Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Get more out of your RV trip -- stay put longer

Still unpacking the rig after several weeks on the road, we've finally hit the point where we can slow down a little and philosophize a bit about the trip. Our trip was one of those, "planned out pretty well, but you know, things got in the way" affairs. But in some cases, maybe it was for better.

The idea had been to circuit up from southern (or "inferior" as my father-in-law put it) California, north through Oregon to Washington. Across the top of the map through Idaho and Montana, down into Utah, over to Colorado, back into Utah, then down into Arizona. Total time on the road – end of July to end of September, with plenty of little dots in the travel map for stories we were to chase down, sites to be visited, and friends to reach out to.

But as any seasoned RVer will tell you, the road doesn't always cooperate with those kinds of plans. Mechanical failures can (and fairly often do) get in the way. A lot of those proposed points on the map were never reached, route changes became routine, and a lot of those "things" we planned on doing/seeing just didn't get done/seen. But after years of RV touring, you would've thunk we would have already connected the dots with one big resolution for next time: SLOW IT DOWN.

After weeks and 4,833 miles on the odometer, we had to reflect on what parts of the road trip were the "best" of the bunch. While it's true, the journey is half the adventure, being awake enough and rested enough to appreciate the journey certainly figures into it. What were those best parts again?

When a tire and wheel failure caused us to hunker down for a few days, waiting for parts, that little, bitty, almost-dry-lake in northern California had to be one of the quietest, most picturesque spots we'd seen. How about that remote part of the National Forest from the wife's childhood camping experiences – the one we never planned to visit – it just happened we made our way there? The seemingly endless days in Utah's high country – 30 minutes from the pavement, and another 20 from town. We hadn't planned to stay there for a week, but you know, one thing led to another, and some of our better memories (and best sunset-hour photographs) came from "out there." Maybe that little bit over a week spent along the Columbia River where the wind howled for hours -- and we got plenty of hands of cards played.

No, we didn't get the "number of stories" that would have made the trip more "profitable." We certainly didn't put on as many miles as we had originally planned. But those days where we sat in the saddle and toughed out mile after mile of roadway to "get there," just weren't near as nice as those when we just "stayed put."

So next time? Next time we plan a few less miles, but still as much time as we can work in. We'll find some of those quiet spots, where a little bit of cogitation just seems to come naturally. And yes, we still have to pay the bills, but we'll leave the trailer in camp and plot out a few "hub and spokes" trips out into the surrounding countryside to get some of those oddball stories that RVers like to read.

We'd like to think of this is as our own great idea – we won't need any mechanical mishaps to recommend it to us.

All photos, R & T De Maris

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Coos Bay, Oregon -- 'Beautiful bay, lush forests, mighty Pacific Ocean' and 'Pre'

Coos Bay Boardwalk, Oregon. (Julianne G Crane)
Coos Bay is the largest city on the Oregon Coast and celebrates its history in shipbuilding, lumber products, tradition as the regional hub and hometown to running legend Steve Prefontaine.  This scenic community is surrounded by "a beautiful bay, lush emerald forests and the mighty Pacific Ocean" and offers a wide variety of outdoor activities.

Jimmy Smith and I were in the area for a Crab Rally organized by the Escapee RV Club's Oregon Trails Chapter 9 out of Sutherlin, Ore. The Coos Bay offers outstanding crabbing, clamming and fishing.

Coos Bay Visitor Information Center (Julianne G Crane)
Start your tour of Coos Bay at the  
Visitor Information Center, 50 Central Ave. (Hwy.101); (541) 269-0215.
Hours: Monday - Friday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., Saturday - Sunday from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.  Winter: no hours on Sunday. Parking lot. Public restrooms.

The Visitor Center is directly across the street from the Coos Bay Boardwalk and City Docks. The Boardwalk features "historical displays of the area's maritime and wood products history."

 Historic Walking Tour: There is a great little pamphlet that lists a number of attractions and buildings that are within about a five-block square area of the Visitor Center. Where I spent an hour or so is the Coos Art Museum.

Coos Art Museum. (Julianne G Crane)
Coos Art Museum:
235 Anderson Avenue
Coos Bay, OR 97420
(541) 267-3901
Admission: $5; $2 for students, seniors.
Hours: Tues - Fri: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sat: 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Closed: Sun-Mon and all major holidays.

Oregon’s 3rd oldest Art Museum is housed in the historic art deco former-U.S. Post Office "built in 1934-35 as a WPA project ... On 1/1/85 it reopened as the museum." The CAM features a regular schedule of exhibits, art classes, lectures and community events. The Collection of Contemporary Art rotates on display throughout the year.

Steve Prefontaine (
Steve Prefontaine Gallery
On the second floor of the Coos Art Museum is a room "dedicated to the short life and brilliant running career of Coos Bay native" and international track star Steve Prefontaine.

This small gallery includes the shoes "Pre" wore while running the race in which he set his first American record. The 5,000-meter race took place on July 3, 1971. Pre's time was 13:30.4. "Pre held eight long-distance running records. Runners from all over the world know about Pre’s accomplishments," states

"During his brief 24-year lifespan, Steve Prefontaine grew from hometown hero, to record-setting college phenomenon, to internationally acclaimed track star," according to He ran in  the Olympic Games held in Munich, 1972, however, he died in an automobile crash in 1975, before he could race in the 1976 Olympics. "Pre has become the stuff of enduring legend."

Major Coos Bay events:  

September: 10K Prefontaine Memorial Run. 
Oct. 9-Dec. 5, 2015 -- Coos Art Museum
"JUXTAPOSED: Installation Art" Renee Couture, Dani Dodge, Allison Hyde & Karin Richardson. The exhibit focuses on contemporary women artists, all with strong ties to Oregon. These artists have a history of producing challenging and thought-provoking works through installation and experimental media.
November: Santa arrives by tugboat. Friday after Thanksgiving.
December: Annual holiday lights display at nearby Shore Acres State Park.

- For up-to-date information on Coos Bay and the surround region, click on: Oregon's Adventure Coast 

- For information on RV parking at The Mills Casino and RV Park, click here for an item posted on

-- Julianne G. Crane

Read more about the RV Lifestyle on
Coos Bay photos by Julianne G. Crane. Steve Prefontaine (