Archive for Wanderlust

Desert Camping Again

Desert Camping Again

Damsel and I drove the usual route down US 60 to I-10 and on into the RV park in Palm Desert, CA. It was a good trip with lots of desert wildflowers, lots of sunshine and at one point, lots of traffic. The latter only lasting a few miles just east of Chiriaco Summit where there was some construction and a one-lane restriction on I-10 westbound. Regardless of the brief slowdown, it was a pleasure to drive the new RV along the route.

As I mentioned in the post about the maiden voyage, this is likely our last trip to this campground for a while. We will, however, be on the road again next month for a longer excursion.

One quick anecdote about this campsite; we backed in to the parking slot and set up camp as usual. However, when we went to deploy the Winegard DirecTV satellite dish, it got fouled up in the low hanging branches of the Chinese Elm tree next to the site. I wound up having to break camp and move the rig to the right and forward on the pad to allow the dish to have unimpeded access to the part of the sky where the geosats hang out. After the move, everything is working great.

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Throwback Hoodoos

Hoodoos at Bryce Canyon

Damsel took this image of Hoodoos at Bryce Canyon in July of 2008. Seeing it in the archives gave me some serious wanderlust, so Bryce Canyon NP just may be one of our vacation destinations this year after the weather gets a little warmer.

We have several excursions in mind over the next few months, not the least of which is to see our first great granddaughter in April and to go witness the All American Eclipse in August. We anticipate that during the extended eclipse excursion, we will be visiting the only two states in America that I have not been in - North Dakota and Iowa.

We will be taking a shorter trip this month which is a repeat of the maiden voyage when we will be out in the California Desert visiting with the Kids and our Grandson who will be nineteen months of age. This will be the last such trip to Palm Desert due to conflicts in the Kids’ work schedules that make it tough on them to meet us halfway. We will see them in April when we will go by their home on our way to see the new great granddaughter.

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Maiden Voyage

Palazzo in Palm Desert

On Friday, we finished preparations for our initial excursion in the new RV. We had been stocking the RV with the necessities ever since we brought it home from the dealer. Naturally, we didn’t remember everything, so we went without some items and improvised on others. Damsel has been keeping a log of things we need the next time. It will be better next month.

The drive out was a pretty good test for the new rig. We encountered gusty winds and the usual rough road on select places along I-10. The Palazzo handled much better than our previous class A. The new air ride smoothed out the teeth-chattering bad spots on I-10 between Quartzsite and Blythe to mere thuds underneath rather than the entire inventory of dishes and other things on board banging up and down. The rear-engine configuration allowed normal conversation in the cockpit rather than having to shout to be heard, especially when in lower gears going uphill.

We will be back out here again sometime in March for another visit. In April, however, we have a longer excursion planned to Northern California to welcome our second great grandchild who is due the middle of that month. We will also take some scenic routes along the way going and returning.

We are enjoying the new rig and accessories. The DirecTV receiver allows us to view our regular programming just like we were at home. Wait! We ARE at home away from home. :D

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Bringing the New Thor Palazzo Home

Thor Palazzo at Home

We took the (not very) old Georgetown RV down to Camping World in Mesa, AZ yesterday and gave it up for trade on this new Thor Palazzo 35.1 Class A Diesel Pusher. Our short list of preferences for a new RV have mostly been realized with this acquisition.

  • New Diesel Pusher
  • Under 36 feet in length (35′9″)
  • King Size Bed
  • Dinette with chairs (not a booth)
  • Washer and Dryer

On the trip home from the dealer in the new RV, the cockpit noise level was like night and day compared to the truck chassis we had been used to for the past year. Damsel and I could have a conversation with normal voice levels - no shouting required as when the G’town was in third gear going uphill. The ride was also much better with the airbag suspension on the FreightLiner™ chassis as opposed to a spring suspension.

We’re still exploring all the new gadgets and goodies in our new RV. I have been going through some of the manuals and have barely cracked the ice.

The next step is to begin organizing and transferring the contents of the old RV into the new one. This coach has considerably more storage available, so there should be plenty of room for the stuff we stacked here and there after emptying out the Georgetown.

Our first trip to a campground is scheduled for mid-February when we will again go to Palm Desert for our monthly excursion to visit the kids and grandson. Having made that trip over and over for the last year in the Georgetown and for a few months before that in our old Skyline trailer, this next trip ought to be a pleasant contrast to the ones before.

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January Campsite

January Campsite

We’re in our usual desert RV park visiting the kids and grandson. As you can see from the photo, the campground is nearly full. There are a few sites here and there that are empty. Many of the license plates on the RVs are from colder states whose occupants are obviously here to escape winter. A.K.A “Snowbirds.”

I met one of the neighbors who hails from Spokane; he and his wife will be camped here until March. He mentioned that back home there is eighteen inches of snow on the ground. I cannot blame those northerners who are able to escape the winter weather for heading south during the winter.

Damsel and I look at the license plates at home in Wickenburg too, since our town is a very popular place for snowbirds and rodeo participants. Thursday last, we counted a dozen or more from places like Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Washington, Oregon and even a couple from Alaska.

While Damsel and I are bundled up against our “winter” conditions (highs in the 50’s), some of those guys show up at the store in shorts and T shirts. I guess coldness is a relative thing.

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Camping in the ‘Stan

Campsite in Palm Desert

We are at our campsite in Palm Desert this evening. We already visited with the family who dropped by for a couple of hours. They will be back tomorrow for a BBQ here in the RV park. The highlight of tonight’s visit is the grandson is now walking on his own at fifteen months (finally).

The other interesting thing is the snowbird phenomenon that we have in the Arizona desert is also here in the K-stan desert. The park is nearly packed in contrast to our summer visits here when we have our pick of available parking sites with only a few hearty summertime visitors with whom to compete.

We plan to be here until our departure on Monday. Click on the image to enlarge.

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RV Shopping

RV Shopping

So how does this Thor Palazzo 33.2 look parked in front of or house? Just kidding - the image is a composite of our abode with a transparent .png of the coach lifted from the Thor Palazzo website.

We have been giving some serious thought to upgrading our motorhome even though we only acquired it last December. We have found that there are some shortcomings with our RV choice. The three major things we want to improve upon are: 1) engine cockpit noise, 2) rough riding suspension (like the truck it really is) and 3) the lack of air conditioning capacity.

The latter item is the big one on that short list since we visit deserts in the summer. Hell, we LIVE in a desert in the summer. The A/C is an 18,000 BTU unit but fails miserably when it’s 110 outside. We’re lucky if it gets the inside temperature down to 95° under those conditions.

There are a couple of RVs we’re looking at to resolve the problems above. Each of them under consideration likely solves the three problems described.

We also have a wishlist above and beyond the short list that I won’t elaborate on here, but Damsel would be pleased to have a washer/dryer stack on-board, and we both like the idea of extra living space when pop-outs are deployed. Further, we can’t afford to add more than a couple feet in length over the 32 footer we have if we’re going to be able to get it through our RV drive.

In my research, I have only found a couple of floorplans that meet the length limitations while having a few features that we like (and some that we don’t). I think that we might have to take some time in doing trade off evaluations to make a final decision.

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