Tumalo State Park

tumalo state parkAs we prepare the RV for another weekend get a way We want to share with you our last trip to Tumalo State Park.  A gem of a State Park in Central Oregon between Bend and Redmond.  It’s about a 3 hour drive from our home, but worth every mile and minute.  This is one of our favorite places to camp.  There is so much to do and see in the area that you could spend a week and have a great time every day.
The campground sits right along the Deschutes river which offers great kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding, and rafting opportunities.  The fishing is world famous along the Deschutes and something that you should try while your there.
If you are into hiking, the network of trails in and around the park are outstanding and great hikes are all within 15 minutes of your RV.
And then there is Bend and Redmond.  Two really cool cities that are wonderful to visit.  Brewery’s and nice shops make the day in either Bend or Redmond something worth the drive.
If you are ever in Central Oregon, pay a visit to the Tumalo State Park.. you will be glad you did.

Pre Trip- Getting on the Road

instance-management-tool-checklistAs seen in our last post, we are fans of planning and creating lists.  When we get ready for an outing we have a set routine so we do not forget anything, and yes this is a great lessons learned thing.  We didn’t always have “the list” and yep.. forgot things and missed things.  In the end it always costs money.  Forgetting things results in those last minute trips to Walmart or an RV store at a remote location which will always cost you more.  Shopping at a camp store will too.  Not to say that the convenience of a camp store is not nice, but they do have you when you get to the check out as they are the only game in town.
So we created a list to help us get on the road.  It is a simple checklist that is unique to us and how we get started.  It always comes down to the little things with us so checking and double checking is the rule.
We start with the inside.
Clothing, Food, and making sure that every cabinet is closed and secured.
We check for obstructions to the slide out to make sure that when we get to our site we can open the slide out without any issues.  We know that things shift and move during travel, so making sure that nothing is going to fall in the way of the slide out is important.  It can be as simple as a Dog bone that can derail the slide.
We check the bathroom to make sure the shower door is closed and secure.  This can become a big problem if it breaks.
Then we secure any loose items in the galley and give the inside a once over before we go outside.
Outside (after we hook up) we do a walk around.
We make sure the slide out is all the way in.
We check the outside storage cabinets and ensure they are closed and locked.
We check to make sure all the windows are closed and secure.
We check the rear bumper to make sure the spare tire is secure and the hoses and covers are not loose.
We check the stairs to make sure they are secure and in place.
We make sure the doors are locked.
We check the awning to make sure it is fully retracted.
We look to see if anything is hanging or not in place.  A good visual inspection will let you know if anything looks out of place.
Check the tires, lug nuts and tire pressure.
Make sure chokes are pulled.
This brings us back to the front of the trailer.
We check the tongue lock.
Make sure all the pins are in place.
Make sure the sway control is set.
Check the safety chains and emergency brake cable.
Make sure propane is off and bottle are secure.
Check the cable for lights and brakes.
Propane tank cover on and top door secure.
A visual inspection of the lights to make sure running lights, turn signals, and brake lights are functioning properly.
Inside the truck we check dash to make sure trailer is hooked up and reading.
Test brake output on dash indicator.
Lights on.
Tow/Haul set.
Mirrors.
A thumbs up from Teresa.. and we go.
This list does not change much.. we try to be consistent that way we tend not to forget anything. I am sure that the list could be longer and more detailed, but it does seem to work for us.
What do you use to get on the road, a list, an app, or just wing it?
Let us know.

Have a Happy Day!

Time and Space

In a recent video I watched from a great couple that I follow there was a discussion on how far or how long are you comfortable driving when traveling with your RV.
I thought this was not only a timely subject as we are planning our big cross country adventure, but it was a discussion that we have had repeatedly.
The video got me looking into our plan for June and as a result we actually added a day to the trip to accommodate our limitations on how far and long we like to be in the truck pulling the trailer.
I am typically ok within a five hour circle from home.  What ever that distance is, typically about 400 miles, we are comfortable with traveling.  It does require a stop or two to stretch our legs and take a bio break.  The nice thing about having the RV is that you bring your comfort station with you.  Bathroom, kitchen etc. is all just a rest stop or view point away.  I can stretch that to ten hours if we need to, and we will on our trip, but those days need to be spread out and have a great destination when we arrive.
One of the other things that we consider when planning is our arrival times.  Whether that has to do with check in times for camping near us or the time and distance that we travel, arrival times is a factor.  If we want to arrive and be able to see some sights we need to get into our camp site before 3:30 PM.  So that is what we usually plan around.  Again, when planning for our June trip and knowing that we are only staying in most places for one night, if we want to see anything we need to be in by 3:30.  So we back out our distance and the time it take to cover it and come up with our departure times so as to arrive by 3:30.

