Over the years I’ve had several smaller RV ranging from a 17’ travel trailer back in the day, thru some fondly remembered years with a ‘74 Volkswagen Bus Westphalia camper, a late ‘70’s 22’ Coachmen Class C whose little freezer preserved a bunch of Kenai Peninsula salmon filets, a 2006 30’ Monaco McKenzie POS (and no, POS is NOT the Monaco-approved model name, and yes, POS in fact DOES mean what you think it might) travel trailer (they wuz’ goin’ bankrupt when they built it, and their QC was non-existent! I’llever buy a Monaco again!), to a 2006 Coachmen Epic 33’ Class A. I liked the Coachmen Class C enough that I jumped on the Class A with the McKenzie as a trade-in – and the Epic was a great rig, with a couple of feature deficiencies for our long term needs.
Preparing for retirement, we made the transition to our brand new 2016 Tiffin Allegro 36LA (for full details, see our “Means” page!)– 37’ 6” in length, 1.5 baths, and a washer-dryer among other amenities. Time to check her out!
Our first trip in the new rig was a “getting to know, know, know you” journey a relatively short distance from home to Potlatch State Park at the south end of Hood Canal, in the Puget Sound basin of Washington State. “Getting to know, know, know you” definitely being the operative phrase here!
With the heavy-duty Sumo suspension package, I-5 beat me to death bringing the 36LA home empty when I picked it up from the dealer. After I got all the stuff from the Epic loaded, added some new “necessities” (“necessities,” of course, referring to anything that you think you might conceivably ever need and that you have room to squeeze in!) and filling the consumable tanks (fresh water and propane, and gasoline), I’m pleased to report that the rig rides and handles great when fully loaded and towing my 5000 lb Grand Cherokee.
The Kenwood Navigation and Sound System that comes with the 36LA is, I’m sure, a really great system. But Kenwood-intuitive and Little-Dickey-Carroll (LDC)-intuitive are not necessarily equivalent. Since many of the issues I have with it are the same types of issues I have with my Mickey Mouse iPhone (literally Mickey Mouse – and not in a pejorative way – it’s a company cell phone and Mickey’s paying my salary at the moment and is a major reason I’ll actualize my retirement vision! iPhone? Now THAT’s pejorative!) and it appears to be iPhone friendly but not so much Android, so perhaps there’s a reason…
After an “interesting” experience getting the destination programmed (street address of the Park since it didn’t recognize the name!) we were off. Nav display and verbal directions worked well for the first half of the journey. Then Miz Kenwood (that’s what I call her, as contrasted with Miz Google, who narrates Nav for Google Maps) invited me to make a 150-degree right hand turn at a stop sign from one two-lane road to another out on the Central Kitsap Peninsula north of Shelton. Bad Idea! REALLY BAD IDEA! The intersection was in the middle of a fairly sharp curve of the road I was joining and in a 50mph zone! Cleared both ways as far as I could see and started the turn. Not enough room with this rig to keep it all in the right hand lane – gotta hit the oncoming traffic lane to clear the corner! And, of course, here comes a car heading right toward me in the oncoming lane at 50+ mph, hittin’ the brakes and flippin’ me off. Stopped and backed – which is a no-no with the Stowmaster 5000 tow bar on the jeep, but no choice! Of course, by that time, traffic was approaching, brakin’, and flippin’ from the other direction. Not to mention the folks behind me who are all frantically trying to get out of my way! Finally got clear enough to make a left turn and proceeded on into Shelton, disregarding the instructions of Miz Kenwood ‘cause once I got there, I knew how to get to my destination.
We’d never camped at that State Park before, ‘tho we’d dug hard-shell clams and gathered oysters there many times in the past. We arrived a bit later than I’d hoped because of the detour, but still had plenty of daylight. I dropped the Jeep and headed for the camp-site. Found it and prepared to park. I love the rear cameras on the rig: Very clear, color picture, and you can scroll between the straight back view from the middle of the coach and the cameras mounted in the left and right rear-view mirrors to see what you’re about to run over that you can’t see in the mirrors. Tried backing into the site and was reminded very quickly that the site was rated for large trailers and motorhomes up to 32 feet in length. NOT rated for “Extra-Large” rigs like my new 37’ baby! That was when I remembered that when I’d made the reservations, we’d still had the 33’ Epic. Ah, well. That’s probably the last time we’ll camp at that park simply because they don’t have any sites rated “X-large.” I ended up coming back the other way and the folks in the camp site across and up one had to move their truck so I had room to maneuver my front end, but I squeezed it in and we were good to go.
I’d really hoped to get some time in over the long weekend digging some clams, gathering oysters, and hitting the late-summer King Salmon run on the Skokomish River that flows into Hood Canal a few miles southeast of the park. Alas – low-cycle low tides were in the 3:30 – 5:00 AM-ish time frame over that weekend so we never made the digs with the heavy downpours early in the AM, and I never broke from new systems orientation for long enough to grab waders and gear and head for the river. But due to the long-awaited precip that weekend, the Parks Department did lift the burn ban that had been in effect all summer so we could have a camp-fire and barbecue with charcoal rather than propane. And I did develop a healthy punch list of opportunities for the dealer to address (perhaps unreasonably healthy by some measures!) and did learn a bunch about the rig!
A description of Potlatch State Park and its amenities and recreational opportunities can be found on our “Opportunity” page. At the time of our Inaugural Journey, I wasn’t loggin’ and bloggin’, so a very rough reconstruction of the travel log can be found on the Travel Log page.
May you never stop learning and may your journeys always lead to new and exciting destinations!