We Have Our New Trailer!

Well, we did it! We now own a 2022 Rockwood Geo Pro 15TB! These little trailers are extremely popular and quite the challenge to locate them. RV manufacturers of most any brand and type of RV across the country are working frantically to meet the demand. Of course, we anticipated this when we sold our 2018 Nash so quickly back in late August.

We're ready to drive away from D&D RV Center in Helena, Montana with our new 2022 Rockwood Geo Pro 15TB by Forest River.
On October 26, ready to drive away from D&D RV Center in Helena, Montana with our new 2022 Rockwood Geo Pro 15TB by Forest River.

A few days after we returned from our late September road trip to scout out potential trailer brands, we began creating a spreadsheet for RV dealers who carried Forest River’s Flagstaff E-Pro 15TB or Rockwood Geo Pro 15TB. (15 indicates the interior length of 15’ and TB means Twin Beds). Both of these are essentially the same trailer except for the exterior decals and interior decor. The primary filters for this research were distance from home, prices, and approximate delivery date of the unit from the factory.

Geographically speaking, we decided that we would consider Colorado, Montana, Utah, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. As we applied the filters, it appeared that the larger dealers and those in the Seattle area may end up with the higher prices. We sat down with the spreadsheet and what jumped out at us was D&D RV Center in Helena, Montana. Why? This is where we purchased our 2018 Nash 26N by Northwood Manufacturing in April 2018. We already know the quality of their service department. They gave us a thorough tour of all systems of the Nash before we could even leave with it. Additionally, their website indicated that they had a 2022 Rockwood Geo Pro 15TB on order. There was nothing about “Sale Pending”, which would mean that someone had already ordered. This meant that it was up for grabs and looking for a buyer!

October 8, 2021 THIS RV IS ON ORDER...this caught our eye!
THIS RV IS ON ORDER…this caught our eye!

On Friday, October 8, Steve called D&D to inquire about the Geo Pro on order. D&D didn’t have a buyer yet. Within 15 minutes, Steve told them that we would like it, thus a sale pending situation was established! They would notify us when our 2022 Rockwood Geo Pro 15TB arrived from the manufacturer in Indiana. They had no idea when that would be. According to a Geo Pro 15TB Facebook group, some people were waiting several months for their unit to arrive from the manufacturer.

October 8, 2021 SALE PENDING! Because we called and offered to purchase it!
SALE PENDING! Because we called and offered to purchase it!
October 8, 2021 SALE PENDING TO WASHINGTON....this means to us!

In the meantime, we tried to wrap our brains around 79 square feet of interior living space versus the 250 square feet that we enjoyed in our Nash 26N! Folks, this is a really big deal. The game we’re playing is trying to recall the days of tent camping (just four short years ago). We had the two-person tent, our Toyota RAV 4, and during the last year of tent camping we added a Coleman screened gazebo that was larger than the tent. The RAV 4 hauled everything. Now we shift our brains to this small trailer hauling much of everything. The Highlander will still need to carry some items due to the lack of storage in the Geo Pro. For instance, the zero-gravity recliners and folding Zamp solar panel that is stored in a special suitcase. Bicycling, hiking, and swimming gear will likely join those large items in the Highlander.

Just five days after calling D&D, Steve received a call from them on October 13 that the trailer had been delivered and would be ready for pickup the following week. Unfortunately, our schedule was such that we had to wait until October 26. This gave us time to continue sifting through our stash of trailer accessories and purchase some essentials in order to hit the ground running.

Keeping an eye on the ten-day forecast and knowing that we’d have several mountain passes during our trip, Steve purchased two pairs of snow chains for the Highlander. We had clothing, kitchen items, bathroom items, bedding, camp chairs, and some food all packed into the Highlander. It was a very stark reminder that we no longer had a massive pickup with a topper enclosing the pickup bed. From just behind  the front seats to the tailgate, we were loaded. Thankfully Steve is a packing whiz!

We left on Monday, October 25, and drove to Helena. The drive on I-90 and U.S. 12 was gorgeous! Once in Helena, it was nice to have a night in a hotel for a good night’s rest. Plus we ordered for pickup from a favorite of ours, MacKenzie River Pizza. Between splitting a small pizza and a delicious salad, we were all set for the night. There’s nothing quite like watching a movie while eating in bed.

