Friday, June 29, 2018

29 - Nugget City, YT

Today, we travelled the length of the Cassiar Hwy stopping at Nugget City again. This time, we are staying in one of their cabins. Kinda pricy. For most of the day it was raining, sometimes, pretty heavy and the temperature dropped down to 46°F in places. Lunch was pre-made grocery store sandwiches from the Dease Lake gas station store. We stopped at Jade City near the northern end and it was over 70°F. I stopped for the free coffee, Bridget stopped to look at rocks. I think that we saw more motorcycles than cars today. 

The last photo is just one of the many odd flavors available here in Canada. The flavor was kind of like turkey stuffing. Other flavors to sample are dill pickle and ketchup. 

Finding a place to stay tomorrow night is proving to be difficult. Canada Day is July 1st so this is a Canadian holiday weekend. No cell signal for the entire day but the SWconnect app buffered all the data. As soon as I connected to WiFi, the entire track uploaded to Spotwalla. 

28 - New Hazelton, BC

We left 100 Mile House a little after 9 into scattered showers. I’m glad that we had not planned to tent camp on this trip. We filled up on diesel for the first time since we were in Washington. And the tank was nowhere near empty. Quite different than driving with the trailer. On Hwy 16, Bridget took over driving. I think that this may be the first time driving the truck. She looks very serious. The how and why of the exhaust brake was about the only new thing. 

Today’s stop is New Hazelton near the southern end of the Cassiar Hwy. It made for a 9 1/2 hour day.

I am trying out the SWconnect app on my iPhone to update a Spotwalla page. In the past, I’ve only used the Spot device which failed last year. Which convinced me to never purchase a Spot device again. Not because it failed but due to their horrible customer service. Being a phone app, it does require an Internet connection but not continuously. Today, the connection disappeared all throughout the day but there doesn’t seem to be any gaps. I’m paying the AT&T fee of $10 per day since Bridget wants us reachable while in Canada. 

Thursday, June 28, 2018

27 - 100 Mile House, BC

We worked our way out of Vancouver after the family meeting during breakfast. The location and planners for the next reunion were selected (see Bridget for details). We then headed north on the Sea to Sky Highway. We stopped for lunch at Whistler as I had wanted to see this town for a while. It is a very touristy, beautiful location. Lots of expensive looking everything. I liked seeing the Olympic Rings from the 2010 Winter games. The road from Whistler to the Caribou Hwy was steep, narrow and curvy. I heard it was a great motorcycle road. With the exception of the long stretch of 60 kph, it was a nice drive. We stopped at 100 Mile House at 7:00 since we needed to do laundry. Most of the hotels around here don’t have guest laundry facilities and the laundromat closed at 8:30 or so. Dinner was from 7-11. Tomorrow we are planning to be near the southern end of the Cassiar Hwy. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

26 - Vancouver, BC

After a wonderful dinner at a Japanese restaurant, RyanC mentioned that there was a poutine place on the way back to the hotel that had good reviews. We stopped there in spite of also having an invitation to the house my cousin was renting for dessert. Since my niece and nephew had never had poutine before, this seemed like a good introduction. Fries with gravy and cheese curds. Another relative mentioned that the gravy needs to be made with duck fat but this place said vegetarian gravy so, apparently, not authentic. BTW, this is the first post in quite a while done from the laptop instead of BlogTouch Pro on the iPhone. That’s why the pictures are “clickable”. 

This morning, the reunion activity was a visit to Capilano Suspension Bridge. There was quite the crowd there with a Disney style line to go across the bridge. Lots of swaying but it was pretty cool as people kept moving and only occasionally would stop and try and take selfies while trying to keep their balance. It was kind of like walking on a boat. 

On the other side of the bridge there were a couple of walks. This is the treetop walk. A series of suspension bridges between some very large trees. On the trees themselves, platforms circled the trunks. Everything looked and felt really solid. The admission to the suspension bridge area was about $48 and was included in the reunion fee. I'm sure that we had gotten some sort of group rate. I would recommend visiting here. 

On the parking lot side of the bridge was a cliff walk. This walkway is attached to a vertical cliff around 300 ft above the bottom of the canyon. It, like all of the bridges, seemed extremely solid though very precariously perched.

