To Tell the Truth

sam blue basinSam gazes at the Blue Basin area in the John Day Fossil Beds near Mt. Vernon, OR.

Let me see now. We’ve been on the road for how long? I start the journey from the time we leave Oakhurst on the 30th of July which makes it 14 days.

Only 2 weeks. It seems so much longer and I’m going to guess that’s because we’ve had so many changes. Time flies when you’re having fun? Nuh-uh. I know I’ve been giving the impression that it’s been more fun than a barrel of monkeys but that would not be true. Time to reveal the truth.

It’s been long periods of work punctuated by short periods of having fun. The biggest job was to buy a new pick up and sell the old one. This was actually premeditated from before we left California. Marty really felt that the ½ ton F150 was not going to make it all the way pulling the weight up steep inclines. We are going to Yellowstone which sits at 7,000 feet give or take after all.

But he didn’t want to pay California sales tax on the purchase price so he had this idea we would buy the new pick up in Oregon where they don’t charge sales tax. It became obvious that it was the right plan as we started to make even small elevation climbs. We chose to go to Oregon on 101 and I am so glad. We would have never made it over the 4,200 ft Siskiyou Pass at the border of California and Oregon.

But when we finally made it to Oregon there weren’t any pickups that were right. Luckily, just across the border from Portland in Woodland, Washington we found an ex-government pick up – I’m going to guess Fire Department because of the red color – and it’s been great. Comfy. Everything works. Pulls like a sunnuvabuck. The guy gave us a good price and a transit permit and didn’t charge us sales tax because we were from out of state. We will register it in Ontario, Oregon on Friday.

But we can’t sell the ½ ton. Why the heck not? Three quarters of the way up the coast Marty admits he forgot to bring the pink slip. It’s packed in the box truck back in Madera.

I can’t believe it.


So what’s the plan now, Stan?

He says he’ll store it – and pay for it himself – and we will come back at some point later in time to get it. So, we store it in Prineville, Oregon on the way to Boise. See what I’m saying? Long periods of work punctuated by short periods of having fun.


Truth be told it’s a challenge to figure out where to camp. The length and fragility of the trailer restricts us to certain places. A much smaller trailer would have worked better to navigate BLM or Forest Service gravel or even dirt roads to find free, off grid camping spots. The trailer functions best when it’s level and doesn’t go over bumps very well at all.

Also, we now have a longer pick up which adds to the difficulty in turning the whole rig around. We’re not proficient (yet) with turning in a tight radius. We don’t want to punch out a tail light. We’re also not proficient (yet) with backing in anything but a straight line. These two things impact where we camp.

I think one of the reasons it seems like we’ve been on the road for a longer time than 2 weeks is that we’ve been doing so much and staying in so many different places. I think, “Just like the emigrants.” What we’re they doing? About 5 miles an hour? Maybe 20 miles a day? Can you imagine taking that long to go cross country? I can’t.


2 thoughts on “To Tell the Truth”

  1. Thank you for the “truth” 🤗. Maybe look at this as a new job and you both have a learning curve of about 6 weeks. I Give you both huge kudos as you have struggled with a vehicle needing to be replaced and now the extra length and learning how to maneuver truck and trailer. I could barely back up when pulling just a teeny tiny 5×9 open trailer to Idaho. I was so stressed, and sweating. Only drove with trailer where I would only drive forward.

    Happy trails…and get back on that road again!!! Have a blast.

    1. You’re welcome, Ruth! At least Marty has experience with horse trailers. In spite of all our “hardships” we still like each other so it could be worse. You are totally right about learning curve. In hindsight the RV Dealer only cares about the sale. The manual is a joke. Books on the internet are incomplete. I’m getting inspired to write my own definitive book on the subject. At this point the only way to get up to speed is to jump in and make mistakes. Have extra money set aside to pay for them! We’re almost to Yellowstone. One more day!

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