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!

Home Decorating and a Murder

Glenn arrived at 6:00 a.m. to get Steven and he came bearing coffee from Starbucks. Even though it was probably the worst Americano I have ever had, in many ways it was also the best. I mean, who can complain about having a coffee delivered to your rig? It was awesome.

There’s not much I can say about what the boys were up to, because they didn’t provide many details about their filmmaking endeavors. I do know it involved a murder with a crowbar and some rocks, lots of screaming, some dirt and garlic Sriracha sauce, presumably as a stand-in for blood. Kris will probably have some explaining to do to their neighbors, but Glenn is just as happy to leave them wondering what the hell just happened in their quiet neighborhood.

No special effects here. Glenn did some serious damage to his hand while filming a murder scene
Kris came to pick me up at 9:00 a.m. and we headed for Target. There, I found some lovely pillows and throws as well as a lamp for Steven’s area and a few other various and sundry must-haves. Then, we were off to Starbucks were we enjoyed a coffee while waiting for Costco to open.

Little splashes of red make Linda a happy camper!


Cozy and snug
At Costco, I bought a lifetime supply of microfiber cloths and automotive paper towels. Steven has a nasty habit of using my good (white!!) wash cloths to clean bug guts off the front windshield. I had to put a stop to this post haste. I also got some more wine and snacky things. We have certainly not lacked for wine on this trip. In some places, the campground stores carry more wine than any other item and we always stocked up. Who knew when we might run out and not find more? That would have been a disaster of epic proportions!

I spent the afternoon all by myself, doing some laundry, moving a pillow from here to there, studying my exit plan options and generally enjoying myself, except for one issue that had cropped up earlier. The potty was clogged. There was no immediate rhyme or reason for this to happen, it just did. After Steven came back, he eventually figured it out, and since then have had no more issues. We came very close to admitting defeat and thought of calling a mobile repair guy, but Steven kept at it until he got it resolved. YAY, my hero!


A pole, a stop sign, some landscaping - a tight squeeze. Surveying the parking situation for a smooth exit

Glenn came to pick us up and bring us to their beautiful home for dinner. Kris prepared an outstanding meal, and we enjoyed our evening out.

Travel Day to Wilsonville, Oregon

Once again we rolled out of our campsite at 7:49 a.m.  Maybe someday we’ll learn to sleep in, but that hasn’t happened yet. We had a long day ahead of us and we were eager to get on the road.

My sore back was much better and I was determined to keep it that way. First, I began using a back support in my chair, and second, we made more rest stops so I could walk and stretch. That seemed to do the trick, because I haven’t suffered anymore back pain.

At our first rest stop, I had to do a bit of parallel parking. I had a wide berth, but if I had known it was not a pull-thru configuration, I probably would have avoided it. Live and learn.

Parallel parking? Sure, why not?! Linda handles the big rig like a pro

A novel mode of transport

Now this is downsizing!
Even though we didn’t need to, we decided to stop and fill up. We did it for the practice more than anything, plus it counted as a rest stop.

The first time we filled up a few days earlier, it was a scheduled stop that we had thoroughly discussed with Laurie and Odel, right down to the number of gallons we would probably need.  Steven went inside he told the gal he wanted 60 gallons of diesel, but when he returned, he informed her it took only 48 gallons to fill up. A woman standing at the counter said, “How did you miscalculate that so badly?” He replied, “We’re newbies and this is our maiden voyage.” She squealed. Yes, actually squealed. She said she and her husband sold their house five years ago to go fulltiming and they have never looked back. She was very excited for us.

When we decided to fill up again – unscheduled!! – we pulled into the station and followed the big trucks. Steven went inside to pay first, and after some discussion, the gal behind the counter got out her calculator and suggested $150. Steven said no, he thought $135 would do it. The total came to $135.38. Even the truckers were impressed. It was only after we pulled out that we saw the sign pointing to the RV section. We had gone to the trucker section. If I had seen that sign first, I would have been too intimidated to go with the big trucks, but it turned out well, and filling up was zippy fast!

Still running with the big dogs! At one of our scheduled rest stops.
The closer we got to Portland the heavier the traffic became. I have gotten quite comfortable with the driving part, but once I exit the Interstate, I am at the mercy of my navigator and his reliance on turn-by-turn iPhone navigation. As I have said, Steven is doing a really good job on this trip. He’s up early looking at maps and Google Earth and trying to give me the information I need. Still, the devil is in the details, and he is recognizing there is a distinct difference between navigating for an RV versus a car. There is more work to be done.

