Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Day 51 - Spruce Grove, AB

303 miles today and we are just past Edmonton, AB, lot-docking at the Spruce Grove Walmart. Bridget called ahead and we were told “no problem but for only one night”. Why anyone would stay for more is a mystery. We needed to stock up on vegetables after crossing the border. Ironically, they didn’t even ask if we had any. Oh well, now we have fresh vegetables. There are quite a few RVs here this evening. We talked to a couple that are headed to Alaska to work in tourism jobs.

The temperature barely made it above freezing today. But the forecasted low is higher than yesterday so the trend is positive in more ways than one. Tomorrow’s goal is Dawson Creek, the beginning of the Alaska Hwy. 

Monday, April 29, 2019

Day 50 - Fort MacLeod

Today, we are staying at the Daisy Mae Campground in Fort MacLeod, AB. I didn’t recognize the name but when I went into the office, I remembered being here before. It turns out that we stayed here on our way back to Alaska in 2017. It was really warm and we wanted power for the A/C. We don’t need the A/C today. We have the electric heater plugged in to supplement the propane furnace. We went through a 30# propane tank in only four days due to the cold temperatures. Last night, it got down to 19°F. I think we are heading north too early. Need to make a note for next year. 

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Day 49 - Helena, MT

The storm went through here this last night and this morning and by about 3:00pm, the snow had ended and most of the snow had melted. Low temperatures last night were in the mid-20s (°F) and the high today was in the mid-30s (°F). We went into town to pick up some groceries and tried to be careful to not get anything that could not be brought into Canada. But I hadn’t heard about raw eggs until today. So I’m boiling the dozen I had picked up this morning. Tomorrow morning, we’ll look through the refrigerator and see what else we need to get rid of. Tomorrow, into Canada...

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Day 48 - Helena, MT

We are "mooch-docking" today at a friends home outside of Helena, MT. Kevin and Annie were active in the BMW airhead group in Fairbanks before they retired and moved to Montana. They have a parking spot next to the shop with power. It is supposed to get down to 33°F tonight and 25°F tomorrow with some snow tonight. It is supposed to be clearing on Monday so the current plan is to head north on Monday.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Day 47 - Missoula, MT

Another travel day that was, thankfully, shorter than yesterday. Only 253 miles. This was helped by transitioning from PDT to MDT when we crossed the Montana border. This was just taken at a rest area shortly after we crossed into Idaho. We did run into snow as we went through Lookout Pass at the Idaho-Montana border. The temperature dropped down to 41° but the roads looked kinda slick.

Tonight, we are “lot docking” at the Cracker Barrel in Missoula, MT. Of course this means dinner out today and, for me, dinner at Cracker Barrel is a good thing. They only have three RV/bus parking slots but the manager told us to park anywhere out back. They have a large parking lot so that really wasn’t a problem. Since we are parked on a slight downhill, the trailer ended up nice and level.

Even with all the overcast skies, rain and hail, the batteries are fully charged and the graph shows that we peaked at 34 amps. Not too shabby.  

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Day 46 - Ritzville, WA

Today, we are kind of starting back towards home. We covered 382 miles out of 3,114 miles or about 12%. We aren’t going the most direct route since I wanted to visit friends in Helena, MT, since we have the time. We are dry camping at the fairgrounds (the camp host hasn’t arrived yet so the power and water is off).

It’s only 7:45 and I’m exhausted...

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Days 43, 44, 45 - Corvallis, OR

No posts for several days and, unfortunately, no pictures. We had the opportunity to met up with Trobairitz and Troubadour at the Woodsman, a great Thai place in Philomath, for dinner. The name and chainsaw/bow saw decor doesn’t scream “Thai” but the food is very good. Plus they offered traditional pub food. We caught up them on what’s been happening with their new jobs, home renovation projects and even a few Moto-topics.

My older sister came up from Cottage Grove for a few days and my nephew, his wife and one year old came down from Portland where they were visiting family. They normally live in Anchorage and their home was severely damaged in the 7.2 earthquake last fall.

Today, Wednesday, I headed over to Team Oregon to visit with Dan Bateman aka Irondad on his blog Musings of an Intrepid Commuter. Brad (Troubadour), also works for Team Oregon and we are in their warehouse. It was great to catch up with him as it has been several years since I had last seen him. 

Monday, April 22, 2019

Day 42 - Corvallis, OR

Happy Easter!

Of course, Easter is more than bunnies and Peeps. We went to my sister’s home for Easter dinner. They had some longtime friends of theirs there one of whom I had last met years before moving to Alaska. My brother-in-law decided to decorate the deviled eggs with some non-bunny faces. We were able to move to a different site that is paved and has full hook-ups. Convenient as we get ready for about a week of dry camping as we start back towards Alaska. 

