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2021 Travel Season Begins

On April 1st we departed from Quartzsite, our winter location. In March, we signed a lease at the Gold Star RV Park, so we’ll be spending most of our winters there.

The RV cover came with the site, but we sold it, so it will be gone by the time we return in the Fall. We love the location, near the community center, and a 1 minute walk to church.

This was our first travel day with our new 5th wheel, we call her Bella Ragazza (Pretty Girl). There are some differences between Bella and the Taj. She is 2,000 lbs heavier, 4.5’ longer, and the axle is 3’ further back. This results in some impact on how we pull her. After a couple near misses, we finally imagined driving like an 18 wheeler. That includes taking even wider swings on turns, and extra consideration when pulling into and out of parking locations. Since then, all has gone quite well.

we also discovered that adding new suspension, stabilizing bars, shocks, and disc brakes have made performance on the road a breeze. The pull is actually easier than the Taj. Best decision we could have made.

our first destination was Price, Utah, where we had our solar system installed. We stopped in St. George as an intermediate stop so we didn’t drive too long. We then made the trip to Price. While Bella was left at the “Solar Spa” to get new “jewelry”, we spent a couple days with our best friends, Mike & Kelley Snell, in Ogden. It was great to see them and the family.

Friday, April 9th, we picked up Bella. Matt went over all the changes with me. Pretty impressive! This solar system will give us off-grid independence again. Since then, he has monitored the system remotely.

On the drive back down to St. George, going over six or seven passes up to 7,000’, and having downgrades of 5-6%, I noticed our trailer brakes weren’t working. Not good! I had an indicator that the trailer was connected, but when I manually tried to use the brakes, the display was gray, meaning not working.

What I should have done was pull over and verify the connection, plus clean the plugs. First time this happened, so I failed to do that. I’ll know better next time!

After arrival in St. George, the next day I went through a trouble shooting process. In the end, there was fine dust clogging the inner portion of the plug. It gave me a “trailer connected” reading, which should have meant everything was working, but not enough to engage the brakes. A 5 minute cleaning job fixed the problem.

Jan attended her quilting class on Saturday, and we prepared to leave on Monday morning. Jan unparked us, while I played guide duty. There were a couple tricky turns getting to the main road, but she did a stellar job! She then drove us to Spanish Fork, UT.

We are parked at a friend‘s property, and there is a culvert on both sides of the driveway. It was a bit daunting, so she had me do the parking this time. She is gaining confidence in both driving and parking. This is a 17,000 lb 41’ long fifth wheel. There are challenges! We both will become proficient at driving and parking, because there may be a day down the road where on of us is sick, and each of us needs to know how to safely and confidently handle Bella. That’s how a team works.

As we left Arizona, both of us were attacked by allergies. It got worse here in Utah, with gusty winds whipping stuff in the air. Allergies and asthma do not go together. We have spent the week taking breathing treatments and recovering. Sometimes this stuff takes the wind out of your sails. We are now doing much better!

Our original plan was to go to Zion Nat’l Park this week, but between allergies, asthma, high winds, a bit of rain, and cold temperatures down to 28 degrees, 50’s and low 60’s during the day, we just stayed here recuperating. This morning I had to wait for the end of the hose to thaw so I could fill our fresh water tank. We will be staying here longer than anticipated, waiting for better temps before visit parks, and watch over the property while our host takes a vacation. It all works out in the end!

we had our host, Carol, over for dinner last night for a nice pot roast. I really made a booboo with the recipe! I accidentally put in a TABLESPOON of black pepper, instead of a TEASPOON. Thankfully, most of the pepper was on the veggies, not the roast. After dinner I threw out the onions, celery, and mushrooms. I’ll read the recipe a little closer next time.

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