Ups and Downs
I made it to Wellton yesterday, where my travel trailer is parked! The summer bake was not kind to the Defiant, among other things. After unloading all the junk clogging its main aisle and setting it on the concrete patio, I found that the overhead living room lights no longer work, and a change of bulbs had no effect, so that will probably come down to trying to locate a similar fixture, assuming that its rather cheesy slide switch is deceased. More significant is that an apparent windstorm from the east ratcheted the forward roof vent fully open, but I was able to crank it closed again without difficulty. The rearward roof vent over the bathroom, however, was not so fortunate. That one, being just a couple of years old, opened and then disintegrated. Given the lumpy, unsupported roof structure, it looks like I’ll be trying to locate a victim in Yuma to come out and repair it in a prompt and efficient manner – hopefully before any rain comes this way. All it takes is money and a willingness to watch somebody fry himself on a hot tin roof in full sun. It’s bare aluminum.
I continued camping in the Intrepid until I could transfer food, bedding and assorted sundries into the Defiant, while getting its refrigerator/freezer rolling and down to temperature. That detail ultimately went well, but was delayed by a glitch in the power post here that kept the truck camper from being able to plug into a live circuit during the initial prep. A guy volunteering at the park pronounced the ground circuit on the GFCI outlet as having failed, and gave me a plug adapter that allowed the Intrepid to use power from the post’s big-amp circuit – the same one that the travel trailer would need to use. I removed it today in order to hook the trailer up to it and get its fridge rolling. With the food transferred, that let me shut down the truck camper’s fridge along with all other circuits, and its marginal rooftop solar system should now be able to top off the camper’s batteries daily in spite of the low arc of the winter sun. In theory, the GFCI outlet will be replaced tomorrow, now that I no longer need it for the Intrepid. In the spirit of the day, the Defiant’s plastic electrical hatch also disintegrated into small pieces as I began pulling the electric cord out to plug it in. Maybe 23 years in the sun was enough for it. Replacements are available online, if you look in the right spots.
The bad news for me was delivered first by the electrical guy, who mentioned that Wellton has passed an ordinance this year prohibiting two campers in one site. I suppose that some naughty truck camper owner was packing Aunt Edna or his brother’s family in, but sometimes these types of laws are based purely on some bureaucrat getting a bright idea with the hope of making his mark. And again today, some park lady stopped by to let me know the same thing, after talking with the park owners to see whether a pop-up might be exempt. That would make sense, since the Intrepid is not and cannot be registered (in Illinois) with an RV license plate, and is for all practical purposes uninhabitable with the top lowered. At any rate, I’ll have to research the ordinance online or in person to check the wording, which is likely very vague. I would have thought that they would have instead prohibited two vehicles from hooking up in any manner at the same time, but they probably never considered that somebody might have a truck camper as their only transport/errand vehicle. That’s how these things tend to go. Don’t know, don’t care.
That leaves me with three possible workarounds. One is to dismount the Grandby and leave it in the open storage area adjoining the park. This is not my first pick, since A] the jacks necessary to be able to do that cost $800 plus shipping from California, and B] removing the Grandby requires that the cargo box, ground panel storage rack, fishing rod tube and 250 pounds of AGM batteries be removed first. Remounting the camper in the Spring, solo, would also be an ordeal all by itself, not even considering the needed reassembly. Another option is to simply park the whole thing in the storage area intact, which is do-able but inconvenient whenever errands must be done. I’ll still have to park “illegally” now and then, since the camper needs a thorough cleaning procedure inside and out, and the Mighty Furd needs a leisurely hand wash to eliminate the residues left by the mud extravaganza of a few weeks ago. The park owners have graciously granted free parking for such persons as myself in the storage area…this year. Next year, it will be $25/month for the 4-1/2 months that I normally stay here. The final option is to move to an RV park in a community which does not have a similar ordinance. That should be a challenge in that, if I can find one, there is the matter that it will either be considerably more expensive or be even farther away from Yuma. I’m going to be busy for awhile researching and comparing overall costs. I’m supposed to go to the office tomorrow to sign some paperwork in order to get a storage slot.
To top it all off, I yanked the e-bike off the rack today to do errands in “downtown” Wellton, and added pressure to its flat rear tire. It will hold pressure for a couple/three days, though the tire is worn thin and both tire and tube need replacing. That’s already on my winter to-do list, which is quite impressive in size and expense. Odd thing is, it lurched oddly on the smooth pavement, and a quick look showed that “worn thin” was not exaggeration. The tube was trying to bulge out through exposed, broken cords! So I had to hurriedly jam a pointed pebble into the valve to let most of the pressure out, park the bike, and radically step up the program with the truck camper in order to be able to use the Mighty Furd for the errands. I was going to use the bike and trailer for hauling laundry tomorrow, which is my usual thing. Not any more! There’s a slight chance that I have a spare bike tire in the cargo box, and I know I have a conventional tube, so I’ll have to go digging so that I don’t order online what I might already have.
I’m amazed that I don’t find any of this depressing. Maybe it hasn’t all sunk in. Maybe it’s because no rain is due anytime soon, temperatures are quite moderate at night, the Mighty Furd is ready and able to fill in for the e-bike (Plan B), and the short-term parking situation is workable, if not convenient. Nothing is really an emergency, and I can live with that. Ah, the adventurous life!!
By the way, I visited the Pima Air & Space Museum in Tucson on the way here, but that post will be delayed a bit due to the unexpected press of time.
UPDATE: The roof vent has been replaced, and the park owner has given me an exemption from the single RV law, which she has the right to do. I’m okay as long as I keep the roof down and don’t hook up anything. This is a good thing.