Saturday, November 30, 2013

solo trailer and
last RV, but…




At times, I’ve gone for months without coming across a spot to camp that really feels good. Many are comfortable and there are areas to explore but they just don’t click. To most, they would probably be pretty nice, but having lived this lifestyle for a while, my standards seem to have risen above the norm. But at some point, I’ll come across a location that brings a big smile to my face and maybe a shout of YES! A new home. Won’t happen again until at least February or March.


Tilt! Driving tends to be a little different off-the-grid. This section of road was somewhat washed out from the heavy, late summer rain in the area. Vehicles started going along the slope to get past it. I know, kind of damaging but there is a lot beyond this section of road.




The hiking in this area is almost too good. No trails but good grief, who would want them in an area like this—there’s too much to see. RVers have no idea of what I mean by traveling between the roads—sure no butt-voyeurs here. I love this area in the fall. Seven weeks here this year and I’ll shoot for a similar stay next year. We’ll see. I’d also like to go back to one of the spots I came across my first year in this area. It’s hard to beat this lifestyle.


I went for a hike one day with the intention of getting down into a canyon. I took a drainage that looked as if it would take me down. It was working pretty well with only one spot where I had to butt-slide down a slope of bedrock. After 30 minutes I got to this spot. Thought it might not be smart to butt-slide any of these slopes. Yep, I’m a smart cookie.


Another day I was working my way up out of a canyon and came to this dead end. I’ve probably done more backtracking while here than I have in years. It sure makes the hikes more interesting.

I was thinking about a design for a perfect solo trailer for this lifestyle (disperse camping off-the-grid for 8-9 months a year with plenty of miles up dirt roads and 2-3 of the winter months in state parks with electric hookups).
I’d pretty much go with a Northwood Nash 17K but with some changes that don’t exist for it.
The heavy duty, cambered off-road chassis is a keeper. I would want the propane lines rerouted, however. They presently attached under the frame (the lowest point on the frame!). Good grief. When going up unmaintained dirt roads, a rock could make contact with a propane line rather than the trailer frame. Remember I go up some rough, narrow roads with, at times, not much room to maneuver. Yes, I would like to avoid that rock—but I don’t got no room!
Something would also have to be done with the gray & black tank drain. Good grief, could they make it any LOWER!

I’d want aluminum framing with foam panels rather than the wood framing and batten insulation. And I know it gets a bad rap, but I would want an aluminum skinned trailer rather than fiberglass. Many spurs are too narrow for an 8’ wide trailer. Aluminum holds up better to branches scraping along the trailer’s length. Many forget the R in RV stands for recreation, not some kind of showpiece. Most tend to look down at aluminum siding as low class, reminiscent of trailer people from the 40s and 50s (not that a good portion of present day full timers wouldn’t fit into that category).

I’d paint the trailer forest service green or some shade of Bahamas blue (& pack a can paint for touching up the scrapes).

I’d keep the Northwood Nash 17K floor plan and bare floors are the only way to go for this lifestyle. There’s a bottom opening window at the head of the bed and I’d want the two little windows in the back replaced with bottom opening windows so there can be some cross ventilation when it’s raining.

Overall length is 22’ with a 19’ box. I could go with a 21 footer if the foot was cut out of the bed. I don’t need a 5’ wide bed. The extra floor space over my last trailer is a treat. I use it for exercising, stretching and other movements. My Holiday Rambler didn’t have a great floor plan; the Jayco 5th wheel was too big; and the Casita too small for bench work and exercising. If I were less active, a shorter rig would do since I’d pretty much, just be sitting on my butt or lying down most of the time.

This would be my home; I don’t want to be cramped and I don’t want excess space/length. A 22 footer is just right for me. It’s short and light enough to get back off-the-grid. Then I’d just need a shorter wheel base tow vehicle. As I’ve stated in the past, the long wheelbase is more restrictive than the length of my trailer. I still have trouble believing the horrendous turning radius.

I’d choose the same options I got with the Nash but go with 180-200 watts of solar power. I’d also want the double galley sink to be stainless steel and have wider tires on the rig. The six cubic foot refrigerator and two 7gal propane tanks make it easy to live in the trailer for extended stays off-the-grid.

