Days 8 & 9 – Beach Therapy

Jeremy booked us two nights at the LL Stub State Park near Buxton, OR.  Then he booked us one night at the Nehalem State Park campground near Manzanita, which is along the Oregon Coast.  Sounds like we had three nights of our trip taken care of, right?  (OB: for MOST people)  NOPE!  Not us – that’d be too easy.  Instead, we booked two campsites for the same night.  We wound up staying just one night at the LL Stub State Park before heading for the ocean.  Jer mentioned in his last blog entry that we inadvertently took Stevie off-roading on our way in to LL Stub.  This was because our GPS insisted that the most direct route to the campground was closed.  Once we’d maneuvered our way up and down the gravel back road and were settled in our spot, Jer googled the information and found out that the road is indeed closed, but not until after the entrance to the state park.  (JB: it’s too bad Google didn’t exist that morning.)  Needless to say our exit from the park was MUCH smoother than our entrance 😉 .

Ah well, nothing like a little off-roading to put you in the mood for a day at the beach, right?

JB: Nice try, Jenn, we STILL aren’t taking Stevie onto North Beach when we get to Haida Gwaii.

Jenn: we’ll see.

OB: Christ, now she’s the one trying to get us stranded.

By now, we have a fairly well-established routine when we arrive at a campground that involves getting the dogs piddled, watered, and fed as well as getting Stevie settled and hooked up.  But, the love of the ocean runs deep for both Jeremy and myself, so when we arrived at the Nehalem State Park campground, we barely managed to throw Stevie into park before climbing over the dunes to breathe in the beautiful ocean air.

JB: Hey, Dumbass, you might want to at least plug in and switch the fridge to electric to avoid a case of salmonella poisoning.

Jer: You’re sounding a bit like the dad on That 70s Show.

JB: That’s because you’re acting like a dumbass, Dumbass.

We hit the beach, and OH MY!!!  What a breath-taking place to experience.  The beach stretches for ages and feels a lot like the beaches on both Haida Gwaii and on the West Coast of Vancouver Island between Tofino and Ucluelet.  Except for the climbing up and down the dunes to get there – talk about a great leg workout.  (OB: you should really workout more.  And plan and prep every morsel of food you ever put in your mouth.  And workout more and differently and better than you already do…. Ooooh, look!  CHOCOLATE!)

 

There were a few people who had their dogs off-leash, but we weren’t willing to risk it in case Saela took off after a seagull.  She was pulling pretty hard on her leash, determined to keep us safe from any and all kinds of ocean birds.

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Whenever we visit beaches and oceans, our conversation goes something like this:

Jer: I miss this, Jenn.

Jenn: Me, too.  Can you get a job in (insert current beach location)?  Can I?

JB: Sure, Jer you can work at McDonalds… except they don’t have them in these small seaside towns ya dumbass

OB: you know The BIG ONE will hit as soon as you move back to any Coast, right?

I also used Stevie’s oven for the first time on this leg of our trip to make a blackberry-apple crisp out of the fresh blackberries I picked when we stopped to see the Bonneville Lock & Dam along the Columbia River.  Of course, I just *had* to spend half an hour perusing the antiques mall in Seaside, OR to find the perfect Stevie-sized and era baking dish for the job!  Her oven worked well and the crisp was enjoyed beside the campfire along with a glass of wine.

Side bar – one of the best camping hacks we gleamed from Auntie Pat and John was to bring along TV trays to set up between our zero gravity chairs (the chairs are another great hack, courtesy of our neighbours, Dave and Laura).  Aw, shucks…. that meant I had to wander around antique stores looking for TV trays before we left, too!

One of our favourite moments at the Nehelam State Park campground happened when we heard the chime of a bell as a little truck drove by.  The man driving was pulling a string to ring the bell announcing the firewood truck.  All you had to do was call out to them or meet them on the road and you could buy firewood.  It’s like camping’s version of an ice cream truck!

 

The next morning, we spent more time walking along the beach before packing up and heading out.  We even remembered to write the obligatory sand-writing keepsake and take photos.  Spoiler Alert: more beaches to come equals more sand-writing photo ops!  (OB: Because no one else has ever thought to do that before.  Aren’t you clever?)

