Oregon (Summer, 2007)
RAV4 Meet - Portland to Seaside
RAV4World held the "2007 Pacific NW RAV4 Meet" on Saturday 8 September. The last meet was back in 2003 with five RAVs, and we hoped to better that this time. With 16 definite/maybes, 10 turned up at the parking lot at the Our Daily Bread restaurant in NW Portland. People came from as far afield as downtown Portland, Vancouver, Scappoose, Hillsboro, Salem, Springfield and even Arcadia, CA (way to go, Liz!)!
After introductions and admiring the RAVs, we headed off in convoy to the Toyota facility at Terminal 4 just up the road, on the north bank of the Willamette River.
The 10 of us just managed to fit in the parking area in front of the main building.
Kelly handed out some freebies to each of us - Toyota caps and detailing goodies from Meguiars and Griot's Garage. Katrina pulled out the lucky ticket for the large detailing kit from Griot's Garage, and husband Adam was the lucky winner! Hmmmm......
Kelly took us for a tour of the facility (called Toyota Logistics Services, or TLS), where he, Deb and Adam work.
Firstly, the longshoremen unload the cars from the ship and park them in the one of the parking lots. They come with white plastic over their roofs to protect them from salt water dripping over them on the long voyage from Japan. A crew called "shaggers" drive the cars to the gas pump for a small amount of gas, then to the carwash to get rid of any salt water.
These trucks continually drive around the parking lot, picking up any shaggers who have dropped off cars. Adam and daughter Trinity show how comfy the seats are.
The shaggers then drive the cars to the processing building (where we parked our cars). This building is 2 years old, and it is being extended as demand has grown. Here, each car is fitted out with options as per the dealer's order.
The Lexus are processed in assembly line fashion.
Every other car has its own stall. Here is a 2008 RAV4.
The 2008 Highlander, in the new "wave line pearl" colour.
A 2008 RAV4 Base, in the elusive "everglade metallic" colour.
We then visited the Final Quality Assurance (FQA) building, where both Kelly and Adam work. The processing quota for the two lines is 60 cars per hour. The cars are then parked in the "truck" parking lot (where they are loaded on trucks bound for Oregon, Washington or Idaho) or in an area facing the railway carriages (for those to be railroaded to other states).
We checked out the body shop, where cars which had been damaged in transit or had failed FQA were fixed. The slightest scratch could send a car here.
Our tour over (thanks, Kelly and Adam!), four members of our group left us, leaving 6 to convoy to the coast.
We drove sedately along Highway 30, and I caught a fleeting glimpse of snow-covered Mt Rainier, then a few sightings of Mt St Helens and Mt Adams. We stopped in Saint Helens and had a picnic lunch at the tables under the trees whilst the others took their chances with the food at the Dari Delish diner.
We continued to follow the Columbia River north-west, passing through the small towns of Rainier and Clatskanie on the way. At Bradley State Scenic Viewpoint, we stopped to take in the great view of the Columbia. Kelly and Deb kindly supplied us with bottles of cold water.
We saw a Toyota ship on the way into Astoria. We parked at the Astoria Column, and 10 of us climbed the 164 steps to take in the view.
View over parking lot (and RAV4s!) to bridge to Warrenton.
The Astoria-Megler Bridge spans the Columbia River between Oregon and Washington states.
Quite a few members of the group had climbed Saddle Mountain.
Photo time - Kelly took this for us.
Here's Kelly and Deb.
Vic and his wife decided against the beach drive to Seaside, so only 5 of us headed over to Fort Stevens.
The road onto the beach was very deep sand. It was too much for Liz, who had to be pulled (and pushed) out.
She decided to try to rejoin us further down towards Seaside, where the road access was better.
So now we were down to 4!
Other beachgoers were kiteboarding, building sandcastles and frolicking with their dogs.
Vincent was happy just to sit and enjoy the sun.
Finally, we're off along the beach.
Unfortunately, we were stopped by the military, who were conducting firing exercises near the foreshore.
After 20 minutes, we gave up waiting, turned around and headed back to the "boggy" access road. Would we be able to get out again?
Kelly tried first and was successful. Then Jim made it, too. We had the same model as Jim, so there shouldn't be a problem. Or so we thought!
Thanks to a good samaritan in a Silverado, we were able to get the car pulled out.
The lower clearance on the new RAV4's was the problem!
So what were Prashant's chances of making it?
Ummm, not so good .....
He ended up being towed out backwards, and elected to drive along the beach to Gearhart.
With different commitments for the evening, we all split up. Some were going on to Seaside to see the Wheels Waves car show. The town was very busy, as proud owners of hot rod and custom cars built prior to 1963 showed them off in the streets downtown. Sadly I have no photos of this, but perhaps other members took some?
We headed down towards Tillamook, as we planned to pick up a life jacket we had lost in Garibaldi during our recent camping/boating trip, and which had been found at the Pirates Cove Restaurant there. When we arrived the restaurant was packed, so after retrieving the jacket we kept going. The Pacific Oyster at Bay City was busy too, and had run out of clam chowder!
We did spot Liz a couple of times, sightseeing near Seaside and again at Garibaldi. After a quick chat, we headed off to Tillamook to find a restaurant that was not crowded, before racing home at grand prix speeds, doing what our RAV does best (passing cars on the highway).
All in all, we had a fun day with pleasant company, an interesting time at the Toyota facility and an "interesting" afternoon on the beach. And learnt a couple of new things about our car, too. 8-)
Thanks go to Kelly and Deb for organising the day, being such pleasant and friendly hosts, and looking out for each one of us.