Sunday, February 27, 2011 Lorraine’s report
Hello from our destination, Latitude 49, Joe & Alice’s RV lot in brrrr cold Birch Bay, WA. Last night we came home from dinner out in a snow storm; it snowed about 1-2 inches or so and all of the roads were covered, with the bridges being extremely slippery.
Well, as usual our week was busy. Last Sunday we were in Woodburn, OR, at the RV Park there by the outlet mall. We had errands to run after Chuck worked on trying to fix the lights in the bathroom. We had dinner in and watched some of the new movies I had been picking up these past months.
We left Woodburn the next morning and started north. Portland had heavy traffic as usual, but the day was sunny and bright. We crossed the Columbia River and saw the “Entering Washington” sign-welcome home. We pulled into Angel of the Winds Casino around 2:30 or so, which is just north of Marysville. The weather was deteriorating, starting to rain with the wind blowing and the temperatures were swiftly dropping.
We set up, and again Chuck worked on the lights as well as the hydro hot heater. We went inside Angel to eat, with me having the all you can eat Dungeness Crab/seafood buffet and Chuck having a burger. I surely missed the great Dungeness Crab they have here in the Pacific NW. Other buffets have snow crab and such, but they just don’t compare with our Dungeness. We played a bit at the machines after dinner: I went up; not so for Chuck.
Tuesday we woke up to a cold snowy morning. It had snowed on us overnight about an inch or so, and it was still snowing when we packed up and left. It was challenging bringing in the slides, with the frozen snow/ice on them. But after bringing them in and out several times and Chuck outside knocking off the excess snow, we were successful. It was still snowing when we got to the freeway, but stopped just at Mt. Vernon. From there on, the roads were clear and dry.
We stopped at Al’s RV Repair Shop in Bellingham at 10:30 so Larry could look at the hydro hot. While we waited for the news on the rig, we ran around looking for the anti freeze Chuck uses in it; we should have gotten more in Yuma. It was $7.00 a gallon there, it is $25.00 here at different places.
Well, the news on the hydro hot is that it needs to be taken out, taken to a welding shop, repaired and put back in. Or, we can buy a new one at a cost of $2600.00, plus labor which is $90.00 an hour, and the man thinks it could take up to 5-7 hours to do that. Either way it will be expensive.
Larry looked at the lights in the bathroom and thought it is a ground some where, but since it was getting to be late in the afternoon, we let that go. Our friend, Tim who was an electrician before he retired, said he would work on it after his friend came north.
So after we paid the bill, we continued on to Latitude 49. What a nice area we will be staying at for the next few months. Thanks again, Joe and Alice for letting us use your spare lot. We set up and spent another night home, enjoying another movie.
Wednesday found us heading into Bellingham for a few things. Chuck picked up another ceramic heater since the weather report was for lows in the teens for the nights, with highs in the 20’s, and the northeaster blowing out of the Canadian Frazier Valley up to 45 mph. I restocked the everyday food we needed. I made up a pot of chicken noodle soup for dinner, since it was so cold outside.
Thursday Chuck had his physical that morning, with fasting for blood work, so he went in early. His appointment for all of it was for 10 am, but since he was in early for blood work, they did it all at that time, and came home earlier than I expected.
He finished up and then we headed back into Bellingham to find a Laundromat that had a big machine so we could wash the big rug in the living room. Misty had been ill the previous night and had made a big mess of the rug. Chuck called her vet and we stopped by his office for medicine for her. She is better now and starting to act like her old self.
We came home and I had forgotten that I needed to change my health care options, since I will be 65 this August. The enrollment for BP Aetna ended February 25, so I had to complete it all before that. The gal on the phone was very helpful answering my questions about the changes that were going to happen with the plan I needed to be under. I was able to complete all requirements that evening, yea!
Friday was another day of doing errands. I needed to talk to the Sears people about the glasses I bought there last August. The photo gray hasn’t been changing all the way and I have fine scratches that I thought shouldn’t be on them with the coating I paid extra for. The gal was very firm, saying I was past the guarantee time limit and there was nothing they could do. Bummer, I know I will not buy glasses at Sears again, if that is the way they stand behind their warrantee.
