The end of the 5th wheel quest

Those high plains, they seem to go on forever. Funny when you are driving towards something it seems to take forever. The I40 and the I25 have long lonely stretches of road with magnificent scenery. From the red rocks and layers in New Mexico to these incredible plains heading North towards Denver. Old farmsteads and barns dot the landscape, a grey one for us as constant cloudiness seemed to be our follower.

We woke up in the early morning in Colorado Springs after a night in a drafty hotel to see the snow. Groot was quite mystified by all this but it did not stop his tree climbing passion.

We arrived in Golden mid morning and proceeded to take a hard look at the Mobile Suites fifth wheel 36RSSB…we gasped…it was perfect. Had most of what we wanted in the layout, looked lightly lived in, meticulous records and the right price. If we didn’t want it, someone was standing in line behind us to buy it, but we put the deposit down first…we looked at each other and knew. Yup, we’ll take it! That was easy:) After that long drive I was dreading it was not going to be in as nice a shape as the pictures looked but other than a few little minor wear and tear areas, and it had carpet (which we can pull out later) we were so relieved! We did a walk through with a rep and sat down with our sales lady Lisa and it was done! Now to wait for the prep..it had been winterized so we asked that they flush it, give us some water and turn on the heat until we could pick it up Monday morning as it was too late to walk away with it on Saturday, we needed the 5th wheel hitch installed.

We were elated and went off to La Quinta Inn where we had made a reservation. There is a great feeling when you walk into an establishment and the staff are friendly, not always easy to come by in the hotel business but this group was really lovely, getting a ground floor room, on a corner with easy access to bring in all our gear we’d brought to put on the trailer if it turned out to be a keeper. Their pet policy is also wonderful and the room was really very nice. Puffy agreed and took to a pillow as soon as we got there. This old kitty really has amazed us with his adaptability at 17 he is such an amazing old sweetheart.

We did a bit of shopping for some bedding, OMG a king size bed, we’ll be lost in it! and a few odds and ends we needed food wise and Monday morning we were at the dealer early and ready to go. A sticky slide slowed us down but after that was resolved we high tailed it out of Golden as a snow storm was expected the next day with really low temperatures, low teens so we were anxious to leave!

At 2:30 we had the green light and grinning ear to ear we left with our new home heading South on the I 25 back South and West, away from the cold..we are such whimps now but it goes right to your bones when you don’t have the right cold weather clothing!

As we were running with only one headlight, bulb gone in the passenger side of the low beams we still need to fix, we stopped at dusk in Fountain, Colorado at a KOA. Unhitched, a new experience after we plugged in and put all the heaters on high, it was going to go well below freezing. Had a few issues getting the water pump figured out, as the outdoor water hose would have frozen but after that was settled we curled up in the chairs in front of the electric fireplace and sighed a sigh of contentment.

The morning was very cold and clear. It was 12° Farenheit…-11° for us Celcius users…damn cold. Didn’t feel it at first as the morning was calm. I went for a walk behind the campground and found a beautiful creek and falls, I could hear it as I walked towards it. Water really is magical.

Later the wind came up and it was brutal, water pump had an air lock I think and were were playing about with it in that cold…yikes…Groot took a quick walk outside, jumped up on the picnic table fluffed up and gave Mike a WTF look;) Where have you brought me?

By 10:00 we were on the road again headed South. We drove all day through grey skies heading South past snow covered mountains to the West and dry plains to the East. The Cottonwoods had lost all their leaves and it was bleak, but beautiful. We caught an occasional glimpse of sun but for the most part it felt very much like winter.

