Our Travel Blog

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Driving Miss Donna - what does this mean? Whenever I want to go somewhere, if Don is home he will usually drive. He always says he is driving miss Donna! This blog is for our travels, usually with our truck and fifth wheel trailer, but sometimes in our other wheels. When we are not vacationing check in for updates, although less frequent, about our life at home and our wonderful family:)

Monday, February 26, 2024

Expect the Unexpected

We had quite the experience on our way to our boondocking spot west of Tucson. A trailer axle broke!

We were turning onto the last couple of miles of dirt road when a rancher pulled up beside us and told us there's trouble. Yup - stopped and the axle was broke. At that time the tire was still on, but as we moved a few feet off the road for safety, that left us too.

We called AMA and eventually a large tow truck came. The photo below is after Don and the driver secured everything to be moved. As it was a Sunday there was no where to tow us to, and the trailer was able to move a short distance. so the driver led us to a spot by a gas bar to spend the night, intending to return the next morning and get us to a repair shop.

We spent the night there and as promised the town truck was back on Monday morning. I called Freedom RV in Tucson on advice of a group of ranchers who stopped by to ensure we were safe. I must say while on the road with this breakdown we had many local folks stop and ask if we were ok and even offer us a place to stay. That was so kind of everyone! Anyhow we pulled to Freedom RV to assess everything, and checked into a hotel. Not too long later they called and said we could pull it to a near by RV park but no further. The axle was ordered from Elkhart Indiana and overall the timing was 12 - 17 days! UGH I may not say this but if you know boondockers it is about NOT being on paved RV sites and NOT having your neighbor at the end of your awning. BUT no choice in this.

Some points to ponder:
We have the best RV AMA (Alberta Motor Association) coverage you can buy, BUT accommodations and meals are only covered for 72 hours;
AAA (American Auto Association) and AMA don't agree on what a tow is. A flat tow is only covered to $500 US but costs approx. $1700 US.
Some bitterness may be noted:)

When we purchased this trailer last summer the trade in experience was far below par. I won't go into all the reasons why but one of the factors was the arrogance of Arkann RV about ALL the work completed pre purchase and the value of it. So much so that they provided a lengthy report along with their costs for the work. Of course this was to increase the value of it. One item on it was repacking the bearings. In the case of our breakdown the bearings were not done correctly and hence our little adventure. After a lot of back and forth Don and Arkann agreed they would reimburse us for the full cost of the repair. A slight $2700 US cost. We do appreciate they stood behind their business that way, we don't appreciate a poor bearing job.

The axle arrived faster than expected and by Wednesday the 21st the trailer was fixed. We had paid for the RV site for 2 weeks, and since Tucson had been our planned stop for those 2 weeks, we stayed in the park.

Amid all that adventure while in Tucson we still enjoyed ourselves. We met Ron and Bev at the Circle S Saloon and then Bev and I enjoyed some shopping, Don and I had a great hike at Saguaro National Park, a drive down through Nogales and Tubac, and a visit to Ivan while he was at Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge.

On my birthday Ron treated us to beer and dinner at the River Bottom Bar and Grill. Karaoke and all! I wanted Don and Ron to reunite on stage to sing Dusty Old Farmer, but no go. Bev and I enjoyed the music though!

Once it was time to leave Tucson I won't say we weren't ready! Enough memories there for the year.

Sunday, February 11, 2024

On the Road

What an easy trip south this time! The roads were dry and quiet the whole way. We left home about 5 am with our destination, if all went well, of Idaho Falls. That was an easy target. After our typical dinner at a steakhouse while the trailer warmed up and an overnighter at Walmart we were off again. Traffic through the whole Salt Lake City area can be crazy busy and this day was no exception. There is never a time where something isn't under construction.

Our second night was also a stop now familiar to us at Casablanca Casino in Mesquite. They have an RV park but also a free RV overnight area. Of course that's where we stay! Casino stays are great because they typically have good food and coffee shops. Last year we stayed here 2 nights but this year we enjoyed the evening but moved on early, heading for Yuma!

We made great time and before we knew it we were surprising Ivan (Roadtrip 2014) with our fast arrival at Sidewinder Road! This was what I consider our first real day of holidays. And what is the first thing to do? After a beer of course? Set up the new Starlink!!

If you have Starlink I don't have to share all the amazing reasons you need it, and if you don't have it, and find yourselves always looking for a great phone connection or somewhere to snag some strong data, then you need it! While we were her I ordered a pole for Starlink to attach to the trailer and be off the ground. 

The next new item with us this winter is a Lithium Battery. We have a 340 watt solar panel and a 300 amp lithium battery. The photo below shows all you need to know, if you know you know. HAHA

We can watch most of the grandkids hockey and ringette on live stream but it is sure nice to not be concerned with data use and battery use. Last we added a transfer switch so when you want 120 V power it is one little button inside to push. I won't go on and on about this whole combination of power and data power, you get the idea. 

Anyhow what did we do in Yuma? Well we had beers, visits, dinner with Judy and Phil, trips to buy and organize food (and drink), a drive to Costco over the California border in El Centro, a day trip to Quartzsite for Silly Al's Pizza, and f course a trip to Algodones Mexico for a beer and tacos.

After a while it was time to move on and we decided our next stop would be Tucson. 

Stay tuned!

Friday, February 2, 2024

Just Mananging

That explains how I felt all January - just managing. I always feel panic in January as we prepare to head south. For no reason. I feel sad to leave the kids for 3 months, I worry about my work and if I can really manage to be virtual (which I am anyway LOL), I worry if I have packed the right clothes, household items, if there is anything I am leaving at home I will need for work, it goes on and on. Never for reason. LOL

I bought a second monitor to use in the trailer, I'm expecting it will make spreadsheets, etc. easier to work with. And we are excited to see how the new trailer works for actually living in. The design with reclining loveseat and kitchen island is quite different from our last 5th wheel. We camped quite a bit in this one last summer after purchasing, but extended living is usually quite different. And we are excited about the new solar, lithium battery and Starlink!!

At any rate we made it through the month jam packed with ringette and hockey, family visits, work, dentist appointments, eye appointments, etc.

We celebrated all the February birthdays in different ways. As you know we typically take the kids out for supper and shopping. This year Emerson chose Japanese Village so off to West Edmonton Mall we went and covered off both activities! Connor and Mason missed out on the supper thing this year but we made a great stop after hockey one day to Marble Slab where they created their own gastronomical delights! And as Lego is still the big wish list we donated to their pots on that!

I spent a few days at meetings in Saskatoon and Don went home for another visit and check in with his mom.

And then as fast a we knew it it was the last weekend in January, the trailer was hooked up in the back and we were ready for an early morning departure! The weather and roads look great all the way down, I will let you know if that was false hope or not!

I have no idea how I ended up with no pictures to even share so here are a couple of old ones I may not have posted.

Until next time!