Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Da New Rig

Since July, when we ordered the new coach, we have been anticipating getting back to Oregon to pick up the new rig. We've been too caught up in figuring out the logistics of moving from a 5th wheel to a motor home to worry too much about how construction has been moving along, but it was always on our mind. Fortunately, we asked Country Coach to take pictures as our rig was being built, and they have done a great job - they actually set up a web portal for our private viewing.

For the past week, the coach has been in photos were available during this time. Today we got a glimpse of what we'll soon be riding in.

Close to the beginning...

A 425HP Cummins Diesel - not quite ready.
Walls at last!
Out of the paint shop
Can I really drive this?

Power Run

OK, I haven't written in a while. Retirees are busy! Actually, we decided to hang out at Skookums as long as we could, then get back to Colorado quickly. In retrospect, that wasn't a good strategy. A 400 mile day, followed by two 325 mile days, and a final drive of 125 miles put us back in Colorado. Driving like that, towing a 5th wheel, is physically draining (a sign of old age on my part).

Leaving Idaho through Coeur d'Alene, we ended up driving for two days through smoke. There were many wildfires burning in Montana, and the smoke was bad. We did put Coeur d'Alene on our list of places to revisit - it was beautiful there. We stopped briefly in Billings, MT, so that Donna could visit a quilt store that was on her list of must-sees. Our last night on the road was a stay in Cheyenne, WY, at Terry Bison RV park. This is a real working buffalo ranch with buffalo, horses, cattle, and several other animals. Our neighbor for the night told us that they sold bison meat at the RV store, and highly recommended them. We ended up buying several bison steaks.

The last day was quick and easy. When we arrived in Monument at our home park, we were delighted to find that "the best site in the park" was open. In all our time here, it has always been occupied, and the clerk told us that it had just been vacated. T & V came down in the afternoon for a visit. We are here until right after Labor Day. It's great to be back in a familiar area.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Canada, Eh?

In Canada, looking south at the USA. The gate is the border!

Sunday we decided to head north to Canada. About 90 miles north of Usk is the Canadian town of Nelson. It is supposed to be a quaint town, lots of little shops, and very picturesque. We thought we'd take a leisurely drive up, have lunch, look around, then have a leisurely drive back to Usk.

The drive up to the border was very nice, and we saw some places we'll tour in the future. The local PUD has a dam upriver, and they give tours, so we'll definitely take that one. Electricity is cheap here - about 4 cents/KWH due to the hydro!!

Things changed drastically when we got to the border. As we crossed over into no-man's-land, we were next in line at Canadian customs. There was a white van in front of us. Hmmmm, doors open, engine off. OK, the border patrol was inside the van. A half hour later, I got out of our truck to ask the guards if I could turn around and head back. "Get back in your vehicle, sir, NOW!" was the reply. They then moved the van from the lane into a separate area. Hurray, we said, now we'll get through. Wrong. There were only 2 border guards at this station, and they had decided to empty out the van. There were 3 people in it, two very long-haired (dreadlocks) men, and one woman. One guard had to watch the occupants while the other opened suitcases. Finally, after about an hour, one of the guards returned to the line, which had grown to many vehicles. We should have turned around at that point, but we decided to head up to Nelson in spite of the delay. All right, I can go 100, that's kilometers per hour, not miles per hour.

We saw a lot of young hitchhikers between the border and Nelson, and some signs that said "Event Ahead". Finally we got to Nelson, and found a restaurant that was open. After eating a slightly different version of a burger, we started walking - not much open. On Sunday, in British Columbia, virtually all the stores were closed! We're outta here!

The trip back to the border was uneventful except for one thing: when I came around a corner, about 500 feet in front of us, a black bear was crossing the road. Donna grabbed the camera, but it was gone by the time we got close enough for a picture.

When we got back to the border, this time we had to wait about 20 minutes for the American border patrol. They checked our passports, had their dog sniff the truck (luckily we had left Abbey back in the fifth wheel), and asked us the usual questions. He also asked us if we had been to the drug event...OK, we asked, was that really what it was? Yes, he said. One of the questions he had asked us was if we were bringing back any drugs. He asked us using the slang name of the drug, and was quite amused at our blank stares. So that was our big adventure in another country. Shoulda stayed home!

