About Us

Chris and Dennis are traveling around the country seeing the sights and occasionally volunteering at select locations. We avoid the interstate as much as we can and tend to stop for squirrels and shiny objects. Ask us where we are going and we're apt to simply point and say "That away."

Monday, November 28, 2016

Sunset Bay – Into each life some rain must fall

IMG_20161125_093245755_HDRNot all camp hosting is fun, games, raccoons and other silly stuff. On occasion it can get darn right serious and our last week here has been one for the books!
We started out anxiously awaiting the arrival of my sister Tricia, and brother-in-law Randy, who were coming down once again to spend Thanksgiving day with us. After a very long drive in mostly rain they did make it safely here and fortunate for us, had decided to stay at the casino. Fortunate in that we really didn't have space for them in the motorhome and I did mention they WERE AT THE CASINO! That sort of excuse to visit a casino is good karma all round.
Thanksgiving day was actually sunny. I'm not referring to the liquid sunshine Oregon provides on an almost hourly basis but actual blue sky bright orange orb in the heavens sunshine. We didn't have to worry about sunburn – the rust stains act as a pretty good sunscreen, probably an SPF 100. Anyway, Chris and I dressed up and headed to the, you guessed it, casino to meet up and ultimately begin grazing on the all you can eat thanksgiving buffet. Talk about a tryptophan overdose!
Getting together with family on the holiday is one of the good things in life. While we had been together just two months prior, once Tricia and Randy arrived it really dawned on us just how much we had missed them and how thoroughly we enjoy their company. Um, well mostly. Sorry, our fondness of being together is not nearly enough for us to go back north to the cold snowy weather. Of course now that they are also motorhome owners maybe they'll be more inclined to head south to chase the 70's like we do.
Back to thanksgiving lunch. After receiving several sly looks from the wait staff (hey, just because we asked for pillows and blankies), we headed back to the park for our traditional session of solving the world's problems while watching movies and trying not to think of just how full we were. By this time, the sun had set and the rains started up – heavy enough to make hearing a challenge and if it had rained cats and dogs I'm sure they would have drowned. This was the “deluge is such a gentle description” type of rain - non-stop bucket upon bucket and I'm pretty sure Noah would have been jealous. I seriously considered breaking out the snorkels before walking Tricia and Randy back to their car.
Friday morning there is a knock on my door and looking at the clock showing only 6am I was just a bit miffed; until I opened the door and was greeted with water lapping over the steps. My dreams of a babbling brook made so much more sense now that I could hear the water running under the rig. This was one of those perfect storm moments. Heavy rains on already saturated ground filled the creek running through the campground to overflowing. Combine a minor flooding creek with a storm surge and high tide to back it up and you have a very rapidly rising and swiftly flowing lake smack dab in the middle of our most popular loop.
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That early in the morning there are no park rangers on duty so it fell to the yurt host and myself to wake those guests not already awake and get everyone packing up and moving out. Chris had to stay close to the rig to get it ready to move out and to answer questions from panicky campers. There were even a few who really wanted to ride out the storm where they were – until I let a little bit of my old Coast Guard chief petty officer surface (toned down; after all they are civilians).
trailer_flood
Later in the day the sun did come out.
Despite our efforts and unfortunately for one couple the water rose too fast and was too deep to safely hookup. They made the tough but very wise decision to leave their trailer until the tide withdrew and the water lowered. Another couple who had just finished restoring a 1958 Airstream had the very good fortune to have selected one of the very few sites just high enough to stay above water. Later, they hired a flatbed tow truck to carry the trailer out through the remaining flood waters.
Several things went right for us that day. First and foremost, no one was injured. With the exception of the two trailers mentioned, everyone was able to get out of the park with little to no damage (as far as has been reported). Lastly was the cooperation and joint efforts displayed by our campers. I doubt things would have gone as smoothly without it.
Two days have since passed. Chris and I have salvaged as many left behind possessions as we could find in case the owners come back and we're now wrapping up the site cleaning that we can do. The park will have a larger crew coming in and who knows, perhaps in just a couple more days we'll be back open to the public.
We probably won't get to see the reopening, Chris and I will be departing soon to continue our trip sort of southward. Right now we're wrangling over the routes.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Sunset Bay – Camp Host Tales

ChrisWe have pretty much established a routine work day which, except for weekends, hardly varies. I say EXCEPT for weekends because there is absolutely nothing that could be construed as “routine” in a campground once you add weekenders – those wonderfully lost souls who have come to get away, if even for a very short while from the rat race. For them it is a well earned break or perhaps an exciting new adventure. For us its like the opening credits are finally done and we're on to the main attraction!

sunsetbay_beachOur “show” actually begins outside of the campground on the beautiful beach depicted in the some of the pictures we've posted. Here we find visitors and locals alike enjoying the curling waves, cawing seagulls and the occasional glimpse of seals bobbing in the waves. For people watchers such as Chris and I no time at all passes before the opening act unfolds before us with one visitor turning her back to the ocean to admire something in the sand. I don't believe anyone told her of the wave rules where you NEVER turn your back to the ocean while in the surf line. Of course no one needs to tell her now either as a 2 foot curl caught her right behind the knees sending her backwards into the foamy water. Most of this is what we believe was the case – we didn't see anything until the glass shattering scream caught our attention (guess the water was a bit chilly) to the fully clothed person who looked like she was trying to body surf in way too shallow water. Fortunately for her it was only a short dash back up to the parking lot to retrieve her beach towel.

The beach show continued as the endless cycle of the tide caught the unwary, the incautious and some really good runners-up for the Darwin awards.

