Friday, April 13, 2012

What Do Gremlins, Hail and Smokey Have in Common?

We left Deschutes River State Park Thursday morning headed west for the final leg of our cross country trek.

After a few miles on I-84 we came to Multnomah Falls. These falls are located at a rest area right on I-84. They are the 2nd highest constant-flowing falls in the US. After a short stop we were back on the road.

I had the Gremlin, eh Garmin GPS in the RV so Joan was following me as we drove the last 50 miles to  our destination. Exit here it said. Take this road it said. Turn right it said. What! Wait a minute. You expect me to take my 40' MH pulling a 12' trailer and make an extreme right turn (an acute angle of about 1.5  degrees) onto a single lane bridge. Let's just say the turn was sharp enough that I could see the license plate on the rear of the trailer as I looked out the window during the turn. So back to Gremlin....go into this little town you said. Turn on Burton Street you said. Except Burton Street has a sign that says "No Trucks Over 40' ". So I pull into a gas station and pull out the maps to check this so called 'route'. Nope, not going to do it. But there is a return to the interstate at the next corner so we'll just go the long way. Back to I-84, south on I-205 and exit onto 224 East which is exactly where we need to be. A little longer maybe, but much easier on my soul.

About 10 miles from our stop I've ask Joan to take the lead so she can 'scout' the CG before we enter. The road follows the Clackamas River and the scenery is spectacular. Joan is probably 1/4 mile ahead of me when what to my wondering eyes should appear.....well it wasn't Santa and his reindeer. Rather it was a revolving red light in my rear view mirror. Yes folks.....almost 3300 miles from Florida to Oregon without the first little concern about old Smokey. Just 1 and 1/2 miles from our final destination and what do you know. Blip, blip, blip goes the red light. So over I go into the scenic pullout. And Smokey pulls right up to my drivers window.

Me: "Yes sir, what can I do for you today sir?"
Smokey: "Just wanted to let you know that one of the tires on your trailer looks flat. You need to check it before you have a problem.:
Me: "Yes sir, I'll do that right away sir. Thank you sir." (mama always told me to respect the fuzz)

And Smokey was right. I did have a flat tire on the trailer. So I can try to make the last 1.5 miles with 3 good wheels or just change the tire here. Let's do it here. Out come the tools. Loosen the lug nuts; place the jack; raise the trailer. Come on...raise the trailer. Raise the trailer. This is simple. Pump the little handle and raise the trailer. Well the pumping is going well but not the raising. The little 15 ton jack I bought is good for about 1.5 inches and that's it. By now 20 minutes has passed and I know Joan is starting to worry. No cell signal. Too far to call her on the handheld radio. I can hear the hungry wolves howling to their friends "Looks like we may have Florida Cracker for dinner tonight." Joan will come back for me...I hope.

Ah....there she is. So out comes the car jack and under the trailer it goes. And voila....up comes the trailer. Just as it starts to rain. Yes folks, you can't make this stuff up. And rain hard. And hail. Yes.....hail. Little white pieces of ice from the sky. We flee into the MH and decide to eat a sandwich while we wait for better conditions. About 15 minutes later the rain is gone and so is the hail. Off comes the tire, on goes the spare. Out comes the jack and we're rolling again. All 1.5 miles of the remaining distance to our home for the next 5 months. Lazy Bend Campground.

Yahoo! We made it!
Our first day in Mt Hood National Forest.
Yes that's snow on the ground. Lots cooler than Florida.

Total stats for our trip:

Miles Ocoee FL to Lazy Bend CG, OR:  3280
Fuel Ocoee FL to Baker City, OR (last fillup):  427 gallons
Fuel Mileage: 6.9 mpg averaging 65mph
Dash A/C: 4 days in Alabama
Roadside Breakdown: 3 days in Tulsa, OK (subsequently determined to have resulted from loose wire inadvertantly caused by A/C repairman)
Flat Tire: 1 hour in OR
Loss of Traction Control in car: loose vacuum hose; 15 minutes at Toyota dealer
Dogbite: torn jeans, scar to tell the grandkids about
Driving MH in snow for the first time (Cuba NM): Yahoo!
2 bad calls by Gremlin, er Garmin: we figured it out and found our way after all
Getting to know the local law enforcement personnel; Thank You officer, Yes sir officer, Right Away officer.
Getting hailed on....well you gets what you get and you makes the best of it.

So what do Gremlins, Hail and Smokey have in common? US! We're here! And we're excited to see what the next 5 months hold for us. Stay Tuned.


  1. Welcome to Oregon! Glad you made it safely. You're making me homesick talking about the Clackamas River. It's so green and treed there, unlike southern New Mexico and Texas! At least it's warm here.

    We're interested to hear about your work kamping.

  2. Traveling is always an experience...enjoy your summer!

  3. Love reading about your adventure. Happy you two have made it safe and sound. Look forward to future blogs!!

  4. One of those days you can laugh about now. . . but maybe not so much at the time. Glad you made it safely.

  5. Too funny Steve. Traveling days can really be an adventure for sure! Hope you both have a great time in Oregon.

  6. glad you made it safe and sound. Yep, this life is an "adventure", some days more than others! LOL

    Keep us updated on your work camping and exploring, that area is on our bucket list!

  7. Congrats on making it to your destination. It wouldn't be any fun if it went smooth.

  8. Glad you made it safe (except for the dog bite!) and sound!

  9. So glad you made it to your destination. Love the picture of you and Joan by the giant tree (and snow). What an interesting time you've had so far! Just think how much fun is ahead!