Shakedown Cruise

In the Navy, after major repairs have been completed, the vessel is taken on a short cruise and put through it’s paces. The last thing you want to do is find out that some repair you thought was done right was actually fouled up something fierce. We decided that for our first trip after getting Betty back we should go someplace close. Bartlett Lake is one of the closer destinations to hit for us. And since it’s still winter, we could do it without needing a generator.

Things that were done were done out of necessity. The axles needed to be flipped, but we didn’t do it before, because it would have been too much work. Then we lost the wheel on the front axle… AGAIN! That’s just not right. This time though, it would have been simply too much to keep replacing with Dexter wheels, as the drums are harder to find, and the wheels are just too darned expensive. There’s a reason RV manufacturers went away from them, and I think I know why. We lost 3 wheels from 3 different positions. TWO from the front axle… So we went with the six lug pattern. Pretty easy to get them. FAR easier than the old 4 lug bolt pattern.

We also replaced the water pump, but after the axles, that seemed more like an afterthought. The worst part of having to replace the axles was that the wheel left us while we were on our way to get the water pump. I gotta admit, I was a tad unhappy. What was going to be a $150 repair, turned into a $2000 adventure. I do feel safer on the road now though. The rear axle was obviously supporting the whole trailer’s weight, as evidenced by the wear on the inside of the tire. It would have been a costly repair eventually, and better to happen on the way to the RV repair shop than on the way down a mountain pass I suppose. Why yes, the glass is half full.

We pulled into the site, and realized that the long weekend was probably not the ideal time to test the RV. We had few choices of where to stuff the RV. Fortunately one spot by the water was open. The Yellow Cliffs area would have been completely impossible to do if the lake level was higher. Where we were parked would have been about ten feet under the surface, if the lake were at it’s normal level. I am not going to complain about how low the lake is for now. Maybe if I had a larger boat, I might, but with our little baby Brooklyn(the boat on the back of the RV), the lake is the right size. Besides, I’m not going to complain about having a waterfront spot to park.

Yellow Cliffs is kind of an odd name for the place, I can’t imagine why they would call it that. It’s a really nice place to camp, and if you have the annual pass for the Tonto National Forrest, it’s free. It’s only an additional $15 on top of the annual America the Beautiful pass. Considering the individual day pass is seven bucks, two days, and it just about pays for itself. The view is just wonderful and when there isn’t a national holiday, it can be pretty relaxing. Of course since we were there on President’s Day weekend, partiers were out in force. The people to the right of us were the hard and heavy drink til someone gets arrested kind of crowd. The people to the left were actually pretty cool, and I got a chance to talk with the father of the group.

Having solar, I think I tend to be a bit of a snob about noise. It’s my failing, I know this. I try not to be rude to folks, and gladly show them how they too can be on solar for less than they think. The folks to the left of us, were respectful with their generator as well. I appreciated that. They tried not to run it as much as possible. I tried to help him figure out why his rig wasn’t charging. My guess was that his converter was bad, as it was only getting slightly over 12 volts at the battery. Sadly for me, the people to the right were not respectful with their generator. They ran that thing long and loud. So much so that I actually cheered a little bit when it sounded like they were having issues with it. Again, I know it’s my failing. I’ll work on that sometime in the future.

Oddly Sunday, many people cleared out. Thankfully, the rude family was among them, and the respectful family wasn’t. This afforded us the opportunity to drive along the beach to scout out other spots. While some were very attractive, the ability of the 5th wheel making it was questionable. That wouldn’t stop me from trying if we were headed out there. But it might mean taking a steady run at it to make sure I didn’t get stuck. Obviously not all of it was horrible rocks and loose sand, If we ever start hitting some of these sites more than once We might have to give one of them a try.

That night we had our dinner, and relaxed with the lack of rowdy partiers. It felt like I could do that a little easier without the folks causing mushroom clouds right next to us. I wouldn’t have minded but I really didn’t feel like getting exploded. The next morning we found that even our good neighbors were leaving. We would soon have the beach to ourselves. Which meant we wouldn’t be spending more time on the beach. Instead we took the little boat on the water to take more pictures.

We hopped into the little dingy, and went for a short ride around the lake. Interestingly enough, we got cell phone service on the lake, but not in the RV… Cell phone coverage is weird. It’s truly a mystery to me how my cell phone will work in the middle of a lake, but not on shore… It did give us the opportunity to call my woman’s mom to let her know we were alive. Sure, we could have simply continued on, but there was gossip to be had dangit. We tooled around the water taking in the birds. The scenery was beautiful, and my sweetheart was taking pictures all around. It was really fortunate that she brought her DSLR camera as well as her cell phone. Unfortunately I was an idiot and lost the photos off her old phone when she got her new phone. The good news is that because she took most of these pics with her DSLR, we didn’t end up losing the trip.

More Pictures here

Of course if we had lost all the pictures, we would have had to go out to the lake again. And that would have been just terrible, right?

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