On to Oregon – 2017

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After Yellowstone, we dead-headed to Newport, Washington and stayed at Little Diamond Koa / Thousand Trails. This was the first Thousand Trails park we have visited in over nine months. The parks are getting popular and filling up on weekends. Good for Thousand Trails, and perhaps good for us. We have been forced to explore new areas, learn to live off grid, and enjoy the peace that comes with being well off the beaten path. Little diamond is a nice park, and we were able to rest and see friends after such a long drive. Mac and Brigid had us over for a camp fire and supper at their new home in the woods. We did not expect to see them, as they had moved to Georgia. Fortunately for us, Georgia did not work out, and they came to be with our other friends Mike and Nikki, so we can see them all in one spot. Athena got a lot of work done as it was raining and downright cold while were there. Mike and Nikki had Mac’s family and our family for supper. Mike bought a nice house on a mountain, he loves the snow, and got a taste of snow this winter, but he was hoping for more. On our last day at the park, we had supper for all of them at the park. We were all sad that it was our time to move on, but the visit was good. It was time to see my Mom and Ron in Farmington. We were going to stay in the rig while at her house but the rain was no letting up, we were out of diesel thus no heat, the temperatures at night were in the 30’s, and the ground was too soft for us to level out. Mom and Ron, decided we should stay inside. I felt badly taking her bed, but it was certainly warmer, and more comfortable than sleeping with our heads toward the ground.

I don’t know about you, but occasionally, I get that sinking feeling that things just aren’t right, and I find out that the feeling is spot on.

The entry steps sunk in the mud and took on a new shape. They point slightly up, each step tilts toward the rig. It not too bad though, you have to step slightly higher to get on the first step, but your tilted toward the rig which is where you want to go anyway. Ron took a shovel and dug the steps out of the ground so they would not tear off on departure.

The front wheels sunk in hard. Ron dug under the wheels and made a very gradual ramp from 2’x8″ boards. This turned out to be a really smart move on his part. I was worried that he was going to dig out so much dirt, that Mom would see it and expand her garden right down the hill.

Before the digging and the wood, getting out was not a promising activity. The tires collected the mud, and were setting in a self-dug tub of mud. This rig was going nowhere. I had bought a 4″x”4″x4′ piece of wood to keep the front stabilizer from sinking into unstable campsites. Athena suggested she place it under the passenger side jack, I raise the wheels off the ground just enough to place our leveling blocks or “legos” under the wheels and make a two or three-foot path. We did this for both sets of rear wheels. We placed the transmission in reverse and brought the engine just above idle. Between Athena and Ron, Rolling Shoe Box is free of the quagmire at last.

While working on the oil change, Athena discovered that the exhaust side of cylinder three is leaking at the manifold. For some reason cylinder 3 is problematic for the ISC 330. If you have not blown this gasket yet, there is some rumor about the internet stating that using the PAC brake causes this to blow. Use the PAC brake on long hills to prevent brake fade, but other than that, keep it slow in traffic, allow lots of space, and use the service brakes. Finding the perfect compromise between safety and not tearing up the rig is troublesome for certain. The gaskets will set us back $60.00 and several days’ work. Cummins appears to charge about $1500.00 for the job, but save on knuckles and Hail-Mary’s afterword’s. Here is some basic information if you think you might have a blown manifold gasket. You can get the new manifold from Amazon, if you need one. The Gasket set is about $60.00. If you brake the manifold bolts, you’re on your own. We can’t find a source for new manifold bolts.

Well, Ron got us freed from the mud, and he filled in the holes and reseeded. In the future, I will either not bring the rig to his house, or ask his neighbor if we can park out by his grain tanks. We were hoping to lessen mom and Ron’s burdens when we came, not increase them. At any rate, we had a good visit with them. Mike and Nikki came down to see us one day, Nikki brought her world-famous crème puffs. Mom and Ron were ready to adopt their family. Big thanks go to Mom and Ron for having us, and to Ron for not taking a rocket launcher to our rig after it destroyed his lawn.

We made it to a little corps of engineers’ park near exit 155 off I-84 in Oregon. The park had about three spaces. Two spaces available when we pulled in. This is just boondocking, there are no services unless you have a boat, then there is a small ramp good for a drift boat. The road in is one mile and bumpy as heck, and extremely narrow in some spots.

Who could ask for a nicer campsite?

Not me, I love this campsite, and every other campsite as long she comes along with it. I have been so blessed.

The sun bid us a colorful good night over the river.

Mt. Hood graced us with her majestic presence as the morning sun stirred us up bright and early to begin our morning trek west.

We drove from 7am until noon where we stopped and took on 60 gallons of diesel, $2.79.9 at Pilot in Brooks Oregon. We found we got great mileage coming from our last fuel stop in Colfax, Washington. Athena said we averaged 6.8, the highest ever was 9mpg from Weed, Ca to Redding.

The rig is now full of fuel, we hope it will last us until July when we arrive in Bend. We have to drive more this year as we can’t stay in Pacific City, or Newport. Those parks have no internet and Athena’s business requires internet. If she makes enough money to cover the extra road miles, that’s ok. We will go to Florence, Seaside, then Bend this year. We will have to be more choosy on Boondocking sites in the Bend area as well for the same reason. Gives me a lot to think through.

We are now hanging in the Salem area trying to see family and friends. Earlier than we planned, but the Dr. failure in Denver put us ahead of schedule this year.


Mom, and Ron fear that they are getting to the point that they can’t care for their house anymore. They are starting to feel their age. They want a new family to buy the home, and care for it the way they care for it. This house is perfectly maintained, and ready for a new family to move in and love it. This is not just a large house, it is a home on half an acre. The property has a huge garden, the lawn is perfectly manicured, and the views are incredible. I love sitting on the wrap around deck over looking the gardens, the fields and the mountains. The sacrifice for these views is small, it is only 11 miles to town, and no more than an hour from Pullman, Moscow, and Spokane. In our travels, no place is more pleasant than Mom’s house. If you love peace and tranquility as well as close community as much as I do, you need to give my mom (Yvonne Dugan) a call at 509 287 2079. She loves to show her home. The video below is an older video by a realtor that is no longer under contract. Please use the number listed above and ask for Yvonne. If your looking for a home in the country, go ahead and call her. She does not bite.

This house is a historic Home originally occupied by Dr. John Grimm, a medical Dr., a devout Mason, and a farmer by trade.


Well, that’s all there is fro tonight. Be sure and check out our devotionals in the top menu bar.


Have a good evening and a good night…

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