After months of preparation, we are now nomads, touring the country in our RV.
For our transition from our home to our new lives, we stayed at the “RV park” at the San Mateo County Expo Center for three days, while we wrapped up the last vestiges of our old lives (last day of work for me, loading the storage cubes, and getting Sunny to her new home). The Expo parking lot was convenient and affordable. And now I’ve run out of charitable adjectives.
Ted cleverly planned our first few days to consist of 3-4 hours of driving — so we’d have an easy start to our days, get there before dark, and be able to gas up the truck after unhitching the fiver. Ultimately we know we’ll be able to pull the whole rig into a gas station, but we didn’t need to do that right away.
We drove to just south of Bakersfield and stayed at the Orange Grove RV Park. It was a pretty nice place and the oranges were very sweet! We’re still enjoying them.
The next morning we drove toward Needles and the landscape began to change dramatically. We felt for the first time like we were really beginning our trip to discover new parts of the country. After settling in at the Desert View RV Park, we went to explore Needles. We kept thinking we were missing the heart of the town, but it turned out there wasn’t much there. We were also looking for the Colorado River which runs through town, but couldn’t find that. We did see a pretty sunset with the ever-present BNSF train in the foreground. We stopped at a bar and BBQ joint after having determined it was the only place in town that was open (on a Saturday night). While enjoying a cocktail I put Yelp to the test and we found a great place called the River Front Cafe, just outside of town, near our RV Park, and right on the Colorado River. Friendly place and the food and drink were great.
Leaving Needles, we entered Arizona and the scenery continued to amaze. In every direction the horizon offered varied mountain-scapes and rock formations. We started seeing saguaro, Joshua trees, and barrel and prickly pear cacti.
Arriving at Congress, AZ we found a sweet, but very small and rustic mine/mill town. Another 4 miles south and we arrived at our home for the next month, North Ranch RV Park. We backed into our spot, hooked up all the utilities and settled in. Our area is more parking lot than campground, but all around us the scenery is pretty nice.
There’s an off-leash dog area (we’ve been twice, but not while other dogs were there), a clubhouse (with lounge area, laundry, and showers), a recreational center, lots of activities, a cactus garden, a small RV section, and almost a town of seasonal residents. On Abbey’s first walk here a piece of cholla cactus jumped out and embedded itself in Abbey’s chest. After a bit of panic, her right foot and lips were also connected to it. It took a lot of patience, some pliers, a muzzle, and a bit of blood to get over that.
It’s been raining the last two days and I’ve developed a nasty cold, so we’re nesting. Ted’s happy to be cooking again and his first batch of soup has been perfect for the weather and my cold. We also had a celebratory crab feast on our first night here.
We have no over-the-air TV reception and there’s not much in the way of connectivity (I’m drafting this offline), so we’ve been watching movies on DVD, playing games, reading, and relaxing. Today we went into Wickenburg, the nearest town of any size. It’s 12 miles south of us. It’s a very sweet ranching community with a historic downtown, decent groceries, a movie theater, and some interesting-looking eateries.
We are having issues with the truck/trailer connection. Something beeps when we hit bumps, a check trailer light has come on a couple of times (get out, trailer’s there and lights are working, check), and the Trailer Brake Controller (TBC) alternates between an error indicator and going out altogether. Everything seems fine though. Scouring the Ford truck discussion groups, I’ve become convinced that it has something to do with the 7-wire connection from the back of the truck to the fiver. Lose wire? Jiggly connection? Or is it related to the time we pulled away without disconnecting the safety cord from the fiver? Hmmm.
We stopped at the Ford dealer in Wickenburg to see about having someone look at it. It sounds like it may be one of those things that’s in the no-man’s land between the truck and the trailer, where we could have someone look at the truck and say all is fine, take the trailer to an RV service center where they’d say the trailer’s fine, and we’d know what we did to begin with: it’s in the connection between the two. When not connected the truck is fine, though, so we’ve got some time to look around and decide what to do.
For now, we’re listening to the sound of rain on the roof, enjoying a cup of tea, and pondering the path ahead.