Organizing for the Road

Food & Dishes

As during our last trip, we’ve been concentrating on better organization in the Navion, inside and out. Some of the criteria we’ve developed are:

  • Is the item really necessary?
  • How often and when is the item likely to be needed?
  • Can the item be stored in way that makes it easy to access? Can the item’s location minimize kneeling, bending over and long reaches? Can supplies be stored in different containers?
  • Can storage be organized so that heavier items are lower and closer to the vehicle’s center?

The first thing we did was reduce the amount of clothing we take. Since we are going to both cool and warm climates, we began with layers. For example, I bought a couple of pair of casual outdoor pants at Cabela’s last trip that work well for this. We also left at home different colors of the same item (I know, glamping).

We also expanded the tools that work with our Ryobi 18V system. I added a drill to go with the two types of fans that help even when we’re connected to shore power.

All of the gear we will use in Arizona, and Navion equipment we might need went into the compartment underneath the slide, which requires a kneeler to access even when the slide is in. We have four watertight clear plastic bins that work exceptionally well for this. Before we left, I replaced the lifters on three compartments that didn’t open as high as they should.

Most things in boxes now go into plastic zip bags. The pod coffee maker went onto a small table to get it out of the way when using our small cooking area. We now use wooden trays at mealtime instead of the factory dining table (so much less bother, and they save our backs, too.)

Not to be last, but I now use some small carry-alls from Cabela’s to separately store the hand tools, electrical tools, and fasteners/adhesives. The bags expand and contract as necessary and squish into their spaces.

On the horizon are more opportunities to organize. I’ve never met a camp store I didn’t like!

Quiet, at last

Reading in the woods

From the banks of the Columbia to Curlew Lake, Chewelah, Missoula, and (finally) Placid Lake SP, Montana. Good road and great weather.

Along the top of Washington and Idaho we stopped to see sister Sally, and Terri (and Jim), the breeder of Jamie and Peaches. Sally brought us a most excellent lunch while we moochdocked near the city park.

Missoula has great vibes, despite the folks camping next to us at the KOA. The canines enjoyed the dog parks and we relaxed a bit. On our way out of town we stopped at Cabela’s for a wee bit of clothes and gear. We also stocked up on dark roast pods at City Brew.

We camped at Placid Lake last year and decided on four days this time. Large sites, quiet, the lake, and dog swimming. Also just one or two bars of mobile. Life is good.

Day 2 – Daroga State Park

A 5 Star Park

After a stop at the Sprinter shop in Lynnwood for some needed scheduled maintenance, we detoured around the fire on US 2 and are camped in one of the nicest state parks we’ve ever seen. Wide sites, quiet and scenic.

We did some rearranging of the canine supplies after breakfast and a nice mile stroll to check out the beach. Peaches was really on point as we came closer to the water.

On the Road Again

We departed home yesterday, connecting with the PT-Coupeville boat and onboard in fifteen minutes! The Ferry Princess was shining on us.

We stopped in Burlington for a quartermaster task, then found a nice RV park in Bothell. Pull-through amongst the primarily Class A’s and fifth wheels. Wonderful place to stay while in Seattle.

Coupeville Ferry

We’re now waiting for some maintenance at the Sprinter service shop in Lynnwood, then over Snoqualmie Pass to Ellensburg for tonight. My RLS requires serious task balancing, so we’re taking it easy this trip. Our Tollers, Jamie and Peaches, have fallen right into their travel mode and are so well behaved.

Salt Lake City

As you can see, the K9 park at the Salt Lake City KOA meets with Jamie’s approval. And Kinnon, too. In addition to the dog area, there is access to the walking trail along the Jordan River.

Jamie

We have stayed here a couple of times before, and enjoy the relative quietness for a park in an urban setting. A light rail station is a short five minute walk.

What KOA does at this park is separate the long-term sites from those staying a few nights or so. The sites are relatively wide and level.

