Sunday, May 26, 2013

Pondering Strategically

The drive from Wilsonville to the Seattle area was essentially our final travel day in our epic adventure to bring Scoopy to her new home.  It was also our most challenging.

It started off just fine, when Kris and Glenn arrived with our early morning Starbucks order. I've said it before and I’ll say it again, you cannot beat coffee delivery to your rig. After we said our final goodbyes, Steven and I began to prepare for departure. We had a busy day ahead and we were ready to get going.

Having spent a great deal of time surveying my escape route, I knew what I had to do. I had to back out of our “pull-thru” space. Behind us was a two-lane road, and I felt I could back out without causing any damage (or at least, lasting damage) whereas, if I pulled forward onto the tiny one lane road, I could easily take out a pole, a stop sign, some landscaping and side-swipe the rig next to us as it was parked at the very front edge of the space.

Scoopy as she was in Pheasant Ridge RV Resort before the big exit maneuver
I had totally psyched myself up and was ready to go, when suddenly, the clouds parted and the angels sang. The rig in the space in front of us, and the one in the space in front of him, both pulled out. That left plenty of room for me to go forward right through two rows of empty spaces and pull directly out onto the exit road. Easy peasy!

I was never really worried per se, but I did spend a lot of time pondering strategically. There was a part of me that was looking forward to the challenge of backing up, but oh well. I’m sure there will be a next time.

We made it easily onto I-5 North and headed toward home. We had expected some rain, but didn't get a drop. In fact, we were incredibly lucky with regard to weather, we only had to turn on our wipers for about two seconds just as we arrived in Grants Pass. We've had plenty of rain while parked, but none to speak of while driving.

Driving through Portland towards home

Goodbye California and Oregon :(

On the way home - the Tacoma Dome

Entering Issaquah on the way to Blue Sky RV Park

We have also had great luck traffic-wise, it has been pretty light for most of our trip. The heaviest, of course, was on I-5 nearing Seattle.

Once in Washington, we have 15 days to get Scoopy licensed. In order to do that, we first had to get her emissions tested. There are only four or five places where you can take a big rig to get this test, and one of them is in Lakewood near Puyallup, right off I-5. So we had planned to get this task taken care of on our way to our final campsite near home and before putting Scoopy into her storage bay.

Steven had carefully mapped out our route to the testing facility and we both studied it. As we neared our exit, he reminded me that I would take all right turns and should get into the appropriate lanes. Then he said, “just follow the voice commands on my iPhone.” As we neared the exit, voice command lady instructs us to exit right. We do. I ease my way over to the far right lane, and then voice command lady says, “next, make a left hand turn.”  I cannot print the words that came out of my mouth, but suffice it to say that I was in shock. Outwardly, I think I held it together fairly well, but on the inside, I was shaking. I think Steven probably was, too.

I managed to get over to make a left turn, but in fact, I went over too far. I found myself on the far left of a two lane turn, with a fire engine on my right. Not optimal, but not the worst thing, either. I made the turn and again was commanded to prepare to turn right. I did. I held my breath as we went under a bridge. Turn. Turn. Turn. Turn. We found ourselves deep in some abandoned-looking industrial area, and yet, there were signs pointing to the emissions testing area, so we knew we were in the right place.

We arrived and got in the big rig lane. A woman came running out to tell us to stay put, even though we were the only one in line. She said the RV that just left had accidentally dumped a ton of fuel in the lane and they had to conduct a clean up before we could move forward. This was actually okay with me, it gave me time to collect my wits and ponder strategically how I was going to squeeze into that itty bitty bay, and how I might go about extracting myself from said itty bitty bay.

Once the clean up was complete, the technician carefully guided us in. So far, so good. Then came all the questions:

 “Who makes your engine?”

“I don’t know.”

“How many cylinders does this thing have?”

“I  don’t know.”

“What’s the VIN number?”

“I don’t know.”

And they just kept coming. Each time, my answer was the same. Steven made a beeline for the cabinet in the bedroom and soon had manuals strewn about. I was sweating, feeling as though I had 50 pounds of contraband in a stolen RV. I dreaded each time someone came up to my window, because I was sure they were going to tell me we would have to come back another time.

Cleaning up a big gasoline spill before our emissions test.
Finally, the actual test began. I stepped on the accelerator and followed instructions. Before long, the tech handed me a piece of paper and said, “You sure have a beautiful rig! You passed, have a nice day!” Meanwhile, Steven is still sifting through manuals.  I cannot describe the absolute relief I felt when he handed me that paper.

We are now set up in Blue Sky RV Park just a few miles from home. We are taking this time to organize and clean Scoop and prepare her for storage. Tonight, our kids and my Mom are coming over for a potluck dinner, in other words, to help us eat all the food we still have. We will also celebrate Zoe’s 21st birthday, which is June 4th. I’m gonna make her some margaritas anyway, even though she won’t be legal for another few days.

Arriving at our final campsite: Blue Sky RV Park

The view out our window

A yummy spaghetti dinner after our long trip!

Grandmother and granddaughter. Linda's mom Anita and Zoe visit our home away from home at Blue Sky RV Park
We’ll write a wrap up, but this one has gone on long enough!


  1. Oh, man - reading all of this made me homesick for my little ex-home! Your pillows look great. Get used to people commenting on your beautiful rig - Scoopy has such graceful lines, nothing at all boxy about her. I'm so glad she found a good home. BTW, Cummins makes your engine, and the VIN is on the registration and on a placard down low behind the driver's seat on the left wall (I think). Cylinders??? Who the heck knows?? (Probably the guy who did the emissions check).

  2. I am proud of you two. Judging from your comments and your photos, the trip went as well as can be expected. Linda, you look so comfortable behind the wheel. Here's hoping that RVing is as fun for you as it was for us.

  3. Heck! I have no idea how many cylinders our big ol' Cummins has. (Oh! Paul says "Six." So now we all know!) But, if I had a dollar for each time I've frantically dumped our big ol' black bag of manuals on the floor of the moose looking for some essential piece of info, I'd be a multi-billionaire!

    Y'all have had an outstanding maiden voyage. Congratulations!

    Here's to many more adventures...


  4. I just finished reading all your posts and I am very impressed by the way you have handled that motorhome. I love the pillows too. We had a blast with you guys and we were honored to be able to visit with y'all on your maiden voyage. Scoopy will be well loved.

  5. Teresa and I have a fabulous relationship, but it is severely "tested", when
    unexpected turns or lane changes come up, and I am frantically yelling "which lane should I be in", and she is just as frantically yelling "How the hell should I know"?? LOL

    Love the picture of Grandmother and Granddaughter. Family is what it is all about, isn't it.

    Take care ... TnT

  6. got to love those darn emissions tests! we call ours 'air care'! and yes you are correct it is such a relief to get that little paper that says you passed!!!

  7. You make me glad we were outside the emissions test area when we got our motorhome.
    You are bringing back many memories of our first adventures, some good, some not so good, but we can laugh about them now. You are surviving well. If you need any advice on what to tow and towbars and braking systems, you know how to get a hold of us. We will be around Western Washington and a bit of Oregon all summer.