How Being Organized Can Help the Scatterbrained

In February, when I moved to Blaine and had the coffee shop nearby, I thought it would be good to bring my travel mug with me instead of using a disposable cup. But I couldn’t find the travel mug; it wasn’t anywhere in the kitchen and I wondered if I’d left it somewhere.

For the next few months, getting a new travel mug was at the back of my mind. Just a niggle. And I couldn’t help but wonder about the fate of my travel mug, that good Thermos-brand one I bought for the Chilkoot trip. But I never thought about it at a moment when I had time to think about the last time I remembered seeing it.

Last night, being unable to sleep, I decided to raid the cupboards one last time even though I’d just recently gone through them. All I could find was the stainless steel non-travel mug with tea strainer that I had bought in Inuvik.



Where I purchased the stainless steel mug with strainer because I’d bought a bunch of strong teas and didn’t like how they transferred their taste to my travel mug.

The light bulb that went on was as bright as the bat signal! I suddenly knew exactly where my travel mug was!

I grabbed a shawl and raced outside, never mind the rain and darkness. I opened up the driver’s side rear pass-through door, pulled out the water hose and  miscellaneous hook-up gear plastic drawer, grabbed the tote with the camping supplies, and voilà!

See, if I’d been disorganized, I would have had no idea where the heck I put my camping stuff after I came back from Inuvik. But because that stuff has a home, I was able to put the tote away immediately in the rush of getting back to the madness of my second Klondike summer.

I really do need to get going on my ’empty out the entire basement and inventory it’ project. 😀

Alberta Propane Prices

I went to fill the 30lb propane tank today and once again was shocked by the cost of propane in Alberta.

In the last three years, filling that thing in BC and the US has cost me between $20 and $30, with Campbell River and Blaine being at the high end of the spectrum, the Okanagan in the middle, and Surrey at the bottom. I also once filled it for almost $40 in Dawson.

Propane in Canada is sold in a price per litre and I’ve always considered the low eighties per litre to be an acceptable price.

I’ve filled up twice since I got to Alberta and hope I don’t have to get used to the price they have here (ie. that I have to stay here in definitely) because I’m going to get spoiled. Propane is 74 cents per litre, so my 35lbs costs me just shy of $18!!!!

Out of Oregon, Through Washington, and Into Idaho

I opted for an early start today since I was looking at a drive of at least 5 hours to Worley, Idaho, where I plan to sleep for a couple of nights. I decided to get fuel before leaving since all Oregon gas stations have service. What luxury! 🙂

The drive along the Oregon side of the Columbia River was smooth and splendid. I slowly pushed north into eastern Washington where emerald hills gave way to olive scrub grass.

Kennewick was tricky. It’s downhill right through town with the speed limit going from 55 to 50 to 35 with no warning, in addition to plenty of turns and lights. I opted to start off slow and quickly shifted into a lower gear. I still had to jam the brakes at one of the very last lights that turned yellow just as I entered the ‘can’t stop now!’ zone.

Lunch was had at the Sprague Lake rest area, just in time to miss a mighty two minute hail storm! The view of the valley was wide open and I enjoyed watching a colourful train snake its way east.

Spokane was zippy, but not too harrowing. I then allowed the GPS to lead me onto secondary roads that wended their way through farmland… dotted with snow.

I crossed the state line into Idaho, with my ETA being ten more minutes, and I was ready to stop. But there’s a ton of construction around the casino and my GPS got confused. It told me to go straight and turn right onto I-95. There was a sign ahead of me saying ‘casino’ with an arrow pointing straight. I could only see construction below me, so I followed the GPS and went about ten kilometres south with it continuously ‘recalculating’ but certain that I was going the wrong way. I did a legal U-turn and came back up I-95, saw a sign saying ‘casino next exit’… and ended up right where I started from! The casino wound up being the mess of construction!

There was a sign for RV parking leading to a very unlevel gravel area. It was messy to get in and I had to pick my way around debris, but I finally got Miranda squared away on a couple of levelers. Driving the toad in and out of here isn’t going to be fun. I’m pretty sure the Demptster at its worst was better than the entrance into this place!

I went down to the casino to see if I had to register (no), look at the restaurants (nothing interesting), played $4 in the slots as payment for tonight’s parking, and ran out of there because I couldn’t breathe through all the smoke! I won’t be spending much time there!

Coeur d’Alene is a full 35 kilometres away from Worley. I debated whether or not to do an internet run tonight and decided on it just so I can plan my day tomorrow.

