Friday, July 28, 2023

Chehalis, WA - TT

Tuesday - We are back “on the road”. Okay, we only went 23 miles but it’s the thought that counts. We are back at the Chehalis TT for a couple of weeks (as far as I know) and are in a 30amp/water site so we need to watch our water and power use. 

Wednesday - A nice, cool morning. Hopefully, it continues to stay cooler for a while though the forecast for Centralia is claiming temperatures around 90°F by the weekend. We are in the section of the Chelalis TT that has some cellular signal and the upload speed is kind of marginal. I'm trying out Zoom in the morning test session.

At 3pm, the temperature was up to 78°F. We just got back from a grocery re-stocking run to Costco and Fred Meyer. Quite a lot of groceries and I’m glad we have the portable refrigerator/freezer. It is easily one of the best items we picked up for the RV. 

Thursday - Another test session this morning and the upload speed is less than half of what it was yesterday. As long as I'm not leading, I have my video and audio muted so it's not really an issue. It was 70°F by the time the test session ended. 

Friday - The Internet was really spotty this morning for the test session. The SpeedTest site said that I had 16 Mbps download but the Zoom video was like one frame every 5 sec. I tried to pair with the phone for Internet but it said that I needed to install an update. That is attempting to download right now.

Later - Now, it says that the update is no longer available. I guess there must've been a problem with it. It is a warm 76°F this afternoon during the later test session. It felt pretty nice sitting outside. Had the same flaky video behavior as this morning but it wasn't until the test actually started. Poor timing...

I went to the pool and hot tub this morning between the two test sessions. The pool was pretty cool and the hot tub had water jets but no bubbles. Not ideal . But the shower by the pool was much nicer than the one here near our site.

Monday, July 24, 2023

Centralia, WA

Monday - Today, our friends poured a new patio in front of their home. It was interesting to see the process but my help was limited to passing tools and rinsing off tools. It drizzled some but not enough to cause problems. 

Their son-in-law is a real craftsman and his care and attention to detail was impressive. Plus, he put up with a lot of questions. 

We arrived here yesterday afternoon after having a post-reunion lunch at a fancy dim sum place. Very tasty. We will be heading out to a TT park tomorrow for a couple of weeks. So we are getting the RV ready to go. 

Friday, July 21, 2023

Corbett, OR

Thursday - Today, we left the RV at our friends home and drove the Jeep to Menucha. It’s a retreat center that my mom’s side of the family has been having reunions for about 25-30 years. 

This is the main meeting room and it is now air conditioned! Quite welcome with the 85°F afternoon temperatures. This picture was taken just after we arrived.

Friday - The reunion continues. There hasn’t been a reunion since 2017 due to Covid. So it is nice to see relatives again. There are essentially two families having reunions but I’ve known them since I was a child as they are the other side of my uncle’s family. This is the view looking west towards Portland. The trees are a little taller since our last visit. 

And this is the view looking east from the deck of the swimming pool. The yellow circle is showing Crown Point aka Thor’s Crown, a popular tourist stop overlooking the Columbia River. 

One of the most popular activity is making sushi. All of the ingredients are prepared and participants choose whatever ingredients they would like. 

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Helena, MT to Centralia, WA

Monday - A long travel day. Around 640 miles in 11½ hours including stops. The wind going across WA from Spokane until we turned south towards Yakima were very strong gusting to ~40mph according to the Weather app. And we were driving right into it. Fortunately, as soon as we headed south the wind disappeared. 

We arrived back at the RV around 6pm and I took some time checking things out. For some reason the GFCI outlets didn’t work. After messing around with them for a while, I just switched the chassis battery charger and portable fridge/freezer to another outlet. I also turned on the RV refrigerator. It took a couple of hours to cool down (34°F and -3°F) but I didn’t feel like moving stuff back. 

- This morning, the GFCI outlets all worked. I hate it when things are intermittent. My tasks today were clean out the Jeep, re-install the back seat, move Bridget’s e-bike, unload the portable fridge into the RV, re-install the portable fridge into the basement storage. I started the RV and let the air bags refill just to make sure everything still works. 

I had filled the fresh water tank with a dilute bleach solution to sanitize the tank and the water I lines. I drained the tank this afternoon and will fill and drain to rinse out the bleach solution. Then refilled with about 35 gal of water and flushed out the water lines. 

