Chasing the L&C Gang up the Hill

Tuesday, May 13, 2008 -- Hells Gate State Park near Lewiston, ID

So here we are in Idaho, in hot pursuit of the Lewis & Clark Corps of Discovery (about 202 years too late) as they head back east to report their findings to President Thomas Jefferson. The trail may be cooling, but our intrepid explorers are still able to find evidence of their passing.

The route today was down Hwy 12 from where it leaves the Columbia River near Wallula, WA. and heads east past Walla Walla (what a great name for a town)... (and what great onions they grow!) through the large rolling hills of Eastern Washington. We ended our travels today at Hells Gate State Park just south of Lewiston, ID. right along the banks of the Snake River. I was a little disappointed to find the Corp of Discovery didn't stay at this park despite it having full hookups and flush toilets -- but who's to say what mountain men of the early 19th century wanted!

But we're finding this park has it's problems too. First, water pressure. Experienced RV'ers carry a water pressure regulator with them, as they've learned that water pressure can vary from park to park. When a park has low water pressure, you fill the fresh water holding tank, disconnect from the park water source, and use your on-board water pump to live off your tank water. If water pressure is to high, you use that pressure regulator to keep the excessive pressure from blowing out your plumbing. The plumbing system of an RV is typically tested to 100 psi or more, but it's prudent to keep the pressure between 40 and 60 psi. We've been in parks before where the pressure is 80 or 90 psi -- you'll get a great shower but there's a real risk that somethings gonna blow and you really don't want to come back from a day of exploring to find water running out your front door.

Well, Hells Gate State Park has water pressure of almost 140 psi. Yikes! Wow! ManOMan! That's almost guaranteed to blow something. I asked a Park Ranger about it and he said "Wow, is it really that high?" and "We've had problems but no one can figure out what's wrong." I suggested making sure everyone who checks in is told about the problem -- he said they'd consider that. I hope so. Sheesh!

The other problem is one we haven't experience much... too much voltage. I'm not an electrician so I don't know what's causing the problem, but the park is running at 127 to 130 volts. Our surge suppressor, which protects the electrical system of the RV, is set to cut power too the bus-house if the voltage gets too high or too low. Tonight, it's cut off our power due to high voltage at least twice so far.

These modern day park issues reinforce the old early-American notion of self-reliance -- a trait that the L&C Gang held dear. Don't rely on others to provide reliable service or supplies, be ready to take care of yourself when necessary.

That said, we may be moving eastward tomorrow.



Joe Pitman said…
Thom, sounds like this park should share some of its power and pressure with other less fortunate. Most places you go you never have enough.

Joe and Sherri

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