Tuesday, July 31, 2007


Mugging with a double scoop

Tillamook Cheese Factory

After our excellent campground in Lincoln City, we were reluctant to journey to a new camp, but something cheezy was calling us. We ended up in Tillamook, at Wilson River RV Park. This camp is on the Wilson River (duh!), and while picturesque, was close to the highway.

We headed over to the Tillamook factory for a tour and tasting on our second day here. The tour is self-guided, and very interesting. However, the tasting is great! Besides the usual cheese offered, Tillamook is famous for their ice cream. About 40 flavors were available. I had a double (almond-mocha and mint chocolate) and Donna had a single (marionberry pie). We both can attest, it is very, very good!!

The View (No, NOT the TV show)

Site with river in background

Standing on the dock, looking at our rig

When we arrived Lincoln City, OR, we got a small surprise: "We have you in dry camping, as we're booked solid". Hmmm, I thought: "But we have a reservation, and no one said we would be dry camping when I made the reservation!" Donna started thumbing through Woodalls, thinking we needed to move on, but the park managers changed some other reservations around, and we ended up with a full hookup on the river! This view was, by far, our nicest since we started our journey. This park (Chinook Bend in Lincoln City) is about 4 miles from the coast, up a canyon. Because of the terrain, we did not have cell phone service or internet service. The steep canyon walls, heavily forested, also compromised our satellite signal. Woe is us, no high definition signal(everything else was OK). Minor trade-offs considering the serene setting.

The people across from us were party central (for the 70+ crowd). Every day, about 11:30am, people would show up, eat lunch, play cards, and gossip. About 5:00pm, the potluck casseroles would arrive. More cards and gossip. By 8:00pm, they were gone and probably in bed. Quite clique-ish, we weren't invited in.

Another interesting item about camping on a coastal river: as the tide changes, so does the flow of the river. There looked to be about a 3' rise and fall. This is a hot campground during salmon spawning time - there is a big board showning catches - averaging about 40 -45 pounds. We saw a lot of fishing, but no catching. August and September are supposed to be the big months for fishing.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Wherever We're Going

Since we purchased a new motorhome, we thought it was prudent to go to the factory where they make them, and take a tour. So we left Prineville, OR and headed about 150 miles west, ending up in Coburg. We settled in yesterday afternoon, and then headed off this morning for a factory tour of Country Coach, over in Junction City. The tour was fabulous, only 8 of us total, so everyone got to ask questions. We were singled out as new "almost" owners, and we really got a lot of additional information on our coach. We had a phone conference with the factory rep to clarify a few issues and headed out to find a place for lunch.

Eventually we ended up at the same restaurant as everyone else on the tour (interesting coincidence, but it gets weirder!). After lunch, Donna called our customer rep, and asked if we could get some fabric swatches, and was told they'd be ready in about 45 minutes. To kill some time, we headed off to the local Camping World. This is where it gets really strange. We meandered around browsing, asked some questions, and then took one small item to checkout. Two people ahead of us in line was our friend from Grants Pass, Leroy!! Now, the odds of being at the same place, at the same time, with no prior knowledge must be a zillion to one!!

We had another great afternoon together, and then we all had dinner at the local truck stop (great food!). They were only here for the day, so this was a very chance meeting.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Where is Everyone???

Feedback...we'd like a little! We think that there are many of you out there who read our blog, but where are the comments? You can make a comment anonymously, so don't feel intimidated. Remember, the blog is our connection to you! Thanks!!

Monday, July 23, 2007

The Rally

Several months ago, we signed up to attend the Good Sam Rally in Redmond, OR. Having never been to a rally before, we opted to stay off-site, so that we could orient ourselves, and have some peace in the evenings.

So what is a rally? It's a giant RV show, with new rigs, accessories, RV goodies of all kinds, evening entertainment, as well as onsite camping if you want it. They are usually held at fairgrounds due to the logistics and magnitude of it all. It's also a place where RV'ers spend money!

Since we have been exploring switching to a Class A motorhome, it also provided us with instant access to almost every brand of motorhome on the market. Donna and I had lots of fun checking out all of the rigs. There were even a few $1.3 - 1.5M coaches to look at. In our opinion, they are too glitzy, so they don't appeal to us. We did take several rigs out for test drives, including: Beaver (Patriot Thunder), Mandalay (Mandalay), Monaco (Diplomate), and Country Coach (Inspire 360 Founders Edition). All of these rigs were at least 40'. We zeroed in on two, the Mandalay and the Country Coach. After much discussion, we decided that we would be continuing this lifestyle for quite a while. So, we are going to change our rig out!