Sunday, July 16, 2023

Back to the U.S. - Helena, MT

Saturday - After a wonderful breakfast in a railroad car, we headed south. We crossed at Sweetgrass and there were around 10 cars ahead of us. Only a few questions. 

We passed through a small town called Vulcan. They embraced the Star Trek story. As evidenced by these pictures. 

I’m not sure what else there is but we’ll explore more when we are back in September. 

Montana is really flat and it’s pretty warm at 85°F. At least we are out of the smoke. 

 - We went for a ride today. I unloaded the Ural yesterday and we rode ~90 miles to a small restaurant for lunch with a Montana BMW group. Kevin brought his GSA w/DMC Expedition sidecar and Annie rode her F800GS w/DMC sidecar. The F800 had a leading link front suspension.

It felt great to ride a longer distance but I definitely needed some Ibuprofen when we returned. It was pretty warm today with a high in the mid-90s. 

Friday, July 14, 2023

Near Edmonton to Aspen Crossing

Friday - A nice view from the front porch of the cabin. Just as a quick comparison, we are currently getting around 20 to 25 mpg on the Jeep depending on whether we are towing the trailer. Or about $400 for fuel. If we drove the RV, the fuel would be about $1300 for a 2000 mile trip. This is assuming that gas or diesel was around $4.50/gal. Actual cost is a bit higher and about half the time, diesel was cheaper than gas. At least in Canada. The $900 difference more than covers the housing cost though it would be much more convenient in an RV. And, if we didn’t have the trailer, the trip would be a day shorter. 

We are visiting friends who are work campers at Aspen Crossing RV Park. It’s a large park that actually operates an event train on fourteen miles of track that is no longer used. We are staying in the parents trailer. It’s a really nice place and we are returning with the RV near the end of the summer. 

Thursday, July 13, 2023

Near Fort St John to near Edmonton

Thursday - After filling up our coffee cups and having a treat we picked up from Tim Horton’s, we headed south and east towards Edmonton. It was smoky for most of the day with scattered showers. Since there was a time zone change today, we got an early-ish start. 

Bridget found a beautiful B&B with six cabins on a farm. Sheep, alpaca, hot, donkeys, and who knows what else. We are parked behind the cabins so much more secure parking than at a motel. And, breakfast is included!

We are about 80 miles west of Edmonton so no longer on the Alaska Hwy. Tomorrow is a shorter day. Only about 5 hours. 

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Marsh Lake to Coal River to Fort St John (almost) - Day 3 and 4

Tuesday - Today was another 330+ mile day. We stopped to top off the tank at Teslin as Watson Lake was just a little bit further than the “range” shown on the dash. After a gas/lunch stop in Watson Lake, we continued on to the Coal River Lodge now being run by Coal River Services. The newly remodeled rooms are clean and comfortable. 

There was quite a bit of smoke as indicated by the air quality map above. It looks like tomorrow morning will be especially bad but it should improve as we head further south. 

Wednesday  - This was a long day and, in my opinion, one of the most boring sections of the highway. There are some really scenic areas such as Muncho Lake.

We did pass a herd of bison shortly after leaving in the morning. Other animals were multiple black bear, four fox, rock sheep, and one very mangy looking caribou. 

Tonight’s stop is a motel called The Shepherds Inn. The forecast was for smoke but it’s not too bad. 

The “side” with tonights dinner was poutine! First one on this trip…

Monday, July 10, 2023

Beaver Creek to Marsh Lake - Day 2

Monday - The road trip continues. We made a quick stop at Kluane Lake. By this point, most of the pot holes and gravel was behind us. The trip south will be slower than the trip north due to the trailer. 

Bridget found a really nice Air BnB south of Whitehorse. This cabin had a nice kitchen and was really nice inside and out. No wet weather but the trailer has picked up a layer dried mud from several long stretches of road construction. And the Jeep now has a chip on the corner of the windshield. 

Once we got close to Whitehorse, we started to see smoke and signs along the highway mentioning brush fires. It never got really heavy but you could smell smoke. 

