Thursday, August 31, 2017

Day 27, Thursday, August 31, 2017 - Wheeler County RV Park, Fossil, OR, Day 5

New Upper Cabinet Lighting
Thursday, August 31, 2017 - Wheeler County RV Park, Fossil, OR, Day 5, 0 Miles, 448.2 Towing Miles For the Trip

A long day, most of which was spent inside the trailer. I now have lights in all the overhead cabinets. I had Escape pre wire the cabinets (although they or I missed the front one) so it was much easier than when I did the 17. On the other hand, there are more cabinets, and at only a few days from my 73rd birthday, I don't bend as well as I did when I wired the 17. In any case, the job is done, even the front cabinet. I still have work there - the wiring for the XM Radio needs to be routed through holes on the cabinet corners rather than out the corner of the door as it is now. I can't believe that adding lights to 7 pre wired cabinets is a full day's work, but it was.

If you look at the photo, you will notice 2 different color temperatures for the lights. I used long strips left over from adding awning lights to the 17 for the longer cabinets, and a pre made 22" strip for the rest. All are on switches; while many use contact or other automatic switches, I like to be able to leave the cabinets open with the lights off to help control temperatures in them.

While all that was going on, my slow cooker made chicken & Anasazi Brothers Cliff Dweller Bean soup. While it was good, it makes far too much for one person. I will freeze one batch, and save the other for tomorrow.

Until next time -

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Day 26, Wednesday, August 30, 2017 - Wheeler County RV Park, Fossil, OR, Day 4

Visiting Deer
Wednesday, August 30, 2017 - Wheeler County RV Park, Fossil, OR, Day 4, 0 Miles, 448.2 Towing Miles For the Trip

I didn't do much at all today. Most of it spent reading or listening to the radio. I did dig out some of the projects I have lined up for the trailer, but the only one I got done was mounting the XM Radio next to the bed. I'll probably start on the upper cabinet lighting tomorrow - all the parts are ready to go.

Last night a small herd of deer wandered through the campground. The seemed to be used to people since they didn't run off when I got out of my chair, opened the back door of the truck and got out the camera.

We now have 4 RVs in the campground - a Born Free Class C pulled into the site next to mine.

Dinner was a Bubba burger, Bush baked beans & snap peas.

Until next time -

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Day 25, Tuesday, August 29, 2017 - Wheeler County RV Park, Fossil & Shaniko, OR, Day 3

Clarno Unit, John Day Fossil Beds National Monument
Tuesday, August 29, 2017 - Wheeler County RV Park, Fossil & Shaniko, OR, Day 3, 0 Miles, 448.2 Towing Miles For the Trip

Last night was another warm evening. I kept the AC running until 8:00 or so, until it cooled below the 78°F I had it set for.

After breakfast I headed to one of the John Day Fossil Bed sites at the national monument. There are 3 sites, 2 of which I visited in 2014. This time I stopped at the Clarno location along OR 218. I stopped along the way (and way back) for a couple of old building photos. I'm glad I didn't have the trailer; lots of hills & switchbacks. I photographed one of them, but it doesn't show up all that well. I will be taking OR 19 to get to my planned next stop, Clyde Holiday State Park, which, at least on the map looks just as hilly.
After a short half mile hike at the Clarno Unit, I headed on west to Shaniko. Shaniko is described as a ghost town, but there is plenty of people living there (at least for a ghost town - it even has a working US Post Office). Lots of old buildings and a Ice Cream parlor that served a great roast beef sandwich for lunch.

On the way back I stopped for another old building, as well as what I hope is an abandoned school in Antelope, OR, another small town along OR 218.

More photos of the park & Shaniko are at today's LakeshoreImages page.

By the way, I haven't mentioned it yet, but the Verizon connection here at Fossil is one of the fastest I've had on the trip. There is no AT&T service anywhere in the area. I'm thinking of getting a Verizon pre paid non data phone just to cover the many no AT&T areas I've found. I don't like having no phone service. It is good that there is strong Verizon coverage - the only radio station is country western, not one of my favorites. I still have XM Radio, but I do like to listen to a "live" connection, and most of XM Radio is anything but. With the 20GB per month of Verizon, I can listen to on line NPR stations, including WRVO, my hometown station, and the Phoenix classical & news stations - they are even in the right time zone!

After returning to the campground i sat out and finished reading Anita Shreve's The Stars Are Fire.

Since I had lunch, dinner was simple - cheese & crackers.

Until next time -

Monday, August 28, 2017

Day 24, Monday, August 28, 2017 - Wheeler County RV Park, Fossil, OR, Day 2

The Fossil Museum
Monday, August 28, 2017 - Wheeler County RV Park, Fossil, OR, Day 2, 0 Miles, 448.2 Towing Miles For the Trip

I took a couple of photos of the sunset - the smoke turns it into a red/orange ball.

I slept late this morning, then went for a short hike on a trail behind the campground. It provides a nice view of the fairgrounds, as well as the campground. I took a photo of the fairground from the top of the hill behind the trailer and stuck a panorama at the bottom of today's photos.

After that it was breakfast, some reading, both on line & on my Kindle. I have found one annoying thing about the Kindle - you don't have the "store" color book cover or jacket, so it is more difficult to remember if you have read a title by glancing at an on line photo of the book. Still, I have to admit is is more convenient than paperback or hardcover books. (Did I say that?)

After lunch I headed to the Fossil Museum. While typical of small town museums, I did see a couple of things I've never seen before, including a gas powered iron & an early "portable" radio, and instructions for shoeing oxen (they can't stand on 3 feet like a horse). There is a school house next door.

I decided to do last night's dishes when I got back to the trailer & couldn't find the Dawn dishwashing soap. Unfortunately, I finally found it in the back of the under sink cabinet where it rolled around for the drive to Fossil, on its side, and the top cracked open. Now the most difficult mess I've cleaned up in the trailer was a bottle of olive oil that fell out of an upper cabinet & landed open on the floor of the Escape 17. Took a full roll of paper towels to clean it up. Well, the spilled Dawn is a close second! A thin layer of soap covering most of the shelf as well as the bottoms of the pans stored there. A very little Dawn goes a long way. A partially dried layer takes a lot to remove. The kitchen sink water lines added to the thrill of toweling up the mess, although it only took 1/2 a roll. At least I have clean hands!

