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Old 04-14-2008, 05:02 AM   #1
Joe-n-Doe
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Road Trip Spring 2008

April 1, 2008:

Got started 4 hours later than planned and only got 200 miles under our belt today. The pooches were great as we finished loading the K9HAUS. However, when I took their dog beds out to the 5er they went nuts and demanded to go out to the truck. About 3 hours down the road, we discovered I failed to completely close the refrigerator door. Result---everything spilled out onto the floor 18 eggs broken on the floor and edge of the carpet. Dogs got their fill. Overnighted in an Albany, GA Wal-Mart. It was over 80 degrees when we stopped and very warm in the trailer. Discovered the fantastic fan works on DC (thank God!) and it quickly made things inside bearable. Temps dropped enough during the night to force us to close the vents. Travel on US 82 was easy.

April 2, 2008:

Dogs were a bit anxious this morning as we prepared to depart. US 82 was easy driving, scenic, and a good 4 lane road up to the junction with HWY 44 in Arkansas. Encountered construction through Tuscaloosa, AL. Traffic thru some of the smaller towns has resulted in some stop and go driving that is probably hurting our fuel efficiency. Crossed the flooded Mississippi this afternoon. It was sprinkling, but we soon drove out of it. The forecast is for heavy weather along our route tomorrow. Overnighted at the El Dorado, AR Wal-Mart. Fueled 3 times today ($3.94, $3.82, and $3.79).

April 3, 2008:

US 82 and US 287 in Texas are great roads. FYI, Texas provides free WiFi at major rest stops and permits overnight layovers in both rest stops and roadside picnic areas. We encountered bad weather at Henrietta, TX this afternoon (heavy rain and hail). Sailed thru a red light and decided we needed to pull over until it stopped. When it did stop the temps soared to 91 degrees (up from 50 in the morning). Overnighted at a major rest stop near Hadley, TX. Just as we pulled in very heavy winds kicked up. We extended the slides while cooking dinner and closed them immediately after eating. We thought the wind would rip the awnings and didn’t like how it shook the slides. Overnight the temps dropped to 41. Fueled twice today ($3.94 and $3.89).

April 4, 2008:

Converged onto I-40 at Amarillo. Easy driving today. Encountered a sand storm, powder blue skies, Texas long horns, and SKUNKS today. Overnighted at USA RV Park in Gallup, NM (formerly a KOA). Manager is friendly and sites big enough. Some of the full/long timers staying there don’t pick up after their pets…only derogatory observation made. Fueled twice at $3.87 and $3.94.

April 5, 2008:

Made it to Monument Valley where we had reservations at Gouldings RV Park in the heart of the Valley. Nice RV park, unless you have dogs, especially light colored ones. The red soil gets into their coat and turns light colored ones red. Had it rained, it would have been a real mess for pets and humans alike! The drive from Gallup to the Valley was truly scenic! Fueled once at $3.89.

April 6, 2008:

Self-driving tour of the Valley, Gooseneck, Natural Bridges, and Valley of the Gods. If you haven’t visited this area, put it on your list of places to see. The words others have used to describe the area are accurate! Regardless of where you stay, expect on doing some driving. I’m not sure if there is really a centrally located RV park. I’m glad traffic was almost nil. I think the dust kicked up during a congested weekend would be real nasty. Fueled twice at $4.19 and $4.02. Right rear taillight burned out. Our friendly Canadian neighbor helped me change it.

April 7,2008:

Drove from Monument Valley to Moab. Once again another day of great scenery! Had reservations at Portal RV Resort. Can’t tell you how relived we were to find it had plenty of GRASS! It was a short day and we spent the afternoon decompressing.

April 8,2008:

Drove down to Needles and Anticline Overlooks of Canyon Land National Park. Awesome! Don’t’ go there with your rig hook-up to your TV. Those of you who are only driving thru Moab and fill the urge for a Mickey D, the Golden Arches at the south end of town has a parking lot large enough to accommodate your rig. Wrapped up the afternoon with a visit to Arches National Park. Really nice weather today. WOW! Fueled up once at $3.97. Met MOC’ers Gold Chip.

