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Old 09-16-2008, 09:00 AM   #57
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Sounds like you two are having a big time. You made a good choice about not running over bicyclist. When they get caught under the camper they can do a lot of damage . I managed to get caught up in the ride across Colorado groups two days this summer, there were some white knuckle moments for me. Some of them, being quite tired no doubt, were prone to swerving at unpredictable intervals. Having a narrow body was nice at that point, let me tell you. Oh yeah, one more thing: WHERE ARE THE PICS? WE WANT PICS!
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Old 09-16-2008, 11:22 AM   #58
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Misty and dreary this morning. Not having had TV for several days was kind of liberating, but reality strikes—hurricane devastation, watching my investments disappear, the strangeness and outright lies of the presidential election. We've had a lot of dirty politics in our nation's history, but every 4 years it seems to get worse. Having long ago taught history, I know lies and outrageous claims are nothing new, but TV just puts it in our faces constantly. I feel like going into hiding. This election is not what we were taught America was like in civics class in the '50's.

Yes, Rodney, white knuckles were the rule. Waiting for the right spot to pass, putting the hammer down, consuming all the gas the bicyclists were saving, getting past 2 or 3 or 5 of them, then braking hard to get back in the lane and behind another wobbly, exhausted person. Fortunately there wasn't much traffic. Of course, I could just go an average of 5 mph and take 4 hours to get to the front. It was at least as anxious driving as the worst part of Hwy 1. We haven't taken many pictures and I just haven't time to figure out how to post them. We'll have to take you along as our official photographer.

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Old 09-19-2008, 06:06 PM   #59
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Coasting along

We made it to Cannon Beach, Oregon. We've seen a gazillion rocks in the ocean and after a few days it all blends together. Roads are better in Oregon than California, gas costs less. Florence was the cheapest place on the coast ($3.46), but 20 to 45¢ higher several miles in either direction. Oregon has many more turn outs to park by the ocean, or usually far above it. They also have a lot of tsunami warning zone signs, always a bit unsettling.

We ate a good organic lunch in Garberville at the Woodrose Cafe on the main street. The RV campgrounds tend to become a blur. We stayed at Jessie Honeyman State Park just south of Florence. It has electric and water and there are some sites with full hookups. We got a space at 4:30 pm but much later and there may have been none left. In the summer, I'm sure reservations are necessary. There was a lot of space and it felt isolated because of all the trees and bushes. A very nice park and cheap too. I think the space was $20. We were a two mile walk across the sand dunes to the ocean, but we were too tired to bother.

We arrived in Lincoln City, Oregon, yesterday around noon and stopped at the Pendleton Outlet store at the Tanger Outlet mall. There's about 7 miles of strip development in Lincoln City and going is slow. I called ahead and got good directions since the mall is not easy to see from 101. We bought a bedspread on sale. It is a Pendleton Indian design and looks much better looking than the spread that comes with the trailer. It's 82% wool, 18% cotton, so its soft, fairly light and reversible (black background on one side, bright red on the other). It really improves the rather dull interior of the trailer. With tan walls, tan cabinets, light tan cushions and pillows and vinyl floor, I feel overtanned, so this bedspread helps a lot (of course, the exterior walls are aluminum and so shiny). Traffic is constant the rest of the way up the coast.

We're staying at a private campground in Cannon Beach. Well kept, nice spaces, though wireless is spotty. Last night I had to use the laptop outside to get a connection. I put it on the picnic table, sat down and got e-mail. I tried to get up and couldn't (unless I let my sweat pants get pulled down, probably against park rules). It was dark so I hadn't seen the gum on the seat and my pants were stuck to it. I freed myself from bondage and cloudn't get the gum off with ice, so gave up.

