Monday, February 18, 2019

Wayne and Margy's Rental RV Trip Log 13

Trip Log Part 13

Saturday, February 16 -- Rain, rain, go away. Come again another day. We've had more than our share of rain and snow on this trip. But I really can't complain. Even here in the Pacific Northwest we need the moisture and snow pack to get us through our long, hot summers.

Green Oregon through a wet window.

We left the Corvallis KOA early. To get back to Bellingham, we have to go through two big cities. The first is Portland, Oregon. We've planned our travel times to do our big city driving on weekends when traffic is light.

Approaching downtown Portland on I-5.

Crossing the Columbia River, we were welcomed back to Washington State. Today is a short 215 mile travel day. Our planned destination was the Washington Land Yacht Harbor RV park.

Entering Washington in a unique way on I-5.

I called from our gas and Denny's breakfast stop in Chehalis, Washington, but no one answered. We checked it out anyway. It will be a place to stay when GNAC college basketball finals are held at St. Martin's University in Lacey.

Wayne got a different idea about where to stay for the night. Not too far up the road is McChord Air Force Base. With our military IDs, we could stay at the Holiday Park on base. It's a lovely forested campground with the added benefit of being right next to the runway.

Sunday, February 17 -- McChord is a C-17 Globemaster III base. We didn't hear many flying on Sunday evening, so we drove over to the flightline this morning.

C-17s on the flightline at McChord AFB.

C-17s are jet powered cargo aircraft that can fly anywhere in the world. Wayne's love of airplanes, especially military ones, made this campground #1 on his list and I know we will be returning, RV or not.

A foggy and rainy entry into Seattle.

Today's trip was another short one, only 130 miles. It was also a sad one. We've come full circle. We started at El Monte RV in Ferndale on January 25 and our first two nights were at the Bellingham RV Park to get settled into our rig.

Back at the Bellingham RV Park, this time with snow.

On the way into town we stopped at our condo to offload as much as we could. Then we returned to the Bellingham RV Park to deconfigure our rental RV. We brought our SUV to the park to complete the offload and return our home on wheels to El Monte RV in Ferndale in the morning.

It's been a wonderful three+ weeks. Even with weather challenges, we got to do everything we had planned. Have you been on an adventure? What did you do? What did you learn? -- Margy

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.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Wayne and Margy's Rental RV Trip Log 12

Trip Log Part 12

Thursday, February 14 -- A Happy Valentine's Day for us. Yesterday, we thought we were going to have to stay a few more days at the Durango RV Resort in Red Bluff before driving I-5 north through the pass between Northern California and Oregon.

Good thing we stayed in Red Bluff, Redding was snowed in.

I woke early and read the weather and road condition websites and apps. I-5 was closed last night, and when it wasn't, chains were required. Early this morning the report was very different. Chain inspections were lifted, and the roadway was plowed all the way through.

Heavy equipment got I-5 back open in record time.

The temperature was warm enough that ice wasn't a problem. There were a few wind warnings along the way, but we decided to give it a try.

Following "our truck" through the snowiest part of the pass.

I wanted to stop in Yreka to visit Linda, my best childhood friend. With snow forecast for tonight, we didn't take the chance. Maybe next trip we will have better conditions.

Entering Oregon.

Snow on the Oregon side wasn't as heavy. We made it! Wayne's goal was to reach Ashland without a mishap. We did that, and finished the day just north of Medford at the Valley of the Rogue State Park.

Lots of pull-through sites to choose from.

This was the hardest 196 mile drive of our entire trip. The beautiful State Park with full hookups and the Rogue River roaring nearby lulled us to sleep.

Friday, February 15 -- Now that we've made it through the pass, we can slow down. We woke up to snow, but a rising sun. We fixed breakfast and waited for the roads to improve.

Waking to snow on the ground at Valley of the Rogue.

Heading south we didn't notice how many summits there were in Southern Oregon. With snow on the ground, it was more evident. Plows and de-icing trucks had everything cleared.

Cleared and de-iced roads all the way to the lowlands.

Today's destination is Corvallis, Oregon, only 195 miles away. We made a gas and Walmart shopping stop in Cottage Grove. As I mentioned, our propane heater isn't working. We bought an additional electric heater to augment the one we brought. From now on, electricity will be available each night.

Corvallis KOA just 6 miles out of town.

Corvallis is of interest to us because we come here frequently for Oregon State University sports events. If we do get an RV, the Corvallis KOA would be a good place to stay and use Uber to get to the stadium.

RV Kitchen -- Even a small RV like our 22' Coachmen Leprechaun has a full kitchen. Earlier I shared about our propane refrigerator. Water for the sink comes from a park's city water hookup, or the onboard fresh water tank. Waste water is held in a gray water tank.

Kitchen sink and propane burners and oven.

Propane runs the burners and oven. The onboard tank can be filled at gas stations and RV parks. I love cooking with gas. That's what I have up at the float cabin. Small RV's don't always have an oven.

And a microwave above.

