The Maiden Voyage of the Arctic Fox

The long-awaited license plate for our Arctic Fox finally arrived. By 10 am the following morning, after we had packed, cleaned, hitched, measured our height, loaded the bikes, and taken pics of our new set-up, we hit the open road.

For this, our maiden voyage, we loaded very thoughtfully and carefully. While getting the current Reese hitch checked, we had discovered the truck had suspension airbags so we spent time measuring the height with the truck unloaded and then loaded and adjusted accordingly with air; Mike had done a pre-flight check the day before, torquing all the nuts and bolts on the trailer hitch and wheels as well as the truck wheels….we felt confident and safe. We were ready.

The truck performed flawlessly – so happy with it – it just chugged up the hills. Absolutely marvelous. The trailer too….followed the truck like rats following the Pied Piper!!! We had invested in a new GPS, Rand McNally, because I was terrified that the tunnels on the 101 would tear away something atop the the trailer or even take off the whole roof!!! This GPS is meant for RV’s. You can enter your height and length and it will route you the best way…..and it did…..all too well!

Leaving Pasco, WA, we followed I 84 to Portland – heavy traffic (after all, we were traveling on Good Friday) but all went perfectly. From Portland we followed US 26 NE to NW Timber Road. It routed us that way because there was a tunnel further along on the 26 with an unspecified height…I didn’t want to chance it. Mike’s thinking was that if it’s on a major highway, then we shouldn’t have any problems. But…not wanting to risk anything, we decided to follow this Timber Road. As soon as we turned off we thought OMG we’re in for some excitement and sure enough, narrow, barely 2 lanes, and hairpin curves like you’ve never seen. Our saving grace was that no one else was stupid enough to drive this road so we could take up the whole road! Besides, it was only for 10 miles. No shoulder, drop-offs on the passenger side (of course). But….my Michael was at the wheel and handled it all like a pro. After that hair-raising detour, we made it back onto US 26. But….soon enough, (there being another tunnel between Seaside and Manzanita on US 101), our trusty GPS took us off US 26 onto OR 53. This time, much the same kind of road but rougher, the hairpins not quite as tight, and double the distance at 22 miles. When we finally got here to Nehalem Bay State Park, the camp host was astonished at what we’d done. He said, “Hell, I wouldn’t drive that road unloaded, let alone fully loaded!”. That made us feel pretty proud.

We had reserved ahead of time. There are two loops here: A,B,C loop for reserved campers, and D,E,F loop for first come first served. They all have water and 30 or 50 amp electrical service. We couldn’t fit into the one they’d reserved for us because there was no maneuvering room. We went for help to the camp hosts who lived up to their name. They helped us find the perfect spot in D loop. Michael backed it in first try and we got the trailer unhooked.

Starting our arrival procedure, after leveling the rig, we went to plug in and….???? Not a fifty amp service – only a 30 amp. Our plug was only for a 50 amp. plug. The reserved spot had had a 50 amp. Oh well! Again the camp host helped….sent us off to Fred Meyer in Tillamook, a 20 mile drive. He even called ahead to make sure they had one and had them hold it for us. Off we went, oooohing and aaaaahing at the splendid views of the ocean and dreaming of a fresh crab dinner. Got to Fred Meyers and sure enough, they had it, we bought it, and set off back to camp.

By this time we were starving, it being almost 8pm. We stopped at a restaurant perched oceanside called ‘The Pirate’s Cove.’ They were still open so, postponing the crab for a later date, we shared some fish and chips. Came home…..Mike plugged us in….let there be light! There was!

Stepping into the trailer, Mike on my heels (to help move one of the recliners so we could put the living room slide out) mayhem greeted us. I had packed our printer in one of the upper cupboards, not even really thinking about it. When preparing for travel, I had considered putting some kind of binding/elastic around the knobs, just in case, but for some reason didn’t. With all the jostling of the rough roads and hairpins, the cupboard had opened, the printer had fallen out and landed on one of the dining room chairs (they lay on their sides when traveling) smashing it. (Mike thinks he can fix it!) There were also bowls all over the floor….not broken….thumbs up for Corelle!! That cupboard had opened as well. We moved the slide out and went to do the bedroom slide. When I opened the clothes closet, all of our clothes had fallen in a neat, organized pile on the floor. The rod holding the clothes had come loose from its attachments and had collapsed onto the floor!!!!!

We were exhausted and just a trifle sad. But the good news is that the printer still works and Mike has the closet fixed enough so we can at least use it…..and we had 2 extra chairs! As a dear friend would say, “It’s all good!”