In the afternoon, we met at a beach for the traditional family picture. They arranged for a food truck to come in for dinner with the very non-PC name of Japadog. A Japanese, family-owned business that served Japanese flavored hot dogs and french fries. Things like okinomi dogs with fried cabbage, Japanese mayo, okonomiyaki sauce and bonito flakes. And seaweed flavored fries. Dessert was either black sesame or green tea ice cream served with deep-fried hot dog buns. All very delicious!

After dinner, they finished off the day with some competitive events such as building an aluminum foil boat and straw and popsicle stick towers. Or the very odd 100 piece puzzle race.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

25 - Vancouver, BC

Today’s activity was a bicycle ride through Stanley Park and the Seawall. Note that electric-assist bikes are not allowed on the Seawall and park paths. Due to the crowds on the paths and the potential speed of an electric-assist bike, they are banned. There is also a lot of conflict with traditional cyclists or those riding for fitness who frequently go just as fast or faster. But definitely faster than the 15 kph speed limit which is 9.3 mph. 

We rented hybrid bicycles and it’s been a while since had ridden. Fortunately, the route was pretty flat and 3/4 of the way around, the reunion organizers had lunch. The Vancouver Seawall really is a nice bicycle ride. 

After turning the bikes in, some of us went to the UBC Museum of Anthropology. A large museum with a large number of displays from around the world. Not just the local area. Plus, they have Eduroam! (WiFi using my University identity). Which is why there are so many pictures. Super fast, free WiFi!

Monday, June 25, 2018

24 - Vancouver, BC

We left the Everett area this morning with heavy overcast and rain. But, by the time we reached the Canadian border, it was blue skies again. After a twenty minute wait at the border crossing, we dropped the dogs off at a dog boarding place near Granville Island. We tried to go the the Public Market but a 1-ton crew cab is not the best way to explore the city. The roads are crowded and a lot narrower than U.S. streets. 

We met with my sister and her family at a dumpling shop in Richmond called Mama’s Dumplings and Coffee. Pretty good food in spite of all the one star ratings by people complaining that all they had were dumplings. We then headed back into town for the family reunion hotel. I think the truck will remain parked here for the duration of the reunion.

The last three pictures are just down the street from the hotel. 

Sunday, June 24, 2018

23 - Snohomish, WA

Today should’ve been a very short driving day but Sunday traffic outside of Seattle was horrible. At least to me. We thought about stopping in Leavenworth, WA, since the town was done up as a Bavarian Village. Even the Safeway was decorated. Too many people and the dogs don’t deal with crowds very well. Heading west towards Everett there was one long section with a dozen signal lights and it took almost an hour to go 3 miles. How can anyone put up with this…

We had lunch in Snohomish with our hosts, Steve and Cheryl, then wandered around town a bit. Bridget wanted about thirty minutes looking in the antique shops. I found a bicycle lock at a non-antique shop. The first picture is downtown Snohomish and the second was just at a rest area off of Hwy 2. 

Saturday, June 23, 2018

22 - Ellensburg, WA

What would’ve been a long day with the trailer is a short day without. We had a wonderful breakfast of fried potatoes w/ham and huckleberry pancakes made by DaveS before heading out. We did get an earlier start than planned due to a bicycle race in Sunriver later in the day. Lots of people everywhere. North of Bend, we went through a couple of brush fires. I guess it’s that time of year. 

While on the road, Bridget searched for a pet friendly hotel on the Internet and found a place in Ellensburg, WA. This makes for a very short day tomorrow. We are headed for Vancouver, BC, by Monday afternoon. The last picture is the small lake behind the motel. 

We stopped at the St John’s Monastery Bakery on Hwy 97 and split a spanakopita made with very flaky pastry. It was delicious. Taking a picture didn’t even cross my mind. I had made a point of stopping here twice when on the Ural trip. It’s well worth a visit. 

