Dorin feeding treats to Willy with Desanti in line for his share
Dorin on Deka working on dressage moves
Rascal and new Panda toy
Rascal and Panda waiting for me to finish and play with them
Mount Vernon RV Park, Mount Vernon, WA
Sunday, July 15, 10 am PDT
Howdy. I’m here in Mount Vernon WA about 80 miles north of Seattle. This area is a good compromise between city and rural as the countryside is all green rolling hills with Mt Baker behind and the nearby towns and cities (La Conner/Mount Vernon/Burlington/Sedro Woolley) are all quite small. I like to stop here to gear up and re-supply before heading east across the dry Washington interior east of the Cascades en route to Glacier National Park in Montana. I’ve visited PetsMart to re-supply Rascals food, treats and toys, Costco for wine, blueberries and canned diet coke, and Camping World for RV needs.
After enduring the rain in Kelso WA, I headed to the Olympic Peninsula where I hoped to visit Olympic National Park. The weather was partly sunny and rainless for a day after I arrived so Rascal and I drove to the Hoh Rainforest section of Olympic National Park where I took
some pictures of the temperate rainforest and then visited
Ruby Beach on the coast and
Lake Quinault before returning to our campground in little Elma WA. I planned to visit the mountain section of the National Park on the next sunny day, but that didn’t work out. The drive to the mountains is a very long all-day trip. Bit, since it was continuously cloudy with lots of rain from June 28th to July 3rd, I just stayed at the campground and busied myself with chores and tasks. Most importantly, I finalized all the Medicare stuff, transferring my prescriptions from my independent health insurance company to my Medicare Rx supplier. So I’m now on Medicare with significant health insurance savings and much better coverage than I’ve had since my Cobra coverage expired.
On July 4th, I spent most of the day with Dorin Meinhart, a friend of Carolyn and Bob’s whom I last visited in 2010. Unfortunately, Dorin's husband Bill was in Ohio visiting his mother so I didn't get to see him. But I did want to meet Dorin's 2 horses. So after spending time with Dorin at home with her cat Scarlett, we went to meet her horse family. Willy, a 20-yr old who’s retired from being ridden, is stabled on a farm not far from Dorin’s house in Auburn WA.
Willy spends the day hanging out with his horse friend Desanti.
They both begged for treats and enjoyed being petted. Less than ½ a mile away, Dorin stables her riding horse Deka. Deka is a Friesian, a Dutch breed descended from Medieval war horses ridden by knights of old. Deka is 10 yrs old and both he and Dorin are learning Dressage moves and routines. I took still pictures and videos of
Dorin and Deka working out on a gloriously sunny and warm (mid to upper 70’s) day. The video can be found on You-Tube at
The above is not a link. You'll have to copy and paste it into your Internet browser to watch the video. The video is 2 minutes long and is pretty boring unless you know Dorin or love fuzzy videos of horses. Annoyingly, it has an intrusive ad appearing at the bottom because I used a song on the audio track and YouTube’s policy is run ads when you add a copyrighted song to the audio track of your video. (You can click the x in the ad to close it and still watch the video with the audio track).
After Deka’s workout and wash-down, we adjourned to a little café next to a river to have lunch. I had delicious fried halibut filets and lemonade while Dorin had a deli sandwich and wine lunching on a porch overlooking the river. We had a lovely long visit and I got to spend time with Dorin’s beautiful gentle horses. Rascal didn’t come along on the visit to Dorin because I don’t like to leave him shut up in a car while I’m in a restaurant – especially in warm weather. Rascal and I were both in bed by the time the fireworks started at 9:30 pm. Rascal handled the noise much better than he did last year and slept through the second round of the fireworks from neighboring towns and Indian reservations.
On Friday July 6th we drove to La Conner WA about 80 miles north of Seattle to camp for free at the Potlatch RV Resort campground that’s a member of Resorts of Distinction (ROD), which I joined in December 2011. I’ve been impressed with the ROD parks so far, so I was looking forward to staying in this RV Park. I picked my site (#37) and set up. The first problem was that I was unable to get good sat TV reception because of trees on the south side of the park. The second problem was that the hookup electrical power went out about an hour after I hooked up. It turns out that the circuit breaker on the power pedestal melted rather than clicking off when the power drain from my coach exceeded its capacity (although I wasn’t pulling excessive power anyway). After that no power was provided from the pedestal. So I moved the coach to another site (in the same campground) with the help of some fellow campers. They recommended the new site (#49) as likely to allow good sat TV reception. But when I hooked up the power cord, there was no power. A campground employee named Bob told me the problem was that my surge protector on the power line had been burned up when the circuit breaker on site #37’s power pedestal melted instead of clicking off, thereby zapping my power connection. He showed me that the 50 amp power plug looked like it suffered some damage as well. Fortunately, when the surge protector was removed from the power line, I was able to get power from the hookup. I had installed the expensive (~$400) 50 amp RV power surge protector on the line to prevent bad power pedestals from burning up the wiring in the motorhome – so it did its job and died a noble death in service to its owner.
