Sunday, May 3, 2015

Chapter 1- Introduction

On May 26, 2015 our plan, Kathy's and mine, is to begin towing our small 20' travel trailer (shown in the photograph) behind our Dodge Grand Caravan from our home in Estero, Florida to the City of Corvallis in the State of Oregon, a distance as planned of approximately 3,700 miles. Once we arrive in Corvallis we will be spending several days with my sister Joan and her friend Terri at their home and then the four of us in two different trailers (Joan and Terri have a beautiful Airstream) will be spending two weeks together touring Oregon.  We will then be leaving Joan and Terri and their beautiful state and returning home to Florida.  Since our plan is to drive no more than four to five hours per day when we move from park to park and we expect that we will stay between two and three nights at each campsite, we estimate that our round trip will last at least three months and we will travel at least 8,000 miles.  This assumes of course that my wife and I remain sane and still friends during the course of travels especially considering that we will be living for such an extended period of time in a cramped space of no more than 130 square feet. It also assumes that we do not decide to pack it all in, sell the trailer, and drive home in our car and stay at expensive hotels with superior restaurants and very soft beds.  But then, this should not happen since our travel trailer has all the comforts of home.

It is truly amazing how these trailer manufacturers can pack everything into such a small space and still have an unloaded weight of around 3,000 pounds.  Our trailer as you can see by the drawing to the right has a walk-around queen sized bed with night stands on either side where we have placed lamps. There is also a stovetop, a microwave, a sink, a small under counter refrigerator (too small actually), a kitchen table with cushioned chairs, a shower, toilet, and a vanity, and a TV set mounted over the table.  The storage areas are small but then it keeps us from packing too much and overloading the trailer.  There is also a rooftop air conditioner that is much too loud when operating, kind of like the sound of an airplane during takeoff. There is also a propane heater.  Incidentally, our refrigerator can be operated using either electricity or propane.  This is handy as it allows the refrigerator to operate while we are in transit therein keeping the beer cold and the ice cubes frozen.  Just like home.

It is not like Kathy and I have not had some experience in the past living and traveling in a camper although in our case our "camper" in the past was a 38 foot long diesel powered motorhome.  Shortly before retiring in 2002, we purchased a new Fleetwood Discovery and after selling our home in Savannah we lived and traveled in our motorhome for almost a year before purchasing a home in Florida in mid-2003.  Our travels took us to the southwest of the United States and while we were there we participated in an escorted trip down to Cabo san Lucus in Mexico which took us over a month.  We were then of course, over a decade younger and our motorhome was far more luxurious and roomier (and a lot more expensive) than our current little travel trailer.  So why one must ask do we seem to be going backwards.  Since we were determined to visit my sister in Oregon why not just fly out, or if we want to drive, why not just stay in hotels along the way.  It certainly would be less expensive than the cost of purchasing the trailer, paying the fees at the campgrounds, plus the extra gas cost of towing the trailer.  The added expense of purchasing a large motorhome for this one time trip was out of the question.  So why are we doing it.

Believe it or not the primary motivating factor behind our decision to purchase our travel trailer was because my wife Kathy wanted to bring our small Pomeranian dog with us and we both agreed that flying with "Cabo" (who we named after our previous trip to Cabo san Lucas) was not a dog friendly way to travel.  Furthermore, most really nice hotels do not permit dogs so if we drove out to Oregon we would be forced to stay at lessor hotels. It would also be more difficult to find restaurants that allow pets.  So we purchased a travel trailer to accommodate our dog Cabo who as you can tell by looking at the photograph became immediately comfortable with the bed in his new home.

As I write these opening statements a little over three weeks before our planned departure, Kathy, Cabo, and I have already made four two day "vacations" in our small travel trailer and we have one more trip planned during this coming week.  We are now comfortable with our trailer.  We know how to hook it up to our car and what to look out for as we tow our trailer in traffic conditions and on the open highway.  We have practiced backing up the trailer on multiple occasions and while I am still lousy at the task my skills are now adequate and will hopefully get better as we travel.  We have had two small problems with our trailer both of which have been repaired.  In one case I over stressed two of the stabilizer jacks on one side of the trailer while trying to level the trailer.  This was wrong as they are meant only to stabilize the trailer and by over loading them I bent them and had to have them replaced.  The only other problem was a manufacturer's defect wherein we had to have our water pump replaced.  Fortunately as far as we know, we are now good to go.  My next entry will be sometime shortly after our scheduled departure on May 26, 2015.  Until then . .

1 comment:

  1. I LOVE that you made this blog!! You are a wonderful writer and photographer which makes it feel like I've hitched a ride on this Great Adventure. I look forward to reading future entries and seeing the sights through your lenses as you Go West! Safe travels and know that a bunch of squealing girls on the Atlantic are cheering you on. Love, Allison & the Carolina Coasties