Friday, June 22, 2018

21 - Sunriver, OR

This morning, we packed things and headed for Sunriver which is a resort area near Bend. We put the RV into storage leaving the roof vent open with its thermostat to 85°F. It should be fine. We are staying with some friends in town after dropping the trailer off. I hope the thermostat works as advertised and the fan shuts off when it’s cool out. 

Tomorrow, we head north stopping at Vancouver, BC, for a family reunion. This evening, we are having dinner at the Sunriver Brewing Company. 

Thursday, June 21, 2018

19, 20- Corvallis, OR - Day 7 and 8

June 20 - Much cooler temperatures today. Pretty nice. I rode the bus into town this morning to look for a bicycle helmet. Thank you Corvallis for the free bus service and the nice app with real time updates. Afterwards, I went to Starbucks with my mom and niece. I think I’m pretty caught up with work on the trailer for now. I think…

June 21 - Bridget is back from Chicago and after dropping the dogs off at my mom’s place for the day, we went back to sorting out the trailer for storage. Emptied out the refrigerator and freezer, as well as any boxed items or things that won’t keep for a couple of months. And sorted through tools and other items that we will be bringing back to Alaska. Things like the generators and kitchen appliances will be left for when we continue the trip.

When we dropped off the dogs, my FedEx shipment arrived. Since our RV isn’t heavy enough to carry any sort of motorcycle, I started looking at electric pedal-assist folding bicycles. Lynne at posted a review of the GB500 fat tire bike sold by and it sounded ideal. But they wouldn’t ship to Alaska. Last Saturday, I ordered one and left a note that it had to arrive by today or the order was cancelled. They shipped it out on Monday afternoon and it arrived today, Thursday, at 11am. And this was using the free shipping option. 

After the 48volt/15.6 amp-hr battery charged for a while, I pumped the tires up to 30 psi (their max) and rode around the fairgrounds a bit. Actually around 5 miles as it was almost effortless. There are 9 levels of pedal assist meaning you just start pedaling and you can feel the rear hub mounted motor kicking in. If you don’t want to pedal at all, there is a thumb throttle. Since I was still getting used to the bike, I kept the speed down to about 16 mph. I’ve never ridden a full suspension bicycle before so that will take some adjustment but it rode pretty well. The bike is taller than I expected. For me, the seat and handlebars are as low as they go. Originally, we were thinking of ordering two but it’s too large of a frame for Bridget. I’ll do a more thorough review later. This was just initial impressions. 

Enough playing around. Back to sorting through stuff...

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

18 - Corvallis, OR - Day 6

Another hot day. The forecast was for a high of 90°F this afternoon. I guess the weather service delivered. I walked to the small mall down the road from my mom’s home and was very hot when I got there. I’m not used to these temperatures anymore. It seems odd that I need run the furnace at night and the A/C during the day. The trailer really doesn’t have much insulation. I used the new vent fan this morning on speed setting #3 and it drew less than 1/2 an amp. 

The dogs needed yet another health certificate as they are only valid for 30 days. Their last exam was 5/31/18. It’s still valid now but won’t be when we arrive back in Alaska. What a racket…

The smaller, 3 qt Instant Pot that I had picked for the RV has been getting a lot of use. Last night Spanish rice 8 min of cooking time. Today, chicken for salad. 8 min of cooking time. Earlier, potato salad with eggs 6 min of cooking time. The 3 qt model is turning out to be a good choice for us. And it only draws 750 watts so it’ll run fine off of the inverter. The last photo is of a dog that is terrified of the Instant Pot. As soon as he hears the beeps, he hides in a corner. 

Monday, June 18, 2018

17 - Corvallis/Eugene, OR - Day 5

Today, Bridget headed out to Chicago from the Eugene airport and is scheduled to return on Wednesday evening. Much more convenient than the Portland airport for dropping off and picking up. 

Last night, I noticed that the refrigerator was still running on propane even though we were plugged into shore power. I think the outlet may need to be replaced as unplugging and plugging the fridge seemed to solve the problem. I also noticed that the Fan-tastic vent draws about 0.3 amps continuously. Between the vent, the refrigerator control board, the solar charge controller, and the Trimetric monitor, the draw is 1.1 amps continuous. 

