X Marks the Spot if You Have the Wiggles

Howe (our trailer – Home on Wheels) has the wiggles. With proper chocks under the wheels, and the stabilizers down, it still feels wiggly when walking in it. Stabilizers on smaller travel trailers are not levelers. They are designed to stabilize the trailer once it is leveled. Even with Howe leveled and stabilized, you can tell when someone is walking in the trailer. I did in-depth research (watched several YouTube videos) and decided to order X chocks.

These are jack like devices that fit between the tandem wheels of the trailer and pushes against the tires. This will greatly diminish the front and back movement of the trailer. This does not replace wheel chocks. It just enhances the stabilization of the trailer.

I have found these to greatly improve the comfort when inside HOWE. It even stays stable when Charla does the high jump into our bed. (more details in another post). They work great with HOWE but will also work great with fifth wheels.

Zion in February Rain

9th – Days 51-54, Feb 12-15, 2021, Zion River RV Resort

Zion National Park, Temple of Sinawava, Feb 12-15,2021

We have HOWE (pronounced, Howie, Home On Wheels) our travel trailer stored in St George, UT, for the winter. It is much warmer there from where our home is in the mountains. It is very easy to drive a few hours, pick it up from the storage site and go out camping. (As you can see, we are doing that at least once a month during the winter months.) When we went to hook HOWE up to the truck, the batteries wouldn’t work to raise the hitch. Thankfully, I have a smart honey who knew to plug HOWE into the truck tail and that used the power to raise it.  He noticed that everything in the storage compartment was sticky with an oily substance. Oh dear. It turns out it was cooking oil from a bottle that had leaked. We stopped at Tractor Supply Store in Hurricane where Kevin bought the blue shop disposable towels and more propane. He installed the magnet-thingy on the tanks that tell his iPhone how much propane is in the tank. (See post Do we have gas? for more information.) Everything else looks good and we got hooked up quickly. We headed to Zion River RV Resort in Virgin, UT which is very close to Zion National Park. This campground is rated as one of the top in the entire country for RV resorts. A few months ago when we drove past it, I thought it looked like a neat place to stay. When we saw our site, oh goodness, it looks small and it is a blindside back in. I got out to help Kevin back in. We saw across the narrow road, a lot of people sitting around. Kevin said to them, “Enjoy the show!HAHA” and several guys got up and asked if they could help. Yes, Kevin said, my wife is deaf so you would be a great help. They had a low trailer sticking out a little ways into the road so I think they felt bad and wanted to help. They were so helpful!!!! Kevin got it right where it needed to be with their help. The weather is low 60s and sunny. On the website I saw you can have campfires and I was pretty excited. But guess what…our site is within 25 ft of the propane tank so the fire pit is filled with cement. It is fine, later it was just a bit too chilly to have one, for me. 

As I was setting up the trailer, putting out the fresh towels, washcloths, making the bed and putting out the food, I realized that I took the entire 6 pack of paper towels home with us last time. (I am very careful when putting HOWE in storage to not to leave food, paper goods, etc out for mice.) Didn’t have a single one here. HAHA I am so glad that Kevin bought the BIG roll of blue shop towels. Those were our napkins for the week. 🙂

Looking towards Zion NP. Zion River RV Resort, Virgin, UT Feb 12-15,2021

Lots of people have had fires going every night. I fixed hamburger patties for supper. I thought there was green beans in Howe, but nope. HA So I added back beans. We ate outside on the picnic table.

Virgin River, Zion River RV Resort, Virgin, UT Feb 12-15,2021

We didn’t have any plans specifically to do for this trip. This morning, Kevin wanted to drive through Zion National Park again. I decided to check the Zion shuttle for tickets. Lo and behold they had some available! Kevin bought some ($1 each) for noon. It was overcast so we took coats. On the few miles from our campground to the entrance of Zion, we passed an older motorhome. Well, when we got to the entrance, of course we were in the slow lane and they passed us in the other lane. We laughed and laughed how they got into the park before us.

The Narrows in Zion National Park Feb 12-15,2021

As we rode up the canyon, it was raining. It made for stunning scenery!  So many of the black rocks were shining with slippery-ness. Even the red rocks, soaked with rain and wet, looked different than when dry, as in a deeper color of red/orange. We took the shuttle to the end and got off. It was raining but we had coats and hats. I had my cruise hat that is made of straw like material and would you believe, my glasses didn’t get a speck of rain on them. We walked the paved trail, more than a mile each way, to the end of the path where the Narrows start. This is the spot that you have to walk in the river to go farther.

Zion National Park Feb 12-15,2021

There are alerts for dangerous algae and posted signs not to get in the water. The walk is gorgeous with the rocks going straight up next to us. So tall, I couldn’t get it all in a picture. There was lots of red mud on the path but we didn’t slip or anything. We were able to skirt around all the water puddles…until the very last one. There was no way to go around it and so both feet got wet. That made us laugh because our feet had been dry the entire hour walking in the rain. 🙂 We jumped on the shuttle and went back to the visitor center.

