My trip began when I drove up to Chilliwack Fri Sept 1st to pick up my new Escape
. . . .
AND begin a 9 day trip over the Rockies to Calgary, then back to Portland via Spokane, Wa. I was thinking, 'Hey, I used to haul horses (15 yrs ago!), so pulling this little trailer won't be any problem'.
Funny how much you forget over the years . . . . . like how to back up a trailer!!!
If I had realized how challenging that was going to be
, my first trip would have been a bit smaller and preceded by a LOT of practice in deserted parking lots.
My first HUGE surprise was that the striping on my Escape
wasn't the 2006 Blue I had expected, but 2007 Gold - which perfectly matches my car!!
Reese took me through everything on the trailer and then we hitched it up and checked to see if I needed an equalizer hitch. We decided that it probably didn't need one and after 1500 miles of mountains, highway AND an afternoon in the wind-tunnel known as the Columbia Gorge (I-84 west into Portland), I think it was a good decision. The car handles just fine pulling the Escape
. We even had one emergency stop from about 55 mph
- no problem (except for all the gear that I'd stored in the back under the bed slid up to the front
Anyway, I mostly found relatively straight-backward campsites. Occassionally, upon observing my struggles, good-hearted folks would amble over and help me park and unhook (thanks Hugh
I got really, really stuck about 3 times on the trip. It took probably 10-15 minutes each time to figure out how to back up in the really tight spaces and turn everything around; I was so frustrated once, if I hadn't been on dirt road by a hill - afraid that the trailer would slide down the hill into a lake, I would have unhooked everything and tried to turn the trailer around myself!!! The 3rd time was in front of my house as I tried to back into my driveway - finally, my trucker neighbor came over and parked it for me (and offered to give me some backing-up lessons, which I will hold him to!!)
The dogs caught on to the best napping location really quickly
Here we are at Lac Le Jeune, BC (near Kamloops on Hwy 1) the day after I picked up the Escape (I spent the first night in Chilliwack - thanks to Natalie WAVE who had made a reservation for me at a nearby CG). I woke up the next morning to the sound of loons on the lake - took me back to my childhood for sure!
A small detour from Golden, BC took me south on Hwy 95 to Lake Windermere where I found the old cabin where we spent our summers when I was a child. My Dad bought the cabin in the early 50's and added 3 bedrooms, running water inside and an inside bathroom (I can remember those late night forays to the outhouse - with a flashlight, and worrying about bears!!). The cabin is still there but the area around it is all built-up.
Then back up Hwy 95 to Radium Hot Springs and through Kootenay National Park and Banff NP
to Calgary where I visited with family for a couple of days. I stayed in the Calgary West CG where there are great services - but absolutely no shade. I was very glad to find that the Fantastic Fan kept the Escape (and my dogs) relatively cool in the
mid-80 degree F temps. One reason for getting a travel trailer was so that I could travel in the summer with the dogs and have a safe place to leave them if I was doing tourist things and couldn't have them in a hot car.
Too soon it was time to head home - down through Ft McLeod on Hwy 2, over CrowsNest Pass (all areas that I'd like to return to as destination points for more exploring) and back into the states. I thought it would take longer to get home but I left JimSmith CG just North of the border Friday morning and somewhere around mid-day realized that I could make it back to Portland before dark (usually I stopped by 2-3pm) so I just came on home.
At one of my coffee stops (just North of Cour de Laine, ID), I met Doug B who stopped to see the Escape. He's posted here asking about the differences between our eggs and the Jayco Feather - needless to say, I gave him a tour of my egg!! Hi Doug
I saw 8 or 9 eggs along the way - but since I'm such a novice, I couldn't identify makes and barely noticed the cars pulling them - sure was nice seeing them though!!
Just about 1800 miles I think (1500 for the Escape). Normal highway mileage for my Honda Pilot is about 22 mpg; after converting litres to gallons, I think I was getting about 13.5 mpg pulling the Escape. Not too bad considering we were in the mountains most of the time. I camped in a mix of full service and no service CG's and everything on the Escape worked perfectly under either circumstance. After many years of camping in a very old VW Westie (where things sort-of mostly sometimes worked), it was really delightful.
See everyone at the Northern Oregon Gathering!!!