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Topics - kitphantom

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Introduction and Show Off / New tow vehicle
« on: March 29, 2016, 04:49:28 PM »
We took our first trip with our new tow vehicle, a 2015 Chevy Colorado. About 450 miles each way, ABQ to Grand Canyon and back. While there are some picky design things (every vehicle I've ever owned had a few things I'd change), it works great. Our 4Runner, which we kept, has a 5,000# tow limit, but even at 3000# or so, the frontal area of the Retro made us wish for more margin at times. I'm also happy that the motion transfer from the trailer to the passenger seat is greatly reduced, so my queasiness from it is gone.
My biggest beef is that a scent was applied, apparently at detailing, that is fading s...l...o...w...l...y. Best word picture is that it is like wearing a mask made up of strong dryer sheets. It set off a major asthma attack for a friend a couple of days after we bought it, and it isn't great for my asthma, still makes my eyes itch after a couple of hours, plus gives me a headache. I need to find a place to destink it, steam clean it or something.
The towing set-up looks like it was made to match:
parked at GCNP by Andrea Vaughan, on Flickr

Canvas Classified / 2010 Coleman Cobalt
« on: February 12, 2015, 12:35:31 PM »
Our 2010 Coleman Cobalt (which was in the Evolution lineup) is for sale, in Albuquerque, NM. It is an 8' pop-up.
My back issues forced us to move to a travel trailer much sooner expected. At this point a year ago, and even later in the year, I would have said we'd be camping in the Cobalt for a long time.
Anyone interested in the Cobalt, send me a PM and I'll give you the details.

We went to the RV show in the Spring this year, and came away thinking that we were perfectly happy with the pop-up, and would be for a long time. However, my back has been deteriorating for a while, and handling the pop-up was getting difficult for me, especially important since I do take solo trips. By the end of the summer, we realized it was time to change to a TT.
After shopping almost every dealer in town, we settled on the White Water Retro 177. The odd thing was that we had seen the much smaller version of this at the RV show, and completely ruled it out, it had a "drop floor" in addition to being small.
We picked the Retro up on Saturday - we look a bit shocked here:
Our Retro by kitphantom, on Flickr

Yesterday, I spent a lot of time cleaning it, lining shelves and drawers and trying to figure out how to use the space well. We had stuff really squirreled away in the pop-up, we want to have things a little handier in the TT. The quilt I made for the full bunk in the Cobalt is usable on the short-queen in the Retro:
Retro with quilt by kitphantom, on Flickr

I take off for a solo trip in a week - nothing like jumping in with both feet. I don't know how many of the "systems" I'll use on the first trip, other than the 'fridge. We had thought we'd ignore the water systems until next season, but may use some of them (maybe not the toilet). Since the dealer ran water through all the tanks and water heater, to make sure it all worked, we're going to have to winterize whether I use them or not.

Now, we just need to sell the Coleman Cobalt. Having both campers in the driveway is a little on the tight side. It will be much easier to park the Retro once the Cobalt is gone, since one side of the driveway is handier as far as slope and space to the garage than the other. (One garage door is not used, so we can park the camper very close to it.)

ETA: so far, the Retro has been a curiosity. I had a couple people stop just to look at it while working on it yesterday. My bonus is that it is "cute", while meeting our specs for weight and length. I didn't realize how widespread the opinion of it being of "cute" and "neat" was going to be.

