Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Maiden Voyage

We picked up the fifth wheel on Friday, March 9 in Hinckley, Utah – which is just about five miles west of the middle of nowhere.  After a short visit with Ray and Patsy, the real work began.  It’s quite a production to hitch the trailer to the truck.  Patsy recommended we make a checklist.  Not a bad idea.

Off for our first road trip to get the feel for driving, parking, and living in the “coach.”  Hooked up to the truck, the “rig” is about 45 feet in length, and the coach itself weighs 12,500 lbs.  The truck sang as we drove along – it was finally doing what it was meant to do.  But the cost of gas was not a song – pulling hills we only get 7 miles per gallon.  Ouch!  We decided then and there that we would not be doing any cross-country road trips.  

Our first destination – Ely, Nevada.  Why?  We’d never been there before and it was a good stop after three hours of driving.  Ely was founded in the 1870s as a post office and stagecoach stop.  The city grew with the discovery of copper in 1915; but suffered a significant downturn when the copper mines closed in 1978.  The town still looks like an old mining town.  There were few modern buildings and – unfortunately for us – even fewer parking lots that would accommodate a 50 foot rig.  We ended up doubling back to the KOA outside of town.  Did you know you can plug in cable TV at a KOA?  

Our second night was spent at Wendover, Nevada, where they had a parking lot just for us – well, for us and about 50 semis that rolled in an out all night.  There was plenty of room to spread out, and just a short walk from two casinos.  

I told Paul that I would be happy to drive the rig – going forward!  I have been the subject of much laughter as I have attempted to back other trailers.  In the end, he wasn’t comfortable letting me drive – just yet.  I’m sure my opportunity will come.

The final challenge came when we brought the rig home.  As we knew before we even investigated buying a fifth-wheel – our driveway just isn’t big enough.  It sits there as I write, leaving me barely enough room to pull my car into the garage.  

It’s too big for the driveway.  It’s too much work for road trips.  But it’s just right for spending a summer in the mountains.  Can’t wait to take it up there – and get it out of the driveway!

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