Sunday, September 28, 2008

9/28/08 Still on the Oregon Coast

Lorraine's post
September 27, 2008

Well, here we are in Florence, Oregon. We started out Thursday, just after a stormy night. The ocean waves were spectacular, and the wind was so fresh. But boy was the bus and car ever dirty. The rain, not enough to clean the dust off, then the salt spray and sand, Chuck had to wash both after we got in on Thursday. He did the outside while I did the inside. It’s been sunny and warm in the daytime, but did it ever cool off here at night. This morning the TV wouldn’t come in from all the dew on the Kingdome dome.

We’re at South Jetty RV Park, a Naco West/Thousand Trails Park. The spots were easier to get into. Here we have 30 amp and water-no sewer hook ups, seems like all these old parks are lacking something and you can’t have it all.

Our last campground before here (Monday to Thursday), we were at Whaler’s Rest in Newport, Oregon. Their roads were so narrow and close, you had to be really careful not to hit anything coming or going.

What a beautiful area it was, though, the beaches are made up of firmer sand, which makes it easier to walk. The town is smallish, but there is a Wal-Mart, a Fred Meyer, and even a Safeway plus a Thriftway. The shops were touristy and fun. We ate at a really nice restaurant in Newport for our anniversary. It’s called Georgies and was the food good. Fresh halibut, great clam chowder, (best I’ve had here on the coast) and Chuck’s steak was good, too. I liked Newport a lot.

I’ve been dreading having to get my hair colored. I use a gal in Ferndale, WA and she makes it turn out exactly right every time I go. I last went to her four days before we left Bellingham. She wrote down the formula she uses, how much product she uses and even the brand she uses. But during our time out here on the road, my hair turned out right only one time, and the gal charged me more than I’m used to paying. I have ended up with really red hair, really blonde hair, dark roots and combinations of all. Its really hard to trust your hair to someone who appears to be listening to you so you think they know what you want. Once they get started, they do it the way they want, not listening to what you were saying, while they’re doing it all wrong. Such are the challenges of full timing it on the road. Hopefully, my hair will quit growing so fast, now that the weather is getting cooler.

We’re here until Monday, then we’ll head on south to Coos Bay, Oregon. So until next time, bye for now.

Chuck's report
September 28, 2008

Monday was moving day for us, we left Chinook Bend and headed South. We don't keep a hard, set in stone schedule, just don't like to travel on the weekend. There are lots of campgrounds on the Oregon coast. We made it all of about 50 miles before we wanted to stop again. We stopped and checked in at Whaler's Rest, just South of Newport.

Once again, this area has some of the best beaches along the coast, in our opinion. We we able to spend a couple days going to the different beaches and enjoy the good weather. It was foggy in the mornings but warmed up nicely by early afternoon. There are some really spectacular spots to see, especially during high tide.

Whaler's Rest is one of the older style campgrounds previously mentioned. The roads are narrow, the turns are real tight and the spots are hard to get into. We only had 30 Amp available at our site although some of the other sites had 50 Amp, all sites had water and sewer however.

The first night, about 9:30, the electrical power in the coach went off. I stepped outside to reset the breaker and it wasn't tripped, just didn't have any power. I was unable to troubleshoot the system, it being too late and dark. I spent a mostly sleepless night worrying about what the problem could be. Of course, the first thought was our transfer switch was bad again and we would have to wait for parts. Early the next morning, I was walking Misty and one of the employees from the campground was riding on his golf cart, just getting ready to go to work. I stopped him, told him of our problem and asked who I could contact to check out their shore power. Can you believe he was the park's electrician and was willing to check it out right then. He said they had recently installed new power supply to that section of the campground so he knew it well. It turned out a breaker had tripped at a panel box upstream of our post. So luckily, we reset the breaker and everything was fine again, no problems with the coach.

