Tuesday, December 11, 2012

back to NM, time for a new trailer
up to Oregon? and pdf stories



I stopped at the natural food market in Durango to restock. It was pretty cold when I reached Chama. As I was getting propane, I asked Ernest what it has been going down to at night, ‘6 degrees last night and 3 degrees the night before.’ Sure glad I was going to my first electric hookup this winter.

One morning I ran to the end of the trail going upstream and then down to the lakebed. Kind of low. It was also snagging season. That can bring out a different class of people. Oh well, I was only going to be in Heron for a week. I took M&M to the vet for worming and Meadow needed her shots. I got Mesa here two years ago so his shots are good till next fall. I’ve also been hacking at my hair since May so it was nice to have an opportunity to get a haircut. I’m going to check out ‘cutting your own hair’ on the web to see if I can get through next summer better than this past one. We’ll see.
As always, I stopped in to see Paul and see how his shows went this past summer. He made a coupe of drums with a new design for one show and they were the first ones that sold. Pretty good, and from the photos he showed me I could sure see why. 3 Ravens Coffee Shop Is still a must do when in the area.

I drove a couple hundred miles south and was back to 60-70 degree temps with nights in the 40s. This is a good reason for heading south. Jerry was at Santa Rosa when I got there. He said Garry, Helen, and Jim (CO) had all been through. This is one aspect I like about the winter state parks, one catches up on what acquaintances have been up to over the summer.

2013 will be the year I sell my Casita. I’m researching 4-season trailers and looking at manufacturer ratings. I don’t think much of finding a used one with what I want, however. We’ll see. At least now, after having lived this lifestyle for a number of years, I know what I want and don’t want in a trailer. And since this will probably be my last trailer, might as well go for it. There are some stellar 22–26 footers out there but I don’t want to go that long. 18 footers are harder to find. I’ll start off looking at Outdoors RV Manufacturing’s Back Country 18F and their Creek Side 18CK. Outdoors RV won the RVDA Dealer Satisfaction Index in 2011. Sounds good but I need to find out what it means. Northwood Manufacturing, the makers of Arctic Fox (also good 4-season rigs) owns Outdoors RV Manufacturing so their rigs share a lot of similarities.

I downloaded Outdoors RV brochures and had even more questions. I like the floor plan and rear windows on the Creek Side 20FQ but it would be too long. For a couple into long term camping, it would be fabulous. I have not even seen any of the trailers I’m considering yet. I’m just going by what I’m learning on the web and talking to a salesperson at each factory. I would like to have a trailer long enough so I can set up a spot for silverwork if I was going to be camping in one spot for 2 or 3 weeks. I find myself doing little work having to set up my stuff every time I want to sit at the bench. A bit more room for exercise and stretching would also be nice. And with the rigs I’m looking at, I’ll be able to stay off-the-grid for a month at a time before making a town run if I’m in an area with trails or decent hiking.

So far, Outdoors RV Back Country 18F might be the most practical for my lifestyle. It’s 4-season and has an off-road chassis with good ground clearance. I like the idea of a metal skin. I like the looks, and it is a couple hundred pounds lighter than a fiberglass sided rig. The 18F has a dry weight of 4050 and a cargo carrying capacity of 1750. It’s a typical trailer, however, in that it is not as light on the inside as what I’m used to with the Casita. It might take some getting use to.

If I were going to spend all my time in hot weather, I would definitely go with aluminum siding. Better and better adhesives for fiberglass-sided rigs are being developed all the time. But there can still be delamination problems with siding that is constantly exposed to hot sunlight. You’ll see bubbles on the outside walls from time to time on such rigs. I’d also think aluminum siding would have less UV degradation and oxidation over time, than gel-coated fiberglass siding. With my lifestyle of ‘following the geese’ it would not matter. Just something to keep in mind if one stays in the lower latitudes.

Eight months of the year I’m living out in Nature—I want WINDOWS! I know, I know, so much for a 4-season rating. But with the way I follow-the-geese, I don’t really need a 4-season rig. Also, I’ve dry camped in the Casita for two nights when it went down to -6 and -8 degrees. A well-insulated and sealed rig would be WAAYYYY better than what I’ve been living with for the last few years. If one primarily stays in campgrounds, you wouldn’t want large windows. You’ll only be looking out at other RVs, campers, people, and dogs. No need for big windows. Campgrounds—small windows. Disperse camping—big windows. So…

Northwood’s Nash 17K is, presently, the other trailer I’m considering. It’s also a 4-season rig like the 18F and the back windows would be fabulous for disperse camping.
The 17K is possibly the smallest well-made trailer that I’ve come across that would be comfortable for 2 people over time. The floor plan has a ‘bedroom’ up front and the dinette with its 3 large windows in the back. The 17K might also have more counter space in the galley than the 18F. It has a gross dry weight of 4360 with a carrying capacity of 2640.
The Nash has the galley & bathroom across from each other in center of trailer, which I prefer. Just about all the water lines are in one section of the trailer and it’s easier to get warm air on them in below freezing temps. Also, the most stable part of the trailer is over the axles, there’s less flexing and shaking (like wing seats in a plane)—a good location for hose connections and glassware. Remember, this trailer will be going down hundreds of miles of dirt roads each year.

