Tuesday, February 15, 2011

My First 36 Hours As a Full-Time RVer

The Guppy at Pacific Yurts in Cottage Grove, OR

My cat Sonja and I slept in my 1982 Toyota Dolphin for the first time the night before last. We were parked on the street in front of my neighbor Chris' house in Eugene. I couldn't get the pilot light started on the propane heater, but I have a down comforter and I was warm enough. I did get the stove to work, and using that took the chill off the air a little, too.

Yesterday morning, I went back into the house I'd been renting to clean the fridge and bathroom, and had a farewell breakfast with Chris at the Monroe Cafe, and then we were off! Kitty in the cabover, me in the driver's seat.

First stop was my friend Jean's house to return some tapes and leave my mom's costume jewelry with her. (Jean knows jewelry! She's going to remake some of it into brooches for my sister and me, and she says some of it might be salable, too.)

Then we headed down the highway, looking for adventure, and got it, in spades. The next stop was the very first rest stop that we came to on I-5. By that time, a few things had shifted and flown around in the back of the Guppy, so I stopped to survey the situation. No major damage, but Sonja must have been surprised and upset when I started driving, because she had peed the bed. Fortunately, only the top layer, a duvet cover protecting my down comforter, got wet, so I stripped it.

Then Sonja managed to escape the RV--my worst nightmare! My very first rest stop and the cat is gone! However, the rest stop had lots of big trucks and was very scary, so Sonja stayed under my rig and I was able to grab her. She spent the next hour or so caged in her stroller. Later I let her out and she rode in the cabover again.

As I was leaving Eugene, the wind picked up a lot. I felt unsafe on I-5 and used the less busy and less exposed-to-the-wind Highway 99 whenever I could. That's how I happened across Pacific Yurts just south of Cottage Grove, which is a lovely place to stop if you ever happen to be in the neighborhood. They've got several demo yurts set up in a beautiful park-like setting with picnic tables. I wandered through the gorgeous yurts and found myself coveting them, since life in the motorhome was already a little complicated.

The next stop was actually a series of stops at the thrift stores that dot Highway 99 throughout Roseburg, Oregon. I found several scarves and nice pieces of vintage yardage and had coffee at The Daily Grind.

Then we headed to 7 Feathers Casino in Canyonville, where I had reservations at the RV park. It's a lovely place! Right on a creek, which the Tribe has made viable for salmon again. All brand-new facilities, including an indoor pool, hot tub, and gym, and of course the casino with lots of food and entertainment choices. I took myself out for a terrific Valentines Day date--buffet and bingo!

Last night, I posted on FaceBook how completely satisfied I was. Then I went to bed, where I quickly discovered that the top layer of bedding was wet again. Of course, I suspected Sonja first, but the liquid was odorless. I felt the Indian bedspread I had hanging above me like a kid's fort, and it was wet, too. There was a leak associated somehow with the vent that's over the bed. But it was the middle of the night and I didn't feel like investigating it, so I moved my bedding to the spare bed and tarped off my mattress so it wouldn't get wet.

Sleeping on my extra bed is not pleasant. (Any of you who were thinking of coming to visit me along my travels, please take note!) It's basically a small bench with some foam cushions on top. Fine for a nap if you drift off while reading, but not really a place to get a lot of shut-eye, except maybe if you're small and flexible, neither of which describes me. But I did manage to get some sleep, and then woke up to a light dusting of snow on the ground this morning.

Today I looked at weather reports online and talked to some of my neighbors in the RV park, and I decided to alter my itinerary. I had planned to head straight down I-5 towards Sacramento and do a little camping in the Sierra Nevada foothills before heading to the Coast. But there may be a lot more snow in the Siskiyous and up in the Sierra Nevadas, and I'm not on this trip to spend time in the GD snow. So I'm going to take Highway 199 from Grants Pass, Oregon, to Crescent City, California. It will be wet and cold on the northern California coast, but at least it shouldn't be snowy. Highway 199 might be somewhat treacherous (part of it is hairpin turns), so I am staying at least one extra night here at 7 Feathers while I size up the weather situation.

So today I have figured out the cabover leak and done laundry. The leak appeared to come from a screw hole that was missing a screw. I didn't have a screw of the right size, nor was I sure that just replacing it would solve the problem, so I duct-taped the heck out of it. And, just to be certain, I also covered the entire vent with plastic (I'm an artist, so I travel with drop cloths). Have tie-dye duct tape, will travel!

I still cannot get my heater to work and will have this checked out somewhere along the way. Other than that, things are going okay again now. I'm going to use this unexpected down time to get some scarves listed on eBay. The laundry room is warm and has lots of light and an ironing board and a table where I can take photos. I'm also going to take full advantage of the swimming pool and so on. Heck, maybe I'll decide to stay another night! By the time I got my AAA and Players Club discounts, it's pretty inexpensive to stay here. I have reservations for a State Beach in Santa Cruz on the 21st, so there's no hurry.


  1. You may have already done this, but I used some doggy training pads to line the bototm of my kitty's cage. It helped when she had accidents. That and a bottle of Nature's Miracle anti cat pee smell were helpful.

    Sounds like you are doing okay. I had fun reading your post.

  2. Ooh, I hadn't heard of the doggy pads idea--good one! Thanks!

  3. i enjoyed reading this and look forward to more!

    perhaps i'll share the adventures of sonja the reluctant traveler with my cat, dixxie, who likes to sit on my lap while i'm on the computer. : )

  4. Sounds like Sonja has an adjustment period to go through, poor gal :( I am sure she will get used to it all and be fine before long. The Yurts look really sweet! I will have to check those out when we are in that area again. That road between Crescent City and Grants Pass is a tricky one for sure! Heidi and I lost all 5 lug nuts on our right rear wheel last time we were on that road(right in those curves with two trucks on our bumper)... Pretty sure some kids loosened them up some at a restaurant in GP.

    Love that area though! Hope you and Sonja have things easier from here on!

    97 Roadtrek 170P "Taj Ma Trek"