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Author Topic: WEST COAST STATES - "Just the facts Ma'am"  (Read 11565 times)

SargeW

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WEST COAST STATES - "Just the facts Ma'am"
« on: August 19, 2012, 07:06:43 PM »
After we got back from the Alaska trip in one (relative) piece, we decided not to head off to the east coast just yet. Instead we are going to hang out on the western side of the country for the rest of the year.  I had so much fun writing the Alaska journal, and I received such great recommendations and tips from other forum members, I decided to continue the journal with a west coast flavor.  So now, please join me on my “West Coast States – Just the Fact Ma’am” tour. 

After we crossed the Canadian border for the last time we made our first stop at North Whidbey Island RV Park. We went to our friend’s house and picked up the “adult libations” and other supplies we couldn’t take into Canada with us.

We took the Port Townsend ferry over to Whidbey Island. For our 53’ rig and tow car we paid $81.15 for the ½ hour ferry ride from Oak Harbor to Port Townsend. That saved us about 200 miles of driving.  Reservations are recommended on the Ferry for larger vehicles, lest you may get bumped.  In Oak Harbor we paid a little under $30 a night for paved sites, grass between the sites and full hookups. That also included WiFi and cable, which we didn’t need.
 
The next stop we chose Sequim, WA.  Sequim is in close proximity to one of the National Parks that we had not visited yet, Olympic National Park.  We took two different off road trails in the park. The first was to “Obstruction Point”.  The trail climbed to over 6000’ and was heavily treed, with great views of the surrounding snow capped mountains. We could even see a distant glacier from the visitor’s center, which was at the start of the trail.
 
The other trail was Deerpark trail.  It climbed to 5800’ through some very twisty narrow roads.  There was a campground near the top for small rigs (class B, or truck campers) and tents.  Both trails provided a panoramic view looking down on the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
 
We stayed in the “Rainbows End” RV park. While it is right on highway 101, the traffic noise at night was negligible. We paid $35 a night for full hookups, 50 amp, and included Wi-Fi and cable. They had a large off leash dog area, and a onsite pond with lots of ducks and water birds.
 
When we got back into the states I need to fill up on propane. I was surprised how cheap (comparatively) that propane has become.  I paid $1.89 a gallon for propane at a gas station in Oak Harbor.  Apparently the US has a glut of propane right now. Propane is a byproduct of the recovery of Oil Shale mining in the east.  The story that I read on it said that by August of 2013, there will be no more room to store all of the Propane reserves that we currently have.  Wow.
 
We have now moved further south and have a spot at the Columbia Riverfront RV Park. The park is right on the shore of the Columbia, and we watch the boats travel up and down the river in route to ports in Portland, Vancouver, and points beyond.  We paid $33 a night for full 50 amp hook ups, Cable, Wi-Fi and a pool. There is a 3 acre grass area in front of the RV sites for playing games or walking the pets.
 
Diane found a local attraction to go visit today. A Grist Mill built in 1876 is still original and still operating.  We drove there and watched a demo of the water driven grinding stones turning wheat into wheat flour. We took home some corn meal and wheat flour and Diane whipped up a batch of fresh corn bread using the flour from the mill.  Good stuff!
« Last Edit: August 19, 2012, 07:15:47 PM by SargeW »
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COMer

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Re: WEST COAST STATES - "Just the facts Ma'am"
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2012, 08:12:24 PM »
Great pictures!  Thanks for sharing.
John & Darla
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Roadhappy

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Re: WEST COAST STATES - "Just the facts Ma'am"
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2012, 09:21:07 PM »
Sarge,

I really enjoyed your posts of the Alaska trip.  I'm excited to see that you are going to keep the posts coming for the West Coast States.
It seems like your trip was a lot shorter than it really was, probably because I wasn't in the drivers seat.  :D I hope you and Diane had a great time and I hope to see it myself one day.

Robin
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Ned

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Re: WEST COAST STATES - "Just the facts Ma'am"
« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2012, 10:50:36 PM »
You're not all that far from us, we're in White Salmon, WA, across the river from Hood River, OR.  Heading to Sequim on Wednesday.
-- Ned -- Fulltimer 1997-2013
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Jim Godward

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Re: WEST COAST STATES - "Just the facts Ma'am"
« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2012, 11:59:32 PM »
Ned,

We are even closer as we are in site 100 of at the Columbia Riverfront RV Park.   Just pulled in today and need a spot for the next week somewhere as we couldn't get the reservations we needed.  We have to leave on Wednesday.
Jim
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Kim (skyking4ar2) Bertram

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Re: WEST COAST STATES - "Just the facts Ma'am"
« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2012, 12:09:49 AM »
I cannot believe this - we just pulled out of Columbia RV after a month on Wednesday! I missed my live Alaskan update and the rocket man by just that much!