The Larch Trees were in their glory along I-90 in Idaho.
Larch Trees were in their glory along I-90 in Idaho.
MacKenzie River Pizza & Salad dinner in bed at the Hampton Inn, Helena, Montana
MacKenzie River Pizza & Salad dinner in bed at the Hampton Inn, Helena, Montana

On the 26th we had a noon appointment at D&D. After breakfast that morning, we found a trail at Nob Hill to hike, which was refreshing and provided beautiful views. We knew that once we had the trailer, there’d be no time for a walk or hike.

The View from Nob Hill Trail, Helena, Montana
The View from Nob Hill Trail, Helena, Montana
Heading into D&D RV Center in Helena, Montana.
Heading into D&D RV Center in Helena, Montana.

At D&D, we were completely finished by 2pm. Completing the sales transaction and resulting paperwork, touring the trailer (really much less involved than the Nash), purchasing several essentials using the $100 store credit at D&D, and hitching up. Before we left the parking lot, we called our State Farm Insurance agent’s office to provide the details on the trailer and make sure it was covered. Unfortunately, Good Sam Club’s Roadside Assistance was experiencing technical difficulties so we had to delay contacting them until Wednesday.

Our first stop was Walmart before heading off to camp. For the week prior to this trip, Diane had a growing list for a Walmart stop. Because we’ve purchased a trailer in Helena before, we knew that the Walmart was conveniently a few blocks from the RV dealer. Parked safely in the back of their big parking lot, we went into the store to grab what we’d need for several meals and anything necessary for the trailer.

Drawing on our full-time RV experiences, we knew that between late September and late October, many campgrounds have closed until the traditional camping season next year. Because we needed to have access to electric, water, and sewer in order to adequately test out the new systems on the trailer, Diane checked to see what KOA campgrounds within an hour of Helena might still be open. When we bought our Nash in April 2018, we stayed at the Canyon Ferry Lake KOA between Helena and Townsend, Montana. Thankfully they are open year-round and if the temperatures held, we would have a water hookup. 

Our mirror extenders work great!
Our mirror extenders work great!
The Missouri River swells into the reservoir, Canyon Ferry Lake, Montana. The Big Belt Mountains are shrouded in clouds.
The Missouri River swells into the reservoir, Canyon Ferry Lake, Montana. The Big Belt Mountains are shrouded in clouds.

Off we went to the Canyon Ferry Lake KOA. Diane reserved for one night. Although high wind advisories were forecasted overnight and into the next day. That night the wind buffeted our little trailer, rocking us to and fro. With no foresight on our part, it just so happened that the nose of the trailer was pointed into the direction of the wind. Thus, we really were spared worse wind gusts.

First night set-up was accomplished as the sun was setting behind the mountains.
First night set-up was accomplished as the sun was setting behind the mountains.
Cheers to successfully setting up camp!
Cheers to successfully setting up camp!
OTucked into our sleeping bags on our twin beds, we watched The Pirates of Penzance that we checked out from our local library.
Tucked into our sleeping bags on our twin beds, we watched The Pirates of Penzance that we checked out from our local library.

The 27th arrived and we double checked the wind forecast and sure enough, it was going to be relentless the rest of the day and into the night. As KOA wasn’t busy, we were able to extend our stay by a day. This was a perfect situation as Diane’s sister, Laurie, drove up from Bozeman for a visit and to see our tiny trailer. We saw Tom and her back in June when we were in Denver on a trip and they just happened to be traveling between Montana and New Mexico. While both visits were short, they certainly were sweet.

Yay Sisters!
Yay Sisters!

As it turned out, It’s a good thing that we stayed a second night. Evidently, Diane dropped her trailer key either in the Walmart parking lot or inside the store. Plus, the new 15 foot sewer hose was too long to fit into the hose storage beneath the trailer. Whew! Steve discovered this before using the hose! After Laurie left to visit friends in Helena, we soon followed and headed back to Helena too. Thankfully, a kind individual found the key and we retrieved it at Walmart’s Lost and Found. Fortunately, D&D had a Rhino Flex brand 15 foot sewer hose that really compresses nicely into the hose storage tube. To end the day, Our Creator provided a magnificent sunset to soak up.

The sunset, sky, mountains, and high elevation vegetation made for a perfect photo.
The sunset, sky, mountains, and high elevation vegetation made for a perfect photo.

