It’s a good thing despite initial impression

As you know, we spent a couple of weeks in New Mexico at the beginning of May on our final shake down trip after picking up The Gump from La Mesa.  We needed fuel and food and so we stopped at a Petro truck stop just over the border in New Mexico.  Dave pumped diesel and I went in search of snacks.  Fuel and food obtained we continued on blissfully unaware that we, well I, had picked up an unwanted passenger for the trip.

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We arrived at Percha Dam State Park mid-afternoon on Saturday and settled in comfortably.  Come Monday morning I was starting to feel a wee bit off but then Tuesday arrived and I spent the day in bed wondering if I’d survive.  Whatever cold/flu virus I picked up was nasty awful and hit me hard.  That first week is a blur, I was miserable and felt like I was drowning.  I finally start to feel better and wham Dave gets hit with it that Monday of the second week. 

We changed campgrounds, for a variety of reasons, on Thursday and go to the KOA in Las Cruces.  We hunker in the bunker so to speak, not doing much of anything.  Sunday morning arrives and we leisurely pack up and head back to the house for the final time.  About four hours into the trip back, I tell Dave he is weaving.  He denies it and I say, hey hon seriously you’re weaving.  He’s congested and coughing up a storm too.  I quickly make reservations at KOA Tucson/Lazy Days and here we are until Memorial Day.

MOM, stop rambling and get to the point!  No one wants to hear about you and Dad’s snotty adventures in New Mexico!!

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Pickles has a small point, but the background information sets the stage.  What driving back to the house on Sunday proved was that we are both capable and ready to adapt to life on the fly without it becoming a huge bone of contention.  We needed to pull off and recover and we quickly found a spot where that could happen.  Sure, it was a mere two hours or so back to the house but it wasn’t worth the risk.  It isn’t just some random life belongings we two behind us but the items we’ve deemed most personal and essential to us.  That ability to adapt and react in a timely manner isn’t surprising to me but it does prove that we are capable of doing so to any remaining family members who doubt our sanity.

Dave is feeling better every day.  We are both enjoying the nightly trips to the hot tub after Pickles goes to bed for the evening.  Wally is getting a haircut Friday morning thanks to a local mobile groomer that could work him in on short notice.  Sangria and Leo happily lay out on the deck during the day while Pickles hangs out in the sun.  Overall, the six of us are quite pleased and content with ourselves. 

We are dreading going back to the house come Monday.  It no longer is home and it is going to be hot with a lot of hard work in front of us.  That being said, we are both motivated to get it accomplished as quickly as possible so we can be free and clear of the house and it’s expenses. 

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It’s a good thing despite initial impression

As you know, we spent a couple of weeks in New Mexico at the beginning of May on our final shake down trip after picking up The Gump from La Mesa.  We needed fuel and food and so we stopped at a Petro truck stop just over the border in New Mexico.  Dave pumped diesel and I went in search of snacks.  Fuel and food obtained we continued on blissfully unaware that we, well I, had picked up an unwanted passenger for the trip.

20160509_074015_001

We arrived at Percha Dam State Park mid-afternoon on Saturday and settled in comfortably.  Come Monday morning I was starting to feel a wee bit off but then Tuesday arrived and I spent the day in bed wondering if I’d survive.  Whatever cold/flu virus I picked up was nasty awful and hit me hard.  That first week is a blur, I was miserable and felt like I was drowning.  I finally start to feel better and wham Dave gets hit with it that Monday of the second week. 

We changed campgrounds, for a variety of reasons, on Thursday and go to the KOA in Las Cruces.  We hunker in the bunker so to speak, not doing much of anything.  Sunday morning arrives and we leisurely pack up and head back to the house for the final time.  About four hours into the trip back, I tell Dave he is weaving.  He denies it and I say, hey hon seriously you’re weaving.  He’s congested and coughing up a storm too.  I quickly make reservations at KOA Tucson/Lazy Days and here we are until Memorial Day.

MOM, stop rambling and get to the point!  No one wants to hear about you and Dad’s snotty adventures in New Mexico!!

20160525_101216

Pickles has a small point, but the background information sets the stage.  What driving back to the house on Sunday proved was that we are both capable and ready to adapt to life on the fly without it becoming a huge bone of contention.  We needed to pull off and recover and we quickly found a spot where that could happen.  Sure, it was a mere two hours or so back to the house but it wasn’t worth the risk.  It isn’t just some random life belongings we two behind us but the items we’ve deemed most personal and essential to us.  That ability to adapt and react in a timely manner isn’t surprising to me but it does prove that we are capable of doing so to any remaining family members who doubt our sanity.

Dave is feeling better every day.  We are both enjoying the nightly trips to the hot tub after Pickles goes to bed for the evening.  Wally is getting a haircut Friday morning thanks to a local mobile groomer that could work him in on short notice.  Sangria and Leo happily lay out on the deck during the day while Pickles hangs out in the sun.  Overall, the six of us are quite pleased and content with ourselves. 

We are dreading going back to the house come Monday.  It no longer is home and it is going to be hot with a lot of hard work in front of us.  That being said, we are both motivated to get it accomplished as quickly as possible so we can be free and clear of the house and it’s expenses. 

“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.

“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.

Introducing “The Gump”

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There she is, all lit up at night while we are overnighters on the La Mesa lot for the PDI.  Pickles is home with his grandparents, thank you Mum and Daddy, along with the rest of the flock.  I will endeavor to carry on without my feathered task master.  We decided upon a Dutchmen 2016 Voltage 3970. 

