A trip to the coast with Dodie and Donno.

The Gumbos love them some beach! And, coincidentally, they also love them some grandsons. So they decided to combine the two and take Dodie (Calder) and Donno (Garner) to La Push for 3 days. This was in the midst of a major heat wave in the Seattle area and it seemed like a good time to hit the cooler coastal area. Duwayne and Darla Jean loaded up the Dude, picked up the boys and then drove to CampDuncdium to pick up Gumbo (whose roof had just been re-sealed). The drive past Lake Crescent was slow due to construction and the temps were in the high 80’s, but, when the Gumbos arrived at La Push, they were greeted with fog and 65 degree weather.

After setting up the campsite and greeting their buds Beau and Blanche, Duwayne, Darla Jean, Precious, Dodie and Donno hit the beach. Apparently, jumping off logs is this year’s big deal!

  

And so is sitting on logs and contemplating the spin of the earth and the nature of wind and waves.

Climbing on logs was fun for everyone!

Other activities that were enjoyed included beach walks, a hike down to Second Beach, some kite-flying and, of course a beach camp fire.

It was at one of these camp fires that Precious and Yella Dog decided to share the same bed. (We’re not sure how enthusiastic Yella Dog was about this!)

It was also discovered during this trip that Darla Jean and Blanche had matching socks!

All in all, a good time was had by all and the hope is to do another trip with Dodie and Donno in the near future.

  

 

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A Working Trip to CampDuncdium.

The Gumbo’s almost 20 year-old 5th wheel has an apparently almost 20 year-old roof. This roof is a rubber substance that is applied over a plywood substrate. After all those years, this material became mildewed, scratched and repaired with sealant in many places. It was time to do something about it!

Check out the stains and overall ugliness!

Duwayne and Darla Jean decided to re-coat the roof with a “miracle” 2-part rubber coating. Unfortunately, the application of this coating required a relatively clean environment for the duration of the curing time (approximately 3 days). Gumbo’s normal parking space is located under a canopy of large cedar trees which constantly drop needles, branches, etc.

Luckily the Gumbo’s good friends Beau and Blanche had just opened a new RV and dog park called CampDuncdium and this park was located in a large tree-free area (allowing lotsa sun to help the new coating dry). And even more luckily, there was a stretch of weather coming up that was going to be dry with temps in the 80’s. Woo Hoo, time to visit CampDuncdium.

The entrance to CampDuncdium.

Here’s a short review of CampDuncdium RV and Dog Park:

This is a beautiful park located along side Discovery Bay (between Sequim and Port Townsend, WA). There is plenty of room to park a 32′ fifth wheel (as long as you don’t run into one of the gate posts when entering, ahem!). While there is no electricity (generator use is allowed), there IS water and sewage hook-up. This is a dog-friendly park and the grounds are well-fenced to keep fido contained.

While there are a few minor dings (the site COULD be a bit more level and large, off-leash dogs are liable to run around your rig, causing little Shih Tzu’s to bark constantly), there are a couple BIG positives: the staff are incredibly friendly and – a first in any park the Gumbos have stayed at – there is free gin and tonics located at each site!

The first day of the Gumbo’s visit to CampDuncdium was spent prepping the roof for the coating. This meant taping off all areas that might be accidently coated with the rubber sealant. The next day, primer was applied to all areas that would be coated but weren’t rubber (meaning metal fittings and old caulking). Finally, on the 3rd day, Duwayne and Beau spent about 4 hours brushing, squeegeeing and rolling the new coating on.

The new roof!

Just like the literature said, once this coating “kicked”, all brush and roller strokes disappeared and the new coating looked beautiful. No more worries about leaks!

Of course, a celebratory drink in the campsite was required.

The following day, Duwayne, Darla Jean and Precious drove home, leaving Gumbo to cure in the sun for about a week before they were due to return, hitch up and head to La Push with the grandkids. The Gumbos look forward to returning to CampDuncdium in the future!

The park staff introduced the Gumbos to a new drink!

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Three Days on the Oregon Coast

Darla Jean and Duwayne took a short break from their RV repair/upgrade projects to visit Fort Stevens, just South of Astoria, Oregon. The Gumbos don’t usually stay in paid campsites (we’re too damn cheap!) but this one seemed like it might be worth the expense.