Chuck was looking for something, so I walked the mall, noticing the new shops that had come in, noting the ones that had closed. Lucky for me the alterations shop was still there, I took in four pair of pants that had to be taken in, they are too big on me now.
Completing our errands, we went home and called Richard and Sandy, friends who we stood up for at their wedding in 09. We decided to meet them at Silver Reef Casino that evening. I cooked us a nice dinner of steak for Chuck and baked halibut for me. We then headed out to meet up with Richard and Sandy.
We had a nice time playing with them, they went up around $300 and I was up $50, while Chuck went down. But we all enjoyed each other’s company.
Saturday found Chuck calling people about cars he found on Craig’s list, since he didn’t want to leave me home without a car while he worked all day. He made several appointments to look at a couple and off we went. The first one was an old Toyota truck that was rusted, the wires were hanging down all over inside the cab, but it ran okay Chuck said.
We then called a lady about another one and went back into Bellingham to look at it. It was a lot nicer, a Dodge Aries and Chuck ended up buying that one. Trying to get the cash out of the ATM was another matter. We had to go to a second credit union to get the $, the first wouldn’t give us any money. Weird is all I have to say.
We finished up and went back home, by then it was snowing fine snow. We had made plans to meet Richard/Sandy to go eat pizza with them at 6.
Earlier in the day I had heard from Barb/Dennis who had been with us in November. They had gotten back from Yakima Friday evening and had the oranges Rob/Norma had picked for us at the Orange Grove RV Park in Bakersfield on their way home. We went over to their rig at Beachwood before we went to dinner to pick them up. A big “Thank you” goes to Rob/Norma and Barb/Dennis for picking the oranges and for keeping them from freezing this past week. We appreciate all you did for us.
Dinner was at Round Table Pizza, and Richard/Sandy, his son, Joe and Joe’s wife, Lana, his daughter’s Corrine and Kelsey and granddaughter, Madeline were there. We enjoyed a great dinner and had a lot of fun and laughter catching up with everyone. Thank you Richard/Sandy for this, we enjoyed ourselves immensely.
Now the past several days had been cold and clear with the lows in the teens, highs in the 20’s. Saturday evening found us heading home in a snow storm, wind blowing and the bridges extremely slippery. It snowed about 2-3 inches last night and it is still cloudy, and it is suppose to warm up with rain in the forecast.
We don’t know when we will be heading out again. The trip home was okay. I sure hated to leave the nice sunny, warmer southland. It’s good to be back in the trees, water and mountains, and I still believe snow belongs in the mountains, but we’re here and we’ll make do while we are here. So until Chuck completes his job with the oil refinery, I’ll say, see you down the road…..Until next time, be well…..Lorraine
2/27/11 Chuck’s report
Guess you could say we are home, at least we don’t plan on traveling for awhile. We needed to be back in the area as I accepted an offer to work at the refinery for awhile, during a heavy maintenance period. My job will mostly be paperwork, handling permits and such, I will be starting tomorrow morning. I’m not looking forward to getting up early, I have to be at work before 6:00, usually I’m not even up by that time. Oh well, maybe I’ll convince myself we just traveled across a couple of time zones, especially since the sun is rising a bit earlier now too.
Last Sunday we were still in Oregon, spent two nights in Woodburn. They have a big outlet mall, a Costco, Camping World, Super Wal-Mart - - well, you get the picture. To tell the truth thought, we really didn’t need or buy much, just a few things Lorraine had been looking for and a couple of things I needed for the coach.
Monday we headed out, our planned stop for the night was at Angle of the Winds Casino RV park near Arlington, Washington, about 250 mile travel day. We had good driving conditions except for the constant traffic from Olympia, through Tacoma, Seattle, Everett and all the way to Marysville. We’ve been to lots of places in the past three plus years and I still say the traffic around Seattle is some of the worse in the nation, both the sheer number of vehicles and the way they drive. It’s always a pleasure to get out of that area and it’s traffic.
