Thursday, February 5, 2015

To Arkansas and Back - Part 2, or ..... Hello New Trailer

I almost forgot I left this story hanging.

Thankfully we have airline miles to burn, so Husband made a quick trip to Arkansas to check out the Camplite trailer.  His assessment was dubious.  As I've said previously, these trailers are entirely made of aluminum, including a very bare aluminum floor.  We had seen other Camplite models, aluminum floor and all, but this was a chilly November day in Arkansas and the trailer looked stark and cold.   I, however, was undeterred and assured him by phone, that with some good bedding, some pillows, rugs, and me..... it would cozy right up.  So after his inspection, he made an offer and they agreed.  DEAL.  We're talking 1/3 off the cost of a new one, for a trailer that was barely a year old and showed no use at all.  The plastic cover was still on the shower drain.

However, it had the Wrong Kind of Brakes, apparently installed by the factory to suit the tastes of the first brief owner.  I am useless trying to explain these things since I hardly understand them myself.  I mean.... the brakes got us home, but Husband was a bit worried because it had..... the Wrong Kind of Brakes.  That's the best you'll get from me.

We headed out in our Jeep Grand Cherokee, bringing our little dog, Riley, with us.

Update about our dog:  We no longer have him.  We came to the painful conclusion that owning a dog was not right for us.  We loved him and still miss him, but he was too much work and too confining.  He has a new happy home where he is adjusting to life with a cat.  I fully believe, at this stage of life, I am done with dogs because if I can't have Riley, no other dog will do.  He was the best.  Sigh.

Anyway, we beelined down through Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, Colorado......what was next.... Kansas?.... and then Oklahoma.... I think......  It's a blur.  We finally hit Arkansas three days later.   La Quinta hotels helped out on the way down by being dog friendly, that is until the dog commits the heinous crime of peeing and/or pooping in the room at which point they tack on a hefty charge.  So we kept a close eye on Riley and he did fine.

Upon arrival in Little Rock, we wasted no time finalizing the paperwork, unpacking all the STUFF into the trailer, and heading home.  No more La Quinta.  We were now camping.

Since winter was bearing down in the north, we planned to take the southern, longer route home through Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, with a little side trip up into Utah's gorgeous canyon lands, then Nevada, California, and home.

It was my first time in Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas, because I don't count when we may have changed planes or laid over at an airport, during some past flight.

Here's what I learned:

~The world, east of the Rockies, is FLAT.   And Texas is the flattest of all.  If a gopher had dug up a bit of dirt to make a hill, you would probably be able to see it miles away.

~Whatever it was that grew on the ground around gas stations and rest stops where I had to walk the dog in those southern states..... is best described as dry, prickly, trash-strewn something.  Because grass, it wasn't.  I pitied animals who can't wear shoes like we can and have to walk on it.  Riley's poor little paws had to be de-burred a few times.

~Oil drills are not attractive, but I applaud their existence and cheer them on.

~There are RV parks everywhere.  Some are beautiful, some are nice, and some suffice at best.

~I gave it a second chance and found I still don't like Las Vegas.  We camped on the infamous Strip at a handy RV park, wedged between the casinos, that even had a dog park.  Riley loved it.

But we made the mistake of walking through the adjacent mammoth casino in an effort to get to the street in front so that we could walk along the Strip..... and literally got lost in it.  Those places are NOT detour-friendly.  If you recall that old 1970s movie, The Poseiden Adventure, where the huge luxury ocean liner capsizes and the survivors have to find their way out through the bowels of the upside-down ship..... then you get the idea.  Returning from our walk, we figured we'd try again and attempted to cut back through the casino..... and got lost again.  We finally retraced our steps back to the Strip entrance and walked all the way around the outside, to get back to our trailer.  Heaven help the people inside if there ever was a fire.... or maybe it was just us who probably looked like we have "Comes From Small Town" stamped on our foreheads..... and.....

~I love this trailer.  We could not have been more comfortable camping in it.

We spent two nights in a mostly vacant campground in our beloved southern Utah, where desert scenery was invented.  Husband, being an avid semi-intermediate-but-getting-better-all-the-time photographer happily hauled his tripod around taking in all the cliffs, rock formations, and other eye-popping beauty.

Most of the time I patiently wait through his obsession to chase down the perfect light for a shot, but once in a while I balk at driving miles out of the way for a picture, only to arrive too late because the light had faded.  We had one of those moments trying to capture Mt. Shasta at sunset.  However, as it turned out, the light was just fine and his pictures were spectacular.

We also drove through Death Valley, which has it's own unique type of beauty.   It was worth visiting once..... but I don't feel the need to see it again.

T'was good to return to Oregon after ten days on the road.   Real grass.  Real trees.  Actual hills.  Mountains.  Green.  We had one minor issue with some trailer brake-related thingy, on a remote section of I-5 in southern Oregon, requiring an extra night at what turned out to be the nicest RV park of the trip, called Seven a community called Canyonville where there was, of all things, another casino that apparently draws many of the RV park occupants.  It was lovely and we'd go there again.

Some kind of fluid to refill something that had run dry, related to the Wrong Kind of Brakes, solved the issue and we drove home the next morning.

Riley was a champion traveler and my only complaint was that he had no sense of urgency when we needed him to do his business so that we could get back on the road.

You'll be happy to know that the Wrong Kind of Brakes have since been replaced by.... you guessed it, the Right Kind of Brakes, thanks to Husband's never-ending skills.

If you neglected to review Part One, you may be wondering why we had to go all the way to Arkansas to get this trailer.  I have joined an online forum of fellow owners of Camplite trailers and learned that this type of trailer is RARE out west.  I've been contacted by some interested Californians who may stop by on a future trip to Oregon, to take a look at ours.

It was a bit of a risk taking on all those miles with an unfamiliar trailer.  There was no time to work out any bugs and due to the brake issue and the newness of it all, Husband drove every mile home.  Thankfully it all came off with hardly a hiccup and I have learned (add this to my list above) that as soon as I return from any outing in our trailer, I am raring to head out again.  I can't get enough.... maybe because I didn't have to drive on the return trip .... but hey, I held the dog ..... most of the time.