Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Riverbend RV Resort - Harrisburg OR

We drove back up to Harrisburg, which is near Junction City, which is close to Coburg, which is just north of Eugene.  We're familiar with the Portland area, where all of the little towns run into each other, forming the greater Portland megalopolis.  We thought it would be the same in the Eugene area.  We were wrong.  These towns are fairly dispersed, and there's driving to be done from one place to the other.  Anyway, we're now at the Riverbend RV park which is about 2 minutes away from Elite RV.  The park is nice, it's bank owned and one can tell some maintenance is being deferred, but over all it's good.  There is no cable, so the complete absence of trees is good for the satellite. 
As I have said before, when you own an RV you go to some of the most interesting places.  Today it was this place in Eugene.  They have row upon row of bins of every imaginable small piece of everything there ever was.

These are mirror arms that have been taken off old RVs that have been parted out.

Bins of stuff.

We went in looking for a brushed nickel round finial for one of the reading lights over the bed.  The woman who worked there walked directly to the bin full of lamp bits and found one, it's a perfect match.  That was good.
Tomorrow we go in to get the slide fixed.  Allegedly it will not take all day, so we may drive back down to Seven Feathers.  It's a really nice park, and it gets us 100 miles closer to Susanville.  The Susanville drive is slow because there is climbing, and narrow roads and it's not freeway.  It's important to make Susanville because that sets us up to make the Whiskey Flats RV park in Hawthorne NV.  There are not many parks out in that part of Nevada, and we do not ever want to stay at the Tonopah Station Casino again, so Susanville becomes a major milestone on the trek southward.
Other than this, I have little to report.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Drive to Lookingglass OR

Today was eerily warm.  The last two days were cold and wet, but it was in to the 70's today.  We decided to drive up to Lookingglass to see what we would see.  It's so small the Magellan GPS was unaware of it, fortunately the smart phone GPS knew about it.  Once there, it proved to be nothing more than a wide spot in the road.
On the way, we drove by the Roseburg Forest Products plant.  They make sawdust, plywood and melamine.  It's enormous.  The plant went on for about a mile.  I suspect they are the largest payroll in the area.

The sawdust pile, look at the sawdust pipeline crossing the road.  Very impressive.

There are several wineries out there as well.  There are signs directing drivers along the wine tour. This is one of the fields of grapes.

This is the North Umpqua river.  The town of Winston has put in a nice vehicle/boat trailer parking lot and a new boat ramp.  The sun was out briefly, making the trees look good.

Tomorrow we're going back up to Harrisburg to wait for it to be Wednesday, which is when we'll go to Elite RV repair.  We're both fairly anxious about what will happen when we put the slide in.  Prudence dictates that we will leave it in, and just suffer with the loss of living space until it can be fixed.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Wait State

We are still here in Canyonville, waiting for it to be Wednesday.  We are going crazy with boredom due to the weather.  Crater Lake is socked in with fog.  It's raining at the coast.  Woe!  Woe is me!
The trees are still turning, and are all loveliness.

Other than this photo, I have nothing of interest to say.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Snag in the Travel Plans

This is a picture of the RV park taken this morning, back when we were happy, and thought we would be heading south tomorrow.  Back before the troubles.

This is Canyonville, blink and you'll miss it.  We always wonder why these little towns exist.

We drove over to look at the casino, which is huge, and we saw this.  There is so much to say about this rig.  On the far left, we see the man pouring gas into his external generator.  They're going to run that and camp out in the parking lot.  On the far right, notice the frame on the tow vehicle and the ATVs on top of the rack.  That is a lot of stuff!

And here we have the troubles.  Jim was out dumping the black tank, looking around and he saw this.  This is the big slide on the driver's side.  Those jagged things should not be there, that should be a smooth surface going in and out of the slide.

Here is a close up of the problem. We can't travel with this.  Every time the slide goes in and out the damage will get worse.  We called Elite RV, and they have seen this problem before and know how to fix it.  Unfortunately they can not see us until Wednesday.  I can't stand it.  They are unknown to us, but come highly recommended by this blogger and others.

So, this throws quite the spanner into the travel planning.  Many hours of map and weather forecast consultation are now out the window since we must return to Eugene to get this fixed.  Hopefully we'll get out of the area before winter returns with a vengeance.
Well, the force of the internet is growing weaker by the second and it, and my RV, are just annoying the living snot out of me, so I will bid you good night.