 

The rest of Day 9 was spent driving to the American Sunset RV and Tent Resort near Westport, WA.  We followed the coastline.  Many of the views that took our breath away on the way in were shrouded in fog as we drove out, but even the fog banks provide their own beauty.  In Astoria, OR we crossed the “longest continuous truss bridge in North America” known as the Astoria-Megler Bridge ; it is about 4 miles/6.5km  long!  We officially entered back into Washington State as we exited the bridge and continued along the US 101.  We stopped for gas in Seaview, WA and while walking the dogs, I noticed a brewery across the street.  Seemed as good a time as any to sample some brewskies.  We parked Stevie and went in for a taste at North Jetty Brewing.  While they don’t serve food themselves, there is a food truck parked beside them and you’re welcome to bring in outside food to enjoy alongside the beer and peanuts.  Jeremy had a pint of their Semper Paratus Porter and I tried a sample flight that included: Another F’ing Raspberry Hefe, La Sirena Mexican Lager, Seaview Summer Ale, and the UnderCurrant Dark Saison.  We each enjoyed our choices and left the brewery with a hat for me, a shirt for Jer, and a free sticker to add to Stevie’s bumper! That makes a grand total of TWO stickers! (OB: record setting for least-worthy of mentioning)  Our first sticker is from one of the Calgary bands our friend Navarro is in, called Steel & Timber.

 

While Saela and Pepper are growing accustomed to receiving love from people we’re meeting along the way, we were super excited that Stevie received her first lovin’ at the American Sunset site!  We met a lovely couple named Bob & Nita as they rode their bicycles by us.  I complimented Nita on her bike and mentioned that we weren’t sure if we’d be able to mount a bicycle rack onto our bumper.  She immediately invited me down to their unit (also a Class C model, but a much newer and sleeker 2016 version). Whilst chatting about the bike rack, they invited us in to tour their unit and meet Timmy, their traveling kitty cat.  We had bed-and-bath-space envy as they showed us their unit.  We said, “if you’d like to check out what 1978 looked like, c’mon down!” and they enthusiastically accepted the offer.  They were so kind with their glowing reviews of Stevie’s space and Bob came back later with the perfect camping multi-unit tool for each of us.  It’s a pen, screwdriver, stylus, ruler, and a level all in one!  And they’ve even personalized it with their name and contact information.

JB: you guys wrote the blog site on a scrap piece of paper for them.  How lame is that?

OB: you totally should have had something personalized.  Or at least printed some cards off the computer or something.  Bob and Nita know what they’re doing.  You guys are such newbies.

Days 6 and 7 – Taking the H out of Wine

After days of stressful Stevie driving, sketchy neighbourhoods, and unscheduled mechanical adventures, we finally got to enjoy the fruits of someone else’s labours.  Yes ladies and gentlemen, we have landed in wine country (JBYay!  We love wine.)

As Jenn has noted previously, we considered briefly going to Tuscany for our celebration of my unemployment, but we ultimately wanted to be with our puppies so we chose the FreedomAdventure with Stevie instead.  A key factor in deciding our route was one particular winery.  We had the pleasure of tasting wines from Hedges Family Estates in our wine club in the middle of winter at home Calgary, (OB: that wine tasting event was probably in April, it’s Calgary after all, and the winters never seem to end) and knew we had to go visit their location on Red Mountain.  We were not disappointed, let me tell you!

The tasting room at Hedges is lovely, with the shaded garden patio and fountain overlooking the rolling hills of the vineyards providing a stunning backdrop.  I imagine they have replicated Tuscany in a small way.  They also keep chickens on site, as they use them to eat insects that are harmful to the grapes.  They practice biodynamic farming and wine-making on much of their property – very cool.  Their wines are an absolute treat, but we helped ourselves to only 2 bottles as Stevie just doesn’t have the capacity for much more ☹ .

 

The folks at Hedges recommended several other wineries to visit, and we hit up Tapteil Vinyards for our next stop.  They also had some excellent wines, and yes, we may have come away with a couple more bottles 😊 .  Even better, they recommended a place in Richland where we could eat on the patio with Saela and Pepper.  We were hot and hungry by this point, so we took their advice and drove over to Lu Lu Craft Bar and Kitchen.  What an outstanding pub!  The location was excellent, the food was superb, and best yet, they loved our dogs!  Heck they served Saela and Pepper water before Jenn or I could order anything 😉 . (OB: Side note – apparently there is a campground in Richland that offers limo wine tours…. But, WE stayed at a local RV site that was easily 70% permanent residential.  Great choice, J&J.)

 

After a late lunch and the heat of the day, it was nap time – because who doesn’t want to take a nap after food and wine, right?  We had a relaxing final evening in Washington, then packed up and started the next leg of our adventure into our 4th state of the trip.  We chose to take Highway 14 West (instead of the interstate) from Benton all the way to Portland.  Man, what an amazing road!  The change in landscape from farmland to mesas to forested mountains all along the Columbia river is simply breathtaking.

