“A rose by any other name…” or Wherein I Rename “Dry” Camping

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Romeo and Juliet has produced some of the most memorable lines of Western literature, including the oft quoted “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”  The quote is incredibly apt because the connotation of dry camping, wild camping, or boon docking fail to do the glory and solitude of the past two weeks justice.  I’ve renamed it Oasis Camping because it is truly our oasis of peace, solitude, and relaxation. 

Dry camping makes it sound like you are truly roughing it, making do with less than all the creature comforts to which we have become accustomed.  Oasis camping sounds much more inviting and luxurious in comparison.  We’ve been oasis camping for just shy of two weeks straight now without sacrificing anything.  Ok sure, we aren’t showering everyday but hey who cares?  We have showered on a semi-regular basis which is more than sufficient in the middle of the desert with just one another for company.

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Sunrise has been stunning every morning we have been here at King of Arizona National Wildlife Refuge.  The animals are content, basking in the sun, howling with the wind, and chattering at the occasional bird that flutters near.  We’ve watched Dodgers baseball every night, worked without interruption, satellite has been flawless, and there has been absolutely no light pollution.  Sure, the winds have been fierce and have prevented our planned spit grilling but all that meant was that we were forced to go shopping for meat in town and discovered an amazing butcher in the general store.  That butcher and his tender, succulent meats alone would have made the entire trip worthwhile. 

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Sangria is comforting Dave as he’s been forced to rest and rehab his left knee the entire trip.  We wanted to go hiking and see the beauty that is Palm Canyon but that isn’t on the agenda for this trip.  However, while a bummer it hasn’t changed the fact that the overall trip has been amazing.  It has been what we needed on oasis of calm and relaxation.

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There’s me most days, on the patio from sunrise until the heat of the day or the whipping winds drive me inside.  The skies are crystal clear, the flock comes out to join me, and I’ve gotten a lot of reading and writing done, well if I’m truthful more reading than writing.  If Dave’s knee is up to it, we are going to venture into Quartzsite late this afternoon to visit the Reader’s Oasis aka the used bookstore run by the nudist.  It’s supposed to be an awesome used bookstore and I’ll admit, I’m looking forward to it very much. 

So, there you have it we have been Oasis Camping for the last two weeks.  Two weeks off the grid, away from the endless treadmill of modern life, while maintaining our standard of living.  So next time you venture off the grid, enjoy your own personal oasis and go Oasis Camping instead of dry camping.

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“A rose by any other name…” or Wherein I Rename “Dry” Camping

o20160418_061527

Romeo and Juliet has produced some of the most memorable lines of Western literature, including the oft quoted “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”  The quote is incredibly apt because the connotation of dry camping, wild camping, or boon docking fail to do the glory and solitude of the past two weeks justice.  I’ve renamed it Oasis Camping because it is truly our oasis of peace, solitude, and relaxation. 

Dry camping makes it sound like you are truly roughing it, making do with less than all the creature comforts to which we have become accustomed.  Oasis camping sounds much more inviting and luxurious in comparison.  We’ve been oasis camping for just shy of two weeks straight now without sacrificing anything.  Ok sure, we aren’t showering everyday but hey who cares?  We have showered on a semi-regular basis which is more than sufficient in the middle of the desert with just one another for company.

IMG_0183

Sunrise has been stunning every morning we have been here at King of Arizona National Wildlife Refuge.  The animals are content, basking in the sun, howling with the wind, and chattering at the occasional bird that flutters near.  We’ve watched Dodgers baseball every night, worked without interruption, satellite has been flawless, and there has been absolutely no light pollution.  Sure, the winds have been fierce and have prevented our planned spit grilling but all that meant was that we were forced to go shopping for meat in town and discovered an amazing butcher in the general store.  That butcher and his tender, succulent meats alone would have made the entire trip worthwhile. 

IMG_0184

Sangria is comforting Dave as he’s been forced to rest and rehab his left knee the entire trip.  We wanted to go hiking and see the beauty that is Palm Canyon but that isn’t on the agenda for this trip.  However, while a bummer it hasn’t changed the fact that the overall trip has been amazing.  It has been what we needed on oasis of calm and relaxation.

