RV Trip with Di, Joe, Mist, Smoke — Summer 2018 — 5

RVing Trip — Part 5

Check-out time is the usual 11:00 am. So about 9:00 am after coffee and tea, Di and I scoot and walk back to the casino so she can get a last dose of slot machine video gaming.

10:45 am and we’re back on the road and headed north along US 101. It’s a beautiful day and traffic is comparatively light.


Usually we turn inland at Reedsport and stop at the Dean Creek Elk Viewing Area on Oregon 38 paralleling the Umpqua River. There is a year-round resident herd of 60-100 elk and a large parking area with restrooms. Pleasant to spend time watching and photographing the animals.

OR 38 leads to I-5 and from there to the Columbia River Gorge and I-84.

Today, however, we’re continuing along US 101 and enjoying the coastal road and its scenery. This takes us past the Sea Lion Caves, which we’ve seen previously, and is well worth an hour’s stop. (Just be careful crossing the highway from the parking area and take a jacket with you.)

To McMinnville

I fuel up the RV in Florence (19.00 mpg) and our RVing turns inland just after Lincoln City on OR 18 (Salmon River Highway) on our way McMinnville, OR and the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum.  (Evergreen Aviation Museum Website.)

Next to the museum is the Olde Stone Village RV Park. It is a quite nice venue and just about everything looks new. There is a paved path from the RV park to the museum and we take her scooter. We purchase tickets and enjoy some time there, deciding to come back the next day and spend another night at Olde Stone.

Upon our return to our RV there is a light rain and I unfurl the awning so Di can read and smoke at the table along side. Dinner is a pair of Subway sandwiches from a few miles up the road.

Alongside us is a trio in two vehicles plus a towed dune-buggy. They are an older couple (like us) and their adult daughter w/small dog. While mom and dad sleep in their camper, the daughter has a rooftop tent on her car for herself and the pooch.

To be continued . . .

RV Trip with Di, Joe, Mist, Smoke — Summer 2018 — 4

RVing Trip — Part 4

The next day is going to be a short trip into Oregon — North Bend, so we have no need to leave early. Feed the cats, tea and coffee, disconnect the electrical cable and we’re off.

We stop for fuel (17.35 mpg) in Eureka and head up US 101, mostly along the coast.

Trees of Mystery

Our one stop is at the Trees of Mystery tourist stop. In my opinion this is the best of the “tourist traps” along the coast. (#2 — Confusion Hill) It’s worth taking the walking tour and seeing the various trees and the skyway ride is worth the stop in and of itself (jitney ride to the skyway for those unable to walk to it). The statues of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox are a great photo-op. And Paul Bunyan talks. If you wish to spend more money, there is a large gift/souvenir shop and museum.

We’ve been here before so Di doesn’t spend much but I fix her a cup of tea and she smokes a couple of cigarettes and we’re off.

RVing Travel

Being as we only have a couple of hundred miles to travel today, I take it slow and enjoy the scenery. There are many beaches, parks and viewing areas to park and take photos or just relax a bit. A great deal of the road is tight and curvy, so take it easy.

Some days there is a great deal of traffic: bicycles, motorcycles, cars, RVs and commercial/logging trucks. This is the main highway for the coast, so the traffic is year-round. There are turnouts (which most ignore) and passing lanes, but it’s best to not be in a hurry. When you pass slower traffic, you can be sure you’ll just catch up to more slower traffic in a very few minutes.

The Mill

Our destination was the Mill Casino and Hotel/RV Park in North Bend, Oregon. Check-in was easy and our spot was close to the office. Full hook-ups, Wi-fi and TV. And Di, of course, wanted to spend most of our time in the casino playing (throwing money away) at the video slot machines. So I got out her scooter, called the shuttle and away we went.

The last time we came north, three years previous, she was still able to walk with her cane and I only had to check on her once in a while. Now, however, I have to stay with her to help her out of her scooter and into the game’s chair and the reverse when she wants to switch games.

Watching her play the games is boring in the extreme and I can’t help but add up all the money she puts in — grrrrr. The facility is not smoke-free and she smokes almost constantly. Occasionally, I’ll be able to take a break and get a breath of fresh air.

We have dinner at one of the restaurants in the casino/hotel facility and then it’s back to the machines. Somewhere around ten or eleven pm we return to the RV and the cats and then to sleep.

To be continued . . .

RV Trip with Di, Joe, Mist, Smoke — Summer 2018 — 3

RV Trip — Part 3

RVing we go — Had a leisurely breakfast, re-loaded the RV and Di and I and the cats headed for Points North. Back over the Pacheco Pass to US 101 and then through Oakland and over the Richmond Bridge rather than over the Golden Gate. Traffic to get on to the Richmond Bridge was awful but then it was back to 101 and then a bit of a drive through wine country.

The day was beautiful and the scenery as well. We stopped for fuel in Cloverdale (16.86 mpg) and took a break. Then it was back on the road.

The new by-pass was open at Willits, so we didn’t need to travel through the city and its, usually horrendous traffic backup.

If you’ve never been to Willits, the one thing I strongly recommend to do there is to take a ride on the Skunk Train. The long trip is to Ft. Bragg on the coast or you can stop half-way and return. Rec: take the long way — stay overnight in Willits or Ft. Bragg and enjoy the day.

