Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Wayne and Margy's Rental RV Trip Log 4

Trip Log Part 4

Wednesday, January 30 -- We left the Orange Grove RV Park later than normal. Today we only had 160 miles to drive, that's less than our typical leg between gas stops. We used the extra time to have breakfast, then we emptied our black and gray water holding tanks. You can read more about that below.

The rolling hills of Highway 58 leaving the Central Valley.

Our route today took us through Tehachapi, Mojave (with it's Air and Space Port), Rosamond (where Wayne's Air National Guard base's C-130s did practice cargo drops), Lancaster, Palmdale, then east on the Pearblossom Highway to familiar Southern California freeways, I-15, I-215, and I-10.

A train, wind generators and Joshua Trees past Tehachapi.

The desert is already dry and brown even though there's been more rain this year with El NiƱo conditions. Towards the Mojave Desert there were some very interesting exposed rock formations with uplift caused by earthquakes on the Garlock Fault.

Uplifted rocks on the Garlock Fault descending towards Mojave.

Before we left Orange Grove I called the Mission RV Park in Redlands, California, to see if they had space for us for two nights. Rain is forecast to arrive tomorrow afternoon and last into that night. We picked this park because it's in walking distance to stores and restaurants. If we get bored we can go out for a meal or do some shopping.

Right after we arrived we went next door to Cha Cha's Tacos for Mexican food. There's nothing like authentic choices in Southern California. In the Pacific Northwest, many of the restaurants have Americanized their recipes. I had a chili rellano and Wayne had fish tacos. The plan is to return for hueves rancheros for breakfast.

Cha Cha Tacos in front of the RV park.

There's supposed to be a break in the rain on Friday morning. We'll hunker down here for Thursday and hit the road when it lets up.

RV Waste Handling - Yesterday I shared our bathroom facilities. What happens to water from the sink and toilet? Our rental Coachman Leprechaun RV has two holding tanks. The one for black water from the toilet holds 22 gallons. The other for gray water from the sinks and the shower holds 28 gallons. Many RV sites have a sewer connection, or you can stop at a public or private RV dump station.

Connected to services including the large black hose to the sewer.

We've emptied our tanks twice. You wait until they are 3/4 full for enough gravity pressure to empty the contents through the large flexible hose. Black water goes first followed by gray water so it can flush out the hose. Fresh water finishes the cleaning process before storing the hose in an exterior compartment.

Any questions? Let me know in a comment. I invite you to return tomorrow for more of our rental RV adventure. -- Margy

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Wayne and Margy's Rental RV Trip Log 3

Trip Log Part 3

Tuesday, January 29 -- We were up by 8:00 without an alarm. Increased traffic on nearby I-5 probably helped, but it didn't bother our sleep during the night. We pulled out of the Durango RV Resort by 8:30 ready for another long day of driving to reach Arizona before the rain.

I-5's four lane divided roadway is good for long distance traveling.

We didn't gas up last night, so we drove south to Arbuckle. I pick stations in rural areas that have an easy off and back on. 

Below Sacramento I-5 runs near the Coast Range foothills.

We wanted to drive south from Sacramento to Bakersfield on Highway 99. It's more picturesque with farms and towns. Today there was a dense fog advisory in the Central Valley, so we continued on I-5. Highway 99 brings back lots of good memories for me. My parents and I traveled it four times a year to visit my grandparents in Waterford, just outside of Modesto. Waterford's changed a lot. Back in my teens, I rode my horse to town on weekends, cruising country style.

Harris Ranch has gas, a steakhouse, airport and hotel.

We stopped at Harris Ranch for more gas. It's a popular spot for travelers on I-5. When we lived in Pomona, we liked to fly our Arrow 997, land on their runway, park the plane next to the gate, and walk into the restaurant for a steak dinner (they raise their own beef). Sometimes we would spend the night at the Harris Ranch Inn.

Crops along I-5 include olives, almonds and pistachio nuts.