And best of all, there are wineries there too 😊  We stopped at Maryhill winery planning to have just a quick taste – it was super hot out and we didn’t want to leave the dogs in Stevie for more than a few minutes.  (We pull the blinds and crank the fan for them if we have to leave them in Stevie).  Turns out they don’t just encourage dogs, they demand you bring them inside 😊 .  So Saela and Pepper were once again the stars of the show.  The folks at Maryhill dressed them, fed them, and made them feel very welcome.  Great for us, as we were able to sample 13 different wines!  The selection is excellent, and they do great Mediterranean styles including Spanish, French and Italian grapes like tempranillo and sangiovese – 2 of my all time favs!  They also had a stunning patio so we decided to stay for pizza.  To our surprise and delight, one of our favourites wines here was a sangiovese rose – we had half a bottle with lunch and took 2 more for the road.

 

Finally, we continued our journey through Portland and on to the hills just before the coast.  It was a great couple of days, and we look forward to seeing the ocean tomorrow.

 

JBHang on, they story isn’t over yet.  Jer failed to mention that his intrepid exploration skills landed the crew on a remote gravel road in the middle of nowhere!  My god, he is trying to get us all killed!  There was dust and skidding and swearing like you wouldn’t believe!

Jer: Yah, but we made it.

JB: Barely.

 

Days 4 & 5 That sure looks like a funny dog…

We’ve had a couple lovely, relaxing days, and are now in Benton City WA – the heart of Washington wine country.  At least, that’s what the brochure says.  I’ve come to believe that the US has two types of small towns.  One is quaint and pretty and right at home on a show like “Leave it to Beaver.”  The other is gritty and rough around the edges, and feels like it would be a better fit for “Sons of Anarchy.”  Benton falls squarely in the latter category, and JB tells me this place is sketchy.  He doesn’t even want to come out and speak for himself because, well, you never know who is reading the blog (JBshhhhhhhh.)

Now to be fair, the sketchiest experiences we’ve actually had here are the noisy rooster that got us up at 6AM, and the “dog” that TWICE scared the crap out of Jenn…

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To be fair to JB and his nervousness, we went to the gas station last night and it was an eclectic mix of Harleys,  lowered mustangs, and trucks with light bars and gun racks.  Actually, it kind of feels like around our house in Delacour 🙂 .  Frankly the most difficult part of staying here is the lack of sidewalks combined with a very busy road.

We are settling into life in Stevie.  She has many modes that we go through each day.  There is sleeping mode, driving mode, supper mode, parking mode, and each of them requires us to navigate the dogs and each other to set up.  Pretty much any activity requires us to spend 20 – 40 minutes transforming.  Stevie is an 80’s cartoon character!

 

Overall it’s been a good two days from playing Crib by the fire to wandering a street market in Coeur d’Alene, and tomorrow we are off to sample wines 🙂 .

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Day 3 – Wait…. what? We’re in Idaho?

We packed up our camp site and prepared for a stuttering trip to the parts store. To our surprise and delight, Stevie was running just fine again!  Yay!  (JB:  Don’t get your hopes up, I bet by the end of the day you will be stranded somewhere with no cell service.)  We made our way to O’riellys  and picked up a fuel filter, some tools, and more Sea Foam which Jeremy claims works like a hot damn!  Then, like Steppenwolf, we opted to “head out on the highway”  because, we are born, born to be wild (OB: Just so we are clear Jenn, you’re about as wild as a pet rabbit.)

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We were motoring along the highway making great time when I exclaimed WINERY!  It won’t surprise many of you that Jeremy and I LOVE Wine.  So we pulled a quick U-turn in the road and pulled into Mission Mountain Winery.  After sampling some of their whites we  left with a couple of bottles to enjoy.

 

Once we had satisfied our alcohol requirements for the day, we continued out ride at a stately 55 MPH.  We’ve learned that any faster than that just isn’t as enjoyable with the windows down.  At one point, as we entered a very small town, I noticed a “Crafters Market” sign.  I was keeping my eyes peeled for a building hosting the show (OB: because we LOOOOOOVE yarn), but blinked and almost missed the 2 women on the side of the road with their one tiny table.  Alas, Stevie’s stopping distance was too great for us to attend the “event.”