April 9, 2008:

Off to Dead Horse Point State park and the northern part of Canyon Lands. Doris and I both think Canyon Lands is more impressive than the Grand Canyon. Had some strange weather at the park. Windy, cold, and sunny to overcast, rainy and light snow flurries. That afternoon we had a heavy rain and sleet storm. Another FYI, consider fueling at Maverick Stations. Diesel was 10 cents less than other local stations AND if you go inside and ask for one of their Maverick fuel program cards you will get another 03 cent per gal discount. Fueled once at $3.95.

April 10 to 15:

In the greater Salt Lake area visiting family. Fueled at $3.99. Average MPG has been 9.9. On board TV computer correlates with hard math.
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Old 04-14-2008, 09:29 AM   #2
nailbender
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Sounds like you have had a interesting trip and have seen some beautiful country.
Hope you enjoy your time in No. Ca., a lot of great things to see and do here.
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Old 04-16-2008, 05:22 AM   #3
Joe-n-Doe
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Thanks Don....I'll drop you a line when we get to Chico.

We are leaving the greater Salt Lake area today for Bryce Canyon. The weather here the past week has been strange! One day its warm the next day its cold. Monday the wind kicked up so much dust from the Nevada desert you couldn't see the mountains. It was a warm 88 degrees. Yesterday it dropped to 31 degrees, rained and snowed. Crazy.
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Old 04-18-2008, 06:14 AM   #4
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Made it to Bryce without incident. Overnighted at Ruby's Inn and RV Park. Cold, heavy winds greeted us at each stop in the National Park. Temps throughout the day never got above 44 degrees and were 32 and below in Bryce. Overnight the temps dropped to 10 degrees. Froze the water in the dogs' small water bowl in the truck.

Left Bryce yesterday for Zions. Drove thru Kolob Canyons along the way. Spectacular and you can make the 5 mile loop towing your Monty. We are staying at Cottam's Willow Wind RV Park in Hurricane, UT. It is a real nice, clean park. We are off to visit Zion today.
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Old 04-18-2008, 07:09 AM   #5
boylanag
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Thank you for taking us on your journey with you. We are enjoying it right along with you, weather and all.
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Old 04-21-2008, 12:15 PM   #6
Joe-n-Doe
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We left Hurricane, UT Saturday for Las Vegas. The drive was a breeze, but while getting situated at our site at Sam's Town it turned into a real Oh @#&! day! I thought we had enough clearance for our slides. Wrong! I didn't realize the living room slide extended further out than the bedroom and kitchen slides. Its going to cost us a new metal panel. Tried to pound it out with a rubber mallet. No Luck. Smoothed it as best as possible and screwed it tight so it doesn't blow off when underway.

I also noticed I couldn't see the profile of the retracted TV antenna. Climbed the ladder and confirmed my suspicion and fear. It was gone. I started reconstructing events and can only think that while at Bryce Doris raised it. We had poor reception and instead watched a DVD. We must have failed to lower it and it must have got sheared off when we passed under one of the two tunnels in Red Canyon.

It was a 3 martini night!

We have spent the last 2 1/2 days just chilling. Something we needed. Tomorrow we are off to Tucson.
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Old 04-21-2008, 03:34 PM   #7
eeoski
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That is SOOOOO bad! We've experienced not retracting our antenna and were fortunate enough to have someone flag us down as we were going to the dump station and before any damage could be done.

We've actually flagged people down on the highway with antennas still extended. Its an easy one to miss and we now have a florescent orange reminder tag hanging from the antenna handle whenever we extend it...its a definitel help!

So sorry to hear about your problems, but you seem to have the right attitude about it...analyze, figure out what you need to do to prevent it in the future, fix it, and move on!!

Robin
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Old 04-21-2008, 03:38 PM   #8
Icehouse
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This is fun! So, when are you posting pics so we can see it too?!?! Keep having fun and drive safely!
Tammy
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Old 04-22-2008, 04:38 AM   #9
Yamaha_Mama
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I too am enjoying your journey. Looking forward to updates!!! Happy trails.