Eugene to Seven Feathers in Canyonville OR

We have departed the Eugene area fairly happily.  Carrier discovered that our water inlet check valve had failed, and that three hoses were in the process of failing.  That was a well timed maintenance stop.  We had a plastic combination check valve/pressure regulator.  The tech recommended replacing it with a metal check valve with no pressure regulator, since we were using an external one.  That's because we had no idea that we had an internal pressure regulator.  With that gone, we have much better water pressure.  Showers are better!  We went by Davis cabinets and had them shave 1/8 of an inch off each of the cabinet doors that would no longer close. They re-varnished them and put them back, all within an hour.  Oddly enough, we ran into one of the guys who sold us the RV at the Pomona show.  We wanted to hit the road so we didn't talk for very long.  It was a very productive day for maintenance issues. At 3pm we decided to leave the area, the area RV parks were looking sort of dreary, so we headed out.
This is rural Oregon from I5.

We saw many people with backpacks hitch hiking along the highway.  WTH?  I didn't know anyone still hitch hiked.  They were all wearing this sort of equipment.  Very surprising to me.

After awhile, we drove out of the rain and had a fairly nice afternoon.

We are at the Seven Feathers RV resort.  It's attached to a casino, they run shuttles from the park 7 by 24 if you are so inclined.  It's a great park, very pretty, good water pressure, cable, satellite friendly where we are and they have wifi.  The wifi is a good thing because the mifi is getting zippity doodah all by way of signal. We are surrounded by mountains.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Seattle to Eugene OR

Greetings from Eugene, OR.  Our plans to visit the Monaco repair facility were thwarted by the fact that they are booked out for the next month!  A month!  So we are now at Carrier and Sons, camping out in their parking lot.  We're specifically wanting the water leak fixed, and a couple of nits.  They have good reviews on the web, but they are unknown to us.  However, it's not snowing here and it is snowing in Bend.  So there you go.  It was a fairly uninspiring drive with nothing significant to see along the way.

This is the only interesting thing we saw on the drive.  This is Miss Elam, an unlimited hydroplane.

We're still thinking about a run across the mountains to Nevada so we can avoid the drive through California on I5.  I don't ever want to drive near Los Angeles on I5 or south of there.  The roads are just too terrible.  The weather is supposed to warm up Thursday and all of the snow currently falling on our proposed route should melt before we get there.
So here we are and here we be.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

A Weather Post

Weather is interesting to me.  Yesterday, we had water spouts forming near Hat Island.  How cool is that?  I borrowed this photo from the Cliff Mass weather blog.  Click on his excellent blog for more pictures and charts.

This is the new forecast for Bend.  Those are snowflakes in the forecast.  Bend is now off the route for the return to Tucson.  We think we're going to try to get the RV in for work in Coburg, Oregon instead.  It's just off of I5 and is not on narrow mountainous roads.  It's a bummer we got this trough pushing cold air in from Alaska, we like the Bend facility.

This afternoon we drove over to West Seattle to visit friends of ours.  It was a gorgeous sunny day on the way out.  This is Harbor Island.

By the time we left, squalls had started coming through and it was raining pigs and chickens again.

This was taken from the I90 bridge.  Click to enlarge so you can see the mountains.

Same general area, from a different viewpoint.  That would be snow in the Cascades.

So today's key learning is that October is not always a safe month to travel, and we should have been gone sooner.  However, I finally got my Botox approved by the insurance company, and we are doing that tomorrow afternoon.   Then we are are leaving, and going south, like good snowbirds.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

We Gottagetouttahere!

If you're of a certain age, you'll remember Eric Burden and the Animals, singing "We Gotta Get Out of Here."  That would be today's song that I have stuck in my head. It's COLD and WET
I took pictures off of Jim's camera today and found these.  Jim took them in December off the deck of May's house.  Pretty.

This is a torpedo recovery boat.

This is May, taken yesterday.  She'll be 98 on October 22.

Since it's so cold and miserable, we're making beef stew for dinner.  I was forced to sacrifice one of our really good reds from Walla Walla.  Fortunately, there is some left over for drinking with dinner.  If you like red wine, and you're in the area, you should really take a trip to Walla Walla.  Anyway, look at Jim's pants.  He's wearing the camo fleece pants we bought in 2006 after he broke his pelvis.  He had an entire new wardrobe of loose fitting pants for that event.  Fortunately we brought these with us, because we are freezing!