Located on the southern edge of the entrance to the Columbia River, this RV campsite is positioned in an absolutely beautiful area of the Pacific Northwest. And the drive from Poulsbo to the campsite was stunning.

The Gumbos were met, once again, by their good friends Beau, Blanche and Yella Dog in their 19′ Escape. Duwayne and Darla Jean had secured an easy pull-thru site and, because school was still in session, the campsite was very quiet. The days were, for the most part, dry and relatively warm so campfires were accomplished each night.

There were numerous cool things to do in the area. First and foremost, was beach access. There were multiple places to walk or drive on the beach and the Gumbos took advantage of that.

The Gumbos were excited to try out their new forward-mounted bike rack and it worked perfectly! An added bonus was the fact that Fort Stevens offers numerous absolutely beautiful bike paths. Beau borrowed Darla Jean’s bike and rode with Duwayne out to the gun emplacements overlooking the Columbia.

And this being late spring, the flora and fauna were stunning!

Darla Jean, Duwayne and Precious also took a walk along the river to watch cargo ships entering from the ocean.

All in all, a GREAT trip. The Gumbos look forward to their next trip to the beach in mid-July.

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Repairs and Upgrades

After spending the winter bouncing down bumpy back roads, the Gumbos needed to spend some time (and money) repairing the damage they did to The Dude and Gumbo. So, the month of April was spent fixing stuff and upgrading items that didn’t work as well as originally planned.

First on the list was replacing the damaged front spoiler on The Dude. This piece of plastic was pretty well destroyed when Duwayne ran over the wooden post (also damaging the steering gear). Not only was the spoiler damaged by the post but, in order to get at the steering gear, Duwayne and Beau had to rip the spoiler off, making it impossible to re-attach. You’d think that this part would be expensive but Duwayne was able to find a new one on eBay for $44 (no tax and free shipping!). After the part arrived, it took about an hour to get it installed. The Dude is happy!

The new spoiler.

The spoiler installed (its the black thing below the license plate).

Next on the list was the propane regulator. The Gumbos had problems with this during the latter part of their winter trip. Sometimes there wasn’t enough propane pressure to run the heater (and when the temps were in the 20’s, this was a serious problem!). And the automatic change-over from one propane tank to another didn’t seem to work. So, this meant ordering a new unit.

The old faulty regulator.

The new unit – installed.

Then there was the faulty fresh water inlet. RVs have the option of pumping fresh water from the onboard water tank or, when parked in a site with fresh water available, hooking a hose up directly from the spigot to the RV’s water system. This second option didn’t work on Gumbo because the built-in check valve (that prevents water from coming out the inlet when using the onboard pump) leaked and couldn’t be replaced without replacing the entire water inlet. So, a new part was ordered and installed.

Where the old inlet was.

The old inlet on top, the new one on the bottom.

The new inlet – installed.

Next on the list was the ladder on the rear of the rig. One of the upright posts was bent when Duwayne managed to catch the seat of his bike (which was hanging on the ladder) on a road sign. It turns out that mounting the bikes on the ladder was a dumb idea – bouncing down rugged roads and going over unannounced speed bumps in Mexico caused the bikes to loosen the ladder fittings.

2 bikes mounted on the ladder.

Duwayne had planned on ordering a replacement section of tubing to repair the ladder but, when he climbed up the ladder to inspect the area, the entire bottom rung of the ladder broke off!

Notice the broken bottom rung of the ladder.

This meant that the ladder could no longer be repaired – it needed to be replaced. Unfortunately, Gumbo is an 18 year-old fifth wheel and the custom ladder (that has the unique bends that you see midway up the ladder) is no longer available. And having a custom one fabricated was not in the budget. So, Duwayne ordered a ladder that could be retro-fitted to any RV (or so the literature stated). This ladder has a hinge at the midpoint, allowing the ladder to fit RVs that have unique shapes.

The new ladder, installed.

Obviously, the Gumbos were NOT going to hang their bikes on THIS ladder! This meant figuring out a new way of carrying the bikes. Usually, you can attach a bike rack to the rear bumper or frame of the fifth wheel. Unfortunately, Gumbo HAS no rear bumper and the frame was not set up well for welding on a fitting for a bike rack.

