This page contains all stories posted since 2003 in reverse chronological order starting with the most recent. Use the indexes found under tabs RV TOURING and BOAT CRUISING to find where trips begin. Use the search box to locate specific information contained in any of the over 775 posts. Subscribe
NIck's Seafood Restaurant
The Rally was over last Sunday and we had one final celebration by going out for dinner at Nick's Seafood Restaurant on Choctawhatchee Bay with three friends from Minnesota and Alaska. There was an interesting sunset we watched from Nick's. On Monday we headed east for a four day stay at St Andrews State Park with three other View/Navions. We had a fantastic dinner at Capt. Anderson's, a place we have eaten at many times since the 70's. It has always been great with fresh caught fish from the Gulf. This was the week of ice storms and snow in Nashville and at the boat. The temperature at St Andrews dropped into the 20s at night but warmed up into the 50's during the day. We decided to cut short the stay there by one day and take four days instead of three days to get to Corpus Christi.
History of Gulf Bay Pass
From the time the first Spanish galleons ventured near these shores to elude privateers, entry into Saint Andrews Bay had been difficult and uncertain. Because of the prevailing tides and unpredictable storms the channel was constantly changing. Often large vessels would enter only at high tide.
In the 1930's the Army Corps of Engineers decided to solve this problem by dredging a new channel called Gull Bay Pass directly from the Gulf into the Bay. This was accomplished by cutting through the peninsula known locally as "Land's End" at a point near the mouth of Grand Lagoon. The channel was completed in 1934 at a cost of $604,000.
In 1942, at the outset of World War II, the US Army established a Temporary Harbor Defense at this site overlooking the recently opened pass. The purpose was to protect the area from German submarines which were operating in the Gulf and Atlantic. The installation consisted on two 155 millimeter guns mounted on concrete "Panama Mounts" and the floor of the pavilion.
Freeport View/Navion Rally
We set out on the 10th for a 30 day trip to Florida and the Texas Coast hoping to make it to Big Bend National Park on the Rio Grande. The first 5 days we will be at the annual rally of View/Navion Motorhomes. Many like ours date back to 2006-7. This Rally began in 2006 at Grayton Beach but moved to Freeport 4 years ago to Live Oak Landing RV Park. The park is on the North side of Choctawhatchee Bay in a sheltered swamp. It has small boat access to the Bay and Gulf of Mexico at Destin. This is now the 8th year for this rally and we enjoy meeting new members of the group and renewing friendships with the old timers. My newest gadget is a Garmin Vivofit bracelet which actually motivates me to get more exercise. Today I walked 2 miles round trip to a convenience store and put on 7354 steps many of which were going back and forth from the pavilion which is a long way from our campsite. What surprised me was the number of new View/Navions. However, it is because people are now having auto custom paint shops painting their faded gel coast with all new graphics. You now can't tell a 2006 from a 2015 by looking at it. One 2006 had been stored outside and calculated that the cost of storing it inside for 7 years was the same cost of having it painted after that time. Our 2007 has been stored inside and has a finish close to looking like new but the 2007 graphics.
A new game was revealed tonight called Right-Left-Center. We played with 25 people on one long table. Each player puts down $3 on the table in front of them. You then roll 3 special dice which determine whether you give a dollar to the player on your right, left, or in the pot. Besides the 3 dots on the each dice there are 3 dots. When these come up you get to hang on to your money. The game goes on until the last player with any money left wins to pot of $74. I was one player away from being the winner. It's alot of fun and doesn't take a long time to learn the rules.
Florida Home Bargain
Just before Christmas I determined I needed a new camera that would shoot high quality video for interstateac.com. Up until now for the past two years everything has been shot with a Sony pocket camera. I had read some very good reports on Sony's new A5000 in USA Today and had seen this camera for sale at Costco. Then I went online and read some more reviews and found Sony had recently introduced the A5100 which had much faster focusing than the A5000. I had to go to BestBuy and was able to get the A5100 for about $620 complete with case, 16-50 lens, 55-200 lens, and a 16GB HIgh Speed SD Chip. Today I made this video of one of Mavis' decorations as a simple test of the camera. The ability of this camera to maintain focus while zooming is veryimportant to me. I also got a chance editing it to try out some new features of Camtasia Studio 8.
On October 18, 2014 I gave a presentation at the United States Power Squadron District 17 Meeting The presentation describes AIS,the various types, and how it is used to prevent accidents on inland waters. I also talked about the Moonstruck accident on the Tenn-Tom Waterway which might have been prevented with AIS. The presentation also covers how AIS differs from radar, and the importance of proper etiquette..
I am now struggling with how and when to replace our 2007 View 23B (bunk beds and no slide out). At the Grand Marais Rally in 2013 the Winnebago rep showed us photos of the Viva-Trend. I was not impressed since it didn't have a diesel engine. I figured that Winnebago would have to bring out a diesel version. However, after a test drive last week in a 23L I am not so sure there will be a diesel version. I have done some research and wrote a rather lengthy white paper in PDF format you can download here.
I just finished reading one of the most entertaining books about cruising America's Great Loop since the well-known Ron & Eva Stob's book "Honey Let's Get a Boat". The authors Mike & Denniese Liles did the Loop in 2011 so their book is up-to-date. They took their dog Maggie and much of the book is about the various incidents with Maggie such as jumping overboard to greet a dolphin. Mike suffers severely from Murphy's Law and probably set a new record in both boat and dog problems. All situations are written with lots of humor and no lives were lost.
The most frequent problem is "flameouts" which occur when air gets in the fuel line of a diesel engine and the engine quits. We have the same Ford Lehman 120 engine in the Katy Leigh and only once in 16 years have we had a "flameout" which Mike claims is endemic with Lehmans. Mike was having 5 or 6 a day. In our case it was caused on a day we were anchored for hours with the generator going. Since the generator and engine were using the same fuel filter, the generator sucked fuel out of the engine fuel line leaving a bubble and the engine would not start. Generators are never supposed to use the engine's primary filter. We installed a separate filter for the generator and have never had a flameout since.
This book is not for picky editor type readers. The book is filled with spelling and English errors. There are also some pages in one chapter where paragraphs are mixed up in the ebook version. Just skip those pages. If you can read without getting wrapped up in the errors you will really enjoy it.
However, there is one terrible error which if followed could cause a serious accident. Mike gets mixed up in describing how to overtake a tow or pass a tow. In location 3208 on my Kindle, Mike says "ONE whistle is passing like you would on the highway with a car." The proper way is to remember when the tow captain says to pass on the "one", you turn your boat to starboard or right. If the captain says pass on the two, you turn to port or left. This works whether you are meeting or passing. Mike says exactly the opposite. I wrote to Mike and he has issued a warning on his book's Facebook website quoting my statement above.
