Inger and Jeff Latreille
Dodged a Bullet
~Sunday, October 25, 2020~
Day 133 (Travel Day)
Woke up to 32 degree weather. The trailer kept pretty warm through the night due to those insulated covers we put over the skylights and vent openings. We had a goal of leaving by 10:00 a.m. to dodge the nasty weather headed our way. The snow fell heavier as we were packing up, but it was a dry snow which made it easier on Jeff since he was doing all of the outside work. It’s funny how the weather can affect your routine. Focused on getting the trailer off of the leveler blocks, we forgot to remove the hitch block first before pulling forward. Oops. No damage done, but we got a little laugh out of it since we couldn’t believe we forgot that little detail.
We decided to take a route moving south toward Salida to avoid high passes. Just what we don’t need are icy, snowy, windy conditions while hauling a trailer. It only added 30 minutes to our drive, and we actually enjoyed going through the old town of Salida. Hwy. 50 is very scenic as the highway follows the Arkansas River, surrounded by Bighorn Sheep Canyon. Even though it was beautiful, Jeff was glad to finally get out of the windy 54 mile canyon and get to more open territory. As soon as that happened we started to hit snowy, icy conditions. When we were about 25 miles from our destination, we noticed nearly everyone had pulled over to the side of the road and we couldn’t figure out why because the weather was not bad enough to warrant it, though we did see a few people scraping off the ice on their windshield/wipers. And then…..ice. We had a little bit of squirliness going on with the truck/trailer even though we were driving cautiously slow. When we pulled over, we thought we’d check the 4-wheel drive mode and came to find a wrench on the display saying “see owner’s manual”. Not good. We don’t need it at the moment, but to drive in snow you certainly do. We’re hoping it’s just a malfunction due to the cold. Now we‘ve driven in a lot of snow in California but never in temperatures like this, and never pulling 6,000 lbs.
Needless to say we made it to our site at Cheyenne Mountain State Park in Colorado Springs. I thought for sure we’d be the only crazy’s out here, and we were at first in our loop. We could see people camped above us in the other loops, then finally a few more arrived near us. I’m telling you, if we’d arrived any time later, we may not have made it in.
This weather system is setting records for the state of Colorado. Just the other day it was in the high 60’s, and today...single digits. Our site once in, was pretty level, but had a slope getting in it. Directing Jeff in 8 degree weather was no fun….windy, snowy. But with his accurate back in skills it didn’t take long. Sadie couldn’t wait to play in the snow once again, as she could care less about the cold. Unfortunately we had to unhitch twice. On the first attempt, the trailer lurched backward, slipping the tongue jack slightly off center of its block. We’re thinking the tire chocks slid on ice, not catching the trailer. So we had to rehitch and try again. The second time worked. Hands and body freezing, I couldn’t wait to get in the trailer. But that wasn’t much better as the temperature was 34 degrees. First things first. Get the heat going inside the trailer….propane for the heater, and once electric was hooked up, the fireplace and space heater. This was a first….needing all 3 heat sources. Since the trailer is a tiny space, it doesn’t take long to get it to 70 degrees, but maintaining 70 degrees is another story.
As I’ve mentioned before, in this kind of cold, you don’t want to hook up the water hose to the trailer since it would definitely freeze unless you had an electric hose (which we haven’t justified spending the money on). We don’t plan on camping in these conditions moving forward. One of the reasons we purchased the Lance is they have double walled tanks so that heat (from the heater) flows between the layers to prevent freezing. This would sure be a test in this kind of weather isn’t it? So, we just filled our water tank where we’ll use the water pump as we do when dry camping. Once done with the hose, we kept it in the trailer so as not to likely freeze in the truck. There was so much ice on the trailer that we had a concern the slides may not even operate. Thank goodness all good there. The only mishap was as the night wore on, our pipes to the toilet and shower froze. Living without a shower for a day or two is no biggee, though we do have $1.00/minute showers here as a backup. Nice laundry and bathroom facilities as Jeff checked out last night. At least we have the kitchen and bathroom sinks running. Not sure why one side of the trailer has frozen pipes and the other does not. Tomorrow is supposed to be even colder and then relief on Tuesday with sunny days and warmer temperatures.
As we got cozied in, I decided it was a perfect day for baking some cookies and making homemade soup. While I spent my time in the kitchen, Jeff and Sadie couldn’t get enough of the outdoor fun, running into deer and late RV arrivals. Will definitely take advantage of being snowed in….reading, playing backgammon with my buddy and getting more done on my cross stitch project.