One of the things that I do every July in the La Conner/Mount Vernon area is take my motorhome in for its yearly service at Poulsbo RV in Mount Vernon. I had an appointment with them 3 days after the power zapping. So when I took the coach in on Monday, I asked them to check the power line for damage. They found that the 50 amp plug had to be replaced and the 50 amp to 30 amp converter that I was using at Potlatch (which doesn’t have 50 amp power) was also fried. Unfortunately, they didn’t have a 50 amp plug in stock but would have one around 10:30 am the next day – so I had to bring the coach back on Tuesday. They also told me not to plug the coach in to any hookup until the plug was replaced, so I had to run on generator power overnight.
When I returned to Potlatch RV Park, I decided to park in a site (#5) that had no RV’s on either side of it so I wouldn’t bother nearby campers with the noise of running my generator. After I was completely set up (about 40 minutes of work on a hot day), I was informed that I couldn’t park the coach where I was because the motorhome's wheels were on the grass. The site wasn’t long enough for me to park the coach entirely on the gravel pad without blocking the road, so I had to spend another hour bringing in the slides, storing the leveling jacks, detaching the water hookup, detaching the satellite setup, securing all loose items, and moving the coach back to site #49. Now while #49 is long enough (just), it is very hard to back into. It requires the help of at least one other camper and multiple back and forths to get in without hitting other RVs. Moving the coach takes at least an hour and requires a lot of bending over – making my back ache something awful in this humid climate.
So after I got hooked up in site #49, I ran the generator to fill up the house batteries so I could make it through the night without running the generator overnight. Unfortunately, I was awakened at 5:30 a.m. by the power inverter (which converts the 12 volt battery power to 120 volt house power) clicking off and on in error mode. Every time this has happened before, I have gone through the ritual of resetting the inverter, turning the inverter power off and on. It never fixes the problem; and it didn’t this time either. That meant that I had no 120 volt power, so no power to the fridge, TVs, DVD players, or computer. And I didn’t want to run the generator until after my neighbors woke up at 8 or 8:30 am. The inverter has always failed when I required it to work – that’s why I don’t boondock, i. e. camp without a power hookup. The inverter has been unreliable since 8 months after I bought the coach. So I decided to take the opportunity provided to drive the RV back to Poulsbo to be there when they opened so I could finally have a technician see the inverter while it was in chronic error mode. I’ve never succeeded in getting the motorhome to an RV service provider while the inverter was in chronic error mode because driving the coach over bumps is the only thing that actually fixes it. Obviously, there is something loose inside the sealed inverter box (it’s about the size of an old-fashioned CB radio) and the only fix is to replace the *$%#@& thing at a cost of around $1000 or more! So I took the motorhome back to Poulsbo with the inverter complaining the whole way. I got there, told them my problem, they got Jeremy (the service technician) and the minute he got to the coach, the inverter started working. Problem, what problem? Arrrggghhhh!
So there I am at Poulsbo at 8:30 am and the part isn’t due in until 10:30 at the earliest. After this kind of start, the rest of the day went about as you’d expect. At noon, the part wasn’t in yet but on the way. (I smiled because I knew that I was doomed and I didn’t expect anything better.) At 12:30, the truck arrived. I took Rascal for a walk and returned. At 1:30 pm, I was told that when they unpacked all the parts from the truck, they were all removed, EXCEPT MINE! (Smile and shrug – pet Rascal – return to reading Kindle – thank God for a good book.) So they sent a parts department employee all the way to Everett WA (60 miles south) and back to retrieve the part they forgot to unload. At 4:15 pm, they were done replacing the plug and testing the result and I could go back into my motorhome to get some FOOD to appease my stomach, which last saw food at 7 am when I had breakfast. After I had some diet coke and a few crackers and got Rascal settled, I went in to render payment and buy a new 50 amp to 30 amp converter (called a “dog bone" because of its shape) which I’d seen they had in stock yesterday. With the replacement surge protector (which I purchased at Camping World two days later for $380), the total damage done by the melted circuit breaker came to around $550 plus tax. (This time I paid $60 for an extended warranty on the surge protector so it will be replaced for free if this one gets fried within 4 years from date of purchase.)
