What day is it?

Yesterday we took an amazing and steep hike out to Cape Lookout. There were lots of cut off posts (trip hazards) neighboring the plummet-to-your-death-cliffs that made me grateful Brian Woods wasn’t there.

Little did you know, I would use this picture in a blog post… #infamousFall

2 things to know about Oregon:
1) They love dogs. There’s a dog hitch outside the bathroom. They are cool to be off leash on the beach as long as they come back to you. George even saw several dogs in the safeway.
2) You still can’t pump your own gas in OR. It’s weird. You just sit there and watch them. Also, do you tip them if they clean your windows? Things I’d like to know.

Campground Beach: Arch in far back ground

From Cape Lookout, we traveled up to Cape Meares Light house and there we ran into the parents of the brewer at Burial Brewery in AVL… So strange. We must give of beer pheromones. They gave us recommendations for beers in Bend, OR. Boneyard/rpm is now on the list.

Going through Tillamook we stopped at the creamery for cheese, yogurt, and icecream. Yes, you’re officially on vacation when you wait in line for cheese!

Nahalem Bay wins the best beach award.

Stop drop and roll

We are getting used to the conveniences of modern camping. Stop, drop and roll is my new favorite. On the down side, I’m still getting used to parking. Sometimes I just hawg spaces because I can’t park frank n furter yet. #parkingfoul

So, to the real business. We saw cool stuff today.

Thor’s Well

We tried to go to rogue brewery in Newport but they didn’t like us (twice) so we went to a seafood market, grabbed fish and chips, beers and Dungeness crabs and made tracks to cape Lookout.

Lots of fog and 60 degrees. I cuddled up with a hot toddy after dinner and a short with a longgggg jacket. I hear Portland was 115 today. #OregonCoast

Campground chef

The Easter Bunny has really let himself go.

What a beautiful day in OR. Probably the first day we really relaxed into our semisabbatical. After leaving Harris Beach, we spent two nights at Sunset Bay.

Sunset Bay campsite
Trail to beach from Sunset Bay state park to Yoakum Point
Beach where Ringo played with his new best friend and we met locals who just happened to be the parents of the owner of the only brewery in town. (7 devils brewery in Coos Bay). They also told us how to get back to the campground in a a loop instead of an up and back.
Looks like bowling balls in the rocks
We caught a glimpse of the Easter Bunny on our way back to the campsite.

We had our first t@g drop and roll out which was amazing. We headed into town for a delicious late lunch.

Delightful way to write postcards.

After a late lunch we headed to Shore acres (and gardens).

Then we played some music and ate some fresh halibut. #campgroundChef

Only fitting we replace Veronica with a tear drop.

The bus broke down again in Taft MT. We had very difficult discussion and decisions to make. Did we trust Veronica to get us to Harris Beach (and then 3000+ miles home? ). Sadly, the answer was no. We have broken down 4 times in the past 20 years that we’ve had her.  Three of those breakdowns have been in the past 12 months. We have been very lucky on those break downs with friends close by (thanks Michael) and lovely selfless stangers who this last time jumped us and pushed us down a hill for a roll start. One extremely nice couple drove out of the dead zone to call AAA for us and THEN doubled back to confirm with us that a wrecker was on the way  because they ‘couldn’t eat dinner if they knew we were stranded at a rest area in Taft with no signal’. Wrecker ETA was one hour.

These countless acts of kindness just remind me of how intrinsically good people are. We all just need to feel safe and loved. I’ve heard several post covid horror stories, but I’ve  experienced nice humanity everywhere on this trip and it’s refreshing. The bus brings out the best in people. I heard several bus stories from the good Samaritans at the rest stop.

We wait, and after an hour and a half with no tow truck and darkness on the way, I begin profiling pit-stoppers for sympathetic glances while George attempts to start Veronica one more time. She starts! We must get out of the dead zone so we jump in and head out of the rest stop. We pull over at the next exit that has cell coverage and decide we have enough gas to get to Spokane which is where the next van alert approved fixit shop is. (Euro Union). Since it was running fine before we stopped, we just won’t stop. Next stop Spokane KOA. #dehydration

Veronica is tired. Euro Union is going to fix her up but we decided to move on with our once in a lifetime semisabbatical. That had to start with road ready equipment. We drove the bus  to the Nissan dealership on the Spokane motor mile first and there she stayed (because she wouldn’t restart). This only solidified our decision. We needed reliable transportation.

