Sunday, July 8, 2012

We're in the Army now

Friday we drove from Washington’s Seaquest State Park not far from Mt. St. Helens to the RV Travel Camp at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, a huge Army/Air force base just north of Olympia, Washington.  That’s where we are as I write. This place is SO different from Tucson’s Davis Monthan Air Force base where we spent the winter.  Davis Monthan felt like a small, friendly town.  Lewis-McChord seems ... well, it seems huge.  So huge that it has six freeway exits off I-5 leading to it and three separate RV parks, plus everything that goes with separate Army and Air Force bases that were combined into one in 2005.
Since 9/11, military bases do 100 percent ID checks, meaning everyone who enters has to have a military ID or visitor’s pass.  No problem there, because Jim and I both have military IDs.  However, when we got to the Lewis-McChord gate, the guard said we also needed passes for both our rig and our tow car -- which we had to get at the base visitor's center by presenting registration and proof of insurance for both vehicles, something we hadn’t needed at Davis Monthan.  So the guard stopped traffic and walked us through a U turn that would take us out the gate and to the visitors’ center.  Only we missed the visitors’ center and drove to a different guard station.  Once again a guard (kindly) stopped traffic and walked ahead of us as we made a U turn back once again.  This time we found the visitors' center.  When we gathered our paperwork, however, the auto insurance card we'd brought from home showed an expiration date of June 25.  That meant our new insurance card was sitting at home with the growing pile of mail Ashley forwards to us once a month.  Great.
I called our insurance agent, who emailed me a copy of our new card and the visitors’ center accepted it in PDF format on my iPhone.  So a shout out to the friendly and efficient folks at the Lewis-McChord visitors' center and a bigger shout out to our Farmers Insurance agent, Rick Augustine, who had our new proof of insurance to us in less than three minutes from the time I started dialing his phone number.  Thank you, Rick. 
Bottom line:  We’re at Lewis-McChord and will be here several more days.   We’re having a great time and I’ll fill you in via several more posts. 
Our spot at the Lewis-McChord RV Travel Camp, which  looks and feels like a state park:  lots of families with kids (as opposed to Davis Monthan, where Jim and I were at the younger end of the age scale), very wooded, and a nearby lake with a beach and boat rental.  We like our location, but we had a tough time getting the rig level because the site is high in the back.  Jim came up with a plan to back up until our rear tires were off the pad, which brought down the back end. (We had to trim some branches at the back of the site first, and got permission from the Travel Camp office.) After all that, we still had to raise up the front end. But all is now well and the next occupant will have an easier time getting level.

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