On the 28th, we became more acquainted with breaking up camp and hitching up this little Geo Pro to our Highlander. While we consider ourselves seasoned RVers, when working with new equipment, not everything goes as planned. We shook our heads as we rolled out at noon!  In order to go to our destination of Missoula, we returned to Helena. Stomachs feeling hangry and the fuel tank nearing ½ full made for a timely pause for fuel, lunch, and coffee before hitting the road towards Missoula. Once our appetite was satisfied, hot coffee was tucked into the cup holders, and the gas tank topped off, Diane drove us on U.S. 12 West.

Looking good and looking little! Canyon Ferry Lake KOA
Looking good and looking little! Canyon Ferry Lake KOA
We're beginning our climb towards MacDonald Pass!
We’re beginning our climb towards MacDonald Pass!

We drove this route from I-90 to Helena on Monday so we were familiar with it. It follows the Little Bigfoot River and affords such beauty between the canyons, valleys, ranches, river, and BNSF railroad tracks. The autumn colors were probably 75% spent, yet there were swaths of golds and russets. The most remarkable aspect of the drive from Helena to where U.S. 12 intersects with Interstate 90 near Deer Lodge was MacDonald Pass. The average percent grade was 8% and a long eight mile stretch to the summit of the pass. Diane had the Highlander at 52 mph with 5200 rpm for a brief period, where the transmission shifted up and down from 4200 to 5200 rpm. After having first a Ford F-250 and then a F-350, both turbo diesel engines with the Nash, towing the Geo Pro with the Highlander was tested. With the Highlander, we can enjoy 26 miles per gallon without towing. We soon dropped to 10.5 miles per gallon the three days of towing the trailer on this trip. Thankfully we take regular gasoline rather than diesel.

In Missoula, we stayed at the Missoula KOA. It reminded us much of the KOA in Salt Lake City since we were within walking distance to stores and restaurants. Many KOA’s are located near major roads and railroad tracks. This one lived up to the rumble of trains. As they’d experienced colder overnight temperatures, we didn’t have a water hookup. We filled our fresh water tank back at the Canyon Ferry Lake KOA, so we were all set.

Itsy-Bitsy Trailer and Tow Vehicle, Missoula KOA, Missoula, Montana.
Itsy-Bitsy Trailer and Tow Vehicle, Missoula KOA, Missoula, Montana.

On the 29th, we were up and on our way to Pullman. This would be our longest day of driving. We had two ascents and descents, Lookout Pass on the Montana and Idaho border and Fourth of July Pass in Idaho. The grades were more manageable than U.S. 12 at MacDonald Pass. This was still a good test because now on the interstate, the traffic tends to be heavier, speeds are higher. As it turned out, we had heavy rain, resulting in standing water, and risk of hydroplaning in many spots. Steve drove the passes in order to get a feel for towing. He really gripped the steering wheel at times. We’d been keeping tabs on the weather forecast and knew that rain was forecasted. Even more importantly, was noting the upcoming temperature overnight lows, which could easily have snow on the passes instead of rain. Friday was our window of opportunity to get home without concern of snow.

We made it up Lookout Pass at the Montana and Idaho border.
We made it up Lookout Pass at the Montana and Idaho border.
We stopped at the historic Snake Pit Restaurant in Kingston, Idaho, for pie and coffee to go.
We stopped at the historic Snake Pit Restaurant in Kingston, Idaho, for pie and coffee to go.
The Snake Pit Restaurant, Kingston, Idaho.
The Snake Pit Restaurant, Kingston, Idaho.

With daylight hours diminishing this time of year and especially more evident at our latitude, we were relieved to gain an hour coming from Mountain Time to Pacific Time. Happily we can report that with very little effort, our new trailer at 16’4” exterior length fits readily on one half of the driveway at our townhouse. Because it’s not as wide as the Nash, we can easily pull the Highlander onto the other half of the driveway and into the garage.

Unhitched and it fits on the driveway!
Unhitched and it fits on the driveway!

The past five days have been a flurry of activity. The trailer interior has been thoroughly cleaned. To continue tackling the off-gassing odor, an air purifier ran for three days and we ran the furnace and fan. We’ve sifted through the many items from the Nash to attempt to reuse as much as we can. For what we need, we shop locally when we can and then order on-line those items that we cannot find.