Tomorrow we’ll leave for Moab, with breakfast at a Cracker Barrel and a stop at Columbia and Eddie Bauer outlets in Lehi. We then will try our hand at boondocking and using our new solar system.

Day Two – The Dark Side

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The Dark Side traffic

Our second day was a real challenge. The warning lights we ended the first with hadn’t disappeared, so we called MB in Lynnwood and headed north. Traffic was terrible, hence my attribution “The Dark Side.” The drivability reduced to full “limp mode” four miles south of the dealer, so we were lucky in the stops and goes.

Scott at Mercedes-Benz was an angel. He had received my message that we were on the way in and was ready for us. Four hours later we were back on the road. A rear wheel sensor was replaced at no charge. We ordered in some Thai for lunch and scores of folks wanted to pet the red and white puppies.

We drove a short way to Dash Point SP for the night rather than trudge through Tacoma traffic and had a decent drive to the KOA in Cascade Locks today. The rig is cruising as it should.

Kinnon and Jamie are a joy to travel with, calm and polite with each other. We’ve been getting pics of Allie and it’s obvious she’s have way more fun across the street than putting up with the Tollers!

Iceberg Tour 2018

One of the fun things about long trips is the anticipation and planning. Seeing icebergs up close is a bucket list item, but there is so much more to see and do between Port Townsend and Twillingsgate.

Our house has it’s sitter and our elder dog Allie is staying with our blessed neighbors across the street. Clothes for hot springs and the cold and windy are packed. Our two Tollers have their own gear and food and crates.

We have the additional option of 300W of solar this trip, so we’ll have the flexibility of dry camping. I’m not sure we’ll try parking lots, but there are many National Forest and provincial campgrounds to explore.

 

 

 

 

This will be our fourth or fifth long trip since 2010. We’re looking foward to visiting friends and family and finding the two lane roads. Our first day will be short and bring the joy of seeing our twin granddaughters at Millersylvania State Park.

See you next time!

One of Those Trips

Flying Saucer Launcher

Flying Saucer Launcher

We had great plans to spend some time in Newfoundland on our latest walkabout, but was not to be. In addition, motor home quality bit us again.

The first few days were marvelous, running north to Sicamous BC and then east to Bow Valley Campground with great weather and beautiful scenery. Our next segments were planned to take us across Canada through Saskatchewan and Manitoba, then across the top of Lake Superior. Those two provinces were as flat as advertised and the fields of rapeseed were gorgeous. What was not gorgeous was a railroad crossing on Trans-Canada 1 that took out both dually tires on one side, the wheel cover and damaged the fairing. Our Good Sam coverage found us a tire shop to come out and make things right.

Then things got goofy. Waking up in Ashland WI after a night of thunder and lightning, we discovered the roads to the east were closed due to flooding and that there was no way to get to the UP in Michigan. We backtracked back almost to Duluth and headed south.

We had not planned to be in the Midwest under a heat dome. The air conditioning while driving is great, but the roof-mounted Coleman on the Navion was not up to the task. Ten degrees cooler than outside was the best it did, even in the shade. When it’s 90 degrees outside it’s uncomfortable inside for humans and dogs.

We also discovered that the generator was completely dead when Sherry tried to start it in Beloit, WI. Dead, dead, no clicks to red numbers, nada. I have an appointment in two weeks with Cummins (a two-hour drive twice) to get it repaired under warranty.

New Cabinet Latches

New Cabinet Latches

More cabinet latches broke while on the trip for a total of seven. I have begun replacing the Winnebago latches with standard roller latches. While not having the positive catch the OEM latches have, they will hold the doors closed while driving. We use baskets in the cabinets, so things falling out is not an issue. I’m still working on an elegant way to secure the TV, which uses the same poorly designed latch as the cabinets.

While getting things repaired we’re now planning a trip to Northern California in October and hopefully we can make another run at Newfoundland in 2017.