with Lorelle and Brent VanFossen

Where is Lorelle? Redmond, Oregon

When my mother grabbed the map and yelled over the sound of wind and traffic rushing into the motor home windows that the nearest “big” town was Redmond, I heard “Redman”. Well, just like the famous “Redmond” in Washington State, home of Bill Gates’ fortune and fame, Microsoft, there is also a Redmond, Oregon. After traveling through such beautiful Indian and Cowboy country, I would have expected “Redman” to be an appropriate town name.

The winds were open, in fact, all of the windows in the motor home were open because we’d just stopped to take in an awe-inspiring scenic view when my mother ducked into the back of the motor home to “check out the loo” and mentioned she smelled ammonia. I ordered her out of the motor home NOW and, thankfully, she moved without question. I opened up all the windows and turned off the fridge and stood outside for a bit. I then ducked inside and traced the smell to the refrigerator, an old beat-up, used piece of crap my father had put in by a total idiot a few years ago that has been the bane of our existence from day one. When it works, it freezes the hell out of EVERYTHING. When it doesn’t, it becomes a hot box. It takes four or five steps to light, and then you have to check it constantly. Even when hooked to electricity. My father was very unhappy with the fridge and it’s installation, having been hobbled together from three different RV fridges and put together with pieces hanging around, so he took it back the next day to find that the guy had been arrested for who knows what and was in jail, never to be heard from again. Such is the story with all of his “projects” and “fixes”. I just keep moving on, ignoring them and living with the consequences.

So it wasn’t a surprise and the first culprit for any ammonia smell.

Leaking refrigerant coolant can kill. Have no doubts about that. This could have been leaking in the night and you might have found our dead bodies rotting in the parking lot of some WalMart or grocery store around the country. But we caught it and I drove like a crazy person, keeping the vehicle moving and air flowing through, to the nearest RV repair shop, which, of course, can’t get to it until tomorrow morning at the soonest. Let’s hope no one smokes near it tonight. Could be a hell of an explosion.

We found a motel on the other side of Redmond and walked over to the nearby WalMart (how appropriate) to get an ice chest. I told them to yank the sucker out and pitch it. I’m done with that fridge. We’ll get a taxi back early in the morning to await their completion. Buggers.

Also, my apologizes for my last post. I couldn’t hang onto a WIFI connection for more than a few minutes and I tried for over an hour to get the last post to fully submit all of its parts to the database but only the post content would go, not the details, so the formatting was all screwed up.

We’ve been in east and central Oregon where towns and gas stations are very hard to find and far apart. And few people know what WIFI is, though some do when you translate it to “wireless Internet”. I love watching the light bulb go off and then the face screw up and I know the next thing coming out of their mouths is “I’ve heard about that.” Not much good that does for me, though.

We’ve also had no cell phone connection. My mother and I have different cell companies and both failed to connect most of the time. And when they do, step a meter to the side and you lose the signal. My mother likes to check in with her husband regularly, as they have a business together and grandchildren to discuss and so on, and she had a hard time for four days finding a signal. I gave up after two days. She has more patience than I.

Brent made it back home from his own trip to Oregon (no, I didn’t get to see him – darn!!!) and had the time of his life with old and new friends, playing guitar and learning a lot of new things. His trip, he reports, was absolutely fantastic until the return flight home when he was met with late flights causing him to potentially miss connecting flights, that luckily (and unluckily) were delayed without notice, lost luggage, and a dead car battery in the airport that was shut down because his was the last flight in and no one was anywhere. Ugh. He managed to get the car started (yeah, clutches!) and went home and crashed in the middle of the night. He picked up our two fuzzy kitty children and they seemed to have survived their own 10 day adventure, and Brent is off to get a new car battery for his first evening back. Ain’t travel fun and exciting!

After more genealogical success in Portland, my mother and I headed for The Dalles, Oregon, to look up and photograph my paternal grandmother’s tombstone. The cemetery was much larger than I remembered and I could recall was that the last time I was there, the stone was way back from the road and and near some low lying green bushes. Well, those low lying green bushes turned into tower bushy trees so I wasn’t sure where the stone was, but we did find it! This saved us spending the night there waiting for the office to open in the morning.

So we drove on into the Oregon mountains towards more fun and adventure.

We took our time, chatting and catching up on years of too quick of visits, and I grilled her about her family’s history, tree, and stories. We also took time out to go through some of my research paperwork, adding information on our family tree and history into my computer.

We went to the John Day – Painted Hills Unit to photograph the famous and incredibly unusual Painted Hills in sunset, was a bit of dud but I worked with what I had. And then we drove on to spend a couple days at Kah-nee-ta – Hot Springs and Casino. We ignored the casino and main hotel, camping in their lovely RV park near the hot springs pool and spa, and spoiled ourselves for a change.

We left late this morning, after feeling totally refreshed and ready for more days on the road exploring, and then the crap hits the fan and the fridge breaks.

They will pull and toss it in the morning and we’ll hit the road with an old fashioned ice chest for the rest of the trip over the mountains and to the coast. We just learn to cope with what we have and do the best we can with the rest.

One Trackback

  • [...] I know I left you all hanging with the fridge ammonia coolant leak in Redmond, Oregon, but I returned home to find that after one quick check of my website comments and then collapsing into a bed without wheels, I awoke to find my website turned off. The only thing I can figure out, since I have less than cooperative hosts, is that killing off the more than 1000 comment spams on this site, that were stopped before posting but still held in the database for my review, triggered too many hits on the database and that threw up a red flag, which is easy to do around this horrid host server, and they automatically shut down the site. [...]

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