Stevie did quite well on the rest of drive to Coeur d’Alene, where we are booked for two nights.  We’ve decided that our Stevie Strategy ™ is to stop often and give her time to cool off – turns out she is rather temperamental.  We wonder if this is simply what it was like driving back in 1978! 😊

When we originally planned our drive to Coeur d’Alene, Jeremy told me that we were going to be camping in Washington – so you can imagine my confusion when we made a Stevie Stop and there was a huge “Welcome to Idaho” map inside the washrooms.   I got back to the RV and asked Jer what we were doing in Idaho, and he said “What?  We’re in Idaho?”  Turns out, we are in Idaho!  Who knew?  (OB: everyone who owns a map or is capable of Googling would knowJB: way to master geography, Smart Guy!)

 

We’ve now reached Camp Coeur d’Alene which is quite a picturesque setting.  The campsites are snugly stacked on top of each other up the side of a mountain, the pool is refreshing, and the firewood is free!  There are some great views when hiking up the switchback trail, though I don’t recommend wearing flip flops for this trek. (OB: keep those smart choices coming, chickie!).  Once we’d settled in and walked the dogs, Jer made us delicious tacos and we dug into one of those bottles of wine.

Tomorrow we plan to give Stevie the entire day off so that we can enjoy the campground, read our books, and do some laundry.  I know, I know…. I didn’t even say that I’d be crocheting.  I am currently going through MAJOR withdrawals because my arm is having some pain when I crochet and I suspect I’ve managed to acquire a “crochet injury” and I need to rest.  Never mind the time at the gym, I may have a “yarnjury!”  (OB: pleeeeease Google it – I bet you’re dying!  Let’s look at all the worse-case scenarios and then stay up all night freaking out about it.  Cool – that’s the plan).

Day 2 – August 1, 2018 (Our 9th Anniversary)

Our plan for the day:

  1. Drive into Whitefish mid-morning to explore the shops and enjoy the scenic town.
  2. Head into Kalispell in time to have a late lunch at a Brewery (or two).
  3. Feed my yarn habit by visiting a local yarn store.
  4. Have a yummy steak dinner at our campsite picnic table.

Our actual day:

  1. Drove to an auto mechanic to see about having Stevie looked at. They were booked at least a week out, but gave us a few numbers to try.
  2. Sat in parking lots phoning one shop after another with no luck. Friendly folks, they all gave us new places to try until we were pretty much back at the first number.  Apparently no one works on motorhome engines in that region of Montana.
  3. Drove to Auto Zone to see if they had any suggestions. Walked out with Sea Foam fuel additive – we’ll try anything once.
  4. Cooked steak dinner and sat at the picnic table for all of 2 seconds before being accosted by hornets followed by a mad dash to eat inside Stevie.

Our 9th anniversary is certainly a memorable one.   Between the dogs and I seeking out shade under a nearby tree,  Jeremy pulling Stevie apart to look at the engine, and two cop cars randomly showing up with lights flashing (not for us, thankfully!), it was really just one big parking lot after another – without even one food truck in sight.  This is officially our Parking Lot Anniversary.

Our ever-present side-kicks had quite the time of it, contributing such helpful insights as:

 OB: remember how you traded a trip to Italy for this??  Betcha’d rethink THAT decision right about now.

JB: See those cops pulling into the parking lot?  This is the kind of day you’re having.  I bet you forgot to use the turn signal or ran a stop sign.  You’re totally gonna get thrown in jail and you’ve watched all those USA jail house documentaries.  You’re fucked.  Way to abandon your wife and dogs in a broken down jalopy with no way to get home.

 

Jeremy decided that our best bet in “Mechanic-less Montana” was to stop at O’Reilly’s Auto Parts the next day because they had the size of fuel filter Stevie needed.  We figured we would drive to our next destination so he could work on the engine while the dogs and I might have access to shade and places to walk.

As we drifted off to sleep….

JBYah right – Jer can’t fix this thing.  We are driving back to Calgary!

OBSo we might just live in Montana now, hope they let us pay monthly for this camp site!

JBWell, Jer doesn’t have a job anyways so what the hell!

OBWe walked by a school, maybe they’re hiring…

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Day 1. aka WTF were we thinking?

Our first day is now complete, and we are all still alive 🙂 .

We officially kicked off our FreedomAdventure in Calgary yesterday by gathering the last minute items from our Big Listinsky ™ and packing everything we needed for a great time.  We loaded up the dogs and hit the road to great fanfare (our neighbour Dave messaged to see if we needed jam, he is a great neighbour!)

We chose to take the South West route via the Crowsnest pass, and it was a beautiful drive through Alberta’s rolling hills – traffic was light and Stevie was just motoring along like a champ.  Our first stop was right in Crowsnest for gas.  That’s where the “adventure” part of our trip began…

Jenn:  Oh shit!  We forgot the dogs leashes!