The rest of our time at Whaler's Rest was pretty uneventful. We could hear the ocean roaring from our site but didn't have a good view through the trees. There was a couple of nice grassy areas with rabbits and squirrels, Misty had a good time chasing them. We enjoyed our time there, was able to rest up without having much to do. There is a Wal Mart here, haven't been to one of them in awhile so we were able to restock as needed. We had to get grocerys from a Fred Meyer's as it wasn't a Super Wal Mart.

On Thursday, we hit the road again, heading further South. We had made reservations at South Jetty in Florence, once again about a 50 mile drive. We are a bit further from the coast here, probably a mile or so. This is another older campground with 30 Amp power at each site, very few having sewer. We asked for a site with Southern exposure for the satellite but that meant no sewer. As were aren't too far from the clubhouse, I can take showers there and let Lorraine shower in the coach and we will not fill the holding tanks before we leave. We can have the “Honey Wagon” come by and empty the tanks for a fee if needed but only on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

This is one of the few campgrounds we have been to that allow us to wash our coach at our site. I took advantage of this on Thursday afternoon and planned to wash to roof and finish the rest the next day. Once I got started, I sort of just continued and ended up washing the whole coach and the car. Boy am I sore, I'm too old and out of shape for that much work in one day!

We don't enjoy this section the coast as well, high sand dunes to cross before you get to the ocean. It is a pretty area of the coast, just not our favorite. We did our usual travel to check out the beaches but didn't find any that really thrilled us. This is the area of the coast where lots of people ride their ATVs and four wheelers on the dunes. Looks like fun but not for us, even though you can rent them from any number of places. There is, unfortunately, a casino nearby that we have visited twice already, so far I'm paying for our entertainment there.

There is an old section of town that we drove through on Friday. Lorraine wanted to stop and check out the shops but we didn't stop then. She went to town by herself on Saturday to check them out, I got to stay home and watch football, a good day for both of us.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Sept. 22, 2008, Oregon Coast

Lorraine's report September 22, 2008

We moved again today from Lincoln City, Oregon to south of Newport, Oregon. We spent Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in a nice RV resort- Chinook Bend, outside of Lincoln City. It was about seven miles south of LC; there were goats, cows, and the owners said they saw a herd of elk just before we arrived here. Earlier, the owner said they had been catching Chinook salmon and there were llamas here also. Chinook Bend RV resort is on the Siletz River, with a boat launch and would have been great if we had been able to get Internet and cell phones services, but alas no such luck. Paradise Cove where we came from was nice, also, but far from any activities, except the harbor for fishing. I must admit I love my creature comforts-like 50 amp, water and sewer. Guess I’m spoiled a bit.

Sunday we drove down to Depot Bay, since it was a steady drizzle all morning. While at DB, we explored the shops, and while watching the water from the overlook, we spotted three whale water spouts right off the beach. Didn’t ever see the whales, would have been great to see them jump or something exciting like that.

We came back home, took Misty out for a walk, then headed up to Spirit Mountain Casino. Spent several hours there, and donated to the cause, it was a great way to spend a rainy afternoon. (Should say that the Kingdome Satellite receiver doesn’t work well in snow or rain so we couldn’t watch the Seahawks game, they won.)

Saturday we went shopping at Tanger Outlet Mall in LC. I wanted to look for several things for us for our cruise to Mexico, and the prices were great-75% off on what I bought.

I enjoy this central part of Oregon the most. The water and beach are close by, you can smell the ocean, and on rainy, stormy days like yesterday, the tidal action is awesome to watch.

Today is our 36th anniversary, wow-where did the years go? Till next time.

Chuck's report September 22, 2008
Happy Anniversary to my wife, she has put up with me for 36 years today. I would like to say “I STILL LOVE MY WIFE”! I'm sure glad she agreed to try this lifestyle, I know how hard it was for her to give up her house, family, friends and a “normal” life.

Our first blog was pretty long, mostly just told of places we had been to, not much about what we had seen or done. If we continue to write once a week or so, we can have shorter blogs but with more information. For now, we just want to get in a habit of writing this blog a bit more often. We will be adding pictures too, once we figure out how to do that.