After that I did some more reading, then cooked a chicken & apple sausage along with a refrigerator peach cup for dinner, and found a way to bungee cord the bottle of Dawn in the under sink cabinet!

Until next time -

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Day 23, Sunday, August 27, 2017 - Wheeler County RV Park, Fossil, OR

Stonehenge War Memorial, Maryhill, WA
Sunday, August 27, 2017 - Wheeler County RV Park, Fossil, OR, 130 Miles, 448.2 Towing Miles For the Trip

I headed south on US 97, a pretty drive through very dry rolling hills. I stopped at the Stonehenge War Memorial just outside of Maryhill, WA for a couple of photos. Not as nice a sky as the last time I was here, and there is graffiti on the side I wanted to take the photo from, but the wildflowers were in bloom. Lots of windmills along the way.  Photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

The plan was to head to the Burns RV Park in Condon, OR, a county park that got good reviews on RV Park Reviews. Unfortunately, while it looked like a nice place, all the sites were booked until Tuesday. I got a bit nervous about finding a site for the upcoming Labor Day weekend since all the state parks I checked were booked solid, so I went to the only commercial park in town, the Condon RV & Mobile Home Park. While they had a couple of spaces, the place didn't ring my bell. So, I continued south and stopped in Fossil, OR. A very small town, but evidently, the home of the county fair. I'm in site 4 at the Wheeler County RV Park for the next 8 nights, full hookups for $18.75 per night. Clean bathrooms with showers, and only 2 other RVs in the park. Not much shade & it is 95°F outside, but the AC works!

I drove to the Fossil Mercantile, and discovered a good, although expensive, supply of groceries. I also stopped by the Fossil Museum, chatted with attendant & a guy towing a teardrop trailer. Since the museum was closing in 10 minutes (even though they were willing to stay open while I explored) I decided to stop back tomorrow.

Dinner was a microwaved Boston Market Chicken Parmesan dinner, the only one of their dinners I like. Not as good as when it it baked, but I didn't want to fire up either the gas or electric oven.

Until next time -

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Day 22, Saturday, August 26, 2017 - Yakima Sportsman State Park, Yakima, WA, Day 4 & Mt Rainier

Mt Rainier & Reflection Lake
Saturday, August 26, 2017 - Yakima Sportsman State Park, Yakima, WA, Day 4 & Mt Rainier, 0 Miles, 318.2 Towing Miles For the Trip

While the trailer didn't go anywhere, the truck did - about 230 miles. I decided to visit Mt Rainier. While I've been there a couple of times, it just didn't seem right to be this close without stopping by. I will say that a Saturday, the week before labor day is probably not the best time to visit. Many pull offs were full, as well as the Henry M. Jackson Visitor Center parking lot. In fact, the on-the-road parking past the center was filled for at least a mile.

Still, I did stop for a few photographs even though there was no opportunity for a "T" shirt. Photos are at today's LakeshoreImages page.

This is the third time I stopped by the Reflection Lakes, and I guess you need to get there at dawn to get a calm surface. There are always enough surface ripples to blur the reflection.

On the way home I stopped to refill my grill propane tank, a 1 gallon bottle. I felt a bit guilty since the they had to get the guy from Subway to cover the cash register while the attendant went out to pump 1 gallon of propane - they probably lost as much hooking up & disconnecting the system.

Dinner was a Subway chicken sub & a Cobb salad.

Until next time -

Friday, August 25, 2017

Day 21, Friday, August 25, 2017 - Yakima Sportsman State Park, Yakima, WA, Day 3

Friday, August 25, 2017 - Yakima Sportsman State Park, Yakima, WA, Day 3, 0 Miles, 318.2 Towing Miles For the Trip

The project for the day was laundry, and making the bed. While I used to write about the difficulty of making the bed in the Escape 17, I believe making the bed in the 21 is even more difficult. I was able to reach over the entire bed in the 17, while you need to kneel on the bed to reach the head of the full size bed in the 21. Of course if you are kneeling on the bed, it is difficult to pull the sheets & blankets up. I now divide it in half lengthwise, and make it one side at a time, which works.

There is another Escape (a 19) in the campground for the night, a couple from Bellingham that are returning from watching the eclipse in Oregon. They are in one of the loops, which have more room between sites than the section I'm in. There are two loops that include sites 17 - 36, which I recommend over 1 - 16.

By the way, like all of the Washington State Parks, the bathrooms are spotless. They have individual showers in the nearest bathroom that require tokens, 2 for $1.00, which must be purchased at the entrance station, a long walk from the camping area.

That was about it for the day. I did quite a bit of reading, talked with neighbors, then called it a day.

Dinner was a sandwich of fried onions, orange peppers & left over steak, one of my favorites, along with snap peas and the rest of the Knorr Pasta Alfredo side.

Until next time -

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Day 20, Thursday, August 24, 2017 - Yakima Sportsman State Park, Yakima, WA, Day 2

Thursday, August 24, 2017 - Yakima Sportsman State Park, Yakima, WA, Day 2, 0 Miles, 318.2 Towing Miles For the Trip

I spent most of today driving around Yakima. First stop was to Allstate to pay my auto insurance bill & get new insurance identification cards. There is an advantage to a company that has offices in almost every town. Next was Walmart for some non food supplies & an ear of corn (which was excellent). Next to Toyota to get my truck's 25,000 check up. No oil change, but they rotate the tires. This is the last one that I get for free under Toyotacare. I guess I drive too much - it is for 2 years OR 25,000 miles, which ever comes first!

Next was to one of my banks. I have a back up credit card that has changed banks 3 times due to buyouts. The latest sent me email telling me they were going to send a new card. Of course it will be going to my house, where I don't plan to get to until May, 2018. I checked the local branch here in Yakima, and sure enough, my current card will be closed. They suggested waiting until the new card arrived in Oswego, then reporting it lost at a branch out here that I plan to stay near for a couple of days & have a new card issued.