So, Duwayne ordered a new bike rack and hitch receiver and then had the receiver modified (welded) to allow it to support the bike rack at a height that would clear the sides of the truck. He then attached the whole enchilada on the FRONT of the fifth wheel.

The new bike rack in folded-up mode.

The new bike rack – fully deployed.

This bike rack holds 2 bikes in a very secure fashion and it is BEEFY! Bumpy Mexican roads – the Gumbos are ready for you!

 

 

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The Gumbos are Home!!

After a relatively leisurely 5 hour trip (if you don’t count the CRAZY traffic around Portland, OR), the Gumbos arrived back at their summer home in Poulsbo, exactly 137 days after they left.

During that time Duwayne, Darla Jean and Princess traveled through 5 states (Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada and Arizona) and 1 foreign country (Mexico). They stayed at 32 different campsites – only 9 of which had a fee (and of those 9, only 2 cost more than $20/night). If Duwayne had remembered to check the odometer before leaving, he’d be able to tell you how many miles they traveled but it HAD to have been over 3000 miles.

Highlights of the trip were:

Spending Thanksgiving with the Brownings in Sacramento, visiting with the Zittels in Joshua Tree, boondocking in the Quartzsite area, camping along the Salton Sea, spending a month in San Carlos, Mexico, spending a week attending Spring Training with our grandson in the Phoenix area and camping in some some beautiful campsites with the Duncans on our way home.

You may notice in the photo above how well Gumbo is positioned in the Poulsbo driveway. Duwayne and Darla Jean thought that, after their relatively easy positioning of the 5th wheel the last time they returned from a trip, and after 4 months of maneuvering the rig, that this time would be a cinch. WRONG!!

For some reason, Duwayne couldn’t manage to properly back the rig into position. It didn’t help that the batteries in our walkie talkies died (which meant that there was plenty of Darla Jean arm-waving and yelling to make Duwayne understand how bad he was screwing up. At one point, he managed to get the truck and 5th wheel into a spot where he couldn’t move forward or backward! Somehow, after about an hour of screwing around, the rig was parked.

After a few gin and tonics, Duwayne walked around the driveway and tried to figure out what went wrong and how he could prevent this from happening again. What he finally realized was that the woodshed on one side of the driveway was preventing the truck from pulling forward far enough to change angles when backing. Since the Gumbos don’t plan on being in Poulsbo during the cold winter months (meaning there isn’t a HUGE demand for firewood), he decided to tear down the shed! What he didn’t remember was how WELL he had originally built this thing!

The shed was originally just to the right of the debris pile.

Next on the agenda is a trip to the dump and to the gravel dealer to get a yard of 3/4 minus gravel to finish grading the area where the shed previously existed. This should allow a MUCH bigger turning radius for future back-ins. Duwayne will let you know how this works out.

This brings to a close this season’s blog. There may be a few postings during the summer as the Gumbos take some short trips to nearby coastal campsites, but the constantly updated blog will start again late this November.

Thanks for viewing!!

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Sisters and another “Oh F@%k!”

After a couple days at the Casino just East of Crater Lake, the Gumbos and their traveling companions headed for Sisters, Oregon. Blanche (in the 19′ Escape trailer that was traveling with the Gumbos) found a nifty free campsite called Cold Spring Campground just outside of Sisters, Oregon.

This was a beautiful semi-deserted campground that featured a peaceful setting, easy dog-walking and easy access to the quaint town of Sisters.

But, as usual, the Gumbos found a way to make an easy back-in campsite become a near disaster! The problem was that Duwayne, while attempting to do a really nice parking job, didn’t notice this wooden post that marked the edge of an opposing campsite.

