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RV Log Page # 0009
Saturday September 19, 2009

   We are leaving for
Winchester Bay RV Resort, OR this morning, but before that I'll update the log to reflect what has happened since signing off back on August 10th.
   If you've been following along with our adventures, you'll know that we had experienced a coolant problem with the truck. To make a long story shorter - hopefully - Ford (International Harvest) 6.0L diesel engines (like all engine blocks) are casted from sand molds. Apparently they had a problem getting all of the grit out of the castings. As the engines run, amounts of the grit are released into the coolant system where it circulates around the block. The first thing the coolant encounters is the oil cooler unit, followed by the EGR cooler. Over time, the grit builds up in the oil cooler eventually restricting the flow of coolant to the EGR cooler, whose job is to pre-cool the fluid beford entering the turbo - or something like that. Anyway, with the reduction in coolant to the EGR unit, temperatures start to soar to the point that it is hot enough in the EGR unit to melt the seams of a little radiator that is inside that the coolant circulates in. When that happens the fluid leaks into the hot exhaust gases, going through the turbo and out the exhaust pipe as steam. Why it did it intermittantly was never explained to me. They just asked for their money. With replacing the EGR cooler & the oil cooler the total came to arround $1,200! Hey, if it had been a blown head gasket, it would have necessitated the raising of the cab of the truck off the frame to access the engine block! Yeah, I've done quite a bit of research on the Ford 6.0L engine. I probably should have done more at the time we bought it, but with the great deal (I think) we got on it, we are still way ahead. We also have added diamond-plate running boards and rain shields for the windows and a bug deflector on the hood. The truck looks great!
   So anyway ... we are off to Winchester Bay!
   We left our home in
Camas, WA and headed west on SR (State Route) 14 until we met up with I-205 South. After 30 minutes of so we merged with I-5 South where we remained until we reach Eugene. Then we headed west for for Florence, on the coast. From there we turned south on US 101, with Winchester Bay about 45 minutes away.
   We checked in at the office and proceeded to our assigned space, which was right on the ocean side of the park, on the water! Wow ... it was pretty nice! I backed the trailer into a spot next to where the camper would be, and after disconnecting it I parked the truck/camper where we wanted it. As I was preparing to remove the camper from the truck (which, by the way, was running beautifully) Shirlee rambled next door to where a large 5th wheel trailer was camped.
   To me, removing the camper from the truck isn't the simplest thing in the world to do, but it sure is easier than putting it back on. Yeah, I know that people have been doing it for years, but the tolerances are so close that you risk ruining something every time you attempt it! At least, I do! Anyway, the camper came off great and I had us all set up. By this time Shirlee had returned and was telling me what she had learned from our neighbors. She said that they had told her of an RV dealer on the south side of Florence that was having 'Killer Deals' on 5th wheel trailers and that we should go check them out. We had attended the Portland RV Show the weekend previous to our leaving for Winchester Bay and found units (5th wheel toyhaulers) anywhere from $50,000 to well over $100,000! Nothing anywhere near what we could conceive of being able to afford. But hey, it would hurt to go shopping, would it? We were going to head up to Florence anyway to eat and grab some food tommorrow.
   I continued setting up by getting the 'Cat Condo' attached and getting the bike out of the trailer. The 'boys' really like their 'condo'. The big plus, as we've come to discover, is they (the 'boys') are the best 'icebreaker' ever! We always are meeting new people who are first drawn to our cats. Not that we are boring or anything like that!
   After a great meal at a place on the water that is walking distance from our camp, we returned to sit and enjoy the beautiful weather and some cold beverage. What a life! We both feel that we are cut out for this!

Sunday September 20, 2009

   Again we are amazed at how well we sleep in the camper. It's just that there is really no room in it for even two people to sit without moving things around. Oh, well. We can adjust.
   We are going to hop on the bike and head north toward Florence for some of our favorite restaurants, but we'll stop by the RV store and see what the killer deals are.
   We arrived at the RV store after a 30 minute ride from Winchester Bay. Man, US 101 was made for motorcycles! Anyway, we started looking around and saw pretty much what we had seen at the RV Show last week - similiar units at similiar prices. They were nice, but nothing we could handle.
   I came around the end of one of the big 5th wheels and spied a huge 5th wheel that was on three axles! It was gorgeous! It had a great big sign on it that read $32,000!!! What?! How could this be had for $32,000? Right about that time a saleman showed up and introduced himself as the owner of the place and asked if he could help us. Once I got my breath back I asked about the 5th wheel we were looking at and what's with the price. He (Rich) stated that the unit was a
2007 Forest River Sandpiper Toyhauler that had never been titled or used.
   We got in it to look around and we were amazed at the ROOM! This ain't no pick-up camper! This thing was tricked out. It had every option except an overhead area loft which would have negated storage cabinets in the garage area. Please DO check out the link provided above!
   Of course Rich was asking what it would take for us to buy it. He had stated that his company had two dealerships - one here in Florence and the other just north of Las Vegas, NV. The company had aquired a large number of these identical units and that there were just three left - 2 in Vegas and this one here. We said that YES! we would love to have this unit but we could not see how we would be able to, especially after buying the camper just so many days before. We told him that we'd have to have an unbelievable trade for the camper, and we didn't know what we would do about the trailer. He said that he needed to think things over a bit. He ask specific questions about the camper to try to see how much he'd be able give us toward a trade. We answered his questions as best as we could. After looking at the unit some more, we knew that this would be the RV for us forever - never say forever. We just couldn't see us in it in the foreseeable future. Rich said he'd give us a call when he had done some 'figuring'. We game him our cell numbers and off we went to get some much needed food.
   We have a few restaurant favorites in old town Florence, down on the water. You just about can't go wrong. The one we like the best is the Wayfarer Inn. The food and service are great.
    After that we returned to the campsite to take in the day. It was just awesome - bright blue skies, gentle breeze and a great view. All combined with the knowledge that there might be a possibility of owning the 5th wheel toyhauler. Sitting there in our camp chairs, watching the sun go down over the ocean, we were lost to the rest of the world - at least for a little while.

