Sunday, July 28, 2013

Home, safe and sound

Saw this cool totem carved in a trunk of a tree yesterday at Little Bennet while walking with Sharyn and a few of the dogs. Couldn't really tell what it was as it was a bit far away so that's where my Nikon D5000 camera came in handy. I took a picture, just transferred it to my Mac and blew it up. Yep, it's a bear all right. Sharyn and I were debating whether it was an elephant at first. Either way, it's pretty cool.

After our walk, I set about preparing the camper for the short ride home. It took me the hour I expected to get it hooked back up the truck (making sure nothing fell off this time and everything was stowed). Went to the 'dump' station which is a nice way of putting 'the sewer' and performed my first dump successfully. I was dreading it but it was easy and clean.

Turning the rig toward home with Sharyn driving the Pilot and halting traffic on my street so I could come up over the slight berm in the front year. All was 100% successful. Pulled around to my 'back 40' which is the acre out behind my house which is finally seeing some good use and got the sucker leveled in about 20 minutes Today is clean up day where I'll do the floor. Already stripped the beds and washed linens. I'll vacuum seal them in bags today, ready for the next trip which will be soon and to someplace with sand.

I'm now way more confident that I can handle the truck and trailer alone if I want/need to. It's 50 feet all told which is a pretty big rig but the Toyota doesn't even notice the trailer is back there. Loving my pick 'em up truck. It will come in handy soon also as I just had my pool filled in! Yes! I am proud to say that my inground pool is no longer and I couldn't be happier to not own a pool. In its place will be a beautiful Victorian garden, complete with 3 tiered fountain like my Bubbie and Zadie (grandma and grandpa) used to have in St. Joe, Mo. I know that Mom is approving of this excellent move.

Ok, enough chatter - here's my travel trailer articles on so far:

Good Gifts For RV Owners
This is another of my RV articles you might like. This is the first of the series of my camping articles so some of my ineptness might show. I've gotten smarter!

Shadow Cruiser S260BHS Review From An Owner
This is a review of my new Shadow Cruiser. 2 months after I picked it up and about 3 weeks worth of camping in it, I love this RV! The perfect entry level travel trailer for me.

RVing - How To Set Up An Outdoor Living Area
I just bought a 2013 Shadow Cruiser travel trailer in May so I'm brand new to RVing, but one thing I have quickly figured out is how to set up an outdoor liv...

Top 15 Travel Bars For Those On The Go
We like to have all the conveniences of home when we're off camping in the RV so that's where this portable travel bar comes in. Martinis anyone?

Travel Bar Accessories
And, here's some good travel bar accessories.

And, here's a few things I found useful on this last trip:

Friday, July 26, 2013

And, BOOM - down she went!

Sharyn came up yesterday while I was camping, and, the first thing we did was grab Wilbur and Killian and head off on a trail that circles the park. It's probably only 3/4 of a mile long all told so should have been a fairly innocuous hike until...

Little Lori and Killian, of course, have to take the lead. The trail went through some pretty heavily forest area - it was, after all, a nature trail. About 1/2 of the way through, I walked right through a spider web. Now, those of you who know me well know that I'm scared silly of spiders. It doesn't matter if they're 1/4" or 3" - I hate them all. Please don't leave me comments about how good spiders are for nature, they eat flies, etc. I'd take 10 flies for every spider. Anyway, they just plain old scare me.

So, after doing my 'get the spider off me dance', thrashing around like a mad woman, clearing the web from my head, shaking my head upside down just in case Charlotte was still on me, I was back in the lead. You'd think I'd learn.

So, I'm chatting over my shoulder at Sharyn, having a pretty good time actually. Until, I turned forward and, I'm not lying here, about 2 inches ahead and eye level was a very large spider. A big, black, hairy spider. I was eye to eye, eye, eye, eye, eye, eye, eye, eye with the sucker. I remember thinking 'no way am I going through there' so I took an unusual tactic and actually threw myself backward and out of harms way - NOT. I'm bruised and battered today, having landed on a my tailbone, elbows, and head. But, at least the spider was not on me! So, dear Sharyn's reaction? I looked behind me and up (remember I'm lying flat on my back) and she's doubled over in laughter. THAT'S the kind of friend I have. Ok, I suppose it was pretty funny but, dang, that hurt!

