I decided to move to a different spot in the parking lot at about 1:00 o’clock in the morning to try and find a little more quiet. This is a very noisy location. It was like being in a truck stop. The million dollar RV we were near had some sort of machinery (air conditioning, generator, or something ) running all night long, non-stop! Do I sound irritated?
I threw our step stools into the back of the car and drove around the separate parking lot with my window open searching. I discovered sound can be blocked by other vehicles.
Not a great night of sleep. But an early start of getting back on the road. I’m wondering if I-80 is just characteristically lots of truckers.
TIP: When spending some sleep time in parking lots be prepared to move at a moments notice.
Since our planning for this trip was based on minimalism, I started making notes a week ago to remind myself what I needed. Every time I thought of something I put it on the counter or in the trailer. That way I could visually see my pile of stuff. I also packed bike clothes, jackets and my traveling clothes during the week. I did not wait until this morning to figure out where everything was going. I also had a to do list that I kept handy and checked off items as I completed them. Now that we are on the road, I know I didn’t forget anything.
It took longer for us to pack for this trip than any other time I remember. Perhaps it was because we decided to minimize as much as possible. In the past we probably would have just thrown everything in until the space was filled up. Well we think we’ve learned a thing or two about what is really needed on a traveling trip across the country. We started packing and prepping, days and days ago. This morning was all about bringing it all together. Where everything gets placed and where we take it from was all carefully considered. I find that walking through the house helps me to know what I’ve packed and if all my daily needs are accounted for. Anyway this post marks the date and time we actually left for this adventure.
This was the last weekend that Parry Peak CG was to be open for 2017. Just a short trip was all we intended, but we ended up spending three nights here.
The leaves were literally changing by the hour it seemed. On the way up, looking up at the Aspens I thought they would surely be changing soon. As it turned out, we kept saying to each other, “can you believe how fast those leaves are changing?”
Coffee is important to us. But wouldn’t you know it, we brought the wrong kind of coffee. These were whole beans! We figured out you can use something like a pan and spoon to grind ’em up. The coffee was a little weak, but still satisfying.
Trying to figure out here a more straight forward way of making posts. This is created directly on this web site as a logged in user.
This us right where I’m sitting on my back steps. I’m on my iPhone in Safari logging into this website adding a post. And with media!
I think this might be way simpler and direct than send the site an email.
Sending via email is what we used to have to do before sites were responsive. This interface is just as easy, if not easier, than sending an email.
This our set up at Mt Shavano Campground in July 2017. We spent like 5 days here. You’ll notice there are two vehicles parked in the space. That’s because we were making trips back and forth to town. We’d go back to town for appointments or new supplies or from a bike ride then come back up for the evenings. It was really quite comfortable. It rained almost everyday. I think this was one of our better setups. Even during the rain we were able to move about the site and stay dry. You could go from the back of the truck through the 5 x 7 and into the kitchen dining area without getting wet.
We stopped in Mayhill, NM for a little break. There’s a nice little park there with a well kept lawn, shade, and ready doggie bags. Simon loved it. But I had to relieve myself too. Across the road was a cafe/restaurant. About fifty yards up the road was a convenience store. I thought it only fair to use the store since I didn’t plan on eating.
As I approached the entrance I noticed the sign with red letters about needing to buy something if you’re going to use the restroom. No big deal I thought I’ll just get a candy bar or something. I rushed in and found the bathrooms. One was out of order and one that I used had the hot water turned off and no way to dry my hands. No big deal. I just shook them dry. I found the candy bars and got one of the smaller Snickers. I was surprised when the older man with greasy hair rung up my purchase as $1.38. Expensive I thought for the small candy bar. I felt like making a comment about it but thought it wasn’t that big a deal and just paid. When I stepped outside Susan asked what being in there was like and pointed out the other signs all over the windows. I couldn’t believe I didn’t see them before I went in. If I had I might have just peed on the side of the building.
We were offended even though we believe in everyone’s right to free speech. I would not have gone into this store if I had been paying attention.
Tip: Look before you patronize.
Our first outing of the year. Packed up in less than 45 minutes and we were on our way to Penitente Canyon Campground in the San Luis Valley. Going to see Sandhill Cranes tomorrow. This is sort of a shake down cruise for us. We forgot a few small things but we are amazed at how self contained we are. Set up our new 5×7 side room fairly quickly but had to adjust a couple times to figure it out.
