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Author Topic: The Western US trip, Just the Facts Maam!  (Read 21039 times)

SargeW

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Re: The Western US trip, Just the Facts Maam!
« Reply #90 on: July 15, 2015, 10:14:57 AM »
Oops, I see I need to clarify that statement Tom.  By "intimate" I meant the amount of spaces that the park had, not the length of sites themselves.  All the Oregon parks we have been in so far easily accommodated a 40+ foot rig with no problems.  And Fort Stevens was no exception. We saw 45' MH's as well as a few triple axle toy boxes in the loops.  Some of the camp roads may be a little tight though for that length of rig do to the old massive trees throughout the park loops.   
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Tom

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Re: The Western US trip, Just the Facts Maam!
« Reply #91 on: July 15, 2015, 05:39:16 PM »
Thanks for the clarification Marty.
Tom.  Need help? Click the Help button in the toolbar above.

SargeW

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Re: The Western US trip, Just the Facts Maam!
« Reply #92 on: July 15, 2015, 06:26:27 PM »
Diane just updated her blog for a bunch more photo's and information.
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SargeW

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Re: The Western US trip, Just the Facts Maam!
« Reply #93 on: July 17, 2015, 01:05:26 AM »
We left Fort Stevens and headed east following the Columbia River.  Fort Stevens was our last coastal location for quite awhile. This time we broke with our usual week long stays and stopped in Boardman, OR for a two night stay at the Boardman Marina and RV park. 

Boardman is a little town off of Interstate 84 that also follows the Columbia River.  Even though there is not much to the town, the RV park was pretty nice.  It is set on the banks of the Columbia and the river is just a few steps from the campground.  The park has 63 sites and the river can be seen from many of them.  We stayed in a FHU river view site, but one row back.  Barges and various other ships could be seen navigating the river from our site.  The morning we were packing up to leave we saw an old paddle wheel boat headed up river.

The roads are paved, and some of the parking pads are paved and some are gravel, but much of the area surrounding the rigs is grass and gravel.  As a matter of fact, the whole campground is lush green well manicured lawn.  It is apparent that this part of Oregon is having no water issues!  There was not a lot in the way of amenities, but the views were spectacular.  There is a paved walking path that circles most of the campground, and leads off to other historic attractions in the area.  There is also good space between the sites so you don't feel like your neighbor is right on top of you.

Our site was on the north side of the park which is closest to the river.  There are train tracks on the south side of the park, so sites on the north side tend to be further from the train  noise. If you are outside the trains are audible, but at night we were not awakened by train noise.

The park is reasonable priced at $31 per night, and that was for a river view site. The park offered Wifi, but our Verizon air card worked well and cell signal was strong. There are huge shade trees in the park which are great for keeping the afternoon sun off of the RV, but it was yet another park that the trees blocked the satellite signal from the roof mounted dish.  However I was able to place the remote dish in a location to get signal without too much trouble.

A hot tip for fuel if you visit this park. On the south side of the freeway there is a Shell gas station that has a pair of diesel pumps set on the side of the station. It is easy in and out, and they have high delivery nozzle pumps, but they will maintain a reasonable flow for smaller tank  filling.  We paid $2.99 a gallon for diesel.

Now we head into Washington State for a week stay just outside of Spokane.

Cool stuff about this park:
1) Tons of well manicured lawns.
2) Reasonably priced.
3) Watching boats on the river.
4) Big shade trees.

Not cool stuff about this park:
1) No patio's for chairs, just grass and dirt outside your door.
2) Being close to the river is nice, but at night the flying “river gnats”  are everywhere.
3) All that grass takes a lot of water, and the park waters it often.
4) Big trees can block satellite reception.
5) Train noise.
Marty--
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Peteyboy

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Re: The Western US trip, Just the Facts Maam!
« Reply #94 on: July 17, 2015, 08:13:34 PM »
Marty,  With all the flooding that is going on around the country, does that affect where you plan to stay, or do you even pay any attention to that sort of thing ?  RV parks seem very vulnerable to flooding, as a lot are close to rivers and creeks.  2 years ago we camped from Kansas City down to Houston in May,,, we were 70 miles from Moore OK, when the tornado hit.  I slept very little that leg of the trip, as there were tornado warnings every night.
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SargeW

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Re: The Western US trip, Just the Facts Maam!
« Reply #95 on: July 17, 2015, 08:32:57 PM »
Oh yeah Pete, we pay very close attention to local weather and what is going on. We plan our itinerary in advance where summer crowds are a possibility of locking us out.  But if the weather gets crazy we will adjust on the fly. We have changed plans in the past due to snow, tornadoes, dust storms, and even fire.  For us, RVing enjoyment is not taking unnecessary risks. 
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John Stephens

