January 1-7, 2003 - Trip back to WA

Our mail arrived on January 2nd, so we headed north from Barbara and Roger's house on the 3rd.  Here is a picture of how we were camped in front of their house, showing the construction dumpster:

We decided to head back north on US101 because of weather issues with I-5, so Bill braved San Francisco and drove north on 19th Ave and took the Golden Gate Bridge with the motorhome.  Talk about stressful, but we made it.  We ended up at the Redwood Empire Fairgrounds in Ukiah, CA, after 155 miles.  It was in the low 70s in Ukiah, the warmest we had experienced in California.  After we were setup we ended up talking to others camped and found out most of the campsites were under water a week earlier due to the rain, we were lucky the sewer system had recovered.  Then they asked us where we were going and when we said, "Seattle", they told us we were going the wrong way.  We also learned the US101 had been closed for a bit north of Ukiah due to slides, but one lane was open.

The next day, the 4th, Diane drove that one lane section with a pilot car.  We made it all the way to Crescent City after 244 miles, where it rained all night. 

On the 5th the weather cleared and it was sunny and in the low 50s.  We stopped and took some pictures on the Oregon Coast of the waves:

We made it to Waldport and stayed at the KOA, it was a 219 mile drive.  The campground had a trail to get some views, so we went to look just before sunset:

Our next door neighbor had a "Eric's RV" hat on so Bill said, "I know Eric".  The reply was, "he is my cousin".  Then he said, "was your motorhome at Eric's around the end of August?"  "Yes."  "I rode in it when Eric was trying to figure out what the noise was when you went about 40mph".  Bill told him the noise was the grill and National RV fixed it with stiffeners.  Small world.  Then he asks us if we were going to Yuma or Quartzsite and when we said, "Seattle.", he said we were going the wrong way. 

The next day we had a discussion about going the wrong way and both of us realized we both wanted to become full-time RVers.  We each thought the other didn't want to make the change.  Our plan was set, we would downsize to the motorhome and see the country.

A bit later in the day we rounded a corner, were hit with high winds, and then we heard a very bad sound.   Diane quickly saw a wide spot on the road and pulled off.  Our main awning had billowed.  Bill jumped out and tried to hold onto the awning since the legs had broken off and were banging on the motorhome.  It was still windy.  Diane called to get us some help.  About the time Bill started to calm down and figure out how to get us out of the predicament a man stopped and started helping.  He seemed to know what he was doing, but it took a bit for Bill to let him be boss.  He drilled out the feet of the awning arms and used bolts to replace the parts that had busted.  Once that was handled Bill and the man rolled the awning back up and duct taped it together.  In the middle of the effort the person Diane called came and exchanged business cards with the man who had stopped.  The man who had stopped was an owner of a RV repair place, the guy who came by was a worker from another RV repair place.  Once we realized the guy helping Bill was an expert we asked him how much.  He said, "you didn't call me, I was just driving by and stopped to help."  We handed him $40 cash and he wrote us a receipt! 

We pulled into Tillamook and had some lunch to help calm us down.  Then we headed to Brookhollow RV Park in Kelso, WA and camped.  It was a long day of 207 miles, with some excitement we didn't need.  We decided it was a test if we were serious about going full-time, we were not deterred.  The next day, the 7th, we were home.

Here are some pictures of the awning after it was temporarily fixed.  First the bolts replacing the normal connections:

Damage to the upper arm:

Gouges in motorhome, they were deeper than they look:

Some phone calls got us started on the fixes.  A trip to Camping World to estimate how much of the awning needed replacement with a conclusion of total replacement since the fabric was ripped.  A trip across the street from Camping World to estimate the body work and decal replacement costs.   Waiting for the insurance.  Then we dropped the motorhome off at Camping World when the new awning came in.  The body work people picked it up at Camping World and called us when it was all ready, then we drove down and settled accounts with everyone and took it home.  It looked about perfect, but took a lot of our time.

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