A bit of information about our motorhome. We have two air conditioners on the roof (each has an attached heat pump for heating), a clothes washer and dryer (Maytag, just like at a house), a dishwasher, a hot water heater/furnace combination using a diesel boiler/electric heater (circulating instant and unlimited hot water for showers and area heating), a satellite dish for getting TV reception plus all the normal stuff like TVs, microwave, lights, exhaust fans and stuff. We also use a Version Air card and a Cradlepoint router for cell phone and Internet access. I know that seems excessive but remember, this is our home, we are not camping for a weekend or such.

In order to use all the items above, we like to have a site in campground that includes water hookup, sewer hookup, 50 Amp electrical service, a clear view to the South for satellite and cell phone access. It seems we have trouble finding all the services in every campground.

A lot of campgrounds are older and not made for newer rigs like ours and only have 30 Amp service. If we only have 30 Amp, that means we have to manage our electrical usage better, IE, use only one air conditioner, the drier, the microwave, the electrical heat for the water, one at a time. If we forget to manage our power usage correctly, we trip the outside breaker and have to go reset it, not fun at night. Some campgrounds don't have sewer hookups at each site (just a common dump) and a very few don't have water hookups. Most have lots of trees, which keep us from getting a clear view of the Southern sky.

Of course, if we boondock or stop for the night at Wal Mart, we don't have any power, water or sewer. Although the motorhome is set up to allow us to do that, we try to stay in a campground if we are in the area for awhile and just boondock or stay at Wal Mart if we are traveling and just need a place to stop and rest for the night.

We like to travel and sightsee a few miles around our campground, using it as a day base camp. Here on the coast, we could stop at all the small state parks and beaches using our car, without having to move the rig everyday. We like to stop at the small towns and go into their tourist trap shops, lots of junk in each of them, sometimes we find something, most of the time it's just looking. After about 4 days in area, we have seen most of the area and things we wanted to visit so we move.

This past week we have been on the Oregon coast. We stayed at Rockaway Beach for the first 4 days, had a nice site but only had 30 Amp service. It was on a bluff overlooking the river, we watched people fishing for salmon and saw a few nets go in the water, not sure what they caught but something was on the hook.

We are currently at a very nice campground just South of Lincoln City, up the Siletz river a bit and in a very nice valley, right on the river. We have WSE (water, sewer, electric hookups), a good view of the Southern sky for satellite but no cell phone or Internet reception. Like I said, we don't always get everything we would like at these campgrounds but make do with what they have.. I have spent some time at the river watching the fisherman but haven't seen any nets in the water, the owners say its been a slow week for fishing. The campground is pretty full, lots of people fishing but not many people catching.

We are moving today to Newport, about 50 miles down the coast. Not sure what the campground is like but will work with whatever we have. This area of the Oregon Coast is Lorraine's favorite, long, sandy beaches without the big sand dunes or rocky cliffs. We will see what the Newport area has to offer and enjoy our time there, I'm sure.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sept. 14th, first post

Well, it's been almost a year now since we started our new life, fulltiming in our 2007 Tiffin Motorhome. Although we both said were going to record our travels in a blog, we never did get it started. Of course, I'm not going to give a day by day account of our first year but would like to list some of the important things that happened.

We ordered our Allegro Bus in January, 2007, picked it up in Huntsville, Alabama in April. We flew down and drove it home, had a few adventures but everything worked out fine and we learned quite a bit about the systems.

The last week in our house was busy, trying to finish up with our “stuff”. Most of our stuff we gave away, some we took with us in the motorhome and some we stored in the shop. The last day was a madhouse, thankfully our niece, Kerri and her family came over to our house and helped us finish up. With their help, we were able to get the house empty and the motorhome ready to travel.

First and foremost, this lifestyle seems to suit us very nicely, thank you. We knew it would be tough to leave our family and friends in Whatcom County and it was. We know life goes on for them as well as us but we would see them and update each other since we last met. We also try to keep in touch via cell phone and e-mail.