FOT7C24

There’s me most days, on the patio from sunrise until the heat of the day or the whipping winds drive me inside.  The skies are crystal clear, the flock comes out to join me, and I’ve gotten a lot of reading and writing done, well if I’m truthful more reading than writing.  If Dave’s knee is up to it, we are going to venture into Quartzsite late this afternoon to visit the Reader’s Oasis aka the used bookstore run by the nudist.  It’s supposed to be an awesome used bookstore and I’ll admit, I’m looking forward to it very much. 

So, there you have it we have been Oasis Camping for the last two weeks.  Two weeks off the grid, away from the endless treadmill of modern life, while maintaining our standard of living.  So next time you venture off the grid, enjoy your own personal oasis and go Oasis Camping instead of dry camping.

Learning Experience and curve

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We thought ourselves smarter than the average bear when we decided to purchase The Gump last December.  After all, we had done a lot of research, looked at a lot of different models and manufacturers, we knew what we wanted and needed for our family, and we walked away from the ultimate choice at least twice before deciding to purchase.  It was a non-emotional and well thought-out purchase.  And yet, as we’ve learned we would have landed in the same spot if we had bought the first time we set foot in The Gump.

Listen folks, Mum is about to admit that she was wrong and that Dad handled the situation much better than she did.  Also, can we get The Gump back already!  I miss travelling and impressing folks with my sparkling personality.

Pickles is right, Dave handled the service issues much, much better than I did.  I come from a background where every decision, choice was treated like the life and death matter it was (aerospace) whereas Dave can navigate murky waters of corporate life with an ease I cannot comprehend.  Guess whose skills are more relevant in the RV world?  Yep, not mine.  I’m ok with that, now.  I’m perfectly content to be the writer of the blog and planner of trips.  Those dark, murky waters of slime can be navigated by Dave, I’ll be content to be the port in the storm from here on out.

Rather than turn this into a rant, I’ve decided to share a couple of lessons we learned in the last nine weeks of extended shake-down service.

Lesson One

The closer to home you get your rig worked on, the better.  Nope seriously, sounds like common sense but we learned this one the hard way.  Two hour drive one way through some of the worst traffic in the nation to check on progress of repairs means you won’t be checking in on a regular basis.  Phone calls and emails are easy but are also easy to ignore and dodge.  It’s much harder to ignore a person who shows up and wants to see the status of repairs. 

Next time, despite the lack of trust in the dealership closer to the house we will be taking it there instead of the dealership we’ve spent months building a working relationship with simply because ten miles is a lot closer than two hours.  Our showing up yesterday did far more than all of my emails and phones in the weeks since we dropped off The Gump for service.

Lesson Two

Be willing to make repairs yourself even if you aren’t the handyman type.  We heard this but took it with a large grain of salt.  After all, if you could pay to have the work done professionally isn’t that less risky than let’s say  Tammy All Thumbs trying to repair something?  Short answer, undoubtedly yes but should you opt for the professional repair option be prepared to be royally and repeated screwed.

We have a simple, easy to repair safety issue that Dutchmen is refusing to repair.  The details are for another post but the repair is less than $35 in raw materials and some time and labor.  Fair enough, when the quote came in for the repair let’s just say it was far in excess of 100% markup in what I thought was the cost of raw materials.  I told Dave, nope we’ll figure it out.  He’s always engineering stuff and this time the conceptual can be made real.  We’d save a ton of cash and get The Gump back that much sooner.

Lesson Three

Spreadsheet action items are your best friend.  Your rig may be your weekend get away or it may be your home but either way, the spreadsheet is your best friend when it comes to tracking ongoing issues and repairs. 

Our dealership is busy and our service advisor is swamped.  I know this logically but honestly, I’d become lazy and dependent like we all have on just throwing ongoing issues in an email as they came up.  Guess what?  Emails are easy to lose track of and a pain to follow-up on individually when there is long list of problems awaiting resolution.  Spreadsheets on the other hand, attach to an email just as easily and keep everything that is ongoing in one place. 

So, as you can imagine we now have an action item spreadsheet for The Gump.  That same spreadsheet will be used until we no longer own The Gump.

Conclusion

So, would we do it all over again knowing what we know now?  Yes, no hesitation and no regrets.  We would do things differently regarding service and letting Dave handle interactions with Dutchmen and Keystone.  But as for The Gump?  No question we made the right decision for us, even if we haven’t made the right decision every time since.  Life is a learning curve and we’ve learned a lot in the last four months.  But much like the photo at the top, the sun is beginning to break through the clouds and there is light at the end of the road.  I’m off to grab a cup of coffee and plan the next shake-out trip.