This map from Microsoft Streets and Trips shows the loop from Nashville, TN. Our route took us North on I-24, I-57, and I-64 to St Louis. Then heading west we used I-60, US-63, US-36, I-29 and I-80 to Salt Lake City.and on to Wendover passing the Great Salt Lake. To get to Yosemite National Park we headed south on two lane sparsely used US-93, and US-6 to the California border. CA-120 took us through Yosemite National Park. A series of other state roads took us to our primary objective, Carmel, CA. The it was north along the coast on US-101 and CA-1 to Ilwaco, WA. As it was a holiday weekend we stayed in Ilwaco for 3 day and took side trips to Long Beach and as far North as Raymond. Our original plan was to tour Olympic National Park but we ran out of time to do that. However, there was a bonus as we headed back east via the Columbia River Gorge, Lewis and Clark country. We had seen the volcanos on our 2008 trip to Vancouver Island. US-30, I-5, I-84, and I-90 were the highways used to get to Billings, MT. A few miles east we switched to I-94 all the way to Fargo, ND. US-10 took us to St Cloud MN where we got back on I-94 for a visit to family in Woodbury, MN. I-94, I-90, and I-39 then took us to Champaign, IL where we changed to I-57 and crossed our wake (as boaters say) or completed the loop on I-57 at its junction with I-64.
The Pacific Coast loop was 6,225 miles. We filled up with diesel 21 times using 386 gallons at a cost of $1,575 The average cost per gallon was $4.08. We averaged 16.1 mpg, mostly on Interstates at 62 mph. Our mpg between fillups ranged from a low of 12.9 to a high of 18.9. Compared to our 4,000 mile trip to the Four Corners area one year ago the price of diesel was up 7.7%
Places Mentioned in the Stories
|Aberdeen, WA||Downtown||Lee Vining, CA||Mona Lake|
|Albion, CA||Albion River Marina & Campground||Lee Vining, CA||Mono Vista RV Park|
|Baordman, WA||Boardman RV Park||Long Beach, WA||World Kite Museum|
|Belgrade, MT||Sheriff & Fire Department||Long Beach, WA||Crab Shack|
|Beverly Beach State Park, OR||Longview, WA||Salmon Fishing|
|Billings, MT||Mercedes Benz Dealership||Madison, WI||University of Wisconsin|
|Billings, MT||Yellowstone Art Museum||Marion, IL||Sport Chassis Rally|
|Billings, MT||Yellowstone River||Marion, IL||Marion Campground & RV Park|
|Billings, MT||Yellowstone River RV Park||Mendora, ND||Theodore Roosevelt National Park|
|Billings, MT||Moss Mansion||Mendora, ND||Elkhorn CafÃ©|
|Bismark, ND||Diesel Pump with 5 blends||Mill Valley, CA||La Ginestra Restaurant|
|Bodega, CA||Hitchcock film The Birds||Mill Valley, CA||Napa Aug 2014 Earthquake|
|Boseman, MT||E.J. Miller Towing Service||Monterey, CA||Monterey Aquarium|
|Carmel, CA||Santa Lucia Preserve||Myers Creek Beach, OR||State Park Viewpoint|
|Carmel, CA||Reconyx Camera System||Nisswa, MN||Bar Harbor Supper Club|
|Carmel, CA||Constock Fairy Tale Cottage||Park City, UT||Park City RV Resort|
|Carmel, CA||Carmel By The River RV Park||Pebble Beach, CA||Inn at Spanish Bay|
|Cheyenne, WY||Governor's Mansion||Rockford, IL||Blackhawk Valley Campground|
|Columbia Gorge, WA||Multnomah Falls||Salinas, CA||Gleason's Salinas RV|
|Coos Bay, OR||Mill Casino||Florence, OR||Sea Lion Cave, OR|
|Danville, MO||Lazy Day Campground||Sidney, NE||Cabellas Campground|
|Ely, NV||Prospector Casino & RV Park||Siuslaw National Forest, OR||Cape Perpetua Campground|
|Eureka, CA||Carson House||Smith River, CA||Ship A Shore Motel|
|Evanston, WY||Bear River Greenway||Stanislaus National Forest||Don Pedro Reservoir|
|Glendive, MT||Green Valley Campground||Tillamook, OR||Roadside Viewpoint|
|Great Salt Lake, UT||Tree of Utah by Karl Momen||Waco, NE||Double Nickel Campground|
|Great Salt Lake, UT||Saltair||Wallace, ID||Historic Town|
|I-80 Exit 323||Lincoln Highway Memorial||Wallace, ID||Campground|
|Ilwaco, WA||Cape Disappointment||Wendover, UT||Bonneville Salt Flats|
|Jamestown, ND||World's Largest Buffalo||Yachats, OR||Drift In CafÃ©|
|Kearney, NE||Fort Kearney State Historical Park||Yosemite, CA||National Park - Ahwahnee|
|Klamath, CA||Drive Through Tree|
|Klamth Falls, CA||Trees of Mystery|
Madison University of Wisconsin
Sunday we left early to visit our granddaughter at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. She had started there two weeks before as a freshman. The campus is beautiful located alongside Lake Medota. We walked along a path beside the water to the Campus Center and downtown shopping area. Most of the downtown area we saw is college student type restaurants. We had lunch at an Asian restaurant which provide me with a huge plate of beef for $13 or so. I would have been better off with the orange chicken that Mavis picked.
Rockford Blackhawk Valley Campground
Sport Chassis Rally, Marion, IL
Monday we drove to Marion Il and stayed at another family owned very good campground, Marion Campground & RV Park. It is beside the Interstate but far enough away that the noise didn't bother us. There was a Rally going on there of the Sport Chassis Owners Association. Sport Chassis are custom built Freightliner trucks that mostly tow 5th Wheel Trailers. They are very impressive! There were 7 when we were there. A much smaller group than our View/Navion group. I would have enjoyed talking to one of the group but they all stayed inside. The one in the middle of the photo was the leader of the group and came down from Manitoba. It was the only one with the big grill to fend off bison, moose, and deer. These grills are common on trucks in Alaska. This park gets a lot of business from Manitoba snow birds heading south for the winter.
Tuesday we put the View away in our shed in Murray, picked up the car, stopped at the boat to drop stuff off and headed for home in Nashville.
It was a cold and rainy on Sept 9th and somehow we toured the Theodore Roosevelt National Park and drove 297 miles to Jamestown arriving just after 6:00PM Central Time.
I learned a lot of new things about T.R. compared to the two books I have read. He wrote more books than any other President. The ink well was used to write some of them in his cabin. A New Yorker he took the train west to Medora and bought a ranch he liked the place so much. He loved the outdoors and learned how important conservation is to preserve the wilds. After becoming president he was responsible for starting the Forest Service, five National Parks, and 51 wildlife refuges. The horse sculpture is the third we have seen on this trip. This one is made of wood strips. The clothes and saddle belonged to T.R..
This town is all about the National Park. It closes up for the winter which starts September 6th. We went to the Elkhorn CafÃ© for lunch and was greeted by the owner. When she found out we were from Nashville she really warmed up as she had worked there with Cracker Barrel. She was an MP in the Marines and married a Missouri State Trooper. Her husband has family here so when they both retired they came here and started the restaurant. In the summer she has a staff of 9. A waiter can make $600 per day on tips the place is so busy. Mavis asked about Patty Melts and the owner couldn't believe anyone from Nashville had never had a Patty Melt. I had breakfast and it was great.
