September 30, 2014

There's Always Tomorrow...

"But there's always tomorrow to start over again
Things will never stay the same
The only one sure thing is change
Thats why there's always tomorrow"
Gloria Estefan 1991

Gee, was December 29th, 2009 that we posted a farewell to our beloved Country Coach Allure. I read our last entry and realized those words have manifested into reality.

"What will be next for the BlaNics? Well...creating more memories of course! No doubt that we will again seek out those country roads, explore some of the myriad number of unique natural wonderlands and make time to wear down more tread on those hiking shoes.
And hopefully along the way, the winds will again draw to us more of those unique vagabonds...the storytellers of life...our mentors, wizards and witches...who we will will also embrace as members of our family. As of this posting, were again retracing the steps that eventually led us to acquiring our amazing motorhome. We plan on downsizing to a rig with the agility and size to seek out those hard to get sites in our National Parks and State Parks that tantalize us, but also possess the durability to travel the unpaved and isolated roads of the BLM Lands."

Amazingly, five years have just flashed by. There have been a few "carpe diem exclamation points" over that time which seemingly has created an illusion that 2009 was but yesterday...or maybe as I "gracefully" age, events are blending into one long experience.

And just as was on our minds back in 2009, it appears that the moment we ended our days of full time motorhome living, I slowly and with reservation, dreamed that someday we would do this all over again. Yes, we would have a different plan, a broader outlook and a wider quadrant of exploration and adventure. So over the course of 5 years, even while navigating our lives through daily living, past some pesky roadblocks and a few adventure trips, we slowly positioned ourselves to make some real choices.

But no wasting time here. We conducted a qualitative exploration of new and different modes of RV living. We knew we wanted to explore many of those hard to get outdoor treasures; so another diesel pusher was off the list. Our imagination took us to living in a Class B to a Class C motorhome, then to a Truck Camper and finally to a small Travel Trailer. And the one big change in our life, influencing any decision, was to make sure it had enough space for our 4-legged kid...Sydney.

So began the conscientious task of researching every manufacturer in each class, their ratings and reviews. Who builds the best rig, which has the highest customer satisfaction level and what manufacturer offers the highest resale value? We went to huge RV Shows to view each class, floor plans and the quality of construction from each manufacturer. But our biggest take away proved to be what would not work and what manufacturer we would never own.

After a lot of consideration and thought...decision changes and reversals...we decided. A mid-size travel trailer would be the right rig to fit all our needs. Small enough to take into length limited campgrounds, sturdy enough to hold a huge amount of weight and offer enough floor space for Sydney and that order. Choosing the manufacturer was easy. One company stood head and shoulders above all others and built trailers that match our lifestyle and outdoor niche. We chose Northwest Manufacturing of La Grande, Oregon and their renowned Arctic Fox line.

Imkelina was now responsible for choosing the box. We began walking thru different floor plans, touching, opening doors, cabinets, visualizing, measuring and then doing it all over again. Once we determined a length that would fit our aggressive plans to explore those hard to find, off the grid treasures, she was able to magnify her research for a floorplan that would make habitation with me tolerable.

Even though we never walked through an actual model or had the opportunity to drool on it's floor, we decided on an Arctic Fox 25P. The trailer has the length for full time living, awesome holding capacity for boondocking, but short enough to get us into the most remote National Forest Service Campgrounds. 

We then provided the next logical piece to the puzzle...we researched and purchased the best "stallion" with the biggest cojones to pull that rig. The Dodge Ram 2500 4x4 Crew Cab with a powerful Cummins Turbo Diesel Engine was our champion. It has a towing capacity of 17,060 lbs. 
A vacation trip to the Eastern Sierras, driving up and down mountain roads, proved to us that it's gas mileage was also awesome...we average 22 mpg combined. And by adding a matching SnugTop over the bed, we had more sheltered space for gear.

There are not that many Arctic Fox dealers in the U.S., let alone the west, but we researched them all. We had conversations with a half dozen dealers, even visited a couple offering them the opportunity to sell us. But in the end, we chose a dealer that had the best reputation, demonstrated honesty and transparency and possessed more knowledge about their products than us…they are Thunder RV in La Grande, Oregon. And no coincidence they are just down the road from the Northwest Manufacturing…they sell only their full line.

So on September 12th, 2014...surrounded by our dear friends and boondocking mentors, Dick and Melinda, we initiated our lifetime pass toward experiences, adventures and wonderment. We placed our order with Thunder RV and added every possible upgrade to enhance the comfort of the rig and prolong our boondocking capability. It was an exciting day and the memories of those years since our first post on BlaNics Waypoints provided us many reasons to celebrate. Now our patience would be tested, for it will be over three months before our Arctic Fox reaches the production line. Then we must wait an additional three months before we can pick it up and tow our new trailer back to Cambria. "Manifest your Dreams" is not an illusion!

At Waypoint 35°33'03.60"N 121°05'11.40"W…holding pattern.