First big RV trip: a rousing success

This is the latest in an occasional series of blog posts commenting on impending retirement.

We can declare our first-ever multi-state, multi-day trip in our recreational vehicle to be a success.

And a rousing one at that.

We shoved off from Amarillo the morning of March 21 and arrived back home just yesterday. Our travel took us to Mesa, Ariz., where we met up with my sister and brother-in-law, who had driven their RV from just north of Vancouver, Wash.

We had a serious blast with them, enjoying the sunshine, a bit of fellowship with fellow RV owners encamped at the park in Mesa and visiting with our aunt and uncle, who live about an hour’s drive south of the Phoenix area.

Except for a couple of mechanical issues we’re going to resolve with the folks who sold us our fifth wheel, our trip began and ended well for us.

But we did learn a valuable lesson while towing our 28-foot RV: Do not venture somewhere until you know for certain whether you can be comfortable getting there — and then coming back out.

We pulled out of the RV park Friday morning to start our trip home, but then we decided to take a gander at an attraction called Tortilla Flats, about 25 miles or so northeast of Mesa along an Arizona state highway. We looked at our map and assumed we could keep on going to a more significant highway once we finished visiting the attraction, which was billed as a replica of a ghost town.

You know what they say about assuming … yes?

Tortilla Flats sits along a very narrow road, with plenty of curves, switchbacks and, I should add, some seemingly harrowing areas. We hauled our fifth wheel through and along all of it en route to Tortilla Flats. For a bit of the trip in there, the road was bordered on side by rocky cliffs and the other side by, well, a serious drop-off into a bright blue lake full of boaters and kayakers.

I had a nightmare scenario of getting the fifth wheel too close to the edge and being pulled into the drink backward by the plummeting RV.

We got there just fine, but then learned that getting out would present a bit of a challenge. The paved road became an unpaved road once we got past Tortilla Flats. We were advised by a young restaurant waitress that we should just go back the way we came in.

Well, OK. But to get turned around, we had to take the RV up a dirt hill, onto a parking area and get it pointed in the right direction for the return trip back to Apache Junction. It required us to back the thing up.

We sized up our turning area and decided we could get the truck and the RV lined up to back up in a straight line enough to get it turned toward the right direction.

So … we did.

And out we came. Back to Apache Junction, back to the main highway and off toward Payson, Holbrook and then on to Gallup. N.M., for a night’s stay.

We breezed home along Interstate 40 the next day.

All is good. Our fifth wheel has been cleaned of the bugs that splattered it on the way to Mesa.

Once we get the mechanical issues resolved, we’ll be ready to ride.