Got myself up and brushed off - no help from the still laughing 'friend' - As I collected my camera (which, thankfully, was not broken), and Killian's leash, I remember thinking 'something's missing.' And, yep, it was. My glasses went flying off my face when I took my voluntary dive, and I didn't miss them until I was trying to peer straight ahead and noticed general fuzziness in my vision. SHOOT! So, Sharyn and I backtracked and finally found them lying smack dab in the middle of the path. Whew. I was about to be very very mad at myself and that darned spider.

After this debacle, Sharyn and I hit the RV and made dinner over a wood fire. We shared a steak and put a couple of chicken breasts on the BBQ, had a nice glass of wine, and had a great evening.

So, I'm still liking the travel trailer but, next time I take a hike, I'm going to take along one of these spider web clearers....Can you blame me?

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Back at camp for a glorious night

Well, after that first night, Killian woke up lame the next morning. Couldn't walk, couldn't sit, couldn't lie down. After a panicked call to our great vet who always seems to fit us in, he was diagnosed with either a slipped disc or a pulled muscle and put on 2 pain killers. So, off I headed back home where I knew he'd be more comfortable and manageable.

Thankfully, the very next day, Killian was back up, if not exactly at 'em. I had offered the camper to friend Reed and her husband Joe and their 2 adorable kids for the night so we stayed home again, only to return yesterday afternoon. And what a nice afternoon it was! I brought Wilbur (pictured to the right), Killian and Rita back up with me, ditching Gizmo and Matee with Sharyn back at the house. Took a nice walk over a rambling trail right next to the camper. Sharyn came up later afternoon and we cooked dinner inside the camper for the first time. Quite nice.

Last night, turned off the air, opened all the windows and, this morning? It's cold in here! Tempted to start up the heat but that just seem wrong during the end of July. About to get dressed and head over to the house where a gym date awaits and then general running around today. Looking forward to another peaceful night tonight though before I pack up and tow 'er home tomorrow.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Off for 5 days

Well, John's off to England for work for 5 days so I've taken the opportunity to hone my own camping skills - not so much.

John and I came to a park which is very close to my house - I didn't want to go very far as I'll be alone most of the time, with various visitors wandering through. I have Killian, Matee, Rita and Gizmo with me so 'alone' is a relative term. Sadly, Killian appears to be ill this morning so it'll be off to the vet as soon as day breaks. Not sure what happened to him. I'm wondering if something bit him while he was in the woods. I had him on a long lead but he got loose and ran around a bit before I even noticed he was off lead! He doesn't go anywhere but, rules are rules and the dogs must be contained which is why you see those 3 little girls in the picture above in 'jail.' The dog crate works great for them. Anyway, off to the vet we will go.

So, yesterday was my 2nd try at backing in and, although I did ok the first time, I pulled the trailer back out of the spot to do it again. Just for practice. Should have left well enough alone as, no matter how hard I tried (read: an hour...), I just could not get that sucker in the spot again. John had to do it. Sucks. I definitely need more practice.

We set up camp which included unrolling the rug, putting up the chairs and a little table and making dinner which was hotdogs and baked beans - just right for a camp out night. Sat around and played with some bubbles before retiring to bed early. John had to get up at 3:30am to go pack for London - he usually packs the day of a trip which drives me nuts. I prefer to be packed 3 days in advance.