At least they closed the road along the north end of the park that powdered my new rig with so much dirt I could wet it and grow plants. You think Alaska was bad? You have no idea, and no rig rinsing!

That's a great little place to stay, otherwise. Find the couple on the back row with the Mini Cooper and Escalade fifth wheel and tell them you know me. They are locals from Ridgefield, just went full time, and know everything there is to know about the area, including the food!

Have a great time, and sorry we missed you both! We are in Forks, headed to Escapees at Chimacum, and then Sequim for two months.

Life is good!

Kim and Christi

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mypursuit

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Re: WEST COAST STATES - "Just the facts Ma'am"
« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2012, 12:38:25 AM »
   Small world.  We live on Whidbey and drive by North Whidbey RV most days. Tomorrow we are taking the ferry to Port Townsend and going down 101 ending up at Millersyvania State Park south of Olympia.  I'm using 101 as an alternative to I-5 and driving through Seattle/Tacoma.  From there it's I-84 east in Oregon with a final destination in Saint Maries Idaho for a Labor Day weekend with friends.
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SargeW

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Re: WEST COAST STATES - "Just the facts Ma'am"
« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2012, 12:56:45 AM »
Thanks Robin! It was fun "taking everybody with me!" It felt like I wasn't alone out there! 

You're not all that far from us, we're in White Salmon, WA

Shoot Ned, we coulda past on the road!

Ned,

We are even closer as we are in site 100 of at the Columbia Riverfront RV Park.

I'll stop by tomorrow Jim and say Hi!

I cannot believe this - we just pulled out of Columbia RV after a month on Wednesday! I missed my live Alaskan update and the rocket man by just that much!

Hey Kim, we almost had the makings of a mini rally!  We keep this up we will all have to be at the same place at some point!

We leave here next Thursday and head for Horn Rapids RV in Richland WA.
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Re: WEST COAST STATES - "Just the facts Ma'am"
« Reply #8 on: August 20, 2012, 08:59:56 AM »
I think we're doing circles around each other :)
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Lorna

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Re: WEST COAST STATES - "Just the facts Ma'am"
« Reply #9 on: August 20, 2012, 11:10:00 AM »
Kim and Christi,


We will be in Sequim on Wed of this week for five days.  We will be at Gilgal Oasis and will be taking the ferry over to Victoria one day to tour the city and Buchard Gardens.  Let's see if we can get together, just send us an email with your phone # or we can do the same.  It would be great to see you again because it has been much to long.
Lorna
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Re: WEST COAST STATES - "Just the facts Ma'am"
« Reply #10 on: August 20, 2012, 01:51:07 PM »
I cannot believe this - we just pulled out of Columbia RV after a month on Wednesday! I missed my live Alaskan update and the rocket man by just that much!

Kim, weren't you in the park in WA, we are in the one in Portland.  Seems to me you indicated you were down river from Portland????
Jim
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SargeW

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Re: WEST COAST STATES - "Just the facts Ma'am"
« Reply #11 on: August 20, 2012, 02:09:53 PM »
Yep, that explains why I couldn't find you here Jim, this park only has 76 sites!
Marty--
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Kim (skyking4ar2) Bertram

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Re: WEST COAST STATES - "Just the facts Ma'am"
« Reply #12 on: August 20, 2012, 04:10:01 PM »
Ooops, yeah, the names are similar, and they are not that far away from each other....did not check the facts, ma'am....

Still sorry I missed you both!
Kim & Christi Bertram
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BernieD

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Re: WEST COAST STATES - "Just the facts Ma'am"
« Reply #13 on: August 21, 2012, 11:44:00 AM »
Kim, weren't you in the park in WA, we are in the one in Portland.  Seems to me you indicated you were down river from Portland? ???

We were at the Portland one a month ago.
Bernie & Marlene Dobrin
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Jim Godward

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Re: WEST COAST STATES - "Just the facts Ma'am"
« Reply #14 on: August 21, 2012, 11:49:38 AM »
We were at the Portland one a month ago.

And where are you now???
Jim
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Re: WEST COAST STATES - "Just the facts Ma'am"
« Reply #15 on: August 21, 2012, 11:52:07 AM »
We will be in the Portland area till Aug 30 so if anyone is in the area too, let us know.  The RV Parks are pretty full so if headed this way, get reservations.
Jim
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Re: WEST COAST STATES - "Just the facts Ma'am"
« Reply #16 on: August 21, 2012, 11:55:54 AM »
Which park?  Portland/Fairview is usually pretty open.