We pulled into the Casino RV park, got partially set up, went inside to register then came back and finished setting up. Lorraine checked the schedule and saw it was Crab night at the buffet, one of her favorites so we made plans to head over later. It was getting pretty cold by now, forecast was to get down to freezing. We only had 30 amp electrical service so we couldn’t run our space heater and the heat pumps, plus it would soon be too cold to run the heat pumps anyway. I set up the Hydro Hot for heating the coach, plugged in the electric space heater and turned the heat pumps off. We haven’t had to set up like this in a long time and I wasn’t too sure just how good of a job it would do keeping everything warm but away we went anyway.
We played the slots for an hour or so before we ate, Lorraine really enjoyed the crab, they feature Dungeness crab here, her favorite. I ordered a hamburger off the menu, I don’t care for seafood. After eating, Lorraine wanted to play the slots for awhile longer, I went back to check on the coach. When I got inside, I found everything to be toasty warm, in fact, it may have been too hot. But at least I was sure everything would be ok at freezing temperatures. Lorraine called an hour or so later, I went and picked her up so she wouldn’t have to walk back in the wind and cold.
In the morning we woke up to see that not only had it gotten cold but it had snowed a little bit too. We checked the weather report on the news and found we were in the area where they were predicting the most snow for the next two days, time to get outa here, that’s for sure. We quickly showered and got things put away and headed out. We only had to travel 20 miles or so before we got out of the snow and back to bare, dry roads, yea.
I had made plans to stop at Al’s RV repair in Bellingham on the way through town. We had our Hydro Hot serviced when we were in Quartzsite, Arizona in January and shortly after servicing, it developed a leak. I checked with the guy who had done our service and he suggested two places that could look at it, one being Al’s. I had talked with the service tech and he was pretty sure he knew what/where the problem was by my explanation of what I was seeing.
So we get to Al’s and talk to the tech, he was working on another rig and would get to us later. I told him once again we had to have it done today and he said he didn’t understand we were full-timers so he changed his schedule to work on it right away, whew. We had some things to take care of and they said they would call when they were done. It was only about 2 hours later they called and said they found the problem and we could come back.
Notice I said they had found the problem, not repaired it! After checking around, they found the leak to be coming from the burner chamber, basically a heat exchanger. To repair this would require taking the whole thing apart, sending the exchanger out to a radiator repair shop and reinstalling, a two day job. I’m glad they didn’t tear it apart and leave us stranded.
Anyway, we still have our leak and will schedule our repairs at a time more convenient to us. Everything works as normal, we just loose some boiler antifreeze and have to top of the reservoir every two days or so, not too bad.
We didn’t hook up the car for towing at Al’s as I knew we were stopping at Fred Meyer to fuel up and it’s always easier access in and out when we aren’t towing. After filling the fuel tanks, we headed up the freeway to our spot here at Latitude 49.
The weather forecast was for COLD temperature and high winds. I filled the fresh water tank, drained the holding tanks and put away the hoses so they wouldn’t freeze. We have 50 amp electrical service here so we made a quick trip to town and purchased another electric space heater. We got everything ready, ate the chicken soup Lorraine had made and hunkered down, the forecast was for 22F overnight.
Once again, we had no issues with the temperature overnight, the Hydro Hot and two space heaters kept us warm. My physical and drug test for work was schedule at 10:00 but I could come in earlier for the blood draw as it was a fasting (nothing to eat for the pervious 12 hours) blood test. I got there before 9, they were busy and short handed but they went ahead and did the whole physical while I was there, not just the blood draw. I actually got out of there by 10, when my original time slot was scheduled.
Our dog had gotten her stomach issue back somewhere and we needed to pick up some medicine from the vet and find a laundry with a big washer so as soon as I got back, we took off to town once again. We picked up the medicine for Misty, found the type washing machine we were looking for at our second stop and finished that task too.
After we got back, Lorraine spent a lot of time working with our health service providers on the phone and computer trying to get the correct program for this year. Sure is a hassle working with these type of programs, we only deal with them once in awhile and they aren’t very user friendly. But finally she got the information she needed and signed up for the programs that would work for us. I also had to do a health survey on line, took about 1/2 hour to do but it will make our co-pay less for the year if we fill them out.
The weather was below freezing all day but luckily the high winds they forecasted never came out, we had gusts of 20 MPH or so but nothing in the 40 MPH they had us prepare for. But it was cold for us, remember we were in Yuma just two weeks ago in shorts and sandals. Now here we are in heavy coats, hats and gloves, what a culture shock to our system.