So, I'll be blogging here for a few days or maybe not, depending on poor Killian. Might have to go home if he's not well as it will be too difficult to get him in and out of the camper on the metal steps. We shall see. Wish us luck.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Latest article about camping

I spent yesterday cleaning the Shadow Cruiser, from top to bottom, well, the inside at least. It took me a little over 2 hours to clean, organize, and do a few minor adaptations to the trailer to make it better for the next trip. Included in this was scrubbing the floor (on my hands and knees!), putting down non-skid shelving paper which still needs to be tacked in place, washing all the bedding and storing it in those vacuum sealed bags so it will be fresh for next time. I also bought some more towels as 4 bath towels is just not enough for travels with 2 adults. And, I caught on to getting different colored towels so each person who is along for the ride can easily identify their towel.

I'm working right now on maximizing the storage space, of which there appears to be plenty. I've read up on the RV forums though and now know not to tote things along that we don't need. To that end, I'm going to take the camper out on my own in a few weeks and live in it and see what else is necessary. I'm going to go to a local park just about 7 miles away from my house while John galavants off to England for work - lucky stiff! But, I think I'll have a pretty nice time also as I'll have all the dogs with me on this trial run.

Here's an article I wrote about Good Gifts For RV Owners that might be helpful for those of you who own or have a friend who owns an RV. Additionally, here's a few items I've found helpful that are not in the article yet:

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Last Leg in the Shadow Cruise - Headed Home to MD

Well, dear readers, here's our last leg of our maiden voyage in the Shadow Cruiser - from heading out in the new 2013 trailer last Sunday in Tucson, AZ to Boyds, MD homebase today. John and I both are sorry to see the trip end yet we're missing the dogs something fierce so it's all good. The trip has been a wonderful insight into the world of life on the road. We've learned a lot about traveling around with a home on the back of the truck, had a whole lot of fun and laughs, sat in some beautiful spots at night with an evening cocktail or a campfire, and met some wonderful, helpful folks - like the ones who tried to direct us to the correct campsite after the check-in girl misled us. I had to circle the Wytheville, VA KOA three times to the amusement of more than one person, including me.

The RV park was nice enough and even nicer when we finally landed in the correct spot which was level and large. We had neighbors but not nearly as many as the first spot we tried to get into (too small). The RV park had an outdoor movie last night which we wandered past and then right back up to our own party in the Shadow Cruiser.

I couldn't have hoped for a better traveling partner than John. He is truly my one true love, and I love him for all I'm worth.

So, as I close down this blog for a bit, we start planning our next trip which we think will be to Erie, PA to the shores of Lake Erie sometime later in the summer. It's a short 350 miles from Boyds. We now know that our limit for driving is about 589 miles - that's actually a bit too long but quite doable with two drivers doing 2 hour stints.

So, stay tuned. More travels with John and Lori will be coming. I might even recount our trip to the Dominican Republic last January. We were there for 10 glorious days at a resort right on the beach. Couldn't get any prettier than that.

Here's a Squidoo article I wrote about the Shadow Cruiser:

My review of the 2013 Shadow Cruiser S260BHS Travel Trailer

And, why I'm at it, if you've just wandered across my blog by random, here's a link to my other blog where I documented Travels with 95 year old Mom, Gertie. Although my Mom died in 2012, she and my darling dad were right here beside us as we traveled these roads. They were never far from our minds.

And, finally, you can see more of my articles, mostly about caring for the elderly, on my Squidoo profile.

So, I'll sign off for a bit. You can add your email up there on the right to be notified when I write more on this travel blog. Thanks for dropping in.

John and Lori

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Sum total of losses and physical injuries during our 7 days on the road

As my (former-) friend, Bobbi, put it: "It wouldn't be a Lori and John road trip without losing, forgetting or breaking something." Now, neither John nor I thought this was particularly amusing (ok, we did but let's not tell Bobbi that) and, the really sad thing is, she's 100% right and we both agreed. So, here's a short (?) list of things that have happened on this maiden voyage of the Shadow Cruiser (btw, the name 'Shadow Cruiser' seems much more ominous than it is. As another aside, John thinks we should call the camper "Ann".....). Now, back to my tale: Ok, here comes the list:

1. The first night we were out, John was turning the leveling supports and the trailer bit him and put a rather large (2.5") slash in his hand. So, I decided that he couldn't be trusted, shoved him out of the way and suffered a rather large (1.5") gash in my own hand - that picture to the right is the gash healing. I hope it doesn't scar.... So, this trailer, just like the boat, bites!