On Monday Diane arranged for RV storage and Steve moved the trailer to its spot. The next few days we’ll season the outdoor griddle that came with the trailer. We’ll move the trailer back to the driveway early next week to get it loaded up and fresh water tank filled. Our goal is to head out to camp two or three days next week, weather permitting. It will be good to get even more acquainted with our little Geo Pro and appreciate a much smaller space.

Because there was much to commit to “paper” for this 12mph.com journal/blog post, we will delay sharing the name of our new little trailer until our next post. Hopefully it will be penned in just a few days.

“Happily Retired at the Speed of Sanity”

Take care everyone!

Diane & Steve


Trip to Denver: Household Retrieved

While we had settled into the condo as best we could by the end of May, we needed to keep our sights on a trip to Denver. As mentioned in prior posts, the bulk of our household left from our 2018 downsizing was in climate-controlled storage with CubeSmart in the Denver area. It would take easily ten days to make the trip and move out of the storage unit.

Our first step was to discern the size of a moving truck i.e. U-Haul or Penske that we would ultimately need. Diane revisited the household inventory list and photos of numbered boxes. One of the reasons we rented a climate-controlled space was because of family heirlooms, artwork, archives, and photos that were more sensitive to temperature extremes. Some of these items would ideally ride back to Pullman, Washington in either the backseat of our air conditioned pickup or in Tranquility the Trailer, which is nicely insulated. While our CubeSmart unit was 10 feet X 10 feet, we hadn’t packed it to the ceiling. 

Next we confirmed with our daughter, Stephanie, and son-in-love, Shane, in Denver, their availability later in the summer. Steve began to research moving truck rentals based on dates. We estimated that we would need at most a 20 foot U-Haul truck with an “attic” over the cab of that truck. Bingo! Steve had some dates for us to consider.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, we weren’t keen on staying in hotels, eating in restaurants or fast-food places, or using public restrooms. Instead, it made good sense for us to travel with our trailer in order to remain self-contained. This decision led Diane to reserving campsites for ten days. The key reservation was for the Denver area. There aren’t many options for camping except at two state parks. Both are extremely popular and weekends especially, book a year in advance. We were in a unique situation where between our truck and trailer combo, we are 53 feet in length. AND, we wanted to fit the 20 foot U-Haul in our pull-through site. Nabbing a reservation for a four-night stay at Chatfield State Park outside of Littleton, Colorado, beginning on a Monday and leaving on a Friday, worked out well. Using Google maps’ satellite view, Diane was able to locate a campsite to easily accommodate all three vehicles. 

For the trip down and back, we opted to reserve sites at KOA campgrounds. Especially along this particular route, we’ve stayed at several KOAs before. Reaching out to each KOA by phone first was helpful. A caveat to our return trip would be traveling with an additional vehicle. We needed to ascertain if there was an overflow parking area where the U-Haul could be parked without incurring additional fees. A few phone calls later, we had reservations in Butte, Montana; Buffalo, Wyoming; and Cheyenne, Wyoming going to Denver. On our return we only stayed in Buffalo and Butte. The fantastic news was both of their KOAs had an overflow lot where we could park the U-Haul at no charge.

Steve reserved the U-Haul for a one-way trip from Denver to Pullman. For the distance, we could have the truck for five days. We knew that the truck needed to be unloaded and returned to the U-Haul in Moscow, Idaho on Monday, August 3. It meant that we’d have to really push ourselves on our return to Washington, but we were open to that plan. Our trip schedule was finally determined, leaving on Friday, July 24 and returning to Pullman, on Sunday, August 2.

Leaving Pullman, Denver Bound

The trip to Denver was non-eventful. Although the best part was being back on the road, towing the trailer, and watching the beautiful landscape unfold across Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado. Our stay in Cheyenne, Wyoming was a perfect pause. On Monday, we were able to time our arrival through Denver to avoid the glut of afternoon traffic.

The Tobacco Root Mountain Range of Montana in the distance.
The Bighorn Mountain Range near the Montana & Wyoming Border.
A pause for bathroom break provided this view of the Big Horns in Wyoming!

On Tuesday we drove to CubeSmart storage and began our work of dismantling the archive shelves, packing loose items into boxes, and loading items that could ride back to Pullman in the trailer. 

