RV Trip with Di, Joe, Mist, Smoke — Summer 2018

RV Trip — Part 1

It was towards the end of June and we were going to leave on our Summer Trip  in the next couple of weeks. I quite look forward to these trips except for one thing: hotel/motel reservations.

You see, we have a pair of cats, Di smokes and needs an ADA/Handicapped Accessible room — especially, the bathroom. We have to have a hotel/motel which accepts cats and where she can smoke — those are non-negotiable. The accessibility? Well, that ‘s on the “want” list.

Di does not want to make the reservations herself and I hate three-way conversations/negotiations between the hotel/motel, myself and my wife. I’ve done it (grumble, grumble, grumble) but . . .

It is getting increasingly difficult to find places that have rooms available for smokers and many allow dogs but not cats. In fact, two places we stayed at on our last few trips have converted to non-smoking and no cats. Neither Di nor I want to spend our trip in ten Motel 6 rooms across the country.

Well, to make a short story long, one morning in late June I dropped Di at Mimi’s in Fountain Valley to have a late breakfast/early lunch with one of her friends and took an hour and a half walk.


I passed by an RV dealer (Mike Thompson’s RV / https://www.mikethompson.com/) and began to browse — mistake. I looked at van-conversions/Class-B motorhomes. Something large enough to take me, Di and the two cats for a week or two or more and still small enough to drive around town and store in our driveway.

Found some nice ones built on a Mercedes (diesel) Sprinter chassis 20+ feet long. Seating for two or three up front, toilet, shower, cook-top, oven, sink, fridge, storage and a sofa/fold-out king/queen bed.

I phoned Di at the restaurant and she liked the idea so I brought her to the lot after lunch. Eventually, she picked a white Road-Trek Eco-Trek model (2018)/ (https://www.roadtrek.com/models/e-trek/) — the, of course, most expensive one. I’ll be paying for it beyond my currently expected expiration date — which I will do my best to extend.

Got it

I picked it up July 5th but: the kitchen sink leaked and they didn’t have the parts to fix it before we were going to leave — the next day. So, (dirty word, dirty word) we were without a working sink — the one in the bathroom was fine. Also, the bar which held up the engine hood was bent and needed to be replaced, but was adequate if you were careful.

That night and the next morning I stocked the RV with food, drink, luggage, the cats’ litter box, toilet paper. And Di’s rollator and Tzora battery-powered mobility scooter. It was quite crowded. Things had to be moved around to use the toilet or get to the sofa/bed in the back.

On Friday, July 6th, we set off for Minnesota — first stop, Bill and Artie’s (Artie and Bill’s) in Gilroy, California.

To be continued . . .

Summer 2015 Gasoline Prices

I’m one of those people who keep track of what they spend on gasoline and what kind of mileage they get. I used to to this on paper in a booklet I kept with my car or motorcycle. Nowadays I use a little app on my phone called Car Logbook. Our little vacation trip to Minnesota put about 6,000 miles on our Buick Enclave. Both mileage and prices varied widely.

Buick Enclave
Buick Enclave

May 22 — Union 76 — $56.15 — 14.6 gal — $3.86/gal (87 octane regular) — HB, CA

Jun 25 — Union 76 — $56.13 — 16.5 gal — $3.40/gal —  HB, CA — 14.83 mpg

Jul 02 — Union 76 — $24.60 — 7.2 gal — $3.40/ gal — HB, CA — 14.51 mpg

Jul 03 — Union 76 — $56.74 — 17.3 gal — $3.28/gal — Gilroy, CA — 20.87 mpg

Jul 04 — Chevron — $62.45 — 17.4 gal — $3.60/gal — Arcata, CA — 21.03 mpg

Jul 05 — Chevron — $50.13 — 14.7 gal — $3.40/gal — Albany, OR — 23.87 mpg

Jul 05 — Exxon — $59.50 — 19.6 gal — $3.04/gal — West Spokane, WA — 21.09 mpg

Jul 07 — Conoco — $51.56 — 18.6 gal — $2.77/gal — Belgrade, MT — 22.45 mpg

Jul 08 — Flying J — $44.65 — 16.9 gal — $2.65/gal — Beach, ND — 24.21 mpg

Jul 09 — Holiday — $42.89 — 16.8 gal — $2.55/gal — Moorhead, MN — 21.22 mpg

Jul 18 — Holiday — $51.31 — 18.7 gal — $2.75/gal — Warroad, MN — 21.85 mpg

Jul 31 — Holiday — $51.06 — 19.3 gal — $2.65/gal — Warroad, MN — 19.14 mpg

Aug 14 — Holiday — $45.53 — 16.9 gal — $2.70/gal — Warroad, MN — 18.97 mpg

Sep 03 — Holiday — $42.98 — 17.9 gal — $2.40/gal — Warroad, MN — 17.64 mpg

Sep 18 — Holiday — $37.25 — 15.5 gal — $2.40/gal — Warroad, MN — 19.13 mpg

Sep 19 — Holiday — $24.06 — 10.9 gal — $2.29/gal — Moorhead, MN — 21.29 mpg

Sep 19 — Flying J – $44.33 — 17.7 gal — $2.50/gal — Beach, ND — 19.84 mpg

Sep 20 — Conoco — $36.87 — 14.5 gal — $2.54/gal — Laurel, MT — 18.87 mpg

Sep 22 — Conoco — $25.68 — 10.1 gal — $2.55/gal — Belgrade, MT — 15.78 mpg (back and forth city driving between Belgrade and Bozeman dealing with my wife’s toothache)