I didn’t want an electric awning but one came standard with the Nash. I like it. I have a concern with it getting stuck in the out-position, however, if I was miles up a dirt road. The manual covers hooking up an auxiliary battery. Yeah fine, but what if the electric motor dies. I emailed the company and they sent back instructions for manually rolling it in. Perfect. But (there’s that word again), it takes two people. Guano. I wish I’d come across a slim, active lady with her own rig who would be up for occasional traveling together and doing a lot of hiking and sharing some meals from time to time. We could help each other out if a problem occurs with one of our rigs. Yeah, right, this is called fantasy.

This imaginary trailer is geared for my lifestyle. If one leans toward the standard, boilerplate RV lifestyle and stays primarily in parks with hookups and limits travel to asphalt and maybe a bit of graded gravel roads one will probably want a bigger rig with slide-outs (which are prone to developing leaks and getting out of alignment when bounced along rough roads and washboards). Been there, done that, didn’t like it. Different strokes. Those with the camper mindset do not want to be pulling a long, heavy rig along miles of dirt roads to get back in off-the-grid and such a rig would surely not be able to get up the spurs.

Okay, back to reality. The Nash 17K will probably be my last RV. BUT (sometimes I like this word), if I win the lottery, I will get a rig from GXV. Such a rig would greatly expand my traveling. The following is some data from their web site.

“GXV offers the most complete line-up of Expedition vehicles built in the United States. These models are the result of years of research and development coupled with countless miles of world travel in the harshest of conditions. Our all wheel drive vehicles, whether it is 4×4, 6×6 or 8×8, are designed to be the strong and easy to service.

“Every GXV body design has been engineered for a specific function and performance requirement. Each model shares common balance, stability, reliability, marine grade utilities, comfortably balanced interior and a huge list of options to meet any requirement.”


I’d get their Patagonia XV.
“The Patagonia XV-Expedition Vehicle … is a true all-purpose toy and gear-hauling machine. A fully enclosed garage provides storage and protection for your ATV or motorcycles (or in my case, mountain bikes). Second row cab seats make it comfortable for four to ride (or in my case, extra storage space). The Patagonia’s roomy body exudes luxury, but yet still functional. With the care to detail that has gone into the engineering and design of the “Patagonia” you can travel with many home amenities.

“The Patagonia is a green thinking, self-reliant, luxury expedition vehicle that can go to places that a typical 4×4 RV could only dream of going. Global Expedition Vehicles are much more than an extreme off-road RV. Whether you have a journey or destination in mind, our vehicles are designed and built for self-reliant travel to remote parts of the continent. With our Expedition Vehicles, count on engineering that will withstand treacherous off-road routes and extreme weather conditions.

“The thermal properties of our Expedition bodies and windows make this the perfect year round adventure vehicle for both hot and cold weather.”

Yep, I could then get up roads that are open to travel, but way too rough for a standard rig. It would open a whole new realm of travel—true boondocking. Way cool. One wouldn’t see me for a month or more at a time. Anyone have some winning powerball numbers you are willing to share?


I came across Dave’s Killer Bread at City Market in Moab. What an unexpected treat. I knew there were gods. Picked up eight loaves for the freezer (one on the door). Sure do like good bread.

Stopped at Heron Lake NMSP for a few days. There was only one other rig in the campground when I got here. They stayed two more nights and then I had the place to myself until I pulled out. Some rain or light snow most days, which made the trails too muddy for running. The kind of mud that builds up under your shoes so you feel like you are walking on stilts. It was pretty slick leaving the cg; had to go into 4-wheel drive to get enough traction to pull the trailer and the first 30 miles were pretty slow. As always, I stopped at Three Ravens Coffee House in Tierra Amarilla to get a stellar mug of high-octane for the road from Paul. Sure do like that place.

October sixty minutes sixty years—2015 minutes
October Triple 18—pecs/delts: 2250; core: 1935; legs: 2380

If you know where you are going (have your sights-to-see list)
you pretty much know what you are going to see.
Where’s the freedom, spice, and adventure in that way of travel?
Makes no sense to me.


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