I drove back to Potlatch to site #49 to spend the night, arriving around 5 pm. Because a large RV was now parked across from me, it was even harder to back into my spot. And after 3 RV moves in 2 days, my back ached and my legs ached and I was not a “happy camper”. I was very nervous about what would happen when I plugged my new plug and dog bone into the power pedestal. I stood guard over it off and on for an hour sniffing for burnt synthetic rubber. Now the park never offered to re-imburse me for the expense; the manager (Bob) never even said he was sorry. As far as he was concerned, stuff happens. In fact, in the days following the original zapping, campground manager Bob just hassled me repeatedly about leaving my car parked in the camping site next door, although no one was using it. He insisted I park my car outside the RV Park since there wasn’t room on hook-up site. (I had been parking my car in my hookup site each time I left so my site wouldn’t be taken while I was gone at Poulsbo. So I would parked my car in the neighboring site late at night well after new RV arrivals so it was convenient to move to my site when I pulled the motorhome out early in the morning.)
That night I decided I’d had it with the Potlatch RV Park and would move in the morning (Wednesday) to a commercial RV Park (that’s one that isn’t a membership park) that had large RV parking sites and 50 amp hookups. When I woke Wednesday, I was so tired and achy and thought maybe I’d stay at Potlatch Wednesday and move on Thursday. But no, Bob was pounding on my door at 9 am complaining again that my car was in the empty site next to me (a site that a campground employee had blocked off with a picnic table when he mowed the grass on Monday – a site no one was using, had been using, for the last 5 days even when my car was NOT parked there, because the park had loads of empty sites). So I went out the door and found that cars were parked next to most of the other RVs in the campground and Bob had elected to hassle me even though the campground he managed had damaged my RV! That was it. I was out of there as soon as a site became available for the remainder of my stay (through July 15th) at Mount Vernon RV Park, which was recommended to me by the guy with the large RV that was now parked across from me at Potlatch. So I left Potlatch RV park around 1 pm on Wednesday and moved to this lovely commercial RV Park with very good amenities and friendly staff. I have marked the Potlatch park as a no-visit-ever park on my personal campground ratings spreadsheet.
Before I left Potlatch, I said goodbye to my neighbors who’d been helpful and friendly. They told me they stay at Potlatch RV Park every year for many, many weeks and that during that time they take extra pleasure in annoying Bob because he has such a bad attitude. They thought he treated them badly because they'd refused to join ROD when he’d approached them to join. When I told them that I’m an ROD member, they were surprised that he treated me the same way. I think he doesn’t need an excuse. He just likes to hassle the campers. Exercising his managerial prerogatives. Like a third world country immigration official.
On Thursday and Friday I ran all my restocking errands. While I was gone on Friday for extended shopping, I gave Rascal his newest toy: a Panda with two large squeakers. He loves it and loves me to throw Panda so he can retrieve it or play tug of war with it.
I took some pictures on Saturday since he was being so cute.
So I have my errands done and my restocking completed. I now have all the supplies I need to make it to Montana with only the occasional grocery run. Tomorrow, Monday the 16th, I move to Othello in central WA on the Potholes reservoir, a campground with trees to provide shade in the central WA heat. It was around 100 last week in Othello, but the temp has dropped almost 10 degrees as a low pressure moves across the area. After 2-day stops near Spokane WA and Missoula MT, I’ll reach Hungry Horse MT outside the west entrance to Glacier National Park a week later on July 23. I’ll stay there for 10 days taking Rascal over Going to the Sun highway and taking pictures of wildflowers and mountains, blue streams and lovely lakes. I’ll hang my hummingbird feeders and enjoy the metallic trill from the wings of the Broad-tailed Hummingbird. The Flathead Lake cherries should be ripe and available everywhere at that time. The altitude is 3200 ft there, so I’m hoping it’s not too hot during the day. Regardless, it should be cool at night. All in all, I expect better days ahead.
That the news for now. I’ll send out another journal entry after I’ve been in Hungry Horse a week or so.