Microwave ovens are more common. While we used our propane oven once, we used the microwave quite often. Being able to fix our own meals is part of the fun of an RV adventure.

Do you fix your own meals while camping, traveling in an RV, or hotel camping? What are some of your favourite things to fix? -- Margy

Friday, February 15, 2019

Wayne and Margy's Rental RV Trip Log 11

Trip Log Part 11

Tuesday, February 12 -- The Visalia KOA was a good choice for a quick overnight stay. We got an early start for our 345 mile drive north to the Durango RV Resort in Red Bluff. We will wait there for an opening in the snowy weather to cross the mountainous pass from Northern California to Oregon.

Highway 99 in the Central Valley no longer goes through towns.

Highway 99 is more scenic than I-5 on the western side of California's Central Valley, and a blue sky only added to the mood. There were green fields everywhere: hay, vegetables, rice, and groves of olives, nuts and fruit trees. There used to be lots of cotton, but I didn't see any.

Lush green fields along Highway 99 with rain clouds looming.

We stopped for gas in Turlock, the place where, as a kid, we turned off to head for my grandparents in Waterford. Turlock sure has grown since the 60s. When I was a teen I took my Mustang to cruise 10th Street in nearby Modesto. Have you ever watched the movie America Graffiti? It was filmed in Modesto, and it was really like that back in my day.

Our rental RV getting new wipers at Les Schwab.

We stopped at Les Schwab in Red Bluff to get new wiper blades. On TV, Les Schwab commercials tell stories about travelers who've had excellent service. That's what we had. We dropped in, asked for the blades, and got them install on the spot. We were in and out in less than twenty minutes. Thanks Les Schwab for "saving" our rental RV adventure.

Wednesday, February 13 -- This is the second time we've stayed at the Durango RV Resort. The first was on our trip south. We knew it would be a good place for an extended stay with a Shari's restaurant and grocery store within walking distance.

Our spot at the Durango RV Resort before the rain started.

It rained both days. That meant it snowed heavily in the high country. We continually followed weather and road condition reports. Our resources were the CalTrans Road Conditions website, their QuickMap (available as an iPad app) and their Twitter account. The QuickMap covers the whole state, but each region has their own Twitter and Facebook accounts.

The QuickMap showing snow plows and chain requirements.

To follow the weather, our favourite website (and app) is The Weather Network. We save several locations and monitor what's happening in real time.

A screen shot for Mt. Shasta on I-5.

By the end of Wednesday, it was looking like we might have to stay in Red Bluff for a long time. I-5 shut down completely and stayed that way well into the night. -- Margy

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Wayne and Margy's Rental RV Trip Log 10

Trip Log Part 10

Sunday, February 10 -- Today was the last day of the ASU Kajikawa Softball Tournament. We decided to go to the 9:00 am game between the University of Oregon and Seattle University.

Our original plan was to stay for all the games and spend one more night at the Apache Palms RV Park. Due to weather concerns, we decided to leave early and begin our trek to Bellingham. Along the way, we hit the 2,000 mile mark just east of Tonopah on I-10.

The agricultural inspection station entering California.

After a Blythe gas stop, gusts were hitting us broadside making riding in the RV uncomfortable. We decided to find a nearby RV park for the night. We selected Lake Tamarisk Resort in Desert Center.

Airplane camping at Desert Center Airport in 2005.

When we lived in California, we flew Piper 997 to the Desert Center Airport. The dark sky was perfect for Wayne's telescope. Barney was Mt. San Antonio College Flying Team's mascot. He got "points" to fly to unusual places, so he came along with us.

Sand blowing in the distance.

Lake Tamarisk is a 55+ mobile home and all ages RV resort. We arrived when the office was closed, but an after-hours registration packet was available.

Site 65 at Tamarisk Lake Resort complete with cactus garden.

We picked site 65 tucked between two mobile homes, yet it had plenty of privacy. We will come back again.

Monday, February 11 -- The wind raged into the night, but calmed in the morning. We got up and were back on I-10 by 7:11 am. Wayne said that was a winning time, at least in a craps dice game.

Driving I-10 down towards Palm Springs.

When we are trying to move fast, eating at a gas stop works well. Denny's restaurants fit the bill for us.

A 24-foot RV can fit in most regular parking lots.

The sky was blue and the freeways uncrowded by the time we got into the Los Angeles area. I got to see the the California Aqueduct. As a kid, I always asked my parents to wake me at the "waterfall" on the way to visit my grandparents in Waterford.

The California Aqueduct "waterfall."

We headed up the I-5 ridge route and down into the Central Valley. They have truck runaway lanes on the last steep downhill stretch now that the "grapevine" has been straightened out. The old road had winding switchbacks, hence the name.

A truck runaway lane at the Grapevine.

On the way south we used I-5 through the valley because of fog. This time we were able to go north on more historic and scenic Highway 99. This is the route I took with my family going to visit my grandparents in the 50s and 60s. For me it was a flash from the past.

Our overnight RV spot at the Visalia KOA.