We decided to stay another day because we are tired and laundry needed to be done. I spent 3 hours on the phone and laptop this morning dealing with problems for a nonprofit back home that I do a lot of pro bono work for. I just wanted to be stupid for the rest of the day. So we got moved to another space, laptop works inside. But last night, the laptop stopped working completely, but I had the book with me (amazing foresight) and it told me to take the battery out and hold down the power button for 5 seconds, replace the battery, and it worked! Since the cellphone was also acting up–we'd get calls, but couldn't answer them. Had to check for messages and call back, then we'd often get a message machine, leave a message, they'd call back, get our message, we couldn't answer, and on and on. Being trapped in a multiple electronic nightmare brings on dark thoughts. I wanted to squeeze the cellphone until it turned into molten metal and perhaps even anti-matter, but reconsidered. That particular "solution" is probably impossible given my arthritis. Barb called Verizon about the phone they suggested she take the battery out of the phone for 30 seconds and then replace it. I don't know if it worked, but it hasn't rung since then. I suppose that's an improvement. Late news—it rung, I answered and it was a kid with the wrong number who then went to ask his mommy what happened. I hung up. Next time I have a health problem, I'm going to take my battery out for a while.

We've come to a succession of campgrounds where there were no pull throughs. So I have had to back in and am getting pretty good at it. I know practice makes adequate, but have been impatiently waiting to achieve that level of distinction.

Tomorrow, we leave the Pacific and go southeast turning slowly toward home. We'll have 9 days, so there may be no rush unless we get involved in someplace. First we'll have to walk on the beach before we go inland. I think that's required when by the ocean. Then off to look for a Trader Joe's near Portland and south to Corvalis. I have a friend who now lives near there and would like to see him if he's home. Then to Eugene, east to Bend and I don't know what's next. Maybe Idaho to celebrate the potato.

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Old 09-22-2008, 03:06 PM   #60
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Old 09-22-2008, 03:11 PM   #61
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They're heading into a "null zone" for cell & wi-fi, could be a few days.
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Old 09-22-2008, 07:59 PM   #62
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It is the waiting for the next installment that is the killer. It is like a good TV show, they catch you just at the end with something about to happen and then leave you hanging, but one does wonder what did happen on that walk on the beach. Particularly given the tsunami signs mentioned previously.....

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Old 09-22-2008, 08:24 PM   #63
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Out of the null zone

Out of the null zone and haven't actually been in one. Just too lazy to write. It is a vacation, after all.

We did walk on the beach at Cannon Beach. Found a place to park, impossible during the high season, went down to the beach and since the tide was out, plenty of smooth hard sand to walk on. We walked down to Haystack Rock, a volcanic plug. That means there was a lot of volcano a long, long time ago and it all eroded and the hard rock at the center is all that's left. The tide doesn't get so low you can walk out to it, but get 50 or 100 years away, then walk back. That was near sunset. In the morning we walked into town and had breakfast at Doogers, a name that doesn't inspire goodness (too much like boogers), but it was good and they serve breakfast 'til noon. It was almost 11. Cannon Beach is mostly houses and though there are some stores, mostly it's house's, B&B's, restaurants in former residences and thus, it's pretty nice. I don't know where you'd get a T-shirt or a baseball cap that says "Cannon Beach" or "I had ball in Cannon Beach" with obligatory picture of a cannon ball, but I'm sure they're there somewhere. Anyway it looks like a town more than a tourist trap and I'm sure real estate is very, very expensive. Traffic can be bumper to bumper and parking is difficult, but it must have been quieter than usual. We've been there in October and did have lots of traffic. That time it was raining, this time it was sunny at times.

We left Saturday morning and took US 26 east to south of Portland. Almost all the traffic was going west so I guess there was bumper to bumper traffic that day. We found another Trader Joe's in Hillsboro (SW of Portland) and stocked up for the rest of the trip and even later since it was probably going to be the last one going home.

We drove down to Corvallis and stayed at a KOA just east of town. Across from us was a Streamline from the '70's according to the owner. The finish is anodized aluminum so it looks like it was painted a metal color, but isn't. There are some yellow lines around it and it look a lot like an Airstream of that era. It was nicely restored, but that anodized aluminum just makes it look seedy. Gordon told us he had just bought an old Airstream and he had the Streamline up for sale. He said his son is fixing up the Airstream.

