Trouble comes in three - so NOW I'm done!

Went out one morning in Osoyoos to swap propane tanks . . . 

The second tank shut off valve was stuck . . . really, really stuck.  And then it broke off.  I knew I shouldn't have gotten one of those swappable tanks when my last backup tank failed - but I was in a hurry, blah, blah, blah.

But I thought - no problem; I'll just return it  when I return home.  It's a swappable tank after all.

My morning coffee was a little delayed by a side trip into town to fill my good tank - about twice as expensive as in the U.S. but, hey, these things happen.

What's wrong with this tank?

Swapping the swappable tank

I took my faulty AmeriGas propane tank back to the gas station where I purchased it (Parkrose Shell, 9920 NE Sandy, Portland, or) assuming that I could just swap it for a good tank.

Now, I suppose I was being naive.  After all, when I first got this tank home, I discovered that, although I had paid for a full tank, it was, in fact, only about half full!  Well, I was in a hurry to get started on my trip, so I just let that go.

When I presented my problem to the woman at the counter, she had two problems; 
1) apparently the only key to the 'tank cage' had walked off with an employee at home (hmmmm. . . no spare key??)
2) she couldn't exchange the tank without the original receipt!  Seriously?  OK, show of hands - how long do you keep receipts for propane fills????  What exactly do they mean by exchangeable?

But, she thought if I came back, the manager might be able to help me.

So, I came back (how could they NOT make this right? ) a few days later.
And I was told a second time, and not too politely, that they wouldn't exchange these supposedly exchangeable tanks without the receipt.

They never apologized for the inconvenience, they never suggested an alternative ( like maybe contacting the AmeriGas people directly) and they will never get any of my business again.  Ever.

If this an example of the customer service for distributors of AmeriGas, I'm surprised they're still in business!

New propane tank

So, I did what I should have done in the first place.  I bought a new propane tank (pre-purged - now that's a plus!) from Home Depot and had it filled at a Valero Gas Station - quickly and politely!

A teachable moment

This incident really ticked me off!  So, I figured it's a good opportunity to practice 'letting go'.  The problem has been resolved ( it's only money, it's only money . . . ), I registered a complaint with AmeriGas and the gas station.  Now, I'll practice letting go of the anger.  I'm going for a walk!

Miniature horses; half the size, twice the fun!

On my way home, I stopped to visit friends and meet their menagerie of animals.

2 horses, 3 goats, 3 dogs, and I'm not sure how many cats (4?).  One of the goats, a lady of a certain age, has survived TWO bear attacks!

Lexi - the super goat!

Ajax - not sure he wants to go to work

Ajax and Jen - driving with the hyper-bike!

Barb and Misha

Another great Escape trailer rally!

Over 100 trailers at the rally!

So many trailers; so little time!  I visited with old friends, met some new ones, and got some great ideas for little mods and cool camping gear.

A few of the over 200 attendees enjoying the potluck dinner

I admit to being a real sucker for a good label and slogan - couldn't resist "nothing goes down easier than a cold, Dead Frog."

Their advertising did not lie; this beer goes down all to easily!

I missed the cactus blooming in Arizona (March) but caught them here in Osoyoos!

I remember being so disappointed that I had to head back home just as the desert was starting to bloom.  But here in the desert micro-climate of Osoyoos, the cacti is in full bloom - SCORE!

Kitty Corner

Fay Wray has been enjoying walking around the campsite on her harness - even though there are dogs all around.  She sat with me under the awning for quite awhile this afternoon and again this evening.  She loves being out at night so I take her out for a bit in the evening ( I'm more worried about her at night so we have to negotiate this).

FW enjoying the sun - and, hey!  Look at that brand new trailer tire!

Travel mishaps aside, I finally arrived at the Escape Rally!

The reason they call them checklists is that you should probably check them . . . BEFORE you're a hundred miles away :-[ 

I spent a lovely, but extremely (weather advisory/warning) windy couple of days near Maryhill museum and winery.  I was excited to start north on Wednesday and get to the rally a day early.  I got all hooked up, cat in the car, and pulled maybe two feet out of my campsite when I had the random thought, "I'll need my passport for the border crossing".  Followed quickly by the realization that my passport was still locked up at home,  followed by some very bad language that caused the cat to take refuge in the back seat!  