Our final decision was based on two factors: 1) quality and reputation of the company, and 2) how we were treated. The Country Coach is, in our mind, far superior to anything else we saw. All of the people at Beaudry RV (Brian especially!) treated us with respect, patiently answered our questions, drove us around the rally in golfcarts, and made it an easy experience. Now, if we can just win the lotto...

You can check out the floor plan at:
It's a 43' 4-slide rig (big, and yes, it's got a tag axle). We did not like any of the interior/exterior color combinations on display at the rally, so we factory ordered one. As this rig is a 2008 model year, and a limited edition to boot, the color and options we chose have not yet been built. We learned that our rig will be the first of this color combo. We are scheduled to take possession at the factory in Junction, OR, in mid-September.

We were wondering where we would head after the rally. Not anymore - we're driving about 180 miles over to the OR coast to take a factory tour! It should be an interesting camping experience, as CC has an attached RV park. Hmmm, a 5th wheel in there with the CC's. I'm sure we'll have some explaining to do!

By the way, next years rally will be in Georgia, in March. Fits right in with our winter plans, since we're scheduled to be in Florida in January and February. I'll have to think about going again, it costs us too much money!!!

Thursday, July 19, 2007


Cell phones: our link to the world. We need them, not only to communicate day-to-day calls with friends and relatives, but for business (such that retirees have). We rely on them to keep us in touch. Donna's failed the other day, for no apparent reason. Shortly after arriving in La Pine, she got a low battery beep. No problem, we put it on the 120v charger, and in a few hours, it was recharged. Hmmm, 2 hours later, it's beeping again (and she wasn't making any calls).

OK, we think, battery problem. We took the phone back to Costco, and they redirected us to a Verizon store. At Verizon, they told us that if we hadn't done a *228 lately (to update the the phone with the local towers, that the battery would drain while searching for towers. OK, so we hit *228, and went home to recharge. The beeping a few hours later told us this wasn't the solution. Back to the Verizon store: this time, upon re-examination, the battery was "puffy"; probably was overcharged on a car charger...so $40 later, we left with a new battery. After charging it, you guessed it - it went dead in a matter of hours. Back to the Verizon store the next day; this time they thought it was the phone, and gave us this great deal ($50 for a warranty replacement). Recharged the new battery, and...it again went dead.

Now Donna is not taking this well - her communication device hasn't worked in 4 days. She placed a call (on my phone) to the Verizon store and spoke to a supervisor. Turns out Verizon had a small problem - there is a new tower in La Pine that hasn't been activated yet. Depending upon the phone, certain Verizon phones in the area were tuning in to this tower and were having problems. They had a rash of calls about batteries going dead. She asked that we recharge it one more time, keeping it off in La Pine, then turning it on in Bend. If we could make calls and not have the battery go dead while in Bend, then that would validate the cell tower theory.

So we spent some time up in Bend, made some calls, and the phone stayed charged. Mystery solved, and Verizon credited our account for the $50. We needed a new battery anyway, so we were only out the $40. Since my phone is newer than Donna's, it did not exhibit this problem.


We headed north from Grants Pass a mere 173 miles to La Pine, OR. La Pine is a small town about 20 minutes south of Bend. This was to be our hang out for a week, prior to heading up to the Redmond area for the Good Sam Rally. The park we were in, Cascade Meadows, is a Coast to Coast resort, so we stayed cheap. It is amazing all of the rigs that ended up here waiting for the rally. There were even a few "Farkles" in their older rigs to keep us amused.

Outdoor quilt hangings

On Saturday the 14th, we headed up to Sisters, OR, to take in the annual Quilt Show. This is a mega-event that started years ago, and it changed Sisters from a very small fork-in-the-road to a very good sized town. We went to this show about 2 years ago, and were amazed this year at all of the changes since then. It had a start time of 9:30am, so we headed out early (it's about 40 miles from La Pine). About a mile from town, traffic slowed to a crawl, and it wasn't even 9:00 yet. After getting in and parked, we meandered around the town for several hours, and finally pooped out from the heat. When we left in early afternoon, the traffic was backed up for about 5 miles coming in, so we were happy we came early.