General Campfire Discussion / Leaving the canvas life
« on: September 16, 2014, 09:27:10 AM »
We just returned from a 15-day trip in our pop-up, and are moving on to a travel trailer. It has become clear that I cannot handle the pop-up on my own anymore, given back issues, and to a lesser extent, a bad shoulder. It is not only cranking up the roof, but also pulling out the bunks and placing the supports, flipping the galley, moving all the clothing duffels, etc. The 8' Cobalt is small enough that there isn't really any way to not have to shift things around for setting up/breaking down. I feel bad about letting DH do all that work, but I also still go solo at least a couple of times a year, and am not ready to give that up.
So, the trip was a bit bittersweet, knowing it was the final tour in the Cobalt for us. The coincidence is that for the last camp of the trip we had reserved the site in Arches NP where we had a tent shredded in a micro-burst 9 years ago (it was our back-up tent and well-used). It is a really nice site, so guess we'll have to go back in the TT and have it not be the last camp for our equipment.
We spent our trip discussing what we wanted in a TT, and I looked at a couple in campgrounds (thanks to those people for showing me their territories). So, yesterday I had a very long day of shopping, and visited half a dozen dealers in the ABQ area. It was daunting on a number of levels, my brain felt like mush by the end of the day, and rather discouraging/encouraging to not have a large number - or even a handful - of TTs that fit our requirements. That is size (we have 20' to park it in in our driveway), weight, bed that stays set up, and general comfort.
We have put a deposit on a 2015 Retro 177. It is a couple of feet shorter than most I looked at, yet feels larger inside, has the amenities we want or can live with, and doesn't seem to loom so hugely for towing. DH will go to see the one in stock today, the one we would get is on the way. If he approves, which he seems inclined to do, I'll have a TT for my trip to see his mom next month.
That means we have to find a buyer for the Cobalt.

DH noticed a pup that he thought looked a whole like our old pup in a "items you might be interested in" suggestion. We have a bunk end skirt (from a different seller) in our watch list, and this listing is for another bunk end skirt.
The seller is 1stop_rvshop, which seems to be a division of Hanna Trailer Supply in Wisconsin. Here is the link to the listing:

And yes, there is a reason the pic in the listing looks a lot like our old pup, it is actually a photo I took of it at Grand Canyon, in April 2010:
at the Canyon April 2010 by kitphantom, on Flickr

The eBay listing has no other pic of the bunk end skirt itself, except in a package. Besides stumbling across a pic of our old pup (and one we took, no less!) on eBay, the other thing to note is that the bunk end skirt on that pup was a one-off. I made it myself, to fit that specific camper. Makes me wonder what bunk end skirt they are selling.
We have contacted the seller, it will be interesting to see what they answer, or if the photo just disappears.

Pre & Post Trip Ideas & Report / Grand Canyon in December
« on: December 09, 2012, 06:26:05 PM »
I camped at South Rim of Grand Canyon last week, for three nights. I'd planned four nights, but need to figure a better chair or support for the bench if I'm to sit inside for a long winter evening.
I chose Trailer Village for this trip, so I would have electricity for the mattress pad and space heater along with the furnace and lights. It turned out to be warmer on this trip than Nov. 2011, but it was still nice to have the 2 plug-in heat sources. TV would not be my choice for most of the year, esp. if it was even half occupied; it is pretty much cheek-to-jowl. However, it is very handy, with the free shuttle stopping at the entrance. The gravel in the foreground in this pic is the side of the driveway/next campsite - they are all pull-throughs.
grand canyon dec 2012 campsite by kitphantom, on Flickr
With so few people around (it was a great time to visit the park), the wildlife took full advantage of the dripping water taps. I saw an elk take a good slurp, but she was moving a bit too much to take a pic. Here's one flock of (mostly) bluebirds, I also saw ravens and grosbeaks at the taps:

bluebirds at campground dec 2012 GCNP by kitphantom, on Flickr
At this time of year, it is possible to drive on the West Rim instead of just taking the shuttle. Even so, there were few people at the viewpoints the day I did it, so got to see a group of bighorn ewes (they came close enough a couple of times I could hear them browsing on the low vegetation) and this youngster:

young bighorn dec 2012 GCNP by kitphantom, on Flickr

I'll put a couple of canyon pics in a separate thread.

COG - Show Off Your Coleman Camper / Our 2010 Cobalt
« on: November 28, 2012, 04:06:52 PM »
Here's a pic from Grand Canyon, at the North Rim campground. We were not using the awning.