A few miles east of Medora there is fracking going on with new oil wells being created. If you need a job go to western North Dakota. You can test the low level of unemployment at McDonalds. They are so short staffed in Jamestown, 300 miles from Williston, you have to wait and wait to get served. One lady said the pizza shop had stopped delivering. It was the same story in Glendive 100 miles from Williston. It's the gold rush story all over again with lots of problems.
At Bismarck I filed up with diesel at the strangest pump yet. I could dispense #1 diesel, #2 diesel and three other blends of #1 diesel with% bio diesel. How anyone decides on the blend I have no idea. #1 diesel is the most expensive and #2 the least expensive.
At Jamestown, ND we saw the World's Largest Buffalo outside the National Buffalo Museum and a whole valley of grazing buffalo. The Frontier Fort campground we stayed at is right beside this attraction. Another World's Largest is at Frazee, MN. There are two sculptures here of the World's Largest Turkey. One is painted colors, the other is larger, all black, and is beside a very large turkey farm.
Bar Harbor Supper Club
On the 11th we stayed on a friend's driveway in Brainerd. That evening we went to the Bar Harbor Supper Club in Nisswa, MN with friends and had some fabulous scallops. Sorry, no photo.
Return to Murray
Friday, September 12th we drove to Woodbury, MN and are visiting with family. Sunday, September 14 we head for Murray with a stop in Madison to visit our freshman granddaughter at the University of Wisconsin. We hope to get to Murray on the 16th, pick up the car and return to Nashville.
I walked the RV Park's nature trail to the Yellowstone River before we left this morning. It's a swiftly moving river with lots of water. The park also had the most beautiful dump station we have ever seen. On the way out of the park the View's engine surged a few times and had some other peculiar behavior. I decided I wasn't going risk having another breakdown on the highway so we went back to the Mercedes Benz shop. Another View was in the shop waiting for the mechanics who were out being photographed. We had a nice talk with the View's owners who were from Ames IA. There problem was a wheel speed sensor. When it broke they got lots of warning lights, but only lost use of the cruise control and the ABS brakes. A part had to be ordered for them so they had to wait till Wednesday. I suggested they visit the Yellowstone Art Museum. Our unit went in next and after an hour or so the news came that there was insufficient transmission oil. It seems that we had lost so much oil that various cavities had not yet filled with oil on Monday. After another road test we were back on the highway at 11:30AM. This Mercedes repair center gives priority to travelers and we only had to wait a few minutes to get service.
I-90 in Eastern Montana
I-90 runs beside the Yellowstone River for miles. The scenery is mostly wilderness except near the river where the land is often irrigated. Our speaker at the YAM on Sunday had photos of abandoned farm buildings. What impressed him was how the machinery still sits intact beside the buildings.
Green Valley Campground, Glendive, MT
Instead of going as far as Medora in North Dakota, I decided to go to Glendive, MT. Wnen we arrived the RV Park I had chosen using RVParks.com no longer existed. The next choice was Green Valley Campground. This park sets a new standard as the junkiest park ever. The only site available was behind a trailer that was not being used. I had to park sideways so I could reach the power outlet. Since we are now close to Williston, ND every available site is occupied by fracking oil people and others building the infrastructure. You take what you can get and consider yourself lucky. Tomorrow, I hope we can get far enough east to be able to find lots of campsites. We hope to visit the Theodore Roosevelt National Park Visitor Center in Medora tomorrow morning.
In the last post I forgot to mention an incident that occurred on Sunday morning waking us both up at 5:15 AM. This is not our normal time to get up. A vehicle of some kind was creating a mud pot in the land behind our View. It made all kinds of noise revving up and spinning around. I finally called the Billings Police and asked to have a squad car sent out. By the time the officer finished his report the vandal had left. The photo shows the mess made in the grass.
Billings Rotary Club
I decided to do a make-up at the Billings Rotary Club that met at 12:00 downtown in the Crown Plaza Hotel. Arriving in good time and spending 15 minutes to find a parking space, I learned that today's meeting of all things was at the Yellowstone Art Museum (YAM). I extracted the car (with no charge due to the short stay) and headed for the Museum. The speaker was the Director that we had met yesterday. Lunch was a buffet. The man beside me was the architect that designed the Mercedes Bend building.
View Repairs & Outcome
We hoped today would be our last day. The parts should arrive, the hoist would be clear, and we would be underway. At 8:00AM they were checking out the parts situation. We packed our bags in case we would have to stay the night in a hotel. Finally at 1:30 PM they hauled the View out of its parking place and into the service bay. It then took 3 men to push it into the hoist position and work began with two mechanics. We sat around in the show room. At 2:30 I asked the mechanic if the repairs would be done today and he replied with no hesitation, "Yes it will be ready today". By 6:00pm we were almost ready to give up and everyone but the service manager and the two mechanics had left. At 6:00PM the View started up and the mechanic took it out for a hard test run. He came back checked for leaks and found none. I swapped the Mercedes E350 key for the View key, paid the bill, and we were off. The bill was $816 which seems pretty reasonable. Tonight we are at the Yellowstone River RV Park and Campground which is very nice beside the Yellowstone River and a high bluff. There are tall cotton wood trees everywhere. The weather is perfect with a nice breeze and no humidity. Tomorrow we will head for Medora and the Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota. Having had to skip the Rally in Grand Morais we are back on schedule.
We are stuck in Billings waiting for the View to get repaired. However, having a courtesy car we have used it to visit two of the major attractions in Billings.
We visited this attraction on Saturday. This is a red sandstone 60 ft square, four story, mansion built in 1903 for Preston Moss who was a banker and serial entrepreneur that amassed a large fortune. His family lived in the house until the mid-1980s. I was surprised to learn that no interior photos could be taken with or without flash. This is a very old fashioned concept for historic homes, museums, and art galleries. Not allowing photos hurts the marketing of attractions like this. It is an old idea that by banning personal photos they can sell more postcards. We are now in the Internet age and marketing has to change.
Yellowstone Art Museum
Sunday we spent a couple of hours in this really interesting gallery. Photos are allowed but no flash. Modern cameras take much better photos without using flash. The gallery collection has many western paintings and even a 1985 Deborah Butterfield horse sculpture made mostly of rusty sheet metal. We have now a photo collection of three Butterfield horse sculptures. We were invited to hear a talk by Leland Howard, a wilderness photographer that has spent the last few years photographing Eastern Montana. The pictures were spectacular and of places few people have visited. He camps in his truck at times for days to get just the picture he wants. He is seen here signing his book for us. Now we wish we had time to see some of the parks in his photos. The third exhibit we toured was by lawyer-turned-artist, Nathan Sawaya. Each of his sculptures is made of Lego blocks glued together. Some have as many as 100,000 pieces!
