Thursday, February 5, 2009

Maiden voyage ho!

I am currently on my first trip with Althea. After making sure that the mission critical systems were operational, I filled her with petrol and LP and started driving.

I took along my MacBook, my iPod, two still digital cameras and a digital video camera as well as my bike.

I was having a strange issue with the LP system, whereby the physical level gauge on the tank would show one level while the electrical LED level system inside the coach showed something else. I took Althea in for a look into that and they said the board was old and dirty and showed some extra resistance. A few hundred bucks to rebuild it as it was old and unavailable in new condition. Screw that! I can use the physical meter, braving the cold of the Pacific Coast in my sleeping bag if that lets me down. Go REI!

Within the first few minutes of my maiden excursion, I discovered that the cockpit cigarette lighter doesn't work. Well, that is a pain, because that was where I was going to plug my cell, iPod, and XM radio into for charging and usage during the voyage.

While I fueled up at Fred Meyer in Burien, WA (a.k.a. Burine) I ran into the store and picked up a 10' cigarette lighter extension cord to run from the cigarette outlet behind the captain's chair to the console area. Got back into the RV and plugged everything up... then came the suckage. First suckage was that the cord, once unwrapped, is coiled, which means it is really 4'. I stretched it out to 7', fucking up the coiling but it is okay. Second suckage is the fact that the dashboard stereo with the 1/8" input for AUX audio is powered by the cockpit/starter battery. The coach outlets, i.e. the one behind the captain's chair, are powered by the two auxiliary batteries.

What does this mean? Ground Loop! The voltage potentials of the two devices are different with regards to ground, whereby they would be the same if the devices were connected to the same power supply. This means... HUMMMMMM and possible damage to the devices, though they are low voltage. So, I gotta get the dashboard outlet repaired. The iPod will have the same problem, but the cell phone should be okay because I don't plug it in to any other device.

One little gripe I have with Althea is she has a kinda loose steering column, so I have to be careful driving on winding roads, since I have to over-compensate when returning from a veer in either direction. I like my women loose, but not so much so.

Crikey! With respect to XM radio, the antenna is a magnetic block that just plunks onto the roof of one's vehicle. Well, great, except my roof is rubberized fiberglass. So, plunked it onto the hood of the cab. Well, that is all well and good, but it is overshadowed by the cabover bed. Which means that if you are driving along a road abutted by forests (as so many roads west of the Cascade Range can be) you can lose signal more easily than if you had it on the roof. So, I have to figure out a way to get it onto the roof. I will find something metallic up there, I assure you, or I will put something metallic up there!

I thought about going down I-5 to the Portland area to camp for the first night ever alone. Yes, I am a weenie. Then I thought... Portland, wtf!? Nay! To the coast with me so I can rape and pillage!

That was a mistake in judgement, ala Michael Phelps, who I will get to later.

Three hours after I left the Seattle metro area, I rolled into Ocean Shores, sabers waving, flags flying high, rum flowing, and...

Finding it deserted and lacking anything worthy of a good rape and pillage, I pulled out a rock and threw it at a sign in frustration. The town I remember so fondly overflowing with rich stupid tourists waiting for armageddon to rouse them from their languor was nothing but two lanes of sand-blown reeds and seagulls picking at the remains of the owner of the Seashell Motel.

I put the driver's side window down and rolled slowly through town, sure to find something diabolical to pursue. Breaking and entering crossed my mind, but what would I do with an RV full of rainbow kites and children's roller skates?

I tried vehicular manslaughter, but the gulls were too fast for me. All I got for my acceleration was a windshield spotted with half-digested mussels.

Arson it is! I thought. Turns out sand dunes do not burn easily, but my polyester pirate suit does :( I am lucky there was an ocean nearby.

Ah, down to the waterfront to make problems for those beached seals!

Sooo... I ended up at the Shiloh Inn talking to an elderly cocktailer about the weather and how many pieces of fish came with the all-you-can-eat Sailor's Special.

This was my Bloody Mary.

After realizing I was without a fervent release for my Pacific Northwest rancor, I asked where I could find a good place to park Althea for the night. Ocean City State Park was the answer. Five minutes out of town, on the beach, full hookups for RVs, hundred something acres, private sites and only 21 bucks a night. 

By this time it was five-thirty in the pm and I needed to get set up before total darkness. Off I went. 

This was a bad assed park. Open year-round, they have tons of sites for RVs, either backup or drive-through with full hookups, 20 and 30 amps, sewer, water. Every site has a firepit and a picnic table. I recommend the place. Hot showers and toilets, group camping sites, and more! From the main camping areas, there are little trails off to the beach. Living by the airport is sort of loud if you are not used to it, this was LOUDER with the ocean just over the dunes. The constant roar was comforting. I missed the roar of the 747s but the great Pacific put me right to sleep.

This is not true, cause I have never camped alone. I know - RVing is not necessarily camping, but I tell you this. It was wet, foggy and freaking COLD outside. I will take an RV over a tent any day. But you can't haul an RV up into the mountains of course.

So, here are some pics of my first night with Althea. With the half-moon out and the sky full of moisture, the lighting was interesting in some of these pics.

This is all moonlit except for the yellow from Althea's porch light.

This is Orion in the lovely hazy night.

Some gloomy park scenes that are all too common in the Pac NW.

Well, this is all I can post tonight cause I have to sleep. The interesting part for me about traveling in an RV is that as it gets dark outside, I start to get sleepy. So I am sleeping early. Nothing really else to do. I look at the other RVers about the park I am in and people shut down early. Of course, they are mostly retirees and elderly, so they need their sleep. But four in the a.m., they are up and about, making trouble for me and Althea.

Love you all!

1 comment:

Teri said...

this picture is perfect. it reminds me in some way of the bayous of louisiana, somewhere i've always dreamed of living. anyway, this is a very picturesque scene that puts me into a good mood w/o trying.