Our Chalet Truck Camper

Our Chalet Truck Camper

Friday, May 06, 2011

Albany OR to Astoria OR to Kent OR

Internet access is spotty so forgive not answering a lot of the great replies. This AM I’m in a Safeway grocery store which amazingly has free wifi.

May 4 – Chalet in Albany OR to Astoria, OR

Had a great visit at Chalet RV today. We wanted them to see the changes we had made to the camper, to answer a few questions and get an interior slide fixed. We were greeted by Gary and staff who swarmed the camper to double check caulking, etc. etc. after our 5,000 plus mile shakedown cruise. They even checked the roof. The structural designer spent time with us talking about what we liked and didn’t like about the design. Gary had his team take out the extension to the dinette which could have had better “feet” under it. They came back quickly with these two wide rollers attached to the underside of the drawer. Does it ever work great now and no more sticking on the floor. We had a great time debating the merits of bathroom storage, outside compartments, etc. We showed him the propane tank latch that Mike at Extreme designed for us and they were quite impressed. Nice to see a company that is so responsive to its customer’s thoughts.

Travelled Route 20 to Newport, OR and then drove up the coast on 101. This route travels through many tiny unspoiled towns, a few touristy towns and lots of gorgeous scenery.

We live on the Atlantic ocean but it is a totally different beast from east to west. We cannot drive the edge of the ocean in Maine except in a very few spots. Here the ocean rolls beside you for miles and miles and you feel one tiny mistake in driving and you will join it.

Tonight we are at Fort Stevens State Park to catch up on “household” chores. It’s a large park set in amongst towering fir trees. Tomorrow we’ll tour the fort and then go into Astoria to the Columbia River Maritime Museum. Joe wants to see the exhibits on the Coast Guard. Afterwards on to Torklift in Kent, WA.

May 5 Astoria to Torklift

If you ever get a chance, stop at the Columbia River Maritime Museum in Astoria, OR. It’s one of the top maritime museums we’ve ever been in and we’ve been in lots. For Joe the real treat was a film on the waves created when the Columbia meets the ocean during certain weather conditions. The Coast Guard performs over 600 rescues a year on this ocean bar. There is a real rescue boat inside the museum set at an impossible angle on top of a wave. We wanted a photo of this but no photography is allowed inside the museum.

He also spent time behind the museum talking with several Coast Guardsmen serving on an active 210 foot medium endurance cutter like he used to serve on. Memories!

The side exhibit was on sailors and tattoos and the photos from Hawaii during WWII were fascinating. Sailors would line up for blocks to get a tattoo, passing by bars every few store fronts. Quite the industry!

Our TC has been performing well on the mountains, hills and deep dips of this coast land. Oregon has a mandatory “pull over” law if you have vehicles stuck behind you but they have created frequent turn out points. We normally don’t need them but have learned to get out of the way of these guys.

They are everywhere, all headed for the log yards along the Columbia River. Timber is a major crop in OR and is treated as such with clear cutting, stump removal and then replanting. We did not see a lot of land slides or run off from the cuts.

Our goal after the museum was to go to Torklift in Kent, OR. We had talked with the main office and they suggested we come to Kent. After our SuperSprings were installed, it didn’t seem to take long for one of the Stable Loads to crack in half. We replaced them with the original Ford rubber auxiliary spring bumpers. Truck has been riding fine, no rock/roll but we wanted Torklift to take a look and see if they could figure out what went wrong. Casey examined the truck, Stable Loads, etc. and then had Jack Kay come out and look it over. What incredible customer service to have a company executive involved. Final determination – the weight of the camper and the thinner footprint of the Supersprings gave a narrower overload contact and too much stress. As we told Mr. Kay, we have no blame with either Torklift or SuperSprings – or Chalet. With the camper weight, we’ll work out another solution.

Tomorrow we are going to have the new Torklift Wobble Stoppers installed. They are not heavy (think weight!) and will make Joe more comfortable with the front legs when the camper is off the truck all winter. I think Torklift knows we like their products. Pretty easy to see looking at the truck with the tie downs, Fast guns and Stable Loads.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Love keeping up with you on the blog - well trying to keep up with you. You have been busy since you were here in Kansas. Glad it's been such an enjoyable trip and you've had good weather and I am sure the Chalet is incredible. Happy Mothers Day from Kansas (where it is still windy!)