2. Day 2, John was stepping over the hitch that was still connected to the monster truck and shoved his toe 1.5" (his words, not mine) into the toe housing groove - meaning, he jammed his toe.

3. Day 4, I was driving and didn't have time to move out of the right lane to allow a small truck to come in. All was fine until he accelerated to bulldog it up a hill and threw a boulder at the windshield - ok, it wasn't a boulder, more of a pebble really. Well, the windshield took a hit and, um, let's just say that the truck right now won't pass Maryland inspection....See that nice starburst in the middle of the picture below? Yep, that's a hunk taken out of the windshield.....niiiiiice.....

4. Day 5, we lost a bumper cap off the port side somewhere along the way. For those sane enough to not own a camper and have no idea of what I type, the sewage hose fits into the bumper and there are 2 plastic caps which, ostensibly, keep the hose in place while one is on the road. This is the perfect storage spot for a hose which is used to empty the 'black water' ('black' being a relative term depending on what one ate the day before....). Driving up from Memphis, Tennessee, somewhere along the road, we lost the port bumper cap (the starboard bumper cap is God knows where) on the road. As I type this, John and I are laughing - we realized that someone outside Knoxville, TN honked at us and, I believe, I gave them the finger as I was way within my lane....In retrospect, there went the sewer hose....and a nice person trying to notify us of the same....

5. Day 6, John suffered a few bumps and bruises this day. We were hitching the Shadow Cruiser up this morning, having unhitched and taken the truck out yesterday for that delicious Memphis barbeque. It was dark out and it was our first time putting it all back together. Well, one of us (no names needed), tried to put the safety chain on without raising the hitch enough and bent a sort of crucial security pin. Um, well, too bad on that one. It was o'dark 30 and I couldn't see. Anyway, John was holding the pin and I tried again to lift the bar which I did, to my credit do, crushing his finger at the same time. As my Mom, Gertie, would say "These things happen."

Now, once we got to Wytheville, VA, we put the camper together and sat down to have our happy hour when John went to go inside for more happy hour. He was hotdogging up the steps and caught his toe on the corner, suffering massive blood loss and almost needed stitches (well, in his little world, it hurt that bad....). See following photo:

So, dear readers, you can see that travels with John and Lori, while sort of mundane, are also interesting. We now know where every emergency room is between Arizona and Maryland and can be tested in all sorts of first aid, including tourniquets.

More tomorrow as we head home to Maryland. Please wish us luck! Actually, pray for us...

Homeward bound.

Last night found us perched in T.O. Fuller State Park right around the corner from Graceland but, let me tell ya, there was nothing graceful about this state park. Although our camp site was beautiful, ie treed, the facilities lacked a certain, oh, cleanliness. We’re hoping that this one experience is not indicative of state parks.

We pulled in and starting setting up camp. For the first time on this trip, we had to actually level the camper as the site was not level to begin with. Since we’ve stayed in private campgrounds until now, we’ve been spoiled (ok, the Shadow Cruiser has already spoiled us anyway) but our sites have always been spot on level. Not so with Fuller State Park (John says we were on a cliff….). The site wasn’t really all that bad but it sure wasn’t level. And, since this is our first trip, we didn’t have leveling blocks with us so flatish rocks had to work – which they did after about, oh, 20 minutes. But, we now understand how to level the camper.