What he managed to do was to hang up the steering gear of the truck on this stoopid post! So, when Duwayne attempted to back the 5th wheel into the campsite, he realized that he could only turn the steering wheel to the left – the wheel would NOT turn the the right! Duwayne realized that he had seriously screwed up the steering gear.  With thoughts of calling a tow truck and an expensive repair bill filling his thoughts, he walked around pulling out what few hairs he has left. After managing to back Gumbo into the campsite with limited steering capabilities, he awaited the arrrival of his friend Beau (who knows a lot more about cars and trucks than HE does). Beau assessed the problem and determined that Duwayne had managed to screw up the steering stabilizer (a part of the steering mechanism that helps to control the steering but is NOT essential). So, Duwayne and Beau decided to detach the stabilizer (by loosening the U-bolts and sawing through the bolts that were frozen) so that the truck could be steered and driven (at least as far as to a mechanic). Duwayne contaced the Les Schwab in Sister and they said that they could probably fix the problem. So, the next day, Duwayne carefully drove the Dude to Les Schwab.

Derek, at Les Schwab, removed the old stabilizer and ordered a new one.

The broken stabilizer.

Amazingly, the next day at noon, the new part arrived and was installed. All for an amazing price of $104. Thank you, Les Schwab!!

Back at the campsite, much was to be enjoyed.

It was really cold (with night time temps dropping to 24˚.

But the Gumbos really enoyed the town of Sisters.

And they were happy to meet up with their old sailing friends, Jim and Alice, who now live in Sisters.

Afer spending a couple days in Sisters, the Gumbos and their traveling buds headed North to Champoeg, Oregon. The state park located here is REALLY nice, with lots of green space and good dog-walking potential.

So, you may be wondering: if Duwayne can’t manage to back his fifth wheel into a campsite, if he can’t keep from having his axles detach, if he can’t keep from dropping the front end of his fifth wheel onto his truck, how did he manage to sail a boat from Seattle to Australia without sinking it. Darla Jean sez: “I sure don’t know!”

If you’d like to find out how they actually DID this, and, if you live in the Northwest, you can find out! Duwayne and Darla Jean will giving a presentation about their two sailing trips (once through the Panama Canal to New Orleans and once from Mexico to the South Pacific and, finally, to Australia) at the Poulsbo Yacht Club on April 18th at 6pm. Come on down and the Gumbos will amaze you with their ability to survive multiple stoopid maneuvers!

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Heading North (and getting colder every day!)

The day after doing the March for Our Lives in Bishop, the Gumbos and their traveling buddies started North on Highway 395. It turns out that this road, as an alternative to I-5 on the other side of the Sierras, is absolutely stunning.

About 3 hours North of Bishop, the Gumbos pulled into Washoe Lake State Park, just outside of Carson City, Nevada. This was a wonderful campsite that was all but deserted (not many people camp in this area when the night time temperatures drop to 29˚).

This campground was really well-maintened and had picnic tables and shelters at each site as well as free hot showers!

After spending a couple days there, the happy campers moved another 3 hours North to a place called Rocky Point East on Eagle Lake, just outside of Susanville, California. This BLM campsite is a little off the beaten track (a 1.5 mile bumpy dirt road must be negotiated in order to get in) but, once the Gumbos arrived they found a stunning campsite that was virtually empty.

This spot had stunning views and an almost geographically-enclosed area where Precious and Yella Dawg could run off-leash without getting into any trouble. While Yella Dawg ran around like a banshee, Precious (being 11 years old) was content to sun herself on a rock!

Two days were spent at this spot and its definitely on the list of places the Gumbos plan to return to.

The next stop was a casino near Klamath Falls, Oregon. The Gumbos and their buddies decided to spend a couple nights at the Kla-Mo-Ya Casino because it had free parking and easy access to Crater Lake.

Of course, parking in the wide-open parking lot was not without the usual Gumbo drama. Duwayne managed to snag the seat of his bicycle (that was mounted on the rear ladder of the fith wheel) on a sign in the parking lot. He managed to bend the ladder and “alter” the sign.

This sign used to be straight and without a steel post jutting out at an angle.

While parked at the casino, the campers took a side trip to Crater Lake. The 36 mile drive started with a flat transit of some meadows and grazing land but quickly started climbing. Soon, The Dude was moving up a road with HUGE snow drifts on each side (it turns out that Crater Lake gets an average of 44 FEET of snow each year!)

After arriving at the rim of Crater Lake, the Gumbos were treated to an absolutely spectacular view!

Next stop: Sisters, Oregon!

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