Sunday, July 12, 2015

Hanging Out in Sequim, WA

I’ve been in Sequim, WA since June 12th or so and I think I’m in love…with Sequim and the Olympic Peninsula.  What I like about Sequim is how laid back it feels.  There’s no frantic traffic and the people are very friendly. 

What I don’t like about Sequim is the lack of a Chipotle and Fred Meyer.  The two largest stores here are Costco and Walmart.  Since I refuse to shop at Walmart my options are a bit limited.  Costco is good for gas for the rental car.   Unfortunately, they don't carry diesel which I need for my View.  

Port Angeles is about 15 miles from here and they have Swains, which carries a lot of stuff and is fun to walk through.  It feels like a throw back to times long gone.  Since there’s also no Camping World close by, they’ve saved me a couple times in their limited RV section. 

Seriously needing a Chipotle fix, my friend and I drove to Olympia a couple weeks ago, which had both a Chipotle and Fred Meyer.  It was also 90 degrees there, part of a heat wave going through the area.  Even Sequim was impacted although, fortunately, it never reached the 90s.  Seattle and everyone else got the 90s.

Living in the desert I’d forgotten what heat and humidity felt like and I’m glad it finally got cloudy and cool. 

This feels so right to me being back in Washington.  I lived in the Seattle area for about 45 years, so I think that’s understandable.  However, I like it over here on the peninsula a whole lot more than I do on the Seattle side. 

There’s less traffic and franticness over here.  The summer temperatures I've experienced have been in the high 60s to low 70s, until the heat wave went through. 

It feels clean to me. I think because of the grass and trees. 

The RV parks here are interesting.  The first one I stayed at is across the street from Sequim Bay.  It’s called John Wayne’s Waterfront Resort.  This is the view from the spot I’ve settled on and call mine…

Sadly, lots of people also like this spot, beat me for reservations, so I’m in and out of it.  Right now I’m out of it and parked in front of my friends mother’s house.  While I don’t have a view here, I have quiet. I also just two deer across the street in the cup-de-sac I'm parked in so I guess I do have a view.  

John Wayne’s Waterfront Resort is graveled and gravel is noisy.  I haven’t decided yet if the view compensates for the noise.  Also included in the noise are diesel trucks.  Gravel, diesel trucks…noisy. 

The other RV park I’ve stayed at here is the Gilgal Oasis RV Park.  It’s paved so it’s much quieter, but it’s jam packed.  The spaces are so close together the second vehicle has to be parked in front of the RV.  It felt very claustrophobic to me. On the plus side, it was immaculate.

I have made it a point of taking a picture of my motorhome at each RV park I've stayed at and it never crossed my mind while I was at Gilgal.  Hmmm.

I'm leaving Wednesday to go Renton, WA to visit a friend from graduate school.   Also, to get away from the Lavender Festival on the 17th, 18th and 19th.  I've been to it four times and don't need to attend any more.

Since I've stayed here longer than ever before I've been able to go to the Lavender Farms without the benefit of the festival.  It's much calmer, I have no trouble parking and I've been able to talk to the owners.  Win, win all the way around.  

Here's a cool adirondack chair at a local Lavender Farm...

Can you tell how tall it is in the picture?  I'm thinking 10-12'.  

I'm thinking this will be the last time for back to back posts on the same day.  I type my posts in Word and then copy them over to my blog.  It appears that I've copied all the previously written ones over.  From now on I can type in real time.

June 12th Post That's Being Published Late, Late, Late

There was a long delay on 101 this morning because of an accident.   A pickup truck went into the woods and it was in pretty bad shape.  I couldn’t tell if any other vehicles were involved. 

I decided to go to I-5 to get away from the wind but it was just as bad on I-5.   I finally gave it up in Albany, OR and ended up finding a space in The Blue Ox RV Park.  The only downfall was the lack of cable.  Oh, well.

Went to the mall to kill time.  Saw a shop advertising aqua massages so I decided to check it out.  My neck and shoulders were so tight from dealing with the wind that I thought it was worth a try.  While it won’t replace regular massage it worked for me.  It looks like a tanning bed and the water is in the lid that is lowered just above the back. 

Bought some DVDs to make up for the lack of cable.  First one, Ted, was awful and I turned it off after about 20 minutes.  Then we watched The Dallas Buyers Club and it was pretty intense. 

