Sunday, June 14, 2009


RV Trip - The return home

We left the home of our friends in Manson, WA on Sunday, May 17th. I got the VW Bug loaded onto the tow dolly fine and we headed out, after lunch, for one of my favorite small towns to visit, Winthrop. Winthrop has adopted an Old West kind of look, with wooden boardwalk sidewalks, etc. There are even a few hitching posts in front of some of the stores plus a snack place where you can sit on saddles to eat your ice cream cone or mocha.

Anyway, we got to the KOA park in town with no problems from the dolly and were able to get a pull through site so didn't have to take the car off. The park gave us a shuttle ride on into the downtown area and the Duck Brand Hotel & Cantina where we like to eat dinner. We did walk through town but it was late enough in the day that most shops were closed, then the shuttle picked us up and took us back to the RV. There are no TV connections at this KOA so we just read and listened to music until bedtime.

Monday morning we had breakfast in the rig, then got ready to leave. Our trip that day was only about 140 miles but across the North Cascades Highway (WA State Route 20) which crosses two mountain passes in the rugged North Cascade Mountains. Washington Pass is over 5400' elevation and the peaks around it rise well above that. The State does not try to keep this roadway open through the winter but they do try to reopen it by May 1st. This year they made their deadline although there was over 60 feet of snow that had to be removed from the roadway in places. This time of the year you will still see a lot of snow alongside the road.

I stopped about three miles before we reached the first pass, Washington Pass, to take some photos of the mountains. It was a gloriously beautiful day, with sunshine and really quite warm for that high in the mountains. I parked alongside the road in a wide spot that had been cleared and here are the photo results:

N Cascade Mtns 01
This first view is looking ahead on up the road toward the summit. The mountain peak shown ahead is one of the most famous in this area, called Liberty Bell Mountain. The Cascade Mountain range divides Eastern Washington from Western Washington. It is a curtain that stops much of the ocean moisture (read that as "rain") that we are famous for in Western Washington from going to the Eastern side of the state, so there is actual desert over there. We locals tend to think of it as the wet and dry side. These mountains are also geologically pretty new so the peaks are rugged, coming to sharp points as opposed to most mountains in the eastern part of the country where those sharp points have been rounded over eons by wind and rain. The roadway is still below the tree line but the higher part of the peaks are above that line, so there are no trees up there. The elevation of Liberty Bell is listed as 7720' and it is a popular peak to climb, with easy to hard routes.

N Cascade Mtns 02
This view is off to the left of the roadway and just shows a few more of the mountain peaks that were around us. The trees are all evergreens, mostly spruce or fir. On the wet side there are a lot of cedar trees while the east side, down lower, has a lot of pine. But, they are all evergreens with needles rather than leaves.

N Cascade Mtns 03
This view is just to the left of the previous one and looking a bit back toward Winthrop. You can see how close the road is to the slope where it drops off into the valley. I think it would be quite a challenge to safely plow snow from this road when the snow depth is measured in feet and you can not see the edge from the snow plows. These people do a great job at what they do!

Anyway, while here I walked back to check on the car on the dolly. Good thing. I found the strap on the right front wheel had pulled completely off the tire. The only thing holding that side of the car to the dolly was the emergency chain! We tried to remove the strap to start over but I had a hard time getting the ratchet to release so I could loosen the strap. I finally got it loose, then it would not return to position to tighten it. We fought it about 15 minutes, then finally decided we had to take the car off the dolly and have Pat drive it home, following the RV. She did that- about 104 miles. Other than this, we arrived home shortly after 15:00 with no other problems.

I've looked over the problem with the dolly with Pat's son-in-law and we think the biggest problem is that the dolly doesn't fit the VW. The tie down connections are off to the side rather than centered on the wheels, so the straps are pulled off to the side, where they eventually fall off with the vibrations from pulling it over the roadway. We plan to rebuild it to actually fit it to that car, since that's the one we will tow. We will also replace the ratchets that came with it as they seem to be fairly lightly made. J owns an auto repair business and used to have a tow business so he is pretty familiar with this kind of thing. I know a lot of people tow various vehicles this way and it seems to work fine, so I guess we just have to fine tune our rig. It sure was easier to flat tow the Saturn!

Addition: Wow, I just noticed my hit counter for this blog shows that I've had over 50,000 visits since I put that counter on when the blog was 3 or 4 months old. Thank you all for your visits!

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It's already in the mid to upper 90's here, so that snow looks refreshing right about now. Beautiful scenery, Dick.

Good thing you checked that tow dolly! The Good Lord was watching over y'all on that trip, for sure.

Have a great new week! :o)

Love and hugs,

Your photos are always such a treat, and I truly enjoy reading about the adventures that you and Pat have.
What is the latest on the kitties?

catmoma a.k.a.Judy :o)
Gday your picture perfect photo's of the snow on the mountainsthey would make beautiful post cards.glad you made it home saflely after checking your tow dolly...
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