Screen Shot 2019-04-11 at 7.57.39 AMLike I said based on the time and distance and looking at how much I am comfortable with we added a day.  The spreadsheet above is the tool I use to plan.  It does not reflect the added day which will be at the beginning of the trip on the 16th.  That will cut the 10:45 drive in half and that way I won’t have to do two back to back long days.  We also through in a floater day (30th) the grey block that will allow us to either go home for a night in the way to LL Stubb Stewart or spend another day en route from Butte.
Without taking a look at the plan we would not know to make changes.  I know that some people don’t plan as much, but I like to know what I am getting myself into.  I also like to know that it’s doable.  On this trip we have not allowed for too much flexibility, but that is because we have places and people that we need to see and get to.  The fact of the matter is that we do have a few days in the middle that we can shift, move, or do nothing with.
Planning for us is key.  When we look at space and time, we want to fill it with how we are comfortable and keep it safe for our travel.  Its all about having fun and so we feel the need to plan to make it that way.
What are you comfortable with?  How do you plan? Let us know.
Be sure to check out one of our favorite YouTube Channels, You,Me, and The RV!
While you are it.. pay a visit to our channel!
Have a Happy Day!

Oregon State Parks

540x360We love to camp at our Oregon State Parks.  They offer great locations with amenities and outstanding camping experiences.  Our State Parks are a great place for a weekend trip or staying for a week to take in the sites, relax, or just pass through on your way across our State.
We tend to spend most of our camping at the State parks as the prices are good, especially as a Disabled Veteran, but even at regular prices for what you get you can not beat it.  Most of the State Parks have full hook ups or at least power and water and offer dump sites.  There are some parks that are for tenting only or day use, but the parks we visit are all RV friendly.
If I had to have one beef with our parks it would be that many of them need a face lift.  Our Park system has been active for a long time and back when they established the RV sites the average RV was pretty small.  So the pads need some improvement at the older parks to adjust to today’s RV.  But even with that one minus the plus’s certainly outweigh any gripe I may have with our Parks.
It is nice to plan our trips around the State using the State Parks.  They are all right where the activities are.  The mountains, the beach, and the High Desert.  There is always something to see and do at or around our parks.  So we enjoy them as destinations, especially when we book our week long stays.
If you are ever passing through Oregon, plan to stay at one of our Parks, you will be glad you did!
A couple of our favorites are:
Wallowa State Park.
LaPine State Park.
Ft. Stevens State Park.
Check them out, they represent just a few parks, but they give us three completely different Oregon Experiences.
What are some of your favorite places to camp? Let us know in the comments section.

Road Trip – Play List

fullsizeoutput_358The sun is finally out and the buzz is all about getting outside, de winterizing the RV (if you do that) and the hitting the campground! But you can’t hit the road until the cooler is packed and the play list is loaded!  You have to have your tunes to get the camping started… right?
We have a very eclectic taste in our music, everything from Rock to Country… ahh sorry for those that like Hip Hop.. but that’s not part of our music taste.  But pretty much everything else is loaded and ready to play.
When we travel, we like to listen to local radio too.  It gives you a feel for the community, updates on traffic, and events that we want to check out.  But we all have those dead spots on the road.  Between the Portland Metro area and the Oregon Coast for example there is no radio so having a good play list ready to go helps pass time and keep you entertained along the way.
We like many use iTunes and have a subscription (not a paid endorsement).  We like it because there is everything there.  We download lots of music and a nice feature is you can download entire playlists that are full of hits.
We like to sing along, although neither one of us sing well.. we sing loud and have fun with it!  The pups even like a few songs and when they hear “Chicken Fried” they know it camping time!  It’s the song most likely to lead off the trip.
So what’s in your iTunes library?  What do you jam out to when you hit the road?
Here are a few of our favorites.
Kenny Chesney – Pretty much all of his stuff
The Zac Brown Band – We have a couple of their albums loaded.. yep starting with Chicken Fried.  And Toes is one of Teresa’s favs!Of course AC/DC, Journey, and George Straite make the Top 10.  Darius Rucker has made it into the list, since he left Hooty we actually like him.  No playlist would be complete without Chicago’s Best.  Rockin’ out to Boston is always there and then over to Oingo Boingo to keep us jammin’ on the road.  Hey I told you we listen to everything.  Country music is probably the most listened to though.. we do love our Alan Jackson and Billy Currington.
Ok.. I think you get the idea of what is on our playlist and downloads for great road trips.
So what is on your list?  What do you need to have playing for your perfect road trip.  Music is such a great part of our lives and yep.. keeps us happy!
Please share with us.. I may want to add some to our list..  And yes, the picture for this post is a screen shot of my iTunes.
Have a Happy Day!