We have traveled some, spent time with our family not in Washington, met some very nice people who became our friends and seen some sights. We agreed to try this for 3 – 5 years and haven't even began to scratch the surface of seeing the country yet. We enjoy traveling and think we were lucky to get the correct motorhome for us the first time.

We left the house on October 3, 2007, in a rain storm. About 25 miles south of Bellingham, we caught a rock in the windshield. The first night out we stayed at Swinomish Casino, had dinner with our daughter-in-law, Lora.

We were on a schedule to get down to our daughter's house so she and her husband could attend her 10th year college reunion. We would get to babysit our grand daughter for her first night away from Mommy and Daddy. We stayed in a campground east of Salem, Oregon the second night out. When we unhooked the car, it wouldn't start, dead battery. Called On Star, they sent out a tow truck who jumped the battery. Called Saturn the next day and they advised us to pull another fuse. We have since pulled two fuses every time we tow and haven't had any more problems. One more campground to talk about, 7 Feathers in Canyonville, Oregon. This may have been the nicest one we stayed in this past year. It is fairly new, well laid out with large sites and friendly people. It helps that they gave Lorraine a discount also. This across the freeway from 7 Feathers Indian Casino.

Once we got down Susy's, we moved into a campground in Morgan Hill, about 35 miles away. We stayed there about two weeks, enjoying time with Susy, Mark and Kaitlyn. We actually got to have Kaitlyn spend two nights with us, she sure missed her Mommy but Lorraine got her settled down. We decided after two weeks there, we should leave and let them get their normal life back so we drove over to Reno. We left some money there as seed, hope to harvest it in a later trip.
Back to Susy's for Halloween and more visiting. Our son Rick and his wife, Lora, were able to come down too. They were kind enough to drive a rental van down and deliver some of our furniture that we gave to Susy.

We then drove over to Las Vegas. This time we actually went to see a few shows, compliments of a time share tour (no, we didn't buy). We did leave some money there as seed, hope to harvest it in a later trip. (I think I could say this about lots of the places we stayed, from now on, if I say we were in a Casino, think “they left some money there as seed” and you will probably be correct.)
Back to Susy's for Thanksgiving. Our son Rick was able to fly in too. We may have started a new tradition, going to Susy's for dinner on Thanksgiving. I don't know if we've told her about that yet so don't say anything to her.

Once again, we left them, trying to let them get their normal lives back. We went to Palm Springs where we really enjoyed ourselves. Lots to do there and the weather was just about perfect. We did go to a couple of Casinos while there also. One of the Casinos had a Monday Night Football party, they gave away prizes and such. Between both of us, we won dinners, t-shirts, football stuff and other things, about $250 worth. Sure like the area, would like to spend more time there.

We drove to Los Angles the week before Christmas. Susy, Mark and Kaitlyn drove down to do Disneyland with us. We stayed in a campground, they had a hotel nearby. We saw how Disney decorated for Christmas for the first time. Then back to Susy's for the Christmas and New Years. Again a new tradition, going out for Christmas dinner. Not sure how everyone liked that idea but it was easier on Lorraine and Susy. Really liked spending time with Susy over the past couple of months and getting our baby fix.

After New Years, we took off for Palm Springs again. Did I say we liked the area? Met up with friends of ours, Joe and Alice Morin. Had a good time there once again but after two weeks we had to move on. We wanted to be at Quartzsite for the week long RV show and dry camp in the desert. We had an offer to stay at a campground in Ehrenberg, Arizona, all we had to do was attend a tour and listen to their offer to join. This put us close to Quartzsite and allowed us to go over and tour the area before we took the motorhome there. We had offers from three groups to camp with them and wanted to visit each. After checking all three groups, we decided to stay with the first group that invited us, RV America. Back in June I had asked a question on their forum and they seemed very nice and after meeting them we thought we would fit in. Richard says it felt like we were interviewing them but that's not the case, just wanted to see each group and see if anyone else could convince us to stay with them instead. Anyway, Richard, you passed the interview.

