Monday, April 29, 2019

Wayne and Margy's New RV Trip Log 1

Trip Log Part 1
McChord Air Force Base Holiday Camp

Entrance to forested McChord AFB Holiday Camp.
Six days after we purchased our Forest River Sunseeker 2250SLE RV, we headed out for our first trip.

It's been a dream to go to sports events and not stay in hotels. It isn't the cost, we just like having our own space.

Our first trip is to Oregon State and the University of Oregon for women's softball. We don't have to rush, so we decided to take two days to reach our first game.

On the way we returned to one of our favourite stops from that first trip, McChord Air Force Base's Holiday Camp. It's restricted to active and retired military and DoD personnel. If you qualify, we highly recommend it. I called ahead and we got the same spot as before, #24. It's in the Upper Loop where the trees are the thickest and the sites the most private. Reservations are recommended for summer. Visit their website for details.

Site #24 at McChord AFB Holiday Camp.

We parked and hooked up to utilities. There's water, electric and power at 37 RV sites. There are additional dry or tent camping spots. Nightly costs are $28 for 50 amp, $25 for 30, $15 for dry and $12 for tents.  There are restrooms, showers, laundry, a dump, playground, picnic area and a walking/jogging trail that goes all the way around the airport runway. That's a long way. We did just a portion. When the C-17s are flying, it's really interesting.

Our bedroom slide out.

The Commissary and BX are a great place to provision your rig. They have plenty RV parking in their largenlots. We did that rather than hauling fresh food down to the storage yard.

We enjoyed our two relaxing days and got to know our new RV a little better. My guess is this might become our first and last stop for many trips that involve driving on I-5.

Sunseeker 2250 Kitchen

As a part of each Trip Log, I'll introduce our new RV.  The 2250 is the smallest Sunseeker made by Forest River. The overall length is 24'-4".  The interior is two feet less with 180 square feet including the cab. Everything is compact yet feels roomy.

The kitchen is on the right or starboard side. It has excellent storage. I keep dishes in the upper cupboard, cleaning and supplies under the sink, and silverware, pots and pans in drawers. The sink is large with a flip-up counter extension. I bought a large wood cutting board for a moveable working surface.

A compact yet complete kitchen.

There's a microwave, fan, and a three burner propane stove with oven. The refrigerator/freezer is a mid-sized auto-select electric/propane model. There's ample room for fresh food.

A mid-sized electric/propane fridge.

On the opposite wall is a combination closet and pantry. You can choose to use both sides for closet space, but we chose to use the pantry option on the right. The shelves are adjustable and deep. I use plastic bins to make reaching items in the back easier.

A closet with a pantry option.

Living in a float home and boating in a 24' Bayliner has helped us learn techniques for small spaces. Applying what we know to a small Class C RV has been an easy transition.

Do you have an RV? Is it something you would like to try? Let me know what you think. -- Margy

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Wayne and Margy's New RV Trip Log 2

Trip Log Part 2
Albany/Corvallis KOA

A nice day for driving south on I-5 to Oregon.
After leaving McChord Air Force Base we drove south on I-5 towards Corvallis, Oregon. On travel days we like to combine our first gas stop with breakfast.

I use Google maps in satellite view to find freeway close stops with easy access, restaurants, gas stations and RV friendly parking. If we need to shop, I look for ones with a grocery store as well. These days it's not hard to do.

We had reservations for three nights at the Albany/Corvallis KOA. We checked in and went directly to the university for the women's softball game vs. UCLA. Since USC doesn't have a softball team, we can be free agents and root for other PAC12 schools.

KOA's all have a similar layout so you know what to expect.

Because we hadn't yet set up our RV, we used it as transportation to the game. With a small rig we don't have a toad. It took me a while to figure that one out. Toad is the nickname for a "towed" vehicle.  Kind of like a dinghy for a boat.

Site #80 at the Albany/Corvallis KOA.

I called the university parking office and was told we could park in any hourly lot if we paid for two spots due to the length. At $1/hour our total cost was $4 until 5:00 when parking became free. 

Game 2 got rained out so we relaxed in the campground. We tried to use their nature trail to go down to the Calapooia River. There was still evidence of the terrible flooding that occurred last week. It was especially bad closer to Corvallis along the Willamette River.

UCLA women up to bat.

On Saturday, we took an UBER to campus to watch the rescheduled end to the rained out game and the full Saturday competition. It was $22 each way with a generous tip, and a lot easier than disconnecting our rig to drive ourselves.

Sunseeker 2250SLE Bathroom

A separate bathroom.
Today I'll give you a tour of our Sunseeker's bathroom. There's a toilet and shower in a separate room. The vanity is in the main cabin, a feature we really like.

The shower is big enough for Wayne who is over six feet tall. A six gallon on-demand hot water heater quickly provides plenty for a relaxing bath. The Sunseeker has two options for heating water, one electric when connected in a park or running the generator, and the other propane for dry camping (boondocking). It's nice to have options.

The flush toilet uses city water in parks or water pumped from the 35 gallon fresh water tank while dry camping.

A 27 gallon black water tank and a 32 gallon gray water tank hold the effluent until we use a park sewer connection or a sani-dump along the way.