Corvallis is the home of Oregon State Univ., but apparently the students are just returning, so it was very quiet that evening. We drove around town, looks nice, bought gas and went back to the trailer. I had called my friend who lives about a dozen miles west of Corvallis but he was still on the coast and I didn't have his cell number.

So we left Corvallis yesterday morning and drove to Bend, crossing the Cascades and seeing lots of traffic going from Bend into the mountains on US 20. A pretty drive (there have been so many pretty drives, it starts to sound boring) through conifers on a good road. Went through the tourist town of Sisters with the mandatory shoppes and overstuffed tourists. You wouldn't think there was a recession. We found ourselves at a "resort" campground that was very nice if you wanted all that stuff. Mostly we want cable TV, hookups and internet if we are just staying one night and are tired. You couldn't leave your TV hitched up on the pavers the RV was on, you had to park it on the separate pad next to it. A truck camper had to take the camper off the pickup. No RV's more than 10 years old. Some of these places are run by nazis. We could find that place and there wasn't much else in Bend.

Bend has grown enormously—more than 80,000 now. It's full of retirees I think. There are many fine restaurants, and we selected on one that could meet each of our desires, but when we got there it had closed early. It's not particularly easy to find your way around the town, but we found our way downtown and looked for another restaurant, but it wasn't there, so we drove down the block, saw the only one open, Guiseppe's, and it was very good. The eggplant parm. was almost as good as Barb makes it and that's the gold standard (maybe better, but don't tell her). My friend called and we had missed each other and he had been on the coast just south of Cannon Beach, but I didn't have his cell number. We talked over things and I told him he's have to visit me next.

Today we travelled east across more mountains and a lot less traffic. We took US 26 from Prineville, NE of Bend. US 20 is the southern alternate, shorter to Idaho or Nevada and seemed to be through more desert. We have enough desert where live, so we avoid it. A pleasant drive over mountains, down the valley of the John Day River and then over to Sumpter, Oregon, via Ore. 7 up in some pretty high mountains. 20' of snow last winter, -35˚. A more severe winter, we were told, than normal, but I guess all of them are challenging here. We are used to (or used to be used to) severe winters, but this is a bit more. A nice little campground just south of town with cable and wireless and nice people. I think it's Sumpter Pines. Sumpter is less than 200 people and they have 6 mile railroad ride on weekends in the summer; snowmobiling and ATV's are big here. Supposed to go down to 30˚ tonight so I may have to disconnect the water in case it freezes. It's 52˚ now at 5:40 pm. Sites aren't too big, but amongst the conifers and some other trees. Some look like fairly young Ponderosas, but there are a lot of trees strange to me in the NW.

We've been having those talks about "would you want to move to Oregon?" Every time we travel we have those talks, but this seems more serious. They have low speed limits here—some of the interstates are 65, we're used to 75. The 2 lane roads are 55, we're used to 60 or 65. I was told they enforce those speed limits here, they mostly don't in Colorado (though Denver has photo radar not for safety, but for revenue). I haven't gotten a speeding ticket since the national speed limit was increased, and I don't like driving paranoid. On speed limits, I'm a libertarian. When towing, I'm fairly slow.

On the other hand, when I was about 10 or 12 I read a book by Bernard DeVoto about the west. It recounted the plight of the Donner Party (gruesome) and the Oregon Trail and how wonderful Oregon was. So Oregon has been a fantasy of mine ever since and it's a really nice state. But it is cloudy and humid near the coast and a bit inland. But also, I'm tired of heat and sagebrush and cheat grass (cheat grass is here too). I'm tired of piñon forests with stunted trees of 25' after they've grown 300 years. There's a good Airstream dealer in Eugene. The food is far better here. The politics are far more to our liking. Yet, we like boasting about how we live at 6,837' and unless we moved to Sumpter (5,000' or so), we couldn't do that. That's silly, but it part of the Colorado thing. In other states, you come to a town and it says the population, in Colorado we are only interested in the altitude. We used to live 1,100 feet higher so we are even cooler. We like snow that's like powder, I think they don't get that in the western half of the state. Maybe they get ice storms, yuck. We never do. We want tall conifers. They have them in Oregon and the most expensive parts of Colorado. Barb has lived almost her entire life in Colorado except for 3 years in the Black Hills of South Dakota right after college. She's kind of itching for a big change. But she doesn't want to be too far from her parents.

