Well I meant to get to this posting sooner as it has been almost a month now since we braved the winter highways and drove to Chilliwack to pick up our new Escape 17A.
My wife Mimi , myself, and our 10 year old black lab Abby left Santa Cruz, CA about 5:30AM on Monday December 7th. We had been informed that our Escape would be ready a few days early so we scheduled for a December 9th orientation and pick up. I set the WAZE app for the Motel Six in Springfield OR and off we went. We cleared the Siskiyou summit about 12:30 with modest rain along the way. Lunch was in Medford and we rolled into Springfield around 4:30. We arrived after a huge rain storm hit there earlier that day.
This was my first time using WAZE and I found it useful for updating road conditions and revising the estimated arrival time at our destination. Once in Springfield I used the "find a restaurant near me" button on the TripAdvisor app and that lead us to the Plankhouse Brewery. It was Monday night and the $10 burger and brew special was worthy of its high rating in TripAdvisor.
Tuesday morning, after a clean but no frills night at Motel Six, we headed north again on I5 encountering pounding rain from the Oregon/Washington border through Seattle. We arrived in Bellingham
again around 4:30 for a pleasant overnight stay at the Guesthouse Inn. Anticipating taking possession of our 17A had us fall asleep that night with high expectations and some anxiety with regards to the weather.
Next day we once again set ourt for an hour's drive to Chilliwack with a welcome break in the wet weather. Orientation went smoothly, Reace set us up with a new hitch ball, and before we knew it we were headed back to Sumas to hook up our new Escape. Waiting in line to cross back into the USA we caught a glimpse of our trailer being towed through the commercial lane.
It's about 2PM now and we are hitched and ready to roll.
Now I have towed a lowly tent trailer for many years and I was cautiously optimistic that everything would go well with our 2000 4Runner. And well it did go. We stopped at the grocery in Everson to buy soup, eggnog, and whiskey --- all the essentials. Then on to Bayview State Park where so many of you settled in for your first night. We arrived there about 5:30 and it is almost dark so we did not really get a chance to appreciate our surroundings. The rain returned that night but we were snug for our first night aboard "never better", our Escape 17A.
The next day, Wednesday, we pulled out early with our sights set for Devil's Lake state park in Lincoln OR. WAZE sent us around Seattle on I405 but it was slow going as well with intermittent rain. Again, on I5 south of Seattle all the way to Oregon the rain came down heavy. We passed several flooded out fields and roads as we plowed on through record setting rain. We were fortunate to be traveling south as northbound I5 was closed due to a mudslide north of Portland.
Now I must say at this point --- this is exactly the weather that I assured my wife that we would avoid. We could have waited until after all this rain to come pick up our trailer. But there we were and that trailer pulled steady and solid. Big rigs would pass us by splashing us with mountains of water as we went. I just kept a steady hand on the wheel and our Escape followed like a dream.
The rain subsided as we made it to Salem and turned right for the coast. It was about 4PM when we pulled into Devil's Lake park to find it closed due to flooding. So onward we go. We made it to Newport where we pursued camping signs that lead us to the Port of Newport RV park. There were maybe a half-a-dozen rigs in there as we promptly pulled into a vacant space near the restroom building. The office was closed but a brief conversation with a current tenant provided us with the combination to the bathroom and showers --- nice and clean. That night there was thunder and lightning as more storms came ashore. The next morning was calm enough for a photo.
Once we pushed out of Newport, heavy rain resumed as we headed south again. Fortunately, the further south we got the more the rain subsided. We stopped in Gold Beach, OR for lunch.
Past that point the rain was light all the way to Arcata, CA where we overnighted with a close friend.
The next day, Friday the 11th, we cruised down a very familiar Hwy 101, across the Golden Gate and into our home port in Santa Cruz. While it was a relief to be home, it was also the end of a very exciting and memorable adventure for us.
The epilogue to this journey was a quick trip south to the Big Sur coast on Christmas day. We stayed one night each at Plaskett Creek and Kirk Creek campgrounds. Despite the winter season, there were many people out camping and Kirk Creek filled to capacity. We lucked out with fabulous weather.
So now we are settling in with thoughts of new travels --- Death Valley in March --- New England next Fall. I expect to be soliciting your thoughts about those destinations. I will also be haunting the modification forum soon as we try to optimize the storage. The first project was the relatively easy task of installing shelves. There is so much more to do --- it is all so exciting.
Now to close out this excessively worded post with an acknowledgment of the debt of gratitude that we owe all of you out there on the Escape forum. It is an honor to count ourselves among you. It was through this forum that it became clear that Escape was the right choice to begin with. And then all of the advice and ideas that helped us through the build-sheet decision process. You are indeed an outstanding group of folks and we look forward to meeting each and every one of you as we travel the roads of our great continent.
All the best,
Allan, Mimi & Abby too