Just outside the bathroom door is an alcove with the vanity and medicine cabinet. I think this is a much better use of space and gives the RV a more open feeling.

The bathroom vanity and medicine cabinet.

A master panel, convenience center, is where we monitor our systems including fresh water, black water, gray water, propane and house batteries. It's also the place where we can turn on the on-demand hot water heater and water pump if needed.

This model has Arctic holding tank heaters that can be turned on for freezing conditions. That sure would have made us more confident on our rental RV trip with all the ice and snow.

Thanks for joining us on this adventure in our new RV. Let me know if you have any questions or comments. -- Margy

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Wayne and Margy's New RV Trip Log 3

Trip Log Part 3
Coburg's Armitage County Park

We left Corvallis for 38-mile drive to Coburg, Oregon, just north of Eugene. We stopped at the Shell station. Here in Oregon they pump gas for you. It isn't full service like the old days. Tell them what you want and stay in your vehicle. This station has propane if needed and there's a mini-mart, but no fresh foods.

Site #32 at Armitage Park Campground.

We stayed at Armitage Park on our RV Rental Adventure because it was recommended by a fellow camper in Bellingham, and because we wanted to check it out as a place to stay during sports events at the University of Oregon. That's why we are here this trip, women's softball.

Fixing a steak dinner on a nice evening outdoors.

The sites are well spaced, with many private ones among the trees. In January the maples were bare. Now they are leafing out and green. The grass areas now have lots of tiny daisy-like flowers and bright yellow dandelions that the bumblebees love to visit.

An after dinner fire to enjoy the evening outdoors.

There are full hookups, tables and firepits. A laundry, bathroom and shower facility is available. In January, reservations weren't needed. Now the park is full almost every night. The Lane County Park system has an easy to use online reservation system for their five campgrounds. Online reservations must be made three days in advance or call the park office at (541) 357-5481. The fee is $30 a night with an extra $10 per stay if you reserve a spot online.

Spring on the trail alongside the MacKenzie River.

We stayed two nights. The first we relaxed, BBQed steak and corn for dinner and had a fire with wood purchased at the camp office. The next day we walked the McKenzie River trail next to the park. The water is much higher and faster now, snow melt and rain runoff. Next we headed into Eugene for the softball game.

Sunseeker 2250SLE Sleeping Accommodations

Sunseeker 2250 diagram from the Forest River website.
We chose the Forest River Sunseeker 2250SLE model because it has a short 24' 4" overall length and because it has a slide out for a queen-size bed.

Our rental RV had a corner bed that was difficult to get into, out of and make. We were leery of getting a slide, but the ability to have a walk-around bed swayed us.

The Sunseeker 2250 is rated to sleep six, two in the queen bed, two on a bunk over the cab and two in the convertible dinette.

The dinette table drops down and the cushions become a mattress. Two can sleep here, but in my opinion small children would fit best. We don't use our dinette for sleeping, but we do appreciate the large table for eating, writing, reading and watching TV.

There's ample room in the over-cab bunk for two. A removable section allows for easy access to the front seats while driving, then it can be fitted into place for sleeping. We use our space for storing large items such as coats and backpacks.

The slide-out queen is our bed. We have large windows, storage and overhead lights.

To bring the slide in for driving, the covers from the bottom of the split mattress are released but not removed. The top half is pulled back to clear the area for the slide to be retracted. Putting the bed together goes in reverse. This small inconvenience is offset by the convenience of walk-around bed access.

Have you been thinking about getting an RV? I highly recommend renting one of the style you think is best, a Class C motorhome like ours, a van style Class B, a bus style Class A, a truck camper, a 5th-wheel trailer or a travel trailer. RVs come in many styles, shapes and sizes.

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

Also a meme called Through My Lens by Mersad.

A meme I enjoy is All Seasons. Stop by and take a look.

And a Wednesday Linkup My Corner of the World at Photographing New Zealand. -- Margy

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Wayne and Margy's New RV Trip Log 4

Trip Log Part 4
Richardson Park Campground

Women's softball at Jane Sanders Stadium at U of O.
The beauty of traveling in an RV is you can change your plans. Originally we were going to head back to Bellingham after the Univeristy of Oregon softball game. We've been having so much fun, we decided to stay near Eugene for another game later in the week.

We didn't want to drive back to Armitage Park so we decided to try Richardson Park 16 miles west of Eugene on Fern Ridge Reservoir. We got softball tickets for the popular University of Oregon vs main rival Oregon State University online at Stubhub. We made reservations at Richardson for the three nights between games, then one more night at Armitage Park.

We picked a pull-through site #42 to get lots of sun.

Richardson Park is 15 miles west of Eugene on Fern Ridge Lake, a large reservoir popular with sailboat owners. There's a marina here and nearby at a day-use section near the dam. We had two wonderful days with lots of sun and blue skies.

The marina with lots of sailboats ready to go out.

