Left the RV Behind for a Trip to Oregon!

Nephew Ben and his wife Carrie
Nephew Ben and his wife Carrie

If you full time or “most of the time” RV as we are doing now, there comes a time when you probably have to leave the RV behind.  We just traveled to the Portland, Oregon area this week to attend the wedding of our nephew, Ben.  We had given thought to driving the RV out there, but decided that we weren’t ready for an extended west coast trip and it would be too expensive to just take a couple of weeks to drive to the wedding and back.  If we were full timers already, we may have taken a different approach, I’m not sure.  I will discuss in a later post what we do if we have an event, a medical appointment, or an emergency and we are somewhere a long way away from where we need to be.  For this post I will focus on our cross country trip without our mobile living quarters that we have become so used to.

Now that we have the RV, we haven’t flown much which is OK with me based on all the talk about long lines at security and close seating on always full planes.  As a result, I wasn’t looking forward to making a 6000 mile round trip by air.   We departed on Wednesday, May 18th from Jacksonville at 8:25 AM which meant we had to leave the house in Georgia by 5:15 AM to make sure we wouldn’t have to rush.  I dropped Liz and the luggage off at curbside check in and then had to park the car in one of the long term lots and then go back to the terminal.   Liz was still having problems with her knee and couldn’t walk too fast (surgery scheduled on our return) so we allowed extra time for that too.

As it turns out we had TSA Pre Check which put us in a shorter line at security – always a good thing.  Well the Pre Check coupled with our early flight made for a trouble free quick trip through security.

Seldom seen quiet TSA security check area.
Seldom seen quiet TSA security check area.

Liz also did “Early Bird” check in when she purchased the tickets at Southwest Airlines so that meant we were assured boarding in the  “A” line and consequently a pretty good seat on the aircraft.  This all reduces my stress level, but I do have to say that I much prefer travel in the RV, and if I could, I would never get on an airplane again. 

Our ride to Oregon - actually Denver where we had to change planes
Our ride to Oregon – actually Denver where we had to change planes

The trip to Denver and the connection on to Portland was for the most part uneventful.   Both were full flight and those seats seem to get closer each time I fly.  I’m sure I’m not getting any bigger : – )  Once we got to Portland we had a rental car booked through Southwest with Payless.  I had never used them before, but thought if it was through Southwest it would be OK.   The signage to get to the rental car area was confusing and involved several levels of the airport.  We finally worked our way to the outside curb island to wait for a shuttle that never seemed to come.  We watched Avis, Hertz, National, Enterprise, Dollar, etc. come and go, but not Payless.  We waited well over a half hour for the shuttle and still nothing.  After traveling for over 7 hours and being up since 4 AM, my patience was wearing thin.  I checked our confirmation email and there was no phone number and they had no desk at the main terminal.  Liz, knowing I was at my wits end, found a number and called.  She got a recording.  Now I’m ready to go rent another car, but I know if I do that I will have a mess trying to get a refund and I probably would pay twice the amount for another one at this point – so I wait.  Liz then calls the 800 number and gets a sympathetic person who says that they will contact the Portland office and let them know we are waiting.  Finally, after a total of about 45 minutes the guy shows up in a van.  He was very nice so it was hard to get mad at him and he explained that he is the only transport and he had to go off property for fuel.  Not much we could do at that point, but if you are considering a car rental you may want to consider what we went through before using Payless.

Hotel Oregon - Mcminnville
Hotel Oregon – Mcminnville

The Portland area is always a treat for us when we visit.  You can count on seeing artistic expression like the the face that tops the newel post at the Hotel Oregon pictured above.  It is certainly different culturally from where we live in Georgia and even a lot of the east coast.  We thoroughly enjoy the multitude of coffee shops and small restaurants both in Portland and the surrounding area.  We tried numerous ones in the McMinnville area where we stayed and were never disappointed.  The prices aren’t cheap though and it seemed we paid $12 or more a piece for lunch before drinks  on average.

Downtown McMinnville
Downtown McMinnville
Shops Downtown McMinnville
Shops Downtown McMinnville
Corner Market
Corner Market
Roof top bar at the Hotel Oregon
Roof top bar at the Hotel Oregon

The one thing we discovered new this year were the many vineyards located in Northwest Oregon and the McMinnville area.  I knew that there were Vineyards in this part of Oregon, but didn’t realize how many there actually are.  Pinot Noir seems to be the grape of choice as the climate is perfect for growing them.  The wedding we attended was at Maysara Winery which is spread over 500 acres with 300 acres being actual vineyards.  We lacked time to tour any of them this trip, but hope to do that next time we come back to the area.