OB: Let me get this straight –  “cheese grater” made the list FOUR fucking times and yet you didn’t bother to write down dog leashes?  Ha ha ha ha ha! 

It’s a good thing we packed our 25 foot training leashes…   (a tad overkill for the quick pooch piddle pit stops!)

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While Jenn walked the dogs, I was attempting to fill up Stevie.  The fuel tank had almost emptied out so she needed a big drink.  First up was pay at the pump.  Insert card, select, amount, choose account, enter pin, and fail.  OK, attempt 2, with the credit card this time – insert card, select, amount, enter pin, and fail.  Figuring it must just be a failed pump, I went inside and tried 6 more times across 2 machines.  It was only when the line of people formed out the door that the attendants realized their Internet connection was down.  Oh well, $50 cash later and Stevie had enough gas to get us to Fernie.

Back on the road and everything was fine… until we got close to Fernie.  As we slowed down to enter town, Stevie started stuttering and chugging and acting like we were out of gas.  More on that in a moment.  First, we needed leashes, so we stopped at Barkside Pets.  What a great store with amazing staff!  They took care of our leash needs, and gave us some food samples – spoiled pups making friends along the way!

 

Back into Stevie we went, but she was struggling to move us about so we decided to stop and have some lunch.  Jenn had packed ingredients for a couple of excellent sandwiches and we found a park to enjoy them in.  Side bar – we live in a beautiful country!

 

We finished up and began our next leg of the trip to the border crossing.  Stevie chugged again in town, but once we hit the highway she was fine.  We figured we just got some lousy gas along the way.  We made it to the border, and had everything ready to cross.  Our border guard was amazing!  Mostly because he loved our dogs 🙂 .  Things got a little interesting when he found out I’m currently unemployed…   it probably didn’t help that we were in a 1978 motorhome and I was wearing my finest camping attire!  However, we were well organized, had our vaccination records in a binder (Thanks Jenn and McKnight Vet Hospital) and had purged any offending items – see sandwiches above chock-a-block full of sliced deli meat and bacon.  He asked to read the ingredients on our dog food so we pulled over to the side.  He hopped on and seemed suitably impressed with Stevie, read the ingredients, and sent us on our way!

Having successfully crossed the most significant potential issue of our trip, we relaxed into the rest of the drive down to Whitefish Montana.  The scenery is absolutely breathtaking, and the drive is really quite delightful.  That is, until you enter town and slow down, and your motor home declares that she is tired and wants a break.  This is when Stevie really decided to stutter and choke.  We managed to get to a hardware store and I purchased a new socket set (JBanother thing not on your so-called Big Listinsky, eh?)  I thought it might be a short in the distributor cables as Dave (aforementioned neighbour) and I had observed that when inspecting Stevie last month.  Unfortunately that wasn’t the case, so there was no easy fix.  There are also no photos available as the level of swearing probably isn’t appropriate for children or animals.  Don’t worry, Jenn had the dogs safely away from the vehicle taking advantage of their new leashes 🙂 .

OB:  OMG we are going to be stranded on DAY ONE!!!!! 

JBI know!  Didn’t we tell these morons to get Stevie inspected?

OBYup!  They are stubborn and stupid!

JBOh look, Jer thinks he’s a mechanic!  Ha ha ha!

OBIt’s a good thing they packed a cheese grater…   

OB: Hey Jenn, you should start to panic!  I bet there isn’t even cell phone service to call for help!  Panic Mode is sure to help the situation.

JBHey good call OB.  Jer LOVES it when Jenn panics 😉   Pssst, Jer, I bet this is going to cost a fortune to fix!

OBProbably the same cost as going to Italy.

JBWTF were they thinking?

 

After putting the engine cover back on – didjaknow that with old vans you don’t just open the hood you actually need to remove some of the dash and un-bolt the engine housing? –  we limped our way to a grocery store.  We couldn’t cross the border with most food so we still had to get ingredients to make the rest of the dogs supper.  As it was getting late by now, we also chose to pick up pizza.

Our next and last stop was the campsite,  We pulled in and found our spot.  As we began setting up,  we discovered the site had no power.  Did we mention it was 33 degrees and we were drenched in sweat?  It took about an hour, but the campground folks got it all sorted out and we were able to finally turn on our A/C unit.  By this time it was pushing 8 PM and the dogs were starving, so we made them supper out of the free samples we got – which they loved.  It was like pizza for dogs 🙂 .

Finally, we were able to sit down and enjoy our now 2 hour old pizza.  It was tasty, but they cut the slices in a very bizarre way…

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JB:  Go ahead, have another piece!