Camping opens in mid-April for the 88 tent/RV spots with power and water. A sani-dump is available, but it was out of order we were there. April is early in the season, but reservations are still a good idea. If you use the Lane County online reservation system you need to do it two days in advance. Otherwise call the campground at (541) 935-2005.  Rates are $27.50 a night plus a $10 reservation fee for the stay if the online system is used.

Barbecuing steak for dinner.

We relaxed for three days watching boats, reading, barbecuing and enjoying fires. We soaked up lots of sun in camp and down at the lakeshore. If you're looking for a spot a short ways from I-5 and town, this is the place.

Traveling without a Towed "Toad" Vehicle

An RV friendly parking lot.
Our 24' Bayliner doesn't have a dinghy and our 24" Sunseeker RV doesn't have a toad. A small RV has limited towing capability, plus we decided to use our small RV as our regular transportation as well as our living accommodation.

Our vehicle almost fits into a regular parking spot. We are fine on width, especially if we pull in our mirrors. The length hangs over about two feet, making it necessary to use what we call Canadian parking, pull through and face out.

Google satellite view maps help us find the services we need.
It's best to find large supermarket or mall parking lots that give ample room to maneuver. Google maps is great for this. Zoom in using satellite view to check out the facility. Today we are going to combine a grocery store stop for resupply with parking during the game,

For the last leg, we can use either Uber, a taxi or other public transportation. When we were in Tempe, Arizona, we used the light rail that passed right in front of our RV park.

A toad following it's master.
If you have a camper, 5th wheel trailer or travel trailer you can disconnect and go. We do see other small RVs without toads, but virtually all of the big rigs drag them along behind. The choice is yours. -- Margy

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Wayne and Margy's New RV Trip Log 5

Trip Log Part 5
American Heritage Camp 
and Back to Bellingham

A red-barkd Arbutus Tree in bloom.
After the softball game at the University of Oregon, we began our homeward journey. Rather than drive a long distance, we returned to one of our favourite (so far) spots, Armitage Park Campground. Good thing we had a reservation. We arrived to a "Campground Full" sign.

In the morning we started north. We wanted something new for our last night. I used the  AllStays app and found American Heritage Campground, a private park near Olympia. It had good reviews and their website showed forested sites with lots of privacy. I called and made a reservation.

Park-like American Heritage Campground.

We arrived in time to top off our propane and relax in the last rays of sunshine. We stayed in camp through breakfast then got back on I-5 for the last leg of our twelve-day RV trip.

Driving through Seattle on a busy Sunday afternoon.

Using an RV allowed us to explore nature in between the collegiate women's softball games. It was a much more relaxing way to travel than staying in hotels and eating in restaurants.

Thanks for coming along on the first outing in our own motorhome. Hope you enjoyed this inaugural trip. There will be many more to come. Do you have any suggestions for places to visit? What are some of your favourites? -- Margy

Monday, April 15, 2019

Mason Jar Solar Lights

I saw a post about making solar lights out of Mason Jars. It said to paint them inside with glow-in-the-dark paint. They didn't glow, so I inserted solar lights and all was well.

I was inspired by two posts at Crafty Gardener's blog to upscale my jars. I used cabin art supplies and Christmas tissue paper to redo my picnic table Mason Jar solar lights.

The jar lights before their makeover.
I used the decoupage method to turn my solid yellow jars into multicolour picnic table centerpieces.

I had Elmer's glue, so I mixed it one part glue to three parts water to make a decoupage medium. You can buy expensive versions, but this works just as well.

I tore the red and white tissue paper into irregular pieces. I didn't want any with straight edges.

Decoupage glue with a wide brush.
Paint a small section of the glass with the glue mixture then lay a dry piece of tissue paper on. Work it with the brush to keep the paper from sticking to your fingers. Gently paint glue over it until the paper adheres. Press too hard and the tissue will tear.

Starting at the bottom, I alternated and overlapped the two colours to make a pleasing pattern. The white was opaque, so I did that part in double layers.

Painting the mason jar rings and tops.
I let the jars dry before turning them over to decoupage the uppers to just under where the jar's rings screw on.

My lights are smaller than the rings, so I cut a hole in the middle of a jar lid. It doesn't have to be perfectly round. The solar light, when inserted, will cover up the edges. Don't cut yourself.

Spraying on a protective coat.
I dug into my canning supplies and got two new rings to replace the rusty old ones. I painted them white with acrylics. I reused the old lids I'd originally cut and painted them black to match the solar lights.

Once the lids were screwed on, I sprayed the jars from all angles with three coats of Krylon Colormaster Clear Finish. This protects the paper from scraping and gives it a water resistant surface.

As a Craft Room De-Stash Challenge (use what you have) here's my cost.

2 reused one quart Mason jars $0.00
Elmer's glue from my shelf $0.00
Tissue paper from Christmas $0.00
2 jar rings from my canning stuff $0.00
2 reused solar lights from before $0.00
Paint brush from my collection $0.00
Krylon spray from my supplies $0.00

The last step was to reinsert the solar lights. I'd already removed the long tubes normally used to stake them in the ground.

Upscaled Mason Jar solar lights on my front port picnic table.

During the day they are definitely red and white. At night, they take on a golden glow because of the old yellow paint inside. I like them both ways. How about you? -- Margy