After that it was back to the campground and dinner. A "T" bone steak, grilled corn on the cob, and Knorr Pasta Alfredo side.

It has finally cooled off enough to shut down the AC & fire up the Maxx fan. I much prefer the quiet! It is getting windy - the tents in the campground are dancing, and my trailer is rocking a bit.

Until next time -

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Day 19, Wednesday, August 23, 2017 - Yakima Sportsman State Park, Yakima, WA

Site 13
Wednesday, August 23, 2017 - Yakima Sportsman State Park, Yakima, WA , 237.7 Miles, 318.2 Towing Miles For the Trip

The fresh blackberries on my cereal were great. I got an early start, and was out of the park at 8:15. Most of the drive was on US 2 & US 97. I drove by the bard I photographed a couple of days age - all the cattle were gone & I didn't stop. The trailer pulled OK on the hills & passes. The transmission temperatures climbed on the way up, but dropped quickly after the climb.

I pulled into the Yakima Sportsman State Park around 2:15 & headed to my reserved site (#13). Not much like a state park; more like a commercial trailer park with the trailers on top of each other. It is full hook ups - should be at $43.25 per night! I do remember Washington State Parks as being expensive since they charge an out-of-state fee, reservation fee, and pretty steep base prices.

After setting up the trailer I headed to Safeway to buy some supplies.

I ran the air conditioner for the first time - it was 92°F in the trailer after setting up. I ran it until dinner set at 70°F and it never kicked off. I believe the thermostat that comes with the new trailer (it operates both the furnace & the AC) actually shuts off the AC when it reaches temperature. I don't know if that will be more annoying than just leaving the fan running and cycling the compressor like the Escape 17 did, but it won't make much difference for sleeping, since I've always shut it off at bedtime. Of course I haven't tried to sleep in 90°F temperatures, so we will see. Right now at 7:15 it is down to 85°F outside & 80°F in the trailer since I shut the AC off for dinner.

Dinner was fried chicken legs & thighs and Honeycrisp apple sauce from Safeway. You never know what you are going to get, but this time both the chicken & their oatmeal cookies were very good. I bought a "T" bone steak for tomorrow.

Until next time -

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Day 18, Tuesday, August 22, 2017 - Bay View State Park, Burlington, WA

Site 42, Bay View State Park, WA
Tuesday, August 22, 2017 - Bay View State Park, Burlington, WA, 66.5 Miles, 80.5 Towing Miles For the Trip

A very lonely night! No one moved into the campground so I was all alone in a 40 site campground. I even played my Navajo flute outdoors (I play so badly that I am only willing to play when no one else is listening).

I got a late start because I only had a short hop to Bay View State Park. Once I had internet & phone service, I called to see if they had sites, and there were lots of dry ones available. Unfortunately, I also called a bunch of parks in the Wenatchee area where I was planning to stay over the weekend, and there were no sites in any of them. I finally found a site in Yakima at the Sportsman State Park, a bit further than I wanted to drive, but at least it is in the direction I want to go. I can't wait until school starts & people stop camping (or at least fewer are looking for sites).

I'm in site 42, a dry site for $30.00. For those that don't like loud noises, you might look elsewhere - it seems my site (along with most of the park) is in the flight path of the local airport. Full size jets as well as small airplane traffic. At least it isn't constant...

Lots of ripe blackberries all over the park - I guess they will go well with my Honey Nut Cheerios for breakfast. Speaking of food, dinner will be a grilled chicken patty.

I tried to update my signature pictures with today's campsite photo (until a better one comes along) but at I have an interesting problem - when I try to save the new signature photo, it gives me an "unexpected error". What ever the error is, it doesn't have anything to do with the picture - it won't let me delete the old image or save any changes in any of the fields. So, if you visit you will still see the 17B towed by a RAV4...

Until next time -

Day 17, Monday, August 21, 2017 - Silver Lake Park, Maple Falls, WA, Day 5 & Eclipse

Not Total, But Pretty Neat!
Monday, August 21, 2017 - Silver Lake Park, Maple Falls, WA, Day 5, 0 Miles, 14 Towing Miles For the Trip

I wasn't sure I'd even see the eclipse since the site is nestled in tall fir trees, however it was visible through some breaks in the trees. My neighbors gave me a pair of eclipse glasses, and I had already set the D700 up with my 80 - 400 lens, stacked with 10X & 6X neutral density filters. The combination of filters let me view the sun through the viewfinder or use live view to focus, and provided usable images.

There is an interesting effect when the eclipse is near total - it creates half moon shadows. If you look carefully, you can see them in the tree branch shadows on the ground and a little on the trailer. Photos are at today's LakeshoreImages page.

As soon as the eclipse finished, the neighbors packed up & headed out. Unless someone else moves in, there is just me & a tent camper in the Red Mountain campground. Actually, the tent campers left around 2:00 so now I'm here by myself.

I decided it was time to wax the bottom half of the trailer. Much easier than the top!

I also decided to try the oven for the first time cooking a frozen pizza (which, by the way still doesn't fit in my new 6 Cu Ft 2 door refrigerator without removing the door rack). Since frozen pizzas take up a significant part of the normal grocery store freezer section (and a good part of the American diet), you would think that the designer of the refrigerator would add the last 1/2" of depth necessary, but...

Back to the oven - 1st problem - lighting the pilot light is "interesting". 2nd problem - while you can set the temperature with a dial, there is no indicator as to when the oven reaches the set temperature. I need an oven thermometer. 3rd problem - don't follow the instructions for frozen pizza, ie cook it directly on the oven rack. Lots of smoke & a burned bottom long before the top was done. Eventually I managed to get about 1/2 the 12" pizza edible. Since that is all I usually eat, no problem, but next time I'm going to move my 12" tile from the electric toaster oven to the trailer's oven, and look for a 12" pizza pan.