Our destination for the night was the Visalia KOA. It's freeway close, but far enough away to be quiet at night. This was our second KOA campground on this trip. They have a standardized layout and online registration is easy. We used the rest of the day to relax in the warm sunshine. -- Margy

Monday, February 11, 2019

Wayne and Margy's Rental RV Trip Log 9

Trip Log Part 9

Thursday, February 7 -- We left the Lost Dutchman State Park in Apache Junction for a short drive to the Apache Palms RV Park in Tempe.

Apache Palms is a small, well-kept park in the city of Tempe.

Wayne made reservations months ago when we started planning this trip. He wanted to guarantee we had a place to stay close to the Arizona State University campus so we could attend the Kajikawa Women's Softball Tournament this weekend.

Our site included a BBQ, table and full hookups.

We were pleasantly surprised that a city RV park could be this nice. The owners keep it in wonderful condition, and there are drive-through and back-in sites available. It's very popular, but while we were there a few sites were available on short notice.

Friday, February 8 -- We became women's softball fans five years ago. This time of year, schools in warm, sunny states host pre-conference tournaments. Teams from cold regions love to travel and play in nice environments. And we enjoy being Snow Birds to watch.

The Kajikawa Softball Tournament at ASU in Tempe, Arizona.

We don't tow a vehicle. ASU's Farrington Softball Stadium is two miles from the RV park. That's walking distance for us, but right out front is a Valley Metro Light Rail station.

Wayne waiting for the Valley Metro Light Rail.

We purchased $2 senior day passes to ride to and from ASU. From there, it was a short walk to the games. I love cities that have public transportation that's easy and inexpensive.

Saturday, February 9 -- Teams attending the softball tournament were from across the country. From our Pac-12 region there were ASU, Standford, University of Oregon, Oregon State and Utah. The other teams were Western Michigan, Kansas, Cal State Northridge, Missouri, Seattle University and Weber State.

University of Oregon at bat on a cool but sunny morning.

Since the University of Southern California doesn't have a women's softball team we can be free-agent fans.  In fact, we can root for good plays by both teams in the same game. Do you enjoy sports? Do you prefer college or professional games? Do you like to go to games like I do, or do you prefer televised events?

RV Maintenance -- Just because you've rented an RV doesn't mean you don't need to keep it well maintained while on the road. Checking your oil and fluids regularly shouldn't be overlooked.

Wayne adding oil half way through our trip.

Taking care of your vehicle will make your trip safer and less prone to breakdowns. -- Margy

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Wayne and Margy's Rental RV Trip Log 8

Trip Log Part 8

Tuesday, February 5 -- We decided to leave the Lost Dutchman State Park rather than stay overnight in the overflow area. It was okay for dry camping but since we had to move anyway, we wanted to try something else.

Apache Junction KOA Journey pull-through site.

We've never stayed at a KOA so we called the Apache Junction KOA (Kampgrounds of America) Journey and got a pull through site with full hookups. In addition to RV sites, they have tent sites and small cabins for rent.

While we were there Wayne set up our new BBQ from Canadian Tire in Powell River. We'll inaugurate it soon with the steak we purchased at Fry's. We warmed up our spaghetti for dinner and I used the free wifi to work on my blog entry.

Today's journal entry illustration,

 And of course there was writing and drawing in my journal.

Wednesday, February 6 -- Last night there was a thunderstorm with pelting rain, but this morning there are puffy white clearing weather cumulus clouds. We walked next door to Linda's Hoosier Cafe. We had an excellent breakfast with great service and lots of coffee to go with it. My biscuits and gravy got a 9 on my 10 point scale.

An ore crusher at the Superstition Mountain Museum.

We were too early to check back into the Lost Dutchman State Park so we stopped at the Superstition Mountain Museum along the way. We walked through the free outdoor exhibits of old mining equipment and model trains. Danny in Powell River, this picture's for you.

Danny in Powell River, this picture is for you.

We left the museum for the Lost Dutchman State Park campground to find our new spot. This one was without services. It was our first time to dry RV camp. We were already stocked up on water, propane and gasoline. Our generator would give us electricity during the allowed morning and evening hours.

A three mile hike near the Superstition Mountains.

After we got settled we took a three mile walk on the State Park's well maintained trails. The temperature was warm but not hot, perfect hiking weather.

The view from our dining table. Awesome.

Wayne barbecued our New York steak. I don't think I've ever had a better view for dinner.

Sunset's glow on the Superstition Mountains.

I almost missed sunset's glow on the massive cliffs. What an awesome sight. Full hookups are nice, but you can find better places to stay when you go dry camping.

RV Levelers: Most RV parks have level sites. When you dry camp you often find ground that isn't level. For RV appliances, you need to be as close to level as possible. It 's especially important for the refrigerator when it's running on propane. We know that from our float cabin's propane fridge.

Our front wheel up on a leveler block.

This campsite wasn't level so we got out the blocks that came with our rental RV. There are different styles from homemade stacked boards to commercial ones like our tri-leveler blocks. We needed to put the right front wheel at the first level and the right back wheel all the way to the top. It was a lot easier than expected. -- Margy