Black Canyon, Brown Sands: Prep

After a nearly two-month camping hiatus, we were finally able to prepare for what we called our Black Canyon, Brown Sands vacation–a visit to Colorado’s Black Canyon of the Gunnison and Great Sand Dunes national parks. We had wanted to visit both parks during our Rocky Mountain Adventure, but there wasn’t enough time.

Our Fourth of July camp-out was cut short on July 3, when our air-conditioner stopped working. Despite our best efforts to get a mobile repair crew to our site, we ended up taking Cloud 9 to Paradise for some TLC from Ann and Paul at A&P Vintage Trailer Works. While awaiting delivery of the new AC, Paul completed some planned upgrades to our refrigerator, stove, kitchen faucet and step unit.

Unfortunately, the AC unit had still not been delivered by the time of our vacation departure, so we decided to press on without it. When Jon went to pick up the rig, he and Paul discovered that the batteries had died. They weren’t even a year old. So Jon dispatched Cliff to pick up new batteries while Jon towed Cloud 9 back to the storage unit.

As luck would have it, the batteries Cliff bought were the wrong type. So after unhitching the rig at the storage unit, they decided to return the newly purchased batteries. Cliff thought they would remove the hitch, so he uncoupled the trailer hitch pin lock in anticipation. Unaware, Jon said, “let’s just leave the hitch on and get the batteries back.”

Big mistake. As Cliff was driving the MINI Cooper and following Jon, who was driving the F-150, he noticed the hitch come loose and drop onto the street right in front of the car, bouncing three times. Jon drove on unaware, while Cliff stopped to swoop up the hitch and place it in the car. A later visual inspection revealed two cracks in the stabilizer bar sheaths.

The upshot: It was the night before departure for an interstate trip, and they had no batteries and no hitch.

Jon was ready to cancel, but Cliff suggested waiting until the next morning when they could call a local RV dealership. Fortunately, the dealer had both the hitch and the batteries in stock, so we were able to pick them up, switch them out, and get on our way–only 19 minutes later than our target time for departure!