The next challenge came when we realized that the pool was a short 1.25 miles away – ugh. Too hot and muggy to walk so we unhitched the truck for the first time and took off for the pool. On the way, we decided to stop for some real Memphis barbeque so got online and read some reviews. We decided on A&R Barbeque but, on the way, I spotted a barbeque truck (what?!!!). Yep, an old bus setting right there by the road looked just like the kind of crap….er….cuisine that John and I go for. So, I turned around the truck only to find that the bus was closed. Drats. Off to A&R we went.

Dinner was ribs, coleslaw, some of the best baked beans ever, and turkey green beans. Now, you’re probably wondering what the heck turkey green beans are (we were too). They’re green beans cooked with smoked turkey leg meat. They were the only thing that fell short on the delicious meter. They were very salty and, well, just plain old not good. But, the rest of meal was really really good and was priced well ($27 for two). Memphis does have a corner on the barbeque market.

Was contemplating dropping into see Elvis’ home but decided that we had little chance of meeting him (he being dead and all) so passed up the opportunity to see where Elvis slept – probably in a bed. Came back to camp and started a nice fire which, of course, reminded us of Joe, my dad. My dad would always look at a campfire or a barbeque grill and say, without fail: “You know what would be good right now?” Whomever was around, in synchrony, would all say with him ‘A  hot dog!’ It didn’t matter if we’d just had dinners or not. A hot dog over a fire was like dessert to my adorable dad. So, it didn’t surprise me when John said ‘you know what would go good on that fire right now?” My reply was ‘a hot dog’ and there was Joe right there with us. It’s so nice to have those memories of my folks. By the way, the hot dog was delicious.

After dinner, we were treated to a thunderstorm during which we turned off the air and just enjoyed the sound of the rain on the tin roof of the camper. In fact, it was so wonderful that it lulled us to sleep sort of early but, then again, we must have needed the extra rest as we got up at 4:45am which is very late for us. Shoot!  A short 45 minutes later, and one smashed finger (sorry, John), we’d successfully hitched up the trailer to the truck, stowed everything, and are now on the road as I write this post. We’ve got a long day ahead with an estimated pull in time in Wytheville, Virginia at 3:29pm. That will put us within easy striking distance of home tomorrow with about a 3 hour ride.  All in all, a very successful trip. My brother Mike cautioned John privately that this camping trip could be ‘a relationship changing event’ – and it has been. The love we feel for each other has been strengthened through the 2800 miles of shared experiences.

Update: it's now 4 hours after I started this post - not sure why the US doesn't have wireless everywhere! Anyway, we're now approaching our home territory of VA and MD. Rain is flowing but the travel is still nice and easy. Better go before I lose connection again!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Goodbye, New Orleans. Hello Memphis!

Well, yesterday found us getting on and shortly off the Jump On, Jump Off bus. Turns out that neither John nor I are touristy type of people, and the chatter from the narrator  droves us nuts in very short order. So, we hoofed it around town. Went to Cemetary #1 where Marie Laveau is buried. Marie was a big wig in the voodoo circle back in the early 1800s. Nicholas Cage actually has a plot thee – turns out that the IRS can’t seize burial property and, since he declared bankruptcy, at least his final resting place is final.

New Orleans appears to be full of chicken bones – not exactly sure if they were live chickens or dead as Voodoo abounds. I prefer to think of them as dead and fried. But, they sure were everywhere. That and found money. There was quite a bit of money that I just wasn’t interested in going after as can be seen in the below picture – ewwwww.

Ended up at the French market where we sampled Mac N Cheese with Crawfish, coconut shrimp that was awesome and local corn cooked two ways – boiled and deep fried. I actually liked the boiled better but John being a lover of anything fried, loved that corn the best.

We walked around the market and managed to not buy a thing. But, that doesn’t mean we saved money as the next stop was the casino (drats). Actually, it worked out pretty well as I found $50 and John found $55! Not a bad take all in all. Lesson learned; watch the floors and the top of the paper towel dispenser in casinos….

Walked back to Bourbon Street and found a delightful saloon in which to perch. Live music included a very talented woman singing so dancing ensued. Lots of laughs with another couple close by, especiallty when the tambourines came out, and then we were back on our way home.

