RV Trip Update Week 12: Seattle, Port Angeles, & Victoria

Share

(post contains affiliate links: see disclosure)

This week we moved on out of the US of A and into Canada via the Blackball ferry. But not before we explored Seattle and Port Angeles a little.

RV Trip Update Week 12: Seattle, Port Angeles, & Victoria

We pulled into a KOA just outside Port Angeles Monday afternoon. Tuesday morning we drove to the Bainbridge Island ferry terminal. There we parked our truck and walked onto the ferry heading to Seattle.

It was so inexpensive, just over $8 for an adult ticket and $4 for a child ticket (and both my 14 year old and 16 year old qualified for the child fare). Those tickets were return! Considering what we paid later in the week for a ride to Vancouver Island those prices were a steal. Plus we didn’t have to worry about finding parking in Seattle.

We started our one day of exploring the city with a trip to the Gum Wall located in Post Alley under Pike Place Market.

The view was a strange mix of disgusting and beautiful at the same time.  No, we did not add any pieces to it as we just couldn’t imagine getting that close to all the rest of the pieces.

RV Trip Update Week 12: Seattle, Port Angeles, & Victoria

Next we walked  through Pike Place Market. Although I loved all the sites the wide variety off vegetables, flowers and fish stands offered in terms of color, texture and smell (well okay, the fish smell not so much) I didn’t like the layout of the market. It was really broken up. It was so confusing I still don’t know if we saw all of it.

RV Trip Update Week 12: Seattle, Port Angeles, & Victoria

The highlight of the day for all five of us was our trip to the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum. It was $22 per person, but so worth it.

Chihuly is one talented man. His glass work is an incredible mix of colors, shapes and textures. You can view more of what we saw there in this 10 slide on Instagram. (oh and I am having problem with these working for me that last few days, hopefully Instagram provides an app update that fixes this soon, but for now I am going down to single picture posts)

RV Trip Update Week 12: Seattle, Port Angeles, & Victoria

Wednesday we took it easy in the morning. I enjoyed a short run and a bit of work time while the hubby got the laundry caught up and our teens did some school work.

After lunch we headed out to Lake Crescent and the nearby Marymere Falls trail.

Lake Crescent took my breath away; never have I seen a lake so blue and so clear.  This photo on instagram shows just how blue!

RV Trip Update Week 12: Seattle, Port Angeles, & Victoria

The trail to Marymere Falls was full of various shades of green. Moss grew on every tree and the ground was covered in ferns. The trail has the coolest log bridge made of one single long log.

RV Trip Update Week 12: Seattle, Port Angeles, & Victoria

You could hear the roar of Marymere Falls long before you saw it. Although it was beautiful, I think I enjoyed the beauty of the trail up to it even more.

RV Trip Update Week 12: Seattle, Port Angeles, & Victoria

Thursday morning we got up pretty early and headed to the Black Ball Ferries to catch the ferry to Victoria. Even though we were almost 2 hours early, this is how many people were already parked (we are the Jayco with the bikes on the back)

The ferry ride over cost us just over $300 one way! YIKES. The cost was that high due to the length of our unit. We did consider leaving the RV behind for this portion of the trip but when we added up hotel rooms and the cost of parking the RV somewhere for the two weeks we are here it was cheaper to take it.

RV Trip Update Week 12: Seattle, Port Angeles, & Victoria

Friday was our first full day on my childhood home island and we spent a good portion of it with my aunt at the Butchart Gardens.

It was good to see her after so many years. I haven’t been back to Vancouver Island since my mom passed away in my early 30s and now here I am in my early 40s.

RV Trip Update Week 12: Seattle, Port Angeles, & Victoria

After we said goodbye to my aunt, we went to the seaside near Sidney in hopes of finding starfish. We didn’t find any, but we did have fun exploring the seaside.

