Winter Chuckanut Westfalias News
Dear Friends of Chuckanut Westfalias,
Sitting in our home on wooded Chuckanut Point, looking out at eight inches of new snow covering the trees and the prospect of more we can’t help but think of spring and summer camping. Despite a very slow and unsteady start to last rental season we are happy to say that we survived the extremely confusing National Park and Forest Service shut downs and we were able to help our customers find peaceful places to camp. With greater acceptance of mask and distancing procedures and the hope of vaccines giving protection from illness, we are looking forward to spring, summer and fall camping season.
We are not very optimistic about the opening of the Canadian border because many border-states have not embraced the concept of group pandemic control and Canada will not just open the border with British Columbia alone. Locally, our favorite camp spot on the Makah reservation will not open until they reach 80% vaccination but tribal members are not against the vaccine and the opening of that campground will likely happen in May or June. We would suggest that you go online and start making reservations where that is possible for State and National Parks. It looks like Oregon has gone back to reserving 6 months in advance and it gives you a better chance of getting a great camp site if you reserve now. Also, don’t forget about Hip Camp and use the iOverlander app when searching for out of the way places to camp. We are accepting reservations at this time without a deposit and there is no payment due until 7 days before your rent. All that is required is a card to authorize but not charge the damage deposit for the reservation. In these changing times we do not want our customers to feel trapped into a reservation.
Here are a few updates:
- Bedding/carpet/your safety update– We are going to supply everything but bedding this year. Washing sleeping bags and keeping them safe for our customers is just too challenging for us. We are going back to providing a carpet in the vans and have found that our combination of complete vapor cleaning and use of the ultra violet light and ozone circulation have made our vans a safe place for our renters. We wash every dish, cup and utensil in the dishwasher on high heat to sterilize them before your rent and wear gloves when we load the van.
- Honu-That van spent the winter in San Francisco with our son Kjell and wife Molly. It will be back in spring for rentals with few modifications. It has been a great van and it will get a full service (bearings, alignment, ball joint examination) before it goes back on rent. It looks like a new set of tires is also in order. In September we removed the heater, replaced the fan and electronics and cleaned all of the ductwork and re-sealed the diverters. It has made a great difference in the heating system with more air on the windshield. Honu is completely off grid friendly now with two large permanent solar panels on the roof.
- VanGogh-Bob is building a Subaru engine from scratch at the machine shop and will install it by April 1. It will also get a transmission inspection and the addition of higher 3rd and 4th gears to help it match the Subaru engine. VanGogh will still get 20mpg but will do so with twice the power. We put in higher gears to keep the mileage up, not to allow our customers to drive faster. On the long list is dash board and heater upgrade, full service (bearings, alignment, ball joint examination) and possibly new tires. Van Gogh will get two large solar panels to make it an off grid vehicle.
- Silver Star-This Pleasure Way Tofino has turned out to be our most popular rental with 20,000 miles of rentals last season. It did laps between Chuckanut and Yellowstone. We raised the van 1 ½”, added Koni struts and Fox shocks this winter, changed the running boards to ones that are not slippery, raised all of the plumbing and installed Toyo ATIII tires to make it more forest service road friendly. As a result of the changes we are adjusting the maximum speed to 65 mph. We still have not found a way to use a bike rack on this van because of the door configuration but we are working on it. We have used Silver Star as our base when we visit Bob’s 92 year old mother and the furnace is quiet and makes it a perfect winter/early spring vehicle. The interior height makes the van much more comfortable with the pop-top down. With Lithium Ion batteries and two solar panels this van is an off grid vehicle. There is a video tour of the van on the web site if you have not seen it yet.
- Salish-We ordered this Pleasure Way Ontour 2.0 van yesterday. It is based on a Ford Chasis, has a gasoline twin turbo engine with 400 H.P. and a 10-speed transmission and gets 16-18 mpg. It is 19 feet in length and has a toilet, shower, medium sized refrigerator, microwave, induction range and is an off grid vehicle. Salish also has a television (something we thought we would never have in a van…. never say never…)There is a back up generator in case you need to use the air conditioner for longer than four hours. The van has four three point seatbelts but only sleeps 2 unless you use the blow up bed in the driver’s cockpit. We have not seen that bed yet but maybe there is room for kids on the floor? The bad news? This van will not be in service this summer as we will probably take delivery in November or December. It is a very popular van and their production is booked out until next winter.
The Westys aren’t getting any younger and we seem to have a number of long distance rental requests so the two new vans are for those long distance trips and we are keeping the Westys in Washington and Northern Oregon. Silver Star already has bookings for summer and will probably fill fast.
We thank you for your continued business and look forward to great times in the Olympics, North Cascades and Northern Oregon. Please let us know if we can help you with any vacation plans. For the best rate and communication book directly from our Web site chuckanutwestfalias.com or simply give us a call 360-961-9877
Bob , Maureen, Bailey and Scooter