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Re: WEST COAST STATES - "Just the facts Ma'am"
« Reply #17 on: August 21, 2012, 01:28:26 PM »
Both Jantzen Beach and Columbia River are full most evenings.  I haven't tried Fairview, we usually have stayed there in the past but CR park is more convenient to where the family lives now. 

We will be in Columbia River RV park from now to the 30th.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2012, 02:48:33 PM by Jim Godward »
Jim
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Re: WEST COAST STATES - "Just the facts Ma'am"
« Reply #18 on: August 21, 2012, 05:51:13 PM »
And where are you now???

We're in Bakersfield, heading to Pomona tomorrow. A friends and family rally at East Shore RV Park (next to Fairplex). Barbara and Alan Wax will be there and I believe that they are still Forumites, so we can call it another Frally.
Bernie & Marlene Dobrin
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Re: WEST COAST STATES - "Just the facts Ma'am"
« Reply #19 on: August 21, 2012, 06:29:02 PM »
Sarge, keep writing I will keep reading, great stuff.
Jim
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SargeW

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Re: WEST COAST STATES - "Just the facts Ma'am"
« Reply #20 on: August 21, 2012, 11:30:44 PM »
Thanks Jim!  It's good to know that someone is reading along.  I enjoy writing about an area and sharing the findings for others that may consider visiting the area.
Marty--
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SargeW

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Re: WEST COAST STATES - "Just the facts Ma'am"
« Reply #21 on: August 25, 2012, 12:25:35 AM »
A few days before leaving the Columbia Riverfront RV Park we took a trip to Fort Vancouver, in Vancouver WA.  The fort was built in the 1824 to protect British trapping and trading interests along the Columbia River by the Hudson Bay Company. The fort or the trading post had never been attacked, so the military personnel that had the good fortune to have been stationed there had some pretty good duty.

In 1824 the land north of the Columbia River was territory of Great Brittan. But after a treaty signed with the British in 1846, the boundary was moved to its current location along the 49th Parallel.

The grounds and houses are free to walk around, as is the visitor’s center. One preserved row of houses called “Officers Row” are still there and are in use today. Some are residences, others are businesses, and one, belonging to the base commander is available to tour. It’s most famous resident; General George C. Marshall lived in it for about two years. If you want to tour a replica of the original fort, it will cost you $3 a person. It was about a 26 mile drive from the RV park.
 
After 5 days at Columbia Riverfront RV Park we were ready to move on. We took about a 225 mile drive east and south to Horn Rapids RV resort in Richland, WA. 
Horn Rapids is an upscale RV Resort with 225 full hook up spaces. Most sites have a large concrete patio, green grass area between sites, and nice landscaping.  It also has a pool and hot tub (my favorite) and a small general store.  We paid a “7 day rate” which basically charges you for 6 days and the 7th is free.  Staying 7 days made the nightly fee just over $33 a night.  The place is packed this time of year, so if you plan on staying for more than a day, call for reservations.
 
Enroute to Richland, we stopped at a Pilot truck stop in Wasco OR for fuel. While the fueling part was easy enough, the savings part has dissipated quite a bit.  The price on the big sign out front quoted $4.05 a gallon for cash price, PUC diesel. I knew that there was no way I was getting that price.  Since all they had big enough for us was the truck islands, I pulled up to an empty stall and tried my RV Advantage card at the reader.  No joy.

Going inside to the fuel desk I handed my Advantage card and credit card to the clerk. I had to quote a dollar amount to preauthorize, which I did.  He swiped both, and handed me the cards and the receipt.  Yep, I paid $4.42 a gallon. So much for the “RV discount” that Pilot likes talking about in the Good Sam publications.  When I pulled out I passed a Shell station on the other corner that was about $4.29 a gallon for diesel.  Some Advantage, huh?
 
Well at least Diane had time to grab us a road snack while I screwed around trying to get fuel.  I may be joining the ranks of those now shopping for fuel at alternate locations.

Also one major thing happened while we were at Columbia Riverfront RV.  On the road enroute to the park was a Les Schawb Tire store.  I have been threatening to get new tires on the Jeep, and it was about time.  I have burned through my second set of BF Goodrich MT's in four years.  Although the Jeep only has about 41K on the clock, it has been pulled another 60K or so behind the MH. 

The OE Mud Terrains are great off road tires, but towing the Jeep as much as I do really eats up the aggressive tread blocks on them. For quite a while now, where ever you drove the Jeep, it sounded and felt like you were driving on a cobble stone street.  The faster you went the louder it got, and the steering wheel had a constant "shimmy".  It just wasn't fun to drive at all.  I even rotated them every 3K like clockwork, but to no avail.  It slowed the rate of wear and these did last longer than the last set, but in the end, they still came down to the same fate. And they still had some pretty good tread on them. 

