Hello, and welcome to the November 2023 Newsletter. Snowbird Season!
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I am typing this month's newsletter from below sea level in Death Valley, California. Thanks to our Starlink Internet Dish, we can camp with zero cell signal and still have a high-speed connection to the world. It's been a game changer for both our boating and RVing travels. Allowing for extended stays in remote places.
Our late fall trip to the US Southwest started November 3rd with a ferry crossing from Victoria to Port Angeles. With calm seas we were on our way to the USA in the old Coho Ferry. On the other side the border crossing only took about 5 minutes.
We arrived around 6 PM and headed to the local Walmart for groceries and supplies. In the past, we have overnighted in the parking lot. But this time, there were new signs saying no overnight stays. Out of interest, I asked about it at customer service and was told if we were staying one night, it would be fine. I guess they have had problems with RVers abusing the privilege. :(
With extended rainy weather on the horizon for the Pacific Northwest the next day, I was eager to make tracks south. I had planned several large hops via a pair of casinos for overnighting. The first was north of Portland on Interstate 5, called the Ilani Casino. But we never made it that far.
An error message intermittently appeared on the dash as we wound our way along the Hood Canal on Highway 101. It indicated a disconnection issue with the brakes, and I could feel the reduced braking power. So, of course, for safety reasons, plans changed, and we nipped into the Little Creek Casino near Shelton, Washington, to troubleshoot the issue. They have a gravel dry camping area in the back that, for $15, you can stay up to 3 nights.
The next day, I crawled under the trailer and found the issue. Over the years, the brake wiring run through the axle tube had chaffed in multiple places. The worn covering exposed bare wire, and it was intermittently shorting out. I did a temp repair to get us back on the road and later, in a drier location, performed a more permanent repair.
Once back heading south, we next stopped at the Evergreen Aviation Museum in McMinnville. One admission ticket is $22 and includes overnight stays in the large parking lot. However, one night turned into two as a significant fall storm blew through the region the next day. We hunkered down and stayed put rather than tow into the wind and pouring rain. It would have been a waste of fuel anyway.
Thankfully, the next few travel hops south were uneventful as the weather kept improving. First, we overnighted at the Seven Feathers Casino in Canyonville, Oregon. Then, down at the Camping World in Redding, California, then a friend's vineyard near Stockton. While camped at the vineyard, we rode a grape harvesting machine. Then Anne piloted a 500HP jet boat on the San Joaquin River. Big smiles!
We spent about a week at the vineyard drying out and enjoying some warmer weather before moseying our way down to another good friend's place in Mojave. Between Stockton and Mojave, we overnighted in the Harris Ranch Inn Resort parking lot. Great bakery and meat market! For Anne its known as the Cream Horn stopover.
We spent another week or so driveway surfing in Mojave, where I could do rig repairs/maintenance and begin on a backlog of product reviews. Since we were on the boat all summer, I had delayed many reviews until this winter. Stay tuned.
Now that the American Thanksgiving holiday is over, we have traveled down to Death Valley National Park. It's a perfect time of the year to visit, with mild weather and less busier than usual. We hear there maybe water still left in the Badwater Basin from a the tail end of hurricane Hilary a few months back. Should be cool to check out.