Browsing "Driving"
Feb 12, 2011 -

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!

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Driving, Nice Folks, Social, Technical, Travel, USA, Washingon    6 Comments
Feb 9, 2011 -

Engine Update

Several people came up to me during the RV show to ask me what my experience has been with the Ford V-10 engine, including two who asked me if I’d ever come down a steep grade in low gear, had the check engine light go on, and found myself stalling while idling, with the engine going back to normal behaviour after sitting for a bit…

Um. Yes.

I was told that the light would eventually go off on its own after the truck had run ‘normally’ for a while, and it has, but to be prepared for it coming back on periodically with mechanics not being able to find a real problem to solve.

So it seems that what happened on the Ice Fields Parkway is ‘normal’ for a Ford V-10?!

More normality like that and I’ll return to my former opinion that Ford means ‘Found on road, dead’!!!

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Driving, Maintenance & Repair, Technical    4 Comments
Jan 31, 2011 -

Like Déjà-Vu All Over Again

Shortly after my last post I headed outside and stuck a hair dryer between the rig and the valves in the hope of thawing them out. Then, I got the car loaded with the bike and auxiliary propane tank. I was ready to deal with the kayak when Donna, who always has impeccable timing, came out to help. She got to work on my valves while I did some other prep and Ken helped me try to fill my fresh water tank.

The rig was ready by about quarter to eleven or so and I rolled down to the office to get propane. That took a bit of time since they seem to have a problem with the nozzle that screws onto the propane tank. I then went back up the hill to fetch the car and say my teary goodbyes after Donna helped me adjust my mirrors.

I gassed up at the Husky and rolled out of Osoyoos for hopefully the last time in my life at bang on noon. ETA for Tradex: 6PM.

Miranda performed well on the very sinuous highway 3A that took us through Keremeos, Princeton, and Manning Provincial Park. It’s a frustrating drive because you crawl up a mountain only to come down the other side. It got a bit slick near the top, so I inched my way down. I appreciate that the long queue behind me didn’t honk when it finally got a chance to pass me! My memories of the last time I did this are pretty fuzzy, but I know that today’s drive was very easy compared to that of two years ago!

Like last time, I ended up driving straight through. I got cell reception at Hope, so I was able to check the time and was shocked: it was 3:30 and I was less than an hour from Tradex!

We pulled in at just shy of 4:30 in waning daylight and I was quickly able to match reality to the maps I’d looked at. I parked but did not unhook just in case. Since it was still quite early, I decided to see if anyone was in at the administrative office. There was, and she knew nothing about the arrangement made for me to park here until I can move to power hookups on Thursday! I just had to say the magic words “I’ve been driving my RV all day and I just want to stop!” for her to agree to sort it out in the morning. So, I went back to the rig and moved to a flatter spot (I’m on grass), then unhooked.

It’s unusually cold here, too, and I’m going to be without power for three days. I’m therefore focusing on heat and my phantom draw exclusively. No lights, no water pump, no computer charging. So, decided that I might as well start off strong and not heat until as late as possible since I was only twenty minutes from Langley where there is a Montana’s right across from a movie theatre. I figure that it’d be safe to go back there after two years.

It’s amazing how much easier this gets every time I do it, with ‘this’ being the whole packing up and driving off after a prolonged period of being parked. It’s also amazing how different the rig is now than it was when I arrived in Osoyoos four months ago. I had to move all of half a dozen things and I was set up the same way I am when I’m parked.

The next few days are going to be manic! I have an early morning interview each day and I need to go to Surrey tomorrow to pick up some things I need for the show. I’ll post all the juicy details as soon as I can!

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British Columbia, Canada, Driving, Technical, Travel    No Comments