Archive for May, 2012

Happy Place

Saturday, May 26th, 2012

 

This Memorial Day weekend is not a good time to go camping in Colorado. Every tent and RV site in the state is booked. That is why we did our camping last weekend instead.

We took along Patrice’s best friend, Paula, to Mueller State Park. It’s a special place for Patrice and she wanted to share it with her. When Patrice was recovering from her stroke and consequent pneumonia and other problems, she had to undergo some unpleasant, even painful, “procedures.” To endure these, the nurses told her to imagine a place that was peaceful and pleasant and go there in her mind. She always went to Mueller. She calls it her “happy place.”

The trip was uneventful until we got to Woodland Park. From there all the way to Mueller we towed our Airstream through gropple – a hail-like snow. It quickly piled up to around six inches south of Divide, elevation 9,165’, and traffic slowed to a crawl. However, with the added tongue weight, our 2-wheel drive Suburban never lost traction.

 

Site #67 in Mueller State Park

Back when I was a boy, hardly anyone had four-wheel drive vehicles. I’ve never owned one and the times I thought I should I can count on one hand. So, I only want two wheel drive. It sits lower, has a lower center of gravity, is easier to get in and out of, and cargo is easier to load. I remember when pickup truck manufacturers touted those features as selling points. But today, you almost cannot buy a pickup or SUV in Colorado that isn’t four wheel drive. Dealerships tell me if I don’t want that feature I’d have to shop in Texas or Arizona.

It’s said that if you don’t like the weather in Colorado, wait five minutes and it will change. No sooner did we arrive at Mueller the gropple became a light rain. Not long after that, the sky cleared.

The next day was glorious, partly cloudy, highs in the low seventies and crystal clear air. Patrice took Paula to her favorite viewing point, with Pikes Peak to the east of the campground and a long ninety-mile view south to the 14,000’ mountains in the Sangre de Cristo Range.

Paula & Pat self-portrait

 

Around 5:30 p.m., I scouted in vain for a clear view of the eclipse. The sky was too cloudy. But I saw a funny phenomenon. The clouds on the horizons all turned pink. Not just to the west, but south and north as well.

After two relaxing nights at Mueller we headed back to Denver, but I was reluctant to go home. We dropped Paula off at her house and spent two nights in Cherry Creek State Park, a couple of miles from our home. I pretended we were camped somewhere else, far, far away.

When we pulled in, I spotted Rich and Eleanor’s Airstream. As luck would have it, being Monday, we got a site across the road from them. It was nice to visit, even though too short as they had a lot of work to do, meeting with Brett Hall of Timeless Trailers and checking out the venue for Alumafandango. It will be a great rally. We are really looking forward to it.

At Cherry Creek SP with Airstreamlife.com

 

Tick, Tock Clock

Friday, May 18th, 2012

Last month the weather was so nice that we took the Globe Trotter over to Cherry Creek State Park for a night of camping. The park is only two miles away so it wasn’t exactly an adventure, but camping in April is always a little iffy in Colorado. Mostly, I just needed to get out and wanted to de-winterize the trailer.

I never sleep well the first night out. Sometime around four a.m. when everything is especially quiet, I woke because of the clock. Perhaps I was only partly awake because my mind was a bit foggy. I laid there listening to the clock tick, tick, ticking. It seemed so loud in the dead quiet. The tick, tick, ticks seemed to be speeding up though. I thought, what is wrong with that clock?

I don’t know how long I laid there listening. Was it 10 minutes, 20 or 60? At home, I can look at the clock by my bedside and tell myself I should get up. Next thing I know I open my eyes again and it’s an hour later. Time passes unnoticed.

It slowly dawned on me though that our electric clock didn’t make any noise and certainly didn’t tick. That made me sit upright and listen more intently. Where was the sound coming from? Patrice felt me getting up and woke wanting to know what I was doing.

“Do you hear a ticking sound?” I asked.

“Come back to bed. It’s just the clock.”

“Here’s the clock. See, it doesn’t make any sound.”

“Then what is it?” She wondered.

“Oh, no.” I opened a little compartment under the bed where the water pressure regulator and some valves are located. “Damn, it’s leaking.” The tick, tick, tick was a drip, drip, drip.

I ran outside in just my shorts to turn off the water and disconnect the hose. Then I hurried back inside to stuff towels into the tiny compartment hoping to soak up as much water as possible. Fortunately, there is an opening in the floor for a drain tube in the compartment and that let most of the water out. So, we didn’t have a flood.

Still, it puzzles me why the water pressure regulator chose to leak in the middle of the night. I checked it first thing after hooking up and there wasn’t a problem. In fact, I always check it after hooking up because I’ve had problems with it before. It is made of ABS plastic (it’s a popular brand that Airstream currently uses) and I can only guess that sometimes the O-rings don’t seal properly or that sometimes the plastic body just isn’t quite up to the task of handling the pressure.

I returned to bed and we slept in until about nine a.m. Then we wanted some water for washing and cooking. So, I hooked up the water and checked the regulator. It didn’t leak. I don’t understand why, but if I ever hear the clock ticking again I won’t be fooled (and from now on I’m turning the water off at bedtime).

About the Author

Hi, my name is Forrest McClure. I've been writing for the magazine since its inception. My wife and I travel with our 1966 20' Globe Trotter or our 1986 32' Excella. So, my primary interest is vintage travel trailers.