Planning the big trip

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First leg of the Big Trip!

We have been planning a big RV trip for this summer for some time and this past weekend the plan finally came together.
The plan was originally to go out to LeesSummit, MO to visit my wives sister and brother in law and return.  Then we decided that while we had to pass through some great country to get there, we would stop and see some sights.  So the plan started to take shape.
We will be departing the Monday after school lets out for the summer, Teresa is still working at the school so we can take off as soon as the last bell rings.  The trip will end in mid July.  This will be the longest trip we have ever taken together and the biggest trip in the RV.  It will take us 4682 miles round trip from Troutdale to Lees Summit, up to South Bend and over to Chicago then the trip West through South Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Washington and then out to the Oregon Coast.
We have made all our reservations to camp along the way.  We were surprised to find just how inexpensive the trip is going to be.  As we looked into RV campgrounds along the way we wanted to make sure that we were staying in nice, safe, and around the path that we are heading.  Looking into the camping we used the Good Sam Club trip planning web site.  It is a great tool for planning your trip, unfortunately they are shutting it down in April.  The thing that we liked about the planner, and I am sure that there are others like it, is that you put in your destination and it shows you the route, gives campground suggestions, and allows you to filter to meet your needs.  What we found was that using the filters for campgrounds that have a good rating and met our needs of staying on route and around attractions that we wanted to see, the KOA camps kept moving to the Header-KOA-Logotop of the list.  So we purchased a KOA membership for the year.  It only cost $30 and we got one of our nights along the way free plus discounts at each site we are staying at. Over the past three years we have become masters of the discounts.  Using Military discounts where we can, Good Sam discounts, and other deals that we find, we have kept our camping costs as low as we can.  The KOA option may not be the best but looking at the web sites we concluded that they are all pretty well regulated and at least have a standard that has to be met to maintain the KOA franchises.  This means that for most of our one night stays we will be in campgrounds that are safe, clean, and offer the amenities that we need along the way.  Pretty much hook ups and a place to stay.  The cost was not bad either.  The most expensive night we have on the whole trip is only $56 a night.  Still cheaper than any hotel and I get to sleep in my own bed.
The second part of the plan is that we are going to do a daily VLog on our YouTube Channel of the Trip.  I am not certain as to the logistics and rhythm of a daily Vlog, editing, posting, etc.  But we thought it would be fun to share the journey.   The good, the bad, and the ugly of travel costs, places we stay and visit, and of course a month in the RV.  Stay tuned for that.
We look forward to hitting the Road on this great adventure.  June can’t come soon enough!

Have a Happy Day!

