Thursday September 5th 2019
Today was far from an easy travel day. It was one of the worst I’ve had in a while. I only had a little over one hundred and sixty miles to travel, but it included Portland Oregon traffic and crossing the coastal mountain range.
The issues started before I even got out of the campground. For the second time in the last 3 travel days, the tow bar didn’t lock into place correctly between the RV and the towed car. I had to disconnect it and reset it before it locked into tow position correctly. With the added few minutes it was about 10:30 before I was on the road.
Traffic was very heavy on Interstate 5. I had to drive about sixty miles on the interstate to the southern outskirts of Portland before I turned west toward the coast. In the Portland area I picked up all of the lunch time traffic, before the second nasty event of the day happened. I was traveling on a limited access highway with heavy traffic behind a big truck and a car. The next thing I knew the truck and car in front of me were stopping quickly. I had to step on the brakes hard and aim for the break down lane. It really didn’t look like I’d be able to stop, but I did. The inside of the RV behind me was well shaken. I found stuff all over the place when I arrived. I don’t know what caused the need to stop hard. What was happening in front of the truck wasn’t visible, but two things were clear. The other lanes to the left weren’t stopped and a few hundred feet down the road I passed a cop with a truck pulled over. That was enough excitement for the day, but more issues were to follow.
Not long after the panic stop, I passed a message board with a sign that said a mountain pass was closed to trucks ahead. I had no idea if the pass was on my route or how to find a different route. It turned out to be on another road that crossed the route I was on. My tension level was already high from the panic stop and just got higher until I knew the pass was not in my path.
I still had about 1500 feet to climb over the mountains. Unfortunately, I was behind another RV that had a much different hill climbing profile. If I get a fast start up the hill, I can usually keep my speed up as the transmission downshifts. The RV in front started the hills slowly and seemed to speed up toward the top. This caused me to loose momentum and bog down before I could get passed the other guy in the passing lane. I was stuck behind the other RV for the entire way across the mountains getting bogged down on every climb.
The last trial of the day was after I checked into the new RV park. My site was on a minor hill with a narrow back-in approach. Disconnecting the towed car so I could back in was difficult. I had to use a punch and hammer to get one of the pins out, but that isn’t that unusual when there is pressure on the connection from a hill or turn. The real problem was backing into the site with my rear view camera acting up. It would only displace a picture for a few seconds before it went dark. I had to get out of the RV and check my position several times before a neighbor took pity on me and helped direct me into the site.
I have a week to recover from today’s journey, before my next travel day. Hopefully it will be a calmer experience. I have to get through the Portland area again.