Sep 23 — Exxon — $38.32 — 14.7 gal — $2.60/gal — Spokane Valley, WA — 25.91 mpg

Sep 23 — Exxon — $30.03 — 12.7 gal — $2.37/gal — The Dalles, OR — 22.01 mpg

Sep 24 — Chevron — $15.53 — 6.0 gal — $2.60/gal — Albany, OR — 25.10 mpg

Sep 25 — Chevron — $45.26 — 15.1 gal — $3.00/gal — Arcata, CA — 23.98 mpg

Sep 26 — Union 76 — $44.14 — 16.2 gal — $2.73/gal — Gilroy, CA — 22.07 mpg

Oct 10 — Union 76 — $50.83 — 17.7 gal — $2.88/gal — HB, CA — 21.69 mpg

So, the best price of the trip was $2.29/gal in Moorhead, Minnesota and our best mileage was 25.91 mpg between Belgrade, Montana and Spokane Valley, Washington.

The Highest gasoline prices were (are) in California and the lowest were in Minnesota.

Smoker – Traveling Across the USA

I will preface this post by saying I am not a smoker and my wife is. My father smoked for forty plus years as did my mother. My father quit smoking several years before he died of lung cancer (He was diagnosed with lung cancer in September and died on Christmas Eve of 1972.). My mother quit smoking around the same time dad did and passed away in 2000 at the age of eighty-eight. My younger brother began smoking in Nam and died of lung cancer in 1991, leaving a widow and two small children.

My wife does smoke. Several years ago our house “flooded” (broken toilet) while we were on vacation. State Farm put us up at a Residence Inn for several months while the drying out and repair work was done. Since then she has not smoked inside the house. She no longer smokes in the car (nicotine patch in use on trips).

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 19% of the adult population, about 43 million people, smokes. I imagine that a like percentage frequent hotels and motels as they travel across the country on vacation or business. But, that number does not seem to be reflected in the number of rooms available for smokers (I have not actually counted numbers of room; this is just anecdotal evidence.). Our situation is complicated by my wife having problems walking and needing an ADA room when we stop. When it comes down to getting a proper downstairs ADA room or getting a smoking room, we have to opt for the smoking room, even if it is upstairs without an elevator.

In Eureka, California we stopped at the Best Western Plus – Bayshore Inn. We got a downstairs ADA smoking room just 20 feet from our parking space. Great room. Plenty of space. At the upper end of the facility is a Marie Callender’s Restaurant and at the lower end a steakhouse. The Marie Callender’s is within “walking” distance for my wife. The Bayshore Inn has a good breakfast, including waffles, which I bring to our room so my wife doesn’t have to walk. We’ve stayed there three times in the last several years.

In North Bend, Oregon we get a smoking room at the Mill Casino and Hotel. The room tends to be a bit far to walk to the casino, but because she wants to play the slots and smoke my wife makes it work. We always seem to buy things at the little gift shop and dinner at Whitecaps has always been good.

Next stop: The Dalles, Oregon. We stop, and have stayed here a dozen or so times, at Cousins’ Country Inn. There are no ADA/Smoking rooms. The smoking rooms are in the back of the facility – upstairs.

Coeur d’Alene, Idaho has a nice Super 8 with an ADA/Smoking room right behind the office. No go this year as it was already booked; the Best Western across the street is no smoking. So, we stayed at Motel 6 just down the street. Nice ADA bathroom, smoking but small. Double bed but no chairs (my wife doesn’t count the “wood” desk chair as a chair – too uncomfortable). Just down the street is a Pizza Factory – great pizza. Mini pizzas are just the perfect size for one person; add some garlic bread – yum. (Yes, I walk and get dinner so my wife can relax in the motel room.

In Bozeman, Montana we prefer to stay at the Homewood Suites by Hilton. On the ground floor there is an ADA/Smoking July 4, 2013, Bozeman MTroom that is just about perfect. There’s a nice mall with a Barnes and Noble, Christopher & Banks and souvenir shop just a few miles away. Oh yeah, we also get Subway sandwiches and eat them in our room. Saw a great fireworks show from the hotel parking lot this year and my wife got to see some action from Wimbledon before we hit the road again.

Couldn’t find a smoking room in North Dakota so we’ll just “fly” through the state rather than stopping and spending time and money. So we could travel through North Dakota in an easy day, we stayed a night in Glendive, Montana at a Day’s Inn – downstairs, smoking, near the back entrance (my wife was able to get to the room by walking less the fifty yards. Great fireworks show from the motel parking lot that night also.

Moorhead, Minnesota – smoking room (Super 8 – got a junk-phone sales call from Wyndham a couple of weeks later which rather ticked me off) on the ground floor, non-ADA, but it worked.

As soon as we finalize our plans to return home, my wife will make reservations for each of the places we liked; no waiting for until the last minute.