Something I had forgotten living in Tucson is how long it stays light up here.  It is now 9:12 PM and still light out.  This would never work in the desert because the hot sun would be shining for way too long. 

I’m putting out special messages to Mother Nature to stop it with the wind.  I hope she hears me. 

Big Gap in Posts...Here's Why

When I started full timing in Tucson, I had a rental house in Bellevue, WA.  When the property taxes went over $9,000 a year I decided it was time to get rid of it. 

Off and on for probably the last five years I’ve been looking at houses in Tucson.  I stayed with the same real estate agent and wish that I had kept track of how many houses we looked at before I found the right one.  I know it was a lot.  I kept telling her to hang in there with me because I’d know it when I saw it and that’s exactly how it happened, only I found it online and I had to call her in order to see it.

I was pretty sure when I first looked at it that it was “the one” but I needed to think and look at it more than once.  I decided that it was indeed “the one” and made an offer which was accepted.

I still had my Alfa when I bought the house.  In fact, after I received the house keys on my birthday, July 1st, I went back to my Alfa and stayed there for a few more days. 

I started shopping for furniture right away because I didn’t have any.  I had gotten rid of most of my stuff when I left Washington for Tucson.  When I down-sized I kept what I felt was most important to me and that had been in storage in Tucson.  Now I was sort of starting all over again and I just kept getting more and more stuff. 

The house I bought has turned out to not be the one.  I’ve struggled with it from the time I moved in.  Too big, too far away from the places I hang out at, too lonely, etc., etc. 

The most disturbing element has been the pool.  Yes, a pool.  My house is on an acre and has a pool.  What disturbs me about the pool is the water.  When I lived in WA, in the summer I would refuse to water the grass because I considered it a waste of water and eventually it would rain and all would be well. 

With pools, the water evaporates and it needs to be replaced.  I did not think about that because I'd never had a pool or known anyone with one.  It’s way worse in the summer…evaporation.  The part of me that refused to water the grass in Washington is going crazy.  When it’s time to fill it the water runs for 1 to 1.5 hours at a time.  Yikes. 

I have a really nice pool guy and he doesn’t come cheap.  But, I have no worries about the pool because I have a pool guy.

Probably the biggest reason I bought on an acre was so that I could park Olivia, my Winnebago View, at home and not at a storage facility.  That worked until I learned about pack rats.  Specifically, they like to get in engines and chew the wires.  AARGH. 

Fortunately, they didn’t do too much damage to Olivia.  Before leaving for this trip I took her in for service and the damage wasn’t too extensive.  I had purchased strobe light thingies especially for deterring pack rats.  Apparently, pack rats like dark places.  So I raised the hood about 7”, put in the pack rat strobe lights  and added a string of lights.  I saw no evidence of pack rats after I did that.  What a pain. 

Another thing about being a home owner again…STUFF.  My accumulation of stuff has increased dramatically and I’m realizing I’m not happy about it.  I liked the simpler life in an RV.  Built in furniture, limited storage for stuff, etc., etc. 

I think I’m at a crossroads. 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Catching Up On Posts

I'm currently recovering from battling the wind on 101 so I'm taking this time to catch up on the posts I haven't yet written for this trip.

I've had pretty good luck finding RV parks on a new app...RV Parky.  OK, three RV parks but I've liked them.  Especially the one I'm at right now.  But, more on this one later.

The one in Bakersfield, CA, Orange Grove RV Park, was my favorite until where I'm at now.  The next couple pictures are from Orange Grove RV Park...

  You'll know you're there when you see the weirdly shaped trees...

Between then (June 5, 6) and now (June 11), I've stayed at two KOAs because I was tired and they were close.  It certainly wasn't because they're inexpensive.  However, I will recommend the last one to families.  It's in Willits, CA and it's very kid oriented.  It was 101 degrees when I was there so it was rather quiet on all the play things.  There was a family of rabbits with many babies running around the miniature golf course.  I can see where families with children would love it.  I stayed there June 8th and it was before the wind, so a nice drive.  

I needed to move around after sitting inside my motorhome all day so when it cooled off a bit I went and talked to an older couple sitting outside their motorhome.  Turns out the reason they were outside in the hot weather was because their roof air conditioner was broken and it was cooler outside than inside.  Yikes!!!  Unfortunately, the only RV repairer in the area was closed on Monday.  

