This last weekend was the weekend when our local fishing club has its annual trip to banks Lake. Banks Lake is a 27 mile long lake in Eastern Washington, very close to grand Coulee dam. In fact, banks Lake is the equalizing reservoir for grand Coulee dam. Banks Lake is 600 feet higher in elevation than the lake behind grand Coulee dam. At times when electrical demand is low, grand Coulee dam pumps immense amounts of water into banks Lake. When additional electricity is needed, water is taken back out from banks Lake and dropped through the turbines to produce additional electricity. Banks Lake is also the irrigation water source for much of eastern Washington and the Coulee basin irrigation project. Banks Lake has a large population of many species of fish, including rainbow trout, walleye, large mouth bass, small mouth bass, yellow perch, crappies, Burbot, and probably a few other species of fish that I don't even know about.
Since it is a seven and one Half Hour Drive to banks Lake, we decided to go over one day early, and have a bit more of a vacation. Keewee had to work on Wednesday morning and afternoon, but we figured we should be able to hit the road on Wednesday afternoon or early evening, and drive most of the way to Banks Lake. We planned to stop a couple of hours short of Banks Lake, get some sleep, and drive the rest of the way to the lake on Thursday morning.
On Tuesday I checked over the RV, and got everything packed and ready to go. All that I had left to do on Wednesday was to put tabs on the boat and trailer, grease the trailer wheels, and hook up the trailer lights to make sure they still all worked. That of course, shouldn't take very long. I had checked all of the lights on the RV the previous weekend, and everything was working perfectly.You do know what they say about the best laid plans.
I plugged the trailer lights cable into the back of the RV, and turned on the lights. The turn signals worked on both sides, but the entire left side of the trailer and the trailer lights were totally dead. A bit of further investigation showed that the entire rear lights on the RV did not work either. My first suspicion, and usually the easiest to locate and fix, was a bad ground somewhere on the left side rear wiring of the RV. Unfortunately, a little time spent with the ohmmeter revealed that the ground was just fine. I was going to have to back the RV into the barn where there was a concrete floor, so that I could get under the RV and trace the individual wiring and wires.
I pulled the boat trailer out of the way and opened the overhead garage door so that I could back the RV into the barn. Unfortunately I miscalculated the height of the RV by approximately 3/4 of an inch. As I backed the RV into the barn I heard the sound of crunching plastic. Wonderful! I had just shattered the overhead vent against the garage door.
A few hours later, I had manufactured and painted a replacement hatch cover out of half inch plywood that I bolted over the ceiling vent where the hatch cover used to be. on one of the many trips in and out of the RV, I mis-judged the step, my foot slipped off the edge, hitting the ground on its side, followed by me falling out of the RV into the driveway. the next thing that I knew, I was lying flat on my back in the driveway and KeeWee was asking me why I was laying down in the driveway. I explained to her that I was waiting for the pain to stop in my ankle before I tried to stand up. Fortunately, it was only a light sprain, and it did not swell up too much. Now, it was 10 PM, and time to get back to the wiring!
I opened the garage door to give me more overhead clearance, and back the RV into the barn. This time, without any crunching noises. sliding under the RV, I could see that a number of wiring taps had been used to splice the taillight wiring into the main wiring harness. The type of tap that was used was the kind where you slip it over one wire, slip the second wire into it, and squeeze it closed with a pair of pliers. That type of connection is notoriously unreliable. By wiggling the wires, I could get the tail lights to come on and go off randomly. The only solution was to replace all of the connectors in that section of the wiring harness. A few hours later, after having replaced all of the cheesy connectors, all of the lights worked just like they were supposed to. By now, it was almost 3 AM . What fun!
The next morning, I slept in a bit. Then it was time to hook up the trailer, and load everything into the RV so we could get on the road. When Keewee got home from work we loaded the outboard motor the fishing tackle and a few other things and we were ready to hit the road. If all went according to plan, we should be able to reach Pateros, where we planned to spend the night, well before midnight. Unfortunately, a deer decided to commit suicide by jumping in front of us in the middle of the night. The deer was hiding behind a guardrail, and jumped over the guardrail just as we approached, so there was no way that we could have avoided the deer. Fortunately we were traveling fast enough and the deer misjudged our speed slightly, so that it missed our headlights and grille, and ran into the side of the RV. Just behind the cab of our RV the fiberglass portion of the body is perhaps 6 inches wider than the cab, and that slightly wider part hit the deer in the side of the head, probably killing it instantly. There were two loud thumps when the deer and the RV came together, one when the deer's head hit the side of the RV, and the second loud thump when the deer spun around and its hindquarters hit the side of the RV near the rear wheel. That second impact probably bounced the deer into the ditch rather than being run over by the boat and trailer. We were in a very remote area where this impact happened, and sense the RV seemed to be running and driving normally I decided to continue on another 10 miles to Winthrop where I could inspect the RV under streetlights rather than in total darkness. When we got to Winthrop, to my amazement, there was virtually no damage. There was a small crack in the fiberglass, and the side door into the RV was binding a little bit, but that was all. WHEW!
We drove the rest of the way from Winthrop to Pateros without incident, and parked on a side street for a few hours sleep. The next morning we had breakfast in a local restaurant, and then continued on to Coulee Playland resort on the north and of Banks Lake.
Once we got to Banks Lake I launched the boat, and ran it over to our camp site. after we had settled into the campsite and we had everything set organized, it was time to sit down, have a cool drink, and unwind a bit. The weather was beautiful and there was no wind, which is unusual for banks Lake. I sorted out the fishing tackle, and loaded all of the fishing gear into the boat. It was time for a few hours of late afternoon and evening bass fishing. Since the weather was wind free, I decided to run the boat fairly far down the lake to fish. Even though I did not get in too many hours of fishing, and a couple of the places that I first tried produced no fish, the last place I stopped had fish to be caught. Before it got dark, I ran the boat back up the lake to our campsite.
The next day (Friday) the wind came up and the lake was covered with whitecaps. It was way too rough to fish all day. Saturday morning Keewee and I took the boat back down the lake for some walleye fishing. We went to an area that I had fished many times before in previous years, and had caught a few walleye there. This year, walleye fishing was quite good, and the walleye were of good size. I caught three walleye ranging from 19 to 21 inches long and the three fish combined weighed nearly 9 pounds.
After a morning of walleye fishing, we headed back to the campsite. I filleted the fish, so we could fry the fillets for our potluck dinner that afternoon. They were delicious! Later in the day the wind came up again, and it blew all night, and Sunday morning too. Sunday morning it was still blowing, so we were unable to do any more fishing. We loaded the boat back onto the trailer, and headed home. The drive home was long, and tiring, but uneventful, thank goodness.
It had been a long weekend, many miles traveled, good fishing, good eating, fellowship, and a nice break from our sometimes hectic pace of life.
KeeWee took a number of pictures on this trip, and she has them posted on her blog KeeWees Corner
. Go have a look.
Note: this blog post was dictated entirely using Dragon naturally speaking software, hence the possibility of phonetically correct words that are actually misspelled. I tried to catch those but I am sure that I miss some.