Camping & Sightseeing on Vancouver Island? - Page 3 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-26-2007, 09:57 AM   #29
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I didn't have time to read everyone's comments so it might have already been mentioned. The museum in Victoria has artifacts from the Titanic so you might want to see that display while you are there. I've heard it very well done.

Jen
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Old 07-26-2007, 10:28 AM   #30
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Wow, Jen, Thanks!... you mean Leonardo deCaprio hangs out at the Museum...WAAAAAY COOL!

That does sound like an excellent exhibit and we will do the Gardens and nearby must-sees. I love interesting, old castles as well (my mother was a tour guide in one), and I noticed that there is a castle in the vicinity, so if we get to fit that in, that would be neat too.
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Old 08-04-2007, 09:35 PM   #31
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We left AZ last night and are in Mount Shasta this evening, enjoying the redwoods and very excited to be on our way to Canada!
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Old 08-05-2007, 12:13 PM   #32
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We left AZ last night and are in Mount Shasta this evening, enjoying the redwoods and very excited to be on our way to Canada!
Val, I see you are in the Redwoods so I assume you are coming north on the coast road 101, and not north on I - 5. Much earlier I gave you advice to come into Canada via I - 5. The coast road will bring right to Port Angeles so if you can get a ferry from there that is your best bet. Otherwise, my earlier suggestions are the best choice.

In any case, call us when you get on one ferry or the other and we'll meet you and show you how to get to Cobblehill.
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Old 08-10-2007, 04:34 PM   #33
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So don't keep us in suspense - how is the trip progressing? Enquiring (read:snoopy) minds want to know!

Don
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Old 08-10-2007, 05:46 PM   #34
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Old 08-10-2007, 09:05 PM   #35
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If I recall reading not too long ago, the Internet ends just north of Mt Shasta....
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Old 08-13-2007, 05:26 PM   #36
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Hi Everyone!

We just got home late last night. We took the I-5 all the way up and back stayed in Mt. Shasta, which was off the I-5. There wasn't WI-FI everywhere and other times we were too tired from driving to think to log on! We had planned to take the coastal highway coming home--but HAHA--no way did we have time! Because our truck was new, we had to go 50 mph for the first 500 miles per the manufacturer's instructions, and were quickly running behind schedule as it was. We'd left Phoenix on Friday night and just got home yesterday night. I have to get the trailer registered asap but am eager to give you an update within the next few days!
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Old 08-13-2007, 06:52 PM   #37
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It's great that you're home but we're ALL waiting to hear about it. Hope the trip was great.
cheers
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Old 08-14-2007, 12:44 AM   #38
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Hi Everyone - at last here is our full report - the good, the bad and the ugly.

First, the Good. We got our unit and are very excited about the size and features of the 1988 19' Bigfoot. After disembarking from the ferry, our friends, Ken and Diann, met up with us and gave us a personalized tour of Sidney and Victoria. What a charming area it is and they were such great hosts. We thoroughly enjoyed the beauty of BC and Vancouver Island, the green-minded mentality and would love to move up there.

The dealer, Kersti, at Southwest RV, had arranged to have our TT set up for us at the Goldstream campground when we arrived which was very thoughtful and a huge relief for us, being virgin RVers and all. The frig was icy cold and the clean water levels were at half full. We had no idea how to light the water heater though so showered using the campground facilities. We ended up sleeping on the dining area bed as it is a little roomier than the rear sofa (47"? versus 43"?), especially in the hip and shoulder area, which is where you need the extra room.

The next day, Kersti arranged for a mobile insurance rep to meet with us for the permit and registration. Since we had proof of insurance coverage that included Canada for both our truck and trailer, we did not need to purchase additional insurance coverage, but did need a temporary operating permit. We received a copy of the Bill of Sale, proof of propane certification and a completed Canadian application for title transfer from Southwest RV -- we could not get a Canadian title because we aren't residents. Next, Kersti had the trailer taken to Pete's RV Repair for installation of the Equalizer hitch and sway bars we'd bought online and trekked along with us (we hadn't realized they are so low once installed - mere inches from the ground). Pete's had never seen a four-point Equalizer sway bar and wdh before (they said that they sell a different model), but they did a great job assembling and installing it and also put on the new electric tongue jack that we had brought with us. Total cost for their work was about $98 CAN, and they were very friendly and gave us good pointers on taking care of our unit. Then it was back to the dealer for the walk through. Mike the tech was very helpful and made some last minute repairs to various things that had been missed during the pre-delivery inspection process. We give Southwest RV high marks for customer service - Kersti and Kelly took care of many details that would have left us baffled and running around aimlessly had we bought from a private party, Mike was helpful, and the other Southwest RV folks on the lot that day seemed very nice and gave us good recommendations on places nearby to eat. The unit tracked extremely well with the Equalizer hitch and sway bars. We returned to Goldstream that night and had our first experience backing up. The loud sounds of grinding metal from the Equalizer hitch were quite unnerving. After about 20 attempts and verbal assistance from a neighboring camper, we finally got her in the site. We were still getting 16.4 mpg that first day of towing with the trailer mostly empty.

