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  • Writer's pictureRuth Mcbride

Depend on the kindness of strangers…

I don’t believe I posted any photos of the RV park we were staying in, in Bellevue, Washington just outside of Seattle, so here are some photos of where we stayed for the past two nights.

They call this an RV park! It’s more like a glorified parking lot with hydro, sewage and water hookups.

Richard was preparing Newman for our trip today.

Not exactly the ‘Ritz Carleton’ of RV parks, but at least it was close enough to downtown Seattle to be able to figure out the public transit system!

Of course it had to be raining for our drive today! How appropriate! Today was the 3rd of the ’atmospheric rivers’ in the past week that was to hit B.C. as well as the Pacific Northwest. We knew we would probably get the tail end of the rain on our drive, so we were prepared for it, but it still doesn’t make for a fun day of grey, rainy driving!

Our first stop today was Camping World! We were really looking forward to visiting our first Camping World since we got Newman. We had about a 35 minute drive to Fife, Washington, which is due east of Tacoma, Washington, where Camping World was located.

We had quite a delay getting off the freeway into Fife, but we finally made it to Camping World.

We took some measurements of our ceiling air vents, expecting we might be able to replace them at Camping World.

Our very old ceiling vents that we want to replace with new white vents.

There were lots of RV faucets and shower heads, as well as blankets and sheets at Camping World.

RV organization baskets.

After wandering around all of the aisles at Camping World, we both looked at each other and said, “I thought this would be a lot better than this!” We were both disappointed with what we found at this Camping World. Perhaps its because we’ve already figured out a lot of the stuff they have for RVs? Anyway, we were glad we know what a Camping World is all about, but there was nothing we needed that they were selling. We will have to find the ceiling vents online and order them to our home in Florida. We need 13 of them!

We had a lot of this kind of driving today. Lots of grey skies, fog at higher elevations and rain.

We felt like we experienced all kinds of roads today. City driving on the freeway, with 5 lanes of traffic, 2 lanes of traffic and single lane traffic on windy, roads, with lots of elevation changes, and then some coastal roads to end the day.

Very heavy rain on a narrow road in Washington State.

A section of the road had washed away with all of the rains and the road was down to one lane, alternating with a traffic light. This washout was just before we made the turn onto the bridge in Astoria, Oregon.

Heading over the Astoria-Megler bridge into Astoria, Oregon. The bridge opened in 1966 and is the longest, continuous truss bridge in North America! The bridge is 4 miles long and when it was built joined the final segment of Highway 101 between L.A. and Washington State.

The shoreline of Astoria, Oregon.

Welcome to Oregon! The sign is kind of hidden behind the windshield wiper. One state down….many more to go before we reach Florida!

Astoria was the first city in Oregon, settled in 1811, and was the first American settlement west of the Rocky Mountains. The City is named after John Jacob Astor, an investor and entrepreneur who founded the American Fur company and Fort Astoria and established a monopoly in the fur trade in the early 19th century. Astoria is also where the Lewis & Clark expedition spent the winter in Fort Clatsop in 1905-1906. President Thomas Jefferson commissioned the Lewis & Clark expedition shortly after the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 to explore and to map the newly acquired territory, to find a practical route across the western half of the continent, and to establish an American presence in this territory before European powers attempted to establish claims in the region. The campaign's secondary objectives were scientific and economic: to study the area's plants, animal life, and geography, and to establish trade with local Native American tribes. The expedition returned to St. Louis to report its findings to Jefferson, with maps, sketches, and journals in hand.

We were very pleased when we arrived at our RV park in Astoria, around 3pm for the night. What a breath of fresh air compared to the last two nights in Bellevue, Washington.

The office of the RV park on the right.

Our view from the front of Newman! A little 9 hole golf course right at the Lewis & Clark Golf and RV park!

A beautiful level, RV site with some nice landscaping too.

Richard asked the woman who runs the RV park if they had a ‘shop vac’ they could loan us so we could use it to pick up all all of the excess water that was still in the bedroom carpet from the washer/dryer machine overflowing yesterday. She said she didn’t have a shop vac, so we were out of luck.

We did find out from the RV park lady, that there was a great local fish & chip shop that we could walk to. We hadn’t eaten any lunch, as we didn’t really see anywhere to stop, and Richard was ‘white knuckling’ the driving today, so I couldn’t prepare him anything to eat along the way.