I used the Allstays app again to select our RV park for the night. We considered the River Run RV Park in Bakersfield. Then I found the Orange Grove RV Park just outside of town in Edison.

Our Orange Grove RV Park site with its own orange tree.

The park is inside a former orange grove with trees at each site loaded with fruit (in season). We got a pull-through with full services for $50 with our Good Sam Club discount. After 434 miles of driving, we relaxed with a cool drink while watching another gorgeous sunset.

RV Bathroom Facilities -- Yesterday I promised to share our bathroom. There's a standup shower, sink, flush toilet, and two small storage cabinets.

The small shower and sink.

It's sized for one, but has everything we need. There's a propane hot water heater and fresh water either from our tank or a hookup to city water in RV parks.

The flush toilet tucked in the corner.

How does the cost of RV rental compare to staying in hotels? Yesterday Eileen asked about comparing the cost of RV rental to hotel travel. I would say it costs about the same or a little less. In addition to the rental cost (plus pre-paid mileage fees), you have to consider gas, propane refills if needed, park or campground fees, and food. I would estimate the cost for this twenty-five day RV trip will be about the same or a little more than our normal week-long trip to Arizona by airline, staying in a hotel, and eating in restaurants. Plus, with an RV we have the flexibility to go where we want and see the country along the way. Priceless!

If you have a question, please leave it in the comment section and I'll share the answer with my readers. Thanks Eileen. -- Margy

Monday, January 28, 2019

Wayne and Margy's Rental RV Trip Log 2

Trip Log Part 2

Monday, January 28 -- We left our site at Armitage County Park by 8:30 am. Traveling in an RV makes packing up much quicker than when we tent camp.  Wayne unplugs our power, water, and cable TV. I make sure everything in the RV is secure for road travel.

We had fog all the way through Oregon.

We've been eating sweet rolls and orange juice on the road rather than cooking something on long travel days. Our goal is to get to Southern California during this period of mild weather, and we'll make it unless something unexpected happens. I-5 is a good choice if you want to get to Southern California as quick as possible. It has four or more lanes all the way. Even through it's a thoroughfare, the scenery is beautiful.

Over the pass to California with Mt. Shasta to greet us.

We drove another 375 miles today. Fog continued until we stopped in Ashland, Oregon for gas. but the visibility was okay for driving.  Using two legs of about 185 miles each seems to work for our bums in the seats and the need to use restroom facilities.

Our Sacramento River site at the Durango RV Resort.

We picked Red Bluff, California, as our destination. I used the Allstays app to select the Durango RV Resort because of it's amenities, location and nearby shopping. We splurged on a Sacramento River waterfront site. As a treat, we walked to Shari's restaurant for an early dinner. When we got back, there were high clouds. Even so, it was warm enough to sit outside until sunset and enjoy our river view.

The mighty Sacramento River heading south.

RV Bedroom -- I thought I would share something about our El Monte RV rental. We picked their 22-foot Coachman Leprechaun because it is small, easy to handle and park, and has the bed on the main floor. It's queen-size and there's plenty of storage overhead for clothes and things you would need at night. The propane heater keeps us warm all night. The door on the right goes into the small bathroom. I'll show you more about that tomorrow.

Our bedroom area at the back of the RV.

Thanks for joining us on our rental RV adventure.  Do you camp our use an RV when you travel? What are you favourite things about getting out on the road? -- Wayne and Margy

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Wayne and Margy's Rental RV Trip Log 1

Our destination, ASU for a women's softball tournament.
The idea to take an RV trip was part of an annual winter vacation we take to Arizona to watch a women's softball tournament at Arizona State University. Typically we travel by airliner and stay in a hotel.

Wayne thought this way would be more of an adventure for us, and he's right. Instead of our one week stay, this time we will be on the road for 25 days.

Trip Log Part 1

Friday, January 25 -- We picked up our 22-foot Coachman Leprechaun at El Monte RV in Ferndale, Washington. We drove it to our Bellingham condo for easy loading of our supplies and food. We then took the RV to Bellingham RV Park for a two night stay. The first night was to give us time to "move in" and get our things organized.