Marilyn
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Old 04-23-2008, 06:53 AM   #10
Joe-n-Doe
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We left Vegas and Sam's Town yesterday for Tucson (Voyager RV Pak). I can tell you we must have been hexed at Sam's Town! When we hooked up K9HAUS the pin engaged the hitch and lever popped up as it is suppose to. Than goodness I never deviate from my departure routine, because as I lifted the landing gear, Monty slipped off the hitch. Had I assumed she was properly hitched and closed my tailgate, Monty would have dropped onto it destroying it. It served as a good learning point for Doris who sometimes thinks I'm bit anal about how I do things. Anyway, given the string of things that happened to us at Sam's Town, its a good thing we didn't gamble!!

We crossed Hoover Dam. Had perfect timing arriving at the security check point (beat 2 buses). It took less than 5 minutes to get through security. There was no traffic crossing the Dam.

US 93 to Kingman and then onward to Phoenix is a good road.

We are staying at Voyager RV Park. I know many of you were here earlier this month. I gotta tell you for my money and style, there are way too many rules here. The way some of the staff have treated us, I feel as if I'm back in grade school.

Tammy...when I figure out how to do it I will post some pics.

Monday afternoon, we were able to hook up with our friends who now live in Vegas. We like where they live so much we put a deposit down on a house, listed our house in Amelia Island and when it sells we are moving to Vegas.
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Old 04-23-2008, 12:57 PM   #11
Capt Kidd
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Your trip sounds like a lot of fun, at least most of the time.

If you are planning on overnighting in Chico we have a nice park on the norht side of town called Slmond Tree, 3124 Esplanade (our main north south street) 899-1271.

Chico has tons of good restuarants and lots to do. If you are here the weekend of May 3-4 we have a parade downtown and a good Artisans Faire in our downtown park.

If you would like any info on the town or area just give me an e-mail, don@mrkopy.com.
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Old 05-01-2008, 06:53 AM   #12
Joe-n-Doe
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Thanks for the offer Don. We have a close friend who lives on the river. We will either plant the rig there or in Orland. The Almond has been sold out for a long time.

Spent a full week in Tucson. We have decided to sell our stick house in Florida and relocate to the Tucson area. Both of us lived either in Tucson, Nogales, or both places 35 years ago and have always been fond of the area. We have listed our Florida home and hope the slow market picks up. So between business at the convention, visiting friends who live here, and house shopping we were very busy.

We can’t understand all the hype about Voyager RV Park. It was our sense that overnight or short term occupants are considered intruders by those who live there year round or long term. For a park that claims and touts being the best in the nation, you would expect to see some grass and have WiFi available in your Rig. We had to get special permission for our grandson to spend the night. Cost us $2.00 for him to stay and even then, he couldn’t use any of the amenities.

Had an easy drive from Tucson to Coronado/Imperial Beach, CA. Our oldest daughter and one of our granddaughters live here, so we have been able to visit with them. Because they work, we are able to decompress during the day.

Yesterday, I started to repair the Winegard antenna. There is a small Mom & Pop RV repair and parts shop in Chula Vista. The owners are pretty cool and after my 3rd trip to their store talked me through replacing one of the broken components. FYI, if you ever forget to lower your TV antenna and it goes missing, you don’t need to buy a complete antenna kit. Winegard sells separate component kits (look at the Winegard documentation that came with your rig). Many RV supply shops carry these kits. I didn’t know that until my first trip to the store. I left without buying anything and returned to the rig to determine what had to be replaced. I found the amplified antenna head and elevating gear had to be replaced. Initially, I also thought the tube for the directional device had sheared off and needed to also be replaced (the directional tube & disk, handle, and spring fell out). Closer inspection of the tube, elevating rod, and handle revealed the allen nut securing the handle and other components to the elevating rod had come lose. I had Doris elevate the antenna while I lifted the external elevator tubes. That is how I discovered the elevating gear had been stripped. I removed the tubes at the base (real easy to do) and found the about 5 of the teeth on the gear had been sheared off.

Knowing what had to be replaced, I was off to the store. Bought the required components, as well as 8 replacement washers for the range top burner grill and drove back to the rig. Looking at the documentation, I noted I also needed a new coax connector. This required another trip, this time to Home Depot. Back at the trailer, I put everything together and had Doris elevate the antenna. It would go up. I removed the elevating tubes and discovered the worm gear had also been stripped. This required a third trip to the RV shop. The owner talked me through replacing that component and told me I would have to cut the elevating shaft. My project this morning is to finish those repairs.

