Repairs Then on to Portland

Portland, OR

We left Florence on Monday morning to return to Coburg, just north of Eugene, for our return reservation at Cummins Northwest.  We stayed the night across I-5 at Premier RV Resort and arrived at the Cummins location just before the appointed hour on Tuesday morning.  The plan was for them to replace the defective engine fan assembly and a leaking exhaust manifold.  Neither task is that difficult in a normal vehicle where the engine is readily accessible.  But in a motorhome the engine is crammed into the back with limited access, so they end up having to remove many things just to get to the engine.   We were prepared for the work to take all day Tuesday and probably part of the morning on Wednesday.  Andy, our service writer, said they could pull the motorhome out of the garage on Tuesday night so we could sleep in it, but we decided to just spend the night at a hotel.  About mid-day on Tuesday we got the dreaded call from Andy.  It’s never good to get a call from the garage long before the work is scheduled to be completed.  That almost always means they found another problem.  Sure enough, they found the turbocharger was on its last legs and needed to be replaced!  OK, just add another $3,000 to the bill (just for the part!).  The good news is that since the turbocharger was already off and sitting on the workbench, there would be no extra labor to replace it.  Also, if it had died while we were driving, we would have had to be towed to a garage and had all the labor expense to replace it.  So while it is expensive, better now than later.

While the motorhome was in the shop, we drove down to Eugene to get some exercise with a walk around the University of Oregon.  We parked in one of the large, empty lots next to Autzen Stadium, where the Ducks play football.

In front of the stadium is a sculpture made up of large Xs and Os, symbols used to diagram plays for a football team.  At the base of each is an inspirational saying, most related to football with many pertaining to leadership or character.

But some of the sayings have a bit of humor to them.

Between the stadium complex (there is also a baseball park and soccer stadium) and the main campus located to the south is Alton Baker Park, a large area filled with hiking and biking paths.  As we crossed a small stream going into the park we saw where the university gets its nickname.

Two Oregon ducks swimming near the stadium

We walked through the park, crossed over the Willamette River, and entered the main campus of the University of Oregon.

Another important sports venue is located right inside the main campus.  Hayward Field was at one time where the school played its home football games.  Built in 1919, it served as home to both the football and the track team until Autzen Stadium was completed in 1966.  Today it is one of the most recognized track and field facilities in the country.

After our four mile walk we returned to the Cummins facility, where Andy informed us that a control unit necessary for the new fan assembly was not included in the shipping box.  He was not very happy about this as he had called the vendor and asked someone to check inside the box to be sure it was included before shipping.  When it was not there, he called the vendor again and got the same clerk back on the line.  He told Andy he though a small connection in the box was the controller, but it wasn’t.   Andy was very apologetic and assured us we would be ready to go the next day, as he had the part shipped overnight express.  The motorhome was able to be driven without the part so he had it parked in their customer area (water and electricity) so we wouldn’t have to spend another night in a hotel.  The part arrived just after noon on Thursday and the work was completed by mid-afternoon.  After we earned a boat load of frequent flyer miles paying the bill, we headed north to Portland, knowing that we would be going through the city at rush hour.

The Willamette River with Mt. Hood in the background (taken from I-5)

So we were not surprised when traffic came to a crawl as we entered the city limits.  It was bumper to bumper for the next 15 miles, but we just took our time while enjoying The Beatles Channel on Sirius/XM radio.

We finally arrived at our destination, Columbia River RV Park, and were greeted by a loud plane overhead as it took off from nearby Portland International Airport.  We knew the park was just west of the airport so the noise of the planes was not a surprise.

The sites in this park are a bit close together and the water pressure is pretty low, but the location is great, with easy access to the city as well as some hiking just to the east.

Traffic in Portland is insane, probably more than usual due to the upcoming eclipse.  So on Friday we avoided the roads and rode our bikes on the nice paved trail that runs along the nearby Columbia River.  We headed east on the path, taking us between the river and the airport.


Columbia River on the left, Mt. Hood in the center, and control tower on the right

Mt Hood on the left with a Southwest plane taking off from the airport

We rode the path for almost 10 miles before turning around next to a community of beautiful houseboats moored along the river at what is called a floating home marina.

The ride back was right into the wind, which increased as we rode, making the trip a bit more challenging.

We’ll be here in Portland for the next week and have some trips into the city and hiking in the nearby Columbia River Gorge on our agenda so it should be a fun week.

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28 Responses to Repairs Then on to Portland

  1. exploRVistas says:

    Love your attitude on the turbo, as it really is a positive that you found out at the point you did. The service writer probably found that refreshing. 🙂

    Ahhh, Hayward Field…the place where Steve Prefontaine ran (and won) his last race. Wow.

    • placestheygo says:

      Not much else we could do but take it in stride. We’ve been very lucky that we haven’t had any major problems in seven years.

      There is a plaque on the wall by the gate sharing Steve’s accomplishments.

  2. Yes, I’m sure you did earn quite a few frequent flyer miles!
    I loved riding that trail and seeing Mt. Hood in the distance.
    Hope you enjoy your time in Portland!

