Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Four friends at SahalieEugene has a lot to offer fulltime RV’ers on the west coast when it comes to maintenance and repairs, and we seem to end up here frequently when traveling in the pacific northwest.  This year, we planned to visit Cummins Northwest in Coburg (around 5 miles from Armitage County Park, where we stay when visiting Eugene for more than 3 days, or in hot weather) for our 115,000 mile maintenance, one of the big (expensive) ones. 

We arrived on Wednesday; on Thursday, we were up, packed up and moving at 7:30 for the short drive to Cummins.  The good news: the maintenance cost less than anticipated.  The bad news: we have a cracked manifold.  We scheduled the repair (a full day) for Wednesday.

Back at Armitage, time to formulate Plan B.  We had intended to leave on Monday morning, visit Carrier & Sons – an excellent RV repair facility we have visited several times – for a minor repair to our awning, then head northwest, destination unknown.  Instead, we extended our stay at Armitage County Park by two more days, to accommodate the scheduled manifold repair.

Sahalie FallsYesterday (Monday), we packed up and headed over to Carrier & Sons at 9 am.  We were back in place and set up at Armitage by 11:30 or so, with the awning working perfectly once again.  Today is another “day off” from attending to Scoopy; tomorrow, we’ll be heading back to Cummins at 7:30 am.

In between maintenance, repairs and stocking the pantry and freezer, we’ve had great fun with our friends who also happen to be here at Armitage… ALL of us working on maintenance and repairs, by the way!  Paul (Wheeling It) is trying to get a slide fixed (meanwhile, he helped Odel fix a little problem with our water heater); Alex and Ellen are working with Cummins on maintenance and repairs.  It is quite interesting to see how many big motorhomes here at the park leave in the morning and return in the afternoon – looks like it is a favored spot for many of us visiting Cummins, Monaco, or one of the many, many shops nearby dedicated to RV’ers needs.

Thunderous watersOn Sunday, Alex and Ellen invited us along on a ride into the mountains.  Alex is an experienced kayaker and wanted to go campground hunting along the McKenzie River, looking for campsites with river access.  A waterfall hike was part of the plan, too – so they didn’t have to ask us twice!

The 2.6 mile loop trail we hiked started at roaring Sahalie Falls (photo above).  Being a beautiful, sunny, Sunday afternoon, the parking lot was crowded when we arrived at noon – I think we got the last space.  As usual, crowds thinned as we hiked away from the parking lot and overlooks.

We all were amazed by the volume of water rushing over the falls, through the canyon next to the trail, and over Koosah Falls (this photo).  It’s the end of August, after all, a time when many waterfalls in the U.S. are either dry or down to a minimal trickle.  Later, when I Googled Sahalie Falls looking for information about the flow volume, I found this interesting bit of information:

Bubble pool with AlexEven though the McKenzie River originates in Clear Lake, just a few miles upstream, the river sustains a very significant volume all year long thanks to the large drainage area to the northeast which consists largely of plains of lava flows. Water doesn't linger on the surface and seeps underground, forming one of the larger aquifers in Oregon, then it all emerges in springs around Clear Lake. The result is one of the most consistent rivers in the northwest.”  (Northwest Waterfall survey)

…AND, I discovered that a handful of kayakers have braved the plunge over the 68 foot high waterfall!  What a crazy bunch!

Both of the falls (Sahalie and Koosah) were spectacular, and we spent plenty of time admiring them from both sides of the river – but some of the quieter portions of the hike were equally enchanting.  This blue pool was exquisite, and something I hadn’t seen before (click on the photo for a larger view).  The bluish-white water in this photo is effervescent – churning bubbles of water funneled into a narrow chasm, roiling to the surface (that’s Alex on the bank, getting a close-up photo).

We hiked in cool, dense forest, usually within sight of the river, always within earshot. 

Right: a cascade between the falls.

Below right: crossing a huge fallen log on a stile.

Below left: Our first river crossing was on a two-lane bridge suitable for car traffic.  Crossing back, this bridge, a downed log, was suitable only for single-lane human traffic!
A Cascade
Laurie on Bridge The log stile

Now, as I write, Odel and Alex are on the golf course once again.  I’ve got a list of things to accomplish while Odel is out of the house, and the laundry is underway (I LOVE our on-board washer and dryer).  Later, friends.


  1. Maintenance is not fun but necessary. Reading blogs has helped me face this unpleasant reality to come.

  2. The water in that picture looks so crystal clear and clean. Beautiful to see such wonderful water flowing.

  3. Merikay, I think maintenance and "renewal" (new tires, replacement of aging furniture, etc.) is one of the most under-anticipated costs among fulltimers... along with the costs of unanticipated repairs (like our cracked manifold). Definitely needs to be a well-funded budget item!

  4. I'm always relieved when an unexpected problem shows up while I'm at a reputable repair facility. It's those breakdowns in the middle of nowhere that really make me nervous.

    Thank goodness that's only happened to me a few times in my five plus years.

  5. What a beautiful hike Laurie. Sorry to hear about the mainifold. But glad you were at a reputable repair shop when you discovered it. Were there no signs of it? Of course I don't even know what a manifold is so I wouldn't recognize a sign if it were posted directly io front of me.

  6. Your photos are fabulous and I love the falls and the rapids..It seems apparent that Odel is back walking with no problem...Good for him!!

  7. Sherry, we didn't know anything was wrong with the engine. A cracked manifold causes a loss of power (we hadn't noticed that, much), possibly worse gas mileage (we have seen a very slight decrease this year), and allows exhaust to exit via the crack (I think) instead of the exhaust systems, and possibily enter the rig while we travel (I have noticed a smell of exhaust in the back of the motorhome occasionally). We did't notice anything really significant that we would consider a sign!

    Going in for maintenance is kinda' like going to your doctor for an annual physical - you are almost always gonna' learn of some new problem, especially as you (or your rig) age! Just part of the lifestyle.

  8. Beautiful pictures -- I hope to visit some of the waterfalls you have shared in your blog in my future visits to Oregon.

  9. Maintenance is just something we all have to do to keep us rolling... thank goodness they found the cracked manifold. Photos were awesome I loved them!!!
    Have fun & Travel safe

  10. you all may be busy doing repairs but there seems to be some time for fun!!..the waterfalls and the hike looked like a great way to spend the afternoon!!!

  11. What a beautiful river and amazing hike!

    Hope your repairs go well. Good Luck, I look forward to reading about them.

  12. great pictures..and your correct maintenance and renewal are the most unexpected costs for sure..but its all part and parcel of the plan right? My fav repairs or replacements are those that Rick can perform himself...so thankful that hes a handy guy...
    stay safe

  13. Now that is a trail we would have loved to take a few years back! Your pictures were delightful, and I have to comment specifically about the "blue pool" picture. The sharpness of detail in that photo was exquisite! Full depth of field, the nearby tree branches were in full detail, yet you could easily see the bubbles far below. Yay for you!

  14. Mo and I found these waterfalls thanks to your Facebook post, Laurie! Thanks for showing us what was on the west side of the river since we didn't have time to go there yesterday and only hiked the east side! Echoing others thoughts: what better place to discover unanticipated repairs than at a good repair shop that you trust.

  15. Oww!!!! I don't know what a manifold is, but it sound expensive! Love those falls - have seen them many time.