June 9th we stayed at the Mad River Rapids RV Park in Arcata, OR and it was ok.  There was a Mexican restaurant we could walk to and I liked that.  Since I'm not towing a vehicle it's a pain to have to undo everything after I've hooked up, so a restaurant within walking distance is a plus for me.  Also, it was cool enough to finally turn the generator off.  

I found the Mad River Rapids RV Park on RV Parky and it didn't look like the pictures on the internet.  It was ok and while I would stay there again, I probably won't.

Yesterday started out well.  I found a gas station first thing so I filled up and got back on 101.  We stopped for lunch at Sunset Family Pizza in Gold Beach, OR and the wind was already blowing by the time we got there.  The pizza was fantastic, by the way, and I highly recommend them.  

We were told that it would be windy the rest of the way up 101 and that was not good news.  I was thinking about driving 101 all the way up to Sequin, WA but not if I have the battle to stay on the road the whole way.  Maybe I exaggerate, but I don't think so.  Right now, as I type this, my motorhome is rocking due to the wind.  

We're at the Osprey Point RV Resort in Lakeside, OR and what a find!!!  I have a lake view from where I'm parked and it's lovely...except for the wind.  

There is a pub and pizza joint here so that's a positive.  We're surrounded by green trees and I'm loving it.  I had reached the saturation point for desert beige in Tucson and was needing a green fix and this place is doing that for me.

I have friends to visit in Vancouver and Battle Ground, WA, so I think that tomorrow I'll drive 101 to Reedsport, hook up with 39 until I-5.  My friend in Battle Ground says the winds are mild so that sounds pretty positive to me.

Having fun on the road!!!

June 7th

My last two trips, in my Alfa, started out being very expensive due to repairs.  I was luckier this time and didn’t have any issues until Sunday, June 7th.  We left Bakersfield and made it to Fresno where I stopped at McDonald’s so Kathy could get coffee.  I stayed in Olivia while she went inside and the generator quit.  Yikes, please, no generator problems.  We need it for the air conditioning…it’s hot outside. 

I couldn’t get it started and just took off not sure what to do, especially since it was Sunday.  I noticed a Camping World on the other side of the freeway and turned around and went to see if I could get some help. 

Service was closed but they were willing to let me park on the street leading to their facility and plug in so that I could have power.  While we were in the processing of getting that taken care of I tried starting it again and it worked!!!  Since I had just had my propane tank filled the previous day in Bakersfield I couldn’t figure out what was going on.  So we took off and the generator has been fine since…phew.

Originally, I was going to hop over to I-5 but decided that 99 was just fine so I stayed on it.  It was a very relaxing drive and I’m all about relaxed.  I hate feeling pushed on the freeway and, to me,  I-5 is not relaxing.

On the way to 101 we spent the night at a KOA in Lodi, CA, west of I-5 on 12.  The signage for entering the KOA wasn’t visible until after I passed it so we had to go a fair distance, in a construction zone, past it in order to turn around.  The KOA was located on the Little Potato Slough and had lots of extras…a marina, a restaurant, and an ice cream parlor.    There was a fairly decent restaurant and the view was great...the water in the slough. 

Being from the desert, I really loved that the sun was blocked by the trees!!!

All in all, it was a good day. 

A friend from Sequim, WA arrived last week to ride back up to Washington with me in Olivia, my Winnebago View.  We were supposed to leave last Tuesday but I needed another day to get ready so we took off on Wednesday.

Kathy, my friend traveling with me, has never been to Lake Havasu so I decided to take her there.  We stayed at the Islander Resort because I’d been there before with friends and recalled that it was pretty nice.  What I didn’t remember is that they don’t offer cable.  I must have had so much fun with my friends that I didn’t need cable because I’d forgotten that fact.  Not only that, but for off-season it was pretty expensive…$69.49 for overnight!!!  Yikes.  That’s the last time I’ll stay there.

The first night was interesting when it came to sleeping arrangements.  I slept over the cab.  Because I needed the ladder to get up and down it wasn’t possible to convert the couch to a queen size bed.  Which left poor Kathy barely fitting, length wise on the couch.  I wish I had a jackknife couch.  That would solve the issues we experienced. 

After we left Lake Havasu we headed towards California on I-40.  I think this was my second time on I-40 and I’ve decided to X it off the atlas I use so that I’ll never travel on it again.  The wind is unrelenting and exhausting.  And it never quits blowing.  Course, it was windy on I-10, too, at least from 85, which I take to avoid Phoenix.  Now that I think about it it was windy on I-8, too.  What’s with the wind???