I remeasured the max height of the rig again and the A/C is still the highest point. The bathroom vent cover is a close second at 12’ 10”. The A/C unit is 13’ 1” which I round up to 13.5’. So it’ll easily clear the railroad bridge on 53rd St. 

No pictures, not much happened today. The dogs are back at the RV tonight. 

Sunday, June 17, 2018

16 - Corvallis, OR - Day 4

One more project done. N, as n approaches infinity, more projects to go. The first picture shows the Dicor sealing the edges of the Eternabond tape. Both products are designed for rubber roofing repair. The vent covers go over the pins and are held in place with a washer and spring clip as shown in the second picture. This makes them easily removable for cleaning. There was still some Dicor left in the caulking tube so I went around the roof adding some where it looked a little thin. 

The third picture shows where the vent covers were put and before we leave the campground, we will verify that the A/C cover is still the highest thing on the roof. There is a railroad bridge less than a 1/10th of a mile from the RV park that is labeled as 13’ 4” and 13’ 6”. We’ve been under the bridge several times without issue and, since it’s on the way out of town, I thought it would be a good idea to measure again. 

An odd thing happened. I moved the RV to a full hookup site this afternoon and after getting it all hooked up, I noticed the Trimetric monitor was showing negative current. The charge controller wasn’t showing any errors but after rebooting it, everything was fine again. Current was showing 17 amps charging. Hmmm...

Saturday, June 16, 2018

15 - Corvallis, OR, Day 3

I needed warm, sunny weather to soften the Dicor sealant used to waterproof the original vent. I used a putty knife to carefully remove the warm sealant so I could get to the screws. Removed the screws and carefully pried the old vent off of the roof. The existing putty looked to be in pretty good shape. It was only a couple of years old as the roof was replaced back in 2016. After the new vent was put in place, I put in the screws and hand tightened them to make sure I didn’t crack the plastic frame. The metal plates are for the vent cover allowing the roof vent to be open in inclement weather. Tomorrow, I’ll seal the new vent with some Eternabond tape and Dicor self-leveling sealant. The Eternabond tape I have is 4” wide. I’ll cut it in half lengthwise as 2” is sufficient.

This vent needs 12VDC as it has a fan motor, temperature sensor, rain sensor, as well as a motor to open and close the vent. The height of the ceiling where the vent is installed is around 7 1/2 feet so being able to operate it without a step stool is a benefit. The nearest always-on 12VDC is at the reading lights on the rear overhead cabinets. I fished the wires through the ceiling into the cabinet. I then removed one of the lights and drilled into the cabinet so there was a path for the vent power wires.

Just about finished. This evening, I used Eternabond tape to cover the edges of the new vent as well as the older bathroom vent. That is a different model of Fan-tastic Fan. Completely manual and only one speed (of three) works. Maybe one of these days I'll take it apart to fix. I also picked up a vent cover for this one as well.

I tried out the new fan with the fancy remote and it works pretty well. The thermostat is adjustable in 2.5°F increments and the fan has 14 speeds. 

Friday, June 15, 2018

14 - Corvallis, OR, Day 2

Today was an errand running day. I picked up an installation kit for the roof vent as well as the window knob that broke a few days ago. The water regulator that I bought last year developed a hairline crack and needed to be replaced. Not from poor quality control but more likely from the stress of the water filter that is normally hanging off of it. I'll try a different strategy and have the filter hanging off of the RV.

I will try to get at least the outdoor portion of the vent installation done tomorrow morning before it gets too warm. The forecast for tomorrow is 80°F in the afternoon. This morning, I moved the trailer to a different spot at the Fairgrounds. The RV next to us belonged to a long-term employee of the fairgrounds and he was leaking grey water and some sewer water onto the ground. The campground host said that he didn't have the ability to make him do anything as he is allowed to stay there as part of his job. Anyway, I didn't want to deal with the smell so I moved out to the back 40. I believe they call it "overflow parking". We still have water and power so I'm not complaining at all. The camp host said that he can move us to a full hookup site on Sunday or Monday after the bulk of the people leave.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

13 - Corvallis, OR, Day 1

We made it to our intermediate destination for at least this initial part of the trip. Bridget wanted to arrive by this date to visit with my sister and her family before they head out to California tomorrow. She is then scheduled for a quick trip to Chicago and back by Wednesday evening. This will give me a chance to replace the rear roof vent (which broke due to the high winds in Alberta) with the Fan-tastic Vent. It just arrived today. There are a couple of other things that have broken on this trip. I think the age of the rig is starting to show.

