July 2, 2016
I spent the night of the 29th in Cannon Beach, OR. Of all the beach towns in Oregon, Cannon Beach is my favorite and the place where I wanted to stay. The beach is long and wide, and Haystack Rock at nearly 300 feet is a perennial source of attraction (and illegal exploration at low tide). The RV park couldn't accommodate me for more than one night, so as soon as I set up BOB I scrambled to book sites for the holiday weekend.
I made a rather lackluster decision to go to Bend or Sisters. In the shadow of Mt. Bachelor and along the Deschutes River, they are cool places to be, but the probability of enjoying what the area had to offer would be a function of where I camped and the cost of taxis (Uber and Lyft aren't in service in Bend). On my third unsuccessful call to book a site, the man suggested I try their sister park in Netarts on the coast near Tillamook. Bingo! The park could accommodate me for four nights, and the woman even talked me into staying a fifth so I could go to the barbecue on the afternoon of the 4th of July.
I initially hesitated at spending the fifth night since I have reservations in Polson, MT, and I wanted to take a scenic route and spend three nights somewhere interesting along the way. As it turns out, the woman at Netarts is from Whitefish, just north of Polson. She suggested I take US Rte. 12 which I could pick up near Kennewick and it would drop me into Lolo, MT which is on US Rte. 93 northbound to Polson. Whoa! The Northwest Passage Scenic Byway! Ding, ding, ding...excitement, fear! Can I do it? She said yes, and to come see her for more information on Sunday when she's back on duty. Cool.
My RV site in Netarts is in the back lot, away from the view of the bay and away from the breeze. It was less than half filled when I arrived, so I knew that would give me the time and solitude to back into my spot regardless of how many attempts it took. There are two kinds of RV spots: pull-through and back-in. When you buy an RV, there is neither any driving instruction nor licensing requirement. Your loan clears, and the dealer hands you the keys. Good luck. See you in the repair shop.
When my father and I arrived in Greybull, WY, we were escorted to our back-in site by one of the owners. After guiding me into my spot, she suggested I buy some cones and go to Walmart to practice backing up. Thank you. Probably not. I mentioned this to the owner of the next site in Pray, MT. He advised me always to pull farther ahead than I think I need to in order to back into any site. With his simple instructions, I parked on my second attempt. He also suggested that I use the side mirrors in lieu of the back-up camera. Fabulous! The camera has a fish-eye lens which distorts all dimensions. Now, I hike out the driver's window while I'm backing up so I can see where I'm going! I'm getting better, but I'm not perfect at it...yet.
Yesterday afternoon, a Vietnam Veteran (it says so on his truck and license plate) attempted to back-in his fifth wheel next to me. Normally, this wouldn't be interesting except that the building in front of me and the parked cars in front of his truck were making it impossible. Worried about him hitting BOB, I went out to chat with the vet. I mentioned the cars and offered to swap sites with him, since getting into mine would be an easier maneuver for him. He declined. Finally, one of the owners of a vehicle parked in his way offered to move it. I told her that that would be helpful as was I moving the picnic tables on either side of the vet’s site. The vehicle owner had been in her RV watching the vet struggle the entire time. And, I'm certain the jackass who owned the Range Rover (they're all jackasses) parked beside her Jeep was also watching from the comfort of his Class A. It took the vet about 10 minutes to get backed into his site. At times his truck was perpendicular to the fifth wheel (jack-knifed). I taxi-whistled twice for him to stop when I thought he might hit his water hook-up. Other than that, I offered no guidance. It was impressive driving on his part, but I really only cared about BOB.
Apparently, there is an unwritten rule that RV owners must also own at least one dog or cat, but preferably a dog. I have two Westies, Addison and Jasper, who are eight year-old litter mates. They are used to traveling in cars having commuted to work with me, but they hold nothing over their predecessors, Chloe and Duncan, also Westies, who were born in 1993, and died in 2008 and 2006, respectively. Chloe and Duncan, aka The Chunkies, made four cross-country trips: two for relocation and two for fun. Last week, while recounting our excursions, my father and I realized that The Chunkies had been to every state except Alaska, Hawaii and Alabama. (As a point of comparison, the average American has been to only eight states.) And, other than a flight to Florida, they had traveled to the other 46 states by car. Addison and Jasper have a lot of catching up to do.