At the campground there is always at least one weekender in each loop designated as the star attraction. parkhostThis person or group has, for one reason or another, captured Mr. Murphy's attention and by sheer willpower (or just the fact they are breathing and have a pulse) are bound and determined to prove the law is true; that anything that can go wrong will.

Take the couple over in A-34 last weekend. First up was the tent poles. I mean that literally. Instead of putting the poles in the guide holes of the tent first as the directions probably say (I'm not really sure though, they had used the directions to light their firelog), this couple had put the poles together and then arranged them on the ground. Placing the tent upside down on the poles they commenced to move it around and around in an attempt to line up the guides with the poles. We came upon this exhibition just as a neighbor began assisting them. I have already nominated the neighbor for the REI Golden Camper award for his patience and in showing these camping novices HIS tent directions – unburnt.

With the tent up and the couple settled into their camp site we were pretty sure we were in for a quiet weekend filled with laughter from kids and adults alike. Nothing could have prepared us for what was next to occur! Raccoons!

In a completely different loop and at the opposite end of the campground, one of the yurt hosts heard what she thought was a domestic violence situation filled with yelling, shouting and some unusual bumps and thumps. Fearing the worst, the host called 911, bringing law enforcement to quell what to her sounded like an escalating situation. This went on for nearly 20 minutes until, upon arrival, the deputy quickly took control of the situation by aggressively shining his light around the camp site and settled the matter almost immediately. While there isn't any dispute over there being a serious disturbance there has since been some extended discussion amongst the hosts whether the two raccoons who had been fighting over a bag of chips were actually in a domestic relationship. Sometimes perhaps it is best to just not know.

The raccoons here are some of the best trained sneaks and ninja warriors you'll find and they are not afraid of campers. Our couple in A-34 learned leaving any food out or a cooler not closed properly will result in a nocturnal visit. In their case they got to see our furry residents up close and personal when a couple of them (I'm unsure if it was the two fighters) joined them at the table to mooch popcorn. Sure, there was the initial shock of meeting them but the couple mentioned the next morning how well trained the wildlife was in the park.

Imagine their faces when we told them we had no trained wildlife. That's why they’re called wildlife.

shoreacresThanks for reading this one, a compilation of a few weeks of hosting experiences here and are really some of the main reasons we'll keep coming back to Sunset Bay.

Hey, we got a visit from Gordon and Juanita Pierce and their sub-woofer today. What a welcome surprise!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Sunset Bay–Growing Pains

ShoreAcresOur new home is developing its own personality. We're not quite sure what may develop, but we have had a glimpse of what may unfold in the coming year.

 

 

 

 

As most readers of our blog know, our last motorhome was a 34 foot Excursion and I believe I mentioned how enjoyable driving it was – like participating in a Virginia Reel with an intricate yet smooth blending of moves resulting in a wonderful experience. Driving our new home, until this past week anyway, was quite frankly more like dancing with an inexperienced partner who is constantly stepping on your toes. The trip from Boise to Sunset Bay, with the exception of our short stop at Crystal Crane Hot Springs was grueling.

Enter Henderson's Line-Up in Grant's Pass Oregon. Over the last couple of years I have read and heard there is ONE place on the west coast to take your motorhome for suspension and steering and that is Henderson's. They literally wrote the book and as such are the industry leaders and teachers. Getting an appointment so quickly was pure luck.

During the first step Henderson's performs what they call the Road Performance Assessment which involves the technician taking your rig out for test drive while you ride along as a passenger. This was a first time experience for me as Chris doesn't drive the RV. (My new perspective pretty much explains the fingernail impressions in the armrests of her chair and I'm sure I made them just a bit deeper.) What our technician Eric found out was just what I had endured – pulling to the right, sway and porpoising on stops. What he found after we got back to the shop was a whole different matter.

You see, Henderson's also performs a pretty detailed inspection underneath the rig and in my case found the bell crank (there was no bell and I didn't see any crank for a bell even if one existed, weird) that was far from tight, allowing the steering wheels to wobble. While the wobble didn't cause the pull to the right it did contribute to the handling and would have eventually resulted in odd wear patterns. Another find was during the alignment check. Come to find out we had been sort of going down the road sideways with the rig wanting to make a very wide sweeping turn to the right. Problem found – or nearly so. Being nearly a full inch out of square contributed a great deal to the pull to the right but like Bob Barker used to say “That's not all!”. The loose bell crank I mentioned camoflaged another contributing factor that is really not that unusual; a tire that is not really round and lastly, for probably the first time in its short life our motorhome was weighed at all four corners and was found to be just a bit lopsided. Add it all together and we have a rig that would head for the shoulder of the road at any lapse of concentration on the part of the driver. Knowing my difficulties just walking and chewing gum at the same time makes this a very dangerous situation.

The cure for all this? A little cutting and welding to straighten the out of square alignment. Replacing the bell crank with Henderson's own designed heavier duty one and finally giving the tire a shave to make it really round and of course balancing both. Lastly, to assist in tracking straight down the road and to help in the event of a blow-out we had the Safe-T Plus steering control installed. This last piece is like a sideways shock absorber, keeping the steer wheels running straight and true.

All in all, a full day at the shop and a moderately expensive solution but it was all worth while. Our drive home proved the work well worth every penny. This ungainly toe-stomping dancer has been turned into a graceful grand lady who is a pleasure to turn a waltz with. I'm looking forward to many a dance with the grand dame.



I'll tell you about our campers next time round. Just think raccoons, dog food and really thin tent fabric.