Tuesday after we dropped my temporary copilot, Kelley off at the airport. Oh, and her huge suitcase loaded with six pairs of shoes and other stuff. She was there 13 days and wanted to be prepared she said…me,- whatever, I don’t own six pairs of shoes anymore. It was also now filled with souvenirs. Anyway, after getting back to the camper we went back to sleep for awhile. It’s crazy that in Spokane and the Northwest it starts getting light at about 430am, but we slept in for awhile because we needed to get headed towards Portland and that was way too early to be up and last a full day. The plan was to stop one night and then stay in Portland for three nights and then we both would fly out for a week. I would go see my family in NJ and Kat would go to Raleigh for work where I would join her later in the week before we returned to Portland.
So the drive started out fine, we planned a stop in the Columbia gorge along the river that separates Oregon and Washington and about an hour down the road while going up a little bit of a hill Fat Henry sputtered. I hit the gas and we didn’t accelerate, I had it floored and we were just maintaining speed. We were not too far from Spokane, but I didn’t really see much hope in finding a diesel shop that may be able to help. We got off at the next exit and pulled into a big gravel lot. Of course we popped open the hood, but like most of us nowadays unless something is leaking or on fire you are just looking at a covered engine. We do recognize the obvious, but can’t just spot or know what’s wrong. We cleaned out the air filter for kicks, know that probably wouldn’t be the cause and decided to see what happened if we continued. Nothing happened like that again before we got to our campsite, but it’s really hard to tell if the truck is having a hard time pulling when you are pulling a big load and it’s a bumpy road. The RPM’s never changed dramatically, so it was weird. But since it was ok after our stop we just hoped it was a hiccup. I was worried maybe somehow I put regular gas in instead of diesel, but I didn’t! Whew.
We stopped at a BLM campground just off the highway that is famous with windsurfers. Um, yeah, it was windy and they were having a blast. Impressive stuff and I bet you’ve gotta be really strong to do that. With no hookups and it being late we just ate dinner and went to sleep. The next morning it was easy to get going since we didn’t unhook from the truck. Next stop was Columbia Crossings RV park in Portland where we would get to meet up with our friends Julie and Casey who we met our first week on the road while we were at the RV dreams Rally in TN. I am still amazed that we met and have kept in touch with some of them who I now consider good friends. Anyway, we drove through the beautiful Columbia gorge and got setup before we went to have dinner with Casey and Julie. We have found that meeting up with RV friends can be really awesome because when you arrive, they usually offer to cook you dinner that night or the night you leave. It’s very thoughtful and really helpful. We need to remember that, but we seem to be on the move most and I think Subconsciously we plan our arrivals that way. Haha.
We enjoyed our night with Casey and Julie. The next day- Thursday we wanted to go check out the storage place that we would be leaving the camper and truck at so there would be no big surprises when we went to park it Friday before going to a hotel for the night. Our flights were early on Saturday, so that always works best. We had a small scare when the lady showed us the map thinking that we would have to parallel park, but in reality, there was so much space in front and behind our spot that it would be easy to just pull right in. We stopped in a hotel parking lot to put in the containers of DEF (diesel fuel additive that we have to have every so many miles) and then the truck wouldn’t start. Ok, so the issue we had in the highway had now reared its ugly head again in a bigger way. At least we weren’t on the highway with the camper in tow! We called our roadside assistance guy and about 45 minutes later he arrived and decided we probably just needed a jump start. That worked and after we told him about our previous experience with the sputtering and the age of the batteries he said that that was probably what it was and trecommended a place to get new ones. His explanation was that the alternator was most likely trying to do the work of the batteries and didn’t have the ability. I don’t know, but after the alternator was checked and we replaced both batteries ( in the rain on our own since it cost 100$ to have the shop do it for us!) Fat Henry was fine. I guess that really was the problem, but we do need to have the air filter and fuel filter replaced and so we ordered those on Amazon and will do those as soon as we have a place. The odometer had just turned over to 150K and we had no idea how old the batteries actually were, so it was a good idea to replace them anyway. Now we have to decide on getting the big servicing done.
Friday morning with Fat Henry feeling good we packed up gave Julie some fridge and freezer items to hold onto for us and parked everyone in the storage place. Then we went into Portland on the train with Julie. I really wanted to go to Powells bookstore and Kat and Julie were happy to go too. When we got into town we were all a bit hungry so we hit the food truck block and had some lunch. It was pretty cool to have food trucks parked all around. There were so many choices! Later that night we enjoyed a nice meal at Julie and Casey’s before ubering to our hotel at the airport and get some rest before our early morning flight.
We flew to Dallas together and then Kat went into Raleigh for a week of work and I went to Philadelphia to spend some time with my family before meeting back up with Kat in Raleigh on Thursday where we would visit our neighbors and friends for the weekend. I spent some time with my sister and mom that week. It wasn’t nice enough to take a dip in my sisters pool, but I was ready with my new bathing suit anyway. I enjoyed time with my mom walking on the beach and helping her around her house. The week went fast and before I knew it I was headed back to Raleigh. Our awesome neighbors had a party for us in Saturday and despite the rain it was a great time. We moved our 4 boxes of stuff that we had stored in a neighbors attic over to another neighbors attic. They are all so great and being there really made us want to go back after our adventure on the road is done. We have all sorts of ideas about how we want to spend our next “micro-life” and it is hard to imagine not having our home in Raleigh not be a part of that. Sunday we had to party a bit more at Kelley’s house- yeah, our life can be hard! Monday we headed back to Portland where we would spend one night before starting our move down to Klamath Falls for our month of volunteering with the Oregon Fish and Wildlife.
All was well with Fat Henry and the Shady Lady and one more evening with Casey and Julie. Our next stop was in Estacada, Oregon visiting with Tracey and Lee who were vworking at Promonotory Park. They were able to get permission for us to park next to them for a free couple nights stay and we enjoyed hanging out by the campfire at night just talking. Tracy gave us a great tour of the area and all the areas they work at locally. The fish ladder at the dam was really interesting. It allows the fish to go through pools arranged like steps and get around the dam so they don’t get all beat up going down and around the dam. Our conversations about their work experiences raised a lot of questions about exactly what we would be doing for our volunteering, it was pretty vague even though I spoke with the ranger in charge a couple of times. We were hoping we didn’t have to clean bathrooms like Tracy who finds poop on the floors in the bathrooms! Yuck! We look forward to them coming and visit us at our site later in the month along with a visit form Julie and Casey. Yay! It’s really neat to cross paths with friends in the road and share experiences. We are now headed to Klamath Falls to work at the Oregon fish and wildlife area for all of July….fingers crossed it is a good experience.