The border crossing had a long line of vehicles...one lane for passenger cars and another for Buses, RV’s and commercial trucks...there was quite a line up to get through. Of course, the car lane was moving no problem with a number of wickets open but they only had one lane for the other so it took us a good half hour to get through. We had no problems and were soon on our way to Camping World in Burlington. We couldn't believe how smokey it was outside...there are a number of forest fires burning in the central Washington State area.
We pulled into the camping area (aka a parking lot with electrical plug-ins) just as another truck and fifth-wheel were leaving. Perfect, we’ll take that spot...it was between another Montana that looked like it was just being stored and a motorhome that also appeared to be stored. We unhitched and made a run into the Walmart in Mount Vernon, just a short distance further along the I-5. We picked up an air card for our TracFone and a few other things...beer and wine, to name a couple. A 5 litre box of chardonnay for $14.97...and it doesn’t taste too bad either!
Back home, I activated the phone, so we are now fully functioning...with our Verizon MiFi up and running as well. I checked our email and found that we had finally had received a response from BC Ferries regarding the commercial fare that we had been charged. This was their response... “Thank you for taking the time to write to us and I’m sorry for the inconsistent fares you’ve been charged at our terminals. As you’ve discovered, your vehicle is considered “commercial” by BC Ferries and will normally be charged the higher rate. Unfortunately we can not refund your previous travel; however, I requested an exemption letter on your behalf and it is approved and attached. To renew this letter in the future, just e mail your request to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please accept our apologies for the negative impression fare structure may have left you with and I hope you are able to take advantage of this exemption letter in the future.” So they are accepting the fact that we are obviously an RV/Toy Hauler but are keeping our $80.00 ... they must need the money more than we do!
Steve got the chairs out and we sat in the late afternoon sun enjoying a drink before going inside to make dinner. With no satellite or cable we watched a recorded movie and then tried to sleep...which was tough between the noise from the I-5 on one side and train tracks on the other.
We were up early Friday morning...not only because it was just too tough to sleep because of the noise but because the appointment for the fifth-wheel was at 8:00 a.m. We were at the doors a couple of minutes early and the first ones to enter as soon as they opened. We got all of the paperwork done and they said someone would be over to tow the trailer over to the service bay. Steve spent several hours with an excellent RV Tech who went through a lot of troubleshooting and tested the connections between the generator and the rig. He learned an awful lot about how the power system worked...it sure would have been nice to have been told this stuff when we had it all installed over 2 years ago! Bottom line is that it all seems to be working fine and since our issue is when using the generator (and microwave or air-conditioner) when we are boon docking, he thinks the generator is trying to charge the batteries at the same time as run the microwave/air-conditioner and the load is just too much for it. Of course, it’s working fine now as it did last winter when we were at the Camping World in Mesa...but both times we have come direct from having shore-power so the batteries are already charged up. Brad, the service tech suggested that we turn off the battery charging mode when we use the microwave/air-conditioner. Okay, that makes sense.
At one point, Brad wanted to see our manual for our surge suppressor so Steve had to open the sliders to get at the paperwork and the big slider on the door side twisted! A bolt on the cross shaft broke...thank goodness it happened when we were there! Steve watched Brad and said it was an easy fix. He turned the shaft with a pair of pliers until that end of the slider moved all the way out ...lined up the bolt holes...installed the new bolt and he was done. Another issue we had was the circuit breaker for the sliders kept cutting out stalling the large slider as it closed. Steve had already replaced it this summer. Brad said that was a common problem so he normally adds an extra circuit breaker...so we had him do it. The sliders now operate properly.
It was going on noon by the time we had paid for the service along with a bunch of other RV “goodies” from the Camping World store. We hooked up and hit the I-5 continuing south to Tulalip Casino...about a 40 minute drive. The main reason for stopping here is that there is a brand new Cabelas Store next door...and we wanted to check it out. The casino has free overnight parking in its back lot so we figured it would be a good spot to go tonight for a little gambling at the slot machines...our idea of gambling is each being given $20 to blow and once that is gone then our gambling is over.
We just relaxed for the afternoon and then about 5ish, we walked over to the casino....ah...gotta love that blast of smoke-filled air as you walk in the doors! We wandered around for a bit checking out the various slots and then we sat down and put in our $20 bills. After moving around trying to find that lucky slot...well, as usual, it didn’t take me long to be “zeroed” out. But Steve, who is much luckier than me, managed to keep above zero...winning a bit, losing a bit...but at least he was still playing. I was standing behind him watching when he won again...but this time the noise and the music kept on going and going...continuing to add credits...up to $304! Way to go Steve! Steve being Steve...the very sensible one when it comes to gambling...decided to “take his money and run”! So he cashed out, redeemed his ticket for cash and we went to the bar for a couple of drinks to celebrate before dinner. We had a really nice evening...a great start to our travels south!