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Re: The Western US trip, Just the Facts Maam!
« Reply #96 on: July 17, 2015, 09:28:02 PM »
Similar to when I was OTR, I plot my route with my phone GPS and a RM Motor Carriers Atlas to determine roads that can be used, and then check the weather along the entire route, including wind advisories, making any changes to the route that are necessary.
John

2005 Winnebago Adventurer 38J

SargeW

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Re: The Western US trip, Just the Facts Maam!
« Reply #97 on: July 17, 2015, 11:05:53 PM »
That's pretty much our style too John. Anything we can do to make it easier helps smooth out the bumps when traveling.
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SargeW

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Re: The Western US trip, Just the Facts Maam!
« Reply #98 on: July 24, 2015, 02:57:58 PM »
We continued our trek north/eastward and made our next stop in Deer Park, WA at the Spokane RV Resort.  Deer Park is a little town off of Highway 395 and is about 15 miles north of Spokane.  After our more rustic stop in Boardman, Diane picked a little more upscale place for this stop.  The park is part of a larger development of single family homes that are built next to a rather nice golf course.  The RV park and the homes are separate though, but to get to the RV park you drive about .7 of a mile down a residential street lined with new homes.  Through another gate and you enter the manicured well maintained RV park.  Half of the sites nose up to the golf course fairways, and the others are across the street with a view of the course. Some of the sites are owned and nicely outfitted, and  others like the one we had are just large cement pads with lots of green grass and about 30' between RV's.  Most sites have a large mature shade tree towards the front of the sites that provided really nice shade in the afternoons.  I caught a few naps stretched out in the recliner enjoying the afternoon breeze. 

The park has a pool and hot tub, laundry, and the handicapped accessible showers and bathrooms are available in the new office building. The park accepts all types of rigs, and age doesn't seem to be a  problem. Many of the RV's were from BC Canada, as the border is pretty close. Our neighbors were from BC and were staying for 2 months.  But home was still close enough for them to go home for a doctors appointment. The park offers Wifi, but our Verizon air card had strong cell signal and satellite reception was easy.  They also had a “Family Pavilion” that  had a library, kitchen, and a small workout room.

They also have a wash service that will come to the park. It too was reasonable. 2 guys showed up and hand washed and dried the rig, roof included for $2.50 a foot. The whole wash cost me $97.50.  The roof was super dirty after spending 4 weeks on the California and Oregon coasts, so they really earned their money.

Even though it is a very upscale park, the rates were reasonable. We stayed for 7 days and with the Good Sam 10% discount paid $34.12 a night.  The little town of Deer Park is surprisingly well featured for a small town. There are grocery stores, auto parts, and various restaurants.  For major retailers though you need to drive to Spokane which is about a 15 or 20 minute drive.  There isn't much in the way of tourist attractions in Deer Park, so we drove into Spokane one day and checked out the city. They have a nice downtown Riverwalk area with some shops interesting places to eat. It  too is not a big area though, and we walked the whole area and had lunch in about 2 hours. 

A hot tip for service if you are in the area though and need service work.  I was due for an oil change and fuel filter service while I was there, so about a week before my arrival I called 3 different shops in the area for prices and availability to due the service. 2 of the 3 quoted a week to 10 days waiting time, and the prices ranged from $300 to $400 just for the oil change.  One place was first come first serve, and was possible, but the prices were about the same.  And I was going to have to drive back into Spokane for the service. I know that auto repair can be pricey, but since I usually do a lot of my own service, it bugs me to pay those prices for simple maintenance. 

When I got into town I kept calling and talking to people and finally found a local shop 10 minutes  from the RV park named Deer Park Diesel RV and Auto Repair.  I called and spoke to the shop and they said they could get me in no problem. Also supplying my own filters was not a problem and they would just charge me labor and how much oil the rig took.  I was elated!  I made a 10 AM appointment for Wednesday.  I showed up and dropped the rig off and went to breakfast with Diane.  We stopped on the way back at a Les Schwab tire shop and had the Jeep tires rotated (free) and headed back to Deer  Park Diesel. When we arrived they were just finishing up the oil change, and had the fuel  filter on. He then grabbed a grease gun and slid under the rig and lubed all the grease zerts. 
They charged  me for 1 hour labor and 24 quarts of oil.  All total including tax and shop fees came to about $200.  So I saved myself about $100+ and had some friendly personal service to boot.  If you need service in the area, Deer Park  Diesel and auto repair is highly recommended.

For many more pics of the downtown Spokane River front area, stop by Diane's blog at the link at the bottom of my signature.

Cool stuff about this park:
1) Big concrete sites with lush well manicured lawns all around.
2) Quiet surroundings with no road noise or trains in the middle of the night.
3) 2 dog parks, and lots of undeveloped adjoining land to walk pets.
4) Reasonable stores  and businesses in town for basic shopping needs.
5) Nice pool and hot tub.
6) Reasonable prices.

