Thursday, October 28, 2010

Carriage Cameo 5th Wheel

The camping at Confluence State Park has come to a close and we made the long, difficult trip of one mile to our driveway.  I was dreading the trip.  There is a tight turn into the parking area.  It was tight with the tent trailer and with a 31 foot 5th wheel and it was going to be an adventure.

I asked a friend with a 5th wheel to help guide me into the spot.  I did not want to try it with Susie.  Divorce is expensive.  Well, 45 minutes after arriving at home it was parked more or less. 

What we did learn from our camping trip was that most everything on trailer worked.  We did learn how to hook-up and disconnect and most important how to dump!  We are still unsure of a few things, but I finally did find the TV amplifier and both TV's work.

We are providing plenty of business to the local RV dealer.  All Seasons RV.  We had everything, but everytime we go down we find we need something else or this would work better.  It is handy having them less than a mile away.

They did tow the 5th wheel to their business and raised the axles to get the minimum six inch clearance between the bed rails and the bottom on the 5th wheel.  It sure looks like a small gap.  I still have the option of doing an axle flip to get an additional 5 inches.  We will go with the six inches for now and see how it works this winter.   It sits almost 13 feet high and that does get my attention every time I look at the trailer.
We are pleased with the layout of the trailer as it is fully accessible with both slides in.  Look out Wal-Mart here we come!

We took out the two recliners in the rear.   I replaced my chair with my precious LaFuma recliner.  I also bought a 4X2 foot table for use as a computer table and fly tying desk.   There could be a nice view out the back and there is good light for the fly tying.

Susie replaced her recliner kicking and screaming with a chair and footstool from IKEA.  The good thing is everything fits nicely in the space with the slides pulled in.  Susie's chair is even available for sitting in that position.  My LaFuma is accessible, but a little more difficult. 

Hmm, do we really need a couch?  Looks like the perfect spot for a LaFuma.  The dinning table has a nice extension.

On the outside we were pleased to discover a hand fill water inlet for the fresh water tank.  The Cameo seemed to be more oriented towards full hook-ups rather boondocking.  That 31 foot length will make it interesting on some of our backroads.  And that 13 foot height will give me a new perspective on tree height.  Hmm, when I was cruising timber the first log was always 16 feet high.   Why shouldn't the Forest Service clear ALL branches to one log height??  We will skip discussion of campground barriers for now.

The kitchen has plenty of room and is totally accessible.  It does have a nifty little extension to the cabinet.  The freezer and fridge is huge.  It is as big as the one at our cabin.  There is plenty of storage.

The freshwater tank carries 70 gallons including the hot water heater.  The black and gray tanks are only 55 gallons, but after the tent trailer that should be no problem.

The truck and trailer combination is 48 feet long.  This compares to 37 feet for the tent trailer and truck.

Those eleven feet sure do make a difference!  There is a nice closet in the bedroom that will fit our solar panel.  Someday we will get that up on the roof, but for now it will have to be taken and put away each time.  It is a 125 watt panel, which should keep our batteries charged since they will be used primarily for the furnace fan and lights.

Well the plan is to move the 5th wheel to Eugene in about two weeks.  After pheasant opener and those annual doctors appointments.  I have scheduled my five year appointment so that it coincides with the pumping of the septic systems.  It is easier to remember them.  My mother had colon cancer so I highly recommend the five year plan.

Hopefully parking it in Eugene will protect it from freezing weather and will allow us to avoid snowy roads when we leave Wenatchee in late December or early January.  Any advise on storage locations will be greatly appreciated.

We plan on still getting as far back as possible. Here is how we are going to do it.  Complete link is here: Backroads Information Blog Summary.  Go to the bottom on the post, for the complete series. 

Here is the link to that all important LaFuma Recliner.  Don't leave home without it.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Winchester Wasteway, Moses Lake, Washington

Backroads Information-Winchester Wasteway, Moses Lake, Washington

Saturday was the opening of duck season.  Unfortunately, I forgot to set my alarm and therefore ended up at the blind at 9:00 am.  Well, there were no ducks flying and Bugaboo got a little bored. 

Now Bugaboo does not like sharing quail, chukar, or pheasants with me.  I have to show him the good citizen collar control to get him to release the birds to me.  However, hunting dogs hate the smell of ducks and are more than willing to share ducks with you.  So I was hoping to work on the concept of sharing birds with Bugaboo.  Fortunately, I had my chair blind with me and it was a comfortable sit.

If you want to do wildlife photography look into these chair blinds.  It can be a camera pointing out of that blind!!  For fishing from shore in fowl weather it will provide a water and wind proof comfortable hide out.  Well after an hour of so we folded the blind and started out looking for places to camp.

The Washington Fish and Wildlife access points allow camping in most cases.  You can find the complete list here: Access Sites.  Under each site it tells you if camping is allowed.  These sites are posted with public fishing and public hunting signs.

The signs lead you to simple camping area.  Generally, a flat parking area with a SST Toilet.  No water, no tables, and other than the $14 yearly permit (free with fishing or hunting license) no fees.  This is what they look like.  And for Linda H. notice the lack of overhanging branches.

This guy got a pretty nice campsite on the opening of duck season.  Usually there is nobody camped in this lot and it is just a couple miles south of I-90.   I previously posted the information on the permit, but here it is again.  Parking Permit.

But this area is more than just duck hunting.  In the spring it is a great bird watching and fishing.  The Winchester Wasteway is a great canoe trip in the spring. Canoe Trip Video.

