, OR

Our view for 60 miles.

Tonight we are camped at another Elks club in Selah, WA out side of Yakima but this time we are on grass under the trees with lots of room around us. It is also an Elks owned golf course and we are camped near the driving range. There are about 20 sites but only four are occupied. The weather has warmed up a little but still cool when the wind blows. 

Selah Elks Club camping.
 View of the camping sites

Friday, June 13, 2014

What happened to summer?

Location, Bend, OR

We are camped at the Bend Elks for 2 nights.

Yesterday we left the Likely Golf and RV Resort near Likely, CA  after having breakfast in the small dining room which is part of the office/golf club. Breakfast special was French toast and link sausage. Lots of people paying for golf even though wind was predicted.

We traveled to Alturas, CA then west and north to Klamath Falls, OR where we took on fuel and continued on to Collier State Park north of Chiloquin, OR. There is a logging museum across the road from the campground and we feared that it would be full because the museum operates all the logging equipment on Father’s Day weekend.

I stopped at the campground host and she said there may be one site available for one night. Perfect! We found a pull through site which was good enough for the one night of our stay.

The weather however turned cold, windy and with rain predicted. In fact it did rain towards morning but only sprinkles. Temps are in  the 50's. Tonight’s temperature was predicted to be near freezing at Chiloquin. What happened to summer?

Our drive to Bend, OR was rainy all the way but just occasional sprinkles. Turn on the wipers, wait a few minutes, turn off the wipers.

We had planned to stay at Tumalo State Park near Bend but because of Fathers Day weekend we decided that was not a good plan as Tumalo only has 23 sites for RV’s and they probably were all reserved. So, we opted for the Elks Club which has only 8 back in sites in the parking lot. We have stayed here before but then had the parking lot to ourselves. Today when we arrived only 2 sites were available, all others being taken, and only one of those looked like we could get into it. After much maneuvering I did manage to get the RV parked but there sure isn’t any room to spare as the photo will attest too.

Elks parking lot, Bend, OR. We are second from the right.

A tight squeeze.

We did a quick reconnoiter of Tumalo State Park which was full as we had expected and then drove around Bend including the Old Town section which was jammed with cars and people.

Tomorrow we will drive to Sisters, OR and all the quilt shops which was the reason for stopping here to begin with.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Trouble, trouble…..Trouble.

Location, Likely, CA

We got trouble.

We left home Sunday morning and traveled up the coast to Hwy 166 which took us to Maricopa and then to Bakersfield where we stayed with Budd and Brenda overnight. The main reason for going that way was to pick up a mattress they had for use on our hide-abed couch in the RV. The plan was to add their mattress on top of ours and make it s nice bed to sleep on. Well, that didn’t work as the combination of the 2 mattresses was too thick to fit back into the couch. We ended up getting rid of our original mattress and putting theirs on the bed. It is a much thicker mattress than ours was. Thank you Budd and Brenda.

When we got ready to leave Monday morning my Tire Traker pressure monitor beeped to tell me I had low pressure in one trailer tire. Budd got out his compressor and we pumped it up and left. Our route was through Bakersfield and up the hill to Tehachapi where we stopped at Love’s for fuel.

We stopped in Lone Pine for lunch and as we got back in the truck the alarm beeped again. Same low tire. I got out my compressor, which is in a lockable box in my truck bed, and a generator which is in a compartment under the fifth wheel hitch and pumped up the tire in 100 degree heat on a blacktop parking lot. While I was doing this Clyda stood under a tree at the edge of the parking lot. It was the coolest place around.

We drove up Hwy 395 without stopping in Bishop, which I probably should have done, and arrived in the Mammoth Lakes area about 3:30 PM. It is one of our favorite places to camp but it has been a few years since we have been here.
 At mammoth in the trees.

On Tuesday morning the tire again was low so I decided to put the spare on and take the tire to Les Schwab in Gardnerville, NV to see if the could find the problem. They immersed the tire in water and the problem was very evident. The rim had a tiny hole in it near a weld which caused the slow leak. Of course they did not have a rim that size but another customer who is also an RV’er told me about a shop in Dayton, East of Carson City that might be able to help me. We checked into the Silver City RV Park in  Carson City and I got on the internet to find a phone number and called Dayton Tire Shop. They did not have a rim my size but could get me one by 9:30 Wednesday morning.
  At Silver City RV Park.

On Wednesday morning we left for Dayton about 9 AM. We needed to stop by a post office so did that on our way. The tire shop did have the rim. About 20 minutes later the tire was mounted and we were good to go. A quick stop at a Smith’s grocery store then back to the RV Park. Picked up the trailer and headed for Reno. We had and easy drive through Reno on the new Hwy 395 and stopped somewhat north of there at a rest stop for lunch. We arrived at Likely Golf and RV Resort outside of the town of Likely, CA. The RV Park sits on top of a hill and has wide sites with grass between sites. Full hookup sites are $30 with the Good Sam discount. They also serve breakfast in the morning.
  At Likely, CA Golf and RV Resort..

Monday, June 2, 2014

Getting ready to travel.

Location, At home, CA

I am still slowly getting ready to travel.

All of the major jobs are done on the RV and truck. The truck was in twice within the last 2 weeks. First it was in for regular oil change service but they found that the rear brakes were very thin and recommended that I bring it in for those to be replaced as well as radiator and power steering service.

In checking the service records, which I have on-line, I found that the rear brakes had never been replaced in 108,000 miles. The front brakes were done at 62,000 miles. I guess it is time then.

When I picked up the truck the service writer told me that the rear brakes were paper thin. Thank goodness they recommended that they be replaced or I would have found myself in a real pickle on some big downhill grade while we are on our trip.

Speaking of THE TRIP, we are now scheduled to leave on Sunday. We have pushed the departure date back a few days for various reasons. We will still arrive in Lynden, WA on Tuesday June 17 but will have fewer layover days on the trip.

This morning I installed my new Tire Traker pressure monitors on the RV. It took me a couple of tries to get them right but I hope they help prevent any blowouts by giving me a warning of potential trouble.