The Corvallis area has a good medical center and the cultural scene of a university town. Portland isn't far and has a medical school which may mean state of the art medicine. We not all that pleased with medicine where we are. We never used to worry about that when we were younger.

We have time to sort this out. Nothing is selling very fast where we live although prices have held up when something does sell. Having the Safari makes it possible to sell our house and then ship everything to storage, drive to somewhere and start looking while living in the trailer. One thing we've have discovered is that as much as we like the Airstream, we wouldn't want to fulltime. I don't know how long before we would start thinking dark thoughts about each other—a long time I think—but it just is too small for months and months. We are too used to a 2,400 sq. foot house, an 1,800 foot "shop" (just an enormous garage) and 37 acres to go to less than 200 sq. feet and staying in campgrounds, some of them run by nazis.

Tomorrow, somewhere in Idaho, perhaps into the null zone.

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Old 09-24-2008, 08:37 PM   #64
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Stayed in Idaho City, former mining town in the mountains trying to make it as a tourist mecca. Didn't seem too successful at it, though there seem to be a lot of vacation homes in the area. Not all that far from Boise, a city that has grown tremendously in recent years. There's only one private RV campground there—7 sites. Had cable, full hookups, but no internet. Very small mountain town.

Continued on our latest detour through the area south of the Snake R. country. A lot of it very isolated and a nice drive through ponderosa forest. Eventually we ended up at Sun Valley—situated in the broad irrigated valley. We were curious where the ski area was, but never found it when we drove through the town. There was a very visable one on the west side, but we thought the old Sun Valley ski area was on the east side. We did not see Sonya Hennie nor was anyone singing "Sun Valley Serenade". That movie comes up pretty regularly on Turner Classic Movies though I've never been drunk enough to watch the whole thing.

Onward to Twin Falls and a KOA where we all all packed in. Wireless only works outside at the picnic table and it's getting dark. I did find out what happens when you overfill the black water tank with a Flush King. It comes out of the soil stack and runs down the side of the trailer. Fortunately it was the 5th flush and it was clean by then. The water pressure here is pretty high and it fooled me.

We're getting close to home and will be back early. Tomorrow we probably will go to Park City, Utah, and see what it looks like.

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Old 09-25-2008, 09:12 AM   #65
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Idaho is neat isn't it? I enjoyed the sun valley area, although I spent most my visit up Yankee creek near Custer. Keep them updates coming for those of us stuck here in dry dock.
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Old 09-25-2008, 11:50 AM   #66
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Gene;

Oregon coast line is a favorite of Lou and mine. We try to make it out about every two years. When we were in Cannon Beach a few years ago it was windy and they were having kite flying contests. Didn't know they could get those shapes to fly so well. We like to start at the Olympic Rain Forest and work our way down the coast. We haven't been much further South than Eugene but we have had a chance to stop at the A/S dealer. Actually our favorite place is around Astoria and Westport. We spent a few days at Fort Stanley (West of Astoria) last year while we were up in that area and it really is a good area. We took highway 30 back to Portland along the Columbia and that is really a neat drive. Kind of narrow 2 lane and a little tricky with the logging trucks but worth the drive.

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Old 10-01-2008, 02:24 PM   #67
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Coming Home

We've been home since Sunday and consumed by unpacking—still not finished—and catching up with our lives. It's good to be home. So much space!

We left Twin Falls and stepped up our pace now traveling on interstates and arrived at a campground near Park City, Utah. Neither of us had ever been to Park City and figured there would be really good restaurants there. We do like food.