RV Trip Update Week 12: Seattle, Port Angeles, & Victoria

Saturday we continued our search for starfish and finally after visiting several beaches we found them on the beach at Mount Douglas Park. And we didn’t find just one–we found at least a dozen or more!

Sunday we are heading to my sister’s for a few days. We are spending the rest of the week in Tofino, a part of Vancouver Island I have never explored before–so I am very excited to finally see it.

Come back next Monday to see what we got up to this week.

Join me on Instagram for daily updates. I am doing my best to post one photo update a day on Facebook too.

First time hearing about our trip? You can catch up on our all our trip updates on the RV trip page.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Share

12 Tips For Long RV Road Trips

Share

(post contains affiliate links: see disclosure)

Our family is currently in the middle of a 5 1/2 month RV road trip across the USA and into Canada. Now that we are 12 weeks into our 22 week trip, we thought that it would be a great time to share some tips for long RV road trips–one for each week of our travels.

12 tips for long RV road trips. Don't hit the open road and campgrounds before reading these.

Before I begin, please note that we are traveling in a 27 foot Jayco travel trailer. It has one 12 foot slide-out down one side. The whole unit is basically one room except for the bathroom, unless you count the curtains that divide off the master bed from the rest of the trailer as a wall–but I don’t.

If you drive a different type of RV, say a motor home, a fifth wheel, a tent trailer or a ??? (there really are so many types of RVs) then some of these tips might not apply 100%, but most will in some way.

12 Tips For Long RV Road Trips

1. Pack Less Than You Think You Might Need

Now that we are just over the halfway mark I am realizing there are at least a dozen or so items in our RV that we have yet to use once and others we have only used a time or two.

If I could redo our packing all over again I would take more time studying our itinerary and make a list of supplies we might use at certain locations. Then I would see what supplies serve more than one purpose and get rid of items with overlapping uses.

I would have paid more attention to the average temperatures in the places we were visiting–which would have saved me from packing so many pairs of shorts when we really needed more sweatshirts.

I would have then laid it all out in one room and then gone through it item by item questioning its need.

2. Purchase A Backup Camera

I fought my husband on the need to buy a backup camera. I simply didn’t see why it was so important when we already had towing mirrors on our truck–honey, forgive me; I was wrong (and yes, you now have that in writing).

The backup camera (here is the exact one we have) has made pulling in and out of campgrounds so much easier. It shaved at least 10 to 15 minutes per campground off our set up time. Since ours has a dual camera function it has also shortened the time it takes to hitch up the trailer significantly.

We love that we can tell exactly how many cars we are holding up on narrow highways giving us a heads up that we need to pull over as soon as we can to let them pass–hey, we like to be as friendly as possible.

12 Tips For Long RV Road Trips.

3. Become Friends With YouTube, TripAdvisor and Yelp

In 12 weeks our RV has developed several small issues that my husband has been able to solve mostly with help from YouTube.

I have become the daily activity planner and have found TripAdvisor is a wealth of information for hitting the best spots in each area. Yelp is my best friend for picking good local restaurants with prices within our budget.

4. Plan Super Simple Meals

Before we left, I printed out all of our favorite recipes and put them in a binder. Within a week we stopped using those recipes. Our RV kitchen is simply too small for complicated recipes that require many ingredients and pans. Plus at the end of a day of hiking, we don’t want to spend that much more time on our feet cooking dinner.

We now keep to simple meals such as burgers on the grill with a side of canned baked beans and mini carrots. Pizza crust isn’t made from scratch like it is at home, but instead bought ready-made and then we put on the toppings and toss it in the oven. We still have spaghetti, but we don’t make the sauce using 4 different kinds of tomato products. Instead we just add browned hamburger to jarred spaghetti sauce.

I guess you can say we switched to semi homemade instead of homemade from scratch.

Try to think of recipes that use two pans at most and can be made in under 1 hour. Make a list of those to refer to before you leave on your long RV trip.

