Eleven Mile 6% Downgrade


Near Santiam Pass
This is what the area looked like today at Santiam Pass.

There are several options over the mountains between Sisters and Junction City.  I tend to take the easier route on general principles but historically

Fortunately, this is NOT what we saw today but the last time I was over this pass (in a Semi) it's about what the area looked like.
Fortunately, this is NOT what we saw today but the last time I was over this pass (in a Semi) it’s about what the area looked like.

I have a thing about US-20 and I wanted to take that route, the more difficult of the three available routes this time of year.  And there comes a point on the highway when you see:

11 mile long 6% downgrade – First Warning

Then a little way you see,

11 mile long 6% downgrade – Second Warning

Then a little way later you see,

11 mile long 6% downgrade!

This isn’t the steepest downgrade we have tackled.  Nor is it the longest downgrade we have tackled.  But there’s good reason for the  cautions.  And as it turns out we did well to be careful as our Brake Buddy is currently kaput. BrakeBuddy_300 

We had some inkling of possible problems when I set up the Brake Buddy this morning.  Upon plugging it in the compressor made the most horrible sound — and after a few seconds it went back to normal.  The pre-drive test cycles all did what they were supposed to do and the car seemed to tow Ok all day long.

But when I removed the Brake Buddy at the dealership this afternoon something was clearly wrong.  No sound, no compressor, no air pressure on the gauge.  I took down the pertinent info and called the factory (located in Emporia KS) to find out what the repair process might be.

They want me to return it to them for repair and they’ll ship it back to us.  Perhaps it’s a good thing that we are delayed getting into the service bays here.  That delay should give FedEx time to deliver our Brake Buddy, get it fixed, and returned before we are scheduled to depart Oregon.  God is Good.  All the time.

Tomorrow we head to the FedEx store to ship off our Brake Buddy; and cross our fingers, hands, legs, and eyes that they get it back to us in short order.  There’s no good place to ship to once we leave here until we arrive back in the Midwest and that’s not acceptable with mountains between here and there.

Upon arrival we chatted with Dan the Service Manager.  I took a couple items off our repair list and Dan had some really good suggestions — one of the reasons I really like this dealership.  If it weren’t for him I wouldn’t feel any particular loyalty here — but he makes it all worth it.

We now have until June to do whatever we want.  We debated whether to spend some of the time parked on their lot or go elsewhere — they have two areas equipped for RV overnighters:  some with electric and a few with electric & water  — one of which we took.  After checking state parks, federal properties, and private RV parks we are most likely to stay here and do day trips from here.  We’ll visit Belva our old boss, and some of the volunteers who are still there — or who have returned for this season.  We’ll make a trip to Newport for sure — I always love their harbor and the interesting boats to be found there.  As I mentioned, there are wildlife refuges nearby.  And wineries.  There are more things to do right here than we’ll ever get around to; and I plan on just cooling my jets a little in a pleasant place.

There’s nothing picturesque about the site.  But it sure is interesting as the dealership moves a lot of vehicles in and out all day long.  We have a good sight-line for our satellite and we’re comfy cozy.  And the price is right.  If they had not erred about the service appointment I’d feel bad about ‘taking advantage’ — but under the circumstances it’s fair this way and we’ll be spending more than enough while we’re here.mor:ryde slides

One of the results of our conversation with Dan was that we decided against installing Mor/Ryde sliding storage trays.  The obvious consequence of adding the sliding trays is that the trays have to be higher than the bottom of the large bay doors, and that you have to allow room for mounting hardware.  After looking at how much gear we carry (after all, we are full-timers and everything we have we carry with us) we figured out how much storage space we would be ‘losing’ and the cost of lost storage was higher than the cost of the trays.  And, we saved a ton of money: those trays are a bit pricey.  We thought the expense might be worth it for the convenience.  But not that worth it.

So, there you have it.  Not an exciting day, but very interesting.  I’m glad to be in a spot where the coach will be stationary for a couple weeks.  Shortly before we leave here we’ll go to Safeway and stock up the refrigerator.  If we buy more than $100.00 from Safeway with our frequent buyer card we’ll get a $0.10 discount at the fuel island.  ( I think there’s a $25 limit — or is it 25 gallon limit — I don’t remember; it’s been over a year since we used it) Right now we’ll need to put onboard about 65 gallons!  <choke, choke, gasp>

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll talk with you tomorrow.

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4 Comments

    1. 10-4 on hanging out on the 45th parallel!
      I’d have to refresh my memory on just where US-20 travels. We have likewise talked about running various routes from one end to the other — unfortunately some of the formerly coast to coast or border to border routes have been partially decommissioned and no longer RUN from end to end.
      I like US-20. I like US-50 as well. We have done US-2 from WA to the UP, but not the UP to East Coast. We have done parts of US-50. I would love to do US-41 North to South. All in good time, I think.

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