What a great week that was! I sure wanted more. But the apple pie and the ice cream were all gone, so it was time to head home.
I had risen early this last morning, as I’m finding I do when I know I’m going to be hitching up and hitting the road. I put everything away that I had outside the trailer (most outdoor things are stowed in the back bed of the truck) and I secured everything inside the trailer. I put all my electronics in the cab of the truck, turned the frig to 12v and shut off the propane at the tanks, then did a walk-through of the interior of the trailer to make sure everything was stowed, the windows closed, the cupboard doors latched, etc.
Since I was so close to getting on the road, I decided to forgo breakfast in the trailer and, instead, go ahead and hitch up the trailer and then head to Montesano and the Bee Hive Restaurant for breakfast. I figured I would be able to find another place to park, same as I did when hunting down that apple pie at the beginning of the week.
So I hitched up the trailer to the truck, checking everything at least three times, then checked the lights on the trailer, including checking the brake lights by using a brake pedal depressor tool (photo right).
I checked in with the Camp Hosts one last time and thanked them for doing what they do. They aren’t paid; they get a free campsite in exchange for being Camp Hosts, so it seemed the least I could do to thank them for trying to quiet those noisy neighbors.
And then I hit the road! Little Towhee was in her basket perched on the dash of the truck as usual, and off we went down the hill to Montesano. I cruised into Montesano with the trailer in tow right down the main street since that’s where the Bee Hive Restaurant was. I hoped to be able to go a block or two past the restaurant and park on a side street the same as I had when I was going to buy that pie.
But no! There were actually three parking spaces all in a row right in front of the restaurant. The photo above is from the internet. When I was here for breakfast, a car was parked back near the crosswalk, and then there were three empty spaces between it and the next car up the block at the curb. Hmmm, parallel park my truck with the trailer in tow? … hmmm. How could I not accept that challenge?!
It was about 10:30am, long after the breakfast rush was over, long before the lunch rush would start. And there was almost no traffic on the street.
Can it be that hard? Standard parallel parking spaces are about 21 feet long. My truck and trailer together are about 40.5 feet, and I had that third extra parking space to give me plenty of room. I put my brain into “spatial” mode, put my hand on the bottom of the steering wheel, and gave it a go. Almost a perfect shot! I did have to pull forward once into a little bit of the third parking space and then back down into the back two spaces, but I was darned happy having never practiced this maneuver.
Here’s an aerial video of a student learning to parallel park a big semi rig. Although there is voice-over description of what the instructor is telling the student to do, you might want to turn your sound down or off for this video. The music is really irritating. Although the student started to turn the wrong way a couple of times, watch the front wheels to see how it’s done.
Of course my rig was smaller than this semi, and my trailer wheels were in the middle of the trailer rather than at the far back end of the trailer, so the pivot points were a bit different but it was basically the same maneuver.
Here’s the inside of the Bee Hive Restaurant (photo snagged off the internet):
For a small town “mom and pop” diner, it was really cool. Rather than try to “improve” the place, they spent time and money nicely maintaining it probably just like it looked when it was first built back in the 1950’s. The menu was small town American too; the food and the service were excellent.
I had my pick of booths so picked one right by the windows where I could see my truck and trailer and continue to enjoy my success at parallel parking. The waitress came over and brought a menu and a cup of coffee. She hesitated just a moment and then said, “Is that your rig out there?” indicating my big white truck and the travel trailer. I said it was. She said, “I watched you park it. You parked it?” I nodded and said yes. She brightened and grinned a really big grin and exclaimed, “Good job! I don’t know any GUYS who can do that!”
Of course, I then grinned too and shrugged and said “gosh thank you” or something like that. She continued to praise me … and talked about her husband who can’t even parallel park his truck WITHOUT the trailer. She ended by saying, “You are damn good. I wish I had a video of that.”
And then you know what? After I ate my breakfast, she came back to the table with the bill in her hand and just stuck it in her pocket. “Your breakfast is on me. I will NEVER forget that.” I left her a BIG tip that more than covered the cost of breakfast and then I pretty much swaggered out of there. 🙂
Then I happily headed up the highway towards Puyallup, parked the trailer under her shed, made sure she was level and plugged in, unloaded the refrigerator food into the cooler, then locked everything that needed locking, jumped in the big white truck and headed home to my comfy recliner and my view of my back patio.
But there was one piece of unfinished business that I needed to deal with … the trailer battery and how long it lasted (or didn’t last) without being charged, and what was I going to do about that.
It’s a 100-amp battery so it’s not very big. It lasted longer than I thought it would … about 31 hours (the frig was running on propane). After the battery died, I simply plugged the truck into the trailer and ran the truck engine each day for two 30-minute periods (one late morning and one late afternoon), but I sure burned up some fuel doing that. After the battery died, I charged up my laptop, phone, and camera batteries using the truck’s electrical system whenever I drove anywhere, which was at least once a day, sometimes twice, and usually for 2-3 hours. I didn’t plug any devices into the trailer. The truck has a 730-amp battery and a 160-amp alternator so that was enough to charge the trailer battery such that I then could use lights inside the trailer in the evening and morning, the fresh water pump in the trailer, the electrical temp sensor in the frig (it was kept cold using propane), the propane sniffer, and 1.5 hours on the DVD player for a movie each evening.
So I need more “juice” for the trailer if I want to go places where I won’t be plugged into shore power. I can buy a small generator tho it will make noise and it will pollute and I’ll need to carry raw gasoline, but it would burn a fraction of the fuel that the truck burns and it would not be dependent on sunshine. Or I can install solar on the roof of the trailer, except it is often parked in the shade because there are so many trees up here in the Pacific Northwest. What I finally decided to start with is a Renogy solar “suitcase” that I can move around the campsite to follow the sun, with a cord that will reach the trailer and so charge the battery/batteries. Adding a second battery is on the list too. I’ll keep the idea of a portable generator on the list, but for now I’ll just see how the solar unit works … it might be all I need.
So that’s it for this trip. Thanks for coming along to Lake Wynoochee with me! Don’t forget to share this blog with anyone who might enjoy it. I am now listed on the HitchUpAndGo website listing of RV blogs, a list of “real” RV blogs that they evaluate before including them (warning, the list is not in strict alphabetical order). And thank you for your comments. I love all of them. Keep ’em coming. 🙂