We stayed in this exact spot three years ago in our Silver Shadow. This pic however was taken on October 13, 2016.
It is a nice quiet spot in their lot, well as far as traffic goes anyway. No cars drive by this corner. After staying in a few Wally Worlds this trip we’ve learned that the way to tell if a Walmart is good to stay in or not is if there are other campers or RVs parked there as well. If there are none, there might be a reason. There were a couple tractor trailers and a camper van already parked in this lot when we arrived. By morning there were like eight new trucks. Some leave their engines idling, but it’s become white noise to us by now.
Took a slight detour to visit Dana Parsons, the guy we bought our T@G from. It was time well spent learning a couple more things about our trailer and how to get it winterized too. He had some of the new offerings from Pleasant Valley Trailers which were fun to look at. Just makes us appreciate our unit and happy we made that choice.
Campsite 32 is a primitive site and cost is $11. We bought $6 worth of firewood which ended up being enough to last all night. It felt heavy like it was still green, and it was difficult to get stated but seemed to burn a long time. We even threw a couple of pieces on it in the middle of the night and it was still burning in the morning. The temps that night got down into the was into the 30s. The campground is back in the woods and like the other places, hardly anyone here. Nice bathhouse with hot showers. Simon liked it here cuz he disregarded the leash law and followed Susan to the bathhouse. Guess he’s learning to be a criminal on this trip. We are heading west and south to meet up with Dana parsons at Missouri teardrop trailers where we got our T@G last summer. Maybe he’ll help us with a couple of “mods” we want to make to the trailer. It’s Rick’s birthday after all.
Since we’re in the area we stopped in to say hi where our T@G was born. Thought we’d ask a few questions that might make our lives easier. We had the the great pleasure of talking with Austin at their service center. He was able to help us with all the questions we could think of on the spot. He told us how to install extra charging stations near the front inside of our trailer. And he helped us upgrade our rear galley latch handles. We talked about tire presure, tongue weight, inside structural design, grease in the hubs, battery usage, refrigerator use, engineering wizards (Michigan Mike), and lots more. We probably spent an hour and a half with him. Susan and I agreed afterwards that it should probably be a requirement of all new tear drop owners to have a meeting like this. We came away feeling like we are much better and prouder T@G owners.
We’d highly recommend taking a visit if you can. Just the drive through this beautiful part of the country is worth it. Maybe it was just because it was such a beautiful day, but this part of Amish country is breath taking. It’s no wonder they named their company Pleasant Valley Tear Drop Trailers.
Discovered there must have been an airport right next to our island parking spot. Low flying loud planes passed almost overhead. The trains were also nearby and rumbled noisily. Both stopped by around 10 pm. The automobiles however with their noisy passenger started partying around 11:30. Their party was over by 12:30. Good thing we could stay one night! Off this morning towards Niagara Falls.
Tip: Try to anticipate possible nearby nighttime activities.
Left Terryville and Rick’s family today around noon. Our intended destination was Pittsfield, MA with a couple of sites to see along the way. The drive was beautiful with typical New England towns along the route.
When we arrived in Pittsfield we planned to stay at Walmart. No deal. No overnight parking. A quick check with Siri showed another store 38 miles away in Troy, NY. Another beautiful route through the Berkshires but alas no overnight parking at this store either. Another Siri check and one more store 45 minutes away. This time we called and yes, you can park in the back for just one night. Works for us. Arrived by 7 pm and found our spot. Next time we will call ahead!
Tip: Call ahead if you can.
We switched the canopies putting the white larger one over the “living space.” Gave us much more room!
Thoughts on Collegiate Peaks CG: we lucked out with this site with its large space and relative privacy. Although the CG FULL sign was out there were two available sites right near us. We call the smaller wooded sites the “inner city” since they are so crowded with lots of families and kids. We are “out in the county” here and prefer it. Doubt we will be back here this season. Too many other places to go.
We used to carry our Reliance portable potty in the storage box mounted on the Silver Shadow tongue. But the new T@G Max has the propane and battery mounted there. Thought maybe I could carry the potty on the extra space on the tongue with a cam strap. It looked like the strap would slide off and loose grip of the potty. So to keep the strap in place I cut slots in a five gallon bucket cover. Was pretty easy to do. Used a grey one to look a little nicer. Hopefully it will all hold in place.
Great idea here. Wonder if I can make a more portable one.