After dinner I saw young woman driving loops every 15 minutes around the campground. She finally stopped to talk, and said she was looking for friends. Since there is no cell service, she couldn't call them, but since no one else way in the campground, she was worried. I gave her the news that there were two other campgrounds here at Silver Lake - the Red Mountain campground I'm in is about 1/2 mile from the main part of the park & sent her off to search for her friends. I suspect they will be there - the other campgrounds are closer to the lake and have a shower house ($.75 for 6 minutes). One is dry camping; I'm not sure of the others. Red Mountain was the only one that had sites left for the weekend when I made the reservations back in late June.

Until next time -

Day 16, Sunday, August 20, 2017 - Silver Lake Park, Maple Falls, WA, Day 4

Sunday, August 20, 2017 - Silver Lake Park, Maple Falls, WA, Day 4, 0 Miles, 14 Towing Miles For the Trip

A quiet Sunday. Most of the sites were reserved through today and almost everyone left. There are 2 other sites reserved until tomorrow, and for some reason, the three sites next to me must have extended their stay for another night. They didn't look like the types that would take advantage of a campground where the park rangers don't seem to visit or check. While not the ideal place for viewing the eclipse, it it better than some.

I have seen an interesting tactic at a couple of state parks - early in the morning a vehicle will drive through looking for an empty site that still has a checkout tag for the current day. Since most state parks have late checkouts of 2:00 - 3:00, they can get a half a day in the site without reserving. I've even seen a few set up tents for a short nap, than pack up by checkout time!

That is about all that was interesting today. I spent most of it reading & chasing the sun - it was only 51°F this morning, and only got into the 60's during the day.

Dinner was the rest of the chicken meatballs & spaghetti sauce (well I also added some actual spaghetti).

Until next time -

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Day 15, Saturday, August 19, 2017 - Silver Lake Park, Maple Falls, WA, Day 3 & Mt Baker

Mt Shuksan From Picture Lake 
Saturday, August 19, 2017 - Silver Lake Park, Maple Falls, WA, Day 3 & Mt Baker, 0 Miles, 14 Towing Miles For the Trip

There are still a number of empty (but reserved starting yesterday) sites here in the campground. I do have a new neighbor in a pop up. I had a late breakfast, again spent some time moving things around, then sat outside & read for a bit. I'm back to a real book - a Nick Petrie adventure novel (Burning Bright) that was recommended by Lee Child. Pretty good so far...

After a bit I decided there wasn't going to be direct sun on the front of the trailer, so I decided to wax it. It doesn't need it for the shine (the gel coat is about as shiny as possible) but a couple of coats of wax makes it easier to remove the bug splatter. I kept going around the trailer, doing the entire top half (except for the roof - the only "ladder" I have is my 18" high ice chest). While the trailer is only 4' longer than the 17, it sure feels bigger when you are waxing it!

By the time I finished it was 3:00 so I decided to head for the Mt Baker Ski Area & Artist's Point. I stopped at the Silver Fir Forest Service campground just before the road turned steep. As usual, it was full, or at least fully booked. It takes reservations & there were a few empty sites.

I took far too many photos at Picture Lake, then drove the rest of the way to Artist's Point. Very crowded. Most of the visitors seemed to be from India. Lots of snow on the ground - many improvised sleds (as well as some people that brought real ones) sliding down one of the hills near the parking lot. I sat in the parking lot and did some rough editing of the images, and put together today's page, hoping to be able to upload it at the cell tower. There is no Verizon signal here at the parking lot, so we'll see.

Well, it started out as a very slow 1X Verizon signal, but after taking 15 minutes to upload the photos, it switched to a 4G LTE signal so the individual pages loaded quickly.

Dinner will be a Bubba Burger & baked beans.

Until next time -

Day 14, Friday, August 18, 2017 - Silver Lake Park, Maple Falls, WA, Day 2

Friday, August 18, 2017 - Silver Lake Park, Maple Falls, WA, Day 2, 0 Miles, 14 Towing Miles For the Trip

A very quiet night - no creaking floors above, no traffic, no anything! Silver Lake Park not only does not have cell coverage, but it is at the end of at least 10 miles of narrow, hilly back roads with very little traffic. There is a lake, with a couple of campgrounds & cabins that is probably a bit noisier, but it is about a half mile from Red Mountain. Since most of the reservations are for today through Sunday, there are only about 6 campers in the campground this morning & all were quiet.

After a walk around the campground loop I made breakfast. It was nice to have enough counter space to leave out the coffee pot at the same time I used the toaster! By the way, the bed (A full size permanent mattress) was very comfortable, and my concern about feeling closed in by the bathroom wall wasn't a problem. It feels very open.

After breakfast I spent some time rearranging stuff, mounting the paper towel holder & spice rack, then headed to Walmart for some missing supplies & food. The nearest Walmart is 30 miles away in Bellingham, WA (although there are closer ones in Canada but I didn't want to cross the border again). I picked up lots of stuff, including a dinnerware tray that didn't fit in the drawer. I do have to remember to write down dimensions of stuff before I shop!

After putting things away back at the trailer I made spaghetti & meatballs (pre cooked chicken meatballs) for dinner, along with a couple of glasses of "The Seven Deadly Zins" zinfandel wine, then made a reasonably steady walk around the campground. Still lots of empty sites eve though the campground if full, but people are arriving every minute.

Again, I won't post this tonight, but if the day looks clear, I'll head for the Mt Baker Ski Are & Artist's Point for a few photos. There is a Verizon tower at the ski area so I should have a connection.

Until next time -

Friday, August 18, 2017

Day 13, Thursday, August 17, 2017 - Silver Lake Park, Maple Falls, WA

The First Campground Photo of the New Escape 21
Thursday, August 17, 2017 - Silver Lake Park, Maple Falls, WA, 14 Miles, 14 Towing Miles For the Trip

Well, here it is the first day/night in the trailer & I can't tell anyone. Here at the Silver Lake campground there is no cell service, either AT&T or Verizon. I'll put the page together, and hope to post it tomorrow when I go shopping.

It was quite a day! To start with, I have one thing to point out about the Best Western/Rainbow Country Inn. They have the worst separation between floors of any motel I've been in. A beautiful building with a central atrium, indoor pool, free breakfast, etc, but you can hear every step someone in the room above makes. Not just jumping or dropping things; every step make the floor creak. 