Just beside the white building in the distance was the fish & chip restaurant.

Before we stopped for some food though, I said to Richard we should find somewhere to pick up some paper towels, so we can stand on the paper towels and mop up the water from our bedroom carpet. We kept on walking past the fish & chip shop, to see if we could find somewhere to get paper towels.

We had limited options of where to go for paper towels. The red building in front of us was a tractor supply place.

Walking to find paper towels.

Or we could try this place. It looked like a ‘depanneur‘ attached to a small gas station. We decided we would try this spot first, since they probably had lots of convenience items, if it was attached to a gas station.

We found the aisle with paper towels and as luck would have it, the paper towels were Kirkland brand, and each roll was very large, and only $1.50. We bought 4 rolls of paper towels and then Richard told the clerk - Theresa - what we were about to do with the paper towels. Richard mentioned that he had asked ”The nice lady at the RV park if we could borrow a shop vac and she said she didn’t have one.”. Theresa said “Saying the lady at the RV park is a nice lady is kind of questionable!” We laughed over that one cause we guessed the locals don’t like the RV park owners!

Theresa at the local ’deppaneur’.

As soon as we had laughed about the RV park and needing a shop vac, Theresa went to the back of the store and brought us out a fan and also said we could borrow her shop vac! Wow! Talk about depending on the kindness of strangers! Richard promised that we would return the shop vac before they closed at 6:30pm, but we weren’t staying long enough to use the fan.

That sure looks like a mighty powerful shop vac!

I carried home the 4 rolls of paper towels and Richard dragged and carried the shop vac back to our RV site.

Dragging the shop vac home to Newman.

We are definitely loaded up with paper towels now! Of course it started raining again as we were walking back to Newman. Before we got to Newman we decided to stop and order our fish & chips, so they would be ready for pick up after we dropped our stuff off.

Ship Out Fish & Chips!

‘Ship Out’ fish & chips is actually located in the little trailer where we ordered. They have lots of covered outdoor and indoor seating to eat after the food is ready.

After 10 minutes Richard walked back to Ship Out to pick up our food, so that we could eat in the comfort of Newman.

We have to get used to American portion sizes. This was my halibut and chips. 4 pieces of fish!!!!

Homemade seafood chowder for Richard! Apparently this restaurant is known for not putting a ton of potatoes in their chowder!

Fresh coconut, lime prawns!

Look at the size of that prawn!

The dinner from ’Ship Out’ fish and chips was amazing! The coleslaw was fresh and homemade and the tartar sauce was homemade and really good too. We ate dinner at 4:30pm, so Richard could get started on the Shop Vac job he had ahead of him.

What a gruelling job to do at the end of the day, after spending all day driving Newman! Richard spent about an hour on the bedroom carpet, as well as the front driver’s carpet, to get as much water out of the carpet as he could. We will buy some carpet deodorizer and put it on the carpet once it is dry, and then vacuum the deodorizer out of the carpet. We may even stop at a grocery store parking lot and rent a steam cleaner, use it and then let the carpet dry, when we are in a dryer place.

Richard dropping off the Shop Vac at the depanneur. Richard found out that Theresa actually works one day a week at ‘Ship Out’, making all of their fresh sauces and dips. So the tartar sauce that we had with our fish, she made. I guess in a small town you have to figure out how to make a living and Theresa is definitely resourceful!

When we picked up the Shop Vac at the depanneur from Theresa the saying ‘depending on the kindness of strangers’ popped into my head. I couldn’t remember where the expression came from, but I know that I had studied it when I was taking my English Literature degree at U of T, so I googled the expression, and sure enough, the reference is to the final words of Blanche DuBois, a character in Tennessee William’s classic play ‘A Streetcar Named Desire. Her final words are “Whoever you are, I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.” Well tonight we thank you Theresa from Astoria! We definitely appreciate your kindness, you are a gem and a wonderful person, helping two desperate strangers out in their time of need!

Tomorrow we have a very short drive and I think we both need it. While Richard was mopping up the water tonight. he looked at me and said “When does RVing become fun? When do I get to sit back and relax, read a book and put my feet up and not worry about when the next bad thing is going to happen to us?” I am kind of feeling the same way as him right now. We’ve had so much bad weather, bad luck and just generally not a lot of fun stuff happen since we left home October 16th. We are waiting for things to turnaround and hopefully that will be soon! To better days ahead!

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