Thursday, September 3
I’m awakened by the squirms of the Reggie Man. As usual he starts up a game of “Bite the Hand that Feeds You.” This is a surefire way to get me going and busy doling out breakfast.
I sit up in bed and pull back the curtain to peer out at the forest.
“Oh, a deer!”
I tuck Reggie under my arm, pick up my camera, and sneak out the door. Reggie wiggles in my armpit while I try to focus the lens on the deer. I snap the photo above.
Reggie stops squirming for a moment, allowing me to zoom in and take the next photo.
Usually hitching up the Best Little Trailer to the Perfect Tow Vehicle is not difficult.
I’ve done it so many times that it’s something I do on automatic pilot. Not this time though.
When I set up this camp, backing into a lovely spot among aspens, I knew I would face a challenge to hitch up again.
Here’s why . . . .
I backed the BLT between the aspens so that the door-side tire settled into a depression a previous boondocker had dug. This made the BLT perfectly level from side to side. However, when I proceeded to unhitch, I had to crank the coupler up as far as it would go in order to make it high enough for me to drive the PTV forward, moving the hitch ball out from under the coupler.
If you aren’t picturing what that last sentence is describing, read it again or skip this part.
Okay . . . . When I pulled forward an inch or two to bring the hitch ball free from the coupler, the hitch ball popped up a few inches! Why? I got out and discovered a root making a ridge that the PTV’s back tires drove up and over. Uh-oh. . . . How am I going to back up and slide the hitch ball under the couple when it’s time to hitch? The coupler won’t crank any higher.
I put it out of my mind.
Well, this morning I have to face the problem. I hate using jacks. It’s a pain to get the PTV’s jack out of its compartment and then I have to set it up only to find I don’t have enough strength to jack the thing up high enough.
I figure another way.
Can you guess?
Since the root doesn’t go all the way across from tire to tire, I back up the PTV at a sharp angle to the BLT, lining up the hitch ball to within a few inches of the coupler. The sharp angle puts the PTV’s tires away from the big root.
I dig a hole behind both tires!
Then, before hopping into the PTV to back up, I spray 3-in-1 oil on the hitch ball and make sure the BLT’s wheel chocks are securely in place.
I ease the PTV back until the hitch ball touches the edge of the coupler.
Hmm… If I back up a teensy bit further the edge of the coupler should slide up the curve of the hitch ball to the top and drop down over the ball.
Long story short, a bit of a jolt and it works! We’re on our way!
Not so fast.
The PTV tows the BLT over the deep ruts and rocks of the forest road. The last section of the road, going up to the main road, is a very steep 60-80 feet. I knew going in that this would be a big pull upward. A “running start” is prevented by the ruts and sharp rocks.
Anyway, I’m pretty sure the PTV with her powerful engine can do it!
We get to that section and up we go. Something doesn’t feel right! Within 10 feet of the main road the PTV stops towing. Her tires — those nice ATV tires — lose traction.
What is going on?
I let off the gas and touch the brake.
We slide backward about 3 feet.
Oh my gosh, this isn’t good. What the heck is wrong with this road? It feels like we’re on top of a rock slide!
I study the road ahead. Loose gravel. Not the typical layer of loose gravel over a hard surface. A LOT of loose gravel. DEEP gravel.
The road scraper! It went up the main road this morning! And it pushed all this gravel onto the forest road…. Sonuva . . .
I determine that I have to back up slowly, bit by bit. Put her in reverse, creep back a few feet, gently apply the brakes, slide a few feet on loose gravel. Repeat. To roll backward in neutral is out of the question as it could cause the BLT to jack-knife.
Another long story, not so short.
I turn the wheel so that the PTV ends up with her left wheels on the edge of the road where it is hard-packed with no loose gravel. We don’t have to turn right. If we can go to the left, I’ll turn around up the road. We just have to get onto the main road!
“Well, here we go, guys. This better work.”
Whew! This has been a challenging morning so far!
On the way down the mountain we come upon the wild turkeys again, a sight which makes me smile.
The deer and the turkeys give us a nice send-off . . .
I stop for a moment and take another photo of a favorite scene.
It’s good to be on the open road again.
We pass the Mormon Temple in Manti.
This wakes up the crew. On the way to the park, I stop at a field of horses and mules. Reggie barks out the window as I snap this photo.
I’m surprised because Labor Day Weekend is about to begin. Must be because the reservoir is very low.
The landscape changes dramatically as we approach Gunnison.
Approaching Salina memories come to mind of previous visits to this area and the photos I took then.
The crew is resting as we pass Butch Cassidy RV Park (“Hi, Ed!”) and board I-70 east. The rocks along this stretch of interstate are spectacular!
Another 10 miles and we enter Gooseberry Campground!
“Wake up, punkinheads. We’re home!”
NOTE: Our present camp in Fishlake National Forest has no internet signal at all. This post was written and put together in the parking lot of the Maverick Station in Salina. Please excuse any errors.
Obviously I won’t be able to reply to comments. Carry on in your usual, friendly ways.
Tomorrow, September 6th, my sister Pauline and our friend Mick have birthdays. Pauline and Mick, I won’t be able to send you an email so here’s my wish that both of you have very happy birthdays!
And a Happy Labor Day Weekend to everyone!
THANK YOU FOR SHOPPING AMAZON FROM MY BLOG!