January 14-19, 2014:
After months of talking and thinking about it, we finally did it. This was the best time and place for it to all come together. We traded both the GMC Denali dually and the Avalanche 5th wheel away for a used class "C" RV. We actually had good service from both the Avalanche and the GMC, especially the GMC dually that was rock solid, like the GM advertisements, it will be missed. The issue was that the overall size of the rig was sort of inhibiting our RV travels. It's just to big to fit comfortably into many places where we want to go. In addition, the dually is so cumbersome to use as a daily driver, Twinkles won't drive it at all and it's useless as a off road/back road vehicle. So, we made a deal with a local Tucson RV dealer, Lazydays, to trade in both against a 2008 Jayco Grayhawk class "C" motorhome and enough cash to pay about half the cost of a 2011 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 4X4. The Jayco is not downsizing too much at 31 foot, except there is virtually no storage space now. (We are going to have another yard sale for sure) I am feeling a little down about the trade off, the Jayco is such a big square ugly white boxy vehicle and it hurt to lose the big Dually truck, however the Jeep Wrangler is a pretty cool ride. Hopefully this works out as I don't ever want to do this again, such a pain in the ass ! The saving grace in this transaction was the excellent RV dealer, "Lazydays", who were happy to take both the RV and Truck in trade and making the swap a convenient almost pleasant operation. These guys were so much more professional (highly recommended) than our experience at Camping World where we bought the Avalanche 5th wheel.
We drove to Lazydays on Tuesday morning where they checked in the rig, took us to the finance department for mountains of required paperwork then a welcoming into the Lazydays family with a gift and assorted promotional and educational stuff. They then drove us to pick up a complimentary rental car for our use for a few days. It was then the task of transferring everything from the truck and 5th wheel into the Motor home. It was an exhausting day, it was about 7 PM by the time we were done. We spent the night camped in their parking lot, to test out all systems as they had water and electrical hookups there.
|Here we are getting ready to switch over|
|Into the Grayhawk|
The Jeep Wrangler was a different experience, I would have walked out of this dealer, on principle, if it wasn't for the fact that I really wanted this Jeep. They had an advertised price on the vehicle to suck you in, then they spring on you several hidden additional charges for window tinting, window anti theft etching and exterior paint protectant treatment (already done) that they expect you to pay for. A real scam job! We bargained away part of the extra charges and reluctantly accepted the offer with a very bad taste in out mouths. The salesman however was good, it wasn't his fault, but this dealers sales practice were shady at best.
We drove the Jayco back to Desert Trails on Wednesday afternoon and continued to sort through stuff, what to discard, where to put stuff, this will be going on for a while, very stressful ! It is a Jayco Grayhawk, but I am calling it the "Free Bird".
Thursday, we returned to Casa Grande, AZ to pick up the Jeep with a complimentary rental car from Lazydays RV. The Jeep dealer was redeemed partially by having the Jeep cleaned up nicely and having the paperwork ready to go. Now, it's a matter of getting the vehicles titled and registered in South Dakota through our very efficient mailing service, Americas Mailbox. I'll be so happy when this is all behind us.
Back on Monday, I had gone for a routine physical with a local doctor, but still needed to get lab work done to complete the physical. So, that was the first priority on Friday morning. I hope the stress of this week does not affect the results ? Afterwards I took a diversion to the Tucson rodeo parade museum. This site was the original Tucson airport, one of the oldest airports in the country and the museum building was the actual hanger building. Lindbergh landed the "Spirit of St. Louis" there. The museum has a huge collection of old wagons and coaches and several built by the famous Rondstadt company in Tucson.
|Horse trailer of Duncan Renaldo, better known as the|
"Cisco Kid", his horse was "Diablo"
|Tucson's first fire wagon|
|Dr. Brown's snake oil cart|
|La Fiesta de los Vaquros parade Wagon|
|Rodeo scene on side of a Wagon|
|An old Rodeo painting|
|A famous Tucson area ranch wagon|
|Late 1800's security on the Sonoran Railroad|
|Entrance to the Rodeo Parade Museum|
Then more communication with the insurance agent, then to Camping World for a few things then back to the campground for another round of organization. There is much to do with a new rig, much to learn, trying to maximize the limited storage space, adding hooks, racks, a new shower head with an on/off valve, making spare keys, it goes on and on. There also are surprises, like a water leak at the kitchen drain connection to fix and finding broken welds at the rear bumper due to excessive stress (poor design) of the spare tire mounted on the bumper. The next month at Desert Trails I will be going over both vehicles to make sure everything is good for the road come March.
Friday night I escaped to downtown for a while to LaCocina Bar, Food & Music to see a local performer, Hank Topless. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, he was not there, so I moved on to the District Tavern for a while. The District would accurately be called a dive bar, but I like it in spite of the fact that I have never seen anything of real interest there ?
Saturday night we went to Dinner with our friend and neighbor Lilia, to Fred's Arena Bar and Steakhouse. Fred's is a real cowboy Steakhouse about 15 miles west of the campground, down a dirt road in the desert with great vibe and food. There was a band playing and it was packed with people eating and dancing. The burgers and steaks are really good too !
|The Jeep against a scenic backdrop|
Enjoy the Journey !
Twinkles and Slick