Hit the pool for a few hours before retiring early as we’re on the road again. Headed to Memphis tonight which is a short 6 hour ride. Easy as pie. Tomorrow, we’ll head out toward Virginia which is a longer ride but, the Toyota is pure luxury so even a long day is not all that fatiguing.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Hello, New Orleans!

We left San Antonia at 3 am yesterday and arrived in New Orleans around 2 pm. John got stuck driving through Houston at rush hour - whew - I escaped that one! I ended up driving the final leg which, of course, took us to a casino in a Shell gas station. We stopped 40 minutes, or rather, $40 dollars worth before hitting the road again. Set up camp in a great RV park just a short .5 miles to Bourbon Street.

The RV park is beautiful and is set up in the style of New Orleans with brick walkways, a brick bar we can use, hot tub and the requisite pool. I love the setting and the fact that we can waddle right down to Bourbon street where the action is - or was.

About 5 hours wandering the streets got us back to the RV around 9:30 pm which is quite late for us. We're like Ben Franklin - early to bed and early to rise; we just don't have the wise part quite down yet.

So, my learning curve continues with my first back up into our RV slot. I was nervous about it but needn't be as I did pretty well. The fact that the truck was askew had no bearing on the fact that the camper was straight. It did look pretty goofy though with the truck going mostly sideways so John straightened it out. I could have done it but he said he 'wanted practice.' Hmmm...methinks he doubted my abilities.

Bourbon street was a blast and included a few cocktails as we wandered the streets and listened to some wonderful impromptu jazz bands on this corner or that. Had some great gumbo and fried eggplant that was really good. Lots of laughter ensued and then bedtime came about the second we hit the front door. The night was enhanced when we were treated to a few rainstorms passing through. I've always loved rain and this was no exception.

We got up at 5 and, after a few cups of coffee, hit the streets again to buy provisions for breakfast at the local market. Got waylaid and ended up at the Harrah's casino (yes, one of us appears to have a gambling issue - no need to mention names....) where we dumped, oh, never mind.n  Let's just say the morning included a great and very long walk but was not monetarily profitable unless you count the $0.13 I found in 4 separate spots. This town appears to be full of lost money - some of which I refused to pick up as it was just in a gross spot.

We're sitting at the pool right now where the sun is just peeking out from behind a clouded sky. It's the perfect setting and I've got the perfect man beside me. We've had a wonderful trip so far. As John has said many times over the 5.5 years we've been together, "I don't hate you or anything."

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Lessons learned on the first trip in the Shadow Cruiser...

So, the very minute we pull into Traveler's World in San Antonio yesterday, the fan in the truck stopped working which meant one of us (who shall remain nameless) had a mental meltdown while contemplating traveling another 1500 miles with no air conditioning. Ok, once I calmed John down (insert snort laughing track), got online and looked to see what the problem could be. Opened the fuse box, looked fine. Keep looking online. Ah, there it is - faulty wiring is a known issue with this Toyota. Ugh.  But, turned on the truck and, miracle of miracle, fan worked. So, we're ok on that front.

Now, plugged in the Shadow Cruiser to the electric hookup at the camp site. Went in and started to set up the inside with lights, camera, and action! Well, pressed the air conditioning button - nothing. WHAT THE HELL?!!! So, another mental meltdown occurred as we considered the ramifications of trying to sleep with no ac. John suggested that I call the dealership, but called Mike first - thank you Lord for giving my head that suggestion. Mike started going through a quick troubleshooting session with me. And, here's a lesson learned:

Just because the trailer has lights, water, etc, doesn't mean the electric is working. All of that stuff can be operated off the auxilary battery. So, one needs to sometimes TURN ON THE ELECTRIC on the box at the camp site. Duh. Flipped up the breaker switch and, ah...cooling air. Whew! So, at least for the moment, all is well.

