Tag Archives: Cannon Beach

30 million people can do this. Why can’t we?

Millions of people in the U.S. can do this. We did it for two years but can’t now. What’s wrong with us?

The morning of departure, after replacing our expensive heavy-duty batteries (You’d Think We’d Know By Now), the forever amateurs took a full 45 minutes just to hitch up trailer to car. It was to us a complicated, heavy business, nothing like our European experience, but still, how difficult could it be?

We’d wound the trailer down onto and up off the hitch so many times we were puffing and panting, slumped over in exhaustion, arms hanging limply, even too tired to curse – at each other or the universe. The salesman had performed the deed with ease as I wrote down every step. Did I miss something? The socket on the trailer should grasp tightly the hitch on the car. Instead it popped on and off again, like a toddler trying to pick up a basketball with one hand. When on the verge of cancelling the whole rotten trip, the socket, for no explicable reason, grabbed hold of the hitch but by that time and in our shattered state we put the right-angle stabilizing thingies on upside-down.

For our next dilemma, all four trailer wheels locked up every time Jimmy barely touched the car brakes causing the trailer to hop like a coyote jumping on prey and making the stabilizing thingies leap off in a bid to escape our inept handling.

“We can’t drive on the interstate like this.”

“I know.”

“Well what are we going to do?”

“I don’t know.”   Our theme song.

I won’t bore you with the technicalities but eventually we safely exited the storage lot and the journey, just into the next state, was fairly uneventful. The sign for Ft. Stevens, an Oregon State Park, was a welcome relief when we blundered on it.

It took three trips ‘round the campground to overcome disparate opinions on the perfect campsite, but we soon got down to the business of playing with all the gizmos. The central heating has the capacity of a blast furnace and sounds like one too. Operated by a remote control – a remote control for the heating and air-conditioning! – it’s another opportunity for marital power struggles and wildly fluctuating temperatures.

The control for the fridge was a little lower tech – a clip on a wire that slides up and down and falls off if you touch it – but seemed to make the difference between ice cubes or no ice cubes. We could see no reason why it should work. Maybe it was magic.

The on-board battery charger got on about its business without so much as a peep until you asked just a little too much of it, and then it whined – loudly.   Hmmm.   No comment.

And lastly, every few hours and completely unbidden, as is usually the case with these things, the electric water pump farted. It never failed to make us smile during the day but was a most unwelcome interruption to a good night’s sleep. Now I switch it off on the way to bed.

The socket and hitch remained temperamental for months. We still are.

Chilling on the beach after arrival in Oregon. That is NOT our trailer. Do you know what it is?

You’d Think We’d Know By Now

Maiden “voyage” to Oregon – dwarfed between two monsters

After two years of “caravanning” in Europe you’d think we’d have made every mistake, suffered every disaster and be RV experts when taking it up in the U.S. For instance I’d sat on the keys on the sofa and turned all the electrics off  in the caravan. Who knew a little button on the key fob could do that? And who left the keys there anyway? Fuses blew regularly with the injudicious use of a hair dryer. Always my fault. The trailer got away from us once and impaled a neighbor. I was an observer for that one. The smoke alarm was a frequent accompaniment to cooking in the tiny galley. Usually my fault. But there were still more learning experiences to come.

The day of departure for the Oregon coast in our new toy, a travel trailer:

“What’s that noise?”

“I don’t know.”

“Is it coming from our trailer?” The screeching, on a similar pitch to my tinnitus, was difficult to track down, but upon opening the trailer door a din escaped that was so loud that it knocked us both back.

“It’s the gas alarm,” Jimmy said and leapt to check the gas bottles, “but they’re turned off!” Meanwhile the racket filled the confined space in the trailer so fully that all senses were baffled. The noise was exploding out of the door.

There are three alarms on the trailer: gas, smoke and carbon monoxide. The gas alarm is near the floor – gas heavier than air – you knew that. Not convinced the gas alarm could be at fault I hopped into the trailer, got on hands and knees and put my ear next to an innocuous looking plastic box. Now, not only was my head reverberating as though it had been caught between two symbols, I was stuck in the fetal position with my hands over my ears and Jimmy had to come in to haul me up.

As our heads came up level with the battery gauge, some spark of inspiration prompted Jimmy to check the charge and discovered the heavy duty trailer batteries had died. Explain to me how, when the batteries had been draining for the six weeks since we’d abandoned the trailer in storage, the alarm chose that moment to squeal so heartily*. It wasn’t caused by human gas as one post-er claimed!

Jimmy disconnected the dead batteries, which silenced the alarm – again that made no sense* – took the batteries to the battery shop only to be told that they were kaput. Another lesson learned. Disconnect the (two $100) batteries when not using the trailer. Jimmy’s now got tinnitus  to remind him. We’ve also learned that if gas leaks in the trailer, we won’t sleep through the alarm!

I blame the RV dealer – bunch of cowboys – for giving us cheap batteries that weren’t fully charged to start with. After all, why take the blame for something when you can blame someone else.

Favorite saying: “I didn’t say it was your fault. I said I was blaming you.”

*So go on. Tell me.

Cannon Beach. My photo. Proof we made to it to Oregon!