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Day 41 - Corvallis, OR

This afternoon, we went to my niece’s lacrosse game. I’ve never even seen the game played and, according to my sister, that’s one of the attractions to the game. None of the kids parents know anything about the game so they are unable to volunteer to coach.

It was raining hard for about half of the game but, fortunately for us, the bleachers were covered. Afterwards, I spent time getting my mom’s electronics working together. At some point, Google decided that her iPad was too old and started to block access. Then T-Mobile created another Gmail account and switched her to that account. That started a whole progression of things not working. I hate incompetent tech support...

Friday, April 19, 2019

Day 40 - Corvallis, OR

There isn’t a lot of choice here in Corvallis. We are at the Benton Oaks RV Park which is at the Fairground. We are in one of their “overflow” spaces for now which mean water and power for ~$30/day. It seems kinda high for what you get but it’s cheaper than Anaheim. The camp host said we should be able to move to a full hookup site tomorrow. Quite a few people are here for OSU baseball this afternoon and are leaving tomorrow.

At least in the overflow sights there aren’t any oak trees overhead dropping acorns on the roof. The drive here was uneventful and the only potential stress was the 13’ 3” underpass on 63rd Ave about a 1/4 mile from the campground. The gps said 13’ 3”, the sign on the road said 13’ 4” and the sign on the railroad trestle said 13’ 6”. Needless to say, we fit. 

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Day 39 - McMinnville, OR - HH

It was a short, two-hour drive to the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum which allows free RV parking for up to two nights. They asked us to park at the back of the lot. There were some school buses doing some training in the lot. But it’s a pretty big lot.

We had stopped here before with the Ural and it was around 100°F. Today, it’s a very comfortable 70°F. The displays have changed some since 2015 but the major pieces such as the Spruce Goose and the SR-71 are the same. The two Urals that were part of a WWII display are gone as is the WWII display.

There are three large buildings that are part of the museum plus a fourth building with an indoor water park. One of the buildings has an IMAX theatre and I watched Fighter Pilot. A movie about fighter pilot training at Nellis AFB.

This is the Spruce Goose. An wooden, amphibious plane made by Howard Hughes and only made one short flight. It used to be in Long Beach next to the Queen Mary but was disassembled and moved here. Some of the original craftsmen that originally built the plane participated in its reassembly.

The space museum not only had spacecraft and rocket engines but also some planes that were part of the space program such as this engineering model of the X-15, a supersonic experimental plane. It’s on the “space” side as the X-15 altitude record is 354,200 ft which is considered as space.

Both sides of the museum were very well done though admission is kind of steep at $27. There is no requirement to purchase admission in exchange for the free RV parking but I was looking forward to visiting here again.

This is the SR-71. The supersonic spy plane. I saw one on the ground at Edwards Air Force Base where it was being refueled between missions. This was back in the mid-70s when it was still being used. We were told that it used so much fuel getting off the ground that it needed to be refueled soon after takeoff. It has two J58 turbojet engines each generating 32,500 lbs of thrust burning 8,000 gallons of fuel per hour.

BTW, used the Instant Pot to make brown rice (22 min) and the induction burner for salmon in garlic and brown butter. Used only 4% of the batteries. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Day 38 - Seaside, OR - TT

We finally have a non-rainy day so here is a shot of our campsite at Seaside RV Resort, which is another Thousand Trails park. The site is pretty long as I can park the truck behind the trailer as well. The indoor pool also has a kid’s jacuzzi in addition to the adult one though the jets don’t work very well in either one. And, there is a dry sauna that is pretty nice. The park is not crowded at least not where we are. There are two sides to the park, north and south, and we are on the less popular south side. The swimming pool and 50-amp power make the north campground more popular.

We are checking out tomorrow and headed for another Harvest Host site. So I completed some chores today getting ready for dry camping such as draining the tanks and filling the fresh water tank. After the Harvest Host overnight, we will be heading into Corvallis for a week. And will be at least two nights in their overflow area. All of the parks in Oregon seem to be full of long-term residents who are there for the winter. And the Benton Oaks RV Park in Corvallis  isn’t any different. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Day 37 - Seaside, OR - TT

This morning, we met up with Chris G who contacted us through the RVillage.com website. They are on their way to Alaska this summer and had some questions. There is a lot of information online and some FB groups dedicated to travel to Alaska this Summer. But, many people seem to over glamorize their trip in an attempt to turn it into an adventure. We answered them and suggested stops along the way, things to see and places to go. They have a relatively new 40’ diesel pusher and they’re towing a Jeep. A pretty good combination. After several hours of talking we told them to feel free and contact us anytime and definitely when they get to Fairbanks.