Not cool stuff about this park:
1) Not a lot to do in town in the way of entertainment.
2) Spokane is about 20 minutes away for major shopping.
3) Can be pretty hot during the mid day, then strong wind gusts are normal.
4) Lawn sprinklers can water your rig as well as the grass.
Marty--
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John Stephens

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Re: The Western US trip, Just the Facts Maam!
« Reply #99 on: July 24, 2015, 03:14:11 PM »
Marty - good review of the park and one that I'll put in the back of my mind since we'll be staying in Spokane on our western trip and I'll be looking for a park. Sounds like this is a really nice one for the price and the pictures prove that out.

Did you make reservations for the parks you are staying at in advance before your trip began, or are you hunting as you travel? When I take the long one, I don't want to be tied down to reservations for specific days in the event I am having fun at a stop on the way. I'd like to plan it on the fly, if that's possible.

I'm glad to hear to finally found an oil change for a decent price. I was wondering the prices out west were simply a lot higher than down here because I can get an oil change and lube for $100-150, but I've got a gas engine.

Enjoy your future travels and keep us posted.
John

2005 Winnebago Adventurer 38J

cadee2c

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Re: The Western US trip, Just the Facts Maam!
« Reply #100 on: July 24, 2015, 05:12:27 PM »
Im not surprised you didnt find much to do in Spokane or Deer Park. I grew up there and everyone goes somewhere else for their recreation. A lot of what used to be there has been developed into housing or industries. If you like hiking though, the Bowl and Pitcher at Riverside state park is really nice. its in the northwest of Spokane. I think they have a campground there, but not sure what its like anymore.
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SargeW

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Re: The Western US trip, Just the Facts Maam!
« Reply #101 on: July 24, 2015, 07:12:43 PM »
Did you make reservations for the parks you are staying at in advance before your trip began, or are you hunting as you travel?

Diane made reservations for most of the places we have stayed so far. When traveling in the west in the summer, places fill up fast, and we didn't want to get locked out of the places we wanted to stay.  And if we did get in by chance, you may have to take a back row site, or even move 2 or 3 times during your stay.  I know that it kind of kills the "spontaneous" part of traveling, but getting in where we want was more important.  That is really important on the weekends.  On weekends many places sell out, so getting in is not even possible. During the week is not so bad.  After September the need for reservations decreases quite a bit. The kids are back in school, and attendance at many parks drops.

I'm glad to hear to finally found an oil change for a decent price. I was wondering the prices out west were simply a lot higher than down here because I can get an oil change and lube for $100-150, but I've got a gas engine.

The biggest difference in my coach and a gasser for this kind of a service, is the amount of oil. Mine takes 24 quarts of oil, at $3.99 a quart. So just for the oil was $96.  Other than that it was the same.  However, my diesel will go 15,000 miles between oil changes. I don't know how long the gassers go, but I don't think it is that far. 

Thanks Caryl, that is exactly what Diane discovered in her blog!
Marty--
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John Stephens

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Re: The Western US trip, Just the Facts Maam!
« Reply #102 on: July 24, 2015, 09:06:11 PM »
My gas engine owner's manual tells me to change the oil the same as I would in my car: 7500 miles unless extreme driving conditions, and then every 3,000. Of course, my definition of extreme conditions is quite different than that of the people who change the oil and want your money as fast as possible. I had a service advisor at the local Hyundai dealer tell me that if you drive in the Florida heat, it must be considered extreme conditions. I called Hyundai and they had a good laugh and then told me to ignore that dealer's advice. My Winnie owner's manual says that if you drive in city traffic all the time, consider that extreme, but if you travel the highways, use the normal intervals. Getting 15K out of yours is one of the benefits of having a diesel.
John

2005 Winnebago Adventurer 38J

SargeW

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Re: The Western US trip, Just the Facts Maam!
« Reply #103 on: July 29, 2015, 09:02:47 PM »
We pulled out of the park in Washington and headed for Montana.  Our first stop was in the little town of St. Regis, MT.  We stayed 4 nights at this location, instead of our usual 7 days.  I will elaborate more on that in a bit.  We chose the Nugget RV Park, and stayed in site #49.  The park itself is very nice, and although the roads and sites are gravel, the owners who are on site and run the park take a lot of pride in it's upkeep.  Many sites are terraced so there are nice views of the surrounding hills and trees.  There are several large grass areas around the park and all are well manicured and lush green.

Some of the sites like the one we had are set up with rail road ties that frame the site, and then a have a large grass area connected to the patio area. There are also many plants and flowers and large trees as well.  The park offered free Wifi, and there are some new bathrooms and showers available.  Upon inspection however I did not note any that were designated as being handicapped accessible.  The cell signal was good in the area and our Verizon air card worked well.