So I went researching for a better tire, one not so aggressive.  There are literally dozens of choices out there, and I must have looked at them all. Finally while researching on Consumer Reports.com I found a tire that looked like it fit the bill.  It's a Cooper Discoverer, ATR (all terrain radial) in a LT275/70/17. The Goodrich's were a LT255/75/17.  Consumer Reports recommended as the best AT tire in it's class. 

So I bit the bullet and ordered a set. Two days later I was at Les Schawb's getting them put on.  All I can say is OMG!  It feels like I have a new Jeep.  The tires feel like I am driving on glass, and I hear nothing but the wind noise now. The steering shimmy is gone, and the DW has a big smile on her face!  The price was decent, and Cooper has a great warranty.  I will still keep up the rotations, and keep the pressure in check, but I am a happy camper.   
Marty--
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: WEST COAST STATES - "Just the facts Ma'am"
« Reply #22 on: August 25, 2012, 10:02:16 AM »
Yeah, Oregon has that pesky $0.30/gal extra tax charge if you can't produce a PUC#.  The PFJ site says that Wasco gives the regular RV Rewards card discount ($0.03), but they don't give any discount at all if you don't use the RV Plus Advantage card at the pump (it even says so in the fine print).  It might be worth emailing PFJ to ask why you couldn't use the RV Plus card at the pump. I can't find anything that says it wouldn't work in Oregon.
Gary
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Ned

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Re: WEST COAST STATES - "Just the facts Ma'am"
« Reply #23 on: August 25, 2012, 10:17:05 AM »
We fueled at Wasco Pilot 10 days ago and used the car pumps.  The attendant ran both the credit card and the RV Rewards card, so we got the $.03/gal. discount plus our 5% cash back for a net of $4.149/gal. less the 5%.  The posted price was $3.879/gal w/PUC #.  The truck pumps were so busy we didn't even try to go there.
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SargeW

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Re: WEST COAST STATES - "Just the facts Ma'am"
« Reply #24 on: August 25, 2012, 10:35:04 AM »
Yeah, I tried running the Advantage card 3 times. Each time took me in a complete circle, and just came back to "see Cashier".  There is a sticker on the pump that gives specific instructions on how to make it work.

It didn't.  At FJ you used to get the cash price, plus the .03 a gallon discount.  That is gone with the wind now. 

The auto pumps were jammed when I was there too Ned.  And I don't think I could have fit in there anyway and made the turn with my toad connected.   
Marty--
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Ned

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Re: WEST COAST STATES - "Just the facts Ma'am"
« Reply #25 on: August 25, 2012, 10:45:54 AM »
We barely fit and just got out by inches without having to get a car moved.  Lorna was not happy.
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Re: WEST COAST STATES - "Just the facts Ma'am"
« Reply #26 on: August 25, 2012, 07:34:15 PM »
BTW truckers with a PUC pay the road tax via a monthly report, rather than at the pump.
I been using the GoodSam/PFJ credit card and it has worked at all Pilots and FJs except one FJ "dealer" in La Grande, OR. It has worked everywhere else, even other "dealer/franchise" stations. It give you 6 cents off the cash price.
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SargeW

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Re: WEST COAST STATES - "Just the facts Ma'am"
« Reply #27 on: August 25, 2012, 11:17:47 PM »
Oh yeah, I know that the truckers still are paying there share.  It's just misleading for PFJ to post the PUC price on the big signs. It is about meaningless to the rest of the motoring public.
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Re: WEST COAST STATES - "Just the facts Ma'am"
« Reply #28 on: August 26, 2012, 10:58:07 AM »
Since probably 98% of their diesel business is with truckers, it makes sense to advertise the price they will pay rather than the general population. It's only the diesel RVers who get confused, and then only if they are unfamiliar with Oregon's fuel pricing regulations. Ditto for Indiana, which has the same tax collection & pricing regs.

I can understand your frustration, but to say  that the $0.03 a gallon discount is "gone with the wind now" seems a bit overblown. I've been receiving the discount regularly at both Pilot and FJ locations up and down the east coast as well as in Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee. 
« Last Edit: August 26, 2012, 11:02:30 AM by Gary RV Roamer »
Gary
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SargeW

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Re: WEST COAST STATES - "Just the facts Ma'am"
« Reply #29 on: August 26, 2012, 12:16:50 PM »
I can understand your frustration, but to say  that the $0.03 a gallon discount is "gone with the wind now" seems a bit overblown. 

No, what I said was that the cash price, which was around .06 to .10 cents a gallon less than the credit price, and the .03 cent per gallon discount was a thing of the past.  I still get the .03 cent a gallon discount at most PFJ stations.  But I am usually paying the full credit price.
Marty--
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