Monday September 21, 2009

   Awoke to another nice day. We had planned a ride south down to
Coos Bay. As we headed down US 101 on our bike the wind picked up a little, but not enough to make it uncomfortable. US 101 can be notorious for being windy. It really is a nice ride here. We came into North Bend, which is just a few miles north of Coos Bay. North Bend is a pretty place - nice to visit. We proceeded on to Coos Bay. When we arrived we noticed that it was a bit bigger than North Bend, with alot more industry, mostly lumber related. If you lived in this area of the coast, this is where you would come to do major shopping. Seeing all we really wanted to see we did a U-turn and headed back north.
   Once back at Winchester Bay we rode on past the RV park and headed out toward the sand dunes, part of 
Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. There were many people riding quads, dune buggies and atv's of all description. We saw many types of toy haulers. We also saw an ambulance hauling someone off to get treated for an injury suffered while riding on the dunes. We were told that during the high season in the summer (we had missed it by about a month) there was an average of 2-3 ambulance calls per day at the area! I'd guess that is a reflection on the amount of training people get, and caution used, before taking to the dunes.
    We then rode up to the
Umpqua River Light which stood well above the dunes. It is a working lighthouse at an active U.S. Coast Guard Station and Museum. It has quite a history, so do click on the above link!
   Upon returning to our campsite our cell phone rang. It was Rich from the RV store, and he wanted to arrange to visit us at Winchester Bay so that he might be able to better evaluate our camp for trading. We had planned on a ride tommorrow so we agreed to meet at about 1 PM, following our ride. This had the effect of increasing anticipation at aquiring the 5th wheel! We had another great dinner at a local restaurant, then returned to camp for beer, wine and relaxing, and to reflect on the past 48 hours. Then, it was time for bed.

Tuesday September 22, 2009

   In what has become a ritual since we started RVing, I find myself sitting in a camp chair, drinking a mug of tea, smoking a cigarette (yeah, I know) and watching the morning happen. 'This' morning it is still dark with glimpses of light coming over my shoulder as I watch a Coast Guard boat heading out to the breakwater at the mouth of the Umpqua River in order to get a first hand report of the bar conditions.
   After awhile Shirlee was up and we prepared to leave on our ride north. It was our plan to ride about 25 miles or so up to the vicinity of
Yachats. We rode on past Florence (and our 'maybe' new RV ???) and started running into road work. The crews were painting lines on the recently repaved roadway. For some reason they were working in different areas at the same time, so we were held up for as much as 15 minutes at different spots, making a nice morning a little less nice. We finally made it to Yachats and stopped at Le Roy's Blue Whale for breakfast/lunch. We had a very good meal there and, given the opportunity, we'll stop there again!
   We then returned south on US 101 stopping at
Heceta Head Lighthouse and the scenic viewpoint. There is also a nice beach just south of the lighthouse. We looked at the time and felt that we should be heading back to our campsite to meet up with Rich.
   Again, we were met with the same road crews painting the road and the same delays. It was starting to look like we were going to be late so I called Rich on my cell phone to advise him. He said there were no worries.
   When we finally arrived back in Winchester Bay about 15 minutes late, Rich was there at our site along with his wife, sister and brother-in-law. I was thankful that I had recently stocked the fridge with beer, and Shirlee ALWAYS had wine!
   They were admiring Mo and George as we pulled up. We hopped off the bike and Rich made the introductions. We offered refreshments as we stripped off our riding gear and settled down on the park provided picnic table. A beer really tastes great after a great ride on a beautiful day!
   It wasn't long before Rich stated that the camper was in much better condition than he had anticipated which meant that he would be able to increase what he would be able to offer for our trade, and he made an offer. Shirlee and I looked at each other and we both smiled. We said yes! I couldn't believe it! We were really getting a great deal here. As we continued with our beverages we planned out the events for taking possession of the 5th wheel. We all shook hands and gave hugs as Rich and his family departed for Florence. We were still in a state of trying to believe what had just happened. Now famished, we desided to returned to one of our favorite eateries on the water there in Winchester Bay to celebrate our good fortune. Following our return to the camper we prepared to go to bed for the last time in the camper! Sleep came relatively easy!
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