Remember we have Ringo? First job: test drove a truck to get Ringo to doggie day care. Then, we went up and down the motor mile test driving multiple trucks. We finally bought a Tacoma (I’ve named him Frank) and unloaded all our worldly possessions out of Veronica and into storage containers and hope for no rain. We went to Walmart and bought a tent, Coleman stove, air mattress and left Spokane in the review by 7:30. Onward and upward…

Around dusk (8:30) it dawned on us, that we should not set up the new tent in the dark. We headed for the nearest campground. To say this campground was sketchy, doesn’t quite convey the sentiment. There was a cash transaction and a promise of showers (the grossest shower we never took). I slowly pumped up our air mattress, while George made an entire dinner. I froze all night and we were both terrified that someone was going to steal all our worldly possessions out of our unlocked storage bins in the bed of Frank. Exhausted at 5 am we looked at each other defeated. Neither of us had slept. We wordlessly packed up our new shitty tent and air mattress and got the hell out of there as quickly as we could.

We decided maybe we should rent a trailer. Research commenced and in the span of our 15 hr day we concluded that the math just worked better to buy something small (given our novice towing skills), but nothing was for sale. All the things we see online are already sold. We are literally at our last stop before heading back on the road and we found this t@b. Negotiations started with a disclaimer that if this can’t conclude within an hour we are out. 45 minutes later with 2″ ball hitch off the truck of our sales rep and were under way.

We arrive in Harris Beach, our original final destination on the coast, which is now our first. We are heading back up the coast in reverse order with both sad and happy emotions.

Ringo goes to day care
Cement grey
Worldly possessions
Pacific ocean
Harris Beach

T@b kitchen

The good bad and the UGLY

I just want to start by saying how kind and friendly I have found Montana people to be. Everyone has been so helpful to us.

Circular Story: We leave Billings the 1st time and make it 30 minutes out of town and pull over at a rest area to check some plugs. While we are stopped and in the midst of our crisis (taking everything out of the back to get into engine) a nice woman comes over and precedes to tell us her bus cross country story.

Normally, we love these stories, we have several of our own. However, we aren’t particularly interested at the moment because of our failed attempt to leave Billings. She reminisces a moment too long then leaves. We pack back up the back and determine we should head back to Andy at veewee. We think it’s the air flow meter and he has tracked one down for us.

Trial two fails. It was not the bus flow meter. We circle back to pick up Andy so he can feel it now that she’s acting up. He does a roadside replacement on the ignition coils and Veronica is purring again at 6:30 PM, so we take off to Bozeman.

Remember my phone was busted? The ubreakifix repair guy in bozeman comes in after closing (830 pm) and works until after 10 on my phone so we can leave the next morning… Then, literally stops the phone off at the restaurant he’s recommended. #5stars.

We wake up, spend our am at the hot springs spa. As we leave the spa at 8am, we run into the lady at the rest area who says she was worried about us outside Billings and is glad we’ve made it to Bozeman. Small world.

We keep running down the road and get to a rest area in Taft, MT. We have experienced no issues, and have no second thoughts about stopping. When we come out, the bus won’t start. Literally tried a jump, a roll start, (4 guys out there pushing Veronica) and she won’t crank. We are in a dead zone. No cell. So this nice couple from New Jersey takes our number and copies of our AAA membership and goes to the next exit, and calls AAA for us. But we have no idea if they are actually coming. Then, this nice couple circles back around to let us know they have called (they went out of their way nearly an hour) but it’s still going to be about an hour. They leave and say they are going to call a state trouper to check on us later. We wait about 1.5 hours, and suddenly Veronica cranks. We are in a dead zone with no idea if AAA is actually coming and when? We make the decision to leave and try to get out of the dead zone. We have enough gas to get to the next bus repair shop in Spokane, WA. So, we don’t stop at the next town because we aren’t sure if they can fix her anyway. Next stop euro union.

#don’thydrate #straightthrough #nostopping

We love Veronica, but don’t trust her to get the remaining 750 miles to the coast and certainly not home. Hard decisions may have to be made today. She wouldn’t start after we stopped this evening. Today was stressful on many levels. Several kind people checked on us but it’s been a week and we still are waiting on Veronica.

Bozeman hotsprings
All happy before the breakdown.
Lunch in Missoula
Veronica took a 3 hour sabbatical in a cell dead zone.

Day 1: Ringo and the #pooBrownBus have left eastern daylight time.

We did our packing right this time, by interspersing a few minutes of friend time between packing shifts. After I dropped my equipment at 4, we had a fabulous banitsa made by Michael Shore on the porch formerly known as the covid Cafe.

We packed for a few more hours then met with Michael, and Craig, who sent us off with a 12 pack of hop juice for our roadtrip. We stayed up past 1130, but we managed to leave the house this morning by 9 and have officially entered central time @ #60mph in the #PooBrownBus

The morning was beatiful, and honestly it’s still pretty nice. We haven’t hit the heat wave yet, but the first song to play in the bus today was highway to hell (#plaidSeatSweat).

Three and a half days to the Oregon Coast. 100 miles to Illinois.

Chronicle:160880 miles at start
Traffic, but went ahead and knocked out the Hawaii license
It’s a bad day when you wreck into a semi.
Moving again.