Prep work included breaking down shelving and packing up loose items.
We’re organized and ready for loading in the morning!
Our photo collection & albums were stored in the antique cupboard.
We filled cubbies and closets in the Trailer with heat sensitive and fragile items.

Fortunately, the weather was nice so that we could take walks at Chatfield State Park on two evenings. We’ve stayed here on numerous occasions and love the setting.

This familiar view greeted us at Chatfield State Park, Colorado with Chatfield Reservoir and the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains.
We enjoyed a couple of evening walks at Chatfield. The trails are near the campground.

On Wednesday evening we picked up the U-Haul truck. We immediately drove to Stephanie and Shane’s apartment building where Steve, Steph, and Shane moved the sofa, loveseat, and two lamps. The apartment manager gave them permission to hold the elevator in order to get two loads down to ground level. Whew! 

Early risers! We were masked and at CubeSmart Storage early on Wednesday morning ready to tackle more organizing and moving smaller items to the trailer.
After getting the 20′ U-Haul, we drove to Steph and Shane’s high-rise apartment building in Denver.
Using the elevator, Steve, Shane, and Stephanie brought down furniture to the U-Haul.
The sofa and loveseat were a challenge in the elevator! Whew! We were grateful for everyone’s muscles.

Thursday morning had us up early so we could arrive at storage by 7am. We sensed that a Thursday wouldn’t be as busy as weekend days, plus the earlier the better to avoid as many other people as possible. We were worker bees for five hours. Diane rolled carts to and fro while Steve loaded the carts and unloaded them into the U-Haul. We were two very exhausted “puppies” by the end of the day.

Up early again, we were at CubeSmart to load the U-Haul.
And, the U-Haul is packed! It took us five hours. Thankfully there are elevators and dollies.
And, the pickup truck bed is packed!
And, the backseat of the pickup truck is loaded.

The toughest part of this trip from an emotional standpoint was not getting to have the typical time we so enjoy with our family due to COVID-19 and respectfully taking precautions. We were able to have several visits with Steve’s Mom over morning coffee and lunch. Seated apart on her driveway with her in the garage worked out. Stephanie and Shane came to our campsite at Chatfield State Park on the last evening. It was nice to share a meal with them and have conversation. Yet still, it wasn’t enough!

Stephanie & Shane joined us at our campsite for dinner.

Up at the crack of dawn, we set off just at sunrise. Steve drove the U-Haul truck. Diane drove the truck-trailer combo. Despite trying to avoid traffic, we ended up in the thick of it for an insane stretch AND the sunrise was right in our eyes. Yet, once we shifted from I-70 and were a few miles north on I-25, the traffic seemed to settle into a manageable pace.

Up at 5am and off we go at 5:30 from Chatfield State Park.

The drive to Buffalo made for a VERY long day. We tried to switch driving vehicles for 60 miles or so, but Diane’s back wasn’t pleased. Needless to say, Steve had quite the ride with the U-Haul, which struggled on inclines, had no cruise control, and when the engine RPM increased, the air conditioner decreased.

Late that afternoon we arrived at Buffalo KOA in Buffalo, Wyoming.

Two more long days with a night in Butte, found us back in Pullman on Sunday afternoon. Once Jeremy and Michelle knew that we were at home, they immediately drove over to lend their support. In about an hour’s time, they completely unloaded the U-Haul and helped Steve with the pick-up bed. 

We took plenty of stretch breaks across Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho.
We arrived home, taking up 80′ along the street curb.
Let the unloading begin!
Jeremy & Michelle completely unloaded the U-Haul in less than an hour’s time!

Aww! Now we’ve become fairly settled. We will let the COVID-19 pandemic play out, hopefully with good health and a future vaccine we can resume travels to visit family, friends, and special places in the U.S.

In the meantime, be well. And, if we encourage you to Subscribe so that you’ll receive an email notification when we have a new blog post.

Diane & Steve

Living Life at the Speed of Sanity….even in one place!

Hope on the Horizon

Our previous post alluded to Hope on the Horizon. In fact Hope rode with us as we left Denver on Saturday, May 9, 2020 towards the Pacific Northwest. Our sights, dreams, and Plan C were counting on Hope! Thankfully Colorado lifted its shelter-in-place order that morning. This gave us increased confidence that we were okay to leave. What a relief. After 52 days of sheltering-in-place as part of Colorado’s Stay-Safe-at-Home measures, we were ready to get Plan C on the road with “AZ IF the Truck” towing “Tranquility the Trailer.” Yet, perhaps you are curious: “What was it like to hunker down in Colorado during the interim?”