We pulled into the campground and there were large concrete pads and the place looked nice. Filled with giant MoHo's. When we went in we found all those beautiful pads were for people who had bought the sites—$100-200,000 each! The guy behind the desk told us to follow him and we went to the deck in back of the office and looked down on about 7 sites. The area was gravel and had to be backed into with difficulty. They did have full hookups and he assured us we could get the TV from the local translator on a hill nearby. We could even have an RV that was older than 10 years down there! There was no where else nearby and we were tired. We drove down the hill to the low rent district properly hidden from the upper crust. I tried one way to back in without success and our neighbor told me he had tried the same thing with the same result. Backed out to the access road and turned it around and eventually got into the space. Hooked up and noted the sewer had no threads, but was just a piece of broken PVC sticking out of the ground surrounded by weeds several feet high. Very low rent. TV reception was awful, wireless nearly so. Very, very low rent (though the nightly charge wasn't low). Our neighbor was wearing a stained T shirt and looked pretty low rent himself. I discovered he was a doctor and we had a long discussion about the horrible state of practicing medicine in the US. He wants to go to Europe where doctors make more money, have fewer patients, don't have to fight with insurance companies all the time and everyone has health care. Since I had been struggling with a specialist's office which had screwed up my appointment and wouldn't tell me test results for days, I agreed. We went into Park City for dinner. It looks like every other big time ski town (i.e., made of plastic like substances), but there is a small historic district downtown. Ate at the Bistro 512 and had a very good meal, but the next booth had a very loud drunken woman with an irritating voice, so the ambience was compromised. She was a regular, so I guess they were afraid to say anything to her.

The next day we drove to Grand Junction and stayed 2 nights. I had a meeting there and we had to supply ourselves for home. There was a air show at the airport and many other events—a car show downtown is what we saw—and we got the last space 11 miles west of town in Fruita. There was nothing closer. They wanted $5 a day for wireless—no way. Motels tried that for a few years and just about all of them have given up except for the most expensive ones which charge extra fees for everything ($1 a flush for the toilet is next). With the economy is bad shape and my investments in the same bad shape, I guess I was better off not knowing much.

The trip from Twin Falls was through familiar territory. Sagebrush, irrigated fields, big mountains in the distance and mesas. Just like home. We noticed as we travelled west and reached Idaho, our noses and sinuses started to get congested from the dryness. We had never noticed it quite so quickly before as we don't usually go from the wet coast to the dry interior so quickly. Usually we go through Idaho on the way to somewhere else, so I'm glad we went into the mountains north of I-84 and saw some of the beautiful interior.

One part of this trip was to see what it was like to travel further and longer. We clocked about 3,500 miles and did it in 2 weeks, five days. We found more things to fix on the trailer. We got a scare on an interstate in Idaho when the TPMS went off, so Barb pulled off on a fortunately wide shoulder. The offending tire looked fine and seemed full of air. I discovered the plug had dislodged for the monitor and it was apparently operating on an internal battery which powers the warning, but can't read the monitors so it assumes the first tire it tries to read is flat. It was connected to a Y plug because we have to also plug in a radar detector from the same truck 12 v. outlet. The Y plug is another piece of crap sold these days and doesn't make good contact. Everything was fine with the tires. The mornings in the mountains of NE Oregon and central Idaho were close to freezing and the tire readings were 63-64 pounds, but I didn't fill them again since I knew temps would quickly increase during the day. Once we were in lower elevations, morning pressure was 66-67 pounds. Traveling through many different climates in the west makes knowing just what pressure to have, guesswork.

We are used to going to far off places in the US and Canada. We get in the SUV and go thousands of miles very quickly to get to where we are going and then slow down. It's about 3,500 miles to Fairbanks or almost as much to Yellowknife, NWT, and about the same to N. Sydney, Nova Scotia where the ferry leaves for Newfoundland. It takes about a week and we usually take a break part way through that grueling week. We get tired, but recover, sort of. As I get older and older, more tired and less recovery. With the trailer, I can't see how we could drive that hard. We leave an hour or two later in the morning and one of us usually has to be dragged out of bed. At the end of the day, Barb, especially if she has been driving a lot, has trouble finding energy to make dinner. I sit at the dinette stunned and try to get an internet connection to read my many e-mails and answer the ones I have to. I try to get news on the tube so we can find out what's going on. I try to help with dinner.