The RV park is kind of crowded for a weekend event but we won't really be spending much time actually in the RV unless repairing or cleaning getting it ready for storage. My sister thought that OSU graduation events are right now through Saturday.

Today was a relatively long travel day. From Pasco, WA, to here was just under 300 miles. Breakfast was donuts from the Walmart bakery. They were still warm from the kitchen.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

12 - Pasco, WA

Today was a long haul for us. After crossing the border at Yahk, BC, we went through Spokane and ended up at the Walmart in Pasco, WA. It’s posted “No Overnight Parking” but the manager said no problem and to just stay near the back of the parking lot. The viewpoint in the picture is where we stopped for lunch. This really is a nice, scenic road through Canada. US 395 was the same as always with some strong crosswinds. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

11 - Crowsnest Pass

It was still windy this morning but the rain had stopped so we headed south. There was a nasty cross wind for most of the day turning to a headwind when we started to head west at Ft. southern Alberta. We first stopped at a community campground but soon discovered that our fresh water tank had self-emptied itself again. I really need to plug that vent line which is improperly run. The end just hangs down between the axles. So we are at the Lost Lemon Campground in the town of  Crowsnest Pass. This area is absolutely beautiful and the best part is that there is no wind. It’s only 4000’ elevation but it sure is a nice change from the flatlands that we’ve been in for a while.

The first picture is just us parked in the RV park. The second picture shows the nice buried markers showing a line for the trailer wheels to follow. A really nice touch. This trailer really does handle the wind pretty well. You can feel the pressure in the steering wheel but it never sways. But then again, I generally keep the speed down to under 100 kph or about 60 mph. Much more relaxing. 

Monday, June 11, 2018

10 - West Edmonton, AB

We opted to stay an extra day in Edmonton due to high winds in the area. Tomorrow, the forecast is for gusts of only 30 mph versus 60 mph today. The wind direction is westerly so it would be a crosswind on our trek south. Google maps says that it’s 1050 miles from here to Oregon so an easy four days or we could do it in three days if necessary.

Two days of heavy overcast have run the batteries to 78% so I turned on the converter. It is still the original one so it’s designed to slowly charge the batteries. I just checked the charge rate and only 9 amps were going into the batteries. Of the 9 amps about a third was coming from the solar panels even with the heavy overcast. I’ve was thinking of changing the converter last year but no one would ship to Alaska. Maybe later this year.

In about 1½ weeks, the trailer will be put into storage again for the summer to be retrieved in the Fall. At least, that’s the plan. I looked for storage locations in the Salem/Corvallis/Lebanon area but had no luck. But I did find a place south of Bend that had space and the monthly rate was reasonable. To support summer storage, I ordered a variable speed fan with a thermostat, motorized open/close, rain sensor and a remote. The remote is due to the location where it could only be reached if you stood on a chair. The remote seemed like a good idea. I would leave this fan powered on running on batteries/solar while in storage turning itself on and off as needed depending on the temperature. I also ordered vent covers for this and one other roof vent for circulation. The only installation challenge is finding a 12v source that I can get to from the vent location. The other item needed for storage in sunny areas are tire covers. Most of them that I found in RV stores are for trailer tires that are <29” in diameter. Ours are just around 31” in diameter. Back to Amazon.

The second photo is of some ceramic moto dust catchers for sale in the campground store. Several sidecars in the display including a couple of scooters w/sidecars.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

9 - WEM

WEM = West Edmonton Mall. 

I’ll claim credit for the light rain which started around 8:00 yesterday evening. This was shortly after I returned from the car wash. Today is a good day to spend indoors. The first photo is the wave pool just before it opened. To the left of the frame are all the beach chairs for lounging. 

In addition to the water park are sea lion shows, an amusement park, mini-golf, and about 800 stores and shops.