Our site had 50 amp electrical service but it looked like the 50 amp receptacle had been added later because the plug for the 50 amp plug was in a separate box on the pole.  I hooked up to it, but a few hours later the power went out in the rig.  The Inverter kicked in and ran the small stuff, but both AC units and the washer/dryer went off.  Upon checking the power pole I found that the 50 amp breaker on the pole didn't trip.  I checked our Progressive Industries EMS surge protector, and sure enough it took the power off line.  The digital display was showing that line 2 was sitting bouncing around 104 volts, and that was without load.  Line 1 was  still showing about 119 volts. 

The way our coach is wired, the front AC is on leg one, and the back AC is on leg 2.  It also appears that the washer is on leg 2 as well. It was hot outside, about 90 and the park was nearly full, so that means lots of folks were most likely cranking the AC.  In the summer time, low voltage conditions like that are way more likely than a high surge, so having low voltage protection is critical. When the surge guard reconnected us, we just used the front AC and the washer/dryer for the rest of the stay. If you don't have  some type of protection to manage the power in your rig, they are worth their weight in gold. Low voltage damage is cumulative, so the really expensive damage to your appliances wont show up for a while.   

This blip aside, we enjoyed our stay at the park. We paid $40 a night, but was one of the nicer parks in the area. There is also a pool, laundry, and playground for the kids. There is also large adjoining areas that your dog can run off leash.

The reason I was glad that we shortened our stay to 4 days is because there is not a lot to do in the area. One day we drove into an old historic mining town of Wallace, MT.  We walked  the old downtown areas, visited some of the historic sites, and had lunch at a sidewalk cafe.  Wallace was about a 45 minute drive from St. Regis.  It is all 70 MPH the whole way with no traffic, but it's still a good distance. Other than that there is not a lot to keep you busy unless you hike a lot,  so 4 days was plenty for us.  This is still a nice park, and I recommend it if you are passing through.

Cool stuff about this park:
1) Well manicured sites and landscaping.
2) Good Wifi supplied by park.
3) New restrooms in great condition.
4) Nice helpful owners.

Not cool stuff about this park:
1) Electrical power can be sketchy if it's hot out.
2) No paved patio's, so  bring a rug for your outside area.
3) It's a long way to the nearest town of any size. Bring what supplies you need  with you.
4) It doesn't appear that the restrooms are handicapped accessible.
Marty--
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SargeW

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Re: The Western US trip, Just the Facts Maam!
« Reply #104 on: August 05, 2015, 02:54:44 PM »
Our next stop on the trail was in Kalispell Mo.  We had a choice to make of staying closer to Glacier and being nearer to the park, or being closer to civilization.  We chose civilization.  We picked a park on the Flathead river, that was supposed to be a well rated park with river view sites.  The park was the “Spruce on the River” RV park. 

Most parks I will applaud for their efforts, but I had a hard time finding high points with this park.  Mainly because the park was very basic, and had little effort put towards improving the sites, roads, or amenities.  What was described as a “river view” site was a group of sites very close together, near a depression with a minor flow at the bottom.  While I realize the park is not responsible for the height of the river, all the sites faced away from it.  Unless you had the one end site, you had to walk over to the bank to see any of it.  It just wasn't designed well. 

We did run into some folks  from our home town that had been coming to the park  for the last 5 years. They stayed for a few months at a time and enjoyed the atmosphere. However, in the last 3 years things had changed quite a bit. 3 years ago they paid $600 a month. 2 years ago it jumped to $800 a month, and this year was $1100 a month.  They said they wouldn't be back next year.

Our site was $42.40 a night, and we stayed 7 days. Pets were $1 a day extra (not sure why). We did have a FHU site, but the water pressure was really low causing me to fill the water tank and supplement the water flow for showers, laundry, and general cleaning. The restrooms in the park were clean, but very dated  in need of renovation, and no handicapped facilities  were observed. Wifi was offered,  but it was by Tengonet, and pay as you go internet provider.  Our Verizon air card worked acceptably here.

One of the main factors for staying here instead of the KOA just outside Glacier was that the KOA was about twice the price per night for a similar site.  KOA's premium sites were in the $90 to $100 a night. And then you were 30 to 45 minutes from the nearest store. 

Kalispell also didn't have a lot going on in the way of  attractions. One day we did drive about 45 minutes into Whitefish to check  out the town. It was a neat old historic town with a developed downtown  area with lots of shops and restaurants to explore.

When we did drive into Glacier the crowds as expected were pretty thick. The “Going to the Sun Road” was only partially open  due to the fire burning on the east side of the park. The road was closed past the Logan's pass visitor center.  When we went we were able to travel as far a the “Weeping Wall” which is about 3 miles west of  Logan's pass.  There park officials were stopping cars and putting them in line,  waiting for others to leave the visitor center and come back down. There were about 40 cars in front of us, so we opted to come back another day as we have been up over the road to the other side of the park on a previous visit.