 

12 Tips For Long RV Road Trips

5. Campground WiFi Is Often As Slow As Dial Up

Most campgrounds proudly display “free WiFi” on their websites. Yep, it is free, but it is usually painfully slow. I often have time to straighten up a few things in the RV before it will load one single picture.

There are some exceptions to this rule, but if you need WiFi for work I would suggest making sure you have a backup plan.

Oh, and if you are staying in State or National campgrounds using data might not be a good back up plan as I have rarely had cell phone service in either of these places.

I have combatted the slow WiFi and no data connection by doing a web search for places like Starbucks, McDonald’s and Panera  Bread so I know the closest place with dependable WiFi near me before we move to a new location.

6. Make Sure You Read All The Additional Charges Before You Book

My husband booked most of our campgrounds for us before we left home. I told him our budget was $50 a night maximum and he did stick to that–but he didn’t read the fine print.

Many times during our trip we go up to pay for the campsite we booked months in advance and find out that yes it is under $50 a night, but that is just for two people. There is an additional charge for each extra person.  This has been as high as $8 per additional person in some places, although most seem to charge $4.

Then there are the places with pay showers, which vary anywhere from $1 to $2 per shower depending on the location and how fast you can shower. Yes, we have a shower in our RV, but the hot water tank only heats up about 6 minutes of hot water at a time and takes 20 minutes to do that–so it simply takes too long for 5 showers each morning.

Thankfully some sites are way under our $50 a night limit so we are staying within  our $1500 a month budget for campground fees. However, it all could have been avoided if the time was taken to read all areas of the campsite agreement before booking.

psst…the additional person fees have only happened to us in privately owned campgrounds. However, we have run into pay showers at both privately owned campgrounds and State & National campgrounds.

 

How we doubled the kitchen counter space in our RV and other camping tips.

7. Maximize Storage Areas Before You Leave

A few weeks before we left I dragged my husband out to our travel trailer with a tape measure, pen and paper. We then spent about half an hour going over ways we could alter things in the RV to maximize storage.

He built storage cubbies at the end of our bed to hold my laptop and the two laptops the kids use for school. He added a shelf under the bathroom sink, and another in the cabinet above the kitchen sink. He put a small shelving unit in above the toilet.

He also built me a cover for on top of the stove (pictured above) that doubles our counter space when we are not actively using the stove top.

He made two other tweaks for me that are not for storage, but sure make life easier. He put a lip on all the shelves so that when we travel nothing can bump against the cupboard doors causing them to open and have things fall out. He also put in extra supports in the dinning room bench seats for our teenagers who tend to plop their bottoms down with gusto.

I cannot stress enough how much these changes have made living in 300 square feet with 5 people so much more doable.

8. Don’t Buy A New RV For The Warranty

Even though we have owned several RVs, this is the first brand new RV we have ever bought. We thought the warranty would come in handy and it would if it didn’t take them 3 weeks to fit us in every time a problem pops up.

Since staying in one place for 3 weeks would really mess up our travel plans, my husband just ends up finding a video on YouTube that helps him fix the problem himself. If that fails, he strikes up conversations with other campers until he finds one that has had that problem with their RV and can show him how to fix it.

We both agree if we were to buy new again it wouldn’t be for the warranty–it would simply be that we were getting an awesome price and the exact floor plan we wanted. Chances are that even if we did find these two things, we would buy “slightly” used to save even more money.

12 Tips For Long RV Road Trips.

9. Be Prepared To Stop Weekly Grocery Shopping

For the first two weeks I would plan a menu for 7 days just like I do at home and then went shopping. It led to overstuffed cupboards and a crowded fridge and freezer. It took us 5 minutes to get out what we needed and put it back. NOT FUN.

I started planning and shopping for just 3 days at a time and now there is no over crowding. We feed three adults and two teenagers. You will have to adjust how much food you can fit based on your family’s needs.