North Rim site by kitphantom, on Flickr

So far, it has been a great camper, it seems spacious - most of the time - after the previous camper, a tiny 6' Palomino, which only had one bunk end. We've done our share of mods and adaptations with the Cobalt, including removing the sink, changing the thermostat to a digital one (with an extension cord so it sits on the counter), adding a 12v outlet, LED bulbs, solar panels, second LP tank and auto change-over and using a smaller/lighter table instead of the original. I'm planning on making new curtains over the winter, lighter than the dark brown original ones, so it is brighter when we need to be inside in the evening. I'm also thinking of making covers for the seat cushions, the coarse weave is not only not the most comfortable, it is hard to clean and grit and sand seem to settle into the weave.

Pre & Post Trip Ideas & Report / great trip, then oops @ home
« on: September 04, 2012, 10:47:11 AM »
We headed for Colorado last week. First stop was Ridgway SP, we had one of the "premium" sites - nice separation, sort of a view of the reservoir lake (not so much sitting down at the picnic table, better standing up or from the edge of the site); the premium sites are so designated, but there is no extra charge for one. This SP has power, which was nice as it got a bit hot during the day and the fan was nice to have inside. DH did an overnight backpack, so he could hike Mt. Sneffels early in the morning, before rain and lightening was likely. It was pretty full, but most of the campers were courteous; looked like all the sites were reserved for Labor Day weekend, so we guessed it might be more noisy, and were glad we were moving on for that. The lake was low enough they had closed the swimming beach in mid-Aug., boating was still allowed. A good snow pack and run-off over this next winter would be great on a number of accounts.
On Friday, we moved to Thirty Mile CG, a Forest Service one located near Rio Grande Reservoir, about 30 miles from Creede. This was the latest in the year we have camped there; it is one of our favorites and we usually have been there in July. There are two great trails into the wilderness from the campground, so we drove in Friday and never moved the car until we left yesterday.
We knew it closed today (the 4th), at least as far as host, toilet service and water, but were shocked that only about half of the sites were occupied. There are only about 30 sites to begin with, so there were not a lot of people in the campground, though the back country/fishing parking section was pretty full. We encountered several people backpacking into the Weminuche Wilderness for bow hunting, in addition to hikers and people just camping in the Weminuche.
The trip home was uneventful, but DH had an oops with the camper in the driveway. He only had the front wheel chocked; that slipped before he got the tires chocked and the trailer ran across the street kitty-corner and up onto the curb on the corner. That's about where I always thought one of our pop-ups would end up if it ever broke free.
It seemed to have hit the curb cut, but it still bent the tongue wheel assembly, but at least it was not hit by a car (they tend to roll through that stop sign) and the only vehicle it hit was scraping our 4Runner on the way by. We take it in to the dealer on Sat., so they can fix it next week; DH will be out of town then and the tongue jack is messed up enough that I can't manage it. [We'll have routine maintenance on the brakes, lifter cables, etc. done while it is there too.]

Canvas Classified / Patio mat - 6 x 9
« on: June 24, 2012, 09:43:03 AM »
I've been looking for a good price on a smaller patio mat, the seemingly standard 9 x 12 just seems huge for our small camper, and smaller ones have always been far more than the larger one (I do lots of DIY, but altering a patio mat just seemed a lot of work).
Ordered one of these, $24.99/free shipping, have not received it so can't comment on quality:

Introduction and Show Off / The first trip in our Coleman Cobalt
« on: April 13, 2012, 09:57:40 PM »
We bought a new camper at the end of last summer, and took it for the first trip a week later, for Labor Day weekend. We went to a favorite campground in Colorado, near Twin Lakes, in the Leadville area. Great hiking in the area; the campground is on a large reservoir.
We used our old awning on the trip, and bought a new, commercial one for this year. The table canopy is very stable in the wind, and we use it for shade at least as much as for rain; this site is a good example, as there is little to no shade in it. While it is not perfect (there are some headroom issues, especially when the the picnic table is on the larger end of the scale), it is the best we've used. The 10 guy lines are a bit of a pain, but it is stable in the wind.

White Star campsite by kitphantom, on Flickr

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