After the gallery we went to the movie "The November Man" staring Pierce Brosnan. It was a pretty violent spy story but very good and not a complicated plot. Tomorrow we learn the fate of our View and a better idea of when we can continue our adventure.
We got the word this afternoon that the parts required to fix the View will not be in Billings until Monday. That means there is no way we can make the Rally in Grand Marais since the earliest we could leave would be Tuesday. By the time we could get there it would be over. I am really sorry to disappoint our many friends that are attending as I won't be able to present pictures of our latest adventures. The only good news is the dealer has loaned us the dark blue Mercedes E350 in front of our view. They moved the grey Mercedes in the previous post to another slot so we can now get at our outside bins and run the generator when we need the microwave. We used the car to buy water which we were able to pour direclty into our water tank which now has a removable port on top.
This morning at 9:30AM on I-90 at mile 297 the power train went crazy with some loud bumps on the chassis, no transmission and a dead engine. We coasted to a stop on the shoulder of the Interstate. I called Coach-Net our roadside assistance provider and after the operator took down all the details and a technician agreed we would need a tow, we waited. Then I went outside and looked under and found fluid dripping down I thought was diesel. I called them back to show the urgency of our situation and they said the fire department had to come out before they could authorize a tow.
Since we were near Belgrade, Montana, the fire truck with a crew of 3 and a local sheriff's deputy showed up with some kitty litter. They put cones out effectively shut down one lane of the highway. They poked around under the engine and discovered the serpentine belt had broken and wrapped around the fan with pieces of belt that nearly severed a control cable with maybe 10 color coded wires in it. In addition there was oil driping down. They spread the kitty litter and went back to the firehouse.
Another couple of calls to Coach-Net and they said the nearest place the View could be fixed was the Mercedes dealer in Billings, MT, some 152 miles away. E.J. Millers towing service from Boseman, 11 miles away would come and tow us. The View was put on a flat bed and with Mavis and I in the front seat off we went at 12:30PM. The picture shows how easily we could fit under bridges. We had lots of time to talk to Joe Miller. He grew up in the towing business and at one time had 7 employees and all kinds of truck. In around 2005 he decided to shut it down and bought a 34 ft motorhome he took to Alaska. His wife wasn't interested in doing Alaska again so he went back in the towing business with just himself. We were lucky he was available because he was a real pro at towing safely.
We got to the Mercedes dealer at 3:30PM and the View was unloaded into the back lot without scraping the Mercedes. A team of mechanics and parts experts came out and made a list of parts and said the oil was coming out of a hose that runs between the engine and the transmission.
More to Come
We are now in the View, have power from a long extension cord, and where we planned to spend the night. We have water in the tank, lots of propane so we can survive a couple of days wait. We have no idea yet how long we will be stuck here so plans for visiting in Brainerd and the Grand Marais Rally may have to change. Its 971 miles from Billings to Grand Marais which would take a minimum of 2 days. We will know more in the morning.
Yesterday was a three state day travelling in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. We stayed overnight in Wallace, Idaho. This is one of the best kept secrets in the USA. It is a thriving tourist town and the last American town entirely listed on the National Historic Register. It is also a mining town. Our campsite was right beside the town and the elevated highway. However the rushing stream beside us drowned out any noise from the highway.
Walking into town was like going back in time. There was large antique store where I was able to acquire an historic Hamilton Beach ice cream scoop for just $6. It is solid metal. A big surprise was to find a Laundromat with at least 10 machines. We got up early and parked right in front. Mavis filled 4 machines. Then I walked over to a saloon that served breakfast. It's the building with the awnings out front. I was invited to join the Chamber of Commerce that was meeting there but declined due to the time it would take. Breakfast was great with sausage links that are rarely seen in the south and I was able to use the saloon Internet to read USA today on my iPad.
I-84 Shut Down
We are now on our way back east. We were away at 8:15AM and took the bridge across the Columbia to Astoria. Two lane US-30 is a very good road and took us back over the Columbia to I-5 at Longview. The current in the river is so strong that moorings are provided in rows on the river for salmon catching. The photo shows at least 10 rows. We went around Portland until the Garmin GPS announced that I-84 was closed down. It then re-routed us on city streets that ran parallel to I-84 and then back to the Interstate at the next on-ramp. We were really impressed and I am sure Garmin saved us hours if we had stayed on I-84. The website news from a local TV station said a man waving a gun tried to carjack motorists on the highway. I-84 was shut down in both directions for four hours.
Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area
This is a spectacular area beside the Columbia River with high mountains on both sides and a roadway and railway track cut of the mountain sides. The best known attraction is the Multnomah Falls. I had read many descriptions in the RV magazines. Seeing the real thing was very rewarding. There were hundreds of people that also thought the same thing. However, very few took the opportunity to have a fine lunch in the Lodge at noon. Built in 1925 if is very handsome and like lodges in other National Parks. It never had more than 2 lodging rooms and those were used by railway workers. We had the special ham and cheese with salad. The property is owned by the Forest Service and operated by a private company.
As you drive east the forests disappear replaced by desert and brown mountains. Then suddenly the mountains are gone and there are irrigated fields of crops. Tonight we are in the small town of Boardman (population 3,335) that owns one of the best RV parks yet; large sites, full hookups, beautiful grass and trees, large sites, a marina, and walking path beside the Columbia.
Here is a photo of the Multnomah Falls. Click to enlarge.
The original plan for today was to drive north to Kalaloch in Olympic National Park and back to Ilwaco. At 282 miles round trip that seem like a long drive so I settled on Aberdeen, WA a distance of 136 miles up and back. We did see some interesting things. The bird was on the street in Aberdeen. We went past oyster beds which were flooded when the tide was in and mud flats when the tide went out. At south bend there were flat sculptures of animals and people which at a distance looked like the real thing. They were everywhere and probably the work of one man. The internet at the KOA is very unreliable so we stopped at Aberdeen for a while with 5 bars on Verizon and completed yesterday's post.
On our return trip we stopped in Long Beach at the Crab Shack for lunch. I figured any place that has been in business since 1945 must be doing something right. We were not disappointed and had cod fish and chips that compared with the best we have ever had. As I write this Mavis is out shopping and I am enjoying getting my work done. Tomorrow we head east.
This is a classic tourist town with souvenir shops, fudge, ice cream, etc. Flower baskets and small parks were on several corners. The beach is not only long but very wide and cars are allowed to drive on it. Small shelters were provided on the beach as wind breaks. This was the weekend of the really big tattoo and music festival. The posters in shop windows listed the tattoo artists here from places as far away as New Orleans. March's Free Museum was the destination shop on the main street. I was impressed with the large collection of old fashioned coin operated entertainment machines.
World Kite Museum
Kite flying is big here with the constant winds on the beach. A couple of weeks ago there was a one week long kite festival. The town was jammed with people. The museum is very interesting with kites of all kinds from countries all over the world. Kite fights are popular in some areas. One whole room is devoted to the use of kites during WWII. One exhibit showed how kites were used by navy gunners to practice shooting down planes. The kite was painted to look like a war plane and an operator controlled its flight path. A second exhibit showed a barrage kite that flew on 2,000 foot long piano wires above a ship. If an enemy plane flew into the wires a wing could be cut off. It was the air equivalent of a mine field.
