We took our first shakedown cruise in the RV, now affectionately called Big Jim, to a resort in the southern mountains of California called KQ Ranch, just outside the quaint little town of Julian, renown for it’s apple orchards.  It came about as a cold call from Colorado River Adventures, an organization out of Arizona that sells resort-style living in private RV parks, at a price of course. They got our name from our dealer as did quite a few other outfits.They lured us down with several hooks including three free nights, a tablet, $100 gas coupon and $1000 worth of camping and a steak dinner. Vowing intently to only listen to the sales pitch, which was to take about 90 minutes, and walk with our trove of goodies we made a reservation for the middle of July. The ultimate purpose was to see if we had listened properly to the two hour walk through we were given when we took possesion of the RV and whether we would actually survive a couple of nights in our new 375 square foot home.

GPS took us through the hills and big hills (not really mountains) of Southern California on a two lane road. Great introduction. Every time I looked out the mirrors there was a freight train behind us. Rabbit ears that I can have, I imagined the foul yet appropriate cursing that was most likely going down in the Mercedes’, Lexus’, and Beemers lined up behind me and I dutifully pulled over whenever I could to let the caravans go by. Needless to say, that added quite a bit of time to our journey, but I felt like the ultimate selfless RV’er (an oxymoron?) and that good karma would come my way for quite some time. I’m telling you this first trip was white knuckle hang on and pray.

We did get to the resort finally where a very rude lady at the gate insisted that we did not have a reservation. After a belligerent 15 minutes she asked how to spell my name and managed to find the reservations, mumbling under her breath the whole time. We were to go through the gates, continue for a 1/4 mile, pass through another gate and wait for a “host” in a golf cart to guide us to our site. He showed up, took us up a hill, stopped and pointed to a site that seemed barely big enough for a golf cart let alone the Big Jim, and off he went! I mean – to rookies like us, this seemed to be an impossible task to park the rig. I really had not backed the RV up yet, Jan had not guided me yet…and there we were tasked with shoehorning this monster into a space designed for a Mini Cooper – or so it seemed. Of course to add to the intimidation, on either side of our site were RV’s already parked, and in my panicked state I imagined these crusty veterans peering out their windows at this obviously raw and frightened couple, snickering and pointing fingers.

Well, we managed to get it into the assigned spot, and when I finally stopped shaking enough to walk, I stepped outside to view the results of our work. Damn! Looked like pros parked this rig! And those neighbors whom I already disliked intensely were nowhere to be seen. Maybe they were OK after all.

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more to come…

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