We left Las Vegas, Nevada for a full-time adventure in our motorhome in June 2013. That first year we discovered the northwest. 2014 saw us go from Arizona to Key West, Florida. Then up the east coast to Knoxville and back west through Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona. Our 2015 excursion, which started March 16th, will take us up to Washington and across the upper U.S. to the northeast for the fall seasonal change. Follow us!
This past Monday, September 9th,
it became apparent that something must be done with the black and gray holding
tanks on our coach. We had spent the prior 13 days in our hosts driveway in
Pasco, Washington, and the indicator lights on the coach we telling us the
tanks were near full. Paranoia set in and we were finally afraid to flush the
toilet on Sunday evening. We had a
couple of choices at this point, and we decided to move on out of the
Tri-Cities area on Monday, and continue our journey into the Columbia River
Gorge on Monday. A day sooner than planned.
I had made an appointment a week
earlier for Monday at 8 A.M. with the local Jeep dealer to have the car’s oil
changed. I was right on time getting the car to the shop and it took a couple
hours to get the job done. Janet worked on getting the inside of the coach in
position to move and she was ready to roll when I returned from the Jeep
We bid our
friends, Jeff and Amanda, farewell and hit the road about 2 P.M. It was a
wonderful couple of weeks seeing their new home, playing the local golf
courses, and seeing old friends in the area.
stop was not far from Pasco as I had made a reservation earlier in the morning
at the Umatilla, Oregon Marina and RV Park. This park is right on the Columbia
River about 30 miles south of the Tri-Cities. We checked in just before 3 P.M.
and were directed to their #1 space. This space was about 90 feet long and paralleled
the river. Since we were just going to be here overnight we decided not to
unhitch the towed Jeep. A very nice view of the river from the right side of
the coach. It took me 30 minutes to get our tanks in order!
Early to bed and early to rise
as we must have been anxious to move on down the Gorge. We had breakfast
onboard the coach and bid Umatilla a good-bye around 10 A.M. for our short 75
mile down river trip via Interstate 84 to Rufus, Oregon. Beautiful views around
every corner as we drive along the river towards Rufus.
I picked Rufus, Oregon because
it had a decent RV Park and because of its vicinity to a couple interesting
tourist stops in the Gorge. The Maryhill Museum of Art in Goldendale,
Washington and the Stonehenge replica in Maryhill, Washington. Both are
products of the early 20th century industrialist Sam Hill (May 1857 –
February 1931). I might suggest you check Wiki for Hill’s short biography. He’s
was actually a pretty interesting guy.
We went to the Stonehenge
replica first. Sam Hill built this Stonehenge replica as a memorial to the 12
men of Klickitat County that lost their lives in World War I. I found the visit
somewhat hair-raising and spine-tingling. Kind of like the feeling I had
visiting the memorials for our fallen soldiers in the Washington D.C. and Arlington,
Virginia areas. Hill built this Stonehenge on a dramatic plateau overlooking
the Columbia River Gorge. It is majestic!
About 4 miles west of Stonehenge
on Washington’s Highway 14, which is on the north side of the Columbia River,
we found the Maryhill Art Museum. This is the Sam Hill mansion that was built
as his residence in 1914. Hill died in 1931 and the residence opened as a
museum in 1940. While everything in the museum is over 100 years old, and very
enjoyable to visit, Janet and I had lunch in the modern lower-level café while
admiring the Columbia River below.
Our second day in Rufus was
spent sightseeing on the south side of the river in Oregon. We got an early
start (8 A.M.) and found the town of “The Dalles” (Pronounced dalls) 20 miles
west. We had a big breakfast at Cousin’s Restaurant and found a Chevron gas station
that was serving up diesel fuel 20 cents below other stations on the river. We
would visit them tomorrow as we leave the area as 20 cents is a fair savings on
just over 50 gallons!
We proceeded another 25 miles down-river
and west to the Town of Hood River where the main tourist attraction is known
as the Panoramic View. This was up a curvy road southeast of town. The view
encompassed the snow covered mountain peak of Mount Hood which is southeast of
Portland. The temperature was about 75 as we viewed Mount Hood in the distance.
Before we headed back to Rufus and
preparation for a “Brats & Beans” cookout the RV Park was putting on, we took
time in Hood River to find a supermarket to replenish some things. It was a
Safeway store and we were surprised to find their prices about 40% higher than
what we were paying in Las Vegas just three months ago. The mechanics of
capitalism at work.
Today is now, Saturday,
September 14, 2013, and we moved some 360 miles from Rufus, Oregon, to North
Whidbey Island, Washington this past Thursday. We departed Rufus at 8 A.M. and
stopped at that Chevron station in The Dalles about 30 minutes later. The drive
on down the Columbia River into the Portland area was beautiful and serene. The
Mighty Columbia! Traffic picked up as soon as we got to Interstate 5 North in
Portland. Yes, that is the same Interstate 5 that starts in San Diego!
The traffic was miserable all
the way through Seattle and up to Burlington, 80 miles north of Seattle, where
we turned off to the west to cross the narrowest of single lane bridges at
Deception Pass for entrance onto North Whidbey Island. Today’s drive put us
over the 4,000 miles driven mark since purchase of the motorhome. Surviving the
congested drive from Portland through Seattle also took us up a couple of
notches on the driving experience ladder. When we start down the coast later in
November we will be dodging around San Francisco but I’m looking forward to
L.A.! It couldn’t be worse than up here!
We took the time yesterday to
get out the containers with our winter clothing and make the onboard switch.
Good-bye shorts and summer golf shirts, and hello long pants and shirts,
sweaters, and jackets. We woke up this morning, Saturday, to a foggy wet marine
layer that was touching the ground. Temperature was in the 50’s and the heater
was turned on. What a contrast to 3 months ago. What a contrast to 5 days ago!
Seattle! I think it is supposed
to rain up here for 5 days starting tomorrow. That might be why I vacated the
area 38 years ago - because it’s difficult to play golf in the rain. That might
have been a poor decision also!
Staying on the line and moving
on down the road. Until next time.