The vet has a terrier mix and two cats which ride in the truck with him. I have seen Labradors, doodles, poodles, pit bulls, chihuahuas, Mastifs, Wheatons, French Bulldogs, English Bulldogs, pugs, Shih tzus, Schnauzers, Yorkies, and a number of large, mix-breed and designer, pocketbook-sized mutts. The little dogs (which seem to predominate) often sit in the windshield of parked Class As as do the cats. I'm not a fan of cats because: one, I'm allergic to them; two, the litter box; and, three, unless they behave like dogs, they're boring. BOB has approximately 180 square feet of living space with slide-outs deployed. My father met a guy with a cat in a Class A which has 400 square feet of living space. The guy said it was $2.5 million dollars new. I couldn't have found a place for a litter box I my 2,100 square foot loft, so where the hell do you put a litter box in an RV whether it’s 180 or 400 square feet? And, does the guy with the expensive Class A realize he can get a much bigger place in either New York or San Francisco for that kind of dough?
Apparently, there is another rule regarding decorating and accessorizing your RV, both inside and out. I haven't actually been in anyone else's RV, but here's what I've seen decorating windshields, other than cats and small dogs: wood carvings, flags, doilies and other hand-sewn craft, lamps, and neon signs. In the "yards" around RVs I've seen: satellite dishes, fish and flowers on stakes blowing in the wind, statuary, potted plants, hanging plants, full-size Weber grills, smokers, clam boilers, camp chairs, hard chairs, tables, rugs, tented rooms, plastic bins, and dog fencing. And, then there are the toys: 4-wheelers, 3-wheelers, motorcycles, bicycles, classic cars, and boats.
I have been streaming Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) for the last few days. Between each hour-log program is a voiceover indicating where you can find OPB: “KOAC in Arlington, Astoria, Corvalis, Ontario and Pacific City; KOBK in Baker City; KOAB in Bend; KOTD in Biggs Junction, The Dalles, Halfway, and Goldendale (WA); KOBN in Burns, Cannon Beach, Manzanita, Nehalem, and Rockaway Beach; KOPB in Depoe Bay, Salishan, Elmira-Alvadore-Noti, Veneta, Walton, Roosevelt, Rufus, Salem, Vancouver (WA), Richland, Silver Lake, Wagonfire, and Portland; KETP in Enterprise; KOGL in Gleneden Beach; KHRV in Hood River; KOJD in John Day; KTVR in La Grande; KOAP in Lakeview, Lincoln City, Mt. Vernon and Newport; KRBM in Pendleton; and KTMK in Tillamook and Valley Falls.” Why don't they just say that if you're listening to the radio in or near Oregon, you're listening to PUBLIC RADIO because there are NO OTHER STATIONS! Now, send us a check and drive your Prius to the recycling center and leave it there with another check to pay for being a stupid-bleeding-heart-fucking-liberal and not doing your homework on the carbon footprint you care so much about! I love Oregon, almost as much as I love Public Radio, but the state needs a couple of more Republicans west of the Pacific Crest Trail for the sake of diversity.
I just took the dogs for a walk. I met some poodles and their owners. The mom was friendly: we bonded over our respective non-traditional grooming of dogs. I never have my dogs groomed in the traditional "Westie" style because with all that hair in the undercarriage you might as well stick a broom handle up their asses and sweep the streets. I don't want the contents of the streets in any of my homes, whether they are stationary or on wheels. The poodles were similarly groomed, although the boy dog had a mustache. The woman's son, husband and father-in-law all appeared to be the same age. Walking further, I met a couple whose family once owned over 300 acres in Beaverton, either adjacent to or what is now a part of the Nike campus. He reminisced about milking cows and having rose bushes as "fences" when he was a child. He's bitter about the change in the use of land, but I bet he's not bitter about the change in his bank account.
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Siobhan M. Knox
In May 2016, I bought a five ton, 25’ long Class C motorhome because I like to drive, I like to travel, and it’s more fun and less expensive than living in a hotel. No prior RV experience was required, and I had none: perfect. I’m writing a book about my adventures which will come to an end when I get a job. The dogs will be sad.