Traffic was heavy as we approached Wilsonville
We nonetheless made it safely to the Pheasant Ridge RV Resort and were soon settled into our site. When we made all of our reservations, we made sure to let everyone know that we are inexperienced RVers arriving in a big ass rig, and if they valued their signs and landscaping, they should put us in the least challenging site available. The management at Pheasant Ridge did not get the memo. We got in just fine, but I only had two days to figure out my exit plan.

Our friends Glenn and Kris arrived just after dinner for a tour of Scoopy and some wine. I had not seen them since our cruise to Alaska last summer and it was great to catch up.

Kris and Glenn demonstrating....well, we're not quite sure
For our rest day in Wilsonville, the boys planned an impromptu movie-making day while Kris and I planned some retail therapy. When we arrived earlier we couldn’t help but notice the Costco, Target, Starbucks and a host of other retailers just across the street from our campground. While they may be close and easy to get to, it's tough to carry things back. Thank goodness for friends with cars.

Visitors!

When we planned our maiden voyage to bring Scoopy home to Washington, we thought 180-225 mile travel days would be too short. We are not used to stopping so early in the day. Still, we wanted to make sure we had plenty of time to get to know Scoopy, so we made all but one of our reservations for two nights.

In reality, a couple of those travel days seemed excruciatingly long.  And the true luxury of a rest day cannot be overstated. When we arrived in Grants Pass, OR, my lower back was so sore, I could hardly walk. The first thing we bought in the funky little campground store was a big fat bottle of Ibuprofen.

On our rest day in Grants Pass, we enjoyed our wonderful campsite, Joe Creek Waterfalls RV Resort. We would highly recommend this place to everyone, by the way, beautiful scenery and very reasonable rates. In the early afternoon we had visitors! I guess Laurie and Odel could be counted as “first guests” since on our last day with them we did actually serve wine, so that would make Gordon and Juanita our first “on the road” guests.

In any case, we spent the majority of the afternoon catching up with each other and discussing the general RVing gossip and goings on. They brought Abbey, the world’s most adorable beagle, who had a blast sniffing through the rig.

Picturesque barn on the grounds of Joe Creek Waterfalls RV Resort

The entrance to Joe Creek Waterfalls RV Resort

We went for an early morning walk to check out a local grocery store

Gordon and Juanita, our first "on the road" guests

Abbey, the cutest beagle EVER!!
Just before dinner time, we loaded up into their truck and headed to Fred Meyer. I really do not enjoy shopping, but I confess I was in heaven. When you don’t have access to the things you need (want. . .) it can get depressing. We filled our basket with all those things we felt would make us more comfortable; food, wine, the much sought-after six-foot ladder, a pair of scissors, and some flatware. It’s the little things in life that make us happy.

Gordon keeps a cooler in the back of his truck, so in went the cold stuff while the rest got tucked in securely. We then headed to a 50’s style diner for burgers, and man, they were outstanding! A whole bus load of people showed up at the same time, and we managed to share in their free milkshakes. What a treat!

We so appreciate that Gordon and Juanita made the trip to come visit. We enjoyed our time with them, as we always do, and look forward to seeing them again in Washington later in the summer.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A Couple of Challenges

When I woke up very early this morning, one of the first things I noticed was that the wind was gusty and this caught my attention. I decided to check out the weather in Redding, while Steven checked out Grants Pass, OR, our next scheduled stop.

It looked like it could turn out to be a bit challenging for us newbies. In Redding, the wind was already gusting, and was predicted to be up to 17 mph by 11:00 a.m., with gusts of 25-30 miles per hour. In Grants Pass, the wind was already gusty and "small hail" and "snow" were in the forecast for Siskiyou Pass.

Crap. What do we do? How much wind is okay? How many "gusts" can we handle? And what about that hail and snow in the pass?

On our second day of Boot Camp, the winds were fairly gusty, and our mentors advised us carefully on traveling in windy conditions. Based on that, we figured our best option was to bug out immediately to miss the coming winds in Redding, get over the pass and get settled in Grants Pass before the any bad weather hit.

We jumped up and ran through our checklists and got ready to depart. We hoped we were doing the right thing, because we don't have the luxury of waiting for better weather. We still have jobs and children to tend to, so we are on a schedule.