Jer:  But I’m full and don’t need another one.

JBOh come on, look how small they are!  It’s pizza, you can’t stop now.

Jer:  OK fine, one more little piece.  Munch munch munch

JBWay to go fatty,  this is why we can’t have nice clothes.

Finally, after all that, we were able to sit down, relax, and have a beer or 2 (or 3!)  I was also able to google Stevie’s issue and it looks like old engines can experience “vapor lock” when it’s hot and at high altitude.  We will find out on day 2 if that’s the issue.  It certainly makes sense as it was super hot and we are at quite an elevation.  If it’s not vapor lock, it could be the spark plugs, the distributor, the coil, the fuel pump…  sigh.  Maybe just one more beer…

 

T is for Toilet. S is for Storm Troopers.

Well, we are only 2 days away from the beginning of our adventure!  This week has been full of lists (see Jenn’s post on the Big Listinsky,) packing, and plumbing.

Yes, I’ve been dealing with some plumbing issues in Stevie’s bathroom.  Annoying, frustrating, ridiculous plumbing issues.  Fun fact: plumbing in 1978 was not the same as today!

Adventures in Toiletry

We discovered our primary issue when Jenn and I had our practice camping run in Kananaskis.  She noticed after an hour of driving that we had water on the bathroom floor and asked me what it was from (JBI bet she thought you peed on the floor ha ha ha ha ha ha.)  After a quick investigation, we found the toilet was full and overflowing.  We had never used the toilet, so we simply flushed it and went on our merry way.  When we got to the camp site, we realized the toilet was full again.  Over the course of next two days, we repeated the magic fill and flush cycle at least 10 more times – until it entirely drained our fresh water holding tank.  That wasn’t a problem for a 2 day excursion, but when you are planning on heading out for a number of weeks it’s clearly not workable!

I wasn’t worried though, I feel like I’m pretty handy when it comes to simple plumbing and electrical tasks.  I’ve installed light fixtures, replaced faucets, and once reno’d a whole powder room.  I knew I could handle a little leak!  My first stop was Youtube, but I couldn’t find anything that covered my issue.  Out toilet is 40 years old and it turns out they don’t make them any more 😉 .  I figured I could manage the problem simply by installing a shut off valve in the pipe BEFORE the toilet.  Easy fix right?

It certainly didn’t look too difficult, the copper pipe was threaded and screwed right on.  This would be a 5 minute fix – tops!  I got in my truck and drove to Lowes, looking for a 3/8th inch valve that I could insert with the exiting ends.  Well they don’t make that – but I chatted with an “expert” who got me the right combo of pieces I’d need.  20 minutes later I was back and ready to go.  Only, nothing fit the way it was supposed to.  And to make matters worse, I could not unscrew the other end of the pipe to open it up.  After 40 years, it had become one piece 😦 .  So back to Lowes, quick return, and over to plumbing again with a different expert.  He listened to my problem and had an even better solution.  I could cut out the copper pipe and use compression fittings to install the valve – easy peasy!  I bought the parts and tools and 20 minutes later I was happily cutting the feed pipe away…

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Now it was time for installation so I grabbed the new fittings, and quickly discovered they would not slide onto the pipe.  WTF?  I got out a sander and polished the old copper to see if that would work. I was able to jam on the new ends with a hammer (JB: a hammer is always the right tool for any job!) and screwed the compression fittings all together.  Perfect!  Everything looked good, so I had Jenn turn on the water…  and then screamed at her to turn it off as the gusher of high pressure spray doused me from head to toe.

Deflated, soaked, and with JB laughing in my head, I put tools down and chose to go do something else.  Welcome to my new office space.  All that’s missing is a whiteboard – I will be installing one when I get back 🙂 .

The next day, after accepting that I was not the plumber I imagined, I called an RV place for help.  I explained what was happening, and asked if I could bring Stevie in.  They said sure, they were accepting bookings in October.  October?  OCTOBER!?  Jenn and I needed to hit the road in several days and I had cut a gaping fucking hole in our plumbing system.  (JB: I told Jer to just cancel the whole trip and congratulated him for ruining everythingHe didn’t seem appreciative of my candor!)  Thankfully, the RV shop gave me a referral to a mobile repair guy – and he was able to come out right away.  Within 20 minutes, he had everything ship shape!  Thank you Derek from DRV Mobile Service, you are a lifesaver!