We are staying at Bernardo Shores Adult RV park. Most of the occupants appear to be full timers. Each site is spacious and is separated from it’s neighbors by evergreen headges. WiFi is available for a fee, but there is no cable (another reason to fix the antenna). I can recommend this place.

For the past week, the cost of diesel has been $3.99 a gallon. That all changed when we entered California. The cheapest I have found it has been $4.33 a gallon and the norm is $4.45 or higher.
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Old 05-12-2008, 06:29 AM   #13
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We had a good visit with our daughter and grand daughter. Erica (GD) turns 21 next month and has grown into a mature, wise for her age young woman.

From Imperial Beach we headed to Oceanside to vist friends. They live in a gated community and were able to obtain permission for us to park our rig in front of their house. We spent 3 days just hanging out.

Next it was up to the LA area for 2 nights. Again to visit friends. We stayed at Valencia Travel Village. Nice park with plenty of grass. Spent a day driving in and around our old stomping grounds in Ventura County.

We headed to Sequoia next. Stayed at Sequoia RV Ranch in Three Rivers. This place is highly over rated. The couple in the site next to us told us the park has new owners who are in the process of upgrading infrastructure and evicting home steaders. Most sites are very, very tight. Very few have 50 amp service. The view of the river is great.

From Sequoia it was off to Yosemite. We arrived here yesterday. We took State Hwy 141 from Fresno to Oakhurst and 49 from Oakhurst to Groveland. I gotta tell you the last 23 miles of 49 is a white knuckle, E Ticket ride! It wasn't until we were well committed to 49 before there was sign advising anything longer than 30 feet take an alternate route. Over cocktails last night, Doris (who did the driving) asked if I had any shoe leather left on the soles of my shoes. She then opened the passenger side of the truck to check the floor boards. We are staying at Yosemite Pines. Its an OK place. Thats it for now.
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Old 05-13-2008, 06:13 AM   #14
sreigle
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Thanks for the interesting reading. Many of your travel stops bring back memories for us. At the moment we're sitting in Santa Fe, NM with red caulking and red other areas from our two weeks in Monument Valley. And no way to wash the rig in this park.

I agree with you about Voyager. We stayed there for a week back in 2003 in our first month of fulltiming. It has a lot of nice amenities but the rv park seemed more like an afterthought, a parking lot. To us anyhow. Maybe it would be a good place for a park model.
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Old 05-20-2008, 04:57 AM   #15
Joe-n-Doe
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Yosemite is truly awesome!

Following Yosemite we drove the 30 or so miles to the Sonora/Columbia area. Some of Doris’ former in-laws live there and she wanted to visit them. This was our first trip to the area. We stayed at the Marble Quarry RV Park in Columbia, one of only 3 RV parks in the area. It is centrally located and is probably the best of the 3 parks.

For those of you who have never heard of, or visited Columbia, it is a real neat place! Columbia State Historic Park consists of old Columbia mining town. It is the largest and best restored town of the gold rush era. There is an operating stagecoach, hotel, several bars and restaurants, a general store, theater, and gold panning area. Employees wear clothing of the era. There is no entry fee and is a favorite destination for school field trips. Throughout the year there are special events at the park that draw crowds from throughout California and Nevada. Nearby Jamestown has a railroad museum and quant historic street. If your planning a trip to Yosemite, add a day or two for the Sonora/Columbia area.

We are currently in the Napa Valley sit up at the Country Fairground RV Park. $30 a night for full hook-up less cable. There is free WiFi and the 9 hole golf course next door only charges $18 a day for as many rounds as you want to play. For you military Veterans, there is a small 15 site RV park at the California Veterans Home in Yountville. It isn’t much more than a parking lot with full hook-ups. It operates on a first come, first serve basis and runs $15-$20 per night

Last week California experienced a heat wave with record setting temperatures that reached 100 degrees. Sunday it started cooling down making the weather absolutely great for checking out California’s wine country.
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Old 06-05-2008, 02:32 AM   #16
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The drive from Calistoga to Napa was incident free and smooth. That all changed when we entered North Napa. A brush fire forced closure of HWY 29 in both directions and produced a huge traffic jam. It took over an hour to travel less than a mile. Once we cleared that mess the trip to Chico was smooth.