Speaking of which...Thursday morning we are leaving our resort here and heading back towards Denver. We will arrive Sunday afternoon, and will be staying in Monument, at our Coast to Coast home park. We are excited to see family and friends, and visit some of our old haunts! Not as exciting will be going through storage to get chairs and a few other accessories that belong on the fifth wheel. When we return to Oregon in September to pick up the new rig, the fifth wheel will need to have all of it's original stuff with it.

In case you are wondering, the river our resort is next to is called the Pend O'reille. The actual pronounciation of that is Ponderay...go figure, French-Canadian influence I guess!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Yes, My Little Skookums

Donna & Abbey on the lot

Our current set up at Skookum

We made it over the mountains, and through Spokane without incident, heading north to the tiny town of Usk, WA. Interesting, when you come out of the mountains east of Seattle, the countryside changes to flat with little trees. As you approach Spokane, you begin seeing trees and rolling hills again. As we moved north, more mountains appeared. Again, we were in beautiful country.

We got to Skookum Rendezvous , about 3 miles south of Usk, in the early afternoon. We had been invited here by some friends, Leroy and Clovie (not Leroy and Carol from Grants Pass!), to stay as their guest for a few days. After settling in, we wandered around the resort, talking to many friendly people. Our second day here, Donna attending a quilting session in the clubhouse. While she was quilting, I met with a sales rep, and learned about ownership here. Later in the day, Donna and I wandered around the park, looking at re-sale lots. We saw some possibilities, but decided to look at the new lots in the "to-be-built" phase. This area will have 2 man-made lakes, tennis and volleyball courts, a big meeting area, and will have curbs and gutters. The sales rep took us out and showed us the approximate areas where the lake and RV sites will be. After thinking about it, we decided to purchase a lot facing the lake! This area is tentatively scheduled to be finished next summer (2008), but we now can stay here on any open lots until such time as our lot is completed. Of course, everyone leaves in the September/October time frame, as this is not a winter place.

We are very excited that we will have a place to bring our new rig and just relax!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

WA-WA (the State)

After all that cheese and ice cream, we headed north again, this time to Washington. Our first stop was a C2C resort in Olympia. This place was really a RV resort where you purchase lots, with 17 sites set aside for RV camping sites. These sites were not in proximity to the pool or the other owners. Not bad though - heavily treed (so no satellite), ferns, all in all very picturesque. These sites again had no sewer. Lucky for us, the designer restrooms were close. I'm not kidding, these restrooms were nice! Tile, fancy faucets, and lots of hot water! We spent 2 nights here, and then headed north, as we had Seattle in mind.

Our next spot was in the town of Black Diamond, which we thought was a close suburb of Seattle. Wrong. We were about 45 miles out. This place, again a C2C resort, was not as nice as the last one. The resort is located on Lake Sawyer, and of course the picture you see of the resort shows the shoreline and docks. As it turns out, the campsites are not by the water, and the ones allotted to C2C members are small and don't have full hookups. A little disappointing, but at $8 a night the price wasn't bad! This was our one and only time here, as they have a size restriction of 40' (the new rig is 43').

We made it in to Seattle to go to Pike Place Market, one of our favorite spots. We were hoping to get some giant shrimp. When we were here 3 years ago, we got shrimp the size of steaks. One each was plenty for dinner. Alas, those shrimp are not available right now, so we'll have to try our next time through. We took a walk along the beachfront, and watched the Thunderbirds practicing for their air show the next day. Leaving the city, like coming in, was a zoo (it was Friday at rush hour). The freeway was not bad, but getting to it was. Gridlocked traffic on every street. I guess a big city is a big city, no matter where you are.

We're heading up to Usk, WA (about 40 miles north of Spokane, and 25 miles south of Canada) for several days. Some friends of ours, Leroy and Clovie, own several lots at this resort, and we will stay there as their guest.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Happy Birthday Abbey!

Hurry up! I've got things to do!!

Abbey the "Aren't I cute?" Birthday Girl

Today Abbey is four years young. To celebrate, she got to do anything she wanted, and this is what happened: potty, eat treat, poop, eat treat, car ride/sleep in Mom's arms, potty, eat treat, sleep, check out new campsite, potty, eat treat, get pictures taken, and then eat dinner. Followed, of course, by: potty, eat treat, stake out bed for evening, and finally, sleep. I think she is planning to wake up about 1:00am and wake me up to take her out.