Anyhow, the people above me didn't get up before me, so I just had to listen to them getting ready for bed the night before (I was up at 6:30AM, far too early for us retired folks. A quick shower, breakfast & check out then over to Escape for my orientation. It went well, and I was done (and the additions to the trailer were also done) by 9:45. 

Around 10:00 we headed towards the border. As usual, I managed to get in the slowest line. Somehow at grocery stores & borders that always happens to me. The trailer went through the commercial lane and even though I had a 45 minute wait, I beat the trailer to Bob's Burgers. We switched tow vehicles & I was off for my first stop - across the street to U-Haul. 

While it was much cooler than when I loaded the U-Haul in Oswego, it was still quite a job getting everything in the Escape 21. I didn't bother unpacking the boxes at U-Haul, just stuffed them in the trailer. A 14 mile drive to Silver Lake Park & the Red Mountain Campground, Site 4. I'll be here for 5 nights so I can skip the Eclipse madness. It is a water & electric site for $31.00 per night. I thought I saw showers on the campground map, but that must have been one of the other campgrounds in the park - there are 3 of them. All that is here is a rough outhouse. Glad I have the trailer! I'm also glad I have a reservation. The campground is full over the weekend, at least according to the tags on the site posts.

I spent most of the day unpacking & trying to find places for everything. The 21 is a much bigger trailer than the 17 (well obviously 4' longer) and is wider & taller, but somehow I still had a difficult time finding room for everything. I'm sure I'll adjust to the new storage locations as I settle into the trailer. Right now I'm just trying to make enough room to eat & sleep!

I'm shot - Dinner was a couple of peanut butter & jelly sandwiches (actually homemade Oswego strawberry jam) and some chips. I didn't have the energy to dig out the grill, but I now have 8 empty storage boxes. I left them next to the dumpster in case someone else can use them.

Since there is no cell coverage within 10 - 15 miles, I suspect my postings will be a bit erratic over the next week or so.

Until Next Time- 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Day 12, The Rainbow Country Inn, Chilliwack, BC

Parked at Escape Trailer Industries
Wednesday, August 16, 2017 - The Rainbow Country Inn, Chilliwack, BC, 24 Miles, 3,307.8 Miles non towing miles For the Trip

I hung around the Windmill Inn until check out time at 11:00, then headed to Sumas to cross the border into Canada. The trailer was still parked at the Sumas U Haul, a good sign. No problems crossing the border or the drive to the Best Western of Chilliwack, AKA the Rainbow Inn. It is within walking distance of Escape Trailer Industries & I stopped by to check out the new facilities. The have a showroom with each of their 4 current trailers on display. I took a few photos of the inside of the 5.0TA. Check today's LakeshoreImages page.

After checking out the showroom I headed over to the motel & checked in. A nice room for $117.20 US ($140.00 Canadian). It does have a problem that lots of motels seem to have - very few available outlets for plugging your stuff, at least near the table or bed. I did find a few motels that had a multiple receptacle extension, including a couple of USB ports on a tabletop unit, but not here. Makes it difficult to use my iPhone as a radio without killing the battery.

Dinner was a chicken wrap at the Tim Horton's next door.

Until Tomorrow -

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Day 11, Tuesday, August 15, 2017 -The Windmill Inn Motel, Lynden, WA Day 2

Downtown Lynden, WA
Tuesday, August 15, 2017 -The Windmill Inn Motel, Lynden, WA Day 2, 0 Miles, 3,283.8 Miles non towing miles For the Trip

While the Windmill Inn doesn't make the top 3 motels of the trip, it has the most comfortable bed. The room is pretty small; while there is a table, the only way to sit at it is on the bed. No where to put stuff in the bathroom - other than the toilet cover, the sink is the only flat surface & the lip is only about 1" wide. Still, it works.

I slept late, then headed to Safeway for some non refrigerated supplies for the trailer kitchen. After that I read a bunch of journals & forums, a bit of my latest book (on, horrors of horrors, a Kindle), then drove over to the Washington State Fair. I didn't take my Nikon, so the photos are all with my iPhone, but it looks much like the NY state fair, although there is more exhibits of student work, including a large Lego exhibit. Lots of booths selling just about everything, rides, and food and large tractors. Some Fair & more downtown Lynden photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

After leaving the fair I continued down main street at the suggestion of the owner of the Windmill Inn to see the main part of town. Huge hanging baskets of flowers everywhere, windmills, and false front buildings.

Dinner was an early stop at Bob's Burgers for a grilled chicken & avocado sandwich. Larger than I could eat, but excellent.

Until Tomorrow -

Monday, August 14, 2017

Day 10, Monday, August 14, 2017 -The Windmill Inn Motel, Lynden, WA

Diablo Lake, Cascades, WA
Monday, August 14, 2017 -The Windmill Inn Motel, Lynden, WA, 180.1 Miles, 3,283.8 Miles non towing miles For the Trip

A beautiful drive along WA 20. While I remember it from 1996 as a "hairy" road, it didn't seem bad at all this trip. Maybe I have more mountain roads under my belt! In any case, I stopped for a few photos along the way, including the first of snow. I believe the lake is Diablo Lake, but it could be Ross Lake - the signs at the overview seems to describe both, but the dam looks more like the one on Diablo Lake. In any case, a pretty green color that usually indicates it is glacier fed. I didn't see any glaciers, but I'll bet it is cold - the air temperature was down to 48°F as I went over the pass. A couple more photos on today's LakeshoreImages page.

After the Cascades, it was a flat drive to Sumas & Lynden, where I stopped for the day. I'm in the Windmill Inn Motel & Campground for 2 nights, after which I'll head to Canada, and the Best Western across from Escape Trailer Industries.

After checking into the motel I headed to Bellingham & the LSF Marine Supply to pick up a bottle of Meguiar's Marine Wax. While more expensive than their top automotive version and more difficult to find, I found it works better on fiberglass. Could be just my imagination, but that is what I have been using on the Escape 17 for the last couple of years & it looked new when I sold it.