We pooped out anyway with temps in the 90's

If you are ever in Bend, try and eat breakfast or lunch at McKays Cottage. We discovered this place while driving along the Deschutes River. Great food, staff, and owners. And if you like dessert, try the White Chocolate Raspberry Bread Pudding. My oh my! They also make their own ice cream (they had blueberry), which looked great.

It is only 68 miles to our next campground, where we will be for another week. After that, well we haven't decided that yet!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Rice's RV Resort

Rice's Woods

Our private RV site

A bit of history: Leroy and I used to work for Southern California Edison, at San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. At the time, we were often on opposite sides of the fence on many issues, but we managed to form a friendship during off-work hours. Until February of 2007, we had not seen each other since about 1994, when he retired. They moved from Vista, CA to Grants Pass shortly thereafter. He built an replica of their Vista home on his property - the same except the rooms were all larger. We hooked up with he and his wife Carol in Benson, AZ last winter, and renewed our friendship.

We arrived in Grants Pass, OR around 7:30pm, after electing to bypass Redding, CA, where it was 105. I called Leroy when we were about 10 miles out, to confirm the GPS directions - turned out the GPS route was bogus, so we got new directions, and made it to our new temporary home. Moral (which we already had experienced): don't always trust the GPS.

Leroy was waiting at the bottom of his driveway, and directed us in. A quick backup, and we were hooked up. We were bushed after the long drive (450 miles), so after chatting with Leroy and Carol, we headed off to bed. I did come out and attempt to get the satellite up, and managed to get everything but high definition.

The next day (Sunday) Leroy took us into town to hit the local Walmart. After re-supplying, we headed back. The Rice's had planned a BBQ with some of their friends and neighbors, which turned out great. That evening, we headed off to their favorite eatery, JJ North's Buffet. We took separate vehicles, since they had to go to Medford to pick up their son Jeff and his girlfriend.

I fiddled with the satellite again, but failed to find the HD signal. I think that there were some trees or hills in the way. At least, that's my story, and I'm sticking to it! Leroy and I spent many hours in the shade discussing Class A coaches. Donna and I called it "Class A 101". Leroy has years of practical RV experience, and his advice could prove to be invaluable.

During one of our morning walks, we saw what appeared to be a cherry tree. I asked Leroy about it, and he said "it was some kind of edible fruit". We took a stroll down there later that evening, and I plucked one for a sample. Yow! Pretty sour...turns out they were little plums, not ripe cherries! There is an abundance of blackberry (Marionberries are what some of the locals call them) bushes throughout this area, but we were about a month early.

On Monday, Donna and I headed out and did some errands, which included a trip to Costco, and a visit to an RV dealer in Grants Pass. We are very excited about attending the Good Sam Rally in Redmond! We started a game of Mexican Train that evening, which we finished on Wednesday evening.

Leroy and Carol also hosted a family BBQ on Wednesday, and we got to meet his 94 year old Mother, Anna, as well as his daughter Julie.

We had a great time at Rice's RV Resort, and were lucky enough to be invited back. Thanks to our hosts, Leroy and Carol - we'll see ya on the road!!

By the way, it's much cheaper to live in Oregon than California. For example: 1) diesel in Grants Pass is 30 cents a gallon cheaper than California; 2) Costco prices for the same 20 lb bag of potatoes: CA - $8.50, OR - $6.50. Also, Oregon gets an "A" for roads, California gets a "C-".

Monday, July 9, 2007

A Few More "Goods"

I missed a few of the good things from California, as it was late when I posted last night:

  1. Fourth of July with the grandkids. It's amazing to see the wonder and awe in those innocent faces. Our best 4th since our kids were small.
  2. In & Out hamburgers. We hadn't had one in quite a while. We had a couple our first week there, and then laid off.
  3. Chocolate Malted Crunch ice cream. When we were kids, we used to go to Thrifty Drug store for a 5 cent scoop. This same ice cream is now sold in Rite-Aid Drugs now under the Thrifty label. It's one of my favorites, but we couldn't get it in Colorado. So, with availability, I'm in my second 1/2 gallon (eat your heart out Todd!).