Our friends own a house out in the country, right on Butte Creek. They have a long, tree-lined driveway. It is wide enough to accommodate our rig, but does have 2 stone pillars where the driveway meets the street. They restrict turning radius and made backing into the driveway a bit dicey. It took us about an hour to maneuver the rig onto the drive. They have installed a 30amp box and sewer dump, so we were all set in that respect. They were out of town for the Memorial Weekend, so we had the run of the property. We uncorked a couple bottles of wine, sat down by the creek and let the dogs run loose. What a great brain dump.

The next morning I got up early and drove to a nearby casino where I met and had breakfast with Nailbender and other Northern California MOC’ers. It was real nice meeting them all.

That evening we meet up with our granddaughter, former DIL and her husband, and other members of her family. Had dinner and planned the weekend graduation events. We thought graduation was scheduled for Saturday, but learned the University split the graduating class in two and our granddaughter’s graduation was to be on Sunday. It rained most of the day Saturday and was COLD. Sunday morning was sunny and the weather warm. What luck! To add to our luck, our former DIL staked out seats for us all on the front row right next to the spot where they photographed the graduates before they crossed the stage. After lunch our granddaughter and her family headed out of town and we returned to our friends house to greet them and BBQ a tri-tip.

When we left the Napa Valley fuel cost $4.89 a gallon. In Chico that afternoon, I found it at $4.79. The next day when returning from breakfast, I topped off at $4.75. That afternoon, most local stations elevated the price to a minimum of $4.99 and as high as $5.25. When we left Chico on Memorial Day, we got as far as Redding before needing to refuel at $4.99. That got us to Crescent City where prices were $5.12 and higher. The manager of the RV park recommended I wait until we got into Oregon before refueling. We followed his advise and topped off at $4.79 a gallon. I saw it at a Fred Myers in Oregon City for $4.65.

The drive up the Oregon coast is really special. For those planning such a trip, I recommend you plan driving down (south) down the coast. The views are much better and the West side of the road is where all the view areas are located.

Tuesday evening we arrived at my brother’s “cottage”, a very comfortable 5-acre estate on the Clackamas River. We got there a day before my two sisters from Utah and their spouses arrived in their RVs. My brother’s house is at the end of a 5-acre rectangle plot. He has a long, narrow, tree lined driveway with 2 very sharp curves near the main street. It took us 30 minutes to negotiate those 2 curves. While we were threading that needle, a neighbor who shares the drive, pulls in behind us and after waiting patiently for 15 minutes decides to take a shortcut thru my brother’s pasture. The learning point is we too should have driven thru the pasture. We were literally only two or three inches from scrapping two massive trees.

After surveying his pasture and front yard parking, we decided all three rigs would fit onto the driveway in front of the main house and guest house/separate workshop-garage.. The next challenge was deciding to drive head on into the driveway and then back out the 200-300 feet to the pasture, or negotiate a small round-about between my brother’s house and his neighbor. By doing that, we could then back into my bro’s driveway and then when we left drive straight out, avoiding the long back-out. Doris was of the opinion we were too long to make negotiate the round-about. My brother and I thought it would be close, but that we could handle the round-about. It wasn’t until we wedged the 45 feet of our truck and Monty into a 46-foot space that we learned we couldn’t make the round-about. This was a real Oh S*#! revelation. When I say wedged, I mean wedged! Very large tree trunks to our rear, big boulders lining the round-about (they are what really stopped us) and a steep river bank to our front. Two hours later after dozens of short backward and forward jackknife maneuvers we dislodged the rig without causing any damage to it. However, the gravel around the round-about that less than an hour before our arrive had been graded and steam rolled in preparation to be asphalted was gouged up pretty bad.

During this time, the neighbor’s wife came home from work and dumped all over my brother for the damage we had done to the prepared gravel. It was then I learned my bro couldn’t handle the stress of the minute. I had asked him to stand on the rear driver’s side of Monty and to yell STOP if we got close to hitting the boulder. After his encounter with the neighbor, he retreated to the safety of his kitchen and waited for Doris and I to either give up or succeed in dislodging the rig.