Our Stay-Safe-At-Home Stage

Beginning on March 20, 2020, two days after arriving in Denver, we noted the number of novel coronavirus, a.k.a. COVID-19, cases were at 15,000 for the United States. Keeping tabs on the cases in Colorado, Idaho, and Washington were important to us over the next seven weeks. We felt reassured knowing that Tranquility the Trailer was safely stored and just chilling with a very full RV storage lot at Dove Valley Storage. Needing to keep our mental and physical health healthy, we walked dozens of miles on the sidewalks in the neighborhood where we were staying. Barb’s home provided more than ample space to hit the pause button. The views from her back windows and deck gave us solace with opportunities to watch different birds, snow falling on the landscape, gorgeous sunrises, rains followed by rainbows, and then spring blooms and green grass. With her large kitchen, we made more involved meals, unlike in the trailer, which limited more elaborate meals. Indeed, we were extremely thankful for Barb’s hospitality during her absence. In return, it was nice to be able to keep tabs on her home for her.

We loved being near an open space from Barb’s deck.
Another snow falls in the Denver area. We ended up with 8 inches.
A stormy sky with moisture to the east sported a full rainbow from the setting sun over the Rocky Mountains to the west behind us.
Near midnight with a full moon over the lake beside Barb’s house. Tomorrow we’ll leave for Idaho and Washington.

Our outings were few, dictated by the governor’s orders. We managed with bandanas and coffee filters, which we slid between the bandana layers for added protection. Thankfully we could shop during early shopping hours designated for 60+ of age or at-risk individuals. Whole Foods was within two blocks and our best place for groceries, with fewer shoppers and better protocols early in the game. In order for Steve’s Mom to stay safer, we shopped and delivered her groceries. For us, some dental care and lab work couldn’t be postponed, so we managed safely with our providers taking extraordinary measures. In April we had a socially-distanced sidewalk visit near Stephanie and Shane’s high-rise apartment building to get some of our mail from them and to have a brief conversation. The weekend before we left Denver, we had them over for a socially-distanced pre-birthday lunch for Stephanie with Shane, her, and us on the deck. On one of our last days in Denver, we ordered takeout from 5 Guys and had lunch with Steve’s Mom, socially-distanced on her driveway. For all of us, it was quite difficult to not have our usual hugs and not be inside one another’s homes. More than anything, we were all trying to keep each other healthy.

Without fabric and sewing machine, we resorted to bandanas and a coffee filter between layers.
We had a socially-distanced pre-birthday lunch for Stephanie on Barb’s deck. Our 2nd time to see them, but still no hugs.
We love you Mom! It’s hard to leave. Still no hugs. We had a meal on her driveway, socially-distanced.

We had numerous phone calls or Zoom sessions with family members and friends. Those were a boost for our psyches, sensing the feeling was mutual. It seemed that we were all needing those connections and time to anchor to loved ones, albeit virtually. We challenged ourselves with a couple of jigsaw puzzles. Projects included scanning family documents and photos. Devouring the news seemed to be an obsession, yet thankfully it wasn’t cable news. We tried to limit news watching until 5pm local news followed by national news and finally PBS NewsHour. Each morning we jumped onto our New York Times, NPR, or Guardian apps to get different news sources. The detriment of this pattern of news binging was the added anxiety as the reports of rising numbers of cases and deaths was relentless. 

We had a family Zoom meeting. Jeremy and Michelle in Pullman. Steph and Shane in Denver. We’re in Grant’s Ranch.
During our 52 days in Colorado, our daily cocktail hour included good chocolate and decaf coffee while watching the news.

Preparing for Plan C

Before we left Denver, we shopped ahead for groceries and other supplies. We weren’t planning to shop in Moscow, Idaho or Pullman, Washington upon arriving there as we were on a mission to diminish the amount of contact with others during these uncertain times. Surprised at that number of shortages of certain categories in the Denver area stores, we erred on the side of being as prepared as possible before leaving Denver because Moscow and Pullman had fewer stores.

