Thursday, October 18, 2012

Filling our days in Bend, Oregon

Oct. 10-18, Bend, Oregon

We have reached the last day of our seven-week stay in Bend and it is just in time as the first big rainstorm came through earlier this week. Today is clear and chilly (55 degrees) with lows in the 30s predicted tonight. This campground, Crown Villa RV Resort, stays open year-round and those who are staying the winter, for the bargain price of $399 a month, are busy winterizing their RVs or motorhomes to prepare for the cold weather. This process minimally includes installing a heated water hose, adding a non-toxic antifreeze to the traps, and plugging in a light bulb in the water bay. Vic has promised The Big EZ that it would never spend a winter in the cold, so we are not going through any of these preparations—other than turning off the water and removing the hose each night the temps are predicted to be at or near freezing. We also had to have our 35 gallon propane tank filled for the first time in a year—not bad! We were happy to find propane here for only $1.99 a gallon.  Much better than the $2.79 we paid per gallon last year getting the tank filled at a campground in Bonita Springs, Florida last year.

Other preparations for hitting the road have included some motorhome repairs. Vic is super diligent about meeting service recommendations so we took the motorhome to the local Onan dealer for the recommended fifty hour service on the Onan generator for the cost of about $90. The much bigger expense was the annual Freightliner service we had done in August for the cost of $900.  It does give us peace of mind to stay on top of these things before heading across country. Another major repair we just had done was the replacement of all four HWH leveling jacks.  Since we bought the motorhome 18 months ago, we have had trouble retracting the jacks.  They were very inconsistent about going up, often requiring Vic to wipe them down and spray them with a silicone lubricant each time. When we were at the Tiffin Service Center in Red Bay, we requested that the jacks be repaired, but all they did was use some WD40 on them, run them up and down several times, and say they were good to go. That has not been our experience in the last five months since we were at Red Bay.  Finally Vic pressed the issue with HWH about getting all four jacks replaced. They agreed and sent the jacks to the Beaver Coach Sales and Service Center here in Bend where they did the work with HWH picking up the cost of labor and new parts. Three days after they were replaced, we both noticed the motorhome listing to one side. Apparently, the right rear jack had a leaking O-Ring seal and it retracted.  The result was basement doors that wouldn’t shut properly, a swinging bathroom door, and water running to the back of the sink counter. It’s amazing how much being level contributes to the proper working of so many parts.  We survived the weekend being off kilter (no jokes please) and were able to take it back to Beaver Coach yesterday where they replaced the O-Ring. The mechanic admitted he tried to re-use some of the original O-Rings, so now we are feeling a little leery about how well the other jacks will hold up. Vic checks them daily to see if there is any leakage of fluids from any of the jacks as that was another telltale sign for this problem. So far, so good. 

Today, as I write this blog, we are having the motorhome washed by the pros through a mobile service. This is a first for us. Vic usually does all the cleaning, but with the colder weather he is less inspired to do it himself and it is also getting waxed—another first on our one year adventure.  It will be good for the motorhome to have a thorough cleaning before we go. Just hope we don’t get on any dirt roads on the way.

On the way to where?  Our decision to spend an extra three weeks here in Bend has changed our itinerary to be a fairly direct one across country with our first destination being Nashville.  By destination, I mean a place we are staying for more than an overnight travel stop.  Our major winter destination involves a plan to spend Nov-March in Florida, preceded by a two week exploration of the Smokey Mountains and the North Carolina hills before heading to my brother’s home in Marathon, Florida, in the Keys.

In the meantime, we have managed to find fun ways to fill the days.  Two weekends ago, Vic was offered a ticket to an Oregon State home football game against WSU. With Corvallis only two and a half hours away, and with friends who were happy to have us and the dogs for the weekend, we jumped at the chance. It was a glorious fall weekend in the Willamette Valley with temps in the low 70s and crisp fall nights.  I was also thrilled to travel back over the Cascades to have another chance to see my son Jesse, so that four-day weekend was a great little getaway from our motorhome—something we rarely do. Vic forgot to take photos of the game so I stole this one from the internet. They played BYU last Saturday pushing their record to 5-0, a first since 1939. Go Beavs!

