I’ve already shared specific details of the significant events in four blog posts. Here are the posts for reference:
~ Nuts! We missed it! We never got to see the Shiprock iconic landmark.
~ Scenic Side Trips. Backing up the Casita after being trapped without an exit.
~ Along I-40 (Route 66). A short history of Route 66 and my short travel on the original Route 66 road.
~ The parrot that wouldn’t come down. A true event at Pagosa Campground.
Our initial journey to Pagosa was a significant journey for several reasons.
- Despite receiving the Casita on July 15th, we had never taken it anywhere to find out if we would ‘fit.’ Specifically, Bernie and Chris had never been inside for more than five minutes. I didn’t know if they would tolerate being inside for hours.
- Not only would they have to sleep in a very cramped space… I would have to sleep on a very narrow side bed… no room to turn or shift position.
- We would stay in a campground, and the dogs must be leased. I somewhat resolved that problem by buying two exercise pens. That worked… but I need to build an additional dog fence to plug the area between the tire and the front of the Casita.
Photo of the exercise pen at the Pagosa campground. This was the first day. Beautiful weather. Later it rained and continued through the night and most of the next day. The bare ground turned into mud.
- I had a specific agenda for going to the Casita rally. More than 25 Casitas were scheduled to attend. I wanted to tour their units and ask questions about how they modified their units. I also wanted to learn about solar from the owners who had solar.
- Because of the dogs, I realized I wouldn’t be able to attend many social functions. I accepted that limitation.
Here’s what I learned:
- Bernie and Chris easily adapted to the tight quarters in the Casita.
Their acceptance was a deal-breaker regarding future trips. It was a real issue for me.
2. The side bed may be an issue. My shoulders are the exact width of the sleeping area. I had already removed the wall cushion to have the maximum width space. I am considering modifying the side ‘bed’ area by four inches. It won’t restrict leg movement in the aisle but should provide me enough wiggle room to be comfortable. I will need to have a custom mattress constructed.
3. It got cold at night. Because we were plugged into electricity, I used the Casita furnace. It was wonderful. I want to replace the manual thermostat with a digital unit.
4. More about the furnace. We were cold the night we were not plugged into campground electricity. The furnace fan draws enough electricity to deplete the battery (if left on long enough). I intend to dry camp. My solution is to install solar to keep the battery charged.
5. About the Casita rally. Although 25 units were supposed to show up, only eight or nine appeared. A group meeting was supposed to be held at 6:30 the first evening. It was rained out. The next scheduled group meeting was scheduled for the following evening. The few Casita members at Pagosa went somewhere outside the campground during that day.
I could sit inside the Casita with the dogs all day or sit outside and let the dogs lay in the mud while the watery sun broke through the clouds to dry the earth. We were in a deep hollow by the river. There were trees but no wind.
I decided I had talked to anyone available to gather information. I decided to leave and return to Surprise where it is warm and dry.
As I reported in the blog (Scenic Side Trips), the return trip provided more experience and opportunities to view the scenery. It wasn’t the two-thousand-mile journey I may have originally reported. It was probably a 1200-mile journey. I burn premium fuel when towing. The entire trip cost $200 for fuel.
The 2003 Toyota Sequoia’s powerful V-8 guzzles fuel, but the ability to tow the Casita and the comfortable ride in a paid vehicle is worth it. As long as fuel is less than $3/gallon I will tighten my belt and survive on beans and weans and travel with Bernie and Chris.