Redwoods and San Francisco

We spent a couple of days enjoying the Redwoods. That allowed Dawn to go on a run through the trees and for us to take what amounted to a 20 mile round trip bike ride on the Avenue of the Giants with three pretty steep climbs on the way back. I would have been happy on my old race bike from college, on these beach cruisers we have it was pretty much a death march. I was VERY happy to see the RV Park come into view because I was dead and I actually thought we had another climb to go. I did survive and Dawn was happy to go on a bike ride.

Next we made a quick stop in Santa Rosa, CA home of the Russian River Brewery. They don’t have a tour but they have our favorite beer, Pliny the Elder! They also have an amazing sampler tray of 22 different beers! Dawn and I split that and Pliny was still our favorite. For our Settle Pliny brethren, Pliny is $4.50 a bottle in CA not the $8.50 I remember paying in Seattle!

We visited with Zander and Gwen in Sausalito and met their beautiful daughter Decima. We’d never been able to stop in Sausalito on the way down in Deep Playa, so a Land Yacht visit was a nice consolation. Now I really wish we’d stopped by, the anchorage along Sausalito would have been very cozy! We spent a day seeing the sites in SF. Coit Tower, Long Now Foundation, Fisherman’s Wharf, Aquatic Park Museum all on foot! It was a good day of walking. We then walked back to SOMA and met up with Brady and Mollie at Brady’s new loft. Absolutely amazing space Brady is well setup!

Next Stop Oakland to see Paul and Erin originally hailing from Seattle, but Paul is now a shipwright in Oakland working on wooden boats. We met at Heinold’s First and Last Chance Saloon home to Jack London and sailors of all kinds. Paul and Erin are doing great and it was good to catch-up with old sailor\drinking buddies.

While in Oakland, I also made a stop at Ham Radio Outlet and got the rest of the gear for the radio in the Land Yacht. I’ll save that for the W7PEA Blog.

The Bay Area was great and we were lucky to meet so many friends, next stop Wine Country.

Back in Charleston, Oregon… Again

Patrick and I have a running joke about Coos Bay, Oregon…It is an old Native American term meaning “come here and fix shit”.   About this time last year, we sailed into Charleston’s port and across the Coos Bay bar with the intent of getting Deep Playa’s leaky fuel tank repaired as soon as possible and quickly return to our trip south to Mexico.  Well things didn’t move along as quickly as we had hoped and we spent a month here….yes, a month.  Don’t get me wrong, we tried to leave, on a few occasions.  One of our attempts to leave resulted in having Deep Playa towed by Boat US across the bar and onto Charleston’s vagrant dock after we boiled our starting battery (big ooooopsey).   So, after almost a year since leaving Charleston, we became nostalgic to return in our Land Yacht on our way to California.  And of course, as to be expected, we experienced a problem with the land yacht and had to stop in Coos Bay to fix a screeching alternator belt.

We decided to pull into Charleston’s Oceanside RV Park, located behind Bastendorff Beach, which is one of my favorite beaches in the world!  This was one of my favorite running destinations last year so coming back here is very exciting for me.  Since Pea and I both own bicycles this year, my new ride is in the pic, I am finally able to show Pea all of the cool places I visited while on my long distance running escapades.   By the way, my running legs are definitely in need of some hours of training on the bike.  The hill up Bastendorff Drive and Coos Head Road did me in and I had to push my bike up the hill.  It was pitiful.

Land Yacht Ocean View RV Park

Land Yacht parked at Oceanside RV Park in Charleston, Oregon

My new ride

My *awesome* new ride.