And now the forecast was for the NE winds to continue until Sunday and the temperature to drop even further, 15F on Friday night. So once again I filled our fresh water tank, drained the holding tanks and put the hoses away. We had to make another trip into town then came back to the coach. We’ve been here for four days and haven’t even checked out the local casino, Silver Reef (or Silver Thief as it’s called by our Canadian friends) yet. So we decided to head out to try our luck at the slots. We met our friends Richard/Sandy there, they were playing their favorite slots. Lorraine managed to come out ahead but my luck was the same as it has been lately, darn. We decided to fill the gas tank on the way home, the prices have been climbing each day and wanted to fill up at the prices today rather than wait and see if they went up overnight (they did go up, almost $0.06 overnight).
We came back and settled in for another night with cold outside temperatures. And once again we were pleased with the way our Hydro Hot worked, kept up nice and warm with no problems even though the temperatures only got down to about 20F.
I will be working 10 to 12 hour shifts for the next few months and didn’t want to take our only car and leave Lorraine without any transportation while I was gone. She could drop me off and pick me up but with the early hours and such, we decided to rent another car. Boy were we in for surprise, it would be much cheaper to buy a car instead of renting. So I’ve been checking Craig’s list for the area, checking out prices and such. Saturday I made a couple of calls and we headed out to check some cars. The first one was an old ‘78 Toyota pickup, seem pretty good mechanically but the lights didn’t work, there were lots of wires hanging out under the dash and the body was in pretty sad shape. Lorraine said “What a piece of crap”, pretty much summed it up. But the price was right!
We didn’t buy it but went on to check out the second one on our list. This one was an ‘87 Dodge Aries four door car, owned by a little old lady who had just bought a new car. We met her at in a local grocery store parking lot, checked it out and decided to purchase this one. We had to make a trip to the credit unit to get some cash and met her at the licensing place to change the title into our name and get the tabs current for the year. The car runs ok but needs a good cleaning, mostly on the inside. But we are hoping it serves its purpose and gets me to/from work for the next few months. After the work period is over, we can always sell it and recoup most of what we paid, at least that’s the plan today.
We had made plans to meet Richard/Sandy and his son/daughters for pizza for dinner. After we got both cars back to the coach, we rested for a bit before heading out. The clouds were starting to move in, snow was in the forecast and this time they got it right, temperature was in the upper 20s and it started snowing. We decided to head out to see our friends in spite of the snow. We had a very good time with them and after eating we set around and visited for awhile. The drive home was a bit scary however, the road were icy and snow covered, only an inch or so of snow but enough to make it very slippery. There were a couple of cars in the ditch and of course there were some folks driving too fast (in my opinion that is) for conditions but we made it back with no problems.
We woke up this morning with it still snowing a little, just over an inch of snow on the ground but the temperature is all the way up to 34F as I write this, the highest I’ve seen in five days. The long range forecast is for slightly warmer temperatures and rain, much more Western Washington type weather that what we’ve experienced since we been back. But once again, we were in Yuma just two weeks ago and it’s still to darn cold for us. I am glad to know the Hydro Hot can still keep us warm, even at these coldest temperatures we’ve experienced since we’ve been on the road.
At this point, I usually give our schedule for the next week or so but as I’ve said a couple of times already, we are in place for the next few months, no travel plans here. I don’t think we will be posting each week either but I’ll send out our notice if'/when we do. In the meantime, “Here we are, NOT on the road”.
Hey, we need some of the Al Gore’s global warming here, send it our way, Al. Might not hurt if everyone sends warm thoughts our way too.
And now to add some pictures and get this posted.
Entering Washington, notice the clouds.
Seattle skyline, they now have two sports stadiums, one for baseball and one for football.
Another poor soul heading North.
Outside our front window on Tuesday morning, unfortunately it was a travel day.
We had to go through a few miles of this, road was very slick.
Ok, roads are bare and dry once again.
That’s white swans in the fields, they winter around here.
Now that’s more like it, sunny skies, roads bare and dry and no traffic.
This will be our home for the next few months thanks to Joe/Alice.
From the mountains to the bay.
And this is what we had yesterday afternoon.