Happy New Year 2021 – Hiding From The Virus

Happy New Year

Happy New Year?? Yes “Happy but hiding from the COVID-19 Virus” can summarize this very long past year and the beginning of 2021.

I celebrated when the fireworks went off marking the beginning of 2021. Happy new year and I hope it has started well for each of you. While I’ve stayed at a combination of National Forest, State Parks, and Thousand Trails campgrounds with a Casino thrown in the mix, I’ve been able to find a spot every night during the 2020 lockdowns in Idaho, Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona and now back in California.

During 2020 we gradually adapted to the Thousand Trails system and while it’s not my favorite way to camp, the savings have helped me stay on my budget and allowed me to be “hooked-up” more often. Last year had a number of mechanical surprises for the Workhorse and a few for the Coach. I still enjoy the variety of campgrounds and moving occasionally, but I have missed the touristy stops along the way. That is definitely a casualty of 2020.

Workhorse Down Again

Sometimes peaceful stays are interrupted by life especially when repairs and maintenance are the subjects. It’s not all champagne and roses traveling Full-time. Of course, living stationery life in “sticks and bricks” homes need maintenance also along with our vehicles.

Something Doesn’t Feel Right

While Jagger and I were staying in Idaho in July last year we went for a drive to pick up groceries in Ponderay Idaho, about a thirty-minute drive one way.

While the drive around Lake Pend Oreille was a beautiful one, our Workhorse wasn’t sounding good. I was definitely losing compression for the Turbocharger. I first I thought it was just the DEF Fluid, then the engine light came on, then went off. On the way back everything seemed fine and we had no other indications to me that trouble loomed on the horizon. The rest of our camp there, including the Fourth of July, was pleasant and uneventful, except for the fireworks (which were supposed to be banned in this forested area). You would never know that COVID was decimating normal life routines in the cities the way people crowded around and played without masking up. This would be my first lesson that things weren’t all that much different camping during COVID. The real change was the volume of people that seemed to flock to the campgrounds, lakes, and rivers everywhere, no matter what state I visited.

Moving to Paradise RV Resort in Washington

One morning, just a few weeks later, after arriving at Paradise Campground in Washington, we went for a short drive and the check engine light came on once again. I pulled over and called the ram dealer in Longview, Washington. After talking with the service manager on the phone I made an appointment for the following Monday. Jagger and I continued the drive back to camp and during that time the light once again went out. I’m not a mechanic and this was above frustrating.

Monday morning I got up early and said goodbye to Jagger. No place for him at the dealer to hang out. When I arrived the light had gone out once again, but unfortunately, after diagnosing the problem they said the Turbocharger Actuator failed. This was the second Actuator failure for the Workhorse and this time after only 40,000 miles and cost a whopping four thousand dollars. While I’m pretty upbeat most of the time, this news was devastating.

After the repair I did a slow drive back to camp, trying to enjoy God’s creation around me and telling myself how fortunate I am being able to travel and enjoy what is before me. Jagger was welcoming and seemed to know I was discouraged. He is great at lifting my spirits.

The remainder of the two-week stay here at Paradise Campground was pleasant. Part of it I shared with a fellow camper, Ray who I met last year while traveling along the Washington coast. Also, the Nomadic Fanatic of YouTube notoriety drove into the campground for a few days. I didn’t bother him other than a hello wave when he first arrived. While I don’t follow him much, I have seen a number of his vLogs.

Traveling The Coast

After a more relaxed Summer traveling and “hiding” from the virus in Idaho and Washington, Jagger and I headed South along the Oregon Coast stopping at Pacific Beach RV Resort. This Thousand Trails campground is right on the ocean, well across the street. It’s very large like many of the Thousand Trails campgrounds. During our stay, I met a few really nice folks and learned may way around town, which is very small, but quaint.

After a two-week stay, we moved down the coast to Humbug State Park. I had booked this camp way ahead as we were staying over the Labor Day Holiday and a good choice as the campground was full. I always enjoy my stops at this campground. It’s an older campground with many trees and right next to the beach. While it’s right on the ocean you aren’t allowed to take your dog for walks on the sand, but there are a few beaches nearby that allow dogs.

Leaving Humbug Mountain State Park in Oregon, Jagger and I were destined for our second “Casino” camping experience. Not by choice, but there were absolutely no other options, except maybe a Walmart parking lot! While our first Casino was right before Humburg and was a great experience. The second was in California. We’ll see.

Approaching Gold Beach I pulled over into a questionable unpaved turnout. Normally I don’t like doing that, but I saw a semi parked there and from a distance seemed flat. It wasn’t bad, I’ve managed to pullover in worst places. The cars passed me and I continued on down the road.

That Doesn’t Belong There

After passing Gold Beach, Oregon I was approaching “Kissing Rock” which had a large turnout. At that point, I had been on the road less than an hour, but I wasn’t seeing any rest stops so I pulled over to do a tire heat and visual check. I got out and started my task around the Workhorse and Coach. When I got on the curbside of the Coach was when I realized something was wrong. A rather large bolt was sticking out of one of the Coach’s tires. At that point panic sets in and I have to tell myself, I’m in a safe place and have cell service.

Note: The “yellow hew” of the pictures below are due to the terrible fires in Oregon and Washington of 2020.

This is the second time in over six years that I’ve had tire damage to the Coach or any emergency problem that interrupted my travels. The first time in Illinois a couple of years ago didn’t result in a stop along the road, this one did.

That in itself is a good thing. Also, I caught a problem in the early stages, avoiding any damage to the Coach’s wheel-well or skirting.

So on we trek into California for the fall. Our Goal was reaching Southern California for Thanksgiving with my Son’s famiily, then on to Arizona for the Christmas celebration.

Life is good. Safe Travels…Gary and Jagger

4 replies

  1. Gary, It is always great to read about what you and Jagger have been up to and to learn about the ups and downs of RV living. It’s good to know you are well. Stay healthy and keep posting!

    Liked by 1 person

      • Just realized I said RV and I know you pull a trailer. My family toured the country when I was between 7th and 8th grade that way. Folks were impressed when my dad would back into a site and my sister (two years older) and I would jump out, grab the balancing chocks and give my dad hand signal to level up the trailer. Other folks would comment that they couldn’t get their older boys to do that – how had he trained us? (We were just smart!)

        Liked by 1 person

      • I count them all as RV’s 😉 Mine is actually a 32′ 5th wheel. I didn’t realize you had some history with RV’s. A few of my Grandchildren are very familiar with the setup process, probably more than their parents!

        Since starting I have logged 136,000 miles on my Truck and 45,000 miles of that I was pulling the 5 ton 5th wheel. Maintenance is killing me for both.

        Liked by 1 person

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