Dinner was a southwest salad at McDonalds.

Until Tomorrow -

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Day 9, Sunday, August 13, 2017 -The Virginian Motel, Winthrop, WA

A Barn Along US 97
Sunday, August 13, 2017 -The Virginian Motel, Winthrop, WA, 264.7 Miles, 3,113.7 Miles non towing miles For the Trip

The Motel Oasis Inn, Moses Lake goes on my recommended list (although I only plan on using motels for the immediate future). A great breakfast, complete with a waffle maker, a nice room, oversized pool, etc.

My original plan was to take I 90 to Ellensburg, then US 97 to Pateros, switch to WA 153 to start a run across WA 20. Unfortunately, there was an accident on I 90 West that closed it before Ellensburg. So, rather than getting to Winthrop too early to check in at the Virginian Motel, I decided to take an earlier exit on I 90 that would get me to US 2 and take US 97 south towards Ellensburg. I really didn't want to go to Ellensburg, but I did want to photograph a barn that is on US 97. The last time I was here there were no cattle; it is more interesting with them (although I could do without the truck, so in one of the images I photo shopped it out).After photographing the barn I turned around and headed back towards WA 20. One good thing - notice the smoke has pretty much disappeared!

After that it was back over most of the same roads until Wenatchee, where I got to explore a new section of US 97 (not really new, I drove it during the 2014 trip). I haven't taken WA 20 since a 1996 trip, so even though staying on US 2 would have been faster, I'm still ahead of schedule, so I'm heading through the Cascade mountains & an area of Washington with strange town names. First was Twisp; I'll hit Diablo, Corkindale & Concrete tomorrow.

I'm in room 37 at the Virginian Hotel, a "resort" that has rooms, cabins, etc. It is a nice room on the second floor for $87.85. No restaurant on the premises, so I'll have to head out later to find dinner. I included a photo of a Twisp sign & my building. More barn photos, Twisp & my motel building at today's LakeshoreImages page.

Dinner was a Creamy Greens pizza at the East 20 Pizza & Beer. An excellent thin crust pizza & Alaskan Amber on tap - what more could you ask for?

Until Tomorrow -

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Day 8, Saturday, August 12, 2017 -The Motel Oasis Inn, Moses Lake, WA

Dry Falls, WA
Saturday, August 12, 2017 -The Motel Oasis Inn, Moses Lake, WA, 266.9 Miles, 2,849 Miles non towing miles For the Trip

I did enjoy my night at the Little River Motel, although while the bed in the back room was OK, if you plan to stay for any length of time I suggest adding a topper - there were some hard spots in the mattress.

I had already booked a room in Moses Lake, and planned to hang around the Little River Motel until 11:00 (check out time) but the smoke was bad enough that I left around 8:00, just after breakfast. That made my arrival time in Moses Lake far too early to check in (11:00AM). I forgot that there would be another time change between the two stops.

So, I decided to take a bit of a tour & punched Coulee City into the GPS. That added a couple of hours to the trip & let me see Dry Falls again. I stayed in the area on a 2014 trip, including a day at the city park and a couple of nights at the state park below the falls. It doesn't look and different, but I took a couple of photos anyway. They are a bit Smokey compared to the 2014 photos, but I included a panorama this time. The viewpoint still gives me a bit of disorientation standing at the end! The panorama is at today's LakeshoreImages page.

Speaking of smoke, it got very bad just across the Idaho border, then gradually cleared as I drove into Washington. It isn't gone, as obvious in the Dry Falls photos, but my eyes aren't watering.

I didn't stop at the Lenore Lake Caves along WA 17 on the way from Coulee City to Moses Lake - while interesting, they are not real caves & I already visited them last time. I don't remember WA 17 as being as rough last time, but is sure is lumpy now!

I'm in Room 107 at the Motel Oasis Inn, complete with a sofa & king size bed for $85.12. I still arrived earlier than check in time (around 1:00), but the let me in with no complaints. There is a fairly large pool outside my door - I may try to do some laps before dinner.

Dinner, well actually a late lunch, was a Subway chicken sub & my first of the trip Alaskan Amber beer.

Until Tomorrow -

Friday, August 11, 2017

Day 7, Friday, August 11, 2017 -The Little River Motel, St. Regis, MT

Smoke From Local Fires
Friday, August 11, 2017 -The Little River Motel, St. Regis, MT, 328 Miles, 2,582.1 Miles non towing miles For the Trip

There sure is a difference between Super 8 motels. The last one I was in at Murdo @ $128.00 was the second worst one of the trip (the Motel 6 in Albert Lea was the worst). The one last night at Big Timber was the best of the trip @ $133.23. For the $5.00 difference, the room was nicer, including a very relaxing Barcalounger chair, and a real waffle machine making blueberry waffles!

Today's drive along I 90 found the smoke. The web site I checked stated the smoke from the BC fires was mostly high in the air & didn't make it down to the ground, there were a number of local fires in western Montana that were producing ground smoke.

While it was noticeable in the distance even in Big Timber (the road side signs pointed out mountains that couldn't be seen), it was very heavy southeast of Missoula & around Superior. I stopped in a rest area just west of Superior and took a few photos. I never saw flames, but there were a couple of places where you could see moving columns of smoke. A few more photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

I'm staying in St Regis, which is currently upwind of the nearest fire, which is about 10 miles away. The smoke here isn't too bad, but noticeable. I'm in a 2 room cabin, #10 at the Little River Motel. A bit primitive, but very nice, complete with kitchen (including pots & pans, a full size refrigerator & two full size beds). Much more of my liking than the motels I've been staying in. The WiFi is too weak to use in the cabin, but there is a good AT&T as well as Verizon signal.

I'm not sure why, but my Mobley AT&T modem will not connect to my 1&1 ISP. It works fine for reading forums, etc and will let me post to them, but won't do an FTP connection. This has happened at every stop, so it isn't just the current tower. My Verizon Jetpack has worked fine, but since I plan to use AT&T as a back up, that is going to be a problem.

