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Time To Hit The Road

Finally! It’s been a long time coming and a whole lot of planning but the time finally came. I took a week off from work just in case there were any problems that popped up, to have some time to get the feel of my new home, and, OK, because I really needed it. The time off took the pressure off and let me travel my first time out at my own pace.

First issue to overcome was getting out of town. I was near Portland, OR at the time which can be difficult to get through anytime with all the traffic and construction. I decided that night time on a Sunday night would be the easiest time and, as a night person, I’m used to driving at night. Rather than go through downtown with its very narrow lanes and bridges, I went south and then east to pick up the 205 which goes around Portland. That route does take longer but it is country driving rather than city driving which was important to someone who has not driven a 26 foot trailer before. So, call me chicken. Bok bok. 😉 It gave me some time initially on a rural road to adjust my body to the feeling of towing a trailer and build my confidence. It helped immensely.

Off the 205 and onto the I84 through the Columbia Gorge. I love driving the Gorge. It has a lot of character at any time, day or night. I would have liked to have stayed somewhere in the Gorge and done some sightseeing, but after going through the Trailer Life books etc., I realized that many of the state campgrounds through there might not be able to handle the size of my rig and slideout. I was not too eager to find out for sure in the middle of the night. It also appeared that the steam locomotive tour would not be running until Wednesday so that was out timewise.

I had figured that I might be able to stay at a Rest Area for the night along the way which certainly would not bother anyone. I tell you now, FORGET IT! Every Rest Area was packed with truckers. RVs and truckers were even parked on the side of all the incoming and outgoing lanes as well. I saw them parked in every historical marker turnout, every scenic turnout, and even at normal offramps and onramps. I had to keep going.

Lucky for me, just in case that happened, I calculated my limit for driving that night and had directions to several private campgrounds set aside for backup. I chose to go on to a campground in Boardman, OR. Finding it was easy even in the middle of the night thanks to very good directions. Signing in was interesting because they have a little kiosk on the wrong side of the entrance which is not very obvious. Inside the kiosk are forms and a timed light that kept going off on me. When I started up to go pull into my spot, this first-timer almost took out their stop sign from turning too sharp. I had to backup and swing out wide to miss it. I pulled through my site and left the truck and trailer hooked up for the first night with the electrical tow connector disconnected however to save the truck battery. Connected the trailer to electrical power but did not move the slideout out so as not to bother the other sleeping campers.

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