There were about 12 rigs in our circle in the desert in Quartzsite, all very nice people. We developed some lifelong friends there and have kept up with some of them via cell phones, e-mail and personal visits. This week may have been the highlight of our first year because of the people we met. If I tried to name all of them, I'm sure I would leave someone out so just say they were nice to us and we hope to see them again this year. We were able to meet up with a former co-worker, Dale and Audry Snapper while we were there, had a nice dinner with them. .
The week in Quartzsite was our longest attempt at boon docking or dry camping, IE, not having hookups. We took “Navy” showers to conserve water, ran our generator to charge our batteries and used electricity sparingly. Although our rig is set up to do this, we don't really like being “off the grid” that long. A day or two here and there is ok but not a week or longer except for special occasions.

We left Q with two of the couples we met, headed to Yuma. We enjoyed our time there and cemented our friendship with these two couples, Mike and Kathy, Mike and Linda. Mike and Linda had been there before and were great tour guides for us. Now this is a nice place to spend the winter. Talk about perfect weather and this was in late January and February. We were here during the Super Bowl and we invited our friends to come over and watch it at our motorhome. Mike and Kathy asked if they could have a friend of their's come also, of course we said ok. Turns our their friend was someone I had worked with at the refinery for maybe 20 years, TJ & Sharon Ronningen, small world.

It is just a short jaunt from here into Algodones, Mexico so we went there with our friends. This is where lots of people get dental work done and pickup some medicine. Lorraine wanted to check out some of the dentists there and the first one we talked to was able to get her in for some work that afternoon. She ended up having five caps done in a week and is very satisfied with the work. We will be going back there this winter, we hope, and get some more work done for both of us.

The next appointment we had set up was in McKinney, Texas to have our window shades replaced with a different style. I wanted to spend some time in Albuquerque, NM along the way, we were driving down I-40 when we got hit by a snow storm near Flagstaff, AZ. That's a good thing about this lifestyle, we just turned the nose South and headed for warmer weather. Never did make it to Albuquerque.

We pulling into a campground in Cottonwood for one night but the next morning, the hydraulic leveling jacks wouldn't store. After a couple of calls to the manufacture, and one day later, I was able to bleed off enough pressure to get them restored. We headed for Tuscon to find warmer weather and a repair shop for the jacks. We stayed at a nice campground and found a mobile repair service to check out our jacks. Sure enough, we had to order parts and it took almost a week. We were able to explore the area some, looks like a place we would like to return and spend some more time.

This extra time put us into a hurry-up mode to get to McKinney so it took us two days to drive across New Mexico and West Texas. We spent a week in McKinney, got to spend some time with my brother Craig and his wife Alicia, who live near there while the window shades were make and installed. Had a good time visiting them and we are really pleased with the new MCD window shades. One problem we had there is we were staying on the NE side of Dallas, Craig lives on the NW side. We had to travel through a couple of highways, seems we always took a different route to get there. One night, we were at Craig's and it started to spit a little snow. We decided to head back to the motorhome but before we got there, we were in the middle of a blizzard. This was a very wet snow, covered all the signs on the roads so we didn't have any idea of where we were. Finally got home and the very next day we bought a hand held GPS unit, it doesn't have to read the street signs.

When we bought our motorhome, we were given a years “bumper to bumper” warranty. Tiffin builds their rigs in Red Bay, Alabama and has a big service center there. We made an appointment to go to the repair service last June for service this April. So next stop was Red Bay, Alabama.

We got to Red Bay in time to meet up with some friends we had met in Quartzsite, Richard and Patsy King, Mark and Sue Didelot and John and Bev Grant . It was good to renew our friendship with these good people. We also met some very fine friends, Steve and Sandy Allgire, Dave and Sandy Hasselberg, Wayne and Marynelle Stamper and Bill and Alice Carter. As were were in Red Bay over Easter Sunday, the ladies got together and made a big Easter dinner for everyone, including the camp hosts Rod and Marsha.