After freeing the rig, we backed it up about 100 feet and drove straight into my bro’s property. We washed our hands and faces and immediately left for drinks and dinner. The next day when my two sisters arrived, we had them drive thru the pasture. My BIL with a 5’er backed his rig from the pasture down to the house, only to find trees and other obstacles blocked his turning radius preventing him from backing into the gated portion of my brother’s property. Dumb luck being what it is, he was able to pull forward and park on gravel off the long drive adjacent to the gate. My other BIL had no problem pulling his rig, a 26 TT, onto the driveway and backing it front of one of the garages. After everyone was settled in we fired up the Barbie and toasted some Tri-Tips.

We remained in the Portland are for 2-days, one of which was rainy, wet, and cold. From there we headed West to Warrenton to meet another brother at Ft. Stevens State Park. Those of you planning a trip to Oregon should be sure to plan a stop of at least a couple of days at Ft. Stevens. It is the largest camping state park in Oregon, located very close to Astoria, and abounds with history and things to do. It was so great, we extended our stay there by one more day.

Saturday evening we had a seafood smorgasbord and gorged ourselves on sea bass, crabs, steamers, and the biggest oysters I have ever shucked and eaten. All local and fresh catches. Though chilly and occasionally misty, the weather was pretty good each day of our stay. It started raining the last night we were there and continued on through the next day. The rain made breaking camp a bit of challenge.

From Warrenton, one of my sisters headed South and one head North with us. We overnighted at an R/M RV “Resort” in Elma, WA. I really find it annoying how loosely RV parks make false claims of being a “Resort” and then charge you a bundle for mediocre facilities and services. Travel Inn RV Resort in Elma is one such example. My brother thought we might like staying there. Anyway, during our visit to the scenic Hood Canal we stopped in a couple of Washington State Parks and drove thru their campgrounds. Very nice, water, electric, and sewer for $24 per night, first come first serve, and with sites big enough for us. Next time.

Next stop Canada.
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Old 06-14-2008, 05:49 AM   #17
Joe-n-Doe
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The drive from Elma to Surrey, BC was smooth and uneventful. We stopped at a Camper World along the way where I picked up a 50 Amp to 30 Amp reducer/pig tail that screws into the 50 Amp receptacle of the Monty. We have encountered a lot of campgrounds that have only 30 Amp service and while I already had a 30 Amp to 50 Amp pig tail that plugs into the campground power pedestal, we either had to shut off components of experience a circuit breaker shut off. In other words, we couldn’t run the microwave, TV, and fireplace simultaneously. We would have to turn off the fireplace in order to run the microwave or the power would cut off. Not much fun to have to walk out in the rain to reset the breaker. My neighbor in Crescent City told me he avoided that problem by getting the 50 Amp/30 Amp reducer that plugs into Monty. $77 later I see if that does a better job.

Having been forewarned that fuel costs a lot more in Canada, we topped off in Blaine before crossing the border. We used the passenger vehicle/non-commercial section of the commercial (truck) border crossing. There were no signs directing RVs to use the truck crossing and wondered if we would get scolded for using normal vehicle lanes. No worries! The Canadian Customs Inspector was real friendly and we cleared without problems or inspection. We stayed at the Pacific Border RV Park in Surrey, BC. This park is just West of the truck crossing and is a real nice park. Their pull-thru sites handled our 36 footer without problem. We used this as our base to explore Vancouver and the surrounding area. We didn’t want to haul Monty into the City and then back again. It was clear and rather warm when we arrived, but the next day it was duck soup. We were still able to make a driving tour of Vancouver and see the sites we missed last year. After returning from Vancouver, we found a “local” Wal-Mart where I was able to buy a pair of low-cut rubberized wet-weather shoes. Wearing them will give my other shoes a chance to dry out.

