Posts Tagged ‘Water heating’

The true shake down cruise for Frog started after leaving Oregon. We stopped at the Chamber of Commerce information office in Crescent City, CA. Yet another helpful person at the desk insisted that we must see the Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park. Since I have an unquenchable thirst for anything having to do with the Mountain Man Era (see my book Man Hunt) I decided it was something Charlize and I needed to do.

“You don’t have to go back to the intersection of 101 and 197 to get there. You can take this back road in.” He showed me on a map and I was sold, I hate to backtrack.

“It’s about fifteen miles of gravel but you can make it with your truck, it’s a four-by-four isn’t it?”

“Yeah… sounds good, we’ll give it a try,” I replied.

It was not a gravel road. It was a single lane of mud and dirt, with huge, water-filled potholes and sixteen miles of curves, switchbacks, up and down and around and weaving through massive redwood trees that disdained moving out of our way.

About five miles in a nice lady park ranger sitting in a jeep waved us to a stop.

“There’s a sign back there that says ‘trailers not advised’.

“Whoops,” I responded, “guess I was too busy trying to keep this rig on the road and didn’t see it. Anyplace near where I can turn this outfit around?”

She looked long and hard at Old Blue and Frog, almost forty feet of combined length and shook her head.

“Don’t think so, you best take it slow and easy.”

“If I get stuck or wrecked do I call 911?”

“No use, no cell phone service out here. We’ll find you…eventually.” She smiled sweetly.

“Brilliant… OK…hope I don’t see you again today.”

She smiled again. “Hope not.”

We made it, but everything bounced out of the cabinet above the stove and out of the netted shelf over the sink. All the contents of the drawers were rearranged, but no permanent damage done and all the various systems continue to function.

Inside Frog is efficient, similar to a nice sailboat capable of accommodating a couple of people comfortably. The door is located on the passenger side of Old Blue, in front of the trailer’s wheels. There is a handrail that folds back against the cabin and a pullout stair that enable me to climb in, albeit clumsily.

Through the door, to the immediate right, is an odd sized bed, forty-four inches wide and seventy-two inches long, wider than a twin bed but more narrow than a double. The length fills the entire six feet width of Frog so at a little over six feet two inches I sleep on the diagonal. Originally there were built-in bunk beds with no more than eighteen inches between them. Before I bought Frog I told the dealer I wanted the top bunk removed and they did. The mattress lays directly on a plywood platform, with some rather inaccessible storage underneath. One has to take the mattress out to make the bed. When I get home I’ve got some renovations to do to make the bed and storage under it more accessible and useful.

To the immediate left through the door is the kitchen cabinet. It houses a two-burner LP gas stovetop and a small sink. There are two overhead cabinets, another cabinet under the stove and three drawers under the sink.

Across a two-foot space from the stove top is the head, a very small sink, a shower and a toilet all plastic, all waterproof, all functional but a tight fit for a person as big as me. Across the same small space from the sink there is an eye-level cabinet that houses a combination microwave/convection oven and a lot of Frog’s mechanical equipment; hot-water heater, furnace, clean water tank, etc.

At the back end of the cabin is a U-shaped bench with a small table. The table can be lowered and the back cushions of the bench used to make another odd sized bed for two small people or one normal sized. Charlize is careful to keep clear of me and avoids getting stepped on. It’s cramped but cozy. Our home on the road.

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We stayed in a KOA campground in Lincoln City, OR. The people were nice, the place average. Frog’s hot water heater didn’t work, nor did the combination radio, TV and DVD player. Frustrating.

Charlize has decided I belong to her and am in need of both comforting and protection. About four AM I woke up thinking about Rosalie’s last minutes and started crying. Charlize jumped off her bench and came over to stick her nose under my arm determined to comfort me. It worked. The next day in Old Blue she barked when a highway construction flagman approached to kibbutz about Frog. Not incessant yapping like some dogs do, just a sharp warning to let the person know she was on duty.

We stopped at a RV sales, service and parts store in Newport to find out why the water heater wasn’t working. It turned out to be just a case of my ignorance. There are two switches for the water heater.The one accessible from outside Frog, controls the propane gas flow. Another switch, inside the cabin, controls the electricity for the starter. While Frog is in use I am supposed to leave the gas switch on. When I am ready for hot water I have to turn on the electrical switch inside, under the sink. When the later switch is turned on a red light goes on that says: “reset”. I thought something was wrong and spent three days trying to read the owner’s manual and figure out how to reset the thing. It cost me twenty bucks to find out I was just too impatient. After awhile the burner ignites and the red light goes off. Now I have to find the manual for the DVD, TV and radio device and figure out why I can’t make it work. Before this trip is over I’ll be a qualified RV mechanic.

We stopped many times today to stare at the amazing scenery along the Oregon coast. Wave follows wave, long lines separated by time and space. Some break over, spilling white turbulence, before arriving at the rocks. Others crash against those stalwarts. Not all of the huge rocks constitute the shoreline cliffs. Some stand out in the Pacific, as outposts, forward observers, battered, ceaselessly battered, fighting against the inevitability of erosion. A few of the outposts defy reason. From those sprout one, sometimes more, ridiculously determined evergreen trees. I have no idea what kind of trees they are. Probably, as my ten-year old granddaughter advises, I can Google it, but where’s the fun in that? Too easy.


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