The Bad. We had neither good cell phone reception nor WiFi at the campground so felt a little out of touch with the world. Also, being newbies we hadn't had the foresight to ensure that we would have power, water and sewer at the campground (although quite a beautiful campground, Goldstream offers none of the aforementioned RV hookups despite being $22 per night). That said, we left for the US the next day and drove as long as possible, well past dark, where we found an RV site south of Seattle for the night. We noticed several trailer lights were not working. Our gas mileage had dropped down into the low 15 mpg. The big surprise came when Val took off the cap to attach the sewer hose. Immediately upon removing the cap (remember, we've been using 1/2 tank of water and using the bathroom for 2 days), a flood of liquid came spewing out into the darkness. I was inside and heard her startled yelp then a prolonged rush of liquids running through pipes. Note to self - bring a bucket while RVing.... As it was late, we again opted for the campground facility shower and hit the sack. I was awakened in the middle of the night by an odd chirping sound that seemed to be coming from near the floor. I finally located the sound to a small plastic sensor which I vaguely recalled might be the propane sensor. I stumbled out of the trailer and turned off the gas valves. The sound stopped.

After consulting with Mike at Southwest RV by telephone the next day, we made a detour to Camping World to purchase some supplies. Mike suggested we flush out the tanks as there might be debris preventing the valves from closing properly. We found a camp site outside Salem while still daylight and timidly attemped to flush the blackwater tank using a hose extension in the toilet. I was afraid to put the hose in too deeply as it was dark and I couldn't see how full the tank was. We lit the water heater with no problem and enjoyed steaming hot showers and settled down for the night. We were overjoyed with the functionality and condition of the bathroom. Late that night the propane sensor began going off again. It seemed to stop when the gas was off so that was our solution. We retired feeling slightly more confident in our troubleshooting abilities. Our gas mileage was now in the low 14 mpg range. The unit had handled great on the highways, no swaying and little effects from big trucks passing. We had a heck of a time figuring out how to adjust the brake controller though: the instructions sound simple enough, but it wasn't so easy to find a flat, paved street on which we could drive 25 miles per hour to test and adjust it several times in a row and then when we did, it was really hard to tell when flipping the manual lever merely stopped the brakes and when it locked them up... the feel and noises were similar. We certainly hope our trailer brakes are in good shape... will have to get those checked to be sure.


The Ugly. Next day, we called the dealer to report our continued problems and received reassurance that we would be supported in obtaining service when we got home. Mike suggested replacing the batteries in the propane sensor and flushing the tanks again. As it turns out, the propane sensor is electric rather than battery-run, so we left it as is. That day we attempted several more vigorous flushes of the black tank (as a Q-tip and wipies had come out of the drainage pipe the previous night) only to discover a leak in the blackwater tank near the top. It was abundantly clear that the gray water valve and possibly the blackwater valve were inoperable as well. We'd also discovered the roof to be warped and lopsided from a heavy Coleman air conditioner. The dealer had mentioned they had fixed a leak from the AC during their inspection by tightening the AC screws. The propane sensor was chirping on a regular basis now, so Val simply disconnected the black wire as a temporary fix. We pondered these conditions during the long drive back to Phoenix. We debated the merits of simply selling the unit and looking for a newer one that had been garaged versus fixing the problems. We also reviewed the pros and cons of the other brands we'd considered (Casita and Escape). By the time we pulled into our driveway, the gas mileage had plunged to 12.3 mpg. The Equalizer hitch sat so low that it was scraping the normal height concrete sidewalk so we removed the sway bars and disconnected the chains to gain a few inches of clearance. Note to self - raise the trailer axle.