The beach is so close we can hear the distant eerie whistles and muffled bells of the channel buoys in the bar entrance.  Hearing these sounds brings me back to last year when we were crossing the bar on Deep Playa in pitch dark and fog without our iPad as a cockpit navigational aid.  The bells and whistles seem so much louder and recognizable then they did that night.  I am thoroughly enjoying the contrast in perspective that I am experiencing this year compared to last year.  The status of the sea state, weather, boat projects and storms have all taken a back seat this year and, man… are we waaaaaaay more relaxed.  Smile

We are enjoying the relaxed and quiet RV park today and finishing up some projects on the land yacht.  Tonight we took a long walk on the beach to watch some surfers and doggies playing in the surf.  We are missing surfing something fierce but I don’t have the urge to get into the 52.2 degree Fahrenheit water (I Googled it) and freeze my booty off.

Pea on Bastendorff

Pea walking on Bastendorff Beach

Running Surfer

Surfer running into *not* too much surf…sorry dude.  Note the full head to toe dry suit he is wearing.  COLD!!!

Rocks on Bastendorff Beach (2)

Little inlet.  Look at those beautiful colors and contrasting light and darks.  Love it.

Hardy SUPpers

This dude is not wearing anything but his board shorts!  Hardy people these Pacific Northwesterners…or just crazy.  I am wearing a sweatshirt and sweatpants while on the beach taking this pic.

It is soooo magical here and it makes my heart and soul very happy.   I <3 Oregon Coast beaches.

Shower Repair

I mentioned the shower drain was leaking. Turned out the floor in the shower flexed enough to break the p-trap (no, not a pea trap) under the shower. We replaced the p-trap a few days ago and today I cut the 3/4″ plywood strips to firm up the floor in the shower. They are tensioned pretty good and I put some liquid nails on it as well. I think it will hold forever. No idea why it wasn’t built this way in the first place. :-/

Now the shower floor feels solid and the p-trap should be protected from being damaged again.

Winnebago Shower Repair

For any of you doing this kind of thing, be sure not to block your access to the p-trap or wiring when you put the boards in. Also, its very likely I now have a high spot in the shower, so we may have to sponge up or squeegee up water after our showers which doesn’t run down the drain. Not that a big deal, we never level the rig anyway. pow!

Bike Rack Modification

Our beach cruiser bikes have multiple curving top bars and didn’t fit the bike rack we bought at Harbor Freight. Part of the frame would rub on the metal arms and slowly grind the paint off our sweet rides. $1 pool noodle from WalMart fixed that right up!

Harbor Frieght Bike Rack Mod

Window liner

Reflectix is cheap and awesome. We used it on the boat and its works great. Here we’ve not only made the front windows darker than just the curtain, but also added some heat shielding. Yay for cheap!

LandYacht Reflectix

Available at Home Depot’s in the US, but unfortunately not in Mexico!

First Stop Kent, Washington

We finally made it out of Seattle!! We were recovering all morning from last nights bon voyage party and ran more errands this afternoon, including another stop at Matty’s house to use the shower and drop off a few things.

Thanks to everyone who cam down to Golden Gardens for the send off, it was a great spot and Dawn and I were happy to see everyone! We can’t wait to see you all soon, maybe on the road, maybe in Mexico, or some other exotic location! We miss you all already!

After running errands including get a bike rack and some more tools from Harbor Freight it was almost 8pm so we decided to head to the Seattle\Tacoma KOA Campground 12 miles away in Kent. We just got back from taking a walk through the place, and while the setup is very compact, there are a lot of amenities, including a heated pool, showers, large chess and checker boards, dog park. Its pretty nice. The place is packed too.

Of course no blog entry from me would be complete without a project or two. Two days we used the shower for the first time and immediately after we noticed water dripping out from under the coach. After a little online research and digging around under the shower floor, i figured out the shower pan sags enough with an adult in it that the p-trap bears all the weight. This lead to the p-trap becoming cracked and thus the leaks. We bought a new p-trap and I installed it shortly after we arrived here in Kent. When it dries out under there, I’ll cut two pieces of 3/4″ plywood to add additional bracing.

It feels good to finally be on the road. Road Trip 2012 is underway!!

