If you haven’t read “The Beginning Part One” you should read it first for a fuller understanding.
For about three years prior to the cancer incident, we had begun looking at travel trailers, motor-homes, and fifth-wheels. We had pretty good ideas about what we wanted for when we retired. It had to be a full four season RV with a decent kitchen area and lots of closet space. The type of RV was something on which we had not come to agreement.
I liked the idea of a Class A motor home – you know – those big busses – not fancy van conversions. Ella hated the idea of a motor home. “I don’t want a steering wheel in my living room,” was one of her frequent remarks.
We owned two conversion vans and therefore began looking primarily at travel trailers that could be pulled by the vans. We received confusing and conflicting advice from sales people when we asked what size trailer we could pull with the van. Some said we could pull any thing on the lot and some said it had to be towable by a ¼ ton vehicle. I finally went to the GMC dealer (since the one we planned to use was a GMC) and asked for his expert advice. The advice was, “Both are correct.” As long as we were staying local with the unit we could handle any trailer that could be pulled by a ¾ ton truck. However, since it was a conversion van, the transmission was geared differently and would not work for long hauls with a heavy unit.
I remarked to the GMC salesman that eventually I would probably upgrade to a ¾ ton truck which would solve my problem. “Funny you should mention that,” he said. “Come look at this truck that I just took in on trade.” Yes, I bought it! It was a ¾ ton extended cab with both a fifth-wheel receiver and a bumper hitch. Since the pick up already had a fifth-wheel receiver, it opened us up to looking at fifth-wheels.
The same weekend that we bought the truck we also bought a used 1991 Road Ranger 35Y fifth-wheel manufactured by K.I.T. Nearly 37 feet long with an amble galley kitchen and lots of storage space, it was very nearly what we had been envisioning. It was not a full four season trailer. However, this was only to be our ‘first’ trailer and not the one we retired into.
We picked the Road Ranger (RR for short) up on a Wednesday in the middle of April and took it home. That Friday night we took it out for a weekend of camping. We returned home only to pick up more ‘stuff’ until the Corp of Engineers Parks closed on October 30th.
Keep in mind that we were still working so we had to stick fairly close to home – just like we had done when tent camping. We had adult kids living at home with us and they kept the ‘sticks and bricks’ house going while we camped.
The next year we bought a membership with Cutty’s Des Moines Camping Club which is a members’ owned resort in the Des Moines area. The campground is over eighty acres of gently rolling sparsely forested hills with an eleven acre fishing lake in the middle. The resort has amenities such as; two outdoor pools, wading pool, eighteen hole miniature golf, western play village, giant slide, playgrounds, basket ball courts, horseshoe pitching areas, sand volley ball, shuffle board and tennis courts. It is much like the small towns in which Ella and I grew up. There is a general store, café, laundry facilities, RV parts store, repair shop and a large “main street” meeting area where there are all types of entertainment every weekend during the camping season. One of the biggest attractions for us was the large clubhouse which remains open year around. The clubhouse has in indoor pool, sauna, hot tub, exercise room, showers, and laundry.
To be continued …