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The Good

Donna and Livie

It was so nice to be near our daughter, son-in-law, and the grandkids (Bea and Livie) for a whole month! And yes, the time flew by. None of us can believe that the month is gone. Seeing Josh's parents, Jim and Judy again was also great. Thanks for everyone's hospitality!!

  • The dryer is fixed. I tried contacting several appliance repair places, but no one worked on Splendide...it figures that RV washer/dryer combos are made in Italy, and normal appliance repair places don't even know about them. I ended up contacting the USA distributor, and found out that they had a customer service department. The rep actually walked me through trouble-shooting the problem over the course of several days. We determined it was a bad circuit board, as the dryer fan was not getting 120V. Even though the unit was out of warranty, they shipped me a new board (and for free!).

  • Donna and I drove down to SoCal the last weekend in June. She and her sisters Gail and Cheryl attended a great family reunion, and learned a lot about their heritage. When our travels take us to Canada, we'll make a stop in Winnipeg, so that Donna can see where family businesses and homes were. While she was at the reunion, Abbey and I went and visited my Dad, who will be 83 in September. We took a casual drive down to Dana Point, had lunch, and then took a walk along the beach. If you know my Dad, you know that he is a walker. I definitely got a good workout!!

  • Little Olivia took some real steps our last night visiting them! She'll be leaving the crawling phase soon, so Jenna and Josh will be dealing with two mobile kids! Beatrice is talking in sentences now, and amazes everyone with her "smarts". She had a great time swimming with Grandma.

Grandma & Bea

Beatrice & Olivia

  • Farmers markets - there was lots of fresh fruit and veggies just about everywhere. And it was cherry harvest time, so we got our fill!

  • Donna and I attended an RV show in Santa Clara 3 days ago. We were interested in seeing some Class A motor homes, as we had never experienced them since we began full-timing. It wasn't crowded, so the manufacturer rep and a salesman took us for a spin in one. I drove it about 10 miles - it's definitely different than towing a fifth wheel! When we returned to the parking lot, they had Donna drive it around the lot and park it. She sped around the lot at "idle speed", and did a great job parking it.

  • The kids and grand kids came down on Saturday morning to see us off. It was tough leaving after being so close for a month. We made some tentative plans for next summer to meet at Lake Tahoe for some camping (OK, RV'ing) and off-roading (Josh's hobby).

  • Yesterday (July 7), we left Morgan Hill, and headed north. Oregon here we come! We had planned to stop in Redding, about 260 miles north of Morgan Hill, and 180 miles from our destination, Grants Pass, OR. When we arrived about 2:30pm, it was 105. No way did we want to pull over, get set up for one night, and then have to pick up and head out again. I called our friends in Grants Pass, and asked if "Rices' RV Resort" had a vacancy for a one-day-early arrival. Fortunately, they did (there is only one RV site at this private resort), so we continued north.

The Bad

  • Wind...wind...wind. One of Morgan Hills greatest assets. If it was from the north, it was HOT. If it was blowing from the south, it was cooler. But it was always there.

  • On the return back to Morgan Hill from our SoCal visit, an RV caught fire up on the Grapevine near Gorman. Besides being completely destroyed, it started a brush fire. Five lanes of northbound traffic came to a stop, then we had a 2 mile/hour crawl from Magic Mountain to Gorman...2+ hours. We didn't get back until much later than planned.

  • Calfornia prices are high, for just about everything. Fuel, food, you name it, things are expensive there. An example: a container of Yoplait yogurt, that we pay about 50 cents for just about everywhere, was 99 cents in SoCal (here in Oregon, where we are now, they are 48 cents).
The Ugly

  • As we headed north from Redding, the drive was hot, but uneventful, until I made a routine pass around a slow truck. Actually, there were 3 trucks going around 50mph. We had been traveling with a couple of RV's one of which had passed said trucks. I signalled, changed lanes, passed the trucks, signalled, and got back over into the slow lane. How longs does that take? A minute; two max? After I got into the slow lane again, a female driver in a silver Mercedes proceeded to almost side swipe us, then pulled in front of us and jammed on her brakes. We are talking serious road rage - it was all I could do to avoid crashing into her (I almost wish I had). She got me down to about 35mph before stomping on it. I laid on the horn and the brakes, but she ignored these actions. It happened so fast we couldn't get her license plate number to report it to the CHP. Nothing like leaving California with a taste of road rage. Enough said.