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RV Trip – Day 2

June 28th, 2017 No comments

Sunday June 25, 2017

OK, we survived first night! Not sure we’re supposed to fire up the power generator on a Walmart parking lot, so we won’t. That means no A/C. As etiquette demands, we actually went inside the Walmart to buy some snacks, flip flops, and whatevers as a thank for letting us stay on their lot for the night. We have roughly 7 hours to our RV park destination in Jackson, WY.

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Not too bad. We drive for an hour and made a stop in Boise, capital of Idaho.

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It seems like a nice city, with a very pretty downtown. We strolled by the capitol, stopped at a coffee shop for a cappuccino and donuts. Then hit the road again. Trip is uneventful. Wendy took the wheel so I could rest a bit.

Our only stops were for gas and to check out the view.

So in one day we crossed the entire state of Idaho.

About 30 minutes before our destination, we started crossing the Teton Pass, which is quite steep, either going up or down. Views are breathtaking for the passengers, but driver has to stay very focused. We were warned about it by our neighbors, who told us their brakes were smoking after the 3 miles downhill. We finally arrived arrived in Jackson, WY around 6pm. We first stopped at this car rental place to pick up our rental car, and then went to the our first RV campground a few miles down the road. The purpose of the rental car is to roam around easily. Also, RVs are not allowed in some roads in the parks.

The RV park is very nice and well located. We find our spot and park the rig pretty easily. Hookup of electricity, water and sewage is a breeze. Nice to turn on the central A/C in the RV, water heater and pump. It’s a proper house!

Our neighbors are a family from Virginia. We chat briefly. They seem very nice. We pulled out the barbecue grill and Wendy grills steaks. This is heaven. We get the pétanque game out of the trunk and Regis plays with the kids. People seem a little puzzled by the metal balls: they’re more used to see Bocce balls, typically made out of epoxy composite or wood.

We actually lucked out and our spot is at the ed of an aisle, so we have a patch of grass, a nice wood table, a fire pit, and plenty of space for ourselves. To complete the picture, I start a fire, and later we made s’mores for deserts. It’s getting dark and we eventually get inside the RV. We’re all pretty tired, so no movie tonight. Every one goes to bed and fall asleep fast. This concludes a very successful day 2 of our RV trip full of promises.

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RV Trip – Day 1

June 27th, 2017 No comments

Saturday June 24, 2017

It was exciting and a little frantic preparing for this RV trip. I’m sure the fact that it’s our first ever RV trip added some extra trepidation. Our RV was ready around 1pm, so Wendy and I went to pick it up. We received a 45 minute orientation from Michael T., a very very nice guy. No driving tips or practice on their parking lot, which surprised me considering this thing is 27 foot long, and neither Wendy or I have ever driven such a vehicle. This RV is a 2017 Thor Chateau. It has a bedroom with a queen size bed in the back, which you can only reply once you have deployed the pull out. Very cool. Bathroom with shower, full kitchen with fridge, microwave oven, regular oven, cooktop, dinette that converts into a bed, sofa that can convert into another bed, 2 big TVs, and a queen bed over the cab. For us, who know only camping in tents, this is the bomb. Once orientation is over, Wendy takes of with the car, while Regis drives the RV back home. First impressions: my goodness this thing is LOUD. Other remark: it is fairly easy to drive, and my apprehensions quickly dissipate. I also notice that other motorists are quite respectful of the RV, and slow down to help me change lanes. The RV rental place is only a 10-min drive from home. Lucas and Audrey are actually waiting on the driveway. I guess they are excited. They are impressed with the size of the RV: they did not think it would be so big.

It’s all relative: a 27 foot RV is nothing big compared to what’s out there. Its actually considered a relatively small RV. But for us, it’s a “chateau”! We start loading this thing. It’s great not to have to pack suitcases: piles on the floor are transferred to cupboards,  drawers and trunks. The shower is filled with beverages for now. Once done packing, to my surprise, we still have plenty of storage room available. Nice. Our neighbors, the Keysers, swing by to say hi. Erin gave us tons of advice in our preparation for this trip, as they did a very similar vacation 2 years ago (their RV was 34 foot long though! Hard to keep up with the neighbors 🙂

They also lend us their camping grill, which is going to get a lot of use I’m sure. Time flies, and the RV is still on our driveway. We’d better get out butt in gear: We’d like to get to Boise tonight, and it’s a solid 7 hour drive. It may be a lofty goal. We’ll see how far we get. Finally we’re off.

They gave us the RV with a 1/4 tank, so let’s fill it up to the nearest gas station.

Wow, that’s a big tank: $110 worth of gas. Let’s see how far that gets us. We hit the road at 6:30pm. I84 is the only road all the way. Again, the RV is easy to drive. Very loud though. It’s like driving a big truck. It’s a Ford E450 Engine. The fun part of driving an RV is mostly for the passengers: you can legally roam around, lounge in your bed, use the restroom, etc. Although for the driver who’s still getting his groove on, thats pretty distracting. But we make good time. I realize that I forgot to bring a bike lock for the 4 bicycles we have on the rack in the back, so we make a quick stop at a Walmart in Pendleton. Then back on the road, and this time Wendy is driving the rig. It’s dark and mountainous and Wendy is pretty tense, but eventually gets more comfortable as the road straightens. We made no plan for the first night, not knowing what time we would get the RV, and what time we would leave. We were told, however, that Walmart allows RV’ers to stay on their parking lot for one night free of charge. This actually allows for peace of mind and flexibility… until we realized, by calling along the way, that not all Walmart offer this convenience: the Boise Walmart doesn’t. Oh well, reaching Boise was actually a little too lofty of a goal, and there is another Walmart, one hour before Boise, in Ontario, OR, that will perfectly do. We reach it at about 1:30AM, and park two spots away from another similar RV.

Despite the long drive and the fatigue, Wendy and I find it hard to fall asleep. Maybe the excitement, maybe the Walmart parking lights right above our unit (but better safe than sorry), maybe a bit of stress of actually hanging out overnight in a Walmart parking lot 🙂 But we do fall asleep, and get good rest on an uneventful night.

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