This is the location where the Lewis and Clark expedition first saw the Pacific completing the mission given to them by President Jefferson. The Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center is located on the site of a fort built in the Civil War and used all the way to WWII.
We made it to Ilwaco this afternoon after 268 miles of a twisting up and down roadway. It doesn''t seem like much but we were only able to average 20 mph. We spent the night of the 28th at the Cape Perpetua Campground in the Siuslaw National Forest. It was dry camping. The new batteries worked really well. We watched a two hour movie and only used 6% of capacity according to the new battery monitor.
Bay Area - Coos Bay/North Bend Rotary Club
Yesterday I went to the Coos Bay Rotary Club lunch meeting at the Mill Casino. There were 10 in attendance including the two speakers and myself. I presented our club fllag and received one of theirs. The speakers spoke about their contra dancing and music program. They were trying to attract more participation. The Mill Casino is a redo of an abandoned saw mill of which there were many at one time in Coos Bay. The saw mill left a lot of hazardous waste, but since it was on an Indian Reservation the EPA rules were not very strict.
Sea Lion Cave
The coast is beautiful here with lots of capes and rock formations in the ocean. We stopped at Sea Lion Caves, America's largest sea cave, and were informed that there were no sea lions at this time of year, however, there were at least 3 whales that could be seen below the cliff, and they took $1 off the $12 fee. We watched the whales for a while and caught two in this photo. I shall always remember this place as where I dropped my wallet on a rock and didn't discover it missing for several minutes. We walked back up the trail and there it was intact. The photo taken from the path to the cave shows the 1894 Heceta Head lighthouse. It is claimed to be the most photographed lighthouse in the WORLD!
For the first time in 7 years of buying diesel we found stations where diesel was less than gas. At this 76 Station diesel was only 6 cents more than regular gas.
Yachats - Beverly State Park - Tillamook
We were up early and stopped in Yachats for breakfast at the Historic Drift In CafÃ©. There was a long story to read about the history of the cafÃ© but what I remember was how a longtime owner finally had to give up when he couldn't remember who had paid after suffering mini strokes. Breakfast was very good. We stopped at Beverly Beach to see a state park recommended by a Rotarian. The beach was large and foggy. All the campsites were on the east side of the highway in the woods. It would not have been any better than the National Forest campsite we stayed in the night before. The most interesting item was the 4,100 year old stump. (Enlarge photo to read about it). At Tillamook we stopped at a roadside view point and got this photo. Can you guess what is in that floating box? Near Astoria we crossed the Columbia River into Washington on a 6.5 mile long causeway and bridge. We are now in Lewis & Clark country and will visit the museums tomorrow. Answer: it's a floating restroom for the fishermen. The guys in the boat just passed by it.
Trees of Mystery
In 1950 the sign in the left photo said "Unbelievable but True, World's Largest Group of Natures Living Wonders'". Today this attraction is the "Trees of Mystery". It's all the same either way; it's a redwood forest in Klamath Falls, CA. I think the 1950 ox was much more interesting, but today they have added Paul Bunyan to the new Babe the Blue Ox. Those 1950's cars look really great and that's yours truly running across the parking lot. This business dates back to 1931. The original Paul Bunyon was built in 1946 but destroyed by rain that winter. The new Bunyan was built in 1961 and is still standing 53 years later. However, the 1950 Blue Ox's head had to be replaced in 2007. In 1950 our family took a 60 day trip from Toronto to LA to Vancouver and back to Toronto. This is one of my father's Kodachrome slides from that trip.
Ship A Shore & Myers Creek Beach
How about this sign beside the Ship A Shore Motel, Restaurant & Lounge, and RV Park in Smith River, CA on US-101. A few miles farther north we stopped at Myers Creek Beach, a Oregon State Park Scenic Viewpoint and climbed down the rocks and over the dune to the beach. The tide was out and the rocks were beautiful. One rock even had a hole in it. A large dog spent 15 minutes just running in and racing out of the surf. People set up their chairs in the parking area and just watched the sea. There was little wind and the temperature was in the 70s. It doesn't get any better than this. Tonight we are in Bandon.
Labor Day Weekend
It finally occurred to me that this weekend is Labor Day and we planned to spend the time in one of America's most popular parks, Olympic National Park, without a reservation along with thousands of campers from the Seattle area. This was not good strategy. I decided to try and stay at a park a few miles south for three nights and then take day trips to Olympic. Amazingly a KOA in Ilwaco, WA had an open site. The location will also make it shorter to head back east on I-80.
It was another day of brutal hills and winding roads. The speed limit on one turn was 10 mph. However, the frequent pull offs to see the ocean made it worthwhile. Blowup the top photo on the left to see a man fishing.
We also stopped at the Drive-Thru Tree. This attraction has been there since 1922. You can see the 315 ft. high tree, the gift shop that sells the same stuff as in the
Albion River Marina & Campground
We had a great dinner at La Ginestra, a family owned Italian restaurant just a short walking distance from my cousin's home. Tonight we are at the Albion River Marina & Campground beside the river and under US 1 that carries the traffic over the canyon. I was surprised how quiet it is under the bridge when a vehicle goes over it. Except for the span over the water the bridge is made of wood. While walking along the docks a seal came along, looked up at me and rested on the bottom in the river's shallow water. A few commercial fishing boats were tied up at the marina.
Coastal Route SR-1
Our 157 mile route went north to Santa Rosa on 101 then west to Bodega and north along the coast to Albion. The coastal route is so hilly and winding with speed limits of 15, 20, 25, 30 mph most of the way that when we got to a straight stretch and were able to 45 mph it felt like we were flying. The photo shows an example of a switch back and long climbing turn. There are a number of very pretty towns on the way with lots of shops. We learned that the house in the photo beside the road in Bodega was in the 1963 Alfred Hitchcock film "The Birds".
Our plan was to head north on the coast today to Albion. However, because of the NAPA earthquake this morning at 3:30AM we decided to stay another night and let things settle down before venturing out. All the roads and bridges have to be checked for damage before travel can resume. We didn't even feel the 6.1 earthquake sleeping in the motorhome, however, my cousin awoke in the house with the house creaking. There is no damage here. Her corporate pilot daughter and her co-pilot were in Napa and awoke with the windows in the house shattering. The fridge moved three feet. They are coming here for dinner and the night as her house is not habitable. Mill Valley is about 21 miles from the epicenter of the quake. Napa is much closer. It's great to be flexible on trips like this and not have to worry about cancelling reservations. We will walk downtown for dinner tonight. The trees in front of the house in the photo are 100 ft+ high redwoods. Click on the photo to enlarge it.
On the 23rd we had breakfast early and then walked up the hill to install the first Reconyx camera. It is a really well designed system and very easy to install and test without reading the manual. The pictures are amazing. We left around 11AM for Mill Valley. The traffic at San Francisco was horrific taking an hour to go four miles to the Golden Gate Bridge.