Now that we're back and having slept on it and considered our situation, we feel more confident that a little plastic repair and new valves should fix the tank problems. We'll try replacing the propane sensor and we'll coordinate with the dealer to get that resolved, as she has promised to cover safety related issues. As far as the roof goes, Val found a mobile fiberglass repair person who seemed very encouraging about fixing the roof. Of course, that will be expensive because we will also look for a lighter weight air conditioner in the process, because the one that was installed at some point on the trailer is enormous. (but you can't live without AC in Arizona!) Val spent hours at the MVD today waiting for them to figure out how to transfer the title to us and eventually succeeded. It's officially ours!

We still believe we made a good choice in getting the 19 Bigfoot - we like the roominess and open feeling and the build quality is excellent. If Escape or Casita made an 8' wide unit, we may well have gone for theirs, but we really wanted something we didn't have to walk (or stand) single file in. We figure that we're just going through the normal things people do while learning how to RV, especially buying an older unit. Luckily, we're both pretty handy with home repairs. We plan to fix the roof and any other areas needing fiberglass repair (i.e. rock chips), repair the tank (and check the others too to make sure they don't have any leaks), replace the valves and the propane detector, raise the axle height, deoxide and refinish the exterior, refinish the interior wood and the one area under the sofa window that has a water stain, and repair the curtains, as many of the clips have broken off and the fabric is fairly sun faded in large areas. Even though it's seen some use, overall, the unit is still in good shape. That said, we've agreed that the day Bigfoot begins making the 19' again, we'll be first in line to buy a new one!

Kayla and Val

Kayla captured well our experiences, thoughts and dialogues. I added a few details and clarifications to the above, as well as the following (for now, anyway):

If traveling through California, try to avoid driving the I-5 through the Central Valley (Coalinga, Buena Vista, etc.)! Pesticide haze, ammonia-laden fumes from the cruel dairies that make their cows stand and lie in mud and their own excrement night and day , fields of oil rigs and very barren landscape. For hours on end. We'd have taken the coastal route if we'd had time and vowed to avoid that section from now on.

Vancouver Island was beautiful and the Canadians very personable.

Thank you Ken and Diann for the thoughtful dialogues on RVing, Canada and life in general, and the gracious car tour of some of Victoria's loveliest areas.

Thank you to all the forum members who guided us and made great suggestions for this trip and the entire purchasing experience. Lainey, special thank you for the great road maps that you emailed to me of the area, and thank you to everyone else who provided helpful details, shared experiences and tips.

The Pioneer House had delicious food, friendly service and excellent clam chowder.

Kersti and her assistant Kelly have two of the most adorable puppies we have seen in a while: Flicka and Reckless.

We are very excited to be Fiberglass RV Owners and are eager to plan to attend another upcoming reunion now that we are no longer just "wanna-be's"! I will post some photos of our tow and tt within the next few days!
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Old 08-14-2007, 02:23 PM   #39
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Update on our gas mileage during this trip:

Took the truck into the dealer for its first oil change. It turns out that we have to manually re-set the gas mileage calculator each time we refill the tank or the truck continues to go off the gas mileage it was getting before the tank was refilled--which is what made it look like we were getting really great mileage when we first started towing, then dismal mileage later, when we were towing on flat roads! The service tech also said that the most accurate calculator was still a pencil and paper, so we will just go with that next time.

What this means is that the very worst gas mileage we got was 12.3 mpg, which was likely when we were pulling the trailer up Cajon Pass and other long 6% grades.

Val
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Old 08-14-2007, 02:54 PM   #40
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Valentina and Kayla,

Glad to hear you made it back w/o a serious incident. Too bad you couldn't stop over at my place as we discussed. I understand the hurry to get back.
Just remember when traveling through the Pacific Northwest (Washington and Oregon)... we don't put a "the" in front of an Interstate highway number or any other road or highway number. It's just I-5, not "the I-5" or Highway 26, not "the 26".
Best of luck with your new home on wheels!!

Ron
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Old 08-14-2007, 04:41 PM   #41
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Thanks, Ron,

We wish we'd had time to see everyone we'd planned on visiting with, but it will happen in the near future! Here are some photos to share from this journey!



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Old 08-14-2007, 07:09 PM   #42
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Pictures look good and the weather was nice while you were there too

Aren't those little house boats in the Inner Harbour the neatest things, makes me wonder why I have a house and all this stuff (I just finished plans for a monster house for a client where my entire house would fit in their garage, or in the kids' bedroom wing, or in the master suite wing, so I guess I'm not quite as excessive as I though...) Did they have any 'Model Homes" open to take a look at?

Looks like you made it the Butchart Gardens too?
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