It was about 9:00 Saturday morning when we walked over to the Cabelas Store. Wow, quite an impressive place! Although as far as the wildlife displays are concerned, they do not compare to the Brass Pro Shop that we went to in Calgary a couple of years ago. Nonetheless, the store is massive and Steve said he was going to walk up and down every isle...so I may want to go off on my own and we can meet up later...good idea, honey!
Two hours later, we were finished and on our way back to the trailer...I had purchased a few clothing items that were 50% off (I never can pass up a good deal!)...and Steve had nothing...how about that! Okay, he had found a few great Christmas gift ideas but decided to wait...maybe there will be a Cabelas Store in Oregon where there is no tax.
Back at the trailer, we ate our lunch and then were ready to hit the road again. With just stopping overnight, we don’t unpack the main part of the trailer...only clear the stuff that travels on the bed, so it doesn’t take long to be ready to go again.
We continued south on I-5 through Seattle...
Just on the other side of Seattle the traffic really backed up due to a van that had caught fire...
...and then through Portland, Oregon...
...and after 4 hours of driving decided to stop at the Camping World in Wilsonville. We have found that most Camping Worlds allow free overnight RV parking in their lots. Unlike the one in Burlington where there is a designated camping area with power hook-ups, this one was strictly dry camping. The woman in the store said that we could park anywhere we wanted just as long as we didn’t block any of the service bay doors.
Steve took a walk around the building and found that there was no room for us out back where everyone else was camped so decided on the only somewhat level spot along a yellow taped area...no idea why the tape was there but we wouldn’t be blocking anyone and it was relatively level compared to other spots. We got fairly level, opened the sliders and then sat outside for a drink.
It must have been a good hour since we had arrived when a fellow stopped in a truck and said that he had taped that area off because the line painters were supposed to be coming in tonight. Oh great...we have to move. So Steve took another walk around the building to recheck spots that would be suitable for us while I packed things inside so we could put the sliders in. As it turned out, a spot along the far side had opened up. It really didn’t take long and we were set up again...it was just a big inconvenience!
We woke up Sunday morning still very tired...the traffic on the I-5 doesn’t seem to ease up much during the night! We sat at the table with our coffee as the sun came up...we had a beautiful view out our back window—the sun coming up over the I-5. It was going to be another gorgeous day!
The final leg of our trip was going to be a short hour and forty minute drive to River Bend RV Resort in Harrisburg, Oregon. We arrived at the resort at about 10:45 and pulled up to the office. We were inside registering when Howard Payne (RV-Dreams.com) came in to welcome us. Although the rally doesn’t actually start until Tuesday, a number of attendees are arriving early.
We had a bit of an issue yesterday when I contacted the resort to confirm that they had a long pull-through site ready for us and they said no, we were in a 40’ back-in site (we are 66’). After sending an email to the manager expressing my disappointment since we had booked last March (we were the first to reserve a site for the rally) we received an email this morning saying that they had had a cancellation and would have a pull-through available for us...yay! Well, not only is it a long pull-through, we are also right next to Howard and Linda Payne, the hosts of the rally.
We pulled in, the cement pad is perfectly level side-to-side...bonus...and we proceeded to get all set up. It is nice to be settled in one spot for the week and have our whole house all set up. The sites are close together but have full hook-up and free wi-fi. We are also close to the conference facilities where the rally seminars, gatherings and meals are going to be.
After we got all set up, we went for a walk around the resort...Steve took a number of pictures...
The campfire pit...
The Willamette River...
The pool with a huge hot tub...
This is a picture looking towards the hotel and conference centre...our rig is down at the very end...
After dinner we went for a walk around the campground and then grabbed our chairs and joined the group of RV-Dreamers that were gathering around the community fire pit. We met five couples and enjoyed a couple of hours around the fire chatting. One couple, Gary and Sandy, are full-timing with a huge 150 lb English Mastiff dog in their coach! Ginger is a gentle “little” girl and they have actually taken out the dining table and put Ginger’s bed there so that she can look out the windows (they have long windows that come down almost to the floor)...I thought that was just too funny! As they said, they had Ginger before they started full timing....no, when Ginger passes, they will not be getting another big dog!
We called it a night shortly after 9:00...we were looking forward to a nice “quiet” sleep tonight!