Wednesday, June 27, 2012

June trip across America

I was not quite ready to purchase a new motorhome this month, as my life's calender is full thru August.  However, one coach that had caught my eye was soon to go to a dealer, so I stepped up to bat and got tickets to fly,   Once Again!

Flew from Tampa to the N.W.'s Portland Oregon, then jumped in an Avis weekly special to check out a 40' model who's owner and I were communicating for over 2 months.  I was ready to move on it if the coach was what I was looking for/ very good condition and within a range of prices that  the owner and I could agree on.  More mods and upgrades = more $; but the more stock = less $. 

 I covered that last point by email, before traveling west explaining that if all went well during an inspection of the coach, I felt my offer would be between X and Y and if he felt he was OK with that range, then I'd be willing to fly across the country to inspect the coach.  ( I have done that, considering a range of values,  with any coach that was distant to my location; otherwise I traveled, inspected and either walked, discussed or decided to 'give it some thought first-before ever thinking of talking $).
This coach has a few OEM mods, a TV and stereo in a lower bay for outside viewing,  a change from factory Queen bed aft, to a California King with cabinetry mods done by the factory.  Wonderful bed........slept extraordinarily well, which is great for a guy with several old back injuries!  Sofa and valances redone with fabric/not my favorite, but hey? not a deal breaker... some extra gear and it seems,,, very well cared for!  Perfect? no, but yes it's 11 years old.
 Deal was done day one, wire transfer to his account and title in my hand with dinner by 6 p.m.!   Done.

Took a side trip south to visit a 'young then' but now older friend, Odis Sanders.    I coached and managed him as a world class runner in the late 70's and early 80's.  "Google" the name.

  Was lucky enough to be flying into his home state of Oregon, on his 53rd birthday, so it was a fun get together and we pigged out at a local casino's rib, shrimp, ummmmm.
 Nice place!

  By the way, he's still competitively running in Masters divisions--winning, or placing very high.  God bless him!

After the purchase of the Foretravel 2001 U320 40' coach, I drove it south from Washington State to Eugene Oregon; arriving at Oregon Motorcoach Center, a repair/warrantee service center on the west coast for Foretravel which is based in Texas.  This was a 'fun' experience that went quite well.  This rig is the biggest thing I've driven, much bigger than the NYC firetrucks I drove in Brooklyn, way back when,  but it was just fine.  Passing over the Columbia River on the North side of the city of Portland I caught a view of a nice looking marina down below so shooting like Kit Carson, I fired away/never looking at my target..........always keeping my eyes on the road!  A couple of shots came out well! ;)

 Wanted the Eugene facility to check out all systems and do a few things prior to doing any extensive travel.

Flew out early the next morning at 5:20 a.m. on a puddle jumper to Portland, Or. and then--on a Southwest flight thru Chicago to NYC,  to visit with family/ my family's graves and old high school friends before heading back to Florida and then on to Panama.  I did say I had a busy month planned....?
                                                       Hudson Canal, Freeport, NY.
My friend Frankie Carillo, a year senior to me in high school, is an avid fisherman so immediately we were heading out for some Striper fishing!

After fishing we had a few beers on Woodcleft Canal's Miracle Mile-- a must do endeavor if your on the south shore of Long Island; then he drove me past my old house.  Was glad to see the new owners are keeping the 117+ yr. old place, in great shape.  Freeport, Long Island, was established in 1644, only a short period after the landing of the Mayflower in 1620.  It had a natural inlet from the Atlantic, the Freeport River that led miles inland across marshlands from the barrier islands along the southern coast.  Later on, Freeport was known for the rum runners during the prohibition years, with Freeport families becoming excellent boat builders for the trade........ Ah Matey! Grrrrrr. good days they were. Fun historic town! Oh, forgot to mention Al Grover, an older guy who had a great boat building shop in town took his outboard powerd boat from Freeport west to Norway!  yup in an outboard powered boat in the 70's!! Yikes this town has heritage!! My homee(above) had been the residence of a Freeport President in the 30's and 2 mayors after that.  The neighborhood had also been the the eastern location for the Marx brothers, Jean Harlow, Broderick Crawford and many many other Hollywood movie stars that worked the movie sets of Roosevelt Field as "Hollywood East", just a couple of miles north.  Neat old homes all!

Was great being on the old south shore bays I grew up... and the smell of the marshes and bog and sea weed..... was just delightful!  Wonderful to see some of the old  bay houses, originally built by fishermen and squatters of the depression years, still being maintained and enjoyed by local families.

Flying back from west to cannot discount the beauty of America.  I was blessed with clear air for all of the journey.
                       Mt. St. Helen's and Mt, Rainier in backround on flight from Portland.
All has gone well and I'm now awaiting an overdue flight to Tampa.  Life is good.