Yesterday was a mighty long day. Up long before dawn, and at the dealership almost before morning traffic eased. Pretty good considering we had a three hour plus drive.
Our 2013 Skyline Koala Superlite was ready for our final inspection. We inspected it again as the prep guy installed an electric brake in the truck. We’re going to be traveling in mountains and want the added security electric brakes will bring.
We were in a hurry to get the first drive over with. But I squashed my impatience. I needed to focus on what the prep guy was telling me about the different systems. 36 hours later, I remember very little. I’ll have to read the manuals (Yes, I’m one of those) and learn most of my maintenance stuff on the internet.
The prep guy knew we were green as grass so he lined the truck and trailer so that it’s a straight shot out the dealership. Margo would drive. I would navigate using a little portable Garmin Nuvi LM50. I would be perfection as a navigator only because the device squawked out turns while I was playing with it.
Our first couple of miles we bounced up and down like a yo-yo on a road that most people wouldn’t drive if they had some other way. New Mexico is a poor state, as you can surmise by the state of the roads. Bleah. Glad we both took anti-motion sickness pills before we left.
Soon the road smoothed out, and so did our ride. Interstate 40 east is laid through some mighty pretty country. They actually have grass. I’m big on seeing grass sometimes since southern New Mexico has so little. South on 41 is also some nice country. Mountains in the background. Few houses. The road narrows to two lane often with no shoulder. I imagine the blizzards can get pretty rough out there.
At Estancia we see white clouds of dust in the distance. We had no idea salt was harvested in these open pits, (34.679719, -105.958278). We figured it out when we passed the Salt Mission Scenic Byway sign. The salt field is about 15 miles long by 9 1/2 miles wide. Oddly enough, irrigation circles exist nearby. A land that grows plants next to salt pits. Hurts this little farmer girl’s brain.
I might mention here that 55 may not be a good speed for those rushing to get home, but for a truck and trailer and retirees it was the perfect speed. We could actually see stuff and if we wanted to stop, we could.
Margo had a surprise for me. I don’t know why. She knows I don’t like surprises. We would practice backing up the trailer in a large parking lot and empty business which had gas pumps in the past. She would drive. I would spot. We are tired and she has been dreading backing up more than anything even though I told her I would do all backing up this trip. It’s a cruel thing indeed for others to sit back and enjoy the train wreck that some backers do. The first try did not go well. Neither did the second. I’ll just leave it to your imagination. A guy in a wheelchair waiting for a bus comes over and offers his assistance. Good lord. We said thanks but no.
She swears the secret to backing a trailer is making the scoop. Sean of Long Long Honeymoon narrates a short animation making a scoop. So she would make big circles in the parking until she had the scoop figured out. About this time a woman in a big truck drove up and offered to tell us the name of a good RV park for the night. Her hearty laugh filled the air when Margo explained what we were doing. All Margo wanted was a private place to practice. She wasn’t getting it.
Once she got the scoop down, it was quite simple to back in. She popped out of that truck like a pop-up toy. “Your turn”. Took me a couple of circles to get “the scoop” learned. The rest came naturally.
We are running out of daylight otherwise we would have backed it more times. We pulled into an RV park where we can store Margo’s new baby. We warned the fella leading us to the site that we are newbys. Jack said, “No problem. I drove big rigs for a living. I can get you in that spot easy.” The site was extra wide — just for newbys I guess. I did the scoop and what do I see in the mirrors –nothing but intense gold from the setting sun. I am blind. Jack was awesome. He quietly guides me into the spot while standing only three feet from my truck door.
We unhook the weight distribution hitch and sway bar, disconnect the batteries, turn off the propane tanks and lock the hitch. Took the gut bustin hitch off the truck. By the way, an electric jack is awesome. We take the box of manuals to study.
A big mixed drink and pizza healed some of the frazzled nerves.
Mirror extensions are on order. Next step is to read the manuals. I’ll also want to make out lists so we don’t forget to do something silly like forget to pull in the slide.
Margo has already made a decision on her shakedown trip. Not too far away and just a couple days. There’s a possibility that I can’t go because I live in the mountains and need to be home during freezing. This issue will go away as we will be selling the mountain home this spring or summer.