10. Buy Mattress Toppers

For the first several weeks of the trip my husband kept complaining that his shoulder hurt and my hip hurt so much during the day that I was limping.

I kept suggesting perhaps it was our thin RV mattress and finally during week 6 my husband caved and let me buy a 4 inch mattress topper for our bed (ours is like this one but not the same brand). My hip pain is gone and so is his shoulder pain. I do have to hop up into bed, but I can live with that.

Simple yard sale frame lined with chicken wire and hung in an RV to hold postcards from places we have traveled.

11. Give Your RV Some Homey Touches Before You Leave

RVs are factory made and therefore rather sterile. If you are going to be on the road for weeks you are going to miss home now and again, but you miss it less when your RV has some personal touches.

For me that meant hanging some wooden quote art on the walls, making sure we brought along some throw blankets and throw pillows, and creating a bulletin board for postcards of places we have seen along the way.

12. Bring Along A Toolkit

RV maintenance–much like home maintenance–never ends so you will need a few basics. I asked my husband what were three tools he couldn’t live without on a long RV road trip and here is the list he gave me:

He then kept on listing more tools he felt were essential until I told him perhaps it was best if next month he help me write a post exclusively on what tools to include in a complete RV basic maintenance toolkit.

If you are a longtime RV owner who has taken a long road trip or two in your RV, I would love for you to add your tips in the comments below! Let’s help each other out.

Other posts of Camping:

Save

Save

Save

Share

RV Trip Week 11: Sea Glass Beaches & The Redwoods Of California

Share

(post contains affiliate links see disclosure)

I am writing this from a Starbucks inside a Safeway in Oregon. We left Northern California Saturday morning. Once again I wasn’t ready to leave. It seems like that is the overall trend of this trip. I am LOVING all the areas we are exploring so much that it feels like a small part of my heart gets ripped out and left behind when we leave each area.

We spent most of this week on the northern coast of California and something unexpected started to happen. The ground we are staring to cover is starting to look and feel more and more like my childhood home (Vancouver Island). The smell of the seaside, the green moss growing every where, the stores, even the dress of the people is starting to remind me more of more of my Canadian Pacific Northwest roots.

I wasn’t expecting this to happen until we hit the state of Washington. By the time I write you next, my feet will be on the soil of my childhood island, but for now lets move on to what my family got up to during our travels this week.

 

RV Trip Week 11: Sea Glass Beaches & The Redwoods Of California

We arrived at our campsite near Caspar Beach, California right at dinner time Monday night. It was pouring rain, so as my husband was graciously unhooking and leveling the RV while we all stayed dry in the truck, I decided to search on my smartphone for a place to grab a pizza (a favorite dinner of my hubby’s).

When he got in the truck to tell us we could all go in and get a start on dinner I told him my idea and before I could give him the address he was already pulling the truck out of the campsite. We ended up at Frankie’s in Mendocino, a small town up the hill from our campsite. It was REALLY good.

Tuesday morning my husband and I headed into nearby Fort Bragg to get the truck’s brakes checked. For a while both of us had been thinking they were getting a bit worn. We were right, turns out some of the brake pads were almost down to the metal. YIKES!

Thankfully we budgeted for such things when planning our trip so it wasn’t a money concern and we turned the time the truck was in the shop into some much needed couple time by taking a good long walk around the seaside in Fort Bragg.

(psst—I really like my new Birkenstocks that you can see in the picture above. They are great for exploring, they give great support, are super comfy and are easy to slip off and on for beach walks.)

RV Trip Week 11: Sea Glass Beaches & The Redwoods Of California

I was so moved by the contrast of the white foamy waves crashing against the dark grey rocks in a sea of various shades of blue. I spent most of our days exploring the Northern California coast saying, “wow!” over and over.

RV Trip Week 11: Sea Glass Beaches & The Redwoods Of California

We came to the Fort Bragg area for one particular reason. A year or so ago a Facebook friend of mine had posted a picture similar to the one above. Those little gems are sea glass and I have a fascination with it that dates back to my childhood.