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It was a very close decision between a Heartland Edge and the Voltage.  The difference came down to does it feel like a long werkender/two week vacation or does it feel like home.  Voltage won out because of the larger bathroom, huge kitchen with lots of storage, and the living room set-up.

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We talked about names on the drive down on Tuesday.  It had to be something we could agree upon and would fit both our personalities.  Dave gets credit for the name this time, I was stumped.  “The Gump” comes from The Marvelous Land of Oz by Frank L. Baum.  It’s a perfect name, it’s geeky and obscure and very bookworm appropriate.  I’m the bookworm, he remembers obscure details about everything, and we are both geeks. 

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I freely admit I love how it’s lit up at night.  Sure blue wouldn’t be my first choice but I don’t think Dave would agree to pink lights so no complaints here!

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We brought our own bedding which has helped tremendously in making it ours instead of a generic toy hauler.  Sure, the bed isn’t horrible but we are already talking about replacing it as one of the top items on the list.  Bedroom is spacious.  There is a place for Sangria’s bed is the closet and room for Wally at the foot of the bed.  Leo will have no shortage of spots to stretch out and sun himself or curl up and fall asleep.  Pickles will have lots of spots to hang out.  He can sleep in the kitchen at night and be out of the way, in fact there’s his nighttime spot below.  There is a lot of daylight inside and he can always go hang out in the garage or patio when it’s not below 70° outside.

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Overall, with the barest of minimums we’ve settled in comfortably.  We both know things will continue to crop up once we start using The Gump on a semi-regular basis in 2016 but hey, that’s no different than sticks and bricks living. 

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Dave is comfortable working in the garage even if it isn’t quite perfectly set-up yet.  And yes, it’s COLD here in Tucson and he’s running around in shorts! 

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We are looking forward to our first planned vacation time which is in January, assuming we sign-off on the PDI this week.  If we do, then first thing I’m doing this weekend  (after the flock has forgiven me) is booking a reservation somewhere responsibly close.

Wherein Mum and Dad change their minds

Have you ever thought to yourself, “My parents are just flat out crazy?”  If you haven’t you’re lucky, mine are and I certainly thought so when they proclaimed “We’ve found the motorhome!”  They were flat out crazy, sure it would have been a great option if they didn’t have care and custody of me the universe’s greatest feathered companion of all time! 

 

Shortly after their last posting I watched Dad begin to research fifth wheelers and toy haulers and when I saw those patios on the toy haulers I was all a flutter with joy!  There finally was someplace to relax and hang out safely in my cage while soaking up the sun and chatting with my wild feathered friends.  I was immensely pleased when they spent all of the last week researching and look at those patio wonders.

 

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Enough of the mouthy little feathered punk, although he has a point.  We have spent the last week or so looking at fifth wheels and toy haulers.  A lot of time was spent this weekend driving around and climbing in out out of our top choices.  We narrowed our search down to Heartland, Jayco, Grand Design, and Forest River.  They all had toy haulers and fifth wheels that on paper met our needs.

 

Let’s just say there can be a tremendous amount of variation between manufacturers on fit and finish.  We, well Dave, stepped in one Forest River toy hauler and immediately knew it wasn’t the right one.  Grand Design has a decent toy hauler in the Momentum but not enough to keep it in the running.  In the end, Jayco and Heartland were the two final choices.

 

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I absolutely fell in love with the Jayco Pinnacle 36REQS the moment I stepped into the coach.  It felt like home.  The furniture was comfortable, it felt spacious and open.  There was plenty of open space and kitchen was spacious.  The bedroom was wonderful as well, the washer and dryer being in a separate cabinet not eating up closet space was a HUGE plus for me.   One of the nicest things about the Jayco were the entry stairs.  They are rock solid and my bad knees much preferred the five step entry to the competition.  The arched ceiling in Jayco was also a huge plus.  The coach overall just felt larger and more spacious.

 

The Jayco Seismic the first picture, was the only toy hauler to make it into the final three.  It is an absolutely gorgeous toy hauler with solid fit and finish.  It would be a great weekend play coach or extended holiday coach.  It would not workout well for long term living though for our family, despite Pickles insistence that he needs to patios.

 

Two things eliminated the Jayco from the running.  First, lack of basement storage and no patio option.  If we knew these were upgrades coming from Jayco in the next year or two it is quite possible we would wait.    Jayco builds gorgeous short term vacation fifth wheels and if we were looking for that, there would be a Pinnacle 36REQS on order after the first of the year.

 

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We looked at two Heartland Big Country’s over the weekend, the 3800FL and the 3950FB.  They were nice, spacious with vastly improved fit and finish over the Heartland Cyclone 4200 toy hauler we looked at.  The entire family would be able to fit comfortably and there was plenty of basement storage.  They checked almost all the boxes.  It wasn’t until we got home Saturday evening and Dave started poking around that he discovered the 3900FLP which checks every box we have.  Unfortunately, there is only one 3900FLP in the entire state and it’s about a two hour drive from the house.  We are going to look at it on Saturday.

 

If it meets our expectations then it truly is the one and the motorhome concept is truly out the window for good.  We have a list of questions into Heartland.  I will take plenty of pictures and post the best ones this weekend.  Pickles will get the best of both worlds and I won’t be losing any storage beneath the coach.