It's been an interesting couple of weeks. In some ways it has gone very slow and in others very fast.
We left Surrey on Friday, October 12 at 10:30. When we got to the border we chose an outside lane thinking it would be easier. They now have some lovely yellow iron posts hugging close as you come up to the booth. Well they wanted to hug us very close and had we continued to try to get our coach and tow vehicle through (which in fact we are 58' 6" long) these iron posts would have wiped out the side of our coach! Fortunately, a US Customs Agent came out to help (which apparently is not a normal occurrence). He allowed Maureen to go and unhook the Jeep and go through the Nexus lane while Larry backed up to come in straighter. They asked very few questions (probably because they wanted to be rid of us).
We stopped at a rest area just north of Marysville and were talking to another RV couple from Washington who was headed south for the winter and who should come up to us but our old neighbours, Harry and Renate Jassman. They were driving down to Seattle for the weekend in Harry's brand new 2008 Aston Martin! This thing was almost worth as much as our 40' Coach. Of course, we had to stop at Camping World (the candy store of camping) in Tacoma for a little shopping. We arrived at our campsite in Elma, WA about 6:30pm.
We spent the next two nights in a beautiful campground just East of Portland called the Portland Fairview RV Park. This park is extremely large boasting 407 RV sites. Here we paid our first visit to Home Depot (we were going through withdrawal). Monday we stopped by the Monaco Service Centre to ensure that our appointment was confirmed for Wednesday and to make sure we had a "campsite" for Tuesday night. We spent Monday night at Premier RV Resort just north of Eugene.
The main thing we were having done was the sofa bed switched out for a proper hide-a-bed, and three or four other small things. So the deal with Monaco is that if space is available you spend the nights at the "campground" - very long parking spaces that have water and electricity hook-ups. In the morning you make your coach travel ready - everything stowed safely, levels up, slides in - for when your service tech comes to pick it up at 7:30 sharp. We even had to set the alarm. Then your coach is brought back out to your spot when they quit work at 3:30. We spent a lot of hours driving around in the car. We even ended up at a mall for somewhere different to sit. By Friday afternoon they were at a place where we were waiting for the arms to be made smaller on the couch so it would fit - even though the couch arrived on Wednesday, they didn't figure out until Friday that it didn't fit. We actually drove the arms to the upholsterer to be fixed.
Friday morning we paid a visit to the Mennonite Bakery which is only open Friday and Saturday. We stocked up on bread, buns, cinnamon buns, and a loaf. Rather than wait in Eugene all weekend - they figured the couch would be ready Tuesday - we headed for the Coast just as the sun came out. The weather had been awful, very windy and torrential rains. We spent Friday and Saturday night just north of Newport. The Oregon Coast is so beautiful. We missed the worst of the winds but the surf was still very high. We stayed at a beautiful campground up on the cliff called Pacific Shores RV Resort and the nightly fee for a campground there was $50.00. The rigs that were cliff-edge the day and night of the wind had to be moved to the back of the campground. There were a few torn awnings and some even had their slides in still. The next two nights we stayed at the Mill Casino at North Bend/Coos Bay. The weather had settled in to be very nice. Larry went to the Casino for a little bit to play Keno. The shuttle came right by our campsite every 30 minutes!
From there we knew we had to get closer to Monaco again for the installation of the couch so we headed back inland and stayed the night at Sutherlin. We stayed at the Hi-Way Haven RV Park which in it's past was originally an outdoor movie theater. This park has been licensed by the Motion Picture Licensing Commission and they play nostalgic movies on the screen and you can watch these from the comfort of the front seats of your coach or you can sit outside. We had excellent Italian food at a restaurant called Pedotti's. Then we got the word that the couch was ready so we started early and headed back to Monaco. We still had to stay over another night. Because there was absolutely no road/sight that we hadn't seen in Eugene, we just hung around all day on the big comfy leather couches and read, well Maureen read, not Larry.
From there we headed to Medford and stayed at a campground called Holiday RV Park at Phoenix, OR. Beside us was a couple from Campbell River who had just begun a 3 month trip to Arizona. They couldn't believe it had taken us two weeks to get to just Medford. Oh well, we felt our trip now had truly begun. We headed out the next morning for Redding. There were some beautiful views along the way, especially Mt. Shasta. The hills were just golden with autumn leaves. While in Redding, in addition to doing laundry, we went to Lake Shasta and saw how amazing it is when the water level is very low. In summer it must be just like the Shuswap with all the houseboats on it. We then went to the Shasta Dam and had a very interesting conversation with the man who works there; comparing this dam to the Revelstoke Dam we had seen earlier this year. We really roughed it the first night - cable only - the satellite wouldn't work due to trees in the way! Larry discovered that it appears that when you move from one state to another that it takes about 5 minutes to lock onto the satellite as you have to change state and city parameters. The next night in Napa it only took 20 seconds to locate the satellite.
Sunday we headed for the Napa Valley. On the way to Napa we stopped at Corning CA at a store named the Olive Pit and we bought some olives, dressing, chocolate cherries, etc. etc. A word of caution to anyone planning on coming to the Napa Valley from the north, down Highway 29 - the most winding road we have ever seen - and all down hill at anywhere between 15mph and 25mph! Even using the Jake Brake engine compression to slow the vehicle down on hills Larry has to use the air brakes on occasion and when we got to the bottom you could smell the brakes. But it was worth it. The California map did not show any winding road however once we were on it the GPS in the coach showed some ugly corners and hairpin turns. It wasn't fun when you are 58' 6" long trying to get around some of those corners, but Larry's excellent driving got us through it unscathed. We're spending Sunday and Monday night at Calistoga at the Napa Fairgrounds. Monday we will visit several wineries in the Napa Valley.
We'll toast all of you along the way!
Maureen & Larry