Finding a Land Yacht

The Requirements

When Dawn and I decided we wanted to do the RV thing for 4 to 5 months, we started thinking about the amenities. We love our boat; it’s very functional with our lifestyle. Dawn goes to bed early and I usually stay up pretty late. In order to make this work we knew we’d need a dedicated bed, separate from the living area of the motorhome so she could sleep and I could read, work on projects, research, play with the HAM Radios, etc. In addition to that we also really wanted a separate shower stall. We don’t have a wet bath on the boat and we prefer this. Given the right motorhome this probably would not have been a deal breaker, but it was a definite preference. That was it for living requirements really. As for the rig itself, we wanted something pretty easy to drive and small enough to get into older parks, so we ruled out anything over 30 feet and we were looking primary around the mid 20 foot range.

We also have a passion for all things vintage, and minimalist. We also believe strongly in community. For us this meant we really wanted a funky vintage RV. We also wanted one with a strong owners group, selfishly for our own help, but also so we could return the favor over the long haul and help others.

The Search

Searching for the RV happened exclusively via using On Craig’s List you can only search on city at a time. Search Tempest let’s you define your search across as many Craig’s List cities as you want. We started searching Oregon and Washington, but as time went on we realized we didn’t need search the entire NW, and Puget Sound was good enough, which still requires Search Tempest to do the search easily.

We spent about a week visiting 1970’s eras Winnebagos. We LOVE these. The boxy style is gorgeous, and some of the layouts of the ~25 foot Braves and Chieftains are really awesome. This was our initial target and we saw some great rigs, but ultimately they all required more work to be ready to do a big trip then we were willing to do. Along the way we also had some great stories.

We called one owner who we knew had a late 70’s brave with the entire interior disassembled and needed to be reinstalled. We talked to him on the phone and he went over this again. We asked him, if the exterior was tight, waterproof, no rot, etc. He said, “Totally.” We went to see it and there was a 1 foot by 6 inch hole in the roof where a vent should have been and rain was pouring into the RV. A lot of people love their RVs and can’t see the warts I guess. ;-)

The Find

After about a week of looking we felt the clock ticking. We gave up on the vintage Winnebagos and expanded our search to ot­her years and body types within our price range. This led us to finding a 1991 25 foot Winnebago Chieftain on a Chevy 6.2L Diesel chassis. We’re attracted to the diesel because we work on them all the time on the boat. The layout is great with an aft double bunk, dedicated shower, and convertible dinette table. This rig lacked the vintage styling we wanted but it has the benefits of having more modern systems and a very roomy layout for its paltry 25 foot length.

Right now she’s at the mechanic and we’re expecting that to finish up any day now. I’ll explain all that in a future post.

Deep Playa Land Yacht Division

Hey all, if you want to know more about the motorhome, the great US roadtrip of 2012 or any of that kind of stuff, I setup a separate blog for that.

All of the posts will some day get posted to the Deep Playa Facebook page and sent out as tweets @DeepPlaya.

Also, a reminder I have another blog for my HAM Radio stuff: if you’re into that sort of thing.

So for now, this will be last of the Land Yacht talk on this blog.

Land Yacht

When we left La Cruz de Huanacaxtle and headed to Seattle, our plan was simple: Get a cheap RV and tour America by land. Route TBD. We had hoped we could find something vintage and cool looking which we might want to keep and then renovate in the future, but the quality of those rigs was so poor and we didn’t want to do a renovation up-front. That lead us to expand our search to the ”less-cool”, but more modern rigs. In the end we found a 1991 Winnebago Chieftain 25RC with a diesel engine. We were drawn to the diesel since we are more familiar with the care of a diesel from owning sv Deep Playa. The layout has a dedicated bunk, stand-up shower and a dedicated dinette\sitting area. These match with the way we live on the boat and that works pretty well.

Right now the RV is getting some brake works, tune-up, fluids changed, etc. We’ll hopefully be able to pick her up on Monday, give a deep cleaning and start moving in.

More adventures to come !!