Monday, September 29, 2008

Unusually nice!

We are having fantastic weather for this time of year and this place. It is in the 70's during the day; 50's in the night. It hasn't rained in at least five days. I've lived here; this is unusual!

A few photos seem to be in order. First, we traveled up US-101 highway to get here. Homes are situated along the edge of the road where there is space between it and the shore. These are typical; the water is the Hood Canal.

Our park is on the Olympic Peninsula. You can see across Puget Sound to Mount Baker northeast of Bellingham, WA. A reasonable guess is that it's about 75 miles away.

These characters are having an afternoon nap in a playground that the camp provides for kids. At this time of year, the kids are in school so guess who gets the playground.

In the midst of all this beauty, the stock market dumped almost 800 points today as the Congress expressed it's displeasure with the financial bailout plan proposed by the President and his advisors. I imagine that the plan will ultimately be passed but it is tough going through all this. We have substantial investments in the stock market so we are taking some large losses. Happily, we don't need the money 'today'. Every time I hear the idiots reporting the news talking about 'investors on Wall Street did such-and-so' I cringe. Most of those people on Wall Street are traders, not investors. Warren Buffett is an investor; in my own small way, I am an investor. We look carefully at a company before we buy into it and we keep it for a long time. Many, many of the mutual funds run by those Wall Street guys and gals have turnovers of 200% a year. That means they might buy a stock in January, sell it in May and buy it again in November. That just isn't investing; it's trading.

Hope you are all having a wonderful day. Take care.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Western Washington

Good Morning! We are currently parked on the Olympic Peninsula in Western Washington. It is unseasonably beautiful here right now. High temps should be in the 70's and lows in the 40's - AND - it's sunny! Very unusual.

We had a great trip up here. Driving along I-84 you are next to the Columbia River. It is a great river. It divides Washington and Oregon. The eastern part of each state is dry; the western parts of each is very wet. Parts of the Olympic Peninsula is actually a rainforest! I had to take photos of the river.

This is in the eastern part of the state:

This is the western part:

You go from desert dry and sunny to rainy, forested and overcast just by crossing a few low mountains.

I'll have more to say later. Have a good day!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Hello from Eastern Oregon


We were camped in western Wyoming and were talking about this trailer we like: the Arctic Fox 29V. We have never even seen one but like the layout. We have also heard that you should visit the factory before buying something. SO, rather than continue on southwest to Reno, Nevada we came northwest to Le Grande, Oregon where the Arctic Fox rvs are made.

We went through the factory with one of their reps the other day. Typically factory tours are given once or twice a day; in our experience there will be six to twenty visitors. In this tour, it was me, my wife, the tour guy and a company salesman. Hmmm. Part of that is because it is late September and normal visitors aren't going to be here - it's cold. Unfortunately, the other reason is the economy/cost of fuel/lack of credit/etc. Want to know who's going to have a rough few years in the White House? Whoever wins! At this point they are both facing a lose-lose couple of years.

We liked the build quality so went to the local dealer. We don't know how closely connected they are to the factory but..... Anyway, they had 2 examples of the model we like - the 29V. So we checked them out pretty carefully. The first had a door that was sticking and a broken window. It also had a color scheme that we don't care about. The second had a color scheme that we actually like but had several options that we wouldn't ordinarily buy. Finally we discover that the factory is making some changes in the layout that we like for 2009. So we are faced with a trailer that we wouldn't buy; one we would buy if the price was right and some new ones that we like better.

In the end, we decided to ask about pricing on the 2008 that we thought was ok. Turns out that they liked it more than we did - couldn't come to an agreement on price! So I called them late this afternoon and said we were leaving town and thanked them for their time. Maybe they will figure out that they've pissed off a cash customer or maybe they won't. We are ok with either decision.

We would also have to purchase a truck to pull the trailer since our current truck is too small. We checked with the GM dealer (Chevy and GMC) - they don't have a truck available that meets our specs. The trailer dealer checked with the Ford dealer; there is one truck between here and Springfield, MO (1000 miles or so east) that is a good match though it is four wheel drive and we don't want that. Hmmm. We smell a rat or eight! Again, thanks for your time.

We are happy to leave with our current set up. We will go up into Washington to visit our family. They are out on the Olympic Peninsula so we don't have to worry about freezing. We should leave there in about a week and head south. When we are down there, we can order the truck we want. Dealers order an almost endless series of $300 options that inflate the price of a $35K truck to $45K. Ordering from the factory you order and pay for only what you want. THEN we can order the trailer we want - again, not something stuffed with options that inflate the price and give the user nothing. This could be good!

