After a day’s delay due to the freezing-ass weather over new years we lit off for parts west. I had to drain the tanks of my “four-season” RV because the water was freezing in the pipes. I think four-seasons means winter too and in Colorado winter means -30ºF. Apparently it never gets that cold in the Oregon Mountains where my coach was built. I woke up Wednesday morning to 1ºF and the red RV anti-freeze in the back of the truck was a slushy!
First westbound stop was at the Love’s travel stop in Wamsutter WY where the blue windshield washer fluid was frozen solid! The high temp was 9 and the overnight low was -2ºF. Brrrr
The trip across Wyoming was mostly uphill and into the wind but on the plus side it was well below freezing all day so none of that pesky road grim was able to splash up and get on the coach. We made it to Salt Lake City by noon and after three days the temperature was finally above freezing! YaY running water!
I have friends who are now in New Orleans and Mexico. Why am I not smart enough to go south for winter?
We made the hour-long trip north again so we could be closer to a New Years Eve gathering of friends. I think this is the second time we’ve visited the lake in winter and this time it has a coat of ice on it. There are some crazy-ice-fisher-peeps out on the lake catching fish without a boat. I will never understand the point of ice fishing. It’s 5* out there and the wind is blowing 30 mph = Brrrr!
New Years Day we start our westward journey to California. Gotta cross Wyoming, Utah, and Nevada before we get to the warm tropical paradise of Northern California. Tropical you say? Yup. It’s minus-8*f in Wyoming so 50* on the coast will be shorts-weather.
The last time I changed a gas bottle, which happens about every 5-days now, I noticed the hose was leaking gas at one of the crimps. I checked the other hose and it was leaking too.
The way the pig-tail hoses are arranged between the tank and the regulator seems a bit chintzy. There is a 45-degree turn in the hose right at the regulator followed by a tight 140-degree turn to get lined up with the valve on the tank. This puts a lot of strain on the hose-crimps. The hoses started leaking at the hose-crimp on the tank end of the set-up and it was made worse if the hose was side-loaded.
I emailed my contact at Outdoors RV and explained the situation. Within a few hours arrangements had been made for me to get new hoses and they showed up on my doorstep a few days later (turns out it was still covered by warranty). Outdoors RV has been great to work with when things come up with my travel trailer. I gotta say they are about 10,000 times more responsive than the dealer (a division of camping whirled).
The first thing I did with my new parts was to run to Home Depot and get more parts. I bought a couple of elbows and some nipples to make a hard-pipe connection that turns the first 90-degree bend. Then the hose only needs to make a sweeping 180 to reach the tank. All of the hose in the pig-tail is available to make the 180-turn so the radius is bigger and kinking is reduced. Even though the loops are bigger they still fit under the tank cover just fine.
I leak-checked the hoses and fittings a couple times and they hold gas pressure. I’ll check them again on a warmer day because the pressure will be higher than on the cold, gray, windy day I did the repair.
RV-ing means getting to work on your coach in exciting new locals!
I had planned to make the eastbound trip the day after Gravy-day, but a big storm blowing in from the north prompted me to leave two days early. The forecast was for several inches of snow and a 35 mph headwind. As it turned out my wednesday departure provided us with little wind and dry roads.
We hit a wall of traffic at the Edwards exit and did the I-70 bumper-to-bumper shuffle the rest of the way to town. Typical front range traffic and one of the reasons I left. I also noticed that the closer I got to Denver the more I could smell stink in the air. A sort of burnt plastic smell mixed with car exhaust and brake dust permeates the atmosphere. And then there is that whole light-turns-green-nobody-goes thing around here. I don’t know if it’s like that where you live, but no one in Denver looks up from their phone. Can’t see the light change if you’re not looking at it! HONK!
I came back here to attend some holiday festivities and put new counter tops in my sister’s kitchen. I wont burden you with the minutia but if something grand happens I’ll serve it up.
The boys and I have been here 7 weeks now. They have staked their claim on the Park and patrol more and more of it as time goes on. The next place we’re going does not allow cats to run free so they are going to hate me for a month or two. Again, Pro-tip: Don’t take outside cats on a road trip. Really. Don’t do it
Hiking in the nearby hills
I have switched from camp hosting to vehicle mantenance-ing. There are a lot less sites to spruce-up now that it is cold and campers are staying home in front of the fire. Now is the time to fix all the stuff that got used and abused over the summer. There are actually more things to fix than time or money to fix them so I just pick the most urgent things and work on those.
Cleaning the garage
I do miss having all those campers flowing through the park. I miss having different people to talk to each day and hearing about the places they came from or are going to. In the shop I mostly get to see tools and vehicles.
October is at an end and the water in the park is mostly turned off. There are a half dozen frost-proof hydrants scattered about, but not many are near a campsite. Site 2 (and 4 if you have a long hose) can run a hose to the hydrant near the dump station and site 25 can reach the camper service building. The winter-host has a special heated connection to the water supply, but the rest of us have to get water the old fashioned way ( I have no idea what that means, it just sounded nostalgic. Maybe picture an older guy with gray hair carting water in wooden pails up a snow-covered hill.)
There are far fewer Park visitors as well. There have been some rain/snow storms in the mountains so it is a chore to get over the mountains to/from Denver. I suspect a few cross-country travelers have taken the southern route along I-40 to avoid the snow. The amount of time it takes me to do my camp-host job has dwindled in direct proportion to the number of visitors so I’m spending more time working on Park repair projects.
Watching for rabbits in the early morning fog
This is my first fall season living next to a river on the western slope and the fog has this interesting way of forming just as the sun comes up in the morning. The sky is clear as a bell before sunrise and as the orange glow reaches over the mesa and floats down the river the fog materializes out of thin air and hugs the trees. sometimes the fog thickens enough to blot out the sun, other times the sun heats the air and the fog remains a patch-work.
After 11,000 miles of pulling with the trailer low in the front and the truck dragging its butt on the pavement I decided to get some air springs to level out the system. I made an appointment at The Spring Works in Grand Junction and they installed some Firestone Ride Rite air springs.
New Air Springs
I’ve decided to set the system up so that the ride height in the rear is the same loaded as it is when the truck is empty. Then add in the tension of the Wt Transfer hitch to bring the front down to where it was with the truck unloaded as per the Wt transfer hitch instructions.
I started by measuring from a grove on the hub-cap to the edge of the fender well on all four wheels. The measurements are not all the same. There is about 1/2” difference from side-to-side. I suspect age as a factor in that. The front is about 2” less than the back which is to be expected.
Before air springs the trailer caused the truck to squat about 3.5” in the rear. After air springs (with 60 psi loaded. 50 psi unloaded) the air springs get the rear of the truck back up to where it belongs. Engaging the Wt Transfer torsion bars brings the front down to within 1/2” of where it was unloaded.
On the test drive the rear of the truck stayed put. It bobs WAY less than before and the ride up front is better. The front still bobs up-and-down when we drive over a rough spot in the road, but the energy needs to go somewhere.
For those of you keeping score at home this brings the truck’s trailer-towing modifications and repairs to about $12,000.