Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Birthday Trip

It’s not cheap to keep our truck and camper in tip-top shape. When we bought both items we agreed that we would do what needed to be done to make sure they are taken care of and in the best working order when we travel. The last time I had work done on the truck we had the front breaks replaced. During that shop visit, they noted that we needed some work done on the rear pinion area. 

When we returned from our Utah/Redwoods trip I made an appointment to get the needed repair done. As the appointment neared we experienced a huge wobble in the right front wheel area. When we dropped off the truck for the pinion appointment I told them that we had a second problem and asked them to fix it.

The wheel problem turned out to be a bad barring and all the items that wear out on the right front end. The work was completed in time for our trip to Eugene OR. It cost us $3030 but the truck has been running like a champ!

On Thursday afternoon we headed out on a special trip to visit our nephew Kenyon, on his 16th birthday weekend. The driving goal was to make it down to the Columbia River and find a free place to stay for the night and then continue on into Eugene on Friday. 

Everything was going well and so when we hit the Tri-Cities, we pulled off at a station to fill up with diesel. I started filling the rig and Linda went in to use the restroom. With the diesel pump running I thought I would step over the hose and get the window washing stuff to get the squished bugs out of our view. As I stepped over the hose, it clicked off and when this took place the hose jumped. This jump in combination with my lazy bad knees hooked the toe of my shoe and I proceeded to fall straight down to the concrete. I had just enough time to get my hands down in front of me, but not enough time to catch my full fall.  With my hands on the ground, I caught my body, which then whipped my head down on the concrete giving me a lump on my forehead, simultaneously breaking my sunglasses. I quickly scampered up and retreated back to the truck cab.

When Linda arrived back from the restroom, I told her what had happened and she noticed my lump and a bit of blood where my broken sunglasses had poked my face. I was OK, a little shaken and embarrassed, but nothing I couldn’t shake off and continue. I guess that these small accidents might be happening a bit more as I get older, so I promised Linda that I would never again jump over the pump hose like a young service station attendant, “Fill her up mam?”.

The camp spot we found just off the freeway by the Rufus OR exit. There are a bunch of spots along the river on the gravel bar that allows camping. We set up in the middle of a flat rocky area and faced the truck into the upriver wind. I probably don’t have to tell you about how hard the wind blows in this area. The fact that this part of the gorge is the wind board capital of the Universe probably gives that away.

Set up and ready, we faced the wind. Though it blew all night long, we were able to get a good night sleep and woke up eager to continue our journey to visit our family.

The rest of the trip down was very uneventful. We arrived in early afternoon and by 5:00 PM the Sollingers were all home and we were making plans for Kenyon’s birthday weekend.
On Saturday morning Kenyon decided that he wanted to visit the Cascades Raptor Center and look at the many rescued birds of prey. We had a fun visit and learned a lot about the birds that were being cared for and on display. All of the raptors had been rescued and were found to no longer be able to take care of themselves in the wild. My favorite birds were the Owls. They were all so calm and I love their huge eyes. This was our second visit to this center and we have really enjoyed each of the visits.

The birthday weekend continued with a little shopping and a stop at a specialty store to purchase a cheesecake for Kenyon. Everyone brought a small cup of gelato ice cream which we all agreed was fantastic.

Later that evening we played games and celebrated Kenyon’s birthday. The next morning we packed up and said our goodbyes.

We drove out of Eugene and headed northeast through Sisters to Redmond where we visited our good friend Shawna. Once we arrived and got set up Linda and Shawna went over to where Shawna’s horses are stabled. They went for a ride and had a great time.

The next morning we got up and drove on towards home. When we arrived at Rufus the wind was really blowing so we decided to drive on home ending our travels early.

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