Once past Willits it was a leisurely journey to Fortuna where we had a reservation at the Riverwalk RV Park. It’s just a few hundred feet off the freeway but we didn’t notice any traffic noise coming our way. We were the last of the day’s reservations to show and quickly found our space. Full hook-up and a nice table. I fixed some soup and noodles and, of course, a cup of tea for Di.

Rving advantage

It is quite nice to be able to fix her a fresh cup of tea whenever we stop. There is no need to enter a restaurant nor do we have to fix a thermos to last the day.

We have regular electrical outlets for her electric kettle to boil water and milk in the fridge. And, of course, biscuits and crisps in the pantry. Any place to pull over on the side of the road, rest area, gas station, parking lot or curb becomes a full-service break.

To be continued . . .

RV Trip with Di, Joe, Mist, Smoke — Summer 2018 — 2

RV Trip — Part 2

I wanted to leave around 9:30 am — after rush hour — figured we’d actually leave about 11:00 am; we succeeded in setting out on our RV trip about 12:30 pm. Traffic wasn’t bad, for a Friday but it was hot. The RV’s outside thermometer gave readings of 120°F+ on the I-405 North. We threaded our way through the traffic headed to the Grapevine and the Central Valley of California. Our AC worked fine.

Di appreciated being able to smoke in the RV. When we pulled over into a rest area/stop, she could use the RV’s toilet without having to get out into the heat and I didn’t have to get out her scooter or push her in the rollator/walker. She can no longer walk any distance (more than a couple of dozen feet, and sometimes not that far) even using the rollator/walker.


The RV’s ride was quite nice and stable and fairly “easy” to maneuver in traffic. The caveat being when one enters or exits a “driveway” — you know the steep/abrupt changes in levels from parking lot entry to street level. Go straight, the front tires (together) and then the back tires (together) rather than turning while entering/leaving (left front, right front, left rear, right rear) and the RV rides OK, but, if you are turning, the RV rocks and rocks.

The trip north was without incident but as the fuel gauge reached the 1/4 mark a warning light and message came on telling me to stop for fuel soonest. Yeah, there are still 4 or 5 or 6 gallons of diesel in the tank but warnings come on. Pulled into a Shell station off I-5 and fueled up (14.02 mpg).

The RV handled the Pacheco Pass well and on the other side the smell of garlic permeated the air.

A few minutes later we pulled into our friends’ driveway.

Moved the cats and our overnight gear inside. We shared some drinks, conversation and dinner with our friends; a pleasant evening before re-embarking on our journey the next morning.

To be continued . . .

RV Trip with Di, Joe, Mist, Smoke — Summer 2018

RV Trip — Part 1

It was towards the end of June and we were going to leave on our Summer Trip  in the next couple of weeks. I quite look forward to these trips except for one thing: hotel/motel reservations.

You see, we have a pair of cats, Di smokes and needs an ADA/Handicapped Accessible room — especially, the bathroom. We have to have a hotel/motel which accepts cats and where she can smoke — those are non-negotiable. The accessibility? Well, that ‘s on the “want” list.

Di does not want to make the reservations herself and I hate three-way conversations/negotiations between the hotel/motel, myself and my wife. I’ve done it (grumble, grumble, grumble) but . . .

It is getting increasingly difficult to find places that have rooms available for smokers and many allow dogs but not cats. In fact, two places we stayed at on our last few trips have converted to non-smoking and no cats. Neither Di nor I want to spend our trip in ten Motel 6 rooms across the country.

Well, to make a short story long, one morning in late June I dropped Di at Mimi’s in Fountain Valley to have a late breakfast/early lunch with one of her friends and took an hour and a half walk.


I passed by an RV dealer (Mike Thompson’s RV / https://www.mikethompson.com/) and began to browse — mistake. I looked at van-conversions/Class-B motorhomes. Something large enough to take me, Di and the two cats for a week or two or more and still small enough to drive around town and store in our driveway.

Found some nice ones built on a Mercedes (diesel) Sprinter chassis 20+ feet long. Seating for two or three up front, toilet, shower, cook-top, oven, sink, fridge, storage and a sofa/fold-out king/queen bed.

I phoned Di at the restaurant and she liked the idea so I brought her to the lot after lunch. Eventually, she picked a white Road-Trek Eco-Trek model (2018)/ (https://www.roadtrek.com/models/e-trek/) — the, of course, most expensive one. I’ll be paying for it beyond my currently expected expiration date — which I will do my best to extend.

Got it

I picked it up July 5th but: the kitchen sink leaked and they didn’t have the parts to fix it before we were going to leave — the next day. So, (dirty word, dirty word) we were without a working sink — the one in the bathroom was fine. Also, the bar which held up the engine hood was bent and needed to be replaced, but was adequate if you were careful.

That night and the next morning I stocked the RV with food, drink, luggage, the cats’ litter box, toilet paper. And Di’s rollator and Tzora battery-powered mobility scooter. It was quite crowded. Things had to be moved around to use the toilet or get to the sofa/bed in the back.

On Friday, July 6th, we set off for Minnesota — first stop, Bill and Artie’s (Artie and Bill’s) in Gilroy, California.

To be continued . . .