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  • Robert Gidley

Re-shaking Harvey

Jan 16, 2023 (Mon)

Greetings from the inside of Harvey!


When we last saw our intrepid heroes, they had just returned from a long drive through Canada and Alaska via the Alaska Highway and a short ferry boat ride back to Bellingham.


Harvey was a little worse for wear, what with bits and pieces being broken and missing. So his first stop was to the RV Spa in North Bend where he could get some loving. This loving did not extend to his Air Conditioning because it was really broken and needed replacement.


It only took three months for the replacement A/C unit to be located and delivered ready to install.

We got Harvey back from the spa just in time for the week of below-freezing weather where it got down to 15° (or “ridiculously cold” in Celsius). Fortunately, between the newly functional heater and an oil heater we put inside, we managed to keep Harvey just above freezing. The thought of the black water tank freezing and then bursting was plenty incentive to keep Harvey warm (although Robert’s idea of building a small fire inside was quickly shot down by the more sensible member of the partnership).


We’re taking Harvey out for a bit of a shakedown cruise (a “re-shakedown”?) to remind ourselves how everything works. Also, we want to remove some of the unnecessary stuff we’ve been lugging all over two different countries (“Protein Bars are great snacks—we’ll need at least two dozen!”).


11:50 Woodinville

We had wanted to leave yesterday (Sunday), but between this, that, and the other (some of which involved grandkids), we decided to leave Monday morning.


As a direct result of grandkids, Gini now has a cold, but in the true spirit of our pioneer forefathers, she refuses to stay home and lets Robert load up Harvey and get things ready to go. She then crawls onto the couch, pulls a blanket over her head and proceeds to sneeze and try to snooze.


Destination: The Peninsula. Someplace like Port Ludlow or Port Townsend or Port Wine. Decisions will be made when they need to be.


Gini enjoying roughing it in Harvey


12:30 pm Edmonds

We’re now waiting for the Kingston ferry, which departs in an hour. It was a mostly uneventful drive over, except for the exit that spun around in a big circle which Robert chose to go through at a brisk pace. This caused a basket full of vegetables to go airborne and end up narrowly missing Gini on the couch. “Told you vegetables were dangerous!” said Robert.


We do remember what happened the last time we went on this ferry. The Federal Government insists that we turn off our propane tank. Maybe they’re afraid that we’ll leave the stove on and fill Harvey with propane which will then ignite and singe all our hair off and that wouldn’t be a pretty sight. They don’t actually check, but we’re good(ish) rule followers and turn off our valve.


Our refrigerator has an “automatic” mode where it figures out the best power source. When Harvey is running (or plugged in), it uses electricity. If that’s not available, it uses propane. When that’s not available, it drains the battery to the point where maybe there’s enough left to start Harvey to get on the ferry or maybe there’s not.


So we turn off the refrigerator and read or snooze, depending on whether we’re driving or lounging on the couch.


4:00 pm Port Townsend

We have found a lovely little RV park, run by the Port of Port Townsend, which is right on the water. We head to the office to check in and find the sign that says “You have to make a reservation on our on-line system.”


Easy-peasy, let’s go!


We are here


5:00 pm Port Townsend

Not only is this the s-l-o-w-e-s-t website we’ve ever seen, we’re tying ourselves in knots trying to figure out how to tell it, “We want this spot right here, where nobody is parked and which has a lovely view.”


They don’t have a map, or list all the sites in numerical order, or anything sensible like that. They are grouped (“Premium,” “Back Lot,” “Admiral’s Pocket”).


After an hour, we finally get it to agree to take our money, but only for tonight. We think this process explains why there is exactly nobody else here. Every spot is empty.


Harvey in his lonely, but picturesque, camping spot


9:00 pm Port Townsend

When it comes time to sleep in Harvey, there’s a process:

  1. Clear all the crap off the table and the table seats and stow it below the table.

  2. Turn the table into half a bed.

  3. Pull the mattress topper out from behind the couch.

  4. Turn the couch into the other half of the bed.

  5. Put the mattress topper on top of the now complete bed (because the “mattress” made from the couch has all the charm and comfort of a fraternity couch).

  6. Pull the sleeping bag and pillows out and settle in.


Aha! We thought. What if we just made half a bed out of the couch! We would save half the work!

  1. Put all the crap on top of the table.

  2. Pull the mattress topper out.

  3. Turn the couch into half a bed.

  4. Spend twenty minutes trying to fold a queen-sized mattress topper in half so it’s a twin size mattress topper.

  5. Try (and fail) to get the sleeping bag to fit into the half-sized space.

  6. Give up and clamber into the half-sized bed.

The good thing is that it was lots easier to get out of bed to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. The bad thing is that this process involves falling head-first onto the floor and then bringing your leg up and over, much like a contortionist might do .


Overall, we decide that the traditional ways are best.


One of the drawbacks to the half-a-bed solution…


Gini & Robert

Harvey Staff

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