Tuesday, October 2, 2007


This is how you know you have what it takes to enjoy full-timing: you spend the night drycamping in the parking lot of Chief's RV service center and think to yourself, "This is GREAT!"

Let's see... when I last wrote, we had moved from Wallowa Lake State Park to Pendleton, Oregon to avoid future snow. We had a beautiful day for driving, and settled into an expansive RV park next to an Indian casino, planning to wait out the weather (which would mean staying for five days or so). Cell phones worked, aircard worked... life was good.

Then Odel opened the refrigerator door and it just about fell off! Luckily, we have a 4-door refrigerator (two for the freezer, two for the refrig). We manipulated the left side door back into its proper position and decided not to open it again. This was Saturday night, and of course nothing is open on Sunday; we figured we could get along until Monday, then go to a repair shop in Pendleton.

On Sunday, it rained. And the wind blew. Then it poured. We drove into Pendleton to look around, but with raw, wintery weather, my attitude was not good. Pendleton is WAY smaller than I had pictured, only around 15,000 people... a small, western town that didn't seem welcoming in the rain (of course, what does?).

First thing Monday morning, we called the RV repair shop we had found in Pendleton. They seemed disinterested, and suggested we travel north to the Tri-Cities (this is what they call Pasco, Kennewick, and Richland, nestled side-by-side on the banks of the Columbia River in southeastern Washington) to a larger repair shop. So, we did.

Once again, a beautiful day for driving (though very windy). We found Chief's RV Center with no problem. While they made calls to find a new door, we drove around the Tri-Cities checking out RV parks and sightseeing - and liked what we saw.

Back at Chief's, we discovered that the door would arrive Tuesday (today); meanwhile, we could spend the night in their large lot (MUCH easier than driving to an RV park, checking in, setting up, closing up again in the morning and driving back here) to await the arrival of the door. Sweet!

Next on the agenda: Odel became concerned about stomach pains he had been experiencing all day, enough so that he wanted medical attention. Hooray for the aircard: we found a nearby urgent care facility and turned our attention from the refrigerator door to Odel. Two hours spent at the clinic (1:45 waiting, 15 minutes talking to the doctor) assured him that he was not in imminent danger. By then it was 6:30 pm; Odel discovered his appetite and we went off in search of dinner.

Here we hit the jackpot, deciding on the Bonefish Grill. This is an upscale chain of fresh fish restaurants that originated in Florida. I felt embarrassed going in to the well appointed dining room wearing rumpled clothes well suited for hiking, including a baseball cap covering hair that had not been washed for a couple of days. Odel look slightly better than I (at least he could take off his cap). To their great credit, none of the staff batted an eye - like everyone else we have encountered in this area, from the RV shop to the RV parks to the clinic, we were warmly welcomed and well tended.

All the concerns of the day melted away in the muted hubbub of the restaurant. We ordered an appetizer and a couple glasses of delicious local wine (this is a prime growing region) and took our time deciding which of the many fresh fish dishes to order. We people-watched, and evesdropped on neighbors' conversations. It was delightful.

Partway through dinner, I thought about the coming night, and laughed out loud when I realized how pleased I was that we could spend the night in the RV lot. Then and there I realized that fulltimers ARE a little bit different... I can only imagine that many of our home bound friends would feel very sorry for us if they saw our current circumstances. To us, it was an excellent combination of convenience, efficient use of our resources, and... FREE! Who could ask for more??

The new refrigerator door will be installed this afternoon, and we will move to the RV park we picked out yesterday, within walking distance of stores and movie theaters. Looking at the weather forecast for Oregon, we plan to stay here until Saturday. When it rains, we can go to movies; there is good walking along both sides of the Columbia River; maybe we will even be able to visit some wineries. Then, head south; winter is on the way!

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