Chris & I have been watching with interest the predictions for the coming winter and the general consensus of the websites and prognosticators we follow is that this winter will be another El Niño year. The last time this weather pattern was in effect was the winter of 2009 and it had a pretty substantial effect on our cruising experience. The temperatures were noticeably cooler, there were far more storms, the weather windows were much shorter (making it difficult to get from one place to the next without being pummeled by wind & waves) and even protected anchorages were often very uncomfortable. We have a well found boat that is up to the challenge but can be pretty hard on human bodies (especially older ones) and Abby doesn’t like rough weather one little bit.
Since our motto is: “If it isn’t fun, do something else.” we have decided to do something else this winter. We recently purchased a 36’ Motorhome and intend to spend this winter “land yachting” and exploring many of the places in the States that are on our “bucket lists”.
The Coach is a 2000 Damon Intruder (who shall hereafter be called “Trudie”) and although it is 12 years old it is in stellar condition. It spent the majority of its life in a garage, has new tires, brakes and other stuff and, at a mere 38,000 miles is like new. Our only real change was to replace the existing mattress with the one from the trailer which is much more comfortable. We have also invested in a “car for Sandy” a cute little PT Cruiser that is a blast to drive and is already set up for towing.
|Fountain, waterfall & pond in Sequim.|
For example, finding all the controls has been a bit like an Easter egg hunt. There are two slide outs in this coach and while the control for the bedroom was right where it should be on the bedroom wall, the button to open the main salon slider took a bit of searching to locate. It was, wait for it, on the bottom of the overhead cabinet above the kitchen sink. Huh? Oddly, all of the electrical outlets are also under the overhead cabinets instead of on walls like they would be in a house.
Our first trip was a whole 19 miles to Fairview, OR. We needed some items that didn’t come with the RV and the nearest Camping World is in Fairview so it only made sense. Camping World, for those who don’t know, is to RV’ers what West Marine is to boaters…a “candy store” with merchandise specific to trailers and coaches with prices tailored to clean out your checkbook in one fell swoop. In addition to the $200 in goods we purchased on our first visit, Chris made an appointment to take “Posie” (the PT) in to have her lights wired for towing. She also needed a specialized braking system installed so when we put the brakes on in the Coach it isn’t stopping both vehicles. This little procedure took several hours and the pricetag was substantially above $1000. In addition to the shopping foray, Sandy was able to get a few games of Baja Canasta and we visited and shared dinners with our friends, Ken & Linde, two nights in a row.
For our second trip, we decided on Sequim, WA. Sequim is a beautiful little town 14 miles east of Port Angeles (where Sandy lived as a child) on the Strait of Juan de Fuca. It is about a 4 hour drive from Vancouver and once you turn onto Hwy 101 the rest of the trip is a winding two lane road along Hood Canal and through miles of old growth forest. It is one of the prettiest drives in the State (possibly in the country). Sitting in the passenger seat afforded me a bird’s eye view of the rocks under the clear, clear water in the Canal whenever there was a break in the forest. Of course, that also meant the road edge was very close and since the shoulder is pretty narrow and the vehicle is pretty wide I think I spent much of the trip leaning to my left! I am ever hopeful that by the time we leave on the BIG trip my panic button will be on a higher setting.
Once we got settled into the RV Park we spent the weekend visiting friends we hadn’t seen in much too long. Much too soon it was Monday morning and time to head for home again. A few things went wrong but nothing life threatening. We learned a lot about using the RV and came up with some ideas to make it a little more user friendly for us. That was, of course, one of the big reasons for the trip in the first place. We are both getting excited to get back into “nomad mode”.