We had also planned to participate in the Bend Film Festival last weekend, but discovered it was rather cost prohibitive for us to fully experience as a festival pass was $125 per person or you could purchase individual tickets for $11.00 on-line. Another fun opportunity presented itself which ended up diverting our attention from taking in a few films. Some folks we met from Corvallis, who now live here, invited us to go to the Elks club for a free dance lesson followed by two hours of dancing. The promise was a great dance floor and cheap drinks.  We took them up on it and had a great evening doing something we love but don’t take the opportunity to do enough—dance together. We learned that the next night was Octoberfest at the Elks and they were having a ten piece swing band with German food all for $10.  Such a deal we couldn’t pass up, so we donned our ballroom dance shoes a second night for another chance to twirl around the floor.  We both had to acknowledge we are sorely out of practice and look forward to getting back into dancing on a more regular basis. Luckily we know there are several ballroom dance places in the Ft. Myers area so our commitment is to take advantage of it this winter when we are there.

Inspiring 93-year-old dancer in white sportcoat

Another kind of dancing has also been an important part of my stay here: going to Zumba classes.  I discovered there were several studios and fitness places here that offer Zumba so I made it my mission the last three weeks to try some out.  I ended up going to the Juniper Swim and Fitness Center here in Bend first, and liked the class “okay” but it was crowded and the music wasn’t my favorite. I then went to a place called Dance Central and liked the class real well except it was only offered in the early evening. The best time for me to get up and move is in the morning. So off I went to a studio called Get a Move On which turned out to be my favorite Zumba studio as the music was invigorating, the instructors enthusiastic and easy to follow, and the dance floor was an amazing sprung wood floor.  Not only that but the first class was free with each different instructor and there were classes in the morning and the evening. I went about five times before I actually had to pay $6 for a drop-in class. This is a form of exercise that doesn’t seem like work to me and I really want to keep it up as we continue our travels.  May have to get a DVD and try it in the motorhome! I know the park we are staying at in Feb and March in Ft. Myers offers Zumba classes so it is becoming a fairly popular exercise option for Florida snowbirds at the RV parks.

Last night we were invited to Eagle Crest Resort, about thirty minutes from here, to have dinner with old friends at their vacation home. Elaine and I were curriculum and assessment specialists in the Corvallis School District central office several years ago and our husbands knew each other from coaching high school athletics in the valley. We spend a lovely evening in their rustic vacation home overlooking the golf course, sharing about our recent adventures and future plans. Elaine was more than a little surprised to hear we are now South Dakota residents, love spending the winter in Florida, and are thinking of joining the Elks!  I couldn’t have predicted anyone of those three myself for my retirement years but having an open mind is a central tenet of this full-timing in a motorhome lifestyle.

We sure are appreciating all the special times we have had with friends new and old in our stay here in Central Oregon.  Even though we are ready to leave in terms of the cold weather soon to drift down across the northern plains, we are leaving with a long list of things yet to do and explore in this special part of Oregon.


  1. We too are leaving a 7 weeks stay in Virginia headed for Florida. Not nearly as far a trip as yours. Love the dancing pictures. Ballroom and Zumba. Safe travels

  2. Don't be in too big of a hurry to get to's still too hot! Hope to meet you when you're here.

    1. Thanks for the tip. We figure it will be at least two more weeks before we are in Florida, maybe more if it's still hot there. That's the luxury of this lifestyle. We are all about following the good weather. We should be able to connect in the Zhills area or in the Keys later in Nov. We'd love to go kayaking with you!

  3. Our Atwood levelers have been very finicky, and eventually resulted in having one of the legs removed in April when it failed to retract regardless of all the options we tried. We've been using the coach without them for the short trips we've taken, but it's a priority fix item for when we get to Red Bay in February.


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