Note: This post was begun in August 2015 after Jim broke his wrist in Astoria, Oregon. Finished in January 2018 in conjunction with this post about ladies learning to drive, which I had been meaning to write for quite a while.
August 23, 2015
So we really were lucky to find a spot to park the bus in Astoria during the busy season. There are only two RV Parks here and now we have stayed at them both. Pier 38 was right in town on the water but he only had room for us for two nights. Turned out we squeezed an extra night out but we had to pack it up after that. The park is a little rough with long term seen-better-days campers and people who live in them. We actually like this kind of park; people are quiet, no kids, few dogs. Better than a state park where everybody drags all the stuff and all the kids and all the dogs to the campsite to enjoy once a year. I really want to love the state parks. Just don’t stay there on weekends.
We went to the Klaskenine River RV Park near Olney. It was a little farther out of town but we had a car during Jim’s surgery and follow-up so we were good with that. Joanie was super nice on the phone and had experienced an injury like Jim’s. She is also an RN. When we got there, she wasn’t there but her husband Jerry was and he got us a site where before we thought we would have to move and boondock around weekends. So it was good to get plugged in and settled before, during and after his surgery.
In the meantime we knew we had to find a place where we could hole up for at least a month while his cast came off and therapy started. Jim had called what we now call The Iron Fist RV Park; the proprietress said all she had was a 20 AMP spot with no dump. We figured we better go look at it. It was slim pickins.
So we drove over in the rental car. When they saw Jim’s arm in the giant sling, naturally they asked what happened. He told them and that he was having surgery. She said “Where?” And Jim said here, in Astoria. She said, “Why?” Like, you idiot. They explained that they went to Portland for all their “work.”
Anyway he showed us the site and it turned out to be 50 AMP! Yes! Still no dump, but they had showers and we are thrifty with our grey water. We figured we better reserve it so I filled out the registration paperwork and we went to look at another park quite a ways out called Perkins Creek. They had been real nice on the phone and very sympathetic about Jim’s hand. We were in the rental car but we gave them a card. Later when I emailed to tell them we were passing on the spot, they emailed us back that they had rented it and by the way, they didn’t allow 1981, too old. They probably looked at the blog, saw the bus and said, No Way! First time that has happened to us. We had decided that was too far anyway so we called The Iron Fist RV Park and said we would arrive on the 14th for a month. Kind of pricey but not much alternative.
It turned out to be a good thing that we made the reservation and paid while we had the rental car. We packed up the bus and got there with no problems. When I went in to the office, she said, in a real church lady type of voice, “Do you have a reservation?” I said yes. She looked shocked, like she would have enjoyed turning me away. I reminded her that I was the one with the broken wrist husband. She found our reservation and then she asked, “Is THAT your RV?” I said that was our bus. The other guest checking in immediately started talking about the colorful jitneys in the Philippines and likening the bus to them. The Iron Maiden was not amused. She would probably have found a reason to turn us away if we had showed up in the bus first.
We got to the site and started to set up. When we plugged in, the breaker kept blowing. The Iron Maiden’s Husband said immediately, “You got a short in your bus.” Jim explained that we had been plugged in all along and everything had been fine. Believe me, Jim has been all through the bus and knows exactly what is going on. Jim was getting a little stressed after it blew a few times and The Husband mentioned that it was a $180 GFI. It turned out to be the GFI; his worker replaced it with a non-GFI breaker and we were fine. The Husband discounted everything Jim said, and told RV war stories from his experience with “million dollar coaches.” Very impressive, ahem… At least we didn’t have to deal with an electrical problem; that I can’t do.
By now we saw that they were very hands on and very strict. She asked about pets and we told her we took the cats out on leashes and they always went back to the bus to do their business. They have a list of dog breeds and blends that are not allowed in the park. There are very specific rules about laundry, WiFi and just about everything else. When I asked about WiFi, she said “No Streaming!” I told her we didn’t do that. We have our own hotspot of course, but anytime you can use someone else’s that’s a good thing.
Even though we had checked in and paid, we didn’t get the usual info, WiFi key, laundry code, etc. So when I went back to get those I knew to tread lightly. I asked about having mail and packages delivered since she hadn’t even given us a site number. She said UPS or Fed Ex?” I said both probably. Naturally the drivers aren’t allowed to deliver to your site, they drop at the office. This gives them a good excuse to drive all over in their golf carts keeping their eyes on everything.
On my return to the bus, I read that the pets were only to be in the “Pet Area” which is a million cat miles from where the bus sits. We are tucked back behind a building with good cat walking right by the bus. I figured I better ask since they also said on their literature that they could ask anybody to leave at any time. She said we could walk them by the bus but they weren’t to do any scratching in the dirt or other catlike things. Right. I am quite pleased to report that the first few times Tikita went out, she not only rolled in the dirt big-time, she scratched herself a little hole and peed. HA! Seriously, if The Iron Maiden saw that… We stayed on the lookout after that.
The first few days we pretty much laid low; it seemed everything we did required an admonishment or explanation from them. I was thanking her and said something about how stressful this time had been for us. She dryly replied, “It’s called Life.” At least she didn’t add, “So suck it up.” But she didn’t need to. When The Iron Fist’s Husband asked how things were I said so far, so good. And mentioned that it was quiet. Big mistake.
The next few days were filled with the sound of equipment working right by our site. They were preparing some more parking but Jeez! One morning while Jim was still asleep, the guy comes with his backhoe and turns his radio up to 11. I went over there and told him Jim was still asleep. The weird thing was, when I approached where he was working, I could barely hear the radio; it was pointed directly at the bus. What? He turned it off and that hasn’t happened since. Plus we are not far from the dump truck where they apparently load all the campground trash. And then empty it when it’s full? When the dead body smell is overwhelming? Oh wait, it already is.
We survived Week One and they softened a bit. Maybe they are realizing that even though we have a dragon on our bus, we are not monsters.
As the weeks went on they got a little more human. I got to practice yoga in the greenhouse, the husband gave us a ride to town a couple times. Then when the Husband fell and broke a couple of ribs, they got much friendlier.
We had some gorgeous views overlooking the golf course right by our site. Walking around the course we saw muskrats, deer, rabbits and lots of turtles.
I broke out my bike and got some riding in. We were stuck in a beautiful area.
By the time we pulled out in early October they had thawed out quite a bit and welcomed us back anytime. It turned out to be an excellent spot to land in an emergency and worked out well. We are grateful.
And no, it’s not really named The Iron Fist RV Park. We may need to go back.