Maysara Vineyard in late afternoon
Maysara Vineyard in late afternoon

I don’t want to bore you with all the details of the wedding, but I will say it was nice to get together with family and friends that we don’t get to see that often and the wedding was a really nice affair at a beautiful venue.  I will share a few more photos of the wedding and our time in McMinnville below.

Looking out of the winery towards the vineyards
Looking out of the winery towards the vineyards
Me, Liz and my Mom at the wedding
Me, Liz and my Mom at the wedding
Our oldest son and his wife - Doug and Jana
Our oldest son and his wife – Doug and Jana
Ben and Carrie
Ben and Carrie
My Mom anxiously waiting for things to get going!
My Mom anxiously waiting for things to get going!

Our trip home was not without a little drama.  The Payless van was only a 5 minute wait for the return trip to the airport and we had TSA Pre Check again so we breezed through security.  However, we  were on the runway ready to take off and all of a sudden the pilot pulled back on to the taxi way.  Well he said the “check engine” light came on!  I hate that light cause I never know what it really means.  Well, I guess the pilot didn’t either so we went back to the gate.  Of course, I rather he does that than ignore it!!!  Anyway the good news is that we didn’t have to change planes as they fixed the problem, but it did take an hour.  We were expecting a late arrival in Jacksonville and now it ended up being even later.  Well we finally arrived home at 1:30 AM Monday morning.  We were exhausted, but full of many memories from our latest adventure.

P.S.  Liz had surgery on her knee on Tuesday after we arrived home.  The doctor repaired two tears in her meniscus and she is doing fine.  She was off the crutches after just one day and the stitches are out now and she is walking pain free again!
Post Surgery. Initials are the doctor's so he didn't operate on the wrong knee.
Post Surgery. Initials are the doctor’s so he didn’t operate on the wrong knee.

 

2 thoughts on “Left the RV Behind for a Trip to Oregon!”

  1. What do full timers do about health insurance? We are planning on going full time once our house sells. We are retired and wondered about what you do for residency for voting without having a home. Any suggestions on good books to read to prepare for full-time ? How do you handle mail?

    1. John,
      First of all thanks for reading my blog and taking the time to write in and ask a few questions. Your questions are certainly ones asked by most folks wanting to full time RV and each has a multitude of responses. Hopefully, I can help point you in the right direction for more information and at least relate to you what we are doing or about to do. We have not sold our house yet so are not technically full time even though we spend more time away from home than we do here.

      With regard to health care, we are fortunate to have been able to take employer sponsored health care into retirement that is accepted nation wide so we don’t face the many hurdles that others do who are relegated to regional plans or HMO’s with little ability to go outside that plan. I thought that the Affordable Care Act would help solve some of these issues, but am not sure how much it helps. If you are close to Medicare age, that should take care of any insurance issues. If not, here are a few resources that might help you.

      http://www.technomadia.com/2013/11/chapter-12-healthcare-and-staying-healthy-on-the-road-2/

      http://www.gonewiththewynns.com/insurance-affordable-rv-healthcare

      http://winnebagolife.com/2016/01/health-insurance-challenge-coverage-for-full-time-rvers

      Next you need to choose a domicile which could be the state you currently reside in or it can be another of your choosing. Florida, Texas, and South Dakota seem to be the most popular for a variety of reasons, one of which is no state tax. These three states are relatively easy to establish residency without having an actual sticks and bricks residential address. Many states will not recognize a mail forwarding address as a legal address for drivers licenses, etc. There are many articles written about domicile and most RV forums always have discussions on the ins and outs of setting up a domicile. Here are a couple resources:

      http://www.technomadia.com/2012/07/chapter-9-nomadic-logistics-domicile-mail-taxes-banking-and-voting/

      http://www.gonewiththewynns.com/rv-questions-residency-mail-health-insurance

      Mail is handled through a mail forwarding service. There are several out there, but the two I am most familiar with are St. Brendan’s Isle and Escapee’s mail service. You can find out more about each of these by Googling them. We use St. Brendan’s Isle mainly because we are not totally full time so they allow us to turn the service on when we need it and off again when we are home. We have found them to have great customer service and everything can be done online. We have never missed a delivery once we requested our mail be forwarded. Folks do like Escapees service too, but you also have to be a member of their organization, which is not bad as there are other benefits too.

      If you go to the “Links” tab on my blog, you will find links to a host of information on all aspects of full time RV’ing. If you can’t click on the links I have listed in this message, just copy and paste them to your browser.

      Good luck to you John and safe travels.

      Steve

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