In the morning of the 21st we left the campground and drove north to find diesel. The GPS took us to Monterey where we filled up with diesel and then decided to see the Monterey Aquarium. There we several "wow" exhibits such as the wave machine. The photos show an outside and inside view of a very large wave coming over the window. We also enjoyed the kelp forest. However, the building is kind of disorganized with no flow and it was crowded. The Chattanooga Aquarium continues as our favorite because of superior lighting of exhibits (jellies) and the flow from top floor to bottom floor. There is no need to study a complex floor plan to determine what you want to see. In Chattanooga you see it all but you can skip exhibits you don't want to see.
Santa Lucia Preserve Reconyx Camera System
Our Carmel friends (from Nortel days) live in the Santa Lucia Preserve. This is a 20,000 acre property overlooking Carmel by the Sea. Their house is high up with a view of Pebble Beach. We camped by the horse barn (see photo). That evening we went to the country club where an event was held by the Santa Lucia Conservancy. â€ŽDr. Christy Wyckoff, Senior Wildlife Ecologist, for the Conservancy spoke on her project to learn about the habits of the wildlife in the preserve. A Reconyx camera system is used to trap photos of wildlife by day and night. At night the camera uses infrared so the animals can't see it. In just a couple of months using this camera she captured a bevy of three mountain lions walking along a trail in the preserve.(see photo). Her plan is to get many of these cameras installed by residents in order to capture a lot more data. We had an excellent dinner at the club after the talk. During the mixer I enjoyed talking with a former Microsoft engineer who was there when the PC was developed so we had lots of stories to tell each other.
Carmel Pebble Beach
On the 22nd Mavis went shopping in Carmel with Mary and I stayed with George (not real names). George and I were at Nortel at the same time the company was growing in the 80's so we had lots to talk about. Mavis was fascinated with seeing the Comstock Fairy Tale Cottages one of which had a restaurant in it (See photo and note doors). That evening we had a fabulous halibut dinner at the Inn at Spanish Bay in Pebble Beach. Before dinner we sat around a fire pit and were entertained by a bagpiper.
After dinner I showed slides at the house in the media room. The slides worked beautifully with no hassle but the MP4 videos took about an hour to trouble shoot. It seems the Windows Media System used on the media room computer could not cope with the sound track on the MP4 videos.
Yosemite National Park
This is a very large park and one of the most popular in the USA. Frankly I was disappointed. It was hard to find the things you wanted to see and there were so many cars, buses, and RVs that parking was crazy. Then we would start on a nice hike only to encounter signs saying the trail was closed due to volunteers restoring the area. One sign said to walk 1/5 mile along the road, but when we got to that point it said go back to where we started from. The biggest disappointment was the lodge which I thought was the famous place that dated back to the 1800s. The lodge was relatively new and the restaurant was booked for a convention group. We wound up having a mediocre lunch in the Food Court. On the way out I picked up a brochure and found the lodge we wanted to see was the Ahwahnee. We walked over and it was magnificent with a dining room that was even more impressive than the Grand Canyon lodge we ate as last summer.
We took the free shuttle bus back to a point close to where we had parked. Then we drove 17 twisty mountain road miles to the Hogden Meadow campground we had booked. There were lots of empty sites even though the computer said there was only one. National Parks need to develop a new system for reserving sites that discourages people from reserving a year in advance and never showing up. There is no power at this campsite and no internet service anywhere in the park.
The Solenoid Problem
There is solenoid or relay that prevents the engine from using the house batteries but charges the house batteries when the engine is running. I had known this solenoid was faulty but it hadn't caused any problem since we stayed every night in campsites with power. We took every measure possible to avoid using the house batteries including going to bed early so as to not run any lights. This morning the batteries were dead. I couldn't start the generator at all. The engine started without any problem, so we left immediately and found a NAPA store in Big Oak Flat that might have a replacement solenoid. We had no luck with that but were able to get two new house batteries installed (the old ones had been used for 4 years). I researched the web for an RV Repair Service and found one on our route in Salinas. We arrived there at 4:00PM and they had the solenoid and a mechanic to install it. We were on our way at 5:00PM. Gleasons Salinas RV Inc. is the place to go for RV service. Tonight we are at Carmel by the River RV Park. Its location is part way up a mountain on a one lane residential roadway. It's a beautiful campsite but nowhere within view of any river. It also holds the record for the most expensive campground this year at $75 per might after the senior discount. We will be visiting friends in Carmel for the next two nights and with hopefully more reasonable rates.
The news media keeps showing photos of nearly dried up reservoirs. There is a real problem here but we have yet to see a dried up reservoir. The water level is down a long way in the reservoirs we have seen (see photo), but the aqueducts are full and the water moving swiftly.
On the way out of town we went to a couple of auto parts stores to try and get a replacement solenoid for the one that lets the engine alternator charge the house batteries when we are underway. Without this solenoid working it becomes harder to dry camp. We have to be plugged in or run the generator to charge the house batteries.
Three Hundred Miles on the Loneliest Road in America
Leaving Ely on US-6 we noted it was 168 miles of great basins (photo) to cross to get to Tonopah. Basins are completely surrounded by mountans. A billboard at Ely announced there would be a McDonald's at Tonopah. They lied; at Tonopah there was only a small sign besides the road saying McDonald's was at Hawthorne just ahead. Well "just ahead" would be another 384 miles. We didn't think this was very funny and spent time thinking about the letter we should write to McDonald's for the false advertising. However, the scenery was spectacular and traffic almost non-existent. All together we drove 305 miles to get to Lee Vining beside Mona Lake. Just before we crossed into California we looked up 7,000 feet to Boundary Peak at 13,140 ft. (see photo).
Our approach to Mona Lake was from the south through the world's only Jeffrey Pine forest. The lake is a beautiful blue like the Caribbean. The island in the middle of the lake (see photo) was formed by a volcanic eruption 350 years ago. The lake is a dead sea with no outlet. It is one of the oldest lakes in North America.
Mono Vista RV Park
This is one of the nicest parks so far and we have a vista of Mono Lake from our dinette. As always for us no reservation was needed. However, I decided that tomorrow night getting a reservation in Yosemite National Park would be nice. There was only one reservable site in the entire park for tomorrow night and I got it! The locals said that people line up at 6:00AM to get the non-reservable sites. No thanks! We will spend most Tomorrow and Wednesday at Yosemite and then head for Carmel on Thursday.
Saltair Great Salt Lake
It was a quick drive through Salt Lake City on I-80 to our destination of Saltair on the Great Salt Lake. Saltair, a colossal recreation hall was built in 1893 to provide access to swimming in the Lake. By the early 1920's it drew 500,000 visitors per year until it burned down in 1925. Saltair II was quickly built but failed due to fire and floods and economic downturns. Saltair III was built in the early 80's but suffered a flood and didn't reopen until 1993. It is now a concert venue. We arrived the morning after a big concert and what a mess. One of the workmen gave us a guided tour of the hall. He said it was built in Europe and shipped over here for assembly on the site. My first visit here was in 1950 with my family and we swam in the water which allows you to float without a floaty and read a newspaper (see postcard photo). Sailing on the Great Salt Lake is a popular sport and a state park provides slips and a boat ramp. The water is currently very low.