We were in Red Bay for five weeks, they had trouble with the paint on the front cap and had to re-do it three times. When you are on the repair schedule, you have to be at the bay door at 7:00 am., ready to turn your coach over to the repair techs. Everyone was there for the same reason, repairs or upgrades to their coach so we had something in common besides everyone owning a Tiffin motorhome. They allow you to stay in your rig while it's being repaired or you can stay in their waiting lounge. A lot of time was spent in the lounge playing card and domino games.

We got our repair list completed, a couple upgrades done after hours from an employee and the paint finally done to our acceptance. Red Bay isn't a big town, the nearest Wal Mart is in Florence, about 35 miles away. We were able to do some sightseeing in the area and go to dinner with these fine folks. One of the highlights was going to the Civil War battlefield at Shiloh. Another was the coon dog cemetery, some of the best coon dogs from across the country are buried there. We also went to eat breakfast at Swamp Johns and go to try chocolate gravy with our biscuits. Chocolate gravy with sausage in it, over biscuits, not our idea of a good taste for breakfast but it seems to be big in that part of the country. Although we enjoyed greeting old and meeting new friends, we were ready to leave Red Bay after five weeks.

After our stay in Red Bay, it was getting on to our grand daughter's third birthday so we made plans for me to stay at the coach in Tennessee while Lorraine flew out to California. I had some computer work that I could finish while she was gone. I accepted a job offer from a former co-worker to write some training manuals and needed to get them finished so it worked out good for both of us. It became clear to me that this lifestyle was working for us when I picked Lorraine up at the Airport in Nashville. I had moved to a different campground while she was gone and when she got to the motorhome she said “It's sure nice to be home”. So home truly is where we park it, I guess.

While we were in Nashville, my sister Corliss, her husband Phil and daughter Samantha came down to go to The Grand Ole Opry with us. We continued our visit with them back at their house where they allowed us to camp at their place. We stayed there a week and enjoyed our time visiting with them, its been awhile. We were able to be there when Corliss and Samantha got baptized, sure was glad to share that with them.

After spending time with my sister, we headed to Missouri to spend time with more of my brothers. Brad, Brian and his wife, Gilbert and his wife and Ivan and his wife all live in the area. We stayed in the area a week, had a bar-b-que at Gilbert's and had a couple dinners with Brad and some of my cousins, Peggy and Lucinda. A good time with good people again.

One item that wasn't done to my satisfaction at Red Bay was correcting the steering of the motorhome. It was a constant “sawing” action while driving, if I let go of the wheel it would head for one ditch or the other. Anyway, the builder of our chassis, Spartan, called me and asked if I would give a repair shop in Columbia, Missouri a chance to fix it. So we found a campground near there and let them work on it and re-do some paint issues that were done in Red Bay. After the extensive alignment, front and rear, plus correcting the ride height, it's like driving a different coach. These folks at Perry/Legend are good to work with and want to do a good job. We got to spend a little bit of time with my nephew, Dude (Brad) who attends college there. Also, there is a casino there and this is one where Lorraine won, -- $1200 on a penny machine. This was a good thing as her laptop just died and she was able to replace it with her winnings.

After finishing with the repairs, we headed to Branson for some relaxing time. We were there 2 weeks and went to 10 shows. This was our first time in Branson and we can see why folks like to vacation there. This is one time we didn't meet too many of our neighbors as were we busy going to shows all the time, it seemed. Can't say we got much relaxing time, too much to see and do. This was like a vacation, cram as much as possible into the alloted time. Only problem, I couldn't go back to work to rest.

Next, we wanted to spend some time in Hannibal, Missouri, home of Mark Twain. We stayed in a state park there and had our first heavy thunderstorm one night. I had almost forgotten about the lightening and thunder plus how heavy it can rain. This was just the first of many we would see during our time in the middle of the country.