Knowing that we would soon be leaving our beloved state of 10 years, we had one brief outing to higher elevation before we left Colorado. On May 4, we packed a picnic lunch and drove U.S. 285 into the mountains. Once at the summit of Kenosha Pass, we parked so we’d have a view over lunch. Kenosha Pass is where we’ve taken countless hikes and snowshoed. The gold aspen in the autumn and purple and white columbine in the spring are breathtaking. Whenever family or friends came from out-of-state, this was one of our favorite places to take them. It doesn’t take too much of a hike to achieve expansive views of South Park’s valley rimmed with beautiful mountains under sapphire skies.  Thank you Colorful Colorado for the memories!

A last hurrah! We ventured to Kenosha Pass for a truck picnic lunch at one of our favorite hiking and snowshoeing trailheads.

Besides, keeping close track of COVID cases in Colorado, we included Wyoming and Montana, through which we’d drive and stay; and Idaho and Washington, where we’d conclude this trip. Having Colorado plates and in the event that there were checkpoints where we’d need to provide proof of our destination, we had reservation details along with us.

While many campgrounds in those four states were either closed since it was still early in the season or closed due to the pandemic, we needed to plan ahead for our stays. Sometime in mid-March we received an email from KOA corporate that many KOA campgrounds across the U.S. were doing their best to remain open knowing that there were snowbirds on the move to northern states or Canada plus full-time RVers. Although many KOAs had limited service and all but the offices were closed, so no restrooms, laundry facilities, camp stores, pools, cabins. Some KOAs are open year-round, while others are seasonal. This communication from KOA provided a boost for us. We knew that our route would take us along interstates from Denver to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Being acquainted with several KOAs on the route through prior stays, certainly helped. We called ahead to verify that they were open. Then using our KOA app, we reserved for one-night, pull-through spaces in Cheyenne, Wyoming and Buffalo, Wyoming. In Cheyenne, our paperwork was taped to the office door. In Buffalo, Steve had to step into the office for less than two minutes. We knew that the KOA in Deer Lodge, Montana was open, but we planned to call them after our Buffalo stay in case the weather was unfavorable.

Pacific Northwest Bound

Friday, May 8: Last minute shopping, laundry, a trip to the storage unit to grab a few items, taking a load to the trailer (we had taken quite a bit to Barb’s for our extended stay), and top off AZ IF’s (the truck) diesel, made for a full day.

Saturday, May 9: We were up at 6 a.m. to make a final grocery run to Whole Foods, launder linens and towels, clean the house, water plants, and load the truck with the remainder of belongings. At RV storage, we hitched up Tranquility the Trailer and pulled out by 1pm for our 125-mile drive. Arriving at the KOA in Cheyenne, Wyoming with a pull-through site with full hookups was a good call. We opted for a shorter drive that day because we knew we would get a late start and the trailer needed some attention. First, we needed to de-winterize the trailer after having to winterize it when we arrived in Denver during a cold snap. Secondly, we needed to get the fridge and freezer turned on. Next, it was time to move items from the truck to the trailer yet again. Lastly, we were exhausted and needed a good night’s sleep!

It feels like a never-ending story of loading and unloading. Now we’re moving from Barb’s back into the trailer.
We are ready to leave Dove Outdoor Storage in Colorado bound for Idaho.
Leaving the KOA in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Sunday, May 10: Happy Mother’s Day calls came from Stephanie and Shane in Denver and Jeremy and Michelle in Pullman. We were treated to a 300-mile day with sunshine, NO WIND (this is atypical for Wyoming), and Sirius Radio over the many miles. We kept tabs with another full-time couple, Beth and Bruce, who we met just briefly the year prior at Kartchner Caverns State Park in Arizona. We follow one another on Instagram and Facebook plus have exchanged messages. Interestingly, they were spending a couple of nights at the KOA in Buffalo, Wyoming, our destination for the night. A few minutes after we pulled into our site and were situated with our hookups, they came over for a socially-distanced chat. It was great to see them even briefly. Knowing that we had two more big days of driving, we vegged on a movie that evening and hit the hay a bit early.

Happy Mother’s Day from Wyoming! Diane’s behind the wheel and taking calls via Bluetooth from our children.
We had a pull through site at the KOA in Buffalo, Wyoming. We’ve stayed here four different times.
We were very pleased to see fulltime RVers Bruce and Beth. We all follow each other on Instagram and Facebook.