 

The Bathroom Sink

Our other leak is coming from the bathroom sink.  The drain trap has a crack in it.  The replacement I bought doesn’t fit, the plumbers tape didn’t work, and now I can’t remove the trap at all as it’s seized.  So learning from my previous adventure I fixed this one with electrical tape and a towel 🙂 .

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Storm Troopers and Blue Poofs

Now we are ready to go!  We’ve got a mostly water tight camper, and have been decorating with the best 70’s decor we can find.  Jenn found a fantastic blue poof footrest that really sets off the space, and I pulled out a bobble head storm trooper that has been looking for a home.  You might be asking how a storm trooper fits the design – well remember that Star Wars premiered in 1977 🙂 .

 

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for our next posts from the road!

 

PS:  Yes, I know that my storm trooper bobble head is from the current movies and not the original episodes.  Sue me 🙂 .

PPS:  Jenn and I had a chat about the correct punctuation to use around emojis.  Is a smiley face punctuation in and of itself 🙂  Or does a sentence still require a period?  And if it does, what is the correct usage?  I want to the store. 🙂  Or, I went to the store 🙂 .  Do they teach this shit in college now?

The Big LISTinsky

In the couple of months since we decided to take this trip, we’ve kept a packing list on the fridge where we jot down things we think we’ll need to pack.

Old Biddy has some opinions about the list.  This is typically how it goes:

Time: 3:00am

OB: psssst….. wake up!! It’s URGENT!!!

Me: Nothing you’re thinking about at 3:00am is THAT urgent.

OB: (selectively choosing Foreigner lyrics): “It’s urgent, so urgent, so-oh-oh urgent.”

Me: (now singing along and fully awake) Fine.  What?

OB: your packing list is waaaaay too long.

Me: It’s just a list.  We can adjust it while we’re packing.

OB: why is it so long?  There ARE stores, you know.  Who do you think you are?  What kind of princess wants to bring a hairdryer?

Me: the kind of princess that has actually camped in the rain before.

OB: Stevie does not have the room for all of those things.

Me: Alright,  I’ll scratch a few things off the list tomorrow morning.

Me (the next morning): *scratches three things off the list*

OB: OHMYGAWD!!  YOU’RE GOING TO DIE WITHOUT THOSE THINGS!! How could you take THAT off the list.  There will be absolutely NOWHERE to buy that along the way. How did you ever earn two degrees? Moron.  (proceeds to list 70 items to add to the list)

Me: *flicking OB off my shoulder*

OB (menacing tone): Whatever.  See you at 3:00am.

Me: add Sleep Spray to the list.

OB (again at 3:00am): What if you don’t bring enough yarn?

Me (eyes instantly pop open): OMG!!  WHAT IF I DON’T BRING ENOUGH YARN?????

The Big Listinsky

Leave a comment to tell us what your “must haves” on your packing list for camping!

Jenn’s Intros

Jeremy introduced you to me (Jenn), Stevie, the dogs and Jimmy Bob, but didn’t introduce himself!

Jeremy

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Jeremy and I have been married for 9 years this August – our anniversary will be on our second night on the road with Stevie and the pups.  He is one of the most level-headed and compassionate people I know.  He has a passion for coaching people and businesses – helping them access and create their full potential.  One of the things I love the most about Jeremy is that he is so readily a “yes!” in life.  The fact that we are about to embark on this camping road trip speaks to this.  A couple of months ago, he was visiting his Dad and Mary (stepmom) on Vancouver Island.  I was at home watching Expedition Happiness on Netflix, which is about a couple who convert a school bus and hit the road.  As I watched, I texted Jeremy to say, “we should rent a motorhome and take the dogs on a road trip.”  I was half joking, but he was an instant yes, and his excitement added to my excitement, and here we are about to take Stevie, the dogs, Jimmy Bob, and Old Biddy on the road.

Old Biddy

Old Biddy
Jimmy Bob (JB) is Jer’s Negative Nelly voice.  I call mine Old Biddy because I picture my negative voice as that grumpy old lady on the greeting cards, standing around wagging her finger at me to tell me I’m doing literally everything wrong and am worthless.  A couple of years ago, Jeremy and I had the pleasure of attending a leadership development weekend featuring Colin James (no, not the singer, for those of you old enough to get that reference!).  He describes that inner voice we all have (welcome to being a human….) as being a lizard on your shoulder whispering incessantly into our ear.  We can flick that lizard off our shoulders, but s/he always comes crawling back.  So, my lizard is a bitchy old lady standing on the street corner judging everything I do.  And, when I am feeling my best, I can send her flying quite a distance.  When I am in my head too much, I can’t send her quite as far.  Old Biddy will be along for the ride as well!

The Prologue…..

