Thursday, January 31, 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

Tuesday, January 29, 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

Sunday, January 27, 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, January 25, 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

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