We wanted to continue seeing the small towns along the Mississippi so we headed to a small town called La Grange, Missouri for a week. This is just across the river from Quincy, Illinois which got flooded out this summer when a dike broke. This happened after we left but still feel bad for those folks. We were able to stay at a campground at a casino in La Grange for $0.50 per night with full hookups. Plus we both came away with a bit more money than we started with and Lorraine won a Mexico cruise that we will be going on in early December. All in all, a great place to stay and rest.

After resting up there, we headed to Moscow, Iowa. Remember when we had trouble with our leveling jacks? This is where the factory is located so we were able to get repairs and an upgrade from them. So far, everything is working fine with the jacks.

We had never attended a motorhome rally yet so we signed up to attend a small one in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Manufacturers, dealers and suppliers all put up displays and have seminars at these rallys. It is also a good time to meet other people on the road. Most of them are held in a place where you have to boon dock (no hook-ups). As this was our first time at a rally, we really didn't know what to expect. I volunteered to drive golf carts around and supply rides for anyone who want to ride. Lorraine volunteered to join a group called “The Frustrated Maestros” who sang every morning during breakfast. Again, we met some very nice folks and really enjoyed ourselves. One couple of note who sort of took us under their wings were Tom and Dorothy Warren. As this was a small rally, we were able to meet or at least see almost everyone there.
As we were close, we had to go to Green Bay and see Lambeau Field. Would have like to see a game there but the season hadn't started yet. I think they do it right there, the town owns the Green Bay Packers football team so they can't be held captive if the team decides it wants a better field or wants to leave. There is a long waiting list for anyone who wants to get a season ticket, most are kept in the family and never given back.

After the rally, we wanted to visit our friends Mark and Sue Didelot in Des Moines, Iowa. We stopped for the night in Moline, Iowa and liked the area so much we stayed for a week. Lorraine was able to do a cancer walk, attended a small Indian Pow Wow and of course, a couple of casinos. We really liked this area even though there were thunderstorms almost every night. This is the area of the country that got all the rain and flooding, sure was bad in some places. Fell sorry for what they had to go through.

We then continued on to Des Moines where we were able to visit with Mark and Sue plus meet with Greg and Mandy again, we first met them in Quartzsite. We also met Bob and Vicky Moore. All of these folks were working at Adventure Land Amusement park for the summer. We were able to spend some time with them, went to the State Capital Building and a winery.
Susy, Mark and Kaitlyn were able to fly out to Des Moines to go to the Adventureland with us. Thanks to Mark and Sue for getting us discounted price on the tickets. After a couple days of fun, we then headed for Minnesota.

Susy had a friend from Florida, Yami, fly up to Minneapolis to spend the 4th of July with us. We stayed at Mystic Lake campground in Prior Lake, they stayed near Great Mall in town. Between time at Great Mall and visiting with us, I think they had a good time, I know we did.

We actually had four reasons to head to Minneapolis, 1) Spend 4th with Susy and family, 2) Visit with Dave and Sandy Hasselberg, we met them in Red Bay and have become very good friends with them, 3) Visit with my aunt and uncles (never made that connection so we will have to go back) and 4) We signed up to attend a large, national rally of the Family Motor Coach Association.

We again enjoyed spending time with Susy, Mark and Kaitlyn. After they drove out to Chicago to catch a plane, we spent time with Dave and Sandy, they were great hosts and showed us the area. We didn't get to all the places we wanted to see so again, we will have to return to Minnesota.

We did have some electrical problems on July 3rd, our transfer switch in the motorhome burned out. This meant we didn't have any electrical power to any appliance in the coach. We got a mobile tech to come out, he was able to wire around the burned switch and get us power until we could get the new transfer switch ordered, shipped and installed. Of course, it went out on Thursday evening before the 4th so we couldn't even order it until Monday morning. It arrived on Wednesday and we had it installed. All has been well since.

