Why the title?

"Pioneers take the arrows"

Oh, wait. I should be upbeat and taking arrows doesn't sound like an upbeat thing to say.

So, let me amend that statement.

It was courage and vision that led the pioneers to leave behind a comfortable, settled life and trek West to begin a new life in a new place. Many of those from the East that went West found a strength within themselves that they didn't see while they were in their old life. Instead of being one of those that just kind of went along with the others in the old life, they became leaders and visionaries in their new lives.

The sentiments of that last paragraph come from a favorite author, Louis L'Amour, in many of his books. So, I can't really say that it is an original thought from me. However, what he said is truthful.

Welcome to being a pioneer. Look ahead and ignore the "barking dogs" that give you negative opinions and comments. Louis L'Amour also spoke of the barking dogs.

In some of his stories, it was usually a father or older man telling a young boy how it was that when the Westward bound Conestoga wagons rolled through towns, the dogs came out to bark at them. His character then told the young listener that the barking didn't stop the wagons from going on to their destinations.

Following the advice of the Louis L'Amour characters, may we all forge ahead with our plans, after carefully considering all consequences and leave the "barkers" behind.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Why We Did What We Did - Chapter 2

Since the whole sequence of events in our saga of searching for a luxury RV has been over a span of more than 2 ½ years, I am pretty fuzzy about exactly what came first and then next. So, with that in mind, I’ll venture off into another avenue of what led to us picking up on only two of the options available.

We had dealt with travel trailers over the years. The image in yesterday’s post was the first camper that we ever bought. We lived in the Elkhart, Kansas area the farm and ranch operation where we were was just inside of the Oklahoma Panhandle, about 3 miles from Elkhart. While we had used my mother’s camper a few times on local trips, we decided to get one of our own.

We liked to go to the same places and we felt that if we had our own, then we would have more room for people if we had our own camper. We told our family members to keep their eyes out for a used camper in Cimarron County, Oklahoma while we checked around in Texas County, Oklahoma and Morton County, Kansas.

It ended up with us finding an older couple in Boise City, Oklahoma (Cimarron County) that wanted to sell theirs. We made a trip over there and met them and looked at the camper. It was about 15’ long with a single axle and was only priced for $1000. Inside there was a bed that made out from the rear couch, the dinette table made into a bed, and if I remember right, there was an upper bed over the dinette table in the front.

One really neat feature of the first camper was that it had a light over the dinette that was LP powered. It worked just like the Coleman lanterns in that it used a mantle inside that was lit. It ran off of the LP bottle, so it gave us light without us having to use electric very much. One bad thing about it was that with the single axle and no wheel-well openings, if one had a flat you couldn’t put on an inflated spare tire.

The closeness of the skirting to the wheel prevented that from happening. I found that out when I tried to take the tire and wheel off to repack the bearings when we first got it. When we went camping, we had to carry a deflated spare and something with which to inflate it. But, we never had a flat partly because I kept a close eye on tires and made sure we had good ones.

Our second travel trailer was one that my Dad had when he was alive. When his things went up for auction, I borrowed the money from the bank to buy his camper. It was a 21’ unit with dual axles. Unfortunately, after we bought that one, there weren’t really that many trips that we made with it before we got to where we couldn’t afford the trips for one reason or another.

Then about 2004, we bought a brand new Salem 26’ travel trailer. At the time, we had a Ford Excursion and a Ford F150 and I wanted an RV that we could pull with either one. First thing we found out that was wrong was that the F150 wasn’t rated to pull something so heavy. So, that got traded for a 2002 Ford F250. I guess I should mention here that when we were looking, Jo really wanted to get a fifth wheel, but because I would be doing about all the towing, she didn’t say much of anything to change my mind on the type.

Then, within about 6 months, Jo decided to trade off the Excursion for an Explorer. So, now we found ourselves with only one vehicle that could tow that camper. It was OK as far as campers go, but I really wasn’t crazy with how it towed. We had to make sure that we hooked up the equalization bars and the anti-sway bar every time we pulled it. Plus, it was a bear to maneuver when backing into campsites.

Two years after buying the Salem travel trailer, we went back to the dealer and traded it for a Rockwood Signature Ultra-lite fifth wheel. After only one trip with that one, I was convinced that fifth wheels were much easier to handle. Gone was the swaying in the wind when towing and backing into campsites was a lot easier.

After Jo’s suggestion to buy a luxury RV and plan for traveling, we pretty much decided that a travel trailer was out of the question. In addition to the towing and backing factors, the outside storage in them was quite a bit less than what the fifth wheels provided.

So, with our experiences with the two types, we pretty much decided that we would get either a motorhome or a fifth wheel. At the very beginning, we were pretty much thinking that the Mobile Suites was more likely, but we still planned to research both types. We had seen the DRV Suites models at our dealership, which by the way is Lewis RV in Oklahoma City.

With weight being a consideration, we fairly soon ruled out an Elite Suites because they are heavier than a Mobile Suites, partly because they have granite counters. We then began to look at floor plans to see what we would prefer. After some time, we were drawn to the 38’ models instead of the 36’ ones and we had two possibilities in floor plans that we liked.

One was a 38RLSB3 because it had some sliding glass doors that separated the living room from the kitchen/dining area. The other we liked was a 36TKSB3, but we gravitated towards the 38 until DRV came out with a 38TKSB3. One thing that tempted us with that one was the desk that was part of the entertainment area and right next to the peninsula kitchen counter.

With that arrangement, we could kind of spread out with computers and printers if we needed, plus, Jo had an embroidery machine, a serger, and a regular sewing machine that she occasionally used. With that much counter space, it would have been handier for her to use her sewing equipment.

While we liked all of that in a fifth wheel, I was to make a comment one day that threw us completely off track. That comes in the next installment, which is the consideration of motorhomes as well as fifth wheels.

Our second travel trailer, the 21’ unit that was my Dad’s.

Dads Camper001

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