Back up, put the cat back in the trailer (get her water, open windows, etc), unhook the trailer, drive 100 miles back to Portland, get the passport, and then drive the same 100 miles back to my trailer.  Then have a cold adult beverage (or two).  What a senior moment!  About the only good thing that came out of that was I dropped off the wine I bought at Maryhill, so I didn't have to pay duty on it going into Canada.

Until today, I still had my original tires on the trailer (after almost 9 years!). 

I was doing my usual walk-around before leaving my campsite this morning and noticed the tread coming off one trailer tire.  It looked like a chunk of a hacksaw blade poking out of the tire.  My mind raced around like a panicked chicken for a second until I remembered that I do have a spare.  Found the closest Les Schwab and carefully drove over - luckily, they had the right size tires in stock and set me up with two brand spanking new tires (might as well be proactive- both tires were old).  They were really speedy in (taking my money ;-)  ) getting me on the road again - like a half hour!

Finally, at the rally!

What could be better than three days at N'Kmip Resort (on lake Osoyoos) in the middle of wine country, with a whole bunch of like-minded trailer folk.  Ahhhh . . . time for a glass of wine!

On the road again

You know it's Rose Festival in Portland when . . . 

Your morning coffee is interrupted by the local High School marching band practicing up and down the street in front of your house!

Time to get out of Dodge!
Now, the Rose festival can be fun - there's the Starlight parade and run, the Rose Parade, the amusement center and much more.  I especially like going to see the last minute touches put on the many floats the day before the parade.

But, there also the folks lining up along the parade route days before the parade, chalking out their spaces and setting up lawn chairs.  Then there are the delays as the bridges go up to allow big ships into the river (Hey, Sailor, it's Fleet week).  All in all, a good time to leave town!

Day 1-2: Free camping just below the John day Dam.

Large open area for camping(7 days allowed at no cost) between the interstate (84) and the Columbia River. The traffic noise and train noise is not too bad - I hear the waves on the river more.
When I arrive, I find that the area is under a high wind advisory, so I'm glad I've planned to spend a day touring Maryhill Museum and winery.

The museum was built and largely filled by Sam Hill at the turn of the century.  He was really a large-than-life character!  I remember my Dad saying things like "where the Sam Hill did I put that?".  An early advocate of automobile travel, Sam Hill was an aggressive lobbyist for the building of roads and is largely responsible for several of our scenic highways in the PNW.  He was friends with Queen Marie of Romania, who traveled to Maryhill in 1926 to dedicate the museum.  The museum has an interesting collection including a room of pieces by Rodin!  It also has a spectacular view of the Columbia gorge with an impressive view of Mt. Hood off to the west.

The winery is award winning, making over 40 different wines from their own vineyards as well as from grapes sourced throughout Washington state.  Bonus: your museum admission gets you a free tasting at the winery.  I didn't leave empty-handed.

Event amphitheater at the winery

Historic Celilo Falls

While the Celilo Falls used by native people for thousands of years were flooded by the dams along the Columbia, there are still fishing platforms along the banks in this area.  The John Day Recreational area (where I am), is part of a treaty fishing access area.  I spoke to some fishermen who pulled out 30 salmon a couple weeks ago right in front of my campsite.

John Day Dam

A guy fishing

More fishing platforms

Still very windy - ideal for kite surfing

I came back from the museum and winery to find the campground full of kite surfers!  It looks like a lot of fun (also incredibly difficult!).  I only got a couple of pictures as this guy was taking off - at one point, there were 6 or 7 out on the river.  Occasionally, they'd all have to hug the shoreline as a tug would go by pushing a big barge - the Columbia is a busy commercial waterway.

I've seen a couple other Escapes - talked to a couple at a rest stop yesterday who are also making their way North to Osoyoos for the Escape rally.  In always surprised at what a small world it is.

Life at Home - my summer ride!

Scooters are so much fun!

After a rainy winter in the garage hooked up to the battery trickle charger, I've rolled out the scooter.  After a bath and a little air in the tires, I'm off.  Running errands on the scooter is much faster, I can park this little baby almost anywhere.  I have a Kymco People 150 - an extremely reliable and quiet little scoot.  I bought it for commuting to work and it paid for itself several times over in the last few years of my working life.

The scooter and a glimpse into my garden

Oregon Strawberries are available!

There is nothing like the taste of fresh, organic farm-stand Oregon strawberries!  

They smell as good as they taste!