We’re currently at the Orange Grove RV Park in Bakersfield, CA.  I really like it.  Two nights here is just about what I paid for one night at the Islander Resort in Lake Havasu.  This RV park is much nicer.  All the spaces are pull throughs and there are at least two orange trees per space.  While it doesn’t have the Colorado River to check out, it works.  I highly recommend it.

I decided to stay an extra day here and I’m glad I did.  I needed a Chipotle fix and found a great natural food store in town.  We stocked up on food so now we won’t have to go out for each meal.

We’re leaving tomorrow, Sunday, and heading north.  The goal being cooler weather which is eluding us.  That’s what started this whole trip to get away from the heat in Tucson. 

There’s a 40’ Phaeton parked next to us and I’m experiencing length envy.  Since I had a 40’ Alfa not too long ago I know how much more comfortable a 40’ diesel pusher is than a 24’6” Winnebago View.  In my convoluted way of thinking, now that I have a house in Tucson, it seems to make more sense to have a smaller motorhome and a bigger house.  Until a Phaeton parks next to me and I feel the envy. 

Friday, May 29, 2015

I'm Baaaaaaack!!!!!

Obviously, I took a break...a really long break.  A lot has happened and there was a good reason, to me anyway, for the break.

My last road trip started out in a very negative way, i.e., the darn engine light came on about two hours west of Tucson on I-8.  I also still didn't have roadside assistance so the tow to Freightliner in Chandler was a bit pricy.  I guess I didn't learn from the last tow in Utah, or I just like throwing money away.  Definitely not the latter.

My friend, Cathy, and I ended up spending three days in Chandler and I dropped a ton of money before we left.  When it was time to leave, on a Sunday, Cathy talked me into doing something I swore I'd never the freeway through Phoenix.  But it made sense.  It was early Sunday morning, not crowded and it would save us lots of miles.  So I did it and I survived!!!

Prior to leaving Tucson I splurged and bought a tow dolly so I could take my Volvo with me.  I wanted to go to Victoria, BC and I wanted to go in my vehicle. Hindsight being twenty-twenty, I wish I had never gotten a tow dolly.  It was a nightmare for most of the trip...straps kept coming off no matter how tightly Cathy or I put them on, the deterioration of the brand new tires wasn't pretty and I ended up replacing them in Ellensburg, WA after having been up in the Seattle area for awhile.  In Twin Falls, ID at the local KOA, the dolly got twisted so I wasn't able to drive up on the ramps until two gentlemen helped straighten it out.  

But the big one happened in Oregon, near Multnomah Falls.  We were looking for a state park and Cathy had programmed it into her GPS.  Unfortunately, there was some miscommunication and I ended up on a road I had no business being on, with a 40' motorhome towing an SUV behind it.  Long story short, we managed to extricate ourselves, with some help, and continued on our way.  Turns out that's all I can say about the experience.  It still freaks me out thinking about and I don't want to relive it.  We did find the state park and it was full.  

And that's why I quit blogging.  By the time I dropped Cathy off in Salt Lake  City and headed for Tucson, I was done.  I was overwhelmed with the difficulties that occurred and I wasn't having any fun.  I found a cheap RV park in Cal-Nev-Ari and pulled in there for a few days.  

I still had my Winnebago View and it was parked in the space where I usually parked my Alfa so I had to move it.  The place I called told me there was only one space left and I needed to be there by a certain date or I'd lose the space.

I left my Alfa in Cal-Nev-Ari and drove to Tucson.  Turns out the guy lied to me and there were lots of spaces.  

Since things happen the way they're supposed to happen, while I was standing in the space where I parked my Alfa for the winter, a lady driving by stopped and started talking to me.  I don't know why I told her my sob story and that I was ready to just walk away from my Alfa, but she informed me that she had her CDL and had driven semis, etc., etc.  I hired her on the spot and she drove me back to pick up my Alfa and then drove my Alfa back to Tucson.  That was the best money spent on the whole trip!!!

There's more but I'll save that for another post.  In the meantime, I have to figure out how to post pictures.  It seems to have changed since I last posted a picture and I can't figure out how to do it...yet.  

It was great "talking" to you and I'll post more...soon.