The trailer park was only a 3 mile walk to the River Walk or 15 minutes by bus and, since the bus stop was quite conveniently across the street we (well, I....) decided we'd take the $1.20 bus instead of a cab ride. - it was way too hot to contemplate walking. Now, John is not a fan of public transportation and, another lesson learned, neither am I. I've only been on a bus maybe 10 times total in my lifetime so I'm not what you call schooled in public transportation, including the fact that a 'bus schedule' is a loose term as could be witnessed as John and I cooled our jets for 20 minutes - yep, the bus was that late.

Anyway, River Walk was fun as always and even more so since neither John nor I have been there for a number of years. We both love discovering places together and yesterday was no different. John took me to a place called "Dick's" where the waiters are intentionally rude. Patrons sometimes wear huge hats made of bucher paper with things written on them. My favorite was a girl with dyed hair whose hat said "The curtains and the carpet don't match."

Another blond girl's hat said "In training at pole dance academy." I wanted a hat very badly but John refused to let me get one - he said my hat could very well carry the message "I sleep with young boys." Nixed that idea quickly.

Got a suggestion for dinner at a wonderful place called Rossario's which is off the beaten path. We decided to let our waiter order for us and, boy, were we happy. He selected a fish dish for me that was truly delightful and John got pork and beef tamales or something like that. Dinner was a huge hit.

Came back to camp and turned in early as we wanted to hit the road today around 3 am which we did. As I type this, we're coming out of Houston on our way to New Orleans for 2 nights. We have a nice campsite reserved just 4 blocks from Bourbon street. There's a pool and all all the amenities a Princess may require. So, more later.

Monday, July 1, 2013

This is when a Class C camper would come in handy

So yesterday found us in Van Horn Texas around noon at a KOA with a pool. The day was overcast on the drive down from Tucson and, like magic, the clouds parted and the sun came out right as we jumped in the pool. It was great! Ran into some nice people there and actually enjoyed their kids in the pool for a few hours. Almost ended up with a puppy that some people had with them which was way too young to be taken from its mother - looked to me to be about 6 weeks old. Adorable little thing. John talked me down....

Hired a local Mexican guy to run and get us a steak dinner which worked out great for all involved. He ended up with a handsome tip, and we had a decent dinner versus the chips and one hot pickle we'd managed to score at the last rest stop. For those unaware, Van Horn ain't much. We had hoped to get some hot dogs on the grill but, ah, that wasn't to be. Regardless, we had a total blast! Put out the rug and dropped the awning for a bit of 'porch sitting'. Camper is a dream to tow so the trip has been great so far. But, then again, look who I have beside me - how could it not be great? Well, more on that below....

Now, about that class C camper. A class C is one of the campers that you drive and is open to the back. It would have come in extremely handy as John woke me at 1 am 'ready to go!' As I recall, I wasn't.....So.....for those of you who think I always get my way - um, not so much this time. Although I did put my foot down when he started to pass up the Pilot gas station where my coffee awaited.

If we'd had that class C which is in the future, I could have languished in bed as he drove, exactly the way any good princess should spend the morning on the road. See where I'm going with this? Plan is to keep the current rig probably 2 years and, just like the Jeffersons, we're going to 'move on up.'

So, here it is at 3:26 and we've been on the road a bit now. About to stop for gas and switch drivers. We're headed to San Antonio - 346 miles away at this posting. We're planning to park the trailer and take the truck down to the river walk for a bit of rambling this afternoon.

Edited at 10:16am - After I posted that last bit, J boy and I were getting sleepy so we pulled over in a parking spot off 10E and climbed back into bed. There is a big benefit to carrying one's home behind one. Slept for 2 hours and back at it. Stopped at La Mexicana outside Ozona Texas for a delicious, authentic Mexican burrito for breakfast. Yum!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

It’s 8:20 am and we’re at our second gas stop. Left Mike’s at 4 am and saw a beautiful sunrise while coming through the southern end of Arizona. The mountains were very rocky and very beautiful.