Monday, May 11: We were up early.  We had 427 miles to cover to get to Deer Lodge, Montana. The forecast called for potential snow near Livingston, which we’ve experienced on the pass between Livingston and Bozeman before. No thank you. We kept our fingers, toes, and eyes crossed. Fortunately, there was just a dusting of snow. As we traveled along I-25 and then I-90, we called the KOA in Deer Lodge to request redeeming our KOA ValueKard points and that we didn’t see how to do this through the KOA app. It was then that we learned that redemption had to be done in person and the city of Deer Lodge was having water issues, so there would be no water hookup. Bummer! Because we opted not to add more water to our fresh water tank in Buffalo, we had to conserve water for one more night and morning. Gulp! Once we arrived in Deer Lodge late that afternoon, we were greeted by winds and gloomy skies. Only one other RV was in the campground. The KOA owner was cheerful, welcomed us, and apologized for the water issues.

Steve’s behind the wheel from Livingston, Montana.
As we travel I-90, it’s not uncommon in May to have snow on the pass between Livingston and Bozeman.
We spent the night at the KOA in Deer Lodge, Montana. There was only one other rig. It was a blustery night, so early to bed.

Tuesday, May 12: We were up early again. Although, without much water in the tank, there were no showers to take nor dishes to wash. Off to tackle another 330 miles on the last consecutive day of driving. Through the western part of Montana and across the panhandle of Idaho we appreciated the valleys, the open spaces, Clark Fork River, and the ranches. We traversed the mountain passes of the northern Rocky mountains and descended into Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. It was there that we exited I-90 to take route 95 south along the western Idaho border. The beauty of the forests thick with Douglas Fir, Lodgepole Pine, Engelmann Spruce, et al gave way to the rolling Palouse Hills the further south we drove. It was with great relief that we pulled into the Rambler RV Park near Moscow, Idaho. We could be here for an open-ended period of time based on our pre-arrangement with the owner. It was a fairly nondescript park with some sites serving as a longer-term situation for some RV owners. Unfortunately, the water quality of our water hookup was not the best. We paid a brief visit to see Jeremy and Michelle and to fill our water containers to add water to our fresh water tank.

We’re driving across the panhandle of Idaho. The clouds seem to cling and sift through the tall trees.
1,200 miles from Denver, we arrived at the Rambler RV Park in Moscow, Idaho. It’s only 10 miles from Jeremy and Michelle in Pullman, Washington.
The by-product of needing fresh water for our tank was seeing Jeremy and Michelle, socially-distanced and masked.

Wednesday, May 13: Over breakfast, Steve developed a Google maps route from the list of 15 rental properties that Diane created. In the afternoon, we set off for Pullman to drive the route, make notes, and take photos. En route to one of our final drive-bys, we noted a For Rent sign on a lawn. This address wasn’t on our list. We noted the contact number and Steve called it later. Bingo! We had an appointment for the next day for a walk-through with the owner.

We’re up early and can’t wait to drive past homes for rent in Pullman today.
View of Rambler RV Park and Tranquility the Trailer on the far side.
We noticed this place for rent, which actually wasn’t on our list yet.

Thursday, May 14: We met Jo, the owner, to walk through the condo. Within 15 minutes, we sensed that this would be a good fit for us. She had two other parties scheduled for a visit and noted that she would make a decision in the next day or two. We asked for an application. As soon as we were back at the trailer, we completed the application and sent it to her. We put out calls/texts to family and friends who would be references. Thankfully the application was easy to share via email, so no need to arrange another appointment. Plan C seemed to be unfolding at the speed of lightning…or was it the Speed of Sanity?

We just finished taking a tour of the condo that we noticed yesterday. We like it!
Feeling a cause to celebrate, Steve took us through Dutch Brothers Coffee drive-thru in Moscow. First coffee purchased since March 14!
The view was beautiful between Moscow and the RV park with the green crops on the Palouse and the stormy sky.

There WAS Hope on the Horizon! Plus, We Moved During a Pandemic!

In our next post, we will share what happened on May 15 and a bit of our journey on what it’s like to get situated into a new home and new community during a pandemic after full-time RVing for 22 months! It’s definitely been interesting! Stay tuned!

Stay healthy. Be well.

Diane and Steve

Living Life at the Speed of Sanity