Other than that, it was a slow, no-picture day. 

Monday, April 15, 2019

Day 36 - Seaside, OR - TT

Late morning, back in Cannon Beach. This candy shop had a smashed penny machine so it was a “must stop” for Bridget. They were packaging marionberry salt water taffy with free samples. After the sample, I bought some as it was very tasty. Bridget is now in a yarn shop so I tracked down a place to get some coffee. It’s 48°F and drizzling so the wooden stools in the bakery are comfortable enough.

While Bridget was shopping at a fabric store, I wandered back to Haystack Rock. We were parked at the south end of town. Not very many people compared to yesterday. Lots of people with dogs wandering around and a small percentage of them refuse to clean up after them…

This was a digital zoom of the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse. It was quite a ways out on this foggy afternoon. It is about halfway between the towns of Seaside and Cannon Beach a short ways offshore. 

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Day 35 - Seaside, OR - TT

It was a slow three hour drive from Newport to Seaside. Not really that far but a lot of small towns and slow cars gawking at the ocean. We are at another Thousand Trails campground for another four nights. I believe that this puts us at 52 nights within their system. I think we got our money’s worth.

After setting up, we headed down to Cannon Beach, which is around ten miles south of Seaside. The picture on the left is the rather famous Haystack Rock. Or at least I think it is.

This is the view to the north. It is around low tide again so the waves were quite a ways out. It was windy and, in my opinion, cold and wet. Parking was a little crowded but that’s partly because we have a 20’ truck. We had the two dogs so we didn’t explore town today. 

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Day 34 - Newport, OR - TT

Today, we wandered around the harbor area in Newport. This is the Pacific Maritime Heritage Center. Admission was $5 but it was a very nice, well done museum. It turns out that the staff person at the desk used to live in Fairbanks and worked at the university. They full-timed in an RV and are thinking about getting an Airstream and continue on. The building has a large venue area upstairs and a new theatre downstairs.

This is just a small part of the fishing fleet based here in Newport. We were parked along the road facing this view while we were at the museum and having a wonderful lunch at Clearwater Restaurant down the road overlooking the sea lion dock. Lunch was clam chowder and a Cobb salad with dungeness crab. Delicious lunch. I don’t think I need to make dinner today.

We also went to the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse. It was only in operation for one year before it was shut down in favor of the much brighter Yaquina Head Lighthouse that we visited yesterday. What is surprising is that the buildings here have been preserved unlike the Yaquina Head buildings. The signs mention several times that the Yaquina Head light has a “first order Fresnel lens”. Which results in a more focused beam. I guess I need to do some research and see what that means.

This prop was in front of the Maritime museum without descriptive signage. But it makes for a good picture.

The Yaquina Bay Bridge in Newport has a lot of Art Deco styling cues on the concrete supports. It is almost 2/3 of a mile long and was completed in 1936. Wikipedia says that there are Art Moderne elements on the bridge but I’m not sure what the difference is between the two styles. They didn’t cover that in school.

This is the inside of the Pacific Maritime Heritage Center. Tomorrow, we leave Newport and head north for Seaside. A small town north of Cannon Beach where there is another Thousand Trails campground. So far, we’ve stayed 48 nights in TT or Encore parks making the average nightly fee a bargain. I think we’ve dropped to under $10/night...

Friday, April 12, 2019

Day 33 - Newport, OR - TT

The weather guessers were right. It stopped raining last night and there was even a bit of sunshine breaking through the clouds this morning as evidenced by our roof-mounted sunshine detectors. (See image below).

Around noon, we went to Moolack Beach about six miles north of Newport. Bridget read that it was a good place to find agates. It was pretty close to low tide (12:57 pm) as you can see in the pictures. The lighthouse to the south is the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse. I have no idea how to pronounce that name. I believe the lighthouse is on tomorrow’s itinerary. No agates were found.

BTW, at the listed low tide time, the tide seemed to be coming back in. Maybe the times listed are PST, not PDT. The website I looked at didn’t say one way or another.

We ended up heading into the Yaquina Head Lighthouse aka Cape Foulweather Lighthouse. The lighthouse property is managed by BLM so no entrance fee with my senior National Park Pass. They have a very nice interpretive center and it’s about a third of a mile walk to the lighthouse with some fabulous views. You could drive to the lighthouse but it was a fabulous day for a walk.