We rolled out of Redding at 7:49 a.m. We had sunny skies and bouts of wind, but it was not too much to handle. As we climbed to higher elevations we were somewhat shielded by the mountains, so it wasn't too bad. The view was spectacular. Still, we did not waste time with rest stops. We were on a mission.

One thing we were not aware of prior to leaving Redding was all the current roadwork that was being done in the higher elevations. At times, we would be funneled into one narrow lane, only to find it open up again shortly thereafter.

If you know anything about us, then you know we are always on the lookout for a Starbucks. And having left so early in the morning, we both were seriously jonesin' for a coffee. Yes, it would have been an unscheduled stop, but hey, we were desperate. About the time Steven took out his tricorder (aka iPhone) and starting scanning the landscape for a Starbucks, we both momentarily lost our road concentration. When we realized we were once again being funneled into a narrow one lane construction zone, this time with concrete barriers on BOTH sides, we simultaneously said, "Oh, shit!" We didn't really "say" it as much as we screamed it.

This narrowing of the road happened on a curve, so it seemed even more significant. I entered that curving teeny little lane at 60 miles an hour, but somehow, I threaded the needle perfectly. I believe I will never, ever again be that lucky, so from this point on, the Starbucks tricorder is dead to me! That goes for every other distraction as well!

As we recovered from that scare, Steven answered a phone call from RV fulltimer friend Gordon, who was calling to check in on us. He and Juanita are coming tomorrow to visit us from Port Orford, OR, where they are settled in for the summer. Steven informed him that we were "white knuckling it" at the moment, but otherwise doing okay. Gordon confirmed the coming weather was to deliver snow in the mountain pass, and he was happy to know we had managed to stay ahead of the worst of it.

Getting more comfortable with big trucks at close proximity!

Creeping along at newbie speed!

Long range sensors detect a Starbucks 65 miles away!

Mount Shasta

Road trippin' in VistaVision!

Weird and wonderful landscapes

Mount Shasta

Didn't need it but somehow comforting!

Views from Ashland, Oregon

We are currently settled into the wonderful Joe Creek Waterfalls RV Resort campground just north of Grants Pass. This is the first place (out of a whopping three!) we've been where our site is not so level. While Steven was outside running through his checklist, I went through mine. As I began lowering the jacks, the two in the rear seems to just keep going and going. The front ones touched down in no time. I had to keep adjusting until our high-tech device (the bathroom door) confirmed that I had Scoopy completely level.

When I went outside, she just looked ugly! The back is so jacked up, the tires are very nearly off the ground. And the front is so close to the ground. This can't be right, Scoopy looks so uncomfortable! I checked over and over to make sure she was really and truly level. She apparently was. Still, I wasn't buying it, so Steven went over to the funky little campground store and bought a spirit level. Sure enough, that little bubble was dead center!


I kept whining about how awful Scoopy looked, and Steven asked me if I wanted her to be level on the inside, or to look good on the outside? Ideally, I want both! I fired off an Email to Laurie, and she replied that nothing I described was alarming. We might try to re-level using a couple of blocks under the back jacks and see if that helps.

Scoopy looks so uncomfortable. Notice how jacked up she is in the back?

Since we were set up fairly early in the day, Steven got in a bit of photography time. He continues to ask random people if he can take their photo, and he found a willing subject in the camp store. I sometimes think people, especially women, might think he's creepin' on them, but he has an introduction all worked out so they can check out his website and know that he is legit before they agree to be photographed.

Audrey graciously allowed Steven to take her photo.

Minutes after we arrived at Joe Creek RV campground it began to rain

A beautiful sunset over a beautiful campground

The end of a wonderful day of new experiences!

We spent some time learning new things. For the first time, we actually opened some cabinets to see what goodies were left for us. We also learned to swivel the front chairs around to make them part of the living area. That was fun. We've had to turn on the furnace for the first time. It's freakin' cold here!

Swivel chair goodness...we are all set up for some serious entertaining!

We're looking forward to our visit with Gordon and Juanita. No doubt we can find some kind of trouble to get into.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Our Maiden Voyage!

We awoke early feeling both excited to get underway on our maiden voyage and nervous because we were truly on our own. Our plan was to depart at 10:00 a.m. in hopes that we would miss the worst of the morning traffic as we made our way through Sacramento. We were fairly confident in our route through the city, but first we had to prepare Scoopy for departure.