On a side note, our patio awning stopped retracting on it's own while here, so it looks like there is another repair of some sort in my future.  In  a few of the pics below you can see just how tight the RV spaces were.

Well not every RV park can be a winner, and if in the area again we will check some of the others.
Diane is just about to post her blog on the area, which has much more info and pics.

Cool stuff about this park:
1) Closer to town and services instead of staying near Glacier.
2) Cheaper than the KOA.

Not cool stuff about this park:
1) Still pricey for not a  lot in the way of amenities.
2) Cramped dirt sites.
3) No real view of the river from the sites.
4) The hot water was off in the park showers for at least 4 of the 7 days we were there.

Marty--
2017 Tiffin Allegro Bus 40SP
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SargeW

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Re: The Western US trip, Just the Facts Maam!
« Reply #105 on: August 09, 2015, 10:39:47 PM »
This stop was in Butte, MT at the Butte KOA.  Unfortunately this was another park we would have to chalk up to probably would not return to.  We paid  about $44 a night and thought it was over priced for what we received.  In fairness, the park has new owners as of about 3 years ago and are in the process of modernizing, but it is going painfully slow.  The sites are dirt and gravel, and mostly dirt.  All the grass is pretty much dead, so there isn't much appeal to the place.  When Diane made the reservation on line, she specifically asked for a site that was able to get satellite reception.  When we arrived and got to our site,  we were next to the biggest tree in the park.   She went back to the office and asked to be changed, and the young girl working the desk just seemed kind of puzzled. 

We got a different site and got set up. As I was hooking up water I always check the flow before I hook up, so I  turned the water on while holding the hose.  A literal trickle came out of the hose.  I think it qualifies as the worst pressure I have ever seen at a RV park.  I was forced to  fill the holding tank just to have pressure to shower and wash dishes.  It took about 30 minutes to get about half a tank of water. 

The other thing we discovered about this park was that there is a train track nearby that sometimes runs by at 11 PM. It went by one night blowing it's whistle the whole way.  Talk about launching you out of bed!

Wifi was acceptable at the park, and the Verizon air card worked well.  The park did offer Wifi, but I didn't try to get on to it.  The bathrooms were acceptable, but again no handicapped facilities were found. 

For an outing one day, we signed up for and took a guided golf cart tour of Butte.  The tour was $35 a person, was supposed to last about 90 minutes.  Three hours  later we finally got back to our car.  It was just Diane and I on the tour, and the guide was chatty to say the least. Unfortunately he spent most of the time trying to convince us that the town of Butte was not dying.  Butte is an old mining town that had it's heyday around the turn of the century.  Since then mining has nearly dried up, and all that is mostly left of the mines are the old “head frames” that tower into the sky. They are rusted up, and mostly surrounded with chain link fence.  There are 13 visible, dotting the skyline of Butte, and are referred to as “historical”.  All the mining of heavy metals from it's past has unfortunately left Butte a “Superfund” site. So heavy metal  contamination cleanup is still going on for the air, water,  and soil. 

Not your typical vacation destination spot. 

There is a chicken restaurant on site at the park that we ate at the first night as it was highly recommend by various posters in review sites.  The chicken was, OK but nothing that you couldn't have got at KFC for less money. 

From here it's on to Yellowstone, and the Grizzly RV park.  We have high hopes that our fortunes will change!   
Marty--
2017 Tiffin Allegro Bus 40SP
Cummins ISL 450 HP/Powerglide chassis
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Peteyboy

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Re: The Western US trip, Just the Facts Maam!
« Reply #106 on: August 13, 2015, 06:27:52 PM »
Marty,  your low voltage comment was spot on as I just had to replace the transfer switch in the rig for exactly that reason.  >:(Along with the new switch went a Progressive SP. ;D
Pete & Sandy
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SargeW

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Re: The Western US trip, Just the Facts Maam!
« Reply #107 on: August 13, 2015, 06:58:05 PM »
Good call Pete. Voltage problems at RV parks can hit the wallet hard.
Marty--
2017 Tiffin Allegro Bus 40SP
Cummins ISL 450 HP/Powerglide chassis
Visit our new travel blog! http://www.mytripjournal.com/rvnchickTNG
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Peteyboy

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Re: The Western US trip, Just the Facts Maam!
« Reply #108 on: August 14, 2015, 08:06:39 AM »
Good call Pete. Voltage problems at RV parks can hit the wallet hard.

Wish I could blame it on a CG,,,, it happened in my driveway.
Anyway,,, keep up the great reports !
Pete & Sandy
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SargeW

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Re: The Western US trip, Just the Facts Maam!
« Reply #109 on: August 18, 2015, 09:21:16 PM »
After our last two clunkers for campgrounds, we rolled in Grizzly RV park in West Yellowstone, MT.  The overall condition of the park was much better than we had the last few stops, and was very well taken care of.  The pads of the sites were gravel, and ours could have used some more as we had a few rains while we were there and it got pretty muddy.  There was an attached cement patio that was nice to set up chairs and the like on, but being in a motor home with the door at the front of the rig we still stepped out on dirt/mud.  Luckily I carry a rubber mat I could put down by the door to keep the mess down. 

