Tuesday, August 6, 2019

East-Bound and Down, Loaded up and Truckin'...

Signs like this are all over the OR and WA coast
With equal parts reluctance and excitement, we turned our backs on our beloved Pacific and officially started the Eastern leg of our clockwise lap around the country. The last stop in Washington state was at a Thousand Trails park in Diamond Lake for two weeks. The park is half KOA and half Thousand Trails and has all the amenities a camper could dream up. Incidentally, before our departure on August 9th we already broke even on our July 1st Thousand Trails annual membership fees, so our TT camping for the rest of the year will be freeeee. Not a bad start to the year.

Plenty of room at this campground,
this is my office view for the next couple of weeks
I've been getting this strange sense of dejavu. I've been here before. It's been 40 years or so - my great grandmother lived in Spokane and kept a cabin on Diamond Lake - funny I didn't make that connection until arriving. I visited her here when I was quite young. Driving out of the city and into the woods made me smile, she must have traveled this exact road countless times a half century ago. I expect she felt the same sense of relief we did with the first breath of fresh mountain air.

Being still for a couple of weeks gives me a good opportunity to get ahead on as much work as possible - after this we'll be heading to Glacier National Park, Yellowstone, and the Tetons, places known for breathtaking views and terrible cell coverage, so the more I can get done in advance the more I can relax and enjoy the weeks to come.

Lance changing out the jacks solenoid
Lance seized the mailing address opportunity and ordered parts to repair Loretta's jacks again. This time the problem turned out to be the solenoid, a twitchy little part which took some effort to track down, and required some contortionist skills to replace. He looked like a mad scientist poking at everything with the pointy ends of his VOM (electronic troubleshooting device for those of us who are not electronics engineers). On swap-out day, Chloe stood guard and nipped as many mosquitoes as she could but she couldn't catch them all and so the project exacted a blood toll. Of all the systems on the bus, the jacks have vexed us the most; now that we have resolved three different failure points we aspire to trouble-free jacks from here on out.

Since the electronic troubleshooting tools were out, we installed the stereo we bought last December. We selected one that picks up bluetooth too, so the passenger of the day can push audio books and stream music while we cruise down the road - that should make the upcoming long drive days across the plains a lot more fun. This is a project we've been putting off because one look behind the old dead stereo revealed dozens of wire nuts - Lance's personal nemesis - and so he just closed the dash back up with a sigh and promised to deal with it "after the holidays" and they've been lurking under the dash mocking us since then. Now armed with the right tools and visions of audiobooks just out of reach we waded into the rat's nest... a couple hours and a few burnt fingers later all the wire connections were refinished properly, the kindle and phone successfully paired, and the stereo blaring some truly terrible local station to which I was singing at the top of my lungs much to Lance's dismay.

The final stages of installing a new bluetooth stereo.
This project was house destructo level 7.

The great National Parks we're heading to next typically book up months in advance. Foot drama kept us from making real plans until everything was sold out; so we're going there anyways during their busiest time of the year with no reservations at all. I've been doing my homework and have lots of information on public lands nearby in case we can't stay in the National Parks, but all the same it's a little worrisome. All fingers are crossed, hoping we luck into some great spots.


  1. No matter where you land you will be close to some of the most beautiful parts of our Nation. Take your time. Enjoy everything you can.
    Remember to go into all the national parks Lodges. They ,on their own, are works of art and some of our nations amazing History. Not to mention the good food.:>)

  2. We saw the one at Glacier the other day, definitely demands more exploration.