Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The First Few Months with my new (to me) Travel Trailer

The First Year

A friend of mine bought this camper, she got it from a friend of hers.  But once she brought it home, realized that she had the cart before the horse and wasn't sure it was right for her.  I knew it was right for me.  I had long ago decided that a small travel trailer would work.  I could tow it to places I love, near and far, and then head out, whether by bike, on foot or using my car, for photography and fun.

Once I bought my Sunline Saturn, I began a search online for support and ran into the great, helpful, friendly folks at the Sunline Owner's Club. Another example of putting the cart before the horse, but a girls gotta do what she's gotta do!

The Sunline travel trailers are no longer produced, but as luck would have it I was able to download lots of information and ask questions in the forums.  Props to the guys and gals at sunlineclub.com

These folks helped me so much. They taught me to understand the weight issues involved in towing, the safety procedures for travel, and lots more.  When I ask a question in the forums, I rarely wait more than a day for answers and suggestions.  My Saturn is 18.5 feet, lightweight, and can be towed by my Jeep Grand Cherokee V8, 4.7 liter.  The Jeep came with the tow package as well as an upgrade to the cooling system.

Another invaluable resource for learning has been staying at the Cadillac Ranch RV Park in Bluff, Utah.  Tim and Diana are wonderful, friendly, helpful hosts.  I have been able to leave my camper parked on their land (they have a bit of a farm with goats and an Emu named Elvis) and a pond with a huge gathering of geese and ducks, perfect for morning coffee.  They have full hook up sites, and a few spaces for boon docking too, a hot showers are open 24/7.  Tim taught me how to use the sewer hoses and to dump grey and black water onsite and to hook up water and electric too.  He even gave me a few items I needed to connect hoses safely.  Recently, he helped me to check out my awning, and suggested I put a coat of waterproofing on the roof.

I can't say enough about how helpful these new friends have been.  And they are great resources for local knowledge of Anasazi sites and little known roads too.

    My Rig, Cherry my jeep, and Saturn, my camper

    First, practice towing and turning.  I recruited a friend with experience in his 32 foot Travel Trailer to teach me the ropes.  He was a patient teacher, assigning turns, figure eights and taught me how to back up.  Priceless.

Learning to tow and turn in an empty parking lot, March 2013

    Places I've been in 2013

    Valley of the Gods, Utah, Boondocking, March 2013

    Sand Island Recreation Area, Utah, April 2013

    Valley of the Gods, Utah, Boondocking, April 2013

    My secret place, Utah, Boondocking, I've taken my rig here many times since March of 2013

    Scouting Fall Colors in the San Juan Mountains, Colorado, Boondocking, September 2013

Lime Creek, Between Durango and Silverton, Colorado, Dry Camping, Sept. 2013

Durango, Colorado camping, full hookups, my most expensive night, so I could dump and empty the water, and winterize.  The temps were predicted to hit the low 20s.

Wahweap Campground, on the way to Zion, late October, 2013

On the way to Zion, Kanab Ranger Station

Red jeep and white camper at Zion National Park campground, with the Watchman butte towering above
Under the Watchman, Zion National Park, so far my farthest tow and camping trip with Cherry and Saturn.  In the spring of 2013, I drove my jeep out to California, 1500 miles to go photograph the big trees in Jedediah Smith State Park.  I didn't take the camper, so the Zion Trip was my "maiden", far from home, camping trip.  Loved it.  Especially loved returning to my camper each night, my warm, cozy home away from home.  In 2011, I car camped and was very chilly at night, and this time, even though the weather was colder and rainier, I was safe, and comfy.
White travel trailer in campsite, Zion National Park, Navajo sandstone buttes and mesas in the background
Zion National Park, Fall 2013

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