Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Back on the road

Odometer  36771
Trip meter 229 mi- Salem, OR
                 229 mi-  Medford, OR
                 196 mi-  Corning, CA

With the end of summer, and the end of the to-do list on the house remodel (for this year), our energies turned to readying the motorhome for travel again.  

Washing the bus was the first chore.  It is the best starting place because you get to look at the whole exterior and remember all those little things you still have on the list to fix- like the radio antenna that got sheared off in - was it North Carolina?, and the door lock that needs some adjustment so you don't have to wiggle the key back and forth to get it to unlock- well you get the idea.

The next job on the list is to get the oil changed.  If you are up to date on this blog, you'll remember I last changed the oil in Jim Austin's yard last December and about 9000 miles ago.  (The recommended change interval is 11,000 miles or one year)

When we moved into our new (to us) house in August, we started robbing things from the motorhome, knowing full well that we wouldn't remember what we took- so we did an inventory and hopefully restored the can openers, wash cloths, coffeemakers, etc back to the MH.
This year we have a better idea of what we will need in the way of clothing (I think)- we'll keep you posted on that score.  Net result is that the closet isn't nearly as tightly packed as it was last year, and we have way fewer shoes.
We started closing up the house on Saturday, and by Saturday night we had shut off the water and drained the pipes, turned down the heat and were living in the motorhome.  We have a great friend who will be watching the house while we are gone and our neighbors are a keen neighborhood watch.
Monday Nov 25
We said our good-byes to our neighbors loaded the last of our food, hooked up the car and rolled out of Port Orford headed for Salem at 10:30 AM.  The weather was conspiring to hold us here- the day dawned warm and sunny- very strange for this late in November.
The route we chose was up the coast to Reedsport and then in-land on Oregon 38 up the Umpqua river to Drain, Oregon (interesting name eh?) where we catch I-5 for the home stretch through Eugene to Albany, and finally to Salem.

Odometer 36,117
We arrived at the Phoenix RV Park in NE Salem at around 4 PM.  This is a very nice RV park, and it is very conveniently located for us, midway between my brother's homes and only about 1 mile from mom's retirement center.  

We pulled into our long pull-through space and went through our complete set-up routine before un-hooking the car- which was  a big mistake, because when I went to unhook the car, our towbar would not release.  When we pulled into our space and got the bus into position for convenient hook-up to all the utilities- the car was not straight behind the bus, which puts stress on the arms of the tow bar.  

Our Roadmaster Sterling tow bar has two release handles that typically allow one to relieve the stresses and unhook regardless of the position of the two arms.  Well, when I pulled up on the release handle it broke off in my hand!

I tried having Joan start the car and move it gently back and them gently forward- all to no avail- it would not come loose.  We ended up having to unhook the water, sewer, and electrical to the MH, store the jacks and pull forward to get the tow bar to release, then back up and re-attach and re-level the MH.

We ordered a new handles from Roadmaster and had them send the handles to my brothers house here in Salem.  They installed very easily and  now the cleaned and lubed towbar is good as new.

We spent the week here in Salem to visit with Jeff's family- most especially with my mom, Judy, who is 92.  Mom lives in an apartment in a senior living center near my two brothers.

Being in Salem also gave us a chance to get into Verizon to get our new iPhone and change our calling plan over to a shared account with the iPad.  We were very pleased with the coverage that we had with Verizon on our trip around the US last year.  We experimented with Straight Talk Wireless for a couple months in July and August, but when they could not port over our main phone number to the old i-Phone we had to give that up and Verizon had no trouble at all switching over our phone number.

Tuesday November 26
Our good friends Marla and Kermit drove down from their home in Lake Oswego to have lunch with us here in Salem.  We went to a small restaurant on 17th Street that Joan discovered through Trip Advisor.  The restaurant called Word of Mouth was very popular and we had a 20 minute wait, but the food and service and the conversation were worth it!

Wednesday November 27
We spent most of the day with Jeff's mom.  Judy moved from Medford to Salem last summer.  When Jeff retired we were free to travel, and follow our dream to move to the southern Oregon coast.  We didn't want to leave Judy without family support, so we urged her to move to Salem.  
Thursday evening we joined my younger brother's family for a wonderful dinner and more great conversation.

Thursday- 28  Thanksgiving day!
Joan and I spent a fantastic day at my brother Thane's house, with family all around us.

Friday we spent the day with mom, pointedly avoiding the Black Friday crowds.  We chose to drive east of Salem about 10 miles to Silverton, where we had a very pleasant lunch at the Creekside Grill.  Saturday we grabbed mom and took a driving tour of our old haunts in Salem, starting with the home Joan grew up in, out in the south Salem hills at Vitae Springs, and the home that Joan and I built for ourselves in the early 80s on Twin Fir Lane.

Sunday December 1st
Jeff's older brother, Nick, is being installed as Worshipful Master of his Masonic Lodge, and it is a ritual that is open to visitors- so Jeff was keen to observe.  Not having any semi- formal clothes with us -Jeff ironed his best long sleeve shirt, and a pair of charcoal jeans for the occasion.  I dare say I cut a dashing figure- luckily there were several others there who were clothing challenged and I didn't stand out from the crowd.
The ceremony was steeped in ritual, and has been performed this way for 100s of years, I felt privileged to be a witness. 

Our last evening in Salem, we were invited over to my niece Adrienne's house for dinner.  Adrienne and her husband Rueben just bought a home with 16 acres in the country near Lebanon.  The house and property is a fixer-upper, and they have already begun the process of bringing this 38 year old house into the new millennium.  Adrienne fixed a wonderful dinner for us and we had a great time sitting around a roaring fire after dinner and talking and laughing.

Tomorrow Joan and I return to the open road.  We'll head south for the winter in our home with wheels!

Your traveling friends,

Jeff and Joan

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