Until Tomorrow -

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Day 6, Thursday, August 10, 2017 - Super 8, Big Timber, MT

The Badlands
Thursday, August 10, 2017 - Super 8, Big Timber, MT, 312.4 Miles, 2,254.1 Miles non towing miles For the Trip

I always felt that I 10 in Texas was a long road at 878.6 miles in the state, but even though I 90 is only 554.10 miles long in Montana, it feels much longer. Maybe the preceding part in Wyoming adds to the feeling. In any case, it was a long boring drive through rolling hills & very few trees in sight.

I originally set Matilda, my Garmin, for Bozeman, MT which was about 374 miles from Gillette. At a rest stop along the way I dug out my iPad and went to to check what was available in Bozeman. All were well over $200.00. I checked out some other towns along I 90, and the Super 8 in Big Timber was about the only motel within a comfortable driving distance that was under $200.00. So, I made a reservation at the Super 8 for $133.33 for the night. I checked out the motels in Missoula where I was planning my next stop, and they were even more expensive than Bozeman. I'm now booked for tomorrow night in a cabin at the Little River Motel in St. Regis, a few miles beyond Missoula. I can't wait to see what I get for $112.20!

Speaking of Missoula, I was listening to NPR along the way, and Seeley Lake (just outside of Missoula) has so much smoke that they are evacuating the residents. I hope I can get through the smoke from the British Columbia fires, but it looks like the entire northwest is covered with it. Since I'm booked for 5 days at the Silver Lake Campground in Maple Falls, WA, it may be a smokey week!

Since I arrived at the motel early in the day, I decided to do some spreadsheet work. I keep a spreadsheet of the camping & fuel costs for many of my trips. Now I've always been one to dispute the fact that you save money buying a RV compared to staying in motels. There are plenty of reasons a RV is better, but I never believed cost was one of them. Still, since the cost of motels on this trip was higher than I expected, I sat down & did the math.

Over the 6 years I traveled in the 17B, I stayed in 1090 campgrounds with an average cost of $21.42 per night. That makes a impressive total of $23,347.80 spent on campgrounds. Now, apply that to motel stays for the same number of nights at $100.99 (the average so far on this trip) and you get $110,079.10! That would buy a pretty fancy Escape 21, even many models of Class A motorhomes! Even at the average cost of motels on my 2011 trip to pick up the Escape 17, the total for staying in motels instead of the trailer over the last 5 years would be $67,111.30, still enough for a couple of Escapes.

No photos today, so I used another one of the badlands photos from yesterday. Dinner was a chicken fried steak at the Country Skillet next door to the motel.

Until Tomorrow -

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Day 5, Wednesday, August 9, 2017 - Badlands National Park, SD & Gillette, WY

Badlands National Park
Wednesday, August 9, 2017 - Badlands National Park, SD & Gillette, WY , 296.7 Miles, 1,941.7 Miles non towing miles For the Trip

A short drive, but one with a couple of stops. The first was at the Minuteman Missile Historic Site. It is located at the exit from I 90 at the East end of the Badlands Loop (SD 240). The exhibit brought back memories of the "duck & cover" days of the 50's. A couple of photos are at today's LakeshoreImages page.

I then took the Badlands Loop through the park. I bought a National Parks Senior Pass at the entrance station. While I already have one, if it has to be replaced, you pay full price. It was $10.00 today; at the end of August it goes to $80.00. Still a good deal for the number of National Parks & Monuments I visit, but why not save $70.00?

I stopped to take a bunch of photos, including some panoramas, which seem to show off the park well. Check them out at today's LakeshoreImages page.

I wasn't even tempted to stop at Wall Drugs at the western junction of SD 240 & I 90. I had to look at the hundreds of signs all along I 90 over the last 500 miles, and I stopped a number of years ago; once is enough!

I continued on I 90 to Gillette, WY and stopped for the night. This time I used to make a reservation at the Gillette Quality Inn, the least expensive on line motel in Gillette. It seemed to work - $79.66 for a single. A nice room, and I'll be able to cook a waffle for breakfast!

By the way, the construction phase of my new Escape 21 is finished. It is now in Quality Control for final finishing and preperation. I added a page with all the photos Escape Trailer Industries sent me during the build.

Until Tomorrow -

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Day 4, Tuesday, August 8, 2017 - The Mitchell Corn Palace, Mitchell, SD

The Mitchell Corn Palace
Tuesday, August 8, 2017 - The Mitchell Corn Palace, Mitchell, SD, 383.9 Miles, 1645 Miles non towing miles For the Trip

I didn't quite make my usual 400+ miles today, but it doesn't really matter; I'm at least one day ahead, and I left a spare day or two so no rush. All of today's drive was on I 90.

I stopped at Mitchell, SD to photograph the Corn Palace. I've done it before in 1996 & 2011 , but since it changes every year, why not? A couple more photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

I did survive the night at the Motel 6, but it is far from a favorite. Tonight I tried a different number, a Super 8 in Murdo, South Dakota. Not as inexpensive as I remember from the last time I stayed in one, but that was years ago. $121.00 for a single. I'm sure I could do better making an on line reservation. Maybe I'll try that sitting outside the next motel. So far, the Red Roof Inn has been the best combination of quality & price, but there doesn't seem to be any ahead of me, at least for the next couple of days.

Dinner (For a change, I haven't been telling you what I ate every night - I'll start in earnest once I have the trailer) was a chicken sub from Subway.

Until Tomorrow -

Monday, August 7, 2017

Day 3, Monday, August 7, 2017 - Motel 6, Albert Lea, MN

The New Escape 21
Monday, August 7, 2017 - Motel 6, Albert Lea, MN, 445 Miles, 1261.1 Miles non towing miles For the Trip

Another day, another 400+ miles towards Chilliwack. I made it through Iowa, and would like to give a thanks to Iowa Dave for the invite to stay with him & Rita. The problem is I drove by his location at lunch time, and didn't want to quit early for the day. Maybe another trip!

