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4,700 miles and we are back at Treasure Lake :)

What a trip! What a blast! Have to say though that by the end of it we were all glad to be home here at Treasure Lake. It really didn’t help that the three of the last four days of traveling were LONG. Why? Well, Thursday, upon leaving Bryce we took Route 12 across Utah. Route 12 is the scenic route and having read in an RV magazine that it was big rig friendly I figured this would be a nice drive. LOL! From Escalante to Boulder the scenery was absolutely incredible, canyon after canyon. The road was mostly freshly paved so nice and smooth but there were a lot of switchbacks and drop offs. Don’t expect any barriers to protect you if you miscalculate. There aren’t any! I was driving and although I am known for my heavy right foot I was quite happy to keep to the speed limit of 30 mph on this stretch. At times I wasn’t even going as fast as that!

Somewhere past Boulder Town we stopped in a layby/pull off to cook and eat lunch. The number of times we have been thankful for a bathroom on board during this trip has been numerous. This time was no exception! Richard took over driving after this and the scenery began to get monotonous as it went on and on and on. Once you get off of 12 you then have to get on 24 choosing east or west in order to get to I70. There is no other option.  You are out there folks! We went east through Capitol Reef National Park. Once again we oohed and aahed for a while and then just got fed up with slow speeds wanting to reach our destination in Colorado before dark. Hitting Hanksville we needed fuel and the toilet again. Guess what? We could get fuel but the gas station building was closed. Thankful for the toilet on board again! (We did see another gas station about 1/2 mile further down the road afterwards that was fully open.) I was back in the drivers seat and from here Route 24 straightens out and we could actually zoom along up to I70 and on into Colorado. Yee Haa! It was dusk when we got into Grand Junction and the mosquitoes were lovely (not)! This campground had a nice playground so the kids were able to run off some energy whilst we set up for the night.

Having never before driven I70 west of Denver I had NO clue how scenic and windy this route was when I planned a 380 mile day for us across Colorado. Oh my! Talk about diesel guzzling and no, it was not all my heavy foot. Once again, the speed limit was down to 50mph in places as we followed the river and then there were all those passes and hills to climb up which we could do nowhere near 50mph. The Vail Pass is 10,666ft and the Loveland Pass is 11,990ft. Great education for the kids though as they had never seen ski towns before with all the cable cars so they were fascinated. NONE of the parking areas down along the river were open to big rigs so we were not able to stop/play/admire the river. After coming down through the passes and seeing a sign that said truck diesel 10 miles, we were expecting another sign later making it clear which exit to take. No! We missed it. (Many of the previous exits had made it clear that big rigs could not enter.) Richard was driving by this time and as we came to the town of Idaho Springs we weren’t desperate for diesel but knew we needed to fill up before hitting Denver in rush hour. (Yes, bad timing!) The first exit said no big rigs but the second exit did not have a sign so in he pulls. Oh my! There were major roadworks. Although we could have pulled into one gas station, due to half the road being blocked thus creating a one way system, there would have been no way out for us. What was our option? To drive through this quaint little town. (For those of you living/familiar with Branson think downtown by Dicks 5 and 10 but longer!) It was actually quite amusing for me and also for the onlookers but not so for Richard. Thankfully all the way at the other end of town there was a gas station that we could pull into, taking up three of their gas pump spaces. It only worked this way. Had we come in this exit we would not have been able to get in and out. As it was we were able to pull in and then straight out going in the right direction.

SO with that accomplished it was time to hit Denver in rush hour. Great! Delays weren’t too bad but we still had a long way to go plus we had a mission to accomplish once we arrived! Getting in about 8pm the mosquitoes were once again EVIL! The campsite was sadly grotty so the kids could not be outside as there was nowhere for them to play so we set them up with a movie whilst Richard and I set to work. What did we have to do? On our trip out west we noticed how bumpy the ride was. Before leaving we had talked to some folks here at Treasure Lake who had put an FlexAir pin-box on their fifth wheel and said it made a BIG difference to the ride. Most, if not all, fifth wheels come with a standard pin-box that has no suspension so when you hit a bump it not only jolts the truck (and passengers) but also the fifth wheel. SO whilst in California Richard had ordered and fitted one on ours, taking the old one away. These pinboxes are NOT light nor are they cheap. We are still learning as we go along here! Not able to test it until we took off again, the first day back on the road we thought it had a leak as the air bag (looks like two small tires) kept deflating. Well, we did have a leak but Richard finally figured out where it was and was able to fix it by the end of Day 2 of our return journey. He had also been reading how that ideally your camper should be level when towing. Ours was tilted quite a bit so he dropped the hitch in the back of the truck down one notch to as low as it can go. Would that help? Well it did help the tilt somewhat but the camper was still at a slight angle. (Our truck is taller than some.) SO we decided to lift the pinbox up to the next and final level. This should have been a quick and simple job but you’ve guessed it, it was not! We worked until 10pm but could not get the bolt holes to line up. We just could not figure it out but as we did not want to disturb the neighbors anymore came inside. Richard was out there again at 8am the next morning and I joined him shortly after having fed the kids. Why would the darn bolts not line up? About 2 1/2 hours later he discovered that due to the way the metal bracket on our fifth wheel is made/welded there was no possible way for the pinbox to move slightly forward – blocked. AAGH! Talk about frustrating. We then had to lower it down and put it back the way it was when we had arrived the previous evening. We’ll just have to live with the tilt! The FlexAir has made a difference though and made for a smoother ride. This truck does have hard suspension so we still feel the bumpy roads as we drive over them but we no longer feel the trailer bumping as well. It was nearly 12 before we left the campsite and then we lost an hour crossing into Kansas. That day we had 415 miles to go so once again arrived after dark at the last stop before coming back to Branson.

OH and on Sunday morning coming back to Branson I was once again behind the wheel. Richard kept telling me to slow down and I kept telling him that I wasn’t driving any different than usual but that the brakes did not feel like they were responding as they should be. Later that day, when he got behind the wheel, he soon discovered that in fact we had NO trailer brakes at all! Oh my! We made it back here safe and sound but are very glad not to be moving for the next 3 weeks. We have NO idea why the brakes are not working so need to call an RV Repair guy out to come take a look before we head back on the road again. Our living room slide was not going in and out most of the week but on Sunday it decided to work and the brakes went out. Is it battery related? Something wacky with the electrics? I’ll let you know. The inverter for the fridge whilst we were traveling kept going out too so something is definitely not right.

Hope you’re not asleep by now 🙂

Take care,

Liz

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