Bonneville Salt Flats
I-80 runs beside the Lake for many miles. There are two large companies, Morton and Cargill that mine salt in evaporation ponds and then put it in huge piles. A railway line is used to ship it out. Nearing the salt flat one form of entertainment is to drive your car into the flat. However, these folks got their car stuck in the slushy sand from a recent rain storm. Another pastime is to use rocks to spell out the name of your friends beside the road. One attraction looks like an old microwave tower but when you get close it's a sculpture. Finally just before heading inland there is a rest stop where you can park and walk on the flat.
We turned left at Wendover and took US 93A due south for 120 miles south to Ely. The main industry here appears to be gambling. We are staying at the RV Park beside the Prospector Hotel and Gambling Hall. I am glad we are in the View as the hotel and gambling hall are pretty tired. Tomorrow we will try to get within 100 miles of Yosemite, CA. Then we can spend two days in the area before heading for Carmel. The map shows our route fromRawlins last Friday to Yosemite on Tuesday. The red dot is Ely.
Park City, UT
We are in a very nice park in Park City, UT. This is a well-known winter ski resort. Our campsite is down near a stream with a high mountain behind it. The drive from Rawlins was uneventful. The scenery starts out very flat at close to 7,000 ft. with the speed limit upped to 80 mph. We crossed the continental divide and then things get much more rugged.
Evanston, WY, Bear River Greenway
The nicest town on the route today is Evanston. We stopped at the Bear River Greenway and walked along the path. The local Rotary Club installed exercise rigs at various places along the path. The photo shows the Seated Chest Press complete with instructions for it use. Kids were swimming in the river. Not shown is the part of the river that was diverted years ago to the Historic Ice Lake. This was originally used to make ice in the winter. Now it is used to rent small boats in the summer.
Visitors from New Zealand
Tonight we met a couple in the adjacent site from New Zealand. They bought a 35 ft. Winnebago a year ago and have used it for two tours of 6 weeks and 8 weeks in length. They just traded it in for a trailer and GMC SUV which they are having shipped to New Zealand where it will be sold allowing them to recover most of what they spent originally for the motorhome. If they shipped the Winnebago to New Zealand it was going to cost $25,000 to have the console moved to the right side. By using a trailer they won't have that problem. Next year they will buy a rig and tour Europe. He was very interested in RVillage and our Touring the Great Southwest program and promised to promote these two tools to his touring friends in New Zealand.
Wyoming Historic Governor's Mansion
This mansion is in Cheyenne in the downtown area and was occupied from 1904 to 1976 it was occupied by 19 Wyoming first families. You take a self-guided tour a can visit all four floors. The rooms are decorate to match four different eras. The basement bomb shelter (see photo) dates back to the cold war and was equipped with a radiation detector.
Lincoln Highway Memorial
I-80 follows the Lincoln Highway opened in 1938 and was the first continuous road to run from New York to San Francisco. The statue of Lincoln was made by a University of Wyoming college professor, Robert L. Russin, and commemorates Lincoln's 150th birthday. The memorial is at the highest point on the Lincoln Highway. Our GPS showed 8,600 ft. This is blue sky country and the ever changing deep blue sky and clouds and make it so wonderful.
We decided to take it easy and stopped at Rawlings at a KOA beside the Interstate. It's the first time we have stayed at what KOA calls a Journey Park vs. a Resort Park. It's the kind of place we like, relatively inexpensive with just the basics, power, water, and a dump station. It's for touring RVers. Tomorrow we will go to Park City, just east of Salt Lake City.
After two 400 mile days, I decided to take it a little easier with a 330 mile day from Waco to Sidney, NE. RVillage found Cabela's Campground. It turns out the world headquarters for Cabela's is right here and so far this is their only campground. We walked over to the very large store and I met with the #2 Store Manager. He said he would like #1 to see my demo and will ask her to come to our site in the campground. Mavis walked back before me, and when I started a thunderstorm began. I persuaded a city bus driver to take me to the campsite. For the last two hours it has been raining hard and for the first time in the View we had hail. I recorded the sound and will use it when I develop a Touring Nebraska video. We are now in the foothills at 4,300 feet above sea level. There are few trees and no more corn fields.
We stopped this morning at Fort Kearney and toured the fort. It dates back to 1850 and was built to protect the wagon trains travelling west to California, Utah, and Oregon. The trail is the Oregon Trail. All the buildings in the Fort were outside the stockade. The stockade was only used for protection in case of an Indian attack. Note the grass roof on the blacksmith building. The third photo shows classic hay stacks which are hardly ever found any more. Mavis remembered them from her Grandmothers farm. Tomorrow we will head for either Rawlins or Rocksprings, WY
We only visited three states today compared to four (Tennessee-Kentucky-Illinois-Missouri) yesterday but we did a similar 410 miles from 8:00AM-5:30PM. Leaving Lazy Day Campground we saw the valley behind that campground.(Photo 1). We crossed the Missouri River on Hwy 2 which goes to Nebraska City and on to Lincoln. On our 2011 trip to Alaska we had to detour 95 extra miles through Omaha to get across the Missouri because of the flood that spring. (see comparative photos)
Double Nickel Campground & Resort
I found the campground at Waco, NE using RVillage and once again made a "sale" with owners Jeff & Amanda Stoy. The bought Double Nickel Campground & Resort two months ago. The campground is open for 8 months in the summer and then they have four months off in the winter to tour in their 25 foot Four Winds class C motorhome with their two children. It is a nice park but needs some work before calling it a resort. You can see our site in the photo. They also have a bar and I enjoyed a gin & tonic while demonstrating RVillage. We also watched a little of our Great Southwest video and Jeff encouraged me to do one on Nebraska. He said content like our program is very rare.
We left Nashville at 7:40, arrived at the boat at 9:40 picked up stuff from the boat, and drove to our shed in Murray. We had a lot of unpacking to do to get ready to go and we started out at 11:30AM. I filled up with water and at our first stop at McDonalds the pump kept running and little came out of the tap. Then looking out the side window we saw a river of water going down the parking lot. It seemed I had remove the plug on the water heater to drain it when I put the unit away last winter. We went the rest of the way without any water in the tank. Altogether we drove 420 miles from Nashville to Danville, MO arriving at the Lazy Day Campground at 6:00PM. The owner was in the office and gave me an opportunity to show the demo of RVillage. It's pretty easy to sell free things and she promised to "claim" her park. I found the park using RVillage and it turns out to be really nice. Our space is perfectly level, clean, with full hookup. The gardens in the park are amazing (see photos). The park has been here since the 60's and the present owner has had it for 20 years. It is located about half way between St Louis and Kansas City and is nice and quiet being a mile away from the Interstate. Tomorrow we will drive 409 miles to Waco, NE.
