So…….Sam and I bought another RV – I know what you are thinking, we can’t make up our minds…buy, sell, buy, sell; BUT this time (much like the last time) we think we got it right.
In 2017, we bought our truck camper (Foxie) and Sam’s 1-Ton Ford Truck (the Beast). We loved the truck camper; it was rare that we found a camp site that we could not get to and it was so compact. We could pull into a spot and within 15 minutes the camper was level, Sam had a beverage in one hand and a pair of BBQ tongs in the other and the grill going. Caution! Rabbit Hole! When we travel we don’t normally eat a formal lunch, just some lunch meat and cheese as we roll on to the next stop. So dinner, as those who know us or traveled with us know is usually a real sit down style meal that Sam whips up on one of our three cooking appliance options. That’s as far down the rabbit hole we are going but maybe next time we will do a story on the some of the appliances we pack and some of the awesome things we have made while on the road. Lets just say its not jerky and some trail mix!!!. Now back to Foxie, we really loved everything about the truck camper, easy to set up and tear down, compact, well made and pretty darn sturdy. There where two issues that made us decide to try a new style of RV. First is that there is no place to sit inside except at the dinette which wasn’t to bad but get a rainy day inside and your legs go numb from sitting in the same spot for hours. Second, was the bed or more accurately getting into the bed, After Sam had his knees replaced he could no longer get on his knees so crawling up into a cab over style bed was painful. So, we decided to sell it and I have to admit that I cried watching Sam drive it away to deliver it to her new owner.
After months of exhausting research (Sam’s thing) we decided to upgrade to a four seasons bumper pull trailer. We choose the Northwood manufactured ORV. After making the “which one to buy” decision then came the “finding one” part. Due to being in the middle of the Covid Pandemic, RVs were scarce but we managed to get our name on a list and purchased what we wanted from an ORV dealer in Portland Oregon. Fast forward 5 months to November and it was time for us to drive to Portland and pick it up. After arriving at the dealership in Portland late in the afternoon, we got our first look at the new trailer. It was beautiful, but it was HUGE. It was a 30 foot trailer with a slide, so it was basically bigger than my first apartment. Sam went through every inch of it with the Salesman and tried to learn all we needed to know and I tried to get videos of the important stuff. Off we went and I am not sure how we did not sideswipe any other cars – have you see how narrow Portland streets are? Anyway Sam said this is nothing compared to a logging truck and he got us unharmed and without incident to our campsite for the night. That’s when the fun began, Sam has outside duty normally and especially this time as it was raining. Apparently Sam was not familiar with weight distribution hitches or sway bars so after 45 minutes of banging around and maybe a little swearing Sam accepted the help from a gentleman a couple of spaces down who must have either felt sorry for him or he was tired of laughing. So first kudos to the guy for offering to help and super kudos to Sam for actually accepting it!!! Sam hooked up the water and electric as well as the sewer drain and we settled in for the night. It was about then that we figured out our furnace only ran on propane and the dealer apparently wasn’t permitted to fill our bottles so we had zero propane so zero heat…..Luckily we had plenty of warm blanket’s and were able to make it until coffee time the next morning. We took off early the morning headed back to Arizona. Pretty uneventful except we hit a snow storm going over “Dead Man’s Pass” (really? they had to name it that?) in Oregon. One of the scariest days of my life, and still Sam just kept driving. We had a cold night in Idaho but the rest was pretty uneventful.
Within a few months, we realized how much work a trailer is for people that like to stay one night at a campground and then move on to the next. Each time you have to take the trailer off the hitch, and back on again each morning which is not handy especially when its 14 degrees outside and the metal hitch parts are frozen. We soon realized that some folks are trailer folks and some are not…… We are not! We sold it 6 months later.
So, third act, We truly missed the RV lifestyle and felt we need to get back into it. It was always a great adventure and it kept us moving. Having narrowed down the list of RV types we haven’t tried we decided on a used (see, he does learn) Class C motorhome, big enough to have a couch in addition to the dinette, but easy to set up for camping. Better yet – no slides. We have had our experiences with slides and know that for us, simpler is better. Less to break and less weight.
We chose a 2021 Thor 28A for no other reason than it was available, no slides, had low miles (3400) and was barely used. That being said, we still wanted to get it out and run through everything to see what worked and what didn’t. How was the bed? Is the shower usable? Does the radio and tv work? How does it handle running down the road with a side wind? So we picked a place close by for a quick overnighter. We found Gilbert Ray Campground in Pima County that had received high praise for its incredible views of the Sonoran Desert and would let us make a reservation for one night and at short notice. It was fun getting there because the GPS had us going one way and Sam thought he remembered it was quicker to go another so, since he had the wheel in his hands, we went where he wanted, Turned out the right thing to do. After traveling through the beautiful Saguaro National Park, we found our destination. Turned out it was very close to Old Tucson, a place where many movies were filmed and I recall visiting it as a kid.
The one thing I can say about a Motorhome vs a bumper pull trailer is that – I have never ridden in a camper when it was moving. It is very loud with items rattling in the cupboards. We are quickly figuring out how to keep dishes and food in silent mode.
Pulling into the park, we stopped at the office. I stepped out of the cab of the motorhome and walked across the parking lot and suddenly a bug (assume) dived bombed me and got caught in my hair. I still don’t know what it was, and really I don’t want to know. For my efforts, the office was closed “for the season”. We were just supposed to drive around and find our reserved spot.
It was not difficult to locate our spot and within 30 minutes (after Sam backed it up several times with me giving my creative hand motions to help him back it up which Sam said he confused with some form of ribbon dancing) we were set up. We tested the awning, the air-conditioner, fans, lights, faucets, shower – you name it. Everyone was impressed but the dogs. They took one trip outside and they were immediately covered in cheat grass and cactus stickers. We even had to cut a dead cactus from Missy’s tail.
I sacrificed my hair brush to the dogs to keep the cheat grass out of their fur and between their toes. OK, we may not be desert campers but look at the views of sunset and the incredible dinner Sam made. It was worth the trip!
The park is worth staying – but next time it will be in the cooler months. It was very quiet and great access to the park trails. We could tell that most were there for mountain biking, hiking and listening to the birds of the desert. No regrets on the new RV.