Sprague Lake Rest Area

Sprague Lake Rest Area

Sprague Lake Rest Area

Sprague Lake Rest Area

Sprague Lake Rest Area

Sprague Lake Rest Area

train below Sprague Lake Rest Area

train below Sprague Lake Rest Area

Sprague Lake Rest Area

Sprague Lake Rest Area

Sprague Lake Rest Area

Sprague Lake Rest Area

the snowy mountains of Idaho

the snowy mountains of Idaho

Miranda on blocks, so to speak

Miranda on blocks, so to speak

that's the Coeur d'Alene casino in the distance

that’s the Coeur d’Alene casino in the distance

Chehalis (WA) to Eugene (OR)

I awoke to pouring rain that offered no promise of letting up. I try hard not to drive in those conditions, but the forecast told me that I could be camped out at the Chehalis Walmart until the end of the world. So, I took off, slowly and cautiously because of not only the pounding rain but also the wind. The worst was when the big rigs would pass me; the draft was nearly enough to send me into the ditch. It was tiring work and I pulled into each rest area I passed for a ten minute breather.

Croft advised me to take the I-205 bypass around Portland, so I was spared at least some potential trouble today. The drive into Oregon was easy, weather notwithstanding, and the rain finally let up around Salem, capital of Oregon. I was about forty-five minutes from Eugene when five cars passed me, making motions that there was something wrong with the kayak. I pulled over soon as I could to tighten the straps and went back to the rig to find that I’d locked myself out. Fortunately, I learned something from the last time I did this and had a spare set in the toad!

I made it to my friends’ place around 2 and waited patiently with a book until it was possible for me to get settled in. I’ll be here until the 17th.

Blaine to Chehalis (Washington)

I had a typical pre-departure night filled with strange dreams, with a particularly vivid one waking me up to the sound of pounding rain at 6AM. Weirdly enough, I’ve been on an ‘early’ schedule since I got to Blaine last month, with bedtime between 10 and 12 and wake up around 8. If this had been a normal morning, I would have just gotten up at six. But since I had a full day ahead of me, I plugged in the electric blanket against the chill and went back to sleep.

The rain had turned to a gentle mist when I woke up again at 8. I didn’t have much left to do since I’d taken advantage of yesterday’s warm and sunny weather to dump the tanks and load the car. I lingered over breakfast, then went out to top up the fresh water tank and put away the water hoses. I continued to putter until I saw the park manager entering the office and went to see her to finalize my stay.

I’d given a $100 deposit for power and was shocked to learn that I had used $62 worth of power this past month!!!!!!!! I didn’t even run the dehumidifier. The only explanation is that I’ve had the 12V lights blazing in the evening since I’ve been working on my embroidery project. I really do need to convert to LED, but I don’t find that LED lights up a room as well as the incandescent bulbs do.

The manager wanted to give me my refund by cheque, but I talked her into giving me cash since I wouldn’t have been able to do a deposit for four weeks.

I’ll finally mention where I’ve been staying the last four weeks: Lighthouse by the Bay RV Resort. Lovely park and well managed, with clean washrooms, a club house, and three washers. When I arrived there was a welcome package waiting for me by the door, with everything I needed to get settled in, plus tons of local info. A lot of people there are permanent residents. If I can’t afford the gas to go south next winter, I will happily consider going back there because of the affordable monthly rent, location, and lower cost of living.

I pulled out of the park at about 11 and went down to the Texaco to fill the on board propane tank. I had a third of a tank of gas left so I decided to wait to get fuel; I’d be due at about the same time I’d be glad to have a leg stretch and pee break.

It continued to rain gently as I headed south, but by the time I hit Marysville, just north of Seattle, the rain had stopped even if the clouds were still black and swollen. I saw a highway sign announcing ‘Donna’s Truck Stop’, so I figured that’d be an easy access station, which it was. I took on $125 worth of fuel at $3.76 a gallon, so 33 gallons. That put me at almost full, with more than enough to get to Eugene.

The sky continued to clear and there were patches of blue when I hit Seattle. I stuck to the centre lane and made it through the city uneventfully even with the construction. It was the same thing through Tacoma and Olympia, capital of Washington State. I saw the capitol from the highway.

I’d asked around about good options for overnighting between Blaine and Eugene and was told the Walmart in Chehalis is RV friendly and exactly halfway. Croft says that it is his first stop after the Port Angeles ferry. That was good enough for me, so that’s where I headed.

11AM departures are a pain; too early to have lunch before leaving, but arrival is too soon after lunch to make it worth stopping for food. So, I just drove straight through and had a snack on arrival at 3.

I think I may set up camp permanently at the Chehalis Walmart! What a perfect overnight stop! Besides the Walmart supercentre, there’s a Starbucks with wifi, an Applebee’s, a Home Depot, and more. I must mention my love affair with the Applebee’s chain: awesome food, cheap prices, and portions so huge I always get two meals out of my order. Since I wasn’t driving tonight, I splurged on a ginormous mojito. *hiccup*

The weather this afternoon and early evening has been gorgeous; sunny and warm. Except for a cat who got very RV sick today, it has been a perfect day. I love my life.