I’m leaning towards the 17K. I like the light gray color. It would blend in a little better than a white rig out in the woods. I like camping in stealth mode. Also, the looks of the trailer is a bit different, which is generally a selling point for me with just about anything. The 17K is well built; has an off-road chassis; decent ground clearance and insulation (R7 in the walls, floor and roof—but not great for a 4-season rig); AND stellar windows. It definitely has panache. It also looks kinda macho so I would have to hang frilly white lace curtains in the back windows and paint some pink and yellow accents here and there. And the next time I see Siscily, I’ll ask if she can take her paints and change the geese on the outside walls to butterflies.
Or not. (^_^)

I have an ongoing pros/cons list for the Back Country 18F and the Nash 17K. Neither offers some options that I need but the dealer can take care of that. Also, neither is aluminum framed so even when I get the trailer set up the way I want, it won’t be everything that I was initially looking for. Oh well. I’ll keep searching the web through the winter. If you have any comments, I would appreciate your input by posting a comment or sending me an email. Thanks. Or, a suggestion for another 18 footer.

Maybe I’ll just get something that I like the looks of like a Keystone Vantage. I sure hope I don’t wuss out and stick with the Casita for another year or two. I need a change and this might just do it. If I get a 4-season trailer, I’d probably linger an extra month up north in the fall before heading south each year. That would open up prime spots with few people. November and December might become my favorite months.

As you can see, these trailers are not truly 17 & 18’ trailers. The numbers refer to the model number; the box length is around 19’. My present box is 14’ long. I don’t really want another 5’, three would be enough. Either of these trailers would be good for my health, though, since they will have me running more. I’d pull over and park more often before driving up old spur roads. I’d then jog up a half mile or so to see if I can pull the trailer in and if there is a place to set up camp. I do this at times now but I’m sure I will be doing more of it. RVers don’t bother with this because they don’t go up the type of roads I’m referring to. I’ve been up some gnarly roads and have gotten into trouble with even a little Casita. The first night’s spot would give me a base so I can go out the next morning on the mountain bike and look for a spot further in or down another spur road to which I would then move and set up camp for a long stay.

If the trailer proves too long for my lifestyle, I’d have incentive to look for some acreage. Setting up in a spot near a network of trails or old logging roads for half the year would be pretty cool. I could focus on doing the type of ‘travelin’’ I most enjoy. That would really get me in shape (not something people in their 60s generally do anything about). I’m looking forward to what the next couple years will bring. Life’s a hoot. I wonder if I could get an inamorata with the new trailer.
An offshoot of all this is that I recently went back and rewrote quite a bit of the ‘choosing a rig’ entry.

I’ll start north in March. It might take 3 or 4 months to get a trailer with the options I want. I’d rather be up north a bit during the process. There are dealers for each brand in Boise. And Dennis has been wanting to show me eastern Oregon. Maybe I’ll visit the factories in Oregon. I’ll order a trailer somewhere and go off camping till it’s ready. I wonder how it will work out selling the Casita as I’m buying the new rig. I’ll post it on craigslist.org in cities within 500 miles of wherever I’m at, as well as on the casita club forum for $5,500 (a couple thousand less than what I’ve seen posted). I’m really not looking forward to having a new trailer; I’ve always bought used. Maybe the gods will favor me with a used 4-seasons. Don’t think I’ll hold my breath, though.

I read a novel by Matthew Reilly and inside the back cover it mentioned that he offered free downloads for some of his short stories on his web site (matthewreilly.com). I thought that was pretty cool. I downloaded 5 of them and enjoyed 4. Not bad. Granted, it might have been the cabernet, but I still think they were good reads. I love free entertainment. I did a search for other free pdf short stories and downloaded 57 more to supplement my paperbacks in the coming months.

November sixty minutes sixty years—1869 minutes
November Triple 18—pecs/delts: 1845; core: 1845; legs: 2020

Seek joy not happiness for happiness is fleeting
and joy is everlasting. from my friend Daisy


RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’
FOR INDEX OF POSTINGS GO TO JULY 2006