Random sunbeam hitting a tree in between rain squalls.

We're leaving Tuesday morning for Bend.  As is usual with an RV, there are things to be fixed.  Generally in the GPNW, it never snows before Thanksgiving.  But since I am here, with an RV, and want to drive south, this year the snow is predicted to be early.  I can't stand it. Check out the Cliff Mass weather blog.  "The atmospheric flow pattern is changing in a big way, developing a deep trough over the eastern Pacific, and driving much colder air south...and I mean south.  The Cascades will get its first real snowfall starting this weekend and then the white stuff will push southward towards the Sierras."  We're now debating whether we should go south on I5, and then over Santiam pass, or if we should go east on I90.  After that, we are undecided.  We had wanted to go south on 395, but it's going to depend on the weather.  We're looking forward to being in Tucson where it is warm.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Fish Hatchery

Wednesday was a beaut!  The sun was out and we had that deep blue sky we sometimes see in Fall.  Very nice.

Today was overcast, but water did not fall from the sky.  We visited the Issaquah fish hatchery.  The fish are still returning.  This guy was trying to make it up the weir, but to no avail.  That is an impenetrable barrier, they have to go up the fish ladder.

See the dark spots in the water?  Those are fish.  The fish ladders were closed (we don't know why) so the fish were queuing up for release from the holding area.

A bug we saw on the window when we got back to the truck.

After the fish hatchery, we went into Bellevue and walked for a couple of miles. The beds have all been planted with autumn plants.  I love the colors of cabbage.

We have nothing much to report from the GPNW.  I continue with my fruitless search for new jeans.  It's very frustrating.  Jeans seem to come in super skinny for the very young, or they're high waisted with "tummy flattening panels".  I don't want either!  I want jeans like I had 20 years ago, but maybe a little bigger.  When we get back to Tucson, I think I'm going to order one of everything from Zappos (free shipping, free returns) and try to find a pair that way.  Shopping has just been too aggravating. 
It's now raining pigs and chickens.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Autumn in the GPNW

Yesterday was pretty good.  We had sun on the foliage and no rain.

Jim washed the RV, it was streaked badly.  Now it is clean and shiny once again.

 It looks like we will leave Tuesday of next week, and it's not a second too soon.  The inside of the RV windshield was covered in condensation this morning, I'm wearing fleece pants, and the cabinet doors are swelling due to all of the moisture they're absorbing from the air.  It's time to head south!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

End of the Vacation

Well, we've been back for two days.  We're both pretty tired.  I've been passing out at about 9:30.  The first morning we were up waaaaay too early, but today we did much better.  We'll probably be back in this time zone soon.  However, that early get up gave us time to do six loads of laundry and put everything away.
Flying home was not without angst.  Our original flight from Marseilles left at noon; it was cancelled and KLM rebooked us on the 9:25 flight.  Note the words, KLM rebooked us. Since we were unable to use online check-in the night before, we knew something bad was in store for us.  At the airport we gave the ticket agent a copy of the email from KLM, and she started sucking her teeth, looking dour and asked us if we had consulted our travel agent.  We said no, it was an internet booking.  She picked up the phone, called someone, spelled our last names, started shaking her head and looking doom-ish.  It didn't look good.  Then the supervisor came over, they spoke in French for awhile, and then the supervisor looked at us and said "its OK" and walked away.  WTH?  I am glad we were at the airport really early, that flight was completely booked.
It was a long trip.  Here are some random thoughts and observations.
Clothing:   I did not wear any of the dressy stuff.  Of course, only in the GPNW would we consider yoga pants and Mephistos dressy.  The black pashmina was a good thing in cold restaurants.  I did wear the khakis once.  However, if it had been cold, which was possible, they would have been good to have.  Same with the bike clothes, at no time did we need the jackets or tights, but we might have.  Packing for the variable climates is difficult.  Other than that, I wore everything.  We could be accused of some over packing, but that was off set by not having to do laundry as often. 
Miscellaneous:  It was good to have the antibiotics for the ear.  The ear went off again, but this time I was spared the trip to the ER due to my good doctor giving me drugs before hand.  We did learn that most hotels have a mobile doctor they can call, which I probably could have done in Germany, but it didn't occur to me.  The light fuze voltage converter is good.  The Nooks won't charge off the netbook USB port for some reason.  Maybe I need a new netbook.  We were also charging tooth brushes and Jim's razor. There are very few outlets in Europe.  We generally had to give up a lamp or two for charging stuff.
Food:  The food in Italy is salty.  I don't cook with salt, our palates have adapted, and we really felt the abundance of salt.  In France, at the Auberge, there was an expectation that one would eat a lot.  They have a degustation menu that is 5 courses.  When we kept declining the cheese course and dessert, there was considerable surprise on the part of the wait staff.  Several tables did opt for many courses, it was entertaining to watch the amount of food being put away, by relatively slender people.  I guess they skipped breakfast and lunch.  This is Jim's plate the second night.  That is a big hunk of lamb that was so good it made us moan.  The vegetables were also good, it was all swimming in butter. 