The inside of the lighthouse is closed on Fri, Sat, and Sun. Seems odd but since the tours are staffed by volunteers, they probably want the weekends off. When the tours are offered, you can climb the steps. This is the tallest lighthouse in Oregon. Since the lighthouse is now fully automated, the 100-year old residences were removed before such things were considered historical. Most of the building material was brought in by ship directly to the site as there was only a rough path from Newport.

At the base of the lighthouse, there were quite a few seals/sea lions. I don’t know which. In the previous picture, you can see them to the left and below the lighthouse. There were quite a few but they were not very vocal. Maybe saving their energy for the weekend crowd. The tide was still pretty low and there were some tide pools but I opted not to go down to the beach.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Day 32 - Newport, OR - TT

It was raining this morning and has continued to rain for most of the day. My only activity was to enjoy the indoor pool and jacuzzi. I went mid-afternoon and was the only one there. Pretty nice…

We’ve been able to keep the RV warm using just the electric heater that we picked up at Walmart (I think). The propane furnace rarely comes on which helps with our propane use. One new concern is whether we should get a dehumidifier. The inside of the windows have moisture on them. Especially after cooking.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Day 31 - Newport, OR - TT

It was a short drive from the Emerson Vineyard to Whalers Rest RV Park just south of Newport, OR. It is another Thousand Trails (TT) park and we will be here for four nights. And, like the other TT parks, it is more campground than RV park. Lots of trees and with all the rain, a lot of mud. Our site is pretty well tucked into the trees.

The rain is supposed to let up on Friday (only Friday) so Bridget has some outdoor activities planned. The pool and jacuzzi are indoors so I will be checking that out. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Day 30 - Monmouth, OR - HH

Today’s stop was Emerson Vineyard, another Harvest Host stop. It alternated between rain, sometimes heavy, and sunshine all day today. But once we arrived at our stop, it has been mostly scattered clouds. They had a good selection of wine and a white port. Since we will be spending Easter with family, we picked up a couple of bottles including the port.

The box labels make great posters but, unfortunately, they only had one poster available and it wasn’t the one Bridget was looking for. This place is nowhere near any highway so it is very quiet and peaceful and we are able to enjoy a nice view out of the rear picture window.

The tasting room had quite a few barrels in addition to tables, chairs and couches. They host musical events inside the tasting room during the winter and outside during warmer weather. We are really enjoying the Harvest Host stays and are already looking forward to our next stay in a week.

This is where we are parked behind a building. You can see our view from the back window which is facing east. The sun is high enough to hit the solar panels and we are already back up to 100% charge even with all the rain. 

Monday, April 8, 2019

Day 29 - Phoenix, OR

As you can see, we are not escaping the rain today. Or tomorrow. Or the next day. Or the next. Actually, I think that there is rain for the next week or so. I took the truck in to get the oil changed as it has been over 5k miles. I took it to Castrol Premium Lube Express. Courteous, prompt service. And they included running the truck through the car wash. Even though it's raining, we had gone through a swarm of bees back in Menifee.

There is a pool and a jacuzzi at this park but it looks like it hasn't been cleaned in a while. Maybe due to all the rain they've been having. Anyway, I didn't really feel inclined to try out the jacuzzi in the rain. This evening, we are going back to our friend's home. It has been great to see them again.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Day 28 - Phoenix, OR

Our stop for today is the Pear Tree RV Resort in Phoenix, OR. We stopped here to visit with some long-time friends from back in my student days in Fairbanks. They live in Medford which is a short drive north of the RV park. I had called several places in the area and this was the only one with any space. It seems that the parks are filled with long term snowbirds who didn't want to go any further south. Since the California border is only about twenty miles away, I guess I can see why some wouldn't want to venture further south.

It was raining for much of the drive especially while traversing the Shasta-Trinity mountains. We passed Shasta Lake which is usually very empty but today, the water level was almost "full". According to the graph, the lake is only about 16' from full. The light green line is last years data so I guess "full" at this time of year is normal.

Nothing else interesting on the drive except you can see new leaves just starting to come out on some of the trees

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Day 27 - Corning, CA

A relatively short driving day. And even though we had to go through Sacramento, traffic wasn’t bad at all. We stayed on I-5 all the way. Our free stop is at the Olive Pit. They have about ten RV parking slots just north of the store and allow you to stay overnight. The only negative is that you can’t put out the slide so the interior of the RV is a bit cramped. Especially with two dogs.

They have a small cafe with burgers and breakfast in addition to the store selling all things olive. The heavy overcast probably means that the batteries won’t be fully charged again but when we stopped, they were back up to 90% from 74% this morning. Partly from the truck but mostly from the sun. It does receive some charge from the truck alternator but it’s such a long run that it’s more of a maintenance charge.