From there we headed East to Banff. We overnighted in Salmon Arm at the Salmon Arm Camping Resort. I recommend this campground to anyone. We elected not to take the toll road into Kamloops and continued instead on HWY 1. It added close to 2 hours onto the drive, but it was worth the extra time and fuel. Traffic was light and the scenery astounding. We had reserved on-line a site at Banff National Park’s Tunnel Mountain Trailer Campground and found it ready and waiting for us on arrival. This is a large campground (300 or so full hook up sites). It is one of the only full hookup campground in or near the park. At under $30 a night it is a steal! The views are spectacular.

We spent the next day driving to and hanging out at Lake Louise. For the most part the weather cooperated with us. We did have a mix of sun, overcast skies, drizzle, cold temps, and rain. Wildlife sightings consisted of birds, a wolf, and a coyote.

The next day my sister and her husband did their thing and Doris, the dawgs, and I head towards Jasper and the Columbia Ice Field. Hwy 93 from Lake Louise to Jasper is billed as the most beautiful highway in the world. Having driven it, if it isn’t the best it is in the top 5. In addition to the stunning scenery, we had 4 different sightings of black bears, 2 sightings of caribou, geese, ducks, and a herd of big horn sheep. We were able to get as close as 15 feet away from the sheep….unbelievable! We visited and walked on the Athabasca Glacier. On our return trip we were flagged down by a cyclist who asked us to help a member of his group whose bike broke down. Turned out to be a high school PT glass out doing their final test, a ride from Jasper to Banff. The disabled cyclist was a 16 year old young man. We loaded his bike in the in the back of the truck, adjusted the doggie bed in the back seat, and headed out with him to their over night campsite. When we got there, no one was there. What to do? Having seen 4 bears that day, we decided we couldn’t leave him alone and drove back to a Warden Station. They weren’t sure what to do, so we took matters in our own hand. An hour later we one of the two instructors passed us on in their support van. We made a U-Turn, tried to signal her to stop, and ended up driving back to their campground before we were able to pass him off. Weather was sunny, with very light snow flurries at the ice field.

We spent the next day just chilling out and walking around Banff. Bought some tee shirts and other souvenirs. Scouted out a restaurant that Doris and I will visit after my sister and her husband head out.

Wednesday, June 11th, my sister headed home at about 9:30. Weather throughout the morning until mid-afternoon was rainy and COLD! We hibernated, watched DVDs (North and South), BBQ our last 2 steaks (can’t take beef into the USA), and polished off a great bottle of wine we bought in Napa. Late afternoon the weather cleared and we headed into Banff to walk around, have a few drinks in a couple different saloons, and have dinner. The snow line in the surrounding mountains from today’s storm was noticeably lower than yesterday and the days before.

Woke up to clear skies on June 12th, but very cold (freezing) temperatures. The cold temps made packing up the water hoses a real chore. I had to use Monty’s heater exhaust to warm my hands. As we were about ready to pull out, one of our neighbors and his wife walked up and asked us where we were headed. When we said them Glacier, they told us they had driven up from there yesterday the 11th. They told us they drove thru winter blizzard conditions until just before arriving at Banff. They said the roads were packed with very wet snow, that traffic was slow and slick. They described the drive as white knuckle and scary. In contrast, our drive from Banff to Canada’s Waterton Lakes National Park (the Canadian side of Glacier) was sunny, bright, and dry. This was the most and brightest sun we had seen in 10 days.

We had not intended on over-nighting in Waterton, but upon driving into the village we decided we had to stay at least one night. It is absolutely stunning! The only drawback was the strong winds blowing from the canyon. Crews were picking up tree limbs that even stronger winds had ripped off the trees throughout the village. FYI, although Waterton Village is billed as full service, there is no diesel available there. The closest station with diesel is Mountain View, appx 20 kilometers away. Diesel in Canada has averaged $5.67 per gallon ($1.419 per liter). Next stop is Glacier Park…back in the good old USA.
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Old 07-05-2008, 03:32 AM   #18
Joe-n-Doe
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Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Fernandina Beach
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M.O.C. #7870
Record reflecting on 03/07/2007 SUBJECT was cited by the Kingsland, Georgia Police Department for failing to stop at a stop/yield sign (Ticket # T00074531/Docket # 2007002598). On 05/09/2007, SUBJECT entered a plea of Nolo Contedre and paid a court fee of $165.00. Adjudication of the issue was withheld.