[6-28-2016] On the other hand, we’ve found that our new T@G is sooo much easier to move around than our Silver Shadow was. The handles work really well. I’ll probably not think of how to get one of these tools much anymore.
Got all the way here for lunch on our way to the black canyon tonight. Keep your feet off the ground away from the ants!
Tip: Watch out for ants in this visitor center. You’ll need to keep your feet off the ground.
We were sleeping in a Target parking lot, in Susanville, CA.
It was all good until about 5 am when we realized we had parked where commuters leave their cars for the day. Two large buses waited while 50 or more workers loaded up. Clearly not happy that we were in their spaces. So we left that spot and found Safeway and Starbucks and were on our way to highway 50 by 6:10. Lesson here is to try and anticipate what it’s going to be like in the morning. Gonna be a great day.
Tip: What’s it going to be like in the morning?
Spent the night in Elko, Nevada. We were on our way to Winnimucca but decided to stop here instead. We were getting tired and must have misjudged the distance. The Walmart Super Center in Elko seemed quiet and safe. They lock the doors of their Auto Center, Garden Center, and Pharmacy entrances at night which ends up making a huge section of their parking lot vacant. They don’t allow trucks to idle after 9 pm and so it gets quiet. We restocked on some food, grilled up some steaks, had some pie and rested for the night.
During the night it rained pretty hard with lightning and thunder so sleeping in the Little Guy was nice and cozy. We did learn one thing about leaving things on the ground in the rain. Even though our plastic bins keep stuff nice and dry, the rain drops splattered dirt all over the sides, even on the pavement. Not really a big problem, just wiped things off with rag. Something to consider though before going in for the night.
Tip: Rain will splatter dirt on things if they are on the ground.
This park is midway between Lake Tahoe and crater lake. It’s $12 for a campsite and free entry with seniors access card otherwise it’s $20 to get in and $24 for the campsite. Lassen has been devastated by fires and drought so lots of dead vegetation.
We were nearly out of gas and the campground ran out. But rather than wait till 11:00 we took the risk and went to Old Station where we paid $3.69 for gas. Yikes!
We were going to head to lava beds national monument but after looking at the map thought we would push on to Klamath falls to re supply.
Tip: Get gas when you can.
It was like Christmas at Brown’s cycle! Got a new helmet, gloves, socks, handle bar tape and a much needed floor pump. Oh yeah and it was two fer Tuesday so got 4 bike tubes and socks for Rick too. Still have some money left over for the next time (when my mountain bike sells). We camped at the Colorado national monument that night and I got to use my new stuff on a ride there.
If you’re going through here, stop in and say hi to Chris Brown the proprietor and old friend. Tell ’em Rick sent ya.
Tip: Stop at Brown’s Cycles if it’s Tuesday to buy tubes.
Love our umbrella. We move it around as needed.
State campgrounds aren’t really our thing, but national forests tend to be fairly off the beaten path and harder to find. The official U.S. Government website is almost useless when traveling down the road and looking for a place to camp for an evening. There’s just too much info to wade through. There ought to be an app for that but have not looked for it yet.
We took Simon for a run this morning on on our road bikes. He totally enjoyed it. 😀
We’ll be on our way to Winnamucca, NV right after we use the park shower facilities and pack up what little needs to be. We’re pretty settled in where all the stuff is where it belongs and easy to find. Not having to set up a canopy is a huge time saver.
Tip: If using an umbrella it helps to bungie it to the handles of the galley lid. The umbrella is not very tolerable in the wind.
Standard back up to table.
Great views from up here.
We were pleasantly surprised to find almost all the camp sites open in the Colorado National Monument. It was about 4 o’clock when we arrived. Again setting up with the umbrella is sooooo much easier than a canopy. Great view from our site, number 38, loop B, of the valley.
We picked up a bundle of firewood in Montrose, but can’t use it here. No fires allowed. We have some charcoal, but probably won’t cook with it tonight.
Tip: Forget the firewood. No open fires here.
We got out of Salida around 1:30 after a morning of reorganizing and packing. We realized that carrying the bikes on top of the truck would free up alot of room inside so Rick modified his ladder rack to hold the bikes. Nice job! We got to Gunnison to stop at our favorite camping store, Gene Taylor, and found our stadium chairs and a replacement skillet for the one we forgot. Back on the road we ended up at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park campground and set up in Loop C. A beautiful rainbow and yummy grilled veggies for dinner was all we needed. It rained off and on and our new umbrella worked really well – just moved it wherever we needed it to be. Simon is dealing with his new environment and will most likely get more comfortable as the days go by.
