Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Adventure Moves On . . .

           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 service. 

            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. 

            Our next 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. Beautiful! 
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.

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