WA: Colville – 03/23/2017 – 04/22/2017

Parking: Northeast Washington Fairgrounds
Rating: 9

Although NE Washington had an insane amount of rain this past winter, generally it’s not too wet, so we resumed the property search. It seemed a good time to look for property because anything that was flooded probably wouldn’t be something that we would want to handle. We’ve done the living-in-a-flood-plain thing, and we’re done with that.

There is not much open in the way of RV parks in the winter/early spring, but the very nice folk at the Fairgrounds let us stay there despite not being officially open. Since the water wasn’t turned on at the sites, they even gave us a nice discount (take note Evergreen Fairgrounds). It was a great location to use as a base of operations to search for property in the Tri-County area.

We were not too keen on driving the rig all over the place to look at property – especially since some of the places would probably not have RV friendly access yet, and it was too wet to ride motorcycles. We decided that we were committed to get a piece of property somewhere, so we’d get a pick-up truck. Yes, we just sold two pick-up trucks last year, but we wanted one that could be flat-towed behind the RV, that was four wheel drive, and that was relatively light – that meant a Ford F-150 (the 2017s are aluminum). My partner spent a lot of time on the phone looking for the best price – which ended up being a fleet-style truck in Snohomish (a couple miles from Monroe). Seriously? I did not want to go back over the Cascades with the RV while it was still snowy. Fortunately, he did some more calling around, and found a truck in Pasco that was a good price and not a fleet vehicle (i.e., actually comfortable). Still Pasco is a long way from Colville, and it ended up being the longest one-day drive. We have our amateur radio licenses, so on the way back, we were able to communicate despite being in separate vehicles.

We had a truck, so the property search began in earnest. There is nothing better than driving around the mountains of NE Washington – it’s beautiful and quiet with lots of wildlife. We picked out a couple of places, but with it being spring break and with Gonzaga in the Final Four (thus a good chunk of NE Washington went to Phoenix), it was hard to get folk to return calls, so we just kept looking. We eventually found a perfect location – remote but on a paved county road, close enough to town for errands but not too close, good driveway with good building sites, lots of trees, no standing water, etc. The real estate agent was at Disneyland with her grandkids, and the seller lived out of state, but this agent worked in between outings with the kids and got everything handled for us remotely.

Now we have a piece of property in NE Washington where we can build a couple of garages to store some of the toys when we’re off on a trip. But first, there’s one more big toy to buy.

WA: Monroe – 03/17/2017 – 03/20/2017

Parking: Evergreen State Fairgrounds
Rating: 5

Before heading out to Eastern Washington, we had a few more errands to do, so once again, we stayed in Monroe.

It is very bizarre being so close to our former home. One of our tasks took up about a block from the house. I wanted to stop by and have one last look at it, but I also didn’t want to be weird and creepy. Maybe if we had been in a less conspicuous vehicle, we would have done a drive-by, but since the whole neighborhood knows the rig and it’s impossible to be subtle, we ended up not going by.

The other sad part of our stay was the our favorite waiter (Billy at the Wallace Falls Cafe) had moved on to Seattle. I guess you can’t go Home again.

WA: Monroe – 02/11/2017 – 02/17/2017

Parking: Evergreen State Fairgrounds
Rating: 5

The Monroe Fairground is like our “home” park because it is very close to our former house, so it’s the area with which we are most familiar, but that does not mean it’s a great place to stay. It is next door to a fiberglass boat builder which absolutely reeks. The spots nearest to the factory are also the ones nearest to the bathroom, so there are always a bunch of people parked there. I have no idea how they can breathe those fumes for days without getting sick; we park on the opposite side as far away as possible. This time staying here was worse than usual because they had the water to the sites turned off for winter but were still charging full price (which is expensive by fairground standards).

We got our medical needs handled, picked up our mail, and ran some errands.

AL: Dothan – 12/14/2016 – 12/16/2016

Parking: Houston County Fairgrounds
Rating: 7

Dothan, AL
Lift and Tilt

As we pulled out of GA Veterans Park, the engine light came on. A quick check with the code reader said that there was something wrong with the boost sensor. The nearest Isuzu service center was in our stopover destination of Dothan, AL, so we called to find out if it was something that was safe to drive – it was but it would mean we would be going even slower than usual. Sigh. Fortunately, the route to Dothan was not on any interstates, so slow and steady was fine.

When we got to Dothan, we headed for the service center. We were hoping that we could just lift the pods at their facility, since it’s a fairly big operation to take them off. They couldn’t accommodate that, so with heavy hearts, we went to the campground. The lady there was very nice and told us it would be fine to de-pod and stay as long as we needed. Most parks do not allow truck campers to be removed, so it was a great relief to know we had a plan.

In the morning, we decided to just take a look to see what we could see before going to the trouble of removing the pods. We jacked up the living pod and tilted the cab forward. This was one of the things we had planned on being able to do, but so far, we had never done it. Once the engine was exposed, it was completely obvious what the problem was. One of those stupid squirrels at the last park had eaten the only wire insulation that was exposed. Fortunately, my partner was able to rewire it, and the whole thing was fixed in under an hour. Free and no de-podding required. Yay!

Dothan, AL
Lift and Tilt
Dothan, AL
Stupid Squirrels

ID: Lake Pend Oreille (Ponderay) – 06/04/2016 – 06/09/2016

Ponderay, ID

Parking: Bonner County State Fairgrounds
Rating: 10

Since the gas-powered outboard motor was no longer functional on the sailboat and since we weren’t sure if the Torqueedo (electric outboard) would be able to power us back up Johnson Creek, we needed to get a new motor (also, we were ready to upgrade to a 6 hp), so it was time to move to a place where there was some cell phone coverage. The Fairgrounds is a very nice RV park with treed and grassy lots and Schweitzer in the background. It was about 1/3 filled, and it seemed like all of them were either full-timers or full-seasoners. Rick called around and found a motor – back in Spokane. Grrrr. We did NOT want to be going back to Washington so soon.

The motor mount on the sailboat had been shortened by the original owner, so we needed a longer one. The workshop just had it’s first task!

The sailboat hadn’t been in the water for almost three years, and this was the first launching using the RV. The Sandpoint city boat launch was hopping for a week day; apparently everyone was getting their dry-docked boats delivered to their slips for the season. There were plenty of nerves, but all went way more smoothly than we were expecting, and we were finally in the water again.

Boating on Pend Oreille is fantastic. It’s a beautiful lake, and we had fair winds. We kept the boat at the city marina so we didn’t have to spend so much time re-rigging and re-launching. The second day, we sailed up to East Hope on the north shore to have a spot of lunch. The next morning, we planned on taking the boat out early in the day to avoid the crowds, and we ended up taking out our lighting rod just as a thunderstorm rolled through. For not having done that in years, we got it out of the water and de-rigged amazingly quickly.

Ponderay, ID

Ponderay, ID

Ponderay, ID

Ponderay, ID

Ponderay, ID

Ponderay, ID

Ponderay, ID

WA: Monroe – 05/24/2016 – 05/26/2016

Monroe, WA

Parking: Evergreen State Fairgrounds
Rating: 8

All the paperwork for selling the house has been done, and we’ve moved the whole kit and caboodle to Monroe, so we can get the last items out of the house a little easier.

The fairgrounds is very quiet as it’s midweek. It has nice bathrooms and showers, but it loses a few rating points because the fiberglass boat building place next door is STINKY; fortunately, they had plenty of space for us to move. If you ever stay here, make sure you do not reserve any of the spaces around 210 (the middle of the eastern side).