Welcome to the Freedom Adventure Blog, we are so happy you are here!  On July 31st 2018, our journey will begin.  Though things never really start at the beginning, do they?  You could say this freedom adventure started back in January, when I (Jeremy) was given an incredible choice in my life.  I was offered two paths – one where I was comfortable, familiar and highly successful, and one that would put Jenn and I onto an unknown path.  After 20 amazing years of employment at Shaw Communications, I accepted a voluntary layoff package and as of July 20th, I am – for the first time in my adult life – unemployed!  (side note, Shaw is an AMAZING place to work and I highly recommend them to everyone!  Find out more here)

I am exploring what’s next career wise, but Jenn and I are choosing to first embrace an opportunity that we never thought was possible.  What would it be like to just go.  Go without worry.  Go without commitments.  Go without constraints?  So we are going to find out 🙂  Jenn created the idea of renting an RV and packing our dogs up for the summer and heading out.  Well let me tell you, renting an RV is horrifically expensive – especially with two dogs – and it didn’t really feel like us.  What did feel like us was buying a 1978 Class C Chevy motor home, and naming her Stevie 🙂

Our plans are pretty loose: we leave on July 31st for Montana, will hit the Oregon Coast, and head up to Haida Gwaii (formerly the Queen Charlotte Islands.)  If we still enjoy living in less than 150 sq ft together after all that, we will head over to Vancouver Island.

So before we go, I’d like to introduce you to the actors in our adventure…

Jenn  jenn and jer iceland

Jenn is my wife and the love of my life!  She is incredibly intelligent (she has a Masters in Education,) crafty as hell (she is a yarn master!) and fiercely loyal to her friends and family (affectionately known as the Badger.)  She is also gorgeous – so yay me 🙂  She works as a speech language and occupational therapy assistant, which means she helps preschool and kindergarten kids interact effectively with their surroundings and the people in their lives.  It also means her employment loosely follows the traditional school year so she has summers off!

Stevie  stevie front

As mentioned, Stevie is our timelessly beautiful RV.  She was born in 1978, so we named her after the illustrious Stevie Nicks – one of the best singers of that year (and possibly of all time….)   She has a Chevy small block V8 400cc engine, and can zoom up hills at a neck breaking speed of 35km/h 🙂  We have done some updates to her, but overall she is in great shape and passed our first test – 2 days camping in Kananaskis – with flying colours.  Note that we are not professional, or even amateur campers.  Both of our experiences can be summed up as alcohol, hot dogs, and maybe a tent – though we were in our 20’s and don’t remember much 🙂

So for this trip, Stevie has been updated with new flooring, wallpaper, and kitchen back splash.  She will have a fully stocked bar (she came equipped with bottle storage already!) and retains her mid century awesomeness.  In fact, if you know Jenn and I at all, you know that we have a love of the mid century.  so we have also equipped Stevie with a vinyl record player 😉  And yes, we have listened to the Rumours album already…

Saela & Pepper

 

 

Saela is our purebred Icelandic Sheepdog (right) and Pepper is a purebred black mutt we rescued from AARCS a few years ago.  Don’t let their cuteness fool you, they are both shitheads and we love them dearly for it!

We don’t know how they are going to be on this adventure, and it’s one of the main reasons we purchased a motor home instead of a trailer.  We would have more room with a trailer, but this allows the dogs to be with us AND in their space for the whole trip.  They are pretty much our kids, so we make sure our lives work around their needs…

Jimmy-Bob (JB)

Randall_Boggs.png

This is Jimmy-Bob, or JB.  He is the asshole voice that lives inside of my head and tells me everything I am not good at.  I don’t know what he actually looks like, but he reminds me of Randall Boggs (played to perfection by Steve Buscemi) in the movie Monsters Inc. and I think his image stands in well.  JB and I will be sharing some conversations during our trip, and it will look something like this:

Jeremy: Hi Jimmy-Bob, please meet our readers.

JB:  This is stupid

Jeremy:  Why?  we are creating Freedom and Adventure.

JB:  No one is reading this crap, and no one cares.  You don’t even have a job, what the hell are you doing driving around in that old piece of shit for anyways?  You don’t know what you are doing; I bet it will breakdown on a mountain highway and you guys will die of starvation…

Jeremy:  Ok that’s enough JB…

JB:  Oh and your spelling and punctuation suck.  Not that it matters cause as I said, no one will read this.

Jeremy:  Bugger off!

 

Well, that’s our cast of characters!  Thanks for checking us out, and I hope you will come along on our Freedom Adventure!

 

 

life is a journey and not a destination