Kevin: On the shuttle I was signing with Charla, and noticed a young family watching us. The Mom then said their children had a deaf student in class, with an interpreter. They knew a little bit of sign language. We tried to “talk” (sign) with them, but they were pretty shy. It is fun encountering people that have a desire to reach out and communicate.

Kevin had read about an old LDS church that had been converted into a pizza shop there in Springdale. Having only had sausage and eggs for breakfast, and cheese and nuts for snacks, we decided to go there for a late lunch. It was 2:30 PM; the sign on the door said it opened at 4:00 PM. Then we checked a steak restaurant and it didn’t open until 5:00 PM. Everywhere we went, it was closed. This was a surprise to us because there were people around who would eat. HA On the way out of Springdale I saw Stage Coach Grill & Saloon. We checked and it opened at 3:00 PM. We decided to wait in the truck for 1/2 hour til it opened. It was a disappointment, I rated my chicken fried steak at 3 stars; Kevin rated his “prime” steak at 2 stars.

View of Zion National Park from Stage Coach Grill, Springdale, UT Feb 12-15,2021

Back to the campground and boy, we enjoyed an afternoon walk. I spent about 3 hours booking places for us to camp from now until end of June. I enjoyed researching and finding places. Of course a lot of the state parks are fully booked out the 4 months.

Kevin worked on the batteries; it seems a cable was loose. The evening was spent doing what we do at home, watching movies and videos, playing games, read, visiting, etc. Absolutely perfect.

President’s Day. Disembarkment Day. 😦 We took our time getting up and around, but we sleep so well there that we wake up early some days. Kevin started on the outside and I did the inside. When we were backing the trailer into the storage spot, I did the usual thing where I FaceTime Kevin and then talk to him through that. Of course, I am deaf so he can’t talk to me but he can sign ASL. I asked if he could hear me and he signed yes. Backing him up, I said, “Driver’s side” pause “driver’s side” pause, then I started pointing to the side I wanted him to turn to. It turns out I was saying it wrong! I was suppose to be saying “passenger side”!  Poor Kevin was so confused and wondered if the mirror was flipped around since I was pointing the opposite way I was saying. We doubled over laughing. Then I said, “Back seat driver’s side!” Finally I just throw up my hands and said, “Come on back, you are doing it perfect.” ROFL Thankfully, the spot is nice and wide and there was no danger.

We talked later at how “off” things were this weekend. Not with us, not one bit, but it seemed more like first time out camper problems. 🙂 However, the scenery was gorgeous and we love being together. Thankfully the drive home was uneventful and the big snow that was warned about didn’t happen. Dry roads most of the way.

Winterizing, oh the joys!

Being a new travel trailer owner, I consulted the experts on winterizing – Google and YouTube. I thought it would be pretty complicated, but it is not bad.

Here is the process I followed the first few times:

  • I disconnected the city water hose from the trailer.
  • I then opened the drains for the hot and cold pipes. On my trailer, it is just under the city water hookup.
  • Then I used a special fitting that attaches to the city water connection. This will connect an air hose to the city water connection.
  • I connect my small air compressor to the fitting, dial it down to 35 psi, then turn it on.
  • I close the hot and cold pipe drains.
  • After waiting for my air compressor to catch up, I go inside and open each faucet one at a time. Air and water shoots out. Once it is just air, I close the faucet, and move on to the next one.
  • Hot water heater. We turn the water heater off the night before, to let it cool down a bit. Turn the air compressor off. (see story below) relieve pressure in the heater by opening the pressure relief valve. Then remove the anode at the bottom of the water heater. This will take time to drain, I leave the anode just below where I removed it, and close everything up……time for a story. The water heater needs to be drained. The first time I did this, I left the air compressor connected and running – building pressure in the system. When I removed the plug/anode, water shot out 6-8 feet after it shot me right in the chest!
  • Time to work on the drains. We use the pink RV antifreeze and pour a couple cups into each drain. The measurement is very important. Usually I upend the gallon jug and wait for two glugs. B-)
  • That is all we do. If we lived in colder climates, we would pump antifreeze into the water pipes.

This is the process we did the first few times. After looking at the temperature in St. George where we store HOWE we stopped blowing out the lines with air. We just open the drain lines and open the faucets. This might catch us someday – who knows. Most people do this once a year in the fall but since we are using it almost every weekend, we do it almost every weekend. B-)

Internet – when we want it, where we want it

We live in an age where internet is a necessity. We are not in the position to retire, so I need reliable internet to work from any location we happen to be in. From my experience, campground wireless internet is hit and miss. Even if I am connected, it is not fast enough even for basic work.

So what is the answer? There are several different options out there, but the best and most reliable is cellular. I have an iPhone that I can “hotspot” my computer to, and so far it has been working great! The challenge is when cellular signal is not good.

Continue reading “Internet – when we want it, where we want it”
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