We met some nice folks at the rally, once again. Had a small Tiffin rally while there and met some more owners. The rally was nice, learned a few new things. Lorraine was with the Frustrated Maestros once again and enjoyed it. Once again, Tom and Dorothy Warren were a pleasure to be with. They had to set up a dinner for the Elks, we did some running for them and was able to attend the dinner. We are in the process of joining the Elks, hope to finish up this winter.

After the rally, we headed to our new home of record, Rapid City, South Dakota. We had to get new license for the motorhome and car. We stayed at Hart Ranch campground, another very nice place. We were able to get in some sightseeing, sure is a pretty place around there. Our favorite monument so far is Mount Rushmore, what a sight to see.

We were also able to meet up with some of the friends we had met at the rally in Minneapolis, Pete and Elaine Pi, Mike and Jody Carey. Had a very nice dinner out with them and again, went to another casino.

We then headed for Bellingham, staying in each stopover one or two nights. Nothing much to report about the trip west except Lorraine was sure happy to be heading west once again. We did make sure to fill the fuel tank in Idaho before we got to Washington, I think the fuel prices are higher here than anywhere except California. Sure is a good sight to see diesel fuel prices dropping, hope it continues to fall.

Once we got into Western Washington, it began to rain and the temperature was in the low 60s, what a welcome home. We were used to 80 – 90 F and we were feeling the cold.

We got started on our doctor visits, nothing major found except that Lorraine has gout. Once she started the medicine, she started to feel much better. It appears to have helped her joints, not just here foot. We were glad to have our round of doctor visits complete, we both have to get blood tests in two months to check on dosages.

We were able to see lots of my ex-co-workers at the annual company picnic. Lots of people were asking questions about our lifestyle, talked about doing it themselves. Wish them luck in their decisions and hope to see them on the road.

We were also able to see Lorraine's sister, Thelma, her husband, John, kids Kerri, Carl and Ashley plus Kerri's kids, Rose, Patrick and Joshua. Lorraine enjoyed teaching them Mexican train and pass the love. They had some big games during the time we were there, both at our place and theirs. Also had some good meals with them, John is a good cook.

We also had Susy and Kaitlyn fly up to spend time with Lorraine and Thelma for their birthdays. This time they stayed in our coach instead of a hotel, I think they enjoyed it. Lorraine was able to get more baby time, hopefully enough to last until we get back down their area.

Spent some time with some friends from the campground too. We had fun with Dennis and Barb Bell, Rob and Norma Swerdfeger and Rick and Joy Boulier. We had a couple of last minute meals, went to dinner a couple times and went to the casino for $2.00 Tuesday buffet.

While we tried to see some of our friends, we didn't get in touch with everyone we would have liked. We did, however, get to spend some time with Richard LaClair and his kids plus his fiancée Sandy. They asked if we would be willing to stand up for them on their wedding day next June. This will cause us to make some changes to our planned trip to Alaska but we will somehow make it work.

Another co-worker, Dorothy and Nellie Drumheller, had set up a party for us at her beautiful house right on the beach. We knew she was planning a crew get-together but had no idea of what was planned. Seems we were the guests of he hour, such a nice gesture, much appreciated. Thanks Dorothy and Nellie, we were both surprised and over whelmed. It was nice to see everyone from the crew also.

So now this finds us once again on the road, heading towards California, want to be at Susy's for the holidays. We are currently on the Southwest Washington coast in Long Beach. Our plan is to slowly work our way down the Oregon coast, spend some time around Sacramento before we pull into the Bay area and spend time with Susy and family.

Sorry for the length of this post but considering it covers about 11 months, it isn't too bad. We will try to post more often, hopefully once a week or so. I plan on sending out a notice to everyone about where to find our blog, you can check for updates after that. I (Chuck) wrote most of this, Lorraine proof read it for spelling, form and content. I hope the next few will be written by her as she writes much better than I do and will talk more about what we have done and places we have gone.