Sunday, July 9, 2023

On the Road - Finally

Sunday - We left around 1:30pm in a pretty packed Jeep w/Ural. The trailer definitely will slow us down as the trailer tires limit us to 65mph. But any faster than that doesn’t feel comfortable to me due to the short wheelbase of the Jeep. We stopped at Fast Eddys in Tok for a quick dinner and continued on to Beaver Creek which is just across the border. Actually about 12 miles past the border as Canadian customs is about ten miles in. 

The temperature all day was in the high 70s to low 80s (°F). Pretty warm. Quite a change from Fairbanks. 

Thursday, July 6, 2023

Getting Ready to Head South

Tuesday - Yesterday evening was another Airhead get-together aka “barley therapy”. It was a much lighter turnout than last month and the light sprinkle wasn’t enough to be concerned about. The Ural is still running wonderfully. 

Today was more trash and Value Village drop-offs. Plus more electronics to take to electronics recycling tomorrow (they are closed today). The garage is almost done. A few boxes of stuff are being saved for the next garage sale. Sometime next year, that is. 

I installed eyebolts on the trailer so I could tie down a tarp over the stuff packed underneath the sidecar. Only five more days…

Wednesday - Just some more running around today. I dropped off some more electronics at the recycling place and an archery target at a friend's home. The weight and size of the target on the rear rack of the Ural slowed it down. Especially on the hills. Tomorrow, I'll probably load it up on the trailer and start packing the containers. I spent the afternoon shuffling the contents of the containers depending on if we may need access to the contents during the trip. 

Thursday - We had an engineer come in to do an inspection of the house so that we wouldn't be surprised when it's time to sell. There weren't too many surprises. 

I stopped by to meet the guys for coffee for a bit. It would be the last time this year so I wanted to say farewell. After coffee, I loaded the Ural onto the trailer and packed all of the containers onto the trailer; I think that it'll make it down though I do need a couple more bungee cords to keep the tarp from flapping too much. I was originally planning to remove the windshield but I think it is less likely to get damaged when installed on the bike. Less chance of getting scratched. It's inside the garage now since it started to sprinkle while I was loading the Ural. Fairbanks summer weather...

Monday, July 3, 2023

A Warm, Touristy Day

Sunday - It was a warm one today. We did some sorting of the unsold items from the garage sale. I also picked up a gadget called Thermacell. It is a butane powered mosquito repellent. I had never heard of them before but many up here in Fairbanks say that they work great. Bridget will try it out tomorrow when she goes berry picking at the Big M farm. 

We stumbled upon a gift card for the Alaska Salmon Bake so we went there for dinner. Over the years I’ve had just about everything on the menu which includes salmon, prime rib, cod, halibut, and crab. Today, I had the veggie kabobs. They were delicious like everything else they make and ended up taking half of it home. I’d order them again. 

I think today’s temperature is an anomaly. Tomorrow, it’s supposed to be in the mid-70s (°F) again. 

Monday - I checked the trailer bearings and one was a little loose and both could use more grease. I picked up a small grease gun that could be easily packed on the Ural and some moly axle grease. The trailer wheels took almost a whole 3 oz tube of grease. I also checked to make sure the spare tire fit properly (correct bolt pattern, offset, and tire size). I still need to install eyebolts for the tarp tie downs to cover all of the containers under the Ural. Not all of the containers are watertight. 

Saturday, July 1, 2023

Garage Sale

Thursday - I rode into coffee this morning even though it was a little damp. The Ural is still running great but I only have about a week or so before loading it up on the trailer. I still need to add some eyebolts to tie down a tarp over the storage bins. Most of the bins have garage-type stuff and riding gear. 

 - Day 1 of Bridget’s garage sale. Seems like a lot of work for very little return. But that’s just my perception. We’ll see how it goes. 

She has managed to get rid of the larger items such as old furniture and the treadmill but there is still a lot of junk stuff.

Today’s chore was washing the Jeep and the Prius. I hadn’t washed the Jeep since we were in Chehalis and I don’t remember when the Prius was last washed. Since I needed to be outside anyway due to the garage sale, I figured I’d get some other things done. 

Saturday - The garage sale continued today. I got a quick Ural ride in to get small bills from the credit union. Everyone had 20s. Bridget declared that the garage sale was a success. Most of the larger items were sold including a couple of freezers, furniture, dog kennels, bicycle carriers, hydraulic press, book cases, etc. Now we need to sort through the leftover stuff.