Visitors and camping
Jun 24, 2010
|Hello again everyone!
It's been a busy past couple of weeks. Who said we would be bored? ...Not even close!
This entry will be a bit long - just to warn you.
The grandson started his T-ball season
, the weather has FINALLY begun to improve, we had the staff from the title company out for lunch and we actually survived our first dry-camping experience.
By June 10th we finally felt settled in and organized enough to have the ladies from our office over for lunch and "tour" our new home. The hour went much too quickly...it was so nice to visit with everyone again.
Then, as scheduled, on June 16th after attending the Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours event we departed for our maiden voyage.
This camp trip was to the South Hills/ Rogerson area (south of Twin Falls). We both felt a good bit of anxiety about venturing out; towing the big fifth wheel up the mountain, running the generator etc without knowing how long the propane, battery power and water would last, how quickly the holding tanks would fill, would the furnace work?....all the unknowns. We just kept telling ourselves we would never know unless we actually did it.
Our journey up the mountain was not without adventure. After driving through town and approaching the base of the mountain Rick noticed that the lights were no longer working on the coach, so we pulled off into a large "U" shaped turnout. After re-connecting the lights he hopped back in and started pulling out. He knew he would have to cut the turn a little, but then he felt some resistance and I turned to check out the fifth-wheel.....OH MY GOSH!!!...it was rocking and listing so far to the driver's side that it appeared that it would simply go onto it's side....what the heck was going on? What did we drive over? Now our stomachs were already full of anxiety acid...this didn't help at all!
We both hopped out to find that the grass was hiding a few large boulders and yes, our brand new Montana 3400RL made it over two of the three. Now it was time to figure out how to try to get out of the boulder trap and assess any damage. Oh yeah, there was damage....we no longer had a sewer boom and the exhaust tubing somehow made it over the first two rocks, but was pretty stressed against the third one. After about a twenty-point turn (back up two or three feet, turn, go forward the same distance, repeat, repeat, repeat....) we finally managed to pull the trailer out of the mess. We were all (including Anna) a mental wreck! Thank the Lord for the four wheel drive one ton dually.
O.K., gather our wits! and move on! About the time we got off the pavement we got a message on the dash that the trailer was no longer attached. We both looked back so fast that we should have been diagnosed with whip-lash! We pulled over at the first straight stretch, so any oncoming traffic could see us and go around. After examining all the hitch components and determining no obvious problems we cautiously continued on. According to the directions our friends gave we should only have about two miles left.....we can make it - even though it was now snowing. (June 16th and Snow.....aargh!)
Yes, we arrived safely. We should have arrived around seven-thirty...it was now nine-something and there wasn't much sun left for set-up. With the help of Dee Haycock, Ron Crozier and Russ Howell the coach was all set and ready to occupy in short order. Rick started the generator and turned on the fireplace. I joined him and we both fell asleep after shutting off the generator. Our little adventure had taken it's toll on us so I guess we would just be a bit anti-social this first night.
The morning sun shown through all the windows for the new day around five a.m. and we could smell the fresh mountain air. What a relief that the house was still in the same spot we put it the night before (with all that had happened the day before, we were both still very nervous). By six or six thirty Dee was up building a campfire. It was a chilly, but beautiful new day! (Having the sun shine through the windows was a new experience as we don't get natural light in the fire station unless we keep the bay door open.)
The new day brought new challenges as the generator decided not to work. The dealership had to replace the regulator when we took possession, so we figured this was the same problem as the symptoms were the same. We took a drive up to the top of a ridge to get cell service and called the dealership. Jackie had to go to town already, so Rick joined her on the hour and a half drive to town to pick up a new regulator. They also returned with Russ's large generator..just in case.
After installing the new part it still didn't work...aargh! All the guys started problem solving and discovered that a propane hose was defective.
We would have to rely on one hose and switch out the tank until we got back to town but at least the generator was now working. (About this time I'm beginning to wonder if I should just be a "pavement princess".) But then with a deep breath and internal reminder that there is a learning curve to this style of living I began to realize that it wasn't the end of the world.
With that behind us, we finally began to relax and enjoy camping. Several of us took the dogs for a walk
and then our first four wheeler ride.
Ron Crozier had departed and Dan and Chris Norris had arrived about the time Rick and Jackie returned from town, so now we had seven people, four dogs and four rigs (two fifth wheels, one bumper pull and one motorhome. Dan and Chris brought our four wheeler so we could ride with everyone.
As we took our rides we ended up see lots of wildlife, including deer, elk, red-tailed hawks, ground squirrels, rock chucks and many other birds and critters. Flowers were just beginning to bloom, adding to the beauty.
Friday afternoon we all piled into our truck to go to Jackpot, Nevada to have the seafood buffet dinner at Cactus Petes casino. Dee could not join us as he had to go to town for business that evening. We took our time, making several stops along the way. Here is a photo of the hummingbird feeding station that someone has set up, complete with chairs.
Saturday brought seven visitors for dinner; Mitch McDowell, his daughter "Pete", Oop, Roger and Lorene Morley and Dan and Jackie Kennedy. We didn't know they would all visit at the same time, but we had plenty of food and had a wonderful time.
On Sunday Russ & Jackie and Dan & Chris had to go home so now there were only two fifth wheels. Dee had brought two of his grandchildren back with him on Saturday. (Gara and Fisher)
Monday was just more rides and walks. Fisher's father, Josh, had come up for the final night of camping.
Tuesday we all went for a final ride - a LONG one (thirty-five miles - we departed around eleven and got back at about four). We were terribly dusty/dirty and tired, but we got the rigs all closed up and headed down the mountain. Dee gave us some final words of advise and led the way.
After all is said and done we still need to know things like: exactly how many hours does it take the generator to suck dry a 30 pound tank of propane and how many hours do we have on battery power before we get the "bat low" message on the fridge. With all the complications and not knowing how full the tanks were when we got there we will still need to get this stuff figured out.
I ran the fresh water out on Sunday (took too many showers), the holding tanks were fine, and the furnace, water heater and water pump ran fine. When we are in a warmer climate we will have to try out the a/c. -didn't need it as it was 30-something in the morning and never got warmer than 68.
We will be purchasing a small portable generator, a power inverter, outdoor entry mat, water hauling container(s), 1 extra propane tank and a refrigerator fan as it froze anything up against the coils.
What a great week - what a learning week! and Thank Goodness we have such wonderful friends that don't hesitate to share their knowledge!
Thank you so much to those we spent this time with! 'Not sure we could have gotten through it without all of you!