It’s time to come clean… Redfish did happen, but it is not spoken of very kindly within the walls of my home. There may have been a few poor decisions made based on the anticipation of having the greatest time ever with my family. In hind-sight, taking a step back and not being rushed to get on the road may have proven to make the maiden voyage a whole different story. Well, here’s the story- yes any encouragement is appreciated to keep this dream alive.
I’m pretty sure we pulled out of our driveway around 3:00 PM on Sunday afternoon and it was over 100 degrees outside. I had driven the camper around town a few times leading up to this voyage, but had never loaded it and had never had any passengers. Well, we had to drop something off on our way and as we did, I looked at the new cargo hitch and it had totally bent over- going from a parallel position to about 30 degrees angled towards the ground. That meant swing back home and dump off the camping stove- I left the raft on the rack and we took off. It was sure to be a sign of the things to come. I still haven’t figured out how to fix that hitch, but it will happen.
So we got through town- Eagle Road is bad enough in the summer, but in the camper it was unbearable. The kids were all so hot (no AC in the camper or cab), so we opened up all the windows and poor Christy was standing over Benett trying to feed him a bottle. I should have just pulled over, turned around, and left at 8:00 after it had cooled off, but instead we pressed on. Horseshoe bend hill soon approached and the camper was doing pretty well except the temp gauge was at ¾ hot and getting hotter, this meant heater on- awesome! Well, that helped keep the temp just under the red line, right up to the last mile of the climb and then it jumped into the red and the engine light was on! Bad deal! There was no shoulder to pull over and the summit was so close! So, I continued upwards- please note, we’re climbing in the right lane, hazard lights on, and screaming at a rate of 18 mph! We finally get to the top and I’m thinking that we’ll be just fine to slowly cruise down the hill and then enjoy an easy stroll along the Payette- oh no! Not a chance! As soon as I lifted my foot off the accelerator, the engine died. I quickly put the tranny in neutral and fire her back up- success, very brief success, and it quit again. Neutral again, start, die…panic. This repeated a few time, but I don’t remember how many and the encouragement from Christy was what I remember the most- lots and lots of verbal encouragement. The problem with the engine failure was that has a direct relationship with the functionality of the brakes. Luckily there was a truck ramp about a mile after this all started and we were able to pull over and even get her stopped before the gravel bed. This may have required both feet on the brakes with all of my might- I don’t really remember as I try to pretend this never happened! Again- it’s blurry…. I just remember lots of verbal encouragement.
|Benett suffering in a pool of sweat.|
|At Horseshoe Bend Hill|
As you may have guessed, phone calls were placed. In-laws were summoned. I have traveled alone in the camper from that time on.
We (I mean “I”) continued on to the in-laws (following them as they had come to the rescue) and called it a day. I jumped back in the camper the next day and got back to the task of getting to the lake. I was going along quite well, but some of the climbs between Garden Valley and Lowman were challenging. There were a few 10 minute breaks at the road pull-outs to let the motor cool off. That seems to be the biggest problem with the camper- keeping the motor from overheating. I really need to get this figured out.
|Grand-Jean in the background. Notice the sagging cargo rack.|
Anyway, we all got there (Christy and the Kids came in a separate car), and the camper was awesome! The kids didn’t sleep too well if I recall- pretty sure there were a few long nights, but everyone was comfortable- I think.
|Asleep on the fold down couch|
|Benett couldn't believe that we fit the pack and play in the aisle.|
On the second to last day, Chase and I took the camper up and down the Salmon River and fished all day long. We didn’t catch any fish to show for our day, but we fished and relaxed and it the camper was so awesome to have moving from hole to hole, to take naps, eat lunch, change clothes to go swimming- you name it. It was awesome!
Another huge perk was taking the camper down to the docks every night for our traditional Polar Bear Club jumping into the lake around 9:00 or 10:00 to end each day. I love how easy it is to get in and out of small parking lots and basically drive it like it’s any other car with all the benefits of a living room in the back seat. I really like this camper!
|Little Clothing...Lots of Dirt|
|Loving the Sand!|
|Big Beef Loving the Lake|
The trip back was basically the same as the trip in- just not any verbal encouragement, or brake failures, but many cool-off breaks. It wasn’t too bad- my feet were on fire from the heater blowing 200 degree air on me, but I lived. I even made it up and down Horseshoe Bend hill without any issues. I had graduated from the driving school crash course!
Labor Day & Kelsey’s Wedding
The last trip of 2012 was to Arco for my sister Kelsey’s wedding. She got married over Labor Day weekend and so I drove the camper and Christy came in our car. It was a great little trip over- I went 55 mph the whole time on the freeway without any issues- it was awesome. I don’t even think anyone gave me the 1 finger salute- success!
We camped behind the shop at my parent’s house with my other 2 brothers that brought their trailers. It was every bit as convenient as any RV Park. There was water and electrical hook-ups (I still have a dry camper- I need to figure out a few small leaks at the toilet and bathroom sink) and there is also grass back there- it’s awesome. I’m not sure if I’ll ever go back to Arco in the summer without the camper. I have 8 brothers and sisters, so family gatherings call for people to sleep on couches, floors, tents- or beautifully renovated RV’s!
That wraps up 2012. I’m so excited for 2013 that I can’t hardly stand it. I’m hopeful that a generator and rooftop AC are in my future….hopeful, not confident.