Averaging 9.4 mpg at the moment which is about what I expected considering the Toyota is a monster truck pulling the Shadow Cruiser loaded down with a whole lot of stuff! We’re rotating driving every 2 hours which is nice – just as road fatigue sets in, it’s time for a break.

Got a reservation for a pull-through spot in Van Horn, Texas for tonight. Pull through spots are highly desirable so we don’t have to mess with backing up the trailer. We’ve got a pool, internet, and all the modern conveniences afforded campers – and then some. Just as an aside, my idea of ‘roughing it’ is sitting in my new Sharper Image shiatsu massage chair pad which only had 3 speeds….hmmmm….need to upgrade!
More later as the day unfolds.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

The resurrection of this blog begins

So, I decided to revive this blog after letting it lapse for, oh, a year. In fact, so much time has gone by where I didn't post a single blog that I'm a bit embarrassed. Eh, I'll get over it. Anyway, onto new and better things. And, "what would that be" you might ask? Well, the big giant hint is in that picture above.

That rig is our new Toyota Tundra full-sized pick em up truck and our 2013 Shadow Cruiser S260BHS Travel Trailer! Yep, we've done it. I'm following in my mom and dad's footsteps into the trailer world. Just as they did, I'm starting with a pull behind trailer, and, a lovely one at that. I bought it in Tucson while visiting big brother Mike in May 2013. And, of course, I had to have a truck to pull the trailer so enter that Toyota Tundra which I positively love!

So, here I sit, in my niece's bed (she's at horse camp in California at the moment), having run all over Tucson with Mike the last 3 days outfitting the trailer. And, let me tell you, there's a lot of outfitting to be done with a new trailer. It was just like when I moved into my first college dorm:

Plates? Check
Silverware? Check
Sheets and blankets? Check, check
Toiletries? Check
Flashlights? Check
The Sharper Image Massage and Shiatsu Chair With Heat? Check - WHAT? How'd THAT get on the list? Well, I decided to have just one luxury and this thing is it! Whomever is not driving (that will usually be moi) will be resting said fanny upon this amazing chair pad. We have an inverter in the truck so I expect to be massaging and blogging at the same time! Is that cool, or what???

Now, the real adventure begins when John arrives into Tucson at 10:00 am to join me before we set out on the maiden voyage tomorrow morning at 4 o-dark-thirty. Oh, um, wait! Make that 'when John arrived into Tucson at 4:30 PM to join me...' - sucker missed his flight. It's starting....

So pleased to be flying to Tucson via LA....

So, the tale begins....

I originally wanted a little bitty adorable 16' trailer which I was quickly talked out of. The issue seemed to be that, with John, me, and 4 dogs along for the ride, there would be absolutely no way to walk around a 16 footer. So, I got talked into a 20 footer which I was ok with until I saw that Shadow Cruiser above at an RV show in Tucson (note to readers: do not go to RV shows without supervision, which, btw, I had in the form of my brother Mike. To Mike's credit, he did try to take some sense into me, but, as is my wont, I charged ahead, literally. Charge card in hand, that trailer was mine!).

So, now I've got a 28' trailer and a whole lot of adventure coming up. So, bookmark this log or sign up for the RSS feed. I'll be blogging frequently from the road as we head home on our first US tour. By the end of the upcoming week, I hope to be an old pro at RVing.

And, along the line, I'll be putting some ads on these pages from which you can buy all kinds of products we're going to find that we can't live without. Do me a favor and buy something will ya? Someone has to finance this sucker!

Here's an article I wrote on Squidoo - my first in what I believe will be a long series of articles regarding travel trailers:

2013 Shadow Cruiser S260BHS Review - An Owner's Perspective

Bobbi, in her infinite wisdom, gave me the Lucy/Desi movie 'The Long Long Trailer' to watch before I left to come back to Tucson. I was rolling! I'm hoping it's not a predictor of things to come. Here's a link for it. It's old but really funny: