Coping: Fall’s When to Vacation!

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…

Write when you get rich,

9 thoughts on “Coping: Fall’s When to Vacation!”

  1. George, If or when you think you might want to buy a used RV check out the Phoenix, Quartsite Craig’s list There are smoking deals on used RVs my friend just bought a 01 30ft 5th wheel w/slide out in nice shape for $2800.00! And there are deals like that all of the time out here!

  2. Do the old Google research and find out if anybody’s put a washer in a RV besides the real big ones and or make sure you got lots of shelf room or either go shopping everyday for new clothes and drop the old ones off at the Salvation Army
    With those new Fabrics they have out. they have clothes that don’t get dirty .course you may have to put some perfume on them
    And of course most campground parks have washing machines and dryers
    Its those National Forest you’ll have to worry about especially during hunting plan accordingly.
    And ENJOY !!

  3. Well, look at it this way George. If Elaine was mushy and always gave into your way, there would not be enough challenges to keep you interested. Any women that would catch your eye needs to be a smart cookie, or you would easily get bored. She obviously knows how to keep George happily engaged on his projects, UNTIL, he wanders a little too far from the sandbox.

  4. The. Florida keys was an rv wonderland was as in past tense thanks to Irma. Wonder if there are any left over with minimal storm damage that could be fixed by someone clever like you? On the cheap? Maybe the insurance companies are selling like they do with damaged boats? Wouldn’t be too difficult to find if you were interested. I’m happy the Hemingway cats made it !!

  5. You know a few years ago we decided to head out to the great outdoors with the kids camping..
    It didn’t take long to set camp and all was well great wood fire.. (duct tape the fire makers friend) and everyone was jovial.. fresh air cool water… Night came and out came the Graham crackers and marshmallows and chocolate bars life was grand.. pretty soon the mixture of grilled burgers in an open hard wood smoked fire the sinful sweets of s’mores, cold adult beverages and it was time to hit the sack.. in the tent was one of the finest air mattresses money can buy wonderful down sleeping personal favorite pillow and the slight aroma of a wood campfire ling laid to rest drifting off in peaceful slumber..
    Two hours into a restful night I was awake ouch what the heck.. mosquitoes and those good awful sand flies.. figured I’d get me a cold drink and damn the black beer bugs just wouldn’t leave me alone.. I think the damn mosquitoes were using deet as part of their mixed drinks they were everywhere.. finally back to sleep..when I woke up in the morning the cold moist air had for some reason affected me and I was coming down with a good awful cold getting my fat butt off the ground was another story moving on that air bed reminded me of the water beds of my youth and I realized.. gravity isn’t and old man’s friend..
    That day was hot muggy and mosquitoes everywhere.. it dawned on me then.. that’s why old people buy those big fancy campers with the fifth wheel hookup satalite tv air conditioning and a flushing toilet and shower..
    Needless to say I gave my tents away and politely turn down camping trips to the great outdoors..

    • …Sounds familiar!

      Camping lessons learned from my misspent youth:

      1. ‘Smores and adult beverages are for backyard camp-outs. When you make your insides yummy, your outsides become so after several hours of sleep.

      2. Bloodsuckers are attracted to people who consume salt or sugar.

      3. Down (or military-grade cold-weather bags) are for cold weather. If you sweat when you sleep, you send out a dinner invitation for every critter that’s downwind, for miles.

      4. Mosquito netting is your friend. Keep the DEET on the inside so you can douse yourself before parting the net.

      5. Speaking of, sand flies, deerflies, wood ticks, and ‘skeeters are NOT your friends.

      6. Bank your fire (of course) but build it up, throw on a wet log, and sleep downwind. The smoke not only drives off pests, it masks your scent.

      7. Air mattresses are comfy. Sleep pads or pine boughs are much easier to get off of in the morning.

      8. Mosquito netting will help a little with respect to chill, morning air. The only thing I’ve found which really eliminates the problem is a good, old-fashioned Zippo hand warmer, placed a foot or so away from my face.

      9. Anywhere there’s woods or water, there’s mosquitoes by the millions, until the first killing frost. When camping in the woods, I didn’t even carry water (only a Katadyn filter and a coffeepot), but I made up for its weight with several bottles of Deep Woods Off.

      I don’t like “muggy,” but I can deal. I’ve never brought a bedroll to Cajun country, but I have done central Florida and Michigan’s eastern Upper Peninsula, both of which are similar climes. The U.P. is especially fun, ’cause it’s not unusual to see 50°@99% when you roll out of the rack, and 100°@97% by lunchtime. In summer, in hill country or the desert, you might also see 50° temperature swings, but you escape the humidity and a lot of the bugs.

      The temptation provided by an RV is to search out clusters of other RVers, and pay for the privileges of parking and socializing with strangers. I’ve not been to a campground since 1985. There’s way too much State Forest, National Forest, and BLM turf where one can camp for free (or the parking lot of the nearest WallyWorld, if yer in an arrrvee.) When you leave, wherever you leave, there should be no evidence of your presence (douse the fire, spread the ashes, and pick up the trash…)

      • Lol I forgot about the ticks.. and trying to use one of those porta potties that sit six inches off the ground.. well at my size gravity isn’t my friend and you get so far and your committed your going down.then getting off few.. falling to the side is always an option…( That’s why old fat men own a nice big SUV compared to a low sports car.. they are sharp and sexy till you have to crawl out)

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