|26 May: Another road day, but the last one for a while...
Early up day, even used the alarm clock. We have a long day (222 mile) ahead of us, and about ⅓ of it will be slow going along the Oregon Coast and then inland to the Interstate. We set the alarm for six and pulled out of the campground a bit before eight. Fortunately the campground was fairly empty, but even still the number of cars and trucks parked partially in the roadway was enough to make it real obstacle course.
We headed north on US 101 thru the town of Newport. The traffic on a Tuesday morning was bad, but thankfully nothing like the weekend. North of Newport the Coast Highway offers up some gorgeous views of the Pacific. It was drizzling in Newport, but north of town the sun peeked thru the clouds and offered up some good photo ops.
We had to drive thru Lincoln City, a smaller version of Newport with traffic just as ugly. Just north of town we turned east along Oregon 18 to Oregon 22 and into Salem. To get thru Salem to the Interstate one must navigate the truck bypass. It wasn't bad, the road was wide enough and the trees trimmed. Just a lot of red (notice nobody ever calls them "green") lites.
Shortly after getting on I 5 we pulled off to top off the diesel tank at the Flying J truck stop. Carpe took 71⅓ gallons of that good stuff. It has been a while since we've filled up at a truck stop and we really missed the high volume pumps. The dollar cost of the fill really flies with one of those puppies.
A bit south of Portland we pulled into a rest stop for a driver change. Sandi took the helm just in time to navigate the shoals of Portland. Portland is an older city and Interstate 5 thru the city is not exactly a walk in the park. Traffic was fairly heavy so Sandi got a pretty good workout. At the north end of town the twin Columbia River bridges appeared and in no time we were in the State of Washington.
Lunch at a convenient rest stop and then the final thirty or so miles to the Chehalis exit. The Thousand Trails park is about seven miles east of the Interstate along wide amd well maintained local roads. We pulled up at the entrance station a few minutes after two and Ranger Dan got us checked in. Today's drive was 222 miles with an overall fuel economy of 7½ mpg.
Then the hunt begins. We're beginning to learn that a Thousand Trails reservation is nothing more than a "hunting license". Finding a site that will (a) accommodate Carpe's forty feet and (b) provide a clear, unobstructed view of the sky and satellites is a challenge. In this case we found a 30 ampere water-only site that satisfies (a) and settled in.
Once set up we hopped into Carpe Dinkum and drove into Chehalis for a Wal*Mart run. We're trying our best to eat out our food stock, and will most likely succeed. We did, however, need eggs and a few non-perishable items.
Back at the coach it was Happy Hour, dinner, and then an early bedtime. Getting up at 0600 is not our cup of tea.
Thu, 28 May: Packing, planning, and fretting...
They say getting there is half the fun. That may be thus, but we're here to tell you that preparing to go is none of the fun. We've spent the past few days doing laundry, getting the bags out of the belly, sorting what to take, and getting things ready. That included defrosting and cleaning the fridge, never a very pleasant chore.
By dinner time we had pretty much everything packed and/or ready to pack in the morning. The little bit left in the fridge, which was now in a cooler bag, made for a pretty haphazard dinner, but we survived. In the morning we'll finish the last of the eggs for breakfast and that'll be it for cooking for ten days.
We think we're ready to go...