There are over 300 sites in Grizzly and it looks like some are newer than others. We were in site #298 which looked to be in the newer side. The lower number sites looked to be on the older side. The sites appeared to be a bit smaller, and the patios were asphalt instead of cement. Therefore some of the asphalt patios were broken up and in need of repair. We had a back in site as this usually gives us a green space area in back of the rig and no neighbor right behind us.  We did note however that the pull through  sites were longer, and did have more concrete towards the front of the site to step out onto. We were in a “Premium” back in, and there were also  “Premium” pull through's. Of course anytime the word premium is put before a RV site description, that means it will cost you more.
 
We paid $63.31 a day for our site for the 7 day stay. The bathrooms on the newer side of the park were newer as well, but all were in good condition.  There are handicapped bathrooms and showers available.  The park offers Wifi, but when  you check in you get a code for a limited visit on the system. Anything more than that and it costs you by the hour. 

One interesting issue came up while we were there.  Our rig has a tankless water heater that is made by Precision Temp.  It has worked well since we have had the rig, and Diane loves taking unlimited hot showers.  The first day she noted that the water wasn't getting as hot as is should, so that sent me off on a few day trouble shooting hunt. I called Precision Temp's customer service line, which was very responsive BTW.  After much testing and checking temps the answer turned out to be pretty simple.  The ground water in Yellowstone was coming into the rig at 45 to 49 degrees. The tankless while doing it's best to make hot water could only raise it to 105 degrees.  The water pressure in Grizzly was respectable, as my on board gauge showed 60#, which  I had the regulator set at.  With that pressure  and water that cold, the water was not staying in the heating tubes long enough to raise the temp of the water to 120+ degrees.  The fix was to back off the pressure regulator to 45 to 50# instead of 60.  The water was hot again, and the DW was happy.   

One sad note to be very aware of is that Grizzly and Yellowstone park are in the mountain wilderness.  On our second  day there we leaned that a veteran hiker, and seasonal employee of the park was killed and partially consumed  by a Grizzly bear while hiking alone on a well used trail near Yellowstone lake. The bear was a female with 2 cubs, but the hiker was unfortunate and probably startled the mother bear. The bear was caught and identified, and  had to be euthanized, and the cubs were sent to a zoo. Because the hiker was partially eaten, the bear went past just self defense and could not be trusted to co-exist with humans.  Yellowstone has a bear population between 600 to 800 bears, so contact with  one can happen while in the woods.  Use great caution if you are a hiker,  and carry bear spray.

It was a very busy time of year in Yellowstone, so we limited our visits to those attractions we could get into without waiting in extreme lines.  We are returning in May of 2016 with a RV Forum rally, so crowds will be much smaller then.

We chose Grizzly to stay in on this trip because of it's in town location and easy access to amenities. There are several campgrounds in the park itself, but for a weeks stay we wanted to be close to shopping and restaurants.  The May rally is also here, and I think that is a good idea.  The in park campgrounds are a little less money for FHU sites, but also are much farther from town and do not have patios or grass.  There are also non hookup campgrounds available if you want to rough  it. 

This is still a great area to visit and there is tons of stuff to see and  do. Reservations are highly recommended in the summer months, as all  the campgrounds can sell out.  For an over nighter you may get lucky and score a spot, but you will need more time to do any real sightseeing.   
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Re: The Western US trip, Just the Facts Maam!
« Reply #110 on: August 26, 2015, 10:56:11 PM »
We rolled into Jackson Hole, WY looking forward to visiting Tetons National Park. We decided to stay in Jackson to be close to the many amenities that the town offers.  While that was a good decision for us, the in town RV park leave a lot to be desired. We stayed at the Virginian Lodge and RV park, which is right near downtown Jackson.  The lodge is in front and the RV park is to the rear.  We had stayed in this park several years ago, but unfortunately it has not improved with time. 

The park itself is fairly small, and the sites are pretty close together.  The roads as well as the sites are dirt and gravel, with patches of weedy grass in between.  Other than being full hookup, there is very little that this park has to offer other than location.  Other than a tiny building with a walk up window, the park has no other features to talk about.  Our site, #87 was a rear end site which is usually a better place to be.  In this case our site was across the road from the location that all the tour buses pull into to unload, all the while idling the motors for 10 to 20 minutes at a time.

And curiously the parks choice for speed bumps are plastic yellow berms that free float on the gravel. Therefore when anyone drives over them they tend to skid along on top of the rocks making a loud grinding noise day and night.