The downside of being early risers on a day like this is that after we did everything we could think of to be ready, we mostly just sat around waiting. We took a walk around the campground hoping to rid ourselves of some nervous energy, but we finally couldn't stand it anymore and we decided to move our departure to 9:00 a.m., traffic be damned!

We each went through our respective checklists, Steven on the outside, me on the inside. All went well until I got to the part that said "when the pressure is up to 150 lbs., turn off the engine". By this time, Steven was inside, and we both waited and watched the gauges. Neither one was approaching 150 lbs. and both seemed unmoved by our encouragement for them to continue rising.

Google says we don't need 150lbs. Yay, let's roll!!

Steven placed a call to Odel. No answer. He called Laurie. No answer. We waited a few more minutes but it was pretty clear those gauges weren't moving, so I shut off the engine anyway, pulled in the slide, did a final check and at 9:42 a.m., we pulled out.

Nothing blew up. Nothing terrible happened. Scoopy wasn't dragging on the ground. So off we went, barreling down the road with about 130 lbs. of air.

Our maiden voyage motto: "You Only Live Once"

It was a beautiful day and we made good time through Sacramento and onto I-5. It took me about an hour to loosen my grip on the steering wheel, and not long after that I started to feel my heart rate slowing. We made scheduled rest stops and before long we were having conversations about making unscheduled stops. I am very leery of this, as I do not want to find myself in an awkward place making it necessary for us to reenact "Plan B".  

Running with the big dogs!

In spite of this, we couldn't pass up a huge Camping World. We were in need of a sharp knife and a 6' ladder, and this seemed to be as good a place as any. Plus, we thought it would be fun to poke around.

It wasn't. And we discovered that Camping World is home to the $200 ladder. We put it back and walked out of there with a knife and four rolls of toilet paper. We know we could have gotten both elsewhere for less money, but who knew when we might feel confident enough to make another unscheduled stop? Maybe never.

Adding yet another milestone to our trip, we stopped to refuel. This was an approved and scheduled stop and it went perfectly! We did poke around in the store to see if we needed anything, but we didn't. Back on the road, we came to the conclusion that we can't do all our shopping at truck stops, Camping World and the RV park store. That would get spendy real quick, but until we get a vehicle set up to tow, our options are somewhat limited. 

Giving Scoopy some diesel love...

We pulled into our campground in Redding around 2:25 p.m. It was a long and tiring day. We are used to marathon travel days when camping with Ace Yukon and Alfred Hitchpop, but I can tell you with certainty that those habits are dead. I was worn out. We got set up in record time, just 14 minutes. Of course it helps that we have nothing inside Scoopy that we have to deal with. We just run through our checklists, pour a glass of wine and sit down. That's about it!

I have to give kudos to my navigator. He is taking his responsibilities very seriously and he did a fantastic job both before our departure and during our trip. There is hope for us yet.

RV Boot Camp - Day Two

I'd like to be able to tell you that our first night in Scoopy was filled with joy and laughter and celebration, but that would be a lie. Even though we'd been looking forward to this night in some iteration or another for years, in reality we were just too tired and grumpy to enjoy much of anything. We crawled into bed and immediately became comatose.

We awoke still dazed and confused, and therefore took advantage of the Sunday morning breakfast served up by the campground staff. That was way better than trying to cook in an unfamiliar kitchen, stepping on each others toes. We still haven't learned the dance necessary to fully function in a very small space together. Besides that, Laurie and Odel were to arrive at 9:00am to continue with Boot Camp, and we wanted to be ready.


Sunday morning breakfast KOA-style.
Steven does his I'm hungry face.
It was a beautiful morning to lounge around and have breakfast before the real work began.

Our first lesson of the day was a thorough show and tell of the outside of Scoopy, including all the storage bays, engine, generator and other little knobs, nooks and crannies. There's a ton of stuff down there, and since we could never remember what it all is for, Steven videotaped the walkabout.

With that lesson behind us, it was time to close up the rig and hit the road. There is a sequence to follow, and while Odel walked Steven through the outside tasks, Laurie kept a watchful eye on me as I handled the inside. Before long, we were ready to go.

Both Steven and I had already been behind the wheel, but only in a remote and deserted area where we could practice turning, hand signals and backing up. We still need a lot of work on the hand signals and backing up, but we got the turning part down pretty good. Steven only ran over one curb. Neither of us took down any signs or landscaping.

Today, we headed out onto the highway to an area with some pretty decent climbs and descents. Our goals were to get some real life highway driving time and learn to use the all-important braking system.