This is a landscape I would love to see in the Springtime. Pulling Myrtle II was a bit of a change from the Sunset Trails. At double the weight and much taller Mike was getting used to the feel, especially with the wind. Backing was different and it has been a long time since we hauled our large 4 horse trailer about in Canada. It did feel stable and the Ram was doing a fine job with all the power you could need, mileage wasn’t the same, but we knew that was coming:)

We managed to get as far as Eastern Santa Fe, pulled off the road, but found the park we were headed to was closed for the winter, so kept going a bit and followed signs to one that was, a relief, at least to have some power for the night. We still had some issues with air locks in the water pump, but a trip outside in my bathrobe after dark by a woman determined to take a long hot shower seemed to work magic in the pass through compartment, bled the lines again and presto, the pump was happy …our only other alternative was no water, our hose was too short to reach the heated faucet;) The techs at DRV had already helped us with a few questions and a great DRV online forum on Facebook was helping with others. We were ready to check out our new shower and 11 gallon hot water tank! Luxury!

We’d left most of the high plains behind and the colours were changing the next morning as we left the I25 and West again on the I40. The reds and pinks so synonymous with the South West were reappearing, and the temperatures were climbing. Poor Beezil took one look out the door in Colorado and said, no way, I’m not going out there;)

It was a bit longer day as Mike was determined to get to Meteor Crater…wonder why…duh;) New Mexico flashed by for most of the day, the long train tracks that follow the interstates weaving under them from time to time, truck stops, fancy casinos on reservation land, the trinket shops selling jewelry and blankets, most of it made in China now. I loved these Trading Posts as a child. They had such a wonderful mysterious air to them, the smell of leather and wool, shiny Navajo jewelry and beautiful blue bits of turquoise. The chance to add a small plastic horse to my collection was always a thrill. They were located on the highways before the interstates crisscrossed America, now most are closed, or relocated to the Interstates, but not the same.

We crossed into Arizona and closed the gap towards meteor crater. We’d been here a decade ago and really wanted to go back and marvel at this creation from outer space. One of the best preserved craters in the world due to the now dry climate this impact crater is astounding. We stayed at the Meteor Crater RV Park, checked in, great Good Sam Park with a reasonable rate and beautiful setting. Mount Humphreys dominates the background to the WNW. Groot was enjoying a nice walk and tree climbing adventure until the resident cat, Pumpkin, a very large orange tabby made it known just who’s park it was…Groot was happy to be carried back to the trailer when the bad ass tabby was ready to show him who ruled here;)

In the morning we drove up to the crater, hoping to do the rim tour, but closed, as it was below zero. What an astounding sight.

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Meteor crater with a helicopter flyby

Mike with his passion for astronomy and his love of photographing craters on the moon made this all the more remarkable. One he could see in person. The moon is covered with these amazing impact craters which he has spent more than a decade documenting and photographing. Truly amazing sights, here in front of us, and gazing through the eyepieces at the moon. We live in a beautiful universe.

On the road out a herd of Pronghorn antelopes grazed with Mount Humphreys snow capped peaks as a backdrop, doesn’t get any more beautiful than this! Anxious to get back to Myrtle I and move the rest of our belongings onto Myrtle II we headed West to Lake Havasu City where the Sunset Trails sat waiting for us. Spent the late afternoon moving our possessions on board and cleaning the Sunset Trails as it is going on consignment sale here in Lake Havasu City. Sad, but exciting at the same time. The Sunset Trails 32RL was our foot in the door to this full time lifestyle, a reasonable way to start and see if this was going to be for us, and as you may have guessed, yes it is:) We have many happy, and sad memories on board her and are thankful for the experiences we shared. Hard to say goodbye, but we are so excited with our 2012 DRV…she is a beauty!

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Pronghorn antelope play in front of Mount Humphreys, how does that go…Give me a home, where the buffalo roam, and the deer and the antelope play;)

Yes, this is Mike, in the pass through storage, where he has just rolled his 18″ Starstructure  telescope into with the help of the ramps. His wife is eternally grateful for not having to heft this creature in and out of the box in the back of the pickup anymore;) It could also serve as his man cave in bad times;) His solar telescope sits on the other side in easy reach as well:) Very happy astronomer:)

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A happy man

Next stop…California and back to beautiful Baja…stay tuned amigos for the next adventures, starring Myrtle II now:) and the ongoing adventures of the AstroGypsies:)

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