Monday, September 2, 2013

Six Hour 130-mile Trip Today


Today's trip presents me with some food for thought when traveling solo.  I'd spoken with 'Pam,'  one of the owners of the Crater Lake RV Park about a scenic drive off of 97N at  about Crescent and returning to 97 in Bend.  Everything starts out beautifully; I catch up on emails and a few blogs, have a nice cup of coffee and take Lacy for a morning stroll.   Then it's becoming a cinch to ready Floribunda and Petunia.  Since I had backed in to my site four days ago and parked Petunia nose to nose with Floribunda, I just move Petunia to the next site over while I pull Floribunda up close to the driveway, but not blocking anybody.  Then, I go over to Petunia and scoot her right past Floribunda and  hook a U-turn to line her up perfectly behind Floribunda for hitching.  Hitching is a breeze; I can't say enough for how much easier it is when the little Smart Car only weighs 1800 pounds!  I get her in position and get all the hook ups done in about 5 minutes, 5 more minutes for testing the running, brake and turn signal lights - all's AOK.

My cell phone is still dead so no GPS for now.  Last night  I went over the map and made a little step-by-step note to find this scenic drive Pam suggested.  My notes are plain as day and before I know it I'm chugging along and meeting every turn; I'm on a roll.  Yup, there's 97N, now I'm headed to Crescent and just before I'm actually in the town, there's a sign to turn west to get on this scenic drive.  And, it is scenic; I just can hardly believe there are so many trees and forests; it's indescribable.  Oh and we're climbing so I stay in the slow lane (when there are two lanes going each way).  Up and up we go, finally over 5000 feet in altitude.  And, right at the steepest grade up and also going down, there is major road construction.  So, only one lane of traffic is going through about a two-mile work area.  But, we're doing fine and I see a sign for 58; I think that's the number we want.  It's heading north so that's good.

Just about then I notice signs for Eugene.  No, we want to go to Bend, not Eugene.  I finally get to a place where I can pull off to go over the map.  [Lacy just refuses to be my navigator.]  Pull-over areas are few and far between.  OMG, I missed the turnoff to Pam's scenic drive; I've been enjoying a very scenic drive, just not the one she talked about.

Can I change my plans and go to Eugene?  Yes, I could, but that wouldn't help me get closer to my destination of Yellowstone.  I decide to turn back, re-do the steep grades up and down, wait for the one-lane traffic area.  The roads are crowded, especially the road to Eugene; all the campers and boaters are on their way home from the holiday weekend.  I'm getting tired, Lacy's bored, and oh my gosh, I'd better find a gas station because my dial indicates less than a quarter tank - no, actually it's more like an eighth of a tank.  I drive and drive and drive.  The fuel is getting lower and lower.  Now it's it the red zone.  No gas stations!  No distance signs!  No cell phone!  I start prepping myself for the white flag out the window.  After about 20 minutes of this worry there's still no gas station on the horizon; but, a couple of brain cells wake up.  I have Petunia!!!  If I have to park the rig when it runs out of gas, I'll take Petunia to get some somewhere!

Just about the time I'm seriously looking for a somewhat safe spot to park Floribunda, I see a sign for Crescent 9 miles.  OK, we'll try to get there ...... and we do, with a few fumes left.  I fill her up in a Shell station; no way I'm going to look for a less expensive place that might be 500 miles away!

OK girl, you're back in business.  Bend is only 45 miles further and there are two RV parks there.  We won't even be fussy, full hookup, partial hookup.  We just want a place to stay.  We bounce in to Bend and I pull into Walmart parking lot - it's packed with daily shoppers and I've never done the Walmart thing.  So we just park to call Scandia RV Park - no vacancies!  Nothing!  Zilch!  I ask the gentleman if he might recommend another RV park.  "Yes, there's Crown Villa and they'll have availability."  He's nice enough to give me directions from Walmart to this RV Park.  Off we go but when we get there they're just putting out the "no vacancy" sign.  I went into the office and the young lady said there's nothing available in Bend.  My best bet would be to go back on 97S about 45 minutes and there is one RV park.  I asked if there's anything going east towards Burns, where I hope to be headed tomorrow. "No, there's nothing between Bend and Burns.  Make sure you have plenty of gas too 'cause there're no gas stations."

What to do?  Well, I'm parked in Walmart parking lot for my very first experience of Walmart boon-docking.  I even turned the generator on for about a half hour as it was about 93 outside and rapidly approaching that mark inside too.  Now that the sun has gone down, it's much pleasanter, about 77 outside and 76 in.

I did take some pictures today but I'm too tired to upload them.  I'll save that for tomorrow or another
day.  I do plan to try to find an RV store in Bend before I leave as my door (I only have one) latch on Floribunda is acting up.  I stopped in an RV shop on the trip between Ashland and Crater Lake, but the lady there said they had nobody available to even look at it.  The door locks but I'm afraid one of these times it's going to balk.  Needs looking at.

I'm going to take Lacy out for a walk and then hit the sack, as my military dad used to say,  Happy Labor Day Everybody.

Oh, OK, so here's a photo taken  in 2012 from my bedroom window in Antigua, Guatemala at sunset.  El Fuego is often active in the morning and quiet at night.  He's the left volcano with a little cloud activity right around his top.


  1. Good ole Walmart...been there, done that, and will surely do it again. Don't fret running your Generator at Walmart unless it is past 10 pm, perhaps earlier if others are right next to you (but normally you won't be that close to others). Too bad you couldn't get into a park, that is amazing to me since it is a Monday at the end of a holiday. Take care....Dave

    1. You know, Dave, I think lots of retired travelers are in the parks. I talked to one man who said he'd made his reservations for the month of September 8 months ago "because they're always full here!" I did run the generator for about an hour or so yesterday but not this morning. Your
      GoinRVButterflies friend.

  2. Had to laugh at your "running on fumes".....we have probably all done that at one time or another, never a good feeling. Have enjoyed the pictures of El Fuego -went on a mission trip to Antigua in June 2012 for only a week but it grabbed by heart and would love to go back again.

  3. A couple of pointers regarding Walmart "camping".

    1) Always confirm with Walmart customer service that you are in fact allowed to park in their lot overnight. Even if others are already parked there.

    2) If there are signs at the Walmart saying "No overnight parking" or something similar to that, they may still let you park. We've found many who put up signs like that to discourage the idea, but they will allow you if you ask.

    3) There is always somewhere better than Walmart. Even if it's a Home Depot, it's usually quieter and less crowded. Plus, Home Depot's have free wi-fi. :-)

    You will save a LOT of money every month by finding somewhere other than an RV park when you're on a travel day.

  4. Thanks for the pointers, Kevin. I always appreciate them from the experienced. I did check before I camped here and was surprised how many others camped also. It worked out fine and I'll keep the Home Depot in mind too. Now I'm on to Burns, Oregon; then into Idaho.

  5. Running on fumes is no fun at all. Glad to hear you had a quiet safe night at Walmart. I have done the same thing numerous times with no problems.

  6. We always stop at Walmart while doing long days and saying just for one night. Usually between Canada and the US border.