Saturday, January 26 -- The second night was for a Western Washington University women's basketball game and to get an early start on Sunday morning and miss weekday traffic in Seattle and Portland. Today we still had our SUV, which was a good thing. We went shopping to get a replacement water hose (the RV one was leaking) and a few other items. We disconnected our services and emptied our black and gray water tanks before leaving for the basketball game and our last night in the condo.

Staying in a local park the first nights worked well for us.

Sunday, January 27 -- Our good friend Jeanne drove us to the RV park to leave on our adventure. We got an early start so we could get as far south on I-5 as daylight would allow. Our goal is to get to northern California by Tuesday before rain is forecast to arrive in the Pacific Northwest.

Ready to hit the road.

Today was foggy, but with good driving visibility. The RV handled well with Wayne as the driver. I'll take turns as we go along. We stopped for gas in Chehalis, Washington after 180 miles of travel. We turned off the propane before filling at the gas pumps, and back on again after leaving the pumps so our propane refrigerator would keep running. Regarding fuel, we burned 8.18 miles per gallon so we now know how to gauge our future gas stops. What a gas guzzler.

We stopped for the day in Coburg, Oregon, just north of Eugene. There are three RV parks listed on the Good Sam Club app (we joined before leaving to get discounts) and the Allstays app (great for camping, RV parks, and travel services across the United States and Canada).

Our campsite at Armitage County Park.

First we visited the Premier RV Resort. It was large with lots of amenities next to I-5. We then went to check out the Eugene Kamping World park (not the store). It was a little smaller and older, but still a good choice. We did this for future reference.

The McKenzie River on a foggy afternoon.

The place we chose to stay was Armitage County Park just outside of Coburn. The sites are among the trees with lots of grass and space. It has full hookups and takes reservations, but this time of year none were needed. We drove around and picked our site then paid the $30 nightly fee. On the way back from the registration office we walked down to the McKenzie River that runs next to the park. Now we are ready for a well deserved dinner in our cozy abode and a good night's sleep. Tomorrow is another big travel day. -- Margy

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Wayne and Margy's Rental RV Road Trip

Wayne in the driver's seat ready to start our adventure.
Wayne and I are trying something new, traveling in an RV. We don't own one, we rented one from a local company and that's a story in itself. We researched extensively online and visited five companies before deciding on El Monte RV in Ferndale, Washington.

We found the personnel friendly and helpful. And the selling feature was it's near our Bellingham condo, making pickup and loading easy.

We decided to take this trip back in August, so we've had lots of time to collect our supplies. And it gave me good ideas of things to get Wayne for Christmas presents.

Getting checked out and picking up our 22-foot Leprechaun RV.

You can rent kitchen and bedding packages for extra, but since we were loading from home we didn't need or want to do that.

Loading all of our food and gear into the condo elevator.

To help us plan, I found RV camping checklists online at Campanda. They were helpful for essentials and then we modified them to match our travel plans.

Loading the RV at the condo front door.

Since we are new to RV travel, we decided to rent a spot at the local Bellingham RV Park. We are so glad we did. It gave us a chance to organize our things and test all of our systems.

Our site at the Bellingham RV Park.

Our checkout and the manual provided helped, but we had a few questions about using cable TV and the water system.  We called the On the Road Support hotline and received immediate and excellent service. Fellow travelers and park employees were also very helpful in getting us off the right foot.

Hooked up to electricity, water, sewer and cable TV.

If you want an easy start to a rental RV road trip, I highly recommend taking an extra night at the beginning to learn your rig and it's components.

My goal is to write a trip log here on Margy Meanders when we get to locations with wifi connections. In this day and age, most parks have them and even some public campgrounds. I hope you come back to enjoy this trip along with us. -- Wayne and Margy

Sunday, January 20, 2019

30-Day Drawing Challenge

C is for Drawing Challenge

I've been participating in a fun activity this month, the 30-Day Drawing Challenge. It's sponsored by the Comox Valley Community Arts Council.

