Saturday, March 16, 2013

Meanwhile, back at camp....

When we left this saga, we had finally gotten the truck wheels back on the ground, the hitch off the truck, and the water connected and leaking. Please note that I had little to do with any of this except for the warning about the rear stabilizers that went unheeded and connecting the power (which worked just fine, thank you very much!)

We tried and tried with the water hose, but nothing, not even MEN, could get it disconnected. I pawed through the boxes from our tent trailer and finally found a Phillips head screwdriver and some pliers. I suggested that the pliers might help, but it was dark and wet so we just used water frugally.

Note: You don't want to lug a full tank of water. Each gallon of the stuff weighs 8.3 lbs, taking up part of your weight allowance which is much better used for musical instruments, yarn, fiber, books, clothes, food, yarn, fiber, music books, games, puzzles, books, fiber. You get the picture.

So we only had 1/8 tank or about 8 gallons. Not much for washing, toilet, and showers. Showers were the first to go, there was a bathroom right across from us, and who needs to eat anyway?  Early the next morning (and by early I mean around noon) we headed up to Warrenton (about 30 miles away) to go to Fred Meyers. I mention that only because we also needed food, something we had brought none of. Although we discussed the problem with the water, we did nothing about it until we got back to the campground. There we were able to purchase a new hose (Felipe and Jenny had determined the hose was the problem), a washer, and a cable for the cable TV. Priorities.

Using the pliers I so conveniently found, they were able to get the old hose off, the new hose on, the leak stopped, and water flowing freely into the fresh water tank. Those extra towels sure came in handy. Another obstacle bypassed. So we went to bed.

The next morning, eager to hit the road before the campground deadline of noon, we unhooked, unplugged, slid in the slides....oh, snap, one of the slides was stuck in the OUT position.  Since it had been quite windy, I assumed a branch or some such was stuck on top of the slide, but no way was I going to climb that little ladder on the back of the rig. Jenny was going to, but first we had to drop the carrier that will hold our bikes and the spare tire. This involves cotter pins, those annoying giant bobby pins that won't move. Finally, at last a use for the screwdriver.

But when we got the cotter pins out, the whole thing was too close to the bumper to drop down flat enough to let us put the ladder down. It can be moved. But not by us. Forget the ladder.

Now, this is where it helps to be in a campground when you first start out. A man in an adjoining slot came to help us. Just about the time I discovered that the rear stabilizers (which, you will remember, I suggested raising before trying to get the trailer off the truck hitch) should indeed have been raised.  They had come apart.

They weren't broken, they just weren't together in such away that part A could slide into part B. But there was about 11,000 pounds of trailer on top of them. Did I mention we have yet to buy a jack?

Enter the man. I'm not sure how he did it, but he managed to get part A into part B. Maybe because he's a man and he's used to that. Being lesbians, we seem to be missing a part. Not that I'm complaining. Just saying.  The stabilizers were then raised and Jenny started trying to re-establish equilibrium by leveling the whole thing. This is all done electronically but involves the ability to read small print on the interior of the basement, something I can no longer do. My job was to stay inside and push the slide button, while Jenny and now two men, fiddled with things on the outside. All I had to do was remember which of three unmarked slide buttons controlled which slide.

After about an hour of this, and by now a crowd of onlookers had formed, the men and the onlookers decided that they would push the slide in while I pushed the button. Success at last. Now all we had to do was put the trailer on the hitch and get out of Dodge. Did the trailer want to cooperate? Of course not. Our next hour was spent hitching up the trailer.

With a fifth wheel this is supposed to be an easy task, five minutes at most. Line things up, sort of. Back up until it clicks into place, plug in the electric brakes and lights, and drive off. It's not an exact science like putting something on a ball hitch. You can be off and the hitch will guide it in. In theory. Thank god/dess for all the men and women who now were really into rescuing us. (I did give them express permission to talk about us after we left.)

Again, we had division of labor. Jenny was driving. The men were supervising, reaching the things we couldn't reach, arguing with the hitch and each other, and telling me when to raise or lower the front stabilizers. This involves that small print on the interior of the basement, the small print I can't read, so I just pushed buttons until things seemed to be moving. Since the buttons have odd names on them, not intuitive at all, I moved that sucker all over the place until the men realized that a) I had no idea what I was doing because b) I couldn't see the small print and took over. The women were watching us and making commiserating noises and telling the men what to do. Did I mention it was raining?

Finally, with Jenny in the driver's seat, the men in all the places that required some clue about what to do, the women supervising the men, and me supervising the dog, the thing went in.

We immediately drove to Camp 18 to eat lunch and our next stop was Curtis Trailer where we dropped off the trailer to get the slide looked at, the leaks we'd found fixed, the spare tire/cargo thing adjusted, and whatever else. I can't remember.