All of this may not be too big a deal except that for a weeks stay we paid almost $78 a night. Fortunately the town itself and the park is well worth the visit. But because that Jackson is one of the most expensive places in the country to live, much of what there is to do is fairly pricey too.  During our stay we attended a “Chuck Wagon style” cook out and variety show, and went down the Snake river  on a 13 mile scenic float trip.  We also hit a few of the local restaurants and checked out a Pub or two. The Chuck Wagon dinner is a mainstay in the area, and the show is included with the price of the dinner. I paid $34 for a steak dinner which included baked potato, beans, bread, and potato salad. The food was OK, but not great,  and the show was entertaining. The float trip was $65 a person.

We went into the park as well for a few days. The traffic wasn't too bad, but because of the many fires burning in the northwest, the sky was pretty gray most days. The park was still spectacular though.

There were restrooms available in the Lodge for use, but I didn't get a chance to inspect them. The pool is also available to patrons from the RV park, but it is a bit of a hike from the park to the lodge. The park has WiFi available as well.  Our Verizon air card worked well here.

If I come back to Jackson again, I would opt to stay a little further out of town to have a nicer, quieter RV park.   

Stop by Diane's blog, she has posted more in depth story and pics of Jackson and the float trip.
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SargeW

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Re: The Western US trip, Just the Facts Maam!
« Reply #111 on: September 02, 2015, 12:49:16 AM »
After leaving the totally overpriced Virginian in Jackson Hole, we needed something a little more budget friendly to even things out for the month.  Diane found a RV park in Heyburn, Idaho.  The park is named the Heyburn Riverside RV park, and it is on the banks of the Snake river.  The nightly rate for the park is $21 a night, but if you stay for a week the 7th day is free.  That made the effective rate for the week $18 a night, quite a bargain. 

The park itself is owned by the city of Heyburn, but it is not a “city park” as you might think.  It is a dedicated RV park with FHU sites and a tent area.  The amazing part about this park was how lush and green the landscaping and grass is, and the city workers do a good job maintaining area.  The roads and sites are gravel, but there are a few asphalt sites that are designated as handicapped sites.  The park is next to an Elementary school, but the RV sites abut the far edge of the massive grass playground so the kids are never an issue with noise.  On the opposite side of the RV park is the Snake  river. There is a nice Arboretum area as well with walking/bike paths through it that also runs along the river.  Many of the plants and trees have identification plaques that identify the name and type of plant it is.

Now the town itself is not much  more than a map dot, which really makes the RV park and river walk area unique. However right next door to the park is the town of Burley.  Burley has many more stores and eating places than Heyburn, so most of your shopping will be next door.  There is also a ¼ mile bridge over the Snake river with a protected walking path that leads to the Burley side of the Snake. A nice  18 hole golf course is on the Burley side, and the walking/bike path runs between the river and the golf course. 

The weekend we were there the city of Burley and Heyburn sponsored a “Half Triathlon”.  It drew over 200 competitors that swam the Snake River, biked and ran a half marathon.  The whole event was run smoothly and they handled the crowds easily. Several competitors were staying in the RV park so we had a chance to talk with some of them.   

The RV park doesn't have “dedicated” bathrooms, but rather has city facilities that were reported to be clean and in good shape. There is also free Wifi available at the park, but our Verizon air card worked well.  There was good water pressure at the park, and the electricity and sewer all worked well.

There is not a lot of “attractions” in the area other than the Snake river, but it was still a good place to hang out for a while and recharge in a low stress atmosphere. The area is primarily an agriculture center, so many of the big businesses are supporting that industry.  We just missed the county fair at the fairgrounds down the street.

We did find one attraction to visit in Idaho, the "City of Rocks National Reserve". Other than being just what it sounds like, there are some massive rock formations that were first discovered by wagon trains headed west in search of a new life.  It was a tough journey, but the giant rock formations were kind of a "signal" that they were almost to their destination as told by previous travelers that had made the trip. Some of the unique features were autographs left on the giant boulders from the early travelers, often signed with grease taken from the axles of the covered wagons. 

When we left Heyburn we stopped for a few days in Sparks, Nevada to see a friend that Diane went to High school with.  We stayed at the Sparks Marina RV Park.  And your probably thinking “a Marina in middle of Nevada?”  Yeah, I was too. But it turns out that it is a man made Marina in the middle of Sparks, that they have done a nice job converting the area into a shopping, recreation, residential area.

The RV park was unique in that it is completely paved with cement sites, but the green space between the sites is AstroTurf. It sounds hokey, but it actually really well done, and constantly maintained. Most sites have a big tree planted in the green area, which are also well maintained.  We paid $42 a night for a pull through site and had decent room to sit outside and move around. The bathrooms were handicapped accessible and the park offered Wifi.  We had good  signal on the Verizon air card. 

