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  • Robert Gidley

A New Harvey!?!

Updated: Feb 9

Sun, Feb 6, 2022

Vernonia, Oregon

We find ourselfs in a guesthouse in the backyard of a lovely couple--Ed and Heather and their 12-year-old daughter Nova--snuggled by a comfy fire drinking tea and contemplating our about-to-be brand new Harvey, parked snuggly in a nice, warm garage.


"Wait," you say, "you already had an RV picked out, yes?" (see "Is This our RV?"; apparently, the answer was "No!").


Well, we thought we did, but then Gini got to thinking about seatbelts. Seems the original Harvey (the proto-Harvey) had a couch and a couple of captain's chairs in the back (captain's chairs are the swively kind of chairs with arms, so-called because after a couple of shots of Captain Morgan, about all you can do is swivel).


Anyway, it turns out that if you put seatbelts on Captain's chairs, you just create a more swively death trap. Part of our goal with Harvey is to occassionally toss in a grandchild and expose them to the U.S. ("Especially the world's largest chicken!" says Robert). Even though grand-daughter Zoe promised to hold herself in place "really tight," we're concerned the Washington State Patrol might have a different opinion,


Anyway, we need seatbelts, declared Gini. Also, the bed is kind of teeny.


So, Gini continued to scour the web and came up with a Chinook Concourse that had bench seating resulting in seven additional seat belts (which is more people than we'd be comfortable being that close to), and a bigger bed (opinions differ as to whether it's a King Size or "merely" a Queen size bed).


This shining RV was located in a tiny (pop 2,100) town northwest of Portland, called "Vernonia" (settled 1874). So we found ourselves driving (once again) down I-5 on a foggy/sunny day.


Once we turned off the highway and onto the 47 mile road to Vernonia, the fog lifted and we had a glorious drive through tree-soaked hillsides. There's pretty much nothing anywhere close to Vernonia, and we weren't surprised we'd never heard of it.


Gini conducted her rigorous tests for suitability, with the aid of Heather:

  • Can I get in and out of the passenger side seat?

  • Can I get in and out of the bathroom without assistance?

  • Does it look amazing?

Meanwhile, Robert conducted his test, which consisted of chatting with Ed about what he'd done to it (a lot!).


Gini declared herself satisifed. After a brief test drive ("Boy, you can sure feel that V-10!") Robert declared himself satisfied and the deal was struck.


How we gonna buy it?

Now there's just the teeny little problem of how to buy it on a Sunday. After an amazingly brief period of discussion, Ed and Heather offer to put us up in their guest house and tomorrow morning, we'll contact our bank and arrange to have money wired to them (just like big-time criminals in the movies!).


Also, they built us a fire and gave us tea and cookies, so we're nice and comfy and feeling golden.

We were also served a wonderful lunch and later a lovely dinner by Heather. This is definitely a five star Airbnb!


Gini relaxing in our Vernonia guest house!


Cello concerts and oodles of stars

Robert has wandered off with Ed to learn "all about" Harvey (Robert pays particularly close attention to the process of emptying the black water tank," because--well, mistakes here are not comical).


Meanwhile, Gini and Heather are busy discussing RV decorating tips, and what sort of china should be used ("I always used the nice china," says Heather; Robert was thinking "Plastic and indestructable").


After all is said and done and carefully notated (Robert used to be a technical writer, and has practice at taking notes about things he doesn't actually understand), Robert wanders back to our cozy room.


Robert brought along his ukulele so he could practice and Nova (Ed and Heather's daughter) wants to hear a song on the ukulele. Robert is happy to oblige ("I don't get asked often!" says Robert).


Then we all troupe up to the house to listen to Nova play her cello. Our own personal concert! She's been playing for four years, and has good intonation and a steady hand and we are just tickled pink to have our own concert. Then we show them some videos of granddaughter Zoe Elan (check out Hey Cooper).


Whew! We're tuckered out and head back to our cottage to get to sleep.


But then it occurs to Robert that "We are way and the heck in the middle of nowhere!"


"Yeah, so?," yawns Gini.


"No light pollution! Stars! Oodles of 'em!" replies Robert.


Sure enough, we turn off the lights, walk outside and Holy Sweet Carl Sagan there are billions and billions of stars!


"This will be the first of many nights spent stargazing out in the wilderness," says Gini, "now that we have our own RV!"


"Yawn" replies Robert and we're soon fast asleep dreaming of new adventures.

Gini & Robert

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