But here's what we need:

A ladder so we can easily reach all the parts of the hitch.
A jack that will hold the trailer up
To read the damn instructions. (Well, I sort of read them, but they really don't make a lot of sense until you know what you're reading about, which you can't know until you do everything wrong.)

So, we did everything wrong, but we got home safely, and can't wait to go again.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Grandkids

We went to the beach to see our grandchildren, all six of them, in one place for the first time ever. I'm not going to bore you with how perfect they all are, but I am going to show you pictures.

Sisters Shannon and Amelia with Uncle Felipe (father of EmmaSofia and Pilar).

 Todd (father of Shannon, Tyler, Amelia, and Jack) and Jack with Jenny in the background.

Pilar, almost smiling at me.

Jack and my sister, Sally.

Tyler, a crab "claw" and Jenny.
My niece Kelsey with Jack.
EmmaSofia (EmSo) with Sally and Jack

So there you have it. Now back to the trailer story.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

And So It Begins....

Two weeks ago, Jenny and I were still going round and round on the whole motor home vs. fifth wheel thing, a debate we've had for close to two years. Suddenly, we now own a 2005 Dodge Ram 2500 TurboDiesel (a truck that guys think is pretty cool) AND a 2013 Denali 330RLS. It looks like this:

 Pretty cool, huh? And, yes, that is a dent in the rear panel. See that tree, the one just to the right of the driver? Jenny had a disagreement with that tree the first time she tried to put the truck in the driveway. (We used to drive a Prius that would fit in the bed of this hurking big truck.)

Our first trip was last week, to Cannon Beach. One of our all-time favorite beaches. If you go there, stay at the Cannon Beach RV Resort. Not too expensive, all the amenities, big spaces, and virtually empty during the week in the winter. Did start to fill up on Saturday, but we were on our way home, and as you will discover, we were glad it was full.

Back to those trees. Inconveniently located for anything bigger than a Prius. In fact, we couldn't turn left, the direction we needed to go, so we had to turn right. Which established dilemma one.  From the right hand path, we could only go so far until we run into a) another creek with a weaker culvert, and b) a sharp right hand turn. By sharp I mean imagine a bobby pin.

So, at some point we had to  turn this mother around. Jenny was intent on backing it up slowly, carefully, staying on the gravel road as much as possible. She should not have listened to me. New rule: If you are driving and I'm not, ignore me.

Because I told her to just turn around in the large grassy swath. In Oregon. In March. Following a rain. Which is how this came to be:

Those little sticks were my feeble attempt to create something to give us traction. Mind you, this is right in front of our house. See how far we got? We called various people like Brooks Motors who we adore (no tow truck) then AAA (account had lapsed) and finally Baker and Baker Towing. $150 dollars later, we had been towed about 10 feet, just far enough to get back on the road. However, in the process, we caught one side of the trailer on yet another tree. We live in the country, on a creek, near lots of trees. We aren't very good with trees. Well, I am, but I avoid driving as much as possible and have yet to pull the trailer. I did, however, slide the truck into the driveway without harm on my very first try.

Finally, we were off. But we had to go to Camping World because we needed a couple things that didn't come with the trailer.  Like an inline water filter and something else related to the water system. I forget what. I'm old. Live with it.

We got those, a non-spill water dish for Good Dog Gwyneth, a bed and leash for same, a step stool because we are both short and neither one of us can reach all the various parts of the hitch that have to be reached in the back of the truck bed, some chemicals to put in the black water tank, and a Good Sam membership. If you are keeping track, we have now spent too much money. Plus, I needed yet another Diet Coke.

Good Dog Gwyneth in her natural element:

We got to Cannon Beach while it was still light. But we couldn't get the truck off the hitch. Looked so easy when they had us do it at the dealership. Was super easy when we did it earlier that same day. Now it was impossible.  A neighbor in the campground tried to help. We ended up lifting the back end of the truck off the ground. Finally, we called our sons-in-law to come help.  Four men, plus Jenny, plus about an hour of time, managed to get it separated. My only job was to say, "Don't you think you should raise the rear stabilizers first?" over and over.  I am, by my own account, chopped liver on the grocery store shelves of life.  So naturally no one listened. They should have.

Finally, we were unhitched, and our new home (once we go full time after Jenny retires later in the year) was set up.  This is what it looks like inside:

Pretty, huh?

Total tally first day out:

Dollars spent: Too many
Tow trucks utilized: One
Dings to truck: One
Dings to trailer: Two
Hours spent unhitching: Two or more
Exhaustion level: VERY HIGH

Oh, and our new friend Ray (neighbor in campground) hooked up the water which was then crossthreaded and missing a washer so the basement of the rig started to flood. See, I knew there was a reason I brought too many towels this trip.