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.


Seattle RV Show and Meeting a Friend

It was exactly 22 months today that I first went to Seattle. That might not seem like so long ago, but, just think. Back then, I’d only been RVing a little over six months. I’d never had a bad accident with the rig, never been to the Yukon, never toured Vancouver Island. I was still very much at the beginning of my RVing life.

I went to Seattle to attend the Seattle RV Show, and that wound up coinciding with a trip north by reader Joan, with whom I’ve been corresponding for months about decor issues. So, we finally had a chance to meet! She had a little gift for Miranda that I will show off soon as I get my darn library chair recovered! Thanks!

The drive to Seattle this morning was blustery, but uneventful. I’m glad I arrived early since major rain was in the forecast for later in the day, so I was able to head back in daylight. I can do rain or night driving; both is a bit too much for me if I want to get home with my sanity intact.

Even with a stop for breakfast, I got to Seattle in two hours flat at 9:45. I’d bought my tickets online to get a free parking pass, so I wandered around the general vicinity of Qwest Event Centre to find the ‘north parking lot.’ I knew I was going in the right direction when I encountered very slow traffic. I just followed the column straight into the parking lot! I didn’t get parked till almost 10:30. That was a long time riding the clutch!

The show was surprisingly disappointing! There were a lot of rigs, but many were duplicates and most were towables. I think I counted a half dozen Jayco Greyhawks! There were also no vendors to speak of; what was there was mostly not RV related. I think it was  probably a good place to shop for a rig, I saw some great deals, but it wasn’t such a great place to go out and see what new RV-related products are out.

I did find a few rigs that I actually liked in terms of layout and appearance, but I don’t know about the quality. There was a Coachman model that had beautiful rustic flooring and solid wood cabinetry like Miranda. It was the first rig I’ve ever entered where I wouldn’t change anything about the factory decor! I had a chance to tour a Born Free, which is one of the top class C manufacturers. Very disappointing. I liked the knotty pine cabinetry, but that was it. The whole thing felt shoddy and was missing finishing touches. I found one A, a Winnebago I think, that I really liked. It had bunkbeds in a slide out across from the bathroom and a full bedroom in the back. Rip out the beds, put in a custom office in an armoire, and I’d be very happy!

But I am thinking of down, not up, sizing, so I spent more time looking at the truck campers. I saw some models with slides and dry baths that I really liked and could see myself in at some point down the road.

So, the show was barely worth the drive down, but the company more than made up for it. I’m hoping to make it to Joan’s neck of the woods next month and am therefore grateful that I had a chance to meet her and some of her friends.

I left Seattle around 1:30. I hadn’t thought to bring my camera and the weather wasn’t conducive to wanting to hang around and do tourism. Getting out of town was fun since I got caught in traffic going up James street. This picture illustrates what I mean by fun:

Even though I am an expert at driving with a standard transmission, I’m shocked I managed to crawl up that hill without stalling once, especially since my clutch leg was shaking by the time I cleared the top. Seattle, Montreal, and San Francisco are three cities in which I would not own a manual transmission car!

Rain started to pour around Marysville, so I pulled into the Applebee’s for a late lunch. The service was appalling, but the food was awesome, and I have a full meal left for tonight, so my $12 went far! The restaurant was surprisingly busy for mid-afternoon and I was told I’d have to wait for a table since the only free space was in the bar area. I said that’d be fine. To which the server responded “Sorry, you need to be at least 21 to sit there.” HOW YOUNG DO I LOOK PEOPLE?! I actually had to pull out ID to be able to sit in the ‘bar area’ to order a pasta lunch!

The rain didn’t let up the rest of the drive and now it’s not only coming down in sheets, there are huge gusts rocking the rig back and forth. I’m glad I got with daylight to spare. Now, a beer and a chance to review some of the information I picked up at the show!