The plan was for Odel to make the first run, while we watched and learned. Next, he would exit the highway at a spot typically devoid of heavy traffic, where I would then take over. All went well until the exit part, where "Plan B" was put into effect when we realized the normally low traffic area was suddenly streaming with cars from all directions. It was as though someone had opened a gate, the cars just kept on coming with no end in sight.

"Plan B" involved Odel and I outside, and Laurie behind the wheel with Steven watching her. I stopped traffic, Odel gave Laurie his amazingly effective hand-signals, and she backed Scoopy up, we hopped in and she got us heading in the right direction.

I did well on my drive, but I did have a tendency to stay too far to the right in my lane. Odel kept a pretty good eye on my position, and he'd let me know when I strayed. I drove back to the campground, and we went through the whole process of setting up yet again. It went well, except I did forget to check if anything was in the way before I put out the big slide. Laurie, though, had already checked, and notified me that if I went ahead and pushed the button, I would crush Steven's camera. Another lesson learned. And Steven got a good talking to about where he can set things down!

We parted ways for the remainder of the afternoon with plans to meet up before we were to leave to meet Laurie's sister, Sydney, and her husband Frank for dinner. This would be our last face-to-face time, and over a glass of wine, we peppered them with all the questions we could come up with. We had a fabulous time at dinner, and the other diners didn't seem bothered by our ruckus laughter.

Odel King, Laurie, Linda and Steven after an evening of celebration.

Back at the campsite, we said our goodbyes with hugs and well-wishes. We are incredibly grateful to Laurie and Odel for all their time and expertise, we simply could not have done this without them.

Tomorrow
, we are on our own. O.M.G...!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Welcome to our new blog!

It has been a very long time since you've heard from us by way of our blog, but the fact is, our lives have either been a whirlwind, or we've had nothing new to report. I wish this was an easy transition for those who followed us on "Future Tripping", but so much has happened, I find it nearly impossible to bridge the gap between then and now.

Let me try to catch you up.

A miracle occurred and we finally sold the Big Ass House on Pine Lake.

In spite of our insistence that we would never again own a house, we went right out and bought another one, within walking distance of the BAH. Our neighborhood barely changed. Though we downsized by 40 percent in the size of our new house, we didn't get rid of a single thing from the BAH. So yeah, all that crap I packed up 3 years ago is still with us. Mostly it is in our garage, but at least we have a little goat path that allows access to the house. I am still working on the plan to get rid of it all.

With Zoe away at Western Washington University, we now have only two kiddos at home, both of whom will be seniors next year. When we first began planning our escape into fulltiming, those two were in 4th grade. Time really is marching on.

The big news, and the reason for the new blog, is the fact that tonight, we are writing this blog post from Sacramento, CA, where we arrived this morning and took possession of our new-to-us Class A RV.

While she may be new-to-us, she is no doubt familiar to those who follow Laurie and Odel's "Semi-True Tales of Our Life on the Road".

Yep, we are now the proud owners of Scoopy, the beautiful 2002 Travel Supreme.

More than anything we would love to regale you with the hilarity of our first day of RV Boot Camp, but that will have to wait until tomorrow. We've had very little sleep over the past couple of days, and our boot camp continues bright and early in the morning.

But, here is just a sippet of a few important things that we have learned today:

1.  We need to work on our RV hand signals so that we may avoid falling off a cliff.
2.  That curb is closer than you think.
3.  If you twist a knob that is meant to be tapped, it will fall off into your hand.
4.  New coffee makers do not always come with filters. 
5.  Driving a big ass RV is not as easy as you might think.

Tomorrow, things are about to get real. We hit the actual highway. Big hills, up and down. And - wait for it - the big lesson on dumping, and more learning all about the ins and outs of Scoopy and her systems.

We have to get it right tomorrow, because Monday morning, we'll be barreling down the highway to Redding, California all by ourselves on our week-long maiden voyage back to Sammamish. Keep your fingers crossed and send us some serious RV mojo!

There she is! Laurie and Odel had her all set up for us the day we arrived.

The Key Exchange! She's all ours, now what?

Opening the door to new adventures!

In my new happy place trying not to take out a stop sign!

We moved from the Elk's Lodge to the nearby KOA for full hookups...

We got her all set up (with Laurie and Odel's help, of course)

Sadly, not all views out that IMAX window are worth looking at  :)

Assuming the position!

Steven stakes out his spot!