This is the back of the hotel room door in the Auberge.  Someone painted that.  It's such a nice little detail.

We spent a fair amount of time in heavily touristed areas in France, such as Gordes.  It is now my opinion, with not a huge sample size, that it's virtually impossible to find good food in those places; sort of like expecting good food at an airport.  We ate in Gordes one night and did not go back.  Down the road in Coustellet, which is basically a large intersection, we found a Thai/Vietnamese restaurant.  This is the Salade du Maison.  It was wonderful.  It's a combination of warm and cold sea food over greens and vegetables, dressed in a light oil and vinegar with ginger dressing.  Moaning we were.  We ate there two nights in a row, it was so good.  As in Germany, the ethnic restaurants saved us from the local cuisine.

This is it, the Pearl of Asia.  Skip Gordes, eat here.

This is our rental car - a Ford C-max.  It's a tiny turbo diesel, 6 speed manual transmission.  It got really good mileage and was fun to drive.  I would not want to own a manual, but it was a good rental.

Driving in the cities was somewhat unnerving.  Italians drive aggresively, but they drive well.  One should not dally when entering a round about, or they will pass you on both sides.
We saw this gentleman in the Marseilles airport while waiting for our flight.  He's praying, and I should probably be chastised for taking the picture, but it was just fascinating to watch the process.  First he had to put on the tefillin.  Those are the boxes with scripture that you see sometimes on Orthodox Jewish men.  It's quite involved, there is wrapping on the left arm and then the second box is placed on the head.  Placement is very precise.  Then he put on the shawl, and stood for quite some time with his lips moving.  After the prayers, the tefillin were removed.  It must be done every weekday.  I wondered how it felt to be so separate from everyone else in the airport.

This is a little kid in the Amsterdam airport.  Cute, eh?

So, that's it then.  The journey is over.  We're back in the GPNW where it's dark and raining.

Thursday, October 11, 2012


On the way to Marseilles this morning, we had time, so we diverted to Bonnieux.  It's an amazing old hill town.  If you want to see old and cute, this is the place.

It's really old.

A view from the heights.

The church on top of the hill.

The gate to City Hall.

Now we are at the Marseilles Best Western.  It's a typical airport hotel.  We were unable to check in on-line for tomorrow's flight, KLM can't discover our reservations either with the e-ticket number or the locator number, which is somewhat unnerving.  We'll be up and out early to check in at the airport.  With any luck, we'll be home late tomorrow afternoon.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A Drive up Mount Ventoux

Today's choice was between more cute villages or going up to see Mt. Ventoux.  We went with the mountain.  We plugged Bedoin into the GPS, since it's on one of the steep routes up to Chalet Reynard.  The GPS took us up  some more teeny tiny D roads.  We came to this abbey shortly after leaving Gordes.  Is it not lovely?  That's a lavender field in front.

Then it was on to Bedoin.  We'd forgotten we had city center plugged in to it, and started to drive up this road.  After a split second we came to our senses and got back on the main drag.

This is Chalet Reynard, where the routes from Sault and Bedoin converge, and the road gets really steep.

As is often the case, the top of the mountain was in the clouds.  The weather is quite often terrible at the top, and today was not an exception.  It was very windy.

This is the memorial to Tom Simpson.  He died here in 1967.

This is about 3k from the top.  We're out of the clouds here.

We went back via Sault, erroneously thinking that the roads would be wider than the route from Bedoin.  Perhaps marginally, but not significantly.  Jim spent much of the drive with the right side tires in the grass, dodging on coming traffic. 


Tomorrow we're driving to Marseilles.  We will drop off the rental, proceed to the airport hotel and await our flight on Friday morning.  Much of it will be on the autoroute, so there may not be anything worth posting.