Gary Morrison met Shawn CERDA in 12/2005. Morrison lived next door to SUBJECT for 2 years and had contact with him 1 or 2 times a week. This contact consisted of neighborly chit chat.

SUBJECT was a good neighbor who took excellent care of his house and yard. He was a devoted father who loved spending time with his son. SUBJECT is a person of good character who conducts himself professionally and ethically. SUBJECT was a good role model for his son and seldom consumed any alcohol and never used obscene or inappropriate language. SUBJECT is honest and trustworthy and very loyal to the USA. SUBJECT had a good reputation in the neighborhood. Source never observed SUBJECT associate with or engage in any questionable individuals or behavior. Source recommends SUBJECT.

Rebecca Mizell lived across the street from Shawn CERDA and met him in 02/2007. Mizell’s relationship with CERDA was neighborly in nature and consisted of casual conversations and waving at one another. CERDA was in the Navy and seemed to spend a lot of time at sea. When at home, he took good care of his house and was a good neighbor. CERDA never engaged in any controversial behavior or associated with anyone that would make Mizell question his suitability to hold a position involving the public trust or impacting the national security. Mizell recommends CERDA.

After Waterton we spent 3 nights at the St. Marys, MT KOA. It is a real nice park. Glacier was beautiful, but the road over the pass wasn’t open. This forced us make a r/t around the South end of the park to get to the West side. It was worth the day long trip. Saw our only moose on this trip during that drive. It bounced out of the tree line onto the highway in front of us, stopped in the center of the road, looked at us for a second or two, and they scampered off. It was huge.

From Glacier we basically deadheaded home. Our daughter had come down with some medical problems that caused concern and prompted us to get home as soon as possible. The drive home from Glacier took us 4 nights and 5 days. We ran out of fuel in Colorado and had to use our Camper World Road Assistance Plan. It took the just under an hour to get to us. As the navigator, I constantly monitor the on board fuel computer. I checked it at 78 miles left and again at 58 miles. Seconds after checking at 58 the fuel warning signal went off. Coincidently, the nearest exit was like 20 miles away. My GPS reflected there was fuel service there and highway signs confirmed they sold diesel. As fate would have it the gas station was 5 miles off the Interstate.

You don’t know how it feels to pull up and find the gas station has run out of diesel. Not to worry…there is another station a mere “15” miles away. Err…make that 20 by time you get back to the Interstate. We made it back to and ¼ mile onto the Interstate before having to pull off. When your towing a 36 foot Monty, you don’t get much glide going up hill. Although we were able to pull over to the shoulder, we were dangerously close to the white line. Had a Good Samaritan in a Dodge van, pull over, yank out a tow strap and pull us over the hill and another ¼ mile to a safer location. He wouldn’t take any money. I bought a 5-gallon jerry can at Wally World that night.

Out last night on the road we decided to stay at an MWR FAMCAMP in Destin, FL. What a mistake that was. First of all the camp is like 30 miles off the Interstate, next the traffic on the coast highway linking Destin and other ocean side towns is more than heavy. It took us 45 minutes to drive the last 4-miles. And finally while the camp as 4 o5 sites that can easily handle big rigs, the others are very tight and parked TOADS & TVs creates added congestion. It took us over an hour to park and that was with help from experts in backing. After an hour we were satisfied with Monty position in the center of the pad. What the hell it was good enough for one night and we had plenty of clearance between the pedestal and slides. Oh, that crunch I heard was the dinning room slide smashing into the BBQ on a pedestal and cemented into the ground. Now we have 2 sheet metal panels that have to be replaced. The whole experience just exhausted us.

The last leg of the trip was uneventful and we got home at about 6:00 P.M. Our daughter and her boy friend were there to great us with a couple of bottles of champagne. We spent the next 2 days unloading, cleaning up, and reloading Monty with lines and things we keep in her at all times.

OBTW, fuel costs during the trip in the United States ranged from $3.79 to $4.99. We saw it posted at many stations for more than $5.00 per gallon. Here at home it was $3.79 when we left and 2 ½ months later $4.73 at the same station.

Sometime soon I’ll post a concise lessons learned report.
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