Another mostly interstate day, on I 74, I 80, I 35, and almost to I 90, where I'll spend a couple of days. I stopped for the day at the Motel 6 in Albert Lea, MN, just across the Iowa border. Should have filled the gas tank in Iowa - gas in MN is $.20 per gallon more. The room is not as nice as either Quality Inn or Red Roof, even though it is more expensive than Red Roof at $66.51 for the night.

I posted a couple of photos of the partially finished inside of the trailer at today's LakeshoreImages page.  Everything looks to be on schedule.

That is about it for the day.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Day 2, Sunday, August 6, 2017 - Red Roof Inn, Champaign, IL

Sunday, August 6, 2017 - Red Roof Inn, Champaign, IL, 412.2 Miles, 816.1 Miles non towing miles For the Trip

I guess 400 miles is my limit for the day. I'm slowing down a bit since I was doing 500 per day on the trip to Chilliwack to pick up the 17, but I am towing a trailer this time. Speaking of the trailer, it sure doesn't put much of a load on the Tacoma. Much smaller frontage area & weight than the 17; I'm getting close to the same mileage I'd get without it (20.1 MPG).

So, today's drive was along I 71, then I 70 & I 74. Maria, my GPS gave me a tour of Indianapolis, thinking that the city streets were faster than the interstate loop (they aren't). Other than that a smooth trip.

I stopped for the day around 4:00 my time (and since I crossed into central time, only 3:00 local time) at the Champaing, IL Red Roof Inn. Quite a bit cheaper than last night's Quality Inn at $58.97, and the room doesn't look any different. Of course there won't be a waffle maker for breakfast, but I'm not sure that was worth the $87.61 difference.

I walked across the parking lot to Alexander's Steakhouse around 4:30 for dinner. It is an interesting place. Not sure if it is a chain or an individual restaurant, but in the center of the room is a 6' X 20' charcoal grill. You pick out your steak, then can either have them cook it for you or grill it yourself. Even that early there were a few customers gathered around the grill cooking steaks, burgers, toast, etc. As I said, and interesting concept.

After that it was back to the room to relax & read a few forums & blog (and, of course, post this one!)

Until Tomorrow -

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Day 1, Saturday, August 5, 2017 - Quality Inn, Brunswick, OH

Saturday, August 5, 2017 - Quality Inn, Brunswick, OH, 403.9 Miles, 403.9 Miles non towing miles For the Trip

I managed to get out of the house by 9:00AM, tossed the last minute stuff into the truck & trailer, and headed west. Much of the drive was on I 86 (the old NY 17) then I 90 & I 271. I started getting tired of driving around 4:30, asked the GPS for a motel, and ended up at the Brunswick, OH Quality Inn. The last time I stayed in a motel was in 2011, and they sure haven't gotten any less expensive! $146.58 for a single room. At least they remembered me & gave me points that I'll probably never use. I guess I'll never complain about campground prices!

Dinner was a Cobb salad at the near by Bob Evens. Not much else to report other than I did get a new batch of pictures of the trailer. They are installing appliances & finally added the wheels! I'll post some with the next batch.

Until Tomorrow -

Friday, August 4, 2017

2017-18 Trip, Getting Ready!

Not Even 1/2 Full!
Harborfest is over and I'm leaving on my "Avoid the Snow Trip" early. This trip is starting out a bit different from the last 4 or 5 - no trailer. I sold the Escape 17B, and will be picking up a new Escape 21 in Chilliwack, BC on August 17th. So, I'll be staying in motels for the first 3000 miles! I'm a wimp & refuse to go back to tenting.

I decided that since I usually travel with a fairly full truck bed (it is only 5' long in the short bed Tacoma Off Road), and I wanted to bring most of what I carried in my old Escape 17B for the new Escape 21, I'd need a trailer for the trip to Chilliwack, BC (Where I'm picking up the new trailer). I checked with the local U Haul dealer as well as the one in Sumas, WA (the nearest US town to Chilliwack, BC) and reserved the smallest U Haul enclosed trailer (a 4'X8' Cargo Trailer). Another reason for the trailer is I'm bringing a case of local upstate NY wine & 4 six packs of Bear Naked Adirondack beer for rally beer & wine exchanges. This is far too much to bring into Canada, and the Sumas IGA that provided locker rentals has closed.

One way to Sumas from Oswego is $415.00 & I have 12 days to get there. I plan to arrive in Sumas on the 16th, drop the trailer at the U Haul dealer, cross the border with the truck & spend the night at the Best Western motel across the street from Escape Trailer Industries. I have an orientation scheduled for 8:00AM on the 17th.

During the orientation they will install a pneumatic table mount, and a couple of Umbra Hooks that I brought with me, and set up the weight distribution hitch. Unlike with my 17, picked up in 2011, you can no longer import the trailer yourself, so after orientation I'll head back to Sumas. Escape will haul the trailer through customs & I'll pick it up in a parking lot, head to U Haul to transfer my stuff, then head to a campground.

While I was told the trailers don't leak, just in case, and to make it easier to move the stuff from the rental to the new Escape, I've packed as much as possible in plastic bins. I'll give them away after putting everything away in the Escape 21. I've already reserved 5 nights at Silver Lake Park in Maple Falls, WA, a short drive from Sumas, to put stuff away, check out the trailer, and avoid the solar eclipse madness (only 90% where I'll be, so it probably won't be too bad).

While I don't have a trailer to give the starting statistics, when I sold the 17B I had slept in it 1090 nights, and towed it 85,846.6 miles. If interested, here is the page I made up to sell the trailer.

For this trip, all I have is the starting mileage of the Tacoma: 20,208.

I picked up the trailer around 2:00 & spent the rest of Friday packing. Of course it was 85°F and 96% humidity. I think I lost half the trailer weight in sweat! At least the rain held off until I was done packing. The plan is to leave tomorrow morning, heading west & avoiding toll roads. I will probably end up on the interstates since I need to do more miles per day than I usually do. I'll try to start posting daily updates, but that depends on the availability of the internet & how tired I am at the end of the day. There is one more photo (of the truck & U Haul) on today's LakeshoreImages page.

Until Tomorrow -