Hope you are having fun out there. It's sunny and warm but not hot here. I'm not saying anything about the drivers; no one's hit me yet! Take care.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Trucking West

We finally got out of Colorado Springs. Don't get me wrong, it's a nice town but we need to head west. So, of course, we went North. Wanted to catch I-80 for the trip west so.....

Denver was a breeze; went through mid-morning and didn't really slow down the entire way. Then Cheyenne, WY; there we just touched the city; saw the gleam of the capital. Now we are in Evanston, WY. Small town near the Utah border. Had some really LOUSY Mexican food for dinner; will not post the name of the resturant to protect the innocent but I will say it was a guy's name.

It occurred to me that you might not know about trucks & trailers. Here is a photo of our truck & trailer parked in Rawlings, WY. The truck is a 2000 GMC Sierra; what we call a half-ton pickup. The trailer is a 26 foot Cameo by Carriage; also manufactured in 2000.

The doors are open because it's time for the big fuzzy dog to get into her seat. Here she is looking somewhat odd. She is a mixed breed dog that we got from the Humane Society when she was about four months old. I always tell people she has a little of everything in her breeding. She is seven years old. The back seat of the truck is covered with an old blanket in an attempt to keep some of the dog hair off the actual seat.

So now you have an idea of the size of our trailer; truck & dog. Hope it all makes sense to you. Be careful out there; it's crazy!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Greetings from Colorado Springs

Sorry, I've been bad about updating the blog. It isn't as though we haven't had wifi. I'm actually surprised but we have had it almost the entire trip.

Went from Nashville up towards St. Louis then turned west. We prefer to travel on smaller roads but don't have a lot of time to spare so we opted for the Interstate. I-70 has been our friend. Stopped in Independence, Missouri to check out the Truman Museum. It sounds like Old Harry had a tough Presidency. The next day, we stopped in Abilene, Kansas to check out the Eisenhower Museum. Possibly a little easier but maybe it was just that Ike had more charisma. Anyway, we really enjoyed both experiences. Then we continued west on I-70 again until it was time to turn off for Colorado Springs.

Colorado Springs is a fairly military town: the Air Force Acadamy; two air bases; one army fort. At the same time it's kind of a tree-huggy place. Lots of natural food stores, cute little shops, etc. There is a modern downtown area, of course, but we are managing to avoid it!

The rv park we use here is a real parking lot. Our front door opens onto our neighbor's water and sewer connections. There is no place to park our truck except on the street if all the places are rented. Fortunately, we are here to visit friends so spend our days at their home. This works fine for sleeping.

We'll be leaving here on Tuesday or Wednesday headed for Reno. We'll go north to pick up I-80 (new road!) and turn west to go through Salt Lake City for our destination on the western side of Nevada. Who knows if we will find a place we like or not. It seems like we are having an early fall this year so if it starts snowing on our parade we'll have to head for warmer climes.

My wife is talking about remaining in the rv rather than immediately buying a house. I'm kind of ok with that but there are a few kinks that we'd have to work out. This trailer is eight years old and needs to be replaced if we are going to be living in it. We have read about one we like on the internet but that isn't the same as seeing and touching one. If we can find what we want, we may be vagabonds for a while. I'll keep in touch.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Just a few more things.....

I was looking at some of my posts and figured out that I haven't mentioned a few things that might make our weird journey more understandable.

We have wanted to leave Florida for some time. This isn't the best of times to sell the house but because we bought before the big increase in prices we could sell and still make a little. We want to spend some time visiting some of the natural wonders found in the Western part of the US. Driving 1,500 miles from Florida for every trip got boring not to mention expensive. So we sold the house and are planning on buying another, simpler home, in the Southwest. We'll start checking out Nevada but Arizona and New Mexico aren't out of bounds.

We've been on I-10 many times but now with Gustav around, going North would seem reasonable. We also have relatives in Northern Missouri and friends in Colorado Springs we want to visit. So it's I-70 for us; life on the big slab. It's not fun but how much fun is Kansas anyway?

Anyway, that's why we are in Nashville; our intermediate stops and our eventual destination - so far as we know. We are good at changing direction in the middle of things so don't hold me to any of that stuff! The only thing I'm sure of is that we are in Nashville.

Take it easy!