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Monday, August 15, 2011

A Power-full Post

Today we are in Centralia.  We made a quick visit home yesterday to fix a leak in our toilet and I think I may have resolved that one.  So today, we came back up to Centralia.

Before going on, I want to interrupt this blog post and take a minute to update you on the power problem we had a few weeks ago in Redmond.  You may recall that our automatic transfer switch started smoldering and melting wire insulation and the relay contacts.

For those of you who don’t know anything about these switches, they automatically switch from shore power to the generator when the generator is on.  This eliminates the possibility of the RV being momentarily powered from both shore power and the genny which would cause a large arc, likely catch fire, and probably cause a power failure too.

Our switch needed to be replaced which we did at home.  The one we had used two relays and one was burnt around one of the connectors.  The manufacturer would not however sell the parts to fix it, instead they wanted to sell you a new one.

So I had to have it replaced, but did not use the same brand!  Next time (and hopefully there isn’t one) we can just replace the bad relay.  But during the replacement, we discovered that the old one was not properly installed.  There are two 30 amp circuits from the generator which would give you a total of 60 amps of generator power.  This takes 4 wires (2 positives, one neutral, one ground)

Unfortunately, Fleetwood only ran 3 wires.  So they tied both 30 amp circuits together at the generator and also ran a jumper at the transfer switch.  This meant we only had 30 amps from a 5500 watt generator. 

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Here you can see two wires tied to one going to the switch.  Not good!

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On the left relay, you can see the black wire tying two lines together.

Fortunately I had some heavy gauge wire left over from running my 50amp RV connection and we were able to run another lead from the generator to the transfer switch and now it is wired correctly.

What a pain!

Also while home, I was able to get my main computer fixed.  We had a power failure just before we left last Thursday and the monitors would not work.  At my son Tim’s suggestion, I disconnected it all, took it out to the shop and blew all the dust out. Then I started connecting things one at a time and it worked right from the beginning.  I did replace the power cord which appeared to be intermittently bad, but I don’t think that was the primary cause.  As Tim suggested, sometimes you just need to take them for a walk!

Now, back to our regularly scheduled blog post already in progress……

Tonight we went to McMenamins in the old Olympic Club in downtown Centralia.  It probably dates to the early 1900’s and includes a pool hall.

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The pool hall has 8 antique pool tables and some were in use while we ate just a few feet away.  The food at this McMenamins was pretty good.  There are probably 30 or more McMenamins in Washington and Oregon.  There are 9 on the historic building register and these are hotels, schools, clubs, and even a poor farm.  Others are just store fronts, like the one nearest to where we live.

If you haven’t ever visited one, I recommend you give them a try.  Quality varies from OK to really good, depending on location.   I think Carol has it on her list of things to do to visit each of the historic ones.

Friday, August 12, 2011

On the Road Again……

Yesterday we left our home base in Vancouver, WA and headed up to Bothell to visit our son, Jonathan.  He will be the best man in a wedding we are going to on Saturday so it gave us a good chance to see him.  We went out to dinner at Applebee’s and had a chance to ride in his new car.

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The car is a 2005 Audi, 6 speed stick shift.  It rides really nice and is in superb condition.

Today, I went to the hardware store in Woodinville (right next to Bothell) and got some screws to fix a towel rack and a seat edge molding.  On the way, I came across this chicken…..

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My friend Tom has started growing chickens, but I don’t think his are this big yet!

Then this morning we drove up to Hidden Village RV Park, about 8 miles or so north of Bellingham.  The wedding tomorrow is about 9 miles east of here so it should be a great location.

We will stay here until Sunday and then I’m not sure exactly where we will be going.  I know we will stop somewhere, possibly at Hoquiam, but we haven’t made a final decision.  That’s because Thursday morning around 7am we had a power failure at home that lasted about 30 minutes or so.  But during that failure, something happened to my video card on my desktop system and it no longer works.  So fixing that awaits me when we return.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

All’s Fair in……..Redmond?

Didn’t get a chance to post yesterday because we were so busy.  We started the day out with another 8 mile bike ride, this time around the fairgrounds adjacent to the RV park.  With the fair only 2 days away, there was a lot of activity.

Many, many, RV’s are parked on the fairgrounds with no hookups.  These are for the exhibitors (mostly animal exhibitors, I think) and there are a couple of hundred of them.  However, they really need a parking marshal to get them lined up.  They are parked every which way and are wasting a lot of space.

After breakfast we drove back to Lake Billy Chinook.  We wanted to see how much further the road went and what the RV park and day use areas further on were like.

