July—Aug ‘03

First---I apologize to those who check my page for updates.  Didn’t mean to take so long.  Don’t even know why I haven’t updated before now.  We called the local RV place and ordered an A/C unit.  Between ordering the unit and sticking around for another week after install to make sure all was OK, we spent over 2 weeks in the area.  As we travel, one of the people we keep email contact with is Don & Pat Farlow.  Don & I went to grade & high school together.  Not all the years due to me being in a military family but our family but our family would leave and get transferred back.  Anyway their daughter Diana & her boyfriend Pete had bought a house across the lake.  Through emails to Pat we ended up going to their house for the 4th of July.  We had never met them before this.  I usually don’t do things like that but somehow felt comfortable doing it.  I imagined them thinking “What did mom get us into now.  Old farts coming over”.  I couldn’t have been more wrong.  They were great hosts and their friends were great also.  Beautiful view from their deck.  Thanks Diana & Pete.  Next night we went to Mike & Vicki Dwyer's for supper.  Mike is a Nam vet and was in the counseling group with me.  Enjoyed the visit and the food.  In the park where we were staying there was a couple that rigged up a trailer for their dog.  It was for towing behind their motorcycle.  Even had a small windshield.  As critter lovers ourselves we fully understood the reasoning behind it.  The campground also had a resident Muscovy Duck named Isabel.  She was in charge.  The dogs all left her alone.  There was another female duck with 2 ducklings (originally had 8) that would come up to the park office for treats.  If someone opened the door---in they went.  Also had dinner with Dave & Trish Gross and their son Kevin.  They are the ones that gave us LZ.  Good folks and we always enjoy our visits with them.  On 16th July we headed out towards the coast.  Wanted to find a place on the ocean.  Stopped at Arizona Beach campground and stayed a weeks.  It is just north of Gold Beach, Or.  During the week we took an 8 hour Jet boat ride up the Rogue River.  It was enjoyable but I think if we did it again we would opt out for the 6 hr. trip.  The 8 was just too long.  We decided on the 8 hr because they had a dogsitter that they worked with.  Beautiful scenery but it all started looking alike after a couple of hours.  We didn’t do much else because the beach was so relaxing.  Beautiful sunsets.  On the way from Clearlake I noticed that coolant level wasn’t right.  I looked all over the engine and could not find a leak.  I got on the internet and looked up Cummins dealers and there was a Cummins Coach care facility in Coburg, Or. (Eugene area).  Kay called and got us an appointment.  Trip to Coburg was beautiful; we passed a herd of Elk.  Should have stopped for pics but all I had on my mind was getting to the Cummins facility.  Had to add 2 gallons of water before we got there.  Not I know diesels should not be run on water only, but that was all I had and I knew it would be drained within a couple of days.  They did a pressure test on the system and found the leak in the heater core.  Our coach is a ‘diesel pusher’ which means the engine is in the rear.  The heater core is in the front just like in a car/truck.  I never thought to check front of the coach. DUH!!!  First replacement core was wrong, next never made it, then they overnighted one and it was correct.  When they were testing the coolant system they found some oil leaks that should be corrected.  We are still under our extended warranty so we decided to go for it.  It took a few days before the warranty co Ok’d the fix.  Then sent a rep down from Portland & he crawled under the MH to take pics.  He had no idea what he was looking for, just took pics.  Finally Kay got on the phone with the warranty co and settled everything and Cummins did the job.  We spent 2 weeks in the parking lot of the facility.  Roger Norton, Coach Care Manager, took good care of us.  Our friends, Lynn & Pat Webb came down one day for a visit & we went out to eat.  Always good to see them again.  Across the street was the Monaco MH manufacturing plant.  In there parking lot were some nice coaches.  People getting things fixed, usually small items.  One coach really caught our eye so we went over to look & take pics.  The owner was there and told us about it.  He was Ron E. DiMenna, founder of Ron Jon Surf Shops in Coca Beach, Fl.  When you go to Fl it is hard to miss his billboards.  He bought his coach in primer only and took it for a custom paint job.  It now looks like a “Woody”.  (Probably be a couple of chuckles after that statement).  It was a fabulous paint job.  Nothing I would want but considering his background it was appropriate.  The detail involved was excellent.  There was a mural on the side and it blended right into the awning covers & arms.  He said it cost $25,000.  While doing my internet RV forum visits each evening I saw where RV.NET (Same group that had a rally in Kerrville, Tx) was having a ‘NW Po Folks Rally’ the weekend of Aug 15,16,17 at a park outside of Portland.  Since our maintenance problems slowed us down we made a decision to skip going up into Wa.  We didn’t want to rush thru it, as we had to be back in the Midwest for our VA appts in Sept.  We had a week before the rally so we went to the Elks Lodge in Keizer, Or.  They had an RV park with 26 full hookup spots.  Nice Lodge and they were having their annual picnic that weekend.  Lots of fun and good people.  We also took the truck and made a day trip back over to the coast as we knew we were not going to be able to get back over there before we headed east.  Then we went to the Dayton/Portland RV Park to meet up with the RV.NET folks.  There was one person there, Hobo, that we met in Kerrville, Tx.  The rest were new faces although the names were familiar from the forum.  It was a small group which in a way I think is better as you get to meet & talk to everyone.  Headed east and stopped in Richland, Wa.  I had heard there was a Spudnut shop there and I hadn’t had one since the ‘60’s.  Although I didn’t go to the UI (Urbana,Il) we used to go to the campus bars and afterwards hit the Spudnut shop.  They were delicious.  We got some in Richland and I have to say they were a disappointment.  Tasted just like any ole donut.  Shouldn’t have stopped and kept the old memories.  Now on to Spokane.  This trip has rolling hills, nothing too steep but I started overheating and at one time the computer shut down the engine.  There was a branch of the Northwest Cummins Coach Care facilities in Spokane so that’s where we went.  We ended up staying there for 5 days.  The thermostat was bad and while fixing it they noticed the exhaust manifold was warped.  They also had elec & water hookups.  Had to go thru the warranty co thing again but finally got it all worked out.  The day we were leaving a coach pulls in towing a trailer which was loaded with his car, boat, bicycle and 3 large storage boxes.  Nothing like taking all your toys with you.  The reason we were heading to Spokane was I wanted to meet-------Dick Ackerman.  He also visits the RV.NET forum and we started emailing back and forth.  We went by his shop and met him and made plans to meet for dinner when his wife Sandi could attend.  We went out on Sat., which was my birthday, to a Mexican restaurant.  Dick & Sandi had arranged for them to bring me a dessert & sing to me.  Then they picked up the tab for dinner.  Now remember we had just met these folds.  Afterwards we went to the local Elks and when the barmaid checked us for our membership cards, she looked at the names, looked at us, then back at the names and then said something that I can’t repeat here.  On Sun Dick & Sandi had us over for dinner.  NOW-this lady can cook!!!  Dick took me out to see his coach.  He has done some modifications that were really useful.  And the quality of his work is excellent.  I can see why he is successful in his business.  We will make it a point to meet up with these fine folds again.  Here is a pic of us together---you make up your own joke.:>)  All too soon it was time to leave.  We made a quick trip back to Illinois with 2 overnight stops.  One of which was in Wall, SD to visit the famous Wall Drug Store.  It is mainly a tourist trap but interesting to see.