The Marina is a short walk from the RV park, and there is a paved trail around the lake that is 1 ¾ mile long. Lots of walkers and joggers use the trail and there is nice grass area and a playground for the kids.
Marty--
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Peteyboy

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Re: The Western US trip, Just the Facts Maam!
« Reply #112 on: September 02, 2015, 06:44:32 AM »
Neat Marty.  We found a city owned park in Gadsden Alabama that we love.  Very reasonable with lots of trees, a beautiful waterfall, and all the amenities you could ask for.  Stay there each year when we travel to the southwest.
Pete & Sandy
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John Beard

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Re: The Western US trip, Just the Facts Maam!
« Reply #113 on: September 02, 2015, 08:02:11 AM »
Marty, Is Coulter Bay RV Park too far away from Jackson that it is inconvenient? We are thinking that prior to the Forum Yellowstone gathering in May 2016 that we would stay in Coulter Bay for a few days, and visit Jackson from there.
John & Susan
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Ken & Sheila

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Re: The Western US trip, Just the Facts Maam!
« Reply #114 on: September 02, 2015, 10:19:26 AM »
We always visit Jackson at least once when staying at Colter Bay. Nice drive.
ken
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SargeW

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Re: The Western US trip, Just the Facts Maam!
« Reply #115 on: September 02, 2015, 10:21:39 AM »
We originally had reservations at Coulter Bay John so we drove there to check it out.  It is a heavily treed park with lots of sites, and we did see some larger rigs that fit there.  It was about 30 miles from Jackson though, but included with that is that there is not much around in the way of shopping or supplies.  For a few days it may be doable, but we were in Jackson for a week and lack of food shopping areas would have been difficult.   

For visiting just Yellowstone park itself, it's perfect.  There isn't much of a difference in price though, as Coulter Bay was only about $10 less a night than the Virginian. And as a side note, because we stayed a week, satellite signal would have been near impossible in Coulter Bay due to the trees. Surprisingly we did have cell signal in Coulter Bay though, although it may have been spotty as well.
Marty--
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Re: The Western US trip, Just the Facts Maam!
« Reply #116 on: September 02, 2015, 11:02:53 AM »
Sarge,
I tried to stay at the Virginian once but was denied a reservation because were over 40 ft. I asked them why their website featured a picture of a 45 ft Prevost, but got no answer.
We usually stay about 4 or 5 days. From the RV park you can walk to the lakefront or to the Visitor center and restaurant.Amazingly we have always been able to get satellite reception at the RV Park.

ken


We originally had reservations at Coulter Bay John so we drove there to check it out.  It is a heavily treed park with lots of sites, and we did see some larger rigs that fit there.  It was about 30 miles from Jackson though, but included with that is that there is not much around in the way of shopping or supplies.  For a few days it may be doable, but we were in Jackson for a week and lack of food shopping areas would have been difficult.   

For visiting just Yellowstone park itself, it's perfect.  There isn't much of a difference in price though, as Coulter Bay was only about $10 less a night than the Virginian. And as a side note, because we stayed a week, satellite signal would have been near impossible in Coulter Bay due to the trees. Surprisingly we did have cell signal in Coulter Bay though, although it may have been spotty as well.
Ken & Sheila
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SargeW

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Re: The Western US trip, Just the Facts Maam!
« Reply #117 on: September 02, 2015, 12:59:27 PM »
That's good to know Ken. Anyplace that we are going to stay for more than a few days I always try to survey for satellite and cell reception.  Yep, we do love our modern technology.

But then we are not vacationers, this is our lifestyle. 
Marty--
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ArdraF

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Re: The Western US trip, Just the Facts Maam!
« Reply #118 on: September 02, 2015, 01:50:24 PM »
We always stay at the Sparks Marina RV Park when in Reno.  Jerry loves it for his morning walks and enjoys walking around the marina.  It's a really popular area.  And, you're right about the fake grass, Marty.  When we stayed there the first time the place was brand new and we also thought it was hokey, but they really keep it up, even raking up leaves.  With the current drought it's turned out to be a wise decision on their part because it looks nice but doesn't use up precious water.

By the way, if anyone is in Wyoming between Jackson and Yellowstone you might see brown signs for Menor's Ferry.  My grandmother was a Meanor and we HAD to stop to learn more about it.  It seems one brother had the ferry on the west side of the Snake River and his brother had a grist mill on the other side.  They had a falling out and didn't speak for years but eventually reconciled and, on the basis of my reporting back to the family, we "re-found" the brothers who moved to San Diego where both died.  It was a little bit of family history that was lost and then found.  I love serendipity!

ArdraF
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SargeW

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Re: The Western US trip, Just the Facts Maam!
« Reply #119 on: September 02, 2015, 03:32:33 PM »
Yep, we will definitely stay there again if we are in the area.  The marina makes a cool little oasis in the middle of a busy city.  The pics with the above blog were of the Heyburn RV site, so I wanted to post up a few of the Sparks Marina RV park.
Marty--
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