I think we were disappointed in the RV park and day use areas.  For the most part, they were not near the water and were not level at all.  We continued to follow the road which went across a one-lane bridge  and then up some very tight turns (can you say Lombard St, SF?) and over the top of a cliff.  Eventually the road just ends.  There is a market here, but I have no idea how the delivery trucks can make the climb.

On the way back we stopped at Smith Rock.  This is a really neat area of rock formations.

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This is the westernmost formation in the area.

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This one almost looks like it has a face on it.

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A wall across the valley.

On the way home, we drove through Redmond on Business 97 and stopped at a used bookstore.  I am on the hunt for books by WEB Griffin (he writes military/political thrillers).  I already have about 20 of his books but was short about 18 more.  We found 8 in the bookstore so I am getting closer to owning a full set.

Once home, I decided to play a round of golf at the course next door to the park.  Juniper is a championship course and doesn’t look all that hard.  That’s why I started with a quadruple bogey, followed by a triple bogey, and one hole later, another quadruple bogey.  Lost 4 balls in the process.  I blame it on the 24mph wind that we had.  No way could it have been the skill of the golfer!


Pretending to line up a putt while in deep prayer!

The course is really nice though and after about 5-6 holes I started getting it together.  Ended up with a 53 for the front 9, which is pathetic but meant the only way from there was to get better.


Birdie opportunity on 13 (rimmed the putt)


Birdie opportunity on 16 – converted!

On the back nine, Carol joined me and rode in the cart.  My luck really changed.  I shot a 40 and had a birdie and nothing worse than single bogeys on the back 9 holes.  Had two more birdie chances, both long and both putts just missed.  I did discover a problem in my putting on the front 9 and it really showed in the back nine.  Many single putts, or doubles and no three-putts there.

I’m playing in a tournament with friends on Friday and I hope I can just keep playing like I did on the back nine.

After golf, we drove to Bend to pick up a storage card for Carol’s camera and go out to dinner.  We ate at McMenamin’s St. Francis School.  Carol probably has pics on her blog (or will have soon).

This morning we drove to Sisters, about 30 minutes away.  Had a nice breakfast there and then walked around town a bit.  Found 4 more of my WEB Griffin books.  After checking out the town RV park, we came back to the RV and had lunch and rested.

Tonight we are planning to go to the Fair next door.  There is a gate we can use that will put is right into the fair area after a short walk.  So we won’t have any parking hassles to mess with.  Then tomorrow, we head for home.  We will be home for a week, and then out on the road again, this time northward to attend a wedding.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Who the heck is Billy Chinook and why a lake?

Today we again started with a bike ride in Dry Canyon, this time 8 miles.  It was already pretty humid and the temperature was up to about 77 by the time we finished.  (felt like 90).

After that, we came back to the RV and planned our day’s outing to Lake Billy Chinook state park.  The park is really hard to find.  There isn’t much in the way of signage from highway 97 and what signs they have are confusing because it is also called Cove Palisades.

But after going about 7-8 miles out of our way, we turned to GPSy on my phone and she directed us to the lake.

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The lake swimming area with a boat outside the barrier

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The swim area and canyon wall.

After having our lunch at a picnic table right on the shore of the lake, we drove along the top of the canyon to some vista points.  Here you can see down into the gorge that the river/lake have created.

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Then we went to Crooked River Ranch.  This area also is in the bottom of a canyon.  Before going down, we stopped at a rest area/vista point and had a great view of the river and surrounding bridges.

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A railroad bridge across the Crooked River (looking SW)

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The highway 97 bridge across the Crooked River (looking NE)

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Looking straight down to the River (300 feet below).

As we were coming home, we could see the clouds building up in the sky.  Sure enough, 2 hours later we have rain and lightning and thunder.  We had a strong microburst wind that really rocked us, but it lasted less than a minute.  The rain was large drops but also stopped after a few minutes and the ground is already drying up.  The temperature has dropped some 13 degrees in about 10 minutes but I suspect it will climb a bit as the storm moves away.

So OK, just who was Billy Chinook?  And why does he get a lake named after him?

Possible answers:

a)  A past congressman from Oregon in the early 1900s.

b)  A famous songwriter and singer

c)  An Indian Scout

d)  Nobody, just some guy who wanted a lake.

Scroll down for the answer:









c) A Wasco Indian Scout who traveled with explorer John Fremont in 1843.

If you chose answer b, you get partial credit.  There really was a songwriter named Billy Chinook.