We don't like to unhitch because it takes time to do so and then hitch up in the morning. That tends to keep us tethered to the rig. We have gotten hitching up down to 15 minutes from 35 when we started doing this. We do everything faster in the morning having gotten accustomed to it. We haven't left the stairs down, antenna up and usually remember to turn off the antenna booster. Once I left the fan door up, but learned my lesson (those things are tough and stay attached). Our two trips to Alaska and NW Canada each were 6 weeks. To do the same with the Safari would probably take 8 weeks.

I was feeling claustrophobic by the end of the trip. No exercise makes a difference too. Part of preparation is staying committed to exercising and then taking time during the trip to hike or at least take walks. That would help with claustrophobia. We like to see the land and tend to fall into seeing it through the windshield. One of the best parts of traveling is meeting people from different places. With a trailer, it's difficult to stop for a museum or to see something weird in the middle of the day off the highway because it's often difficult to park or maneuver through narrow streets in historic places or some small towns. I'm getting m ore gutsy about driving into the unknown even though I know someday I'll get myself in to something impossible—I've seen it happen to 18 wheelers and those drivers are professionals. We used to bring a lot of food and eat most of our evening and morning meals in our room. We'd look for a good restaurant for lunch and eat our big meal then (cheaper then too). That hasn't been our practice on this trip and we have to look for a solution. We spent a lot less on restaurants on this trip, but we've found some great restaurants in the past by the way we traveled. We met a lot less people on this trip. Most of them were people who run mom and pop campgrounds—who are interesting—and neighbors in a campground—some are interesting, some not. We were asked 2 or 3 times: "Do they still make those?"

We never boondocked. We were too tired to check out the FS or BLM campgrounds and see if we could fit. Some of the private campgrounds in the redwood forests had very narrow roads and I was imaging even more narrow ones in the gov't campgrounds planned for when trailers were 8' wide. Having hookups felt easier. We stayed in one state park. It had water and electric, but no sewer. Since we weren't going far that day, I didn't bother to use the dump station (would have had to wait anyway) and didn't mind having a mostly full grey water tank.

We ate better and slept better. With the memory foam on top of the Airstream mattress (much too hard and too short too), it's comfortable, actually too comfortable in the morning. We could bring more food and a greater variety. For lunch it was not difficult (usually) to find a place to stop and have some fruit, some bread and cheese, yogurt, shell some peanuts, or other simple and healthy food. So, we probably ate less for lunch. It was cheap too. At rest stops, sometimes an 18 wheeler comes in next to us with a refrigeration unit and leaves the diesel engine running—not pleasant.

Barb is an incredible cook, so when she was coherant in the evening, we always ate well. The refrigerator holds a lot, but seemed small at times (it is, compared to home) but everything fit. Finding things in the trailer sometimes was drag. Barb is in charge of storing food and most everything else and I could find things only with much aid. The next day either I had forgotten where it was or Barb has moved it. Since a lot of storage is at floor level, it's hard for me to get to it. With a messed up back and worn out knees, bending is difficult for me. I have to sit on the floor a lot times and crawling around is not only bad for my ego, but it's hard for me to get off the floor. My worst floor experience happened when we tried the DVD player. There was an awful rumble from the subwoofer. I expected as much since this is a well documented problem, but getting to the back of the subwoofer to pull out the plug was very difficult. Getting my aged wrist to bend behind the damn thing was more effort than I enjoyed.

Campgrounds are a very different experience. Prices range from $20 to $50. Some were very impersonal and a few seemed to be run by nazis. In some we were packed in so closely, we just locked ourselves in and closed all the blinds and curtains. Some RV's are so high off the ground, especially 5th wheels, they have windows looking into the small oval windows over our large windows on the streetside. As to be expected, prices are set according to local attractions. I can understand how land is expensive in some areas and thus they have small sites, often far from the town, but that doesn't make them desirable. Some are very nice and the people running them are too. In some places, there's little to select compared to motels. When we felt we had to make reservations, some don't answer their phones or return calls although we experienced less of that than we had in the SW last year. There's little in the way of chains of campgrounds and that's probably a good thing because we hate chain motels. In places where the sites are very small, Barb ran into an awning support in one place (I just missed it) and a slide out in another. Sometimes people park where it's difficult for others to get in or out of their sites—I would think they'd understand they have neighbors. Campgrounds have to catch up to the 21st century on internet wireless. And some charge outrageous prices for propane—I wanted to fill the tanks since it may be the last time this year and the place in Fruita was charging almost $5 a gallon. It wasn't much over $3 in a remote place in NE Oregon where it should cost more. But in Fruita, the guy actually followed all the procedures to fill them properly, something no one else had done.

