Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The shake down

Sunset in The San Juan Islands

Well, we did it. We've hit the open road. We said our tearful goodbyes once again to loved ones and began the journey. I wish I could say it was as easy as turning on the cruse control and enjoying the scenery, but that's not how the story goes. It's been test after test and amazingly we still have a sense of humor about it. Let's start from the beginning.

The boat is complete and in the water. She (and Jay) passed the big test and she's floating!!! It looks absolutely amazing. What a relief to be finished and have it turn out so good.

Then our adventure began. Or so we thought.......

We pulled out of Anacortes, Wa late in the afternoon. With a quick stop scheduled in Mt Vernon, we'd be on the road soon. HA!!!

We had battery charging issues while in Anacortes. We bought a brand new battery and thought the problem was fixed. 20 miles out we were losing charge and fast! We pulled into an auto parts store, tested the alternator and was told it was bad. We decided to purchase a new one and fix it ourselves in the parking lot. As the kids and I took a walk, Jason got to work. I couldn't believe he was almost finished by the time we got back. 2 hours later we were back on the road.
20 miles later.....we were losing charge yet again. Humph.....

Luckily, we knew some good friends of the family lived right down the road. We played it smart, made a call and asked for a place to "park and charge" for the night. Tom and Crete live on some amazing property and have been extremely generous to us. During our stay in WA they have treated us to an amazing dinner, delicious wine (they own a winery), helped on the boat and helped Jay figure out the problem. The culprit....the alternator belt. GO FIGURE. Jason now changed the belt and the spark plugs while he was at it and once again...hit the road.

You ready for this......yes, 20 miles down the road......the wind blew the lids of the containers that were on top of the roof right off. Pull over, take them down, shove them in the RV and hit the road again.
40 miles down the road, wind still blowing, crossing the floating bridge outside of Seattle with white caps on either side, through the tunnel and......

The hood flew open while driving down the Interstate. At that point it was nothing but laughter and curiosity as to what was next.

We were treated that night to a perfect camp spot along the Columbia River Gorge in Wa.

We pulled in with enough sunlight to take the kids "real" rock climbing for the first time.

Now if you don't live on the coast but are curious as to what hurricane strengh winds feel like, take a trip here. I was ready to pull out my wings.

We woke up the next morning and actually made it across 2 state lines, the panhandle of Idaho and into Montana. We spent the night in the mountains of western Montana and got up the next morning headed to Missoula. A quick stop to make breakfast had Kaleb asking "Dad, what is that green stuff pouring out of the engine?" Good question kid! So that's why the heater wasn't blowing air. We did what we could, stopped every 20 miles or so to add water and made it to Missoula. We spent yesterday on a wild goose chase looking for a auto store, finally found the part we needed, fixed it in the parking lot again and enjoyed a late afternoon play stop at a local park. Decided that a KOA was in order to do laundry and spent the night. Let it be known that KOA's have FREE, HOT showers. HOORAY!!! (I spent all my quarters on laundry though.)
So Jay went under the rig to check things out, found a lot of holes in the exhaust pipe and when I went out to see what was up he was down there welding them shut. Fun times let me tell you.
So it's been one test after another, but we're not giving up. We're learning along the way. We're going to stay in Missoula until at least Friday and check out the local and nearby scenes.
Then it's time to hit the road. Old man winter isn't far away. I can see the snow up on the mountain tops from here and the kids pulled out the hat and mittens this morning.
Lessons have been learned, patience have been tested, but we're all still smiles and enjoying our time.


Chris Stringer said...

Great blog post guys. Loving your stories and glad to hear you are able to fix the rig as you go. I'm jealous you get to take such a fun adventure when the rest of us are slogging away 9-5. Enjoy!

PS - The boat looks like it came out great.

Vann & Christy said...

Hi Kids
We are loving the boat, still getting lots of kudos for the great job you did refinishing our pride and joy. Love your pics and blogs, Kara. What great sights you are seeing. The kids look like they are having a blast.
Hugs and Kisses