Of course, camping there in the fall you get to share your campground with those high class duck hunters.

The parking areas are generally empty most of the year except for a couple of weeks in October during duck season.  Hey, this is one campsite where no one will give you grief about your gun OR dog!  Well, just make sure your dog looks like a hunting dog.

I did see one mud-covered Crocker Spaniel drag itself back to the parking area.  It looked like a drowned muskrat on its last legs.  The owner, however, assured that after the hunt it will get a warm bath and a bow it its hair.  Don't think that would work with Bugaboo.

Pheasant opener this Saturday.  So many things to do, so little time.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sun Lakes State Park, Soap Lake, Washington

Sun Lakes State Park, Soap Lake, Washington

It is fishing and hunting season.  October is the perfect month for everything.  Even the night skies are usually clear and transparent for astronomy.  So this time of year is a busy month with all the outdoor activities.  We are thinking of visiting New Zealand, Australia, Chile and Argentina is future years so we can have TWO Octobers each year!!

Sun Lakes State Park is a busy park during the spring and summer months as Seattle area residents flee over the Cascades to escape the relentless grey skies and rain.  So if you plan on staying here from late April through Labor Day we recommend reservations.  The best times to visit is early April and September and October.

Now this is my reason for visiting Sun Lakes State Park.  Within the park boundaries is Dry Falls Lake which is a selective fishery lake for rainbows, browns, and even some tiger trout.  On this trip is was just rainbows.  The scenery is outstanding.

If fishing is not your "thing".  How about golf?  Sun Lakes State Park has a dandy little golf course with nine holes.  It is a narrow and long course that is much more difficult than it appears at first glance.  On warm days, check all sticks laying on the golf course to make sure they are not rattlesnakes. 

The park has three campgrounds.  A concessionaire campground near the entrance, the crowded old middle campground, and a new campground which is accessed by driving through the old campground. 

Here is the official link to the Sun Lakes State Park.  Now you are in the neighborhood of Banks Lake and Grand Coulee Dam.  Here is the link to Steamboat Rock State Park which is just north of Sun Lakes.  Be warned that it is just as popular in the summer time as Sun Lakes.  For those interested in boondocking the State Fish and Wildlife sites allow some boondocking in the area, but look carefully they are limited in size and many are closed to camping.

This is a great video showing the areas affected by the great floods of 10,000 years ago.  Ice Age Flood Video.  It opens with a view a rainbow over Dry Falls Lake.  As noted in my blog earlier my home "ecosystem" is that area affected by the Great Floods.  For those outside the area it will give places that you will want to further explore after you see the photos.  So write down those names and google them!  For those that live in the area the photos will give you a great perspective on the landscape. 

Dry Falls Lake is considered by many the heart of the Great Flood region. 

This is Bugaboo's second year of bird hunting.  He is a awesome hunting dog as they say.  However, as we all know it is those goof ball antics that make them YOUR dog.  This photo was taken about ten miles northwest of Sun Lakes State Park.  

This weekend is duck opener and then the following weekend is the annual trip to the Snake River for steelhead and pheasant.  There is a reason that for Lewis and Clark the Snake River was one of their favorite parts of the journey.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

From this.

Backroads Information-Change in Sleeping Quarters

I purchased my first tent trailer way back in 1982.  I was tired of getting up to a cold tent on hunting trips in October.  So on a whim, with more money than sense I purchased a used tent trailer to try out.  We kept that trailer for 15 years until it more or less rotted away.  

We then purchased the trailer seen above.  I did not care about a bathroom, but did want a shower and this was one of the few tent trailers with a shower, but no bathroom.  My personal worst was twenty-three days without a shower while working in the back-country of Sequoia National Park.  Unfortunately, the solar shower was invented AFTER my days as a field Forester.  The trailer had a pop-up shower and I used it!

Tent trailers are perfect for backroads and hunting camps.  They sleep plenty of people.  Throw in an ADD-A-ROOM for additional cooking and eating space.  So even a bird hunting camp with four dogs and three bird hunters can be comfortable for ten days.  Eating dinner with three people and four dogs in a 10X10 space is a memory that I will treasure for years.

My daughter and wife enjoyed the trips in the tent trailer.  However, now as we enter our sixth decade Susie has decided that we needed more comfortable accommodations.  So our first step was to purchase a Dodge Ram 3500 Diesel Truck.  And I would like to thank all the RV'ers that expressed concern about whether we had "enough" truck to tow our tent trailer.

Yesterday, we purchased a 30.5 foot 5th wheel to compliment the Dodge Ram.  I guess we just could not take the comments about "enough" truck.  So I am on a learning curve about towing a 5th wheel, not to mention set-up.  The trailer is three feet greater than the consensus for backroads use of 27 feet.  We will be much more comfortable and I will be able to haul more of my toys.

I am trying to decide which of my telescopes, float tubes, canoes, camera's, fly-tying stuff, computers (you know one for general use, one for the telescope, one for hooking up to the GPS), and bicycles.  So far I know Susie is coming along for the ride and I am sure Bugaboo will appreciate the extra sleeping room in the 5th wheel.

Bird Season and fly-fishing is in full swing in October.  So the plan is to hunt and fish for the rest of this month and then get ready for travel to the southwest after Christmas.

Some of the upcoming boondocking locations will be in prime bird hunting locations!  So stay with this blog for those special places.  And keep your eye out for a 30 foot Cameo towed by a 3500 Dodge Ram.  Stop and say hi if you catch us on the road.