Today we are on our way to Grand Junction and Brown’s Cyclery to consign my Trek mountain bike and shop with the credit I have there for selling my Pinarello. Should be a fun day! Not sure where we will be tonight. Stay tuned.
- Bikes don’t go well inside the pickup topper because we need that storage space for camping gear and they are too hard to get out. Bikes are better outside.
- Square frying pan works better on a propane stove with wind guards.
We’re getting ready for a little trip north north west of here. We will hopefully visit Crater Lake National park for a little while then maybe Bend for a little. Not sure what direction after that. I bet we end up going down the Cali coast. I’m just testing this site before we leave.
It’s been a busy few months finishing some work to free up this time. Last couple days getting gear ready. Got new tires on the trailer. They are radials this time. The last ones seemed to wear out too fast.
Thought I’d walk around the yard and shoot the current stage of packing.
In the house we’ve got three new plastic boxes that were using to help organize. We jokingly say one is mine, one Susan’s and one is Simons. I insisted on having one to keep outside my door in the night. It’s a way to keep space open inside and keep things near at hand and dry. Last trip I kept one outside my door and really noticed how handy it was. So this time I’m planning on it.
There’ll be more pics later. I’d like to keep our trip updated here. We talked about giving it (this trip) a special name so we can name pics and folders to find pics and info in the future. We find it makes a pretty good travel log.
More to come!
- Radial tires work better than original bias ply tires.
- Bikes inside truck didn’t really work out.
Soaking up some sun this morning in the Colorado National Monument, Saddle-horn campground loop A. It was a little chilly last night but a down comforter for each of us kept the cold out. This is our first trip of 2015. Some lessons: don’t move boundaries in national forest campgrounds, choose your site carefully, if you plan on eating out find a campground closer to town, don’t forget the boombox. However this was intended to be a shakedown cruise, so all is good. Learning to chillax.
Tip: Don’t move USFS campground boundaries because the man in uniform gets upset.
The cover we used this past winter seems to have paid off. We uncovered our Little Guy yesterday and believe the cover saved the surface and plastic parts from sun wind and general weathering over the winter.
Tip: Covers work well to protect during off season. Custom made ones are not necessary. Go with the automotive kind.
After two restful nights at Schoolhouse Canyon Campground (highly recommend) we packed up and are heading toward Lake Tahoe to see Susan’s sister Rosemary. Here’s a few observations for future trips:
- We’re thinking disposable dishes and utensils would make for easier cleanup.
- Privacy popup/potty works great as intended.
- RV parks are less desirable because they are too crowded and we don’t need the hookups or extra services.
- Watch for dirty/dusty ground surfaces when selecting a site. We and the dog brought extra debris into the LG.
- Firewood can be an issue since you can’t carry it from state to state, so be on the lookout for good firewood to buy.
- Keep an eye out for Top That Yogurt. The best treats and our new favorite.
Susan heard a “clicking” noise when we started the car this morning from the engine. I took a look and listen under the hood and sure enough there was a very clear clicking noise that wasn’t supposed to be. We needed to decide to have it looked at before heading out on interstate 80. Turns out the power steering belt was shredding and slapping a radiator hose. Lucky for us to find it. It could have made a hole in the hose and caused us to over heat. We’re also lucky the mechanic could help us out right away. We have a wedding to get to after all. It plus it would probably really suck to break down on the side of I80 in 100 degree heat.
Tip: Keep the tow vehicle in good running condition. Pay attention to little noises.
Dusty dry but easy. It was getting late and we were getting tired. Found this US Forest Service campground called Hikison Petroglyphs. There was no water, but we carry at least 5 gallons in our Coleman jug. We didn’t even unhook the Little Guy. Just cooked our dinner, cleaned up and crawled in for some welcome sleep. We found the air was so dry that condensation inside was not an issue at all. Even though we turned the ceiling fan on a few times during the night, I don’t think we really needed it.
I think we were a little anxious when we chose to stop here. If we’d gone another hour we’d have reached Bob Scott US Forest Service campground. We stopped to take a look on the way by it this morning and discovered it was higher in elevation, had more vegetation, and seemed way less dusty. Oh well, next time through there we’ll know. In other words, I’d recommend Bob Scott over Hikison Petroglyphs campground.