Comox is 40 miles and across the Strait of Georgia from Powell River. To get there in real life, you need a ferry. But in cyberspace it's a lot easier.

I learned about the challenge from an online friend. Stephanie's an artist and active in the Comox Valley art scene.  You can see some of her works on Facebook.

I'm new to drawing. My only training was a one quarter art class in junior high school (in the early 60s) and two one day drawing tutorials here in Powell River. I'm inspired to take more.

I've been drawing to illustrate my cabin journal. I used the challenge to continue that process. The first four were our float cabin home, the kitchen hand water pump, a giant waterbug I found on the float, and a float cabin anchor chain.

The next four included a treasured hummingbird pin my dad made for my mom many years ago, a self portrait in the quad mirror, a sunrise and sunset on the shortest day of the year, and the jellyfish related Velella Velella I saw at Pacific Rim National Park.

The last was my feet warming in front of the woodstove. As it worked out, this drawing was on the last page of the 13th volume of my ongoing cabin journal(s).

The Challenge has inspired me to continue drawing and to expand from pencil and Bic pen to watercolour pencils and ink pigment liners in various widths.

I went to the Economy Shop in Powell River to get a gently used satchel and zippered pencil cases to keep my new supplies organized. Now I can draw anywhere.

Do you draw? What media do you use? What are your favourite subjects? If you want to get started, look for a challenge in your area. I've found the artists are welcoming and willing to share their knowledge.

Thanks for visiting part of my world this week. For more great posts from Our World Tuesday, click here.

And also a meme called Through My Lens by Mersad.

And Tuesdays with a Twist at Stone Cottage Adventures.

And Letting Go of the Bay Leaf for more Mosaic Monday.

For ABC pictures from around the world, stop by the ABC Wednesday blog. This is the twenty-fourth round of the meme originally established by Denise Nesbitt. It has now being maintained by Beverly, Roger and Melody. -- Margy

Sunday, January 6, 2019

997's Annual Inspection with Vertex Aviation Services at Skagit Regional

Final approach to Skagit Regional Airport.
What do you do when the skies are gray, and the weather isn't tempting for a flight? Schedule an annual inspection for your airplane.

Being on a winter cycle isn't a bad thing for us here in the Pacific Northwest.

Every airplane is required to have an annual inspection, and the aircraft's manufacturer has a maintenance manual that spells out what must be included.

A certified aircraft mechanic and/or facility does the work. This year we took Arrow 997 to Vertex Aviation Services at nearby Skagit Regional Airport. Owner Lin Holdeman and his crew of mechanics and technicians are taking care of everything for us.

Arrow 997 in the Vertex Aviation Services hangar for her annual inspection.

There are two exceptions to an annual inspection. The first is for aircraft used to carry persons for hire or flight instruction. They are required to have a more frequent inspection every 100 hours of engine time. The other exception is a progressive inspection that results in a total inspection of the airplane within a calendar year. Neither of those apply to us.

Wayne talks to Dorie, the Vertex aircraft mechanic working on 997.

Aircraft owners can do some items in preparation for the annual inspection or assist along the way. We choose to develop a "squawk list" to let the mechanics know about problems we are experiencing in addition to the airworthiness directives for inspections, parts replacement and components that have reached their end of life.

Organization is a sign of a good shop.

Covers and panels are removed to check components inside and out. Because this is the first annual inspection for 997 at Vertex Aviation Services, she's getting a very thorough inspection.

The airplane is on jacks to test raising and lowering the landing gear.

We are very pleased with the service being provided by Lin and his crew. We've asked him to book us again for next year.

Vertex owner Lin give our airplane (and us) personal attention.

Flying is a very safe activity when all flight safety and maintenance precautions are taken. Wayne maintains very detailed records for 997 to make sure we are ready to go when good weather finally arrives. -- Margy