Due to the unfortunate use of using the ocean as a dump many years ago, three Fort Bragg area beaches have a high concentration of sea glass and are known as the sea glass beaches.

Now, you are not supposed to collect the sea glass at these three particular beaches, instead just enjoy the beauty the high concentration of glass creates–but sadly we saw several people filling gallon-sized freezer bags with it. It made me sad.

Yes, I do collect sea glass on various beaches, but only where it is allowed. If a sign says don’t collect, I don’t. Plus these beaches are very different than the ones I have collected from. Never have I seen such high concentrations sea glass and it makes these beaches unique, soon they won’t be if people keep hauling the treasure away.

 

RV Trip Week 11: Sea Glass Beaches & The Redwoods Of California

After visiting the sea glass beaches we stopped at the Point Cabrillo Light Station. Inside we found a small museum about the area and a very informative volunteer.

The light station also has several guest homes available to rent and I might have just stuck the business card with their info on it into my purse so I could dream about a future vacation at one of them.

They were large, 100+ year-old restored homes with awesome views of the beach and they were tucked away from everything else. It would truly feel like you had the whole beach to yourself. And yet I never did snap a picture of the homes (Sorry. Trust me–they are awesome).

 

RV Trip Week 11: Sea Glass Beaches & The Redwoods Of California

We had two full days to explore the Fort Bragg area. On the second day we went north up Highway One, stopping whenever a view “wowed” us and that was pretty often.

One such place was Ten Mile Beach. At first all we could see was sand dunes, then as we reached the summit of the last sand dune this huge beach came into sight with large roaring waves as far as the eye could see.

We saw several sea lions resting on the shore, plus a huge collection of sand dollars.

RV Trip Week 11: Sea Glass Beaches & The Redwoods Of California

Further down Highway One we saw several rock arches like the one above.

RV Trip Week 11: Sea Glass Beaches & The Redwoods Of California

And just when we thought the area couldn’t get any more beautiful we were treated to wooded arches over the highway.

 

RV Trip Week 11: Sea Glass Beaches & The Redwoods Of California

On our return trip to our RV for dinner we stopped at one more beach in the town of Westport. There we found tiny black pebbles instead of sand.

They stuck to my feet, but they were also very warm! I stopped, laid down and had a nap in them while the family explored the area. When I got up, every inch of me that wasn’t covered in clothing had tiny black pebbles clinging to it.

I did my best to brush them all off but there are still a few showing up now and then in our travel trailer.

RV Trip Week 11: Sea Glass Beaches & The Redwoods Of California

Thursday morning we left the beach and headed towards Redwoods National Forest. We arrived to our campsite just outside of Crescent City once again in the pouring rain and it continued to rain all night and all morning.

Thankfully it stopped around lunch time, allowing us to get out and explore the Redwood Forest without getting rained on.

I couldn’t get over how little my people looked in the forest made up of giant Redwood trees.

RV Trip Week 11: Sea Glass Beaches & The Redwoods Of California

See what I mean? We could have made a home out of some of the openings in the bottom of the giants!

As I write it is now Saturday and as I said we are now in Oregon, but not for long. We plan to hit Washington by Monday. So far I am loving the ocean views available on Highway 101 in Oregon. We are staying in two state parks during our drive through the state, but truly don’t have the time we wished to explore the state. Five and a half months sounds like forever, but with so much area to cover and so much to see, we had to cut a few things out.

My husband and I have already mentioned a few times lately that perhaps one day we could come back just the two of us and drive through Oregon at a more leisurely pace. This trip truly does have use dreaming of more travels, but first we need to enjoy the rest of the one we are on.

Come back next Monday to see what we got up to this week.

Join me on Instagram for daily updates. I am doing my best to post one photo update a day on Facebook too.

First time hearing about our trip? You can catch up on our all our trip updates on the RV trip page.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Share