Lazy Day Campground
A couple of months ago I discovered an amazing new planning and networking tool for RVers called RVillage. I signed up in June when there were 4,000 members. Two months later there are 10,000 members. It's a free tool that first lets you select your current location. You can then plan a trip between that location and a destination and it will show the shortest route and all the RV parks along the route. You can alter the route just by dragging the route line to another road instead of the Interstate. The RV park locations follow the new route.
Once you locate a RV park you click on the icon and a popup shows the name of the park and address. A right mouse click on the popup opens a new tab and provides a lot more information including the name of other members that have recently stayed there or are currently staying at that park. There is also a link to the park's website. If you would like to meet any other member at that park you can send a message. Members can join groups and then organize "get-togethers" of people at the same park or nearby parks for pot-luck meals, cocktails, or whatever.
The comprehensive Allstays app database is built into RVillage for locating RV parks. Park owners can join RVillage and will be able to post additional details and photos of their park.
Everything I have mentioned so far is free to members and park owners. So who pays for it. Once RVillage learns about a park that has joined it then has a call center that talks to potential advertisers in the immediate area. This appeals to restaurants, maintenance services, local retailers, pizza delivery stores, attractions, etc. When you arrive at such a park, you click on your location. Now when you click on the merchants tab you will see the ads from the local merchants.
RVillage has solicited members to become Ambassadors. I believe in what RVillage is doing and have agreed to be an Ambassador. My job is to recruit members and parks to join. I'll be trying to do this at every park we stay at. I am armed with business cards, joining instructions for parks, and an iPad demonstration.
Tomorrow we pick up the View in Murray and head for Kanas City.
A DJI Phantom 2 Vision Quadcopter owned by Terry Stafford was used to get beautiful bird’s eye views of Kentucky Dam Marina on the north end of Kentucky Lake. My Sony pocket camera took the video of the quadcopter and recorded the audio. You will see a marina in views probably never seen before as the quadcopter or drone flies around. At one point the noise of the drone scares a large flock of sea gulls that fly around and get very close to the drone giving Terry a real scare. If one had hit the drone, both the gull and the drone could have dropped into the lake. This drone does not float and would have been lost if it hit the water. Terry did a masterful job of bringing the drone home not once but twice on a very narrow dock. The row of boats beside the launching pad belong to members of the Grand Lakes Yacht Club that were attending the club’s season kickoff party. You can see the Katy Leigh on the right side with the blue bimini. It looks kind of puny compared to the other boats from the Grand Lakes Yacht Club.
One of our friends was so excited by this new toy three days after this event he won an auction on eBay and won. Now we have two drones within a few feet of our slip at Kenlake Marina.
This post is a followup. One weekend after the installation of the washer-dryer was complete, the floor was back together and the complicated door was in place. The front from the old chart drawer that had to be removed was used to cover up the hole. Most importantly the unit was working with sudsy water pouring into the lake and the dryer working really well. The old unit blew lint all over the side of the boat. The new unit has a really good filter. The new unit is quieter as well. If you are going to live aboard then a washer-dryer really adds to your quality of life. If the unit on your new to you boat is 30 years old, replace it before you take off. There is a lot of new technology in todays washer-dryers. If possible get a two piece unit rather than the one piece units which don't dry very well.
Hattitude left for Aqua Yacht Harbor last Monday with no firm plan as to where to go after that. There will be clean clothes, towels and sheets for the crew.
Two weeks ago the washer-dryer in Hattitude, a 43 foot Hatteras LRC died in a cloud of smoke. The washer dryer had been installed when the boat was built in the late 70s so getting in out was a major challenge. Locating a new one that would fit was not easy. Finally a unit was found that appeared to fit but only if the chart drawer under the helm was sacrificed. The video shows the effort to get the old unit out and the new unit in. As it turns out the lower rear corner closest to the bow of the new unit had to be sheared off because of the narrowing of the hull at that point.
As we close out the year, it is time for one last post. My boating writer friend, Michael Sciulla, posted a request on the Boating Writers International LinkedIN Group a month ago for reviews by boating writers who had seen the movie, All Is Lost. Mavis and I went to the movie at Nashville's Belmont Theater very soon after I saw Michael's request.. You can see the movie trailer here.
Michael quoted me and several others in the excellent story he wrote for Soundings. If you are interested in boating I highly recommend you read Michael's story on the Soundings Trade Only Today Website. here.
This is my review. "I saw the movie a couple of hours ago. Overall I would say it is very frustrating for experienced boaters to watch. Redford makes so many obvious mistakes it's hard to watch the movie at times. The ending is also very frustrating but I won't spoil it for those readers that haven't seen the movie. Perhaps the DVD version will have choice of endings. On the plus side the photography is amazing with the storm scenes and the crazy things Redford does. One technical point I learned is it makes little sense to wear a lifejacket in a single handed boat because if you fall overboard it's all over with or without a life jacket.You can never swim fast enough to catch up to the boat. However, he should have had a belt connected to a jack line whenever he is on deck. The plot is based on Murphy's Law; If anything can go wrong it will. One useful new thing I saw in the credits is a list of restaurants the producer likes in Baja. All in all it's worth seeing but doesn't compare to The Perfect Storm for excitement and tragedy. There are no laughs and no tears in this movie."
All the best in the new year.
The cruise to Chattanooga began on Sunday September 29th and took 23 days. Five days were spent at Joe Wheeler State Park Marina attending the America's Great Loop Cruisers Associatiion (AGLCA) Rendezvous. The total river round trip was 844miles from mile 42 at Kenlake Marina to mile 464 at Chattanooga . The Katy Leigh consumed 330 gallons of diesel and averaged about 2.56 miles per gallon cruising at 9 mph through the water. Click here to start the cruise on day 1.
This was our last day on the Tennessee River Chattanooga Cruise. The day got off to a good start with Pebble Isle’s fresh, hot, cinnamon buns. Mavis ate hers aboard the Katy Leigh. We arrived at Kenlake Marina at mile 42 at 3:00PM and packed the car. We made it home just before sunset at 6:00PM. All was well at the house and the DVR was 96% full of new programs it had saved during the 23 days we were away.
It was a good day to get boat photos as they passed by the Katy Leigh. Roger and Vebbie travelled with us on "Hattitude". The Great Harbour looks a lot like a Krogen Whaleback Trawler except for the black logo below the pilot house. When I talked to the captain on the VHF he corrected me.
The fog was all on the water today, just a few feet above the surface so we had no difficulty.
White Pelicans and Eagles
The most spectacular sight was a large flock of While Pelicans coming in for a landing around mile 75 in the Tennessee National Migratory Wildlife Refuge. White Pelicans have a wing span of 9 ft. and fly majestically, evenly spaced, in a formation. This photo only shows a small fraction of all we saw. It was very hard to get any kind of photo as the birds were on the other side of the river and I had to shoot through the window. I just had to guess if I would capture any on “film “. They also disappeared and landed behind the islands. At mile 56 there is shoal that is now showing with the water nearly at winter pool. Standing on the shoal is what looked like a pair of mature eagles.
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