Road Trip To Texas – Getting Packed Up

Red Rock Canyon State Park, Southern CA

Our last day of work at Oh! Ridge Campground was October 8th.   Hard to believe it’s time to pack up and move on.  It’s amazing how settled in we got in just 3 months.  We had a checklist of things we wanted to do while parked for 3 months.  We were able to whittle down the list considerably, but some tasks will wait until we settle in Texas for a couple of months.  This was the first time we had spent more than a couple of weeks in our Airstream, and all in all, we are quite happy with life in a small RV!

I hauled out the Airstream manual a couple of weeks prior to our departure to go over the maintenance checklist and see what was essential, or at least reasonable to get done before our exit date.  We also wanted to do some routine truck maintenance.  It was hard to shift gears and start to think about getting back on the road, but also exciting to think of the possible places we would visit en route to Texas.

What did we accomplish?

  • Washed and waxed the Airstream – washed several times over the summer, and waxed once.
  • Cleaned all exterior window wells and seals.  Jim then applied some butcher’s wax to the window seals as we noticed the windows sticking a tad when we opened them.
  • Washed and waxed the truck as well – much needed as the volcanic pumice in this area coated everything!
  • Checked all the tires and lug nuts – tightened the lug nuts and checked and adjusted the tire pressure. He did a manual inspection of the tires for wear and tear.  We had purchased wheel covers over the summer to protect against deterioration from the sun.   A must in California in the summer!
  • Inspected the air conditioner/heat pump cover, and checked underneath for debris. We do have a small crack appearing in the cover that will have to be dealt with at some point.  That goes on my list of things that will need replaced!
  • Oiled all the outriggers so they operate more smoothly.
  • Purchased a heavy duty jack in case we need to change out a tire in a remote area. After getting stuck in New Hampshire right after Leif’s wedding with a flat tire, and waiting for hours for AAA to come and put the spare on, we decided that it was a worthwhile investment.  At least now, we have a jack that will lift trailer so that we can take care of business ourselves.  We also wanted to use it for wheel bearings.
  • Bought weather-stripping and started prepping the screen door and outside door compartments so that we could put new stripping on once we get to Texas.
  • Cleaned thoroughly the interior of the Airstream
  • Re-packed the truck
  • Replaced the propane regulator and pigtails for the propane tanks (they seemed to have been original so felt that it was important preventative maintenance to do)
  • Changed the oil and filter in the Chevy truck
  • Replaced burnt light bulbs in truck (running lights)

What do we need to do in Texas?

  • Repack wheel bearings – Jim’s broken bone prevented him from doing this as planned this summer, so we now have the jack and will get this done in Texas
  • Investigate more solar panels for re-charging our batteries while boon-docking
  • Evaluate the need for a new air conditioner cover. A previous owner seems to have glued the cover down – perhaps because of crack??  Who knows – but something we cannot work on unless we have a new cover!
  • Re-check all our exterior seams and reseal as needed (We did this before leaving Vermont but would be good to check mid-year)
  • Purchase a torque wrench so we can properly test the lug nuts
  • Re-think how  the interior closet is organized. Lots of wasted space!

Not too shabby – looks like we did get some things accomplished!

We stopped work on Saturday, October 8th and had two days to pack up and leave – with Tuesday morning the 11th as our anticipated departure date.  Jim used the wind shelter we had at our site to *stash* things he accumulated over the summer and to store things so we had more room in the truck. (You need to know Jim’s habits to understand the humor in this!) Let’s just say that the wind shelter acted as his surrogate garage.  His pack rat tendencies, though, were held in check over the summer thank goodness!  He spent a few days after work that last week sorting through things – returning some stuff to the campground *pod* and packing the rest.

I can honestly say that we really did not accrue too much *stuff* during our stay here this summer.  We bought an outdoor rug to place at the entrance to the trailer to keep from tracking in too much dirt.  We also bought a cute, collapsible aluminum table that sits between our outdoor Airstream chairs.   And we purchased some much needed essential tools .

Packing up after an extended stay can be somewhat stressful, but we employed the *divide and conquer* strategy and were successful in getting everything in order with minimal combative episodes, and actually had a very amiable two days getting ready.   The division of labor was simple – I handled everything interior, and Jim took charge of all exterior chores.  I was charged with getting the inside of the Airstream travel-ready, and Jim was responsible for packing up the truck and checking exterior systems.   It was a fair and equitable division of labor.  We could work independently with minimal conversation, and therefore, avoided most opportunities for conflict!

We were all set to go Tuesday morning.  All systems go – until Jim tried to start the truck to get hitched up.  The truck turned over, and then stalled.  Visions of chipmunk-eaten wires came to mind.   Yup – those pesky little rodents had once again overnight made a nest in the box with the wiring harness!!  We let our guard down one night, and they moved right in.  Luckily, only one wire was damaged and Jim was prepared this time – armed with liquid electrical tape and small electrical connectors.  It was a bit more of a challenge with his still-injured right hand not quite up to speed, but he persevered and got the job done.   It still cost us a couple of hours of time in the morning but we were not planning on travelling very far the first day, so it all worked out.  Never a dull moment!

We made it to Red Rock Canyon State Park that day and got a nice site nestled along the canyon wall with enough daylight to take a short walk before starting dinner.  We are making our way to Texas on a somewhat circuitous route – headed to Sequoia National Park to rendezvous with Luke for a couple of days, and then spending some time traveling through some of our nation’s national parks and monuments in the Southwest – those that have been on my list of places to see for quite some time.

Stay tuned…….more to come on our favorite summer hikes and day trips in the Eastern Sierras, as well as our adventures in Sequoia NP, and our unscheduled stopover in Bakersfield due to adverse weather ahead of us!  We will undoubtedly have spotty internet over the next two weeks so I will try my best to write off-line and post when able.

Red Rock Canyon State Park
Dry-camping in Lodgepole Campground, Sequoia National Park



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