We have a new state to add to our travels. So far we have stayed in nine different states. I can’t say we have covered nine states, but we have stayed multiple nights in every state on the list. Washington is going to be a treat but the first stop was for maintenance. Mount Saint Helens is just north of Vancouver Washington.
Roadmaster fixed our tow bar (the device that connects the car to the RV) while we were in Coos Bay at the FMCA rally. Here is a link to the story about the rally and our trip along the Oregon coast. Coos Bay
When we were at the rally, the technicians at Roadmaster were not able to troubleshoot and fix the electrical connection between our car and RV because they were busy repairing and installing tow bars on multiple RVs. The FMCA rally is a very good place to purchase a Roadmaster product with a discount. Fixing my electrical problem was a little outside their scope of work at the rally but not at their factory and install shop in Vancouver.
We picked a Roadmaster tow bar because our car had a Roadmaster base plate, not that we knew anything more than that. All we knew was that Roadmaster had a good reputation supplying RV equipment that really helps make the RV life possible. It didn’t seem like a good idea to switch manufactures between the car and the RV. I was really happy at the rally when they fixed my tow bar without a labor charge. All I had to do was pay for the new parts.
I didn’t expect free troubleshooting when I went to the shop, but I was wrong. The troubleshooting was free, all I paid for was the repair.
Occasionally, when we went longer distances, our car battery would die while we were towing it. This didn’t usually happen but a car that won’t start makes taking the car off the RV very hard. I had traced the wires on the car and couldn’t find any problems. All the electrical connections were solid. We purchased our Acura already set up with a Roadmaster baseplate and a wiring harness that would transfer power from the RV to the car that was supposed to keep the battery charged while we were driving. Really this isn’t much, we needed this power to run the braking system on the car.
The braking system on the car is a plastic box that sits between the seat and the brake pedal and has an air pump that pushes the brake pedal whenever the braking system senses a deceleration as the RV slows down when you are applying the brakes. This works well for us because we don’t have a diesel RV that typically uses the engine backpressure more than it uses the wheel brakes to slow down.
So we visited the factory, so they could look at our car, and hopefully fix it so that it wouldn’t kill the battery when we towed it.
The car was fine
Until our visit to Roadmaster, I was convinced that the problem was in the car. All my troubleshooting said everything in the car was fine but I just couldn’t believe it. In fact, it wasn’t the car that was the problem, but rather the RV that was not sending the power to the car.
Since both the RV and the car were in the service area, the testing and fix were easy and inexpensive. The previous owner had made a change to the RV wiring that enabled him to tow a boat long distances and because there was a difference in the wires between the boat trailer and the RV he didn’t need the charging source from RV to the boat. Thus he cut the charging line. When he reassembled it to sell the RV, he didn’t re-attach the wire.
Josh, the technician at Roadmaster, using only a test light, first pronounced the car fine and the RV broken in less than a minute. In about fifteen minutes the RV was repaired and because he didn’t like the look of the plug on the car he also replaced it with a new receptacle.
It was still the middle of the afternoon and we could have found a place to stay but Jason told us just to stay where we were. We planned to spend the night, just in case the fix took longer than anticipated. He even ran an electrical cord out to the RV, so not only did we stay, and get fixed, we got free electricity (air conditioning) and were comfortable all night. The scenery wasn’t the most attractive but it is so nice to get fixed and pampered.
After the repair and paying the bill (a very low bill indeed) I called and met with David Robinson who is one of Roadmasters Vice Presidents just to say how happy I was with the service and to make sure to point out that I thought Jason was a very good asset to the company.
Roadmaster really came through for us both at Coos Bay and also in Vancouver. Here is a link to Roadmaster’s website. Roadmaster
After that, we went to a not so great place called Big Fir Campground. Overall it was fine, but there were too many RVers that did not travel. (Homesteaders is my name for them.)
So far we have identified three different kinds of Rvers: Travelers, Vacationers, and Homesteaders. We are travelers, going from place to place. Vacationers should be self-explanatory. Homesteading is a term that I use for living in an RV without traveling. (I don’t want this to imply that I think that the lifestyle is derogatory or unacceptable, in fact, I’m glad there is such an option.) I also don’t want to say that seasonal migrators (longer stay, seasonal travelers, also a term that I just made up), for the winter especially, is somehow less appealing than what we are doing. Perhaps someday I may transition from traveler to a seasonal migrator, roosting in one spot, for longer, rather than traveling every few days. Time will see. My wheels and tires are part of my overall heating and air conditioning plan.
At Big Fir, there were lots of Homesteaders. Lots of sites were overgrown with collections of things that would not travel well. It is also easy to identify vacationers because they pull in and get out all kinds of stuff, but the stuff is different — when you don’t go anywhere. It is kind of a joke among travelers – we pull in and only get stuff out that we know we are going to use. No reason to pull it out, only to put it away again, just to let it sit. If we get it out, it is because we are going to use it. The only exception is the barbeque; it comes out, just in case, almost every stop.
Harry Gardner Park
After two days at Big Fir, we pushed further north and we are at an empty campground on the doorstep to Mount Saint Helens. Harry Gardner Park was destroyed by the eruption and is just re-opened. Lots of people have memories seeing the explosion on the news. Other people remember the ash cloud that rained down over vast areas of the west. I went to Mount Saint Helens, right after the roads opened, and what I remember was miles and miles of mature trees that were blown down by the eruption. The devastation at Harry Gardner was the explosion, that caused the flooding, which buried the park. The flooding associated with a volcano was off my radar. Vast quantities of ash-filled muddy water filled with trees blasted down the river and devastated the park and it took a long time to dig out.
If you haven’t visited Mount Saint Helens, it tops my recommended list. It was quite moving to see the destruction and re-growth. Mount Saint Helens may be better now than it ever was in the past (the roads are great). It seems like all the downed timber that I remember, was recovered and replanted. The forest growth is amazing. Some of the trees looked like they were cut and pasted on the sides of mountains almost like clones. The volcano erased Spirit Lake but created new lakes. It was a wonderful visit.
Here is a link to the google map for the area.
Link to our route Coos Bay to Jim Creek
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