I installed the AC prep kit from Little Guy to use as ventilation instead of opening the windows a crack. Simon has a tendency to stick his nose in the crack and I was afraid he’d eventually make a hole in the screen. These vents worked great last night. They provided enough ventilation with the ceiling fan open even without the fan turned on.
Also installed black poster board “sliders” in the window slots of the Star Gazer window. Should help with privacy and looky loos. Also can make inside dark enough to sleep during the day if needed.
AC Prep Kit
I stuck some screen in the vent to keep bugs out.
Two pieces of black poster board as sliders.
This our spot at Hecla Junction. Not very far from home, but a nice spot right now. We imagine this cp ground will be packed with rafters and fishermen soon. This was a good shakedown cruise for us. We kept notes of all the stuff we need to remember on our trips.
Stuff on our list to remember
- Small Boom Box (for speakers and AM/FM radio)
- Simon’s bathroom bag (brush, scissors)
- Personal bathroom kit
- Throw away old containers of butane and propane and replace with new ones
- Benadryl (just in case)
- Dog treats
- Flashlight for walking
- Dry coffee creamer
- Batteries, AAA & AA
- Water container (5 gallon self standing to fit next to cooler in galley)
A while back Beachman asked us what we use for a canopy. I mistakenly commented on the post where he asked rather than click on “Reply” to his comment. I think if we click on reply the commenter gets notified, so in this case he didn’t know I answered his question. Have to watch that in the future. Sorry, Beachman.
Here’s a copy of my comment: “We’ve found that while we stay one nite there’s not much need to set up a canopy, but if we’re going to stay more than one nite we use a 9×9 canopy. See this post https://ourlittleguytravels.com/2013/08/21/tried-an-overnighter/.”
We got our canopy from Walmart. I think it cost about $50 or $60. It was one of the cheaper ones. I wanted one that set up and tore down simply. I have no experience with others so I don’t know if this is one of the simpler ones, but it is pretty simple. It’s not very heavy and a bit smaller than others we looked at, but I thought lighter was better and it’s big enough. Here’s a picture of it in the container it comes with.
It’s 5′ long, which is why I was looking for a tongue box that was 5′ wide. Since it doesn’t fit in the box I strapped it to my bike rack on top of the car. It stayed there our whole trip without being used. I had anticipated using it during the 3 or 4 days we were to stay in Connecticut, but never did set it up.
John asked about the black box we have on the tongue of our LG. Here’s some pics.
I actually wanted one as wide as the LG. That way our canopy would have fit into it. We keep our folding chairs, small broom, backpacks, power cord, bags of tie downs and bungee cords, tools, camping stuff, spare bottles of propane. I got it from Murdock’s here in Salida. I think it’s made by DeeZee.
There were times on this trip we used Siri (the information assistant on Iphones) for help with directions etc. We found her (or him since I changed the voice to “male” on my phone) pretty helpful and then sometimes, not so much. If we were looking for a town, he or she would direct us to the mid point of that town. We followed the directions right into a neighborhood once wondering why we were going there. If we were looking for Walmart or Cracker Barrel or a state park, we were directed right into the parking lot. So we had to pay attention up to a point and then turn Siri off when we got close to our destination or we would end up not where we wanted to be. Oh yeah, and if we decided to stop before the destination, Siri sort of freaked out and started demanding that we turn around, make u-turns or do something to get back on the course. Pretty funny and we had a few laughs “messing” with Siri.
Made it home about 3:45. Here’s our LG still hooked up. Within minutes we had it unhooked and spun around into it’s parking spot. Unload was quick, especially remembering what it was like to unpack from a tent camping trip.
We spent 16 days and 15 nights on this trip. We are super happy with our ability to pretty much stop and sleep about anywhere. I think we’re going to compile some statistics, but mostly we stayed in Walmarts, and state parks. There was one night in a Cracker Barrel, a couple of different nights in truck stops, and three nights in my Mom’s driveway. Then there was that night at the Lehigh Velodrome which was more like staying in a state park. Truck stops are noisy, Craker Barrel felt unsafe, Walmarts were “well lit.” State parks felt safe, were quiet and peaceful, but cost a little.
Thanks all for following us and making comments!
Actually unhooked tonight. Had to to get level easily. Able to get set up quickly before it got dark. Picked up a few groceries for dinner. Looking forward to another good nights sleep in quiet surroundings.