  3. Box Canyon Blogger Mark says:

    An honest post! The “happy-forever-sugar-coated-never-a-problem” Rv life in not all rainbows and unicorns…FYI. Your attitude suggests you took it in stride…as well as your ass 🙂 Hope you have got all mechanical issues out of the way for a while.
    Box Canyon Mark

  4. Susan Bank says:

    Life is too short to fuss about unexpected repairs. You’re absolutely right when you say it is much better to take care of potential problems before they stop your forward progress! Besides, frequent flyer miles!

  5. pmbweaver says:

    Mixed blessing for sure. Glad they found that turbocharger issue. I would hate for y’all to have to be towed.
    We happen to be at the University when they were having the track and field Olympic trials. Needless to say, most of the campus was off limit to walking. Big doings ya know.
    Gorgeous photos with Mt. Hood in the background. Isn’t it fantastic!

    • placestheygo says:

      We’ve been to the Hayward Field twice and thank goodness there was nothing going on either time so we could see the stadium. Mt Hood is very cool sticking up there all by itself.

  6. heyduke50 says:

    well with lighter wallets the bike riding should be easier…

  7. Steve & Dianne Colibaba says:

    RV repairs can never be simple, can they? Oh well…I guess it’s part of the lifestyle!
    Last December when we drove through Portland it was Sunday morning before 8 a.m….perfect time! Hardly a vehicle on the road. Otherwise, it’s always horrific, demanding much patience!
    Enjoy the Portland area!

    • placestheygo says:

      You two certainly understand the frustrations of repairs! Luckily, all went pretty smoothly with all our repairs. We went in to Portland Saturday for the Farmers Market and there wasn’t any traffic…much nicer!

  8. Debbie L says:

    Sounded like our experience this summer at Cummins! They found another major problem the same way. So much better now than later!
    Oh that Joe Theismann! Funny guy!
    One thing we’ve learned about RV parks is that they all have one thing or another, airplanes, railroads, road noise from nearby highways or roosters!

  9. Well, that extra expense must have been a surprise…but it was certainly timely!

    Portland traffic can be a bear…rush hour is brutal on the freeways. Otherwise, it’s a neat city, enjoy!

  10. Jodee Gravel says:

    Oh Joe…..
    Anything that avoids breakdowns on the road is time and money well spent! Still bummed we missed you by a day 😦 Great header pic. Did you ride past all the sketchy RVs parked along the road on the river? Quite the contrast to the beautiful floating homes.

    After Seattle and Portland we don’t need to do anymore big cities for a while.

    • placestheygo says:

      I can’t believe we missed you by a day! We’ll catch up at some point!
      There are sketchy areas all over here with all the homeless. So many unacceptable RV units along the road to mar the beauty of the floating homes.
      Cities don’t do much for us anymore.

  11. geogypsy2u says:

    Home repairs are rarely cheap, and more so when you add a motor. Glad they caught that problem even if if did cost more. Frequently windy along the Columbia but so much to see an do. Portland isn’t bad for a city.

    • placestheygo says:

      We visited the area earlier in the summer and had terrible wind along the river. The wind was so bad we couldn’t hike and driving the MH was very challenging. So far all has been calm.

  12. That’s an interesting take on why most RV parks are along the freeway, railroad track or near an airport–cheap land! Enjoy your time in Portland, one of my favorite cities.

    • placestheygo says:

      When you look at some of the RV park locations, you have to ask yourself, who would ever buy this land with its noise…someone who wants to build an RV park! Portland is low on our favorite list especially since there is too much traffic at all times of the day to go anywhere. We’ve never seen traffic like it has been here all day.

  13. Laurel says:

    So sorry to hear about the big expense, but as you said, better to discover and take care of the problems now. We really enjoy our visits to Portland, but we stay 15 miles outside of town at a beautiful, quiet, peaceful RV park. We drive in after rush hour, and leave either before or after the evening rush hour. We also always seem to be going opposite the avalanche of traffic. It’s worked well for us for several years (we visit once or twice a year because Eric’s sister lives there—and now our daughter and grandson have moved there!). I know you’ll have fun, no matter what. You always make the best of any situation. :-))

  14. Sherry says:

    Just love your attitude – neither unforeseen HUGE additional RV mechanical expenses, nor rush hour Portland Traffic nor a campground with spaces so close you can hardly open your door, nor airplanes taking off over your campground all day (and all night???-hope not), ruffle your feathers. Relax with the Beatles, earn super airline miles. Simply wonderful!!

  15. gt350ed says:

    It occurs to us that you have had more than your share of mechanical issues while living your great adventure. Yikes! $3,000 for a single part. We’ve been out for just over a year, but so far we’ve been lucky. Here’s to hoping your repairs are going to soon be seen disappearing in your rear camera (no pun intended).

    • placestheygo says:

      These are the first major repairs we’ve had in the seven years we’ve been on the road full time so we feel very lucky. We have a regular maintenance check up once a year with all necessary service and, of course, that isn’t cheap, but we all have to do this every year. So if you have our record for maintenance over seven years of continuous travel, you can count your blessings.

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