We still haven't figured out the best time to shower. In the morning it takes a lot of time and we leave too late as it is. In the evening, we are sometimes so tired, we don't care. The idea of taking a shower every Saturday whether we need it or not starts to sound like a good idea (digression—we live in an area where there are a lot of old ranchers and apparently they only bathe one day a week because when being near them in a store or supermarket, they are really ripe).

All in all it was a good trip, but was more difficult than I wanted it to be. Traveling long distances has stresses; with a trailer there are more. Anticipating problems while towing takes more energy than driving a car, SUV or pickup. Finding parking at a mall or supermarket, figuring out how to get in and get out, takes some quick thinking. The same is true of gas stations and we looked for truck stops (Next Exit is great for finding RV friendly gas stations and markets when on an interstate). The occasional car that zips around us on either side after appearing from no where (sometimes after following so closely I have no idea he's there) are challenges requiring constant awareness. Then there are the people who pull out from a driveway or sideroad because everyone hates being behind an RV, requiring quick braking. Driving with the trucks, mostly on interstates, can be a problem. We can maintain a steady 65, but they go faster downhill and really slow down on hills. That means a lot of passing each other for scores of miles. When there's a lot of traffic and many lanes, driving is appreciably more difficult. On 2 lane roads, the truck has plenty of power, but passing that guy going 58 or 60 on a 65 MPH road takes some effort and becomes impossible with more traffic. Sometimes it's an underpowered MoHo who refuses to use a turnout and let people by—illegal in Oregon, but they don't care and give all of us a bad name. In a town, deciding where to turn down a side street means figuring out whether I can get through and avoiding the dreaded "dead end" and hoping no one stole the sign. And road construction where they set the cones and barriers narrowing the lane too much. As we traveled, we got better at everything. I assume we will become more accustomed to towing. I could see Barb's confidence rise the more she drove. I only drove the trailer tires over a curb once getting into a tight gas station.

What's next? Fixing things or alerting the dealer to warranty needs, maybe those to be taken care of next spring. Will we go somewhere else this Fall? I hope so, but it would be a short trip—either a few days at a state park or FS, or maybe several more days somewhere south, then winterizing. Next year? I have fantasies of Alaska and NW Canada, but right now it seems daunting and there a lot of things to take care of here that will eat time. Whether those things will be a problem next year, I can't know. The fantasy is strong. I have visions of the Alaska Hwy and all those places we have been before, or want to see, but haven't yet. Travel north is very expensive. Gas was our biggest expense by a lot and would be even more. And our investments are an issue, so the state of the economy and the role of the government are very important to our decision whether we feel we can afford it.

Thanks to everyone for your comments and support. I am a frustrated writer, never giving myself time to do so professionally, and so sharing our experiences is fun.

Gene
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Old 10-01-2008, 04:03 PM   #68
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Gene,

So glad you had a safe adventure. A lot of your comments sure sound familiar. Sandy also takes charge of most everything inside the "Banana", and finding things, for me, can sometimes be a real challenge. I can't for the life of me figure out how she can fit 2weeks of food into that little bitty fridge when we go docking in the "Dacks".

I can sure relate to the "old fart" concerns we have to deal with while traveling. Last time out I had to deal with a nasty hand pinch while downing the Zip Dee. I guess I should be thankful it happened while breaking camp.

Alaska with the Stream has always been a goal of ours also, but we be a lot farther away and the dream just may be too far over the horizon. If we start saving now, by the time Sandy retires in a few years we just might have enough for the petrol.

