Yep…the “little darlings” are back in the [brain] washing stations learning how to be social just-us warriors.  And that means they are off the streets and campgrounds are quiet again.  Yes sir!

I mentioned last week that my buddy Gaye (SurvivalWooman) and her hubby (SurvivalHubby) (who looks a tad like Hulk Hogan, come to think of it) had gone out and bought one of those fancy “tear-drop” trailers to be pulled around by their Subaru.

This morning, she graces us with how the “first time out” went…

(Continues below)


So here, without further…from the Arizona uplands, here’s her report…


We had a blast while camping, mostly due to the people we met.  It was like the old days on the boat in a marina.

On the other hand, it was damn cold (much colder than Payson) and very rainy.  We had also bought a tent and set it up (easy-peasy – this one and considering we had never set up a tent before, it went together in less than 30 minutes.  We purchased a porta-potty and kept it in the tent for midnight runs so we would not have to go to the public “vault” toilets which were down the road.

All told, all of my prepper gear meant we were well equipped.  The only things we had purchased were the aforementioned tent, porta-potty, high end (meaning sturdy) cooler and water jug.  The first night we prepared Mountain House Chili Mac for dinner along with a bag of salad.  The second night we were exhausted after drinking too much wine with our neighbors in a motorhome while staying warm around a campfire.  I had some fruit and Shelly had cookies – we called it a night and went to bed at 9PM.  Just like old people.

Our teardrop is a T@G XL ( not a T@B).  The weight is about 1100 pounds and the Subaru had no issues.  Because it is so well balanced, you could hardly tell we were towing.  We did opt for electronic brakes which set us back another $1K but well worth it.  Note:  The “Outback” version comes with the electronic brakes on the trailer but we still would have had to put the controller on the Subaru.  The other features did not interest us so we passed on the Outback and went with the T@G XL which is the 6 foot wide version of the teardrop.  The T@B teardrop is larger and as I recall, almost double the weight.  At first I considered the T@B but is was a lot more money (about $23K base) plus too tall to fit in our garage.  The other thing I discovered after the fact is that it would be a bummer to have our galley inside the trailer.  The outdoor kitchen on the T@G is awesome!

Comfort wise it was okay.  Instead of bedding, I had a new, never used double sleeping bag that was perfect except for the fact that Shelly and Tucker practically pushed me out the door in the middle of the night.  They hogged all of the room.

Lessons learned:

Pick your campsite carefully.  We let the host assign a campsite to us based on ease of backing in and proximity to toilets and water.  We could have picked out own site and should have.  Our site was all dirt and not grass, plus the table and chairs were right on the road.  I would have preferred them behind the trailer.

When picking the campsite, scope out the toilet facilities and camp close to the nicer ones.  Ours were smelly and dark whereas some facilities in other parts of the campground were newer, larger, brighter, and odor free.  We marked them as well as the grassy campsites on a map so we could make better choices the next time.

Don’t assume the weather at 7700 feet will be the same as the weather at 5000 feet only 30 miles away.  We now know to check the Forest Lakes, AZ weather forecast before heading up to the Rim.

Next time:

We drove around the area to scope out other campgrounds in the area.  There is one that has electrical hookups and showers.  I am not embarrassed to admit that we plan to make reservations at that site for next June.  That said, there is another campground with views of the lake (no power) and because I want the convenience, plan to get a small generator so we can use the AC (if needed) and my hair straightening iron.  In addition, although the propane stove and French press worked well, I would love to bring a small coffee pot.

Both Shelly and I purchased Lifetime Senior Passes to the National Park Service before the price went up last month (we only needed one for two of us but at $10, we each got one).  This brought out campsite fee down to just $11 per night.  What a fantastic deal.

Originally, we had planned to go out again this week but it is too cold.  Had I known then what I know now, we would have waited until next year before purchasing the teardrop but oh well.  At least we now know what to expect and can be good-to-go in May or June next year.  Reservations at the various sites open up six months in advance so one bonus from having taken this trip is we can make our reservations right around the first of the year and secure the primo campsites.

One thing is certain:  with all of the prepper gear we have, we did not lack for much while camping out in the wilderness.  More pointedly, we took way too much stuff.



Well, now…fine looking rig there!  I was going to recommend that they not put it all up for the “season” too quick.  I mean, why not plan a little road trip down to Ensenada?  Kidding!  Kidding!

Since we’ve all be pals for 40-years now, I ought to check with SurvHub to see what size gun rack he wants me to tool up in the shop.  Never can tell about those wild uplands.

When they were alive,  my parents always loved this time of the year to get out and so some serious vacationing.  Not the forced march kind of Irma and Harvey.  I mean the kind where you go up to the northeast and then drive north until you see trees dropping leaves.

Here in a week, or so, my old COO from the software days and his wife have rented a 42-foot barge and they will be sitting back with coffee and a wood (or coal) stove on the barge watching the colors come along in the Northeast.  Not a school kid in sight, daytimes.

In a week and a half, my consigliere is coming down for a stopover on his way to Cancun (braver than me, lol).  While here, since he’s one of those executive condo-dwellers, we’ll get him into the spirit of the season:  I figure just so’s he doesn’t get out of practice, we’ll fire him up a leaf blower.

Yes!  Fall is for camping and adventuring.  I’m starting to eye used RV’s on Craigslist.  No, not another project until we finish up a few.  Figure I might be able to sell one to Elaine if I get a 36-28 Class A (oldie) and put a Hilton logo on the front of it.

I’ve washed diapers in cold rivers in fall and winter in six states,” she reminded me when I broached the topic again.  “But you know, darling, what fun Gaye and Shel are having…Are you sure we don’t want to get a used RV and customize it…like we have the property.  Winters here, summers in upland Arizona?  fishing…hiking…”

No thanks.  We’re old enough to start doing a few things in style.”

I thought about the “Yeah, but where’s the pride of doing instead of check-writing, in that?”

Instead, I agreed, handed over the remote and called it a day.

Golden words of family wisdom popped to mind,  “He who begs and runs a way, lives to beg another day.  And doesn’t lose half in a settlement.”

Yes, dear…whatever you say, darling…

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