Maryhill

This last weekend.. which is why we missed the blog on Friday we took a trip to the other side of the Columbia River Gorge to Maryhill State Park in Washington.
Maryhill and Maryhill State Park sits right at the mouth of the Columbia River Gorge’s East side.  For those heading East across Northern Oregon and Southern Washington this moves you from the Willamette Valley into the high desert of Eastern Oregon and Washington.  The Gorge is amazing rock formations that were cut as the Columbia River was formed.  It is.. pardon the pun Gorgeous.
So last Thursday we loaded up the RV and headed East.  We arrived at Maryhill State Park in the mid afternoon, it is a one and a half hour drive, and discovered that the park was empty and covered in snow.  The check in station was closed but a sign directed us to do self check.  Since we had reservations, we just drove in to find our site.  When we got to our site, a pull through site looking out at the river we found that we could not get in there.  The park had plowed the snow but created snow banks that I just could not maneuver our 33 foot trailer and truck through.
So removing the urgency from the situation I saw a Park Rangers truck at the office and drove over there.  I explained the situation to him and he offered a group camp site to us.  Since we were the only ones in the park and the only reservation for the weekend he said we could go pretty much wherever we wanted.  He drove us over to the group site which had hook ups and a ton of space and we set up there and waited to the rest of our camping party to arrive.
This weekend was all about learning and playing with the Canon M50 camera that we have recently upgraded to.  When we first got it I followed some advice from the internet… yeah go figure…  and messed up the settings.  So I did basically a factory reset.. took a legitimate tutorial on the camera and the results I think are fantastic.  I thought I’d share some of the pictures we took here on the blog.
If you ever get out to Maryhill be sure to visit the Maryhill winery, they have some amazing wine and the testing bar is fun and you learn a lot.  Also you need to check out the Maryhill Stonehenge.  It is really neat and gives you a great view of the Columbia River Gorge.
Let me know what you think of the pictures.

How low will you go?

pcod5AE5iIt’s a balmy 32 degrees outside as I sit and click at the keyboard.  We have a reservation at the Mary Hill State Park tomorrow and the forecast is for cold.. real cold temps.  So the question is… How low will you go?
We have taken the RV out in some pretty nasty weather and cold temperatures, and yes we always have a great time.  But there may come a point where the temps are too low or the weather is too nasty that we will need to make that decision or determine just how low we will go.
Thank goodness we never have Minnesota temperatures and the weather tends to come and go here in Oregon, so most of the year is camping season.  Last January we camped around the Bend, Oregon area at a beautiful state park.  It was extremely cold and icy, but at least it was dry.  The Trailer handled it well, we have the four season package on ours so it is insulated well and the pipes are all covered so I have never really worried about freezing pipes or systems on the rig… not since the water heater broke.
Since we are not full time RVers, we do have the luxury of saying enough is enough and just going home if we need to.  But we tend to like to push it a bit.  As long as we can pull the trailer safely, we will go.
This weekend is going to be a test of that I think.  My only concern is pulling through the Columbia River Gorge.  It gets pretty icy out there so we will have to see how it goes.  Like I said, turning around is always an option, but we need see.  I am pretty sure that once we get out there and get set up its going to be fantastic.
As long as the heater works, propane is full, and we have a great view, the weekend will be fun.
wintercampingSo the question is… How low will you go?
Leave us a comment and let us know.
Thanks for hanging out with us.
Have a Happy Day!

Anniversary Weekend

We spent our 27th Wedding Anniversary at the Oregon Coast this past weekend.  It was a typical February at the coast.  Sun, Rain, a little Snow.. you know.. typical Oregon February weather… but nothing to stop us from having a wonderful weekend.  We pulled the RV down to Cape Lookout State Park, one of our favorite State Parks.  It was quiet and fairly empty this time.  A couple groups were camping in the Yurts at the park, but the RV spots were wide open.
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We got a break on Saturday and the sun came out.  We spent about two hours walking on the beach letting the dogs run and have some fun.  Friday night we went into Pacific City to the Pelican Brewery for a nice dinner to celebrate 27 years together.  The setting was beautiful and the meal was wonderful.  My Sister and Brother in Law brought their RV down also and joined us in our celebration.  This is their 27th year also, but they will celebrate in June.
AkOw0W1nTD+EiDtkGofebwWe went into Tillamook and picked up a few things that we needed, things that we could have got at home, but hey we were out.  We did make a trip to the Tillamook Country Smoker store.  We love their meat sticks and jerky and the prices at the factory store can not be beat.

The rest of the weekend we spent playing games and just relaxing.  We enjoy just being out and spending time together and with friends.  There is something about being in the RV for us that is wonderful.  We are automatically put in relax mode when we hook up and drive away with the Passport in tow.
A wonderful way to spend the weekend and celebrate 27 years with the love of my life.. yep.. Happiness!