The folks ya meet on the road can be some of the most memorable moments of the trip. Case in point was "General Bob" at the Bagdad Cafe on Rt.66 just outside Barstow Ca. If it hadn't been for the old Airstream shell sitting outside we never would have stopped. He was an expert on everything, and was a friend of everyone. We often go back to look at the video of our lunch at the cafe.

Hope all is well....Stream Safe


Bob


YouTube - Huell Howser visits the Bagdad Cafe.
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Old 10-01-2008, 11:37 PM   #69
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Thank you for the trip-alogue Gene. What a trip. I know of what you speak when you mention the wife being the keeper of all knowledge as to where things are. I can be sitting on it and still not find it but Donna seems to have this intuitive knack for knowing where I hid it last time. Whew, makes the trips that much easier.

We've had good experiences so far with CG's. No one has turned us away even though our TV is 51 years old and our trailer 57 years old. They do draw out some of the more unusual characters at CG's and gas stations. It is hard to be anonymous the way we travel. We also found we tend to eat less when we are on the road, meals are more enjoyable when we stop and take the time, but often we are too tired in the evening to actually spend much time cooking. Because of this we pack quick easy to make foods and the nuker gets a real work out. Sigh.

One thing we found is that with our very different sleeping habits having twin beds made a huge difference in our feeling rested the next day. I'm up real early and get things ready to go while Donna is getting started and in the evenings she's doing clean up and I'm heading to bed. It also gives us each our own time to do our own thing - for me it is read and for her it is crosswords. So far I've managed to avoid putting a TV in the trailer but I suspect that by mid next summer that will be a request from the "management" that I won't be able to refuse.

Thanks again, it was fun reading your posts.

Oh yeah, about Alaska. Depending on how far you want to go be sure to read others posts on the trips, both here and on other non-Airstream forums. I know of several folks who have done the trip and enjoyed it but the toll the trip took on their TV and trailer was expensive and disappointing.

Take care, safe travels.
Barry
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Old 10-02-2008, 10:16 AM   #70
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It's good to know we all experience a lot of the same things.

I just remembered some people we met briefly. We had just finished getting gas in Idaho at a truck stop. A guy comes up to me with a throw away cardboard camera and tells me they saw our rig and followed us to the gas station. He and his wife wanted to get an Airstream and a blue Tundra like ours. They wanted a trailer like ours but with a blue stripe along the side. I told them the blue striped ones cost a lot more and are too heavy to tow with a Tundra, but they could buy the decal and put it on a less expensive model and save a lot and have a Tundra. He took a bunch of pictures. They were traveling in an 18-wheeler tractor with a sleeper so they had to be truckers. Apparently they spend a lot of time on the Airstream website dreaming.

Also, we saw a couple of 5th wheels towed by tractors. One was at the campground near Mendocino and that guy had a Peterbilt. He had had several flats on his 5th wheel, but didn't know the difference between ST, LT or any other type of tire used on trailers.

I think a lot about what could happen to the Safari on a trip to Alaska or anywhere else remote and far away. There was a blog this summer about a caravan to Alaska. One of the Airsteams was totaled when a moose ran into it. They were less than 100 miles from Fairbanks and towed it there and that was the end of their Airstream trip. Each time we've been in the North Country I wonder about the SUV, but know that parts can be found for Toyotas within a couple of days although there used to be only one Toyota dealer in Alaska. I buy Toyotas because they keep going and need few things fixed, but the Airstreams are another matter. They last a long time, but seem to need constant attention. Some roads to places I love to go to are pretty hard on vehicles—the Dalton Highway to the North Slope comes to mind. Everything in Alaska and northern Canada is very expensive and far away from wherever you are. When they were trying to sell me warranty insurance (something that is usually a bad deal), the guy said the trailer is "an earthquake on wheels." That made us feel good. I never buy those extended warranties because they usually cost more than any repairs could. I keep hoping all the problems with the trailer will stop soon, but they keep on coming. I think we have 7 or 8,000 miles so far. Sounds like a good thread topic is "How did your Airstream hold up on a trip to Alaska?"

Gene
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