Heading toward Yuma on the first day out.

We started heading out interstate 8 east into the mountains with Yuma as the destination.   It was warm and as this was the first time for pulling Kathy’s equinox, I kept one eye on the rear camera hoping it was still there each time i looked.   After about 60 miles we topped the highest pass for this part of the trip at  4120 feet,   And then there is a long steep grade heading down to the desert floor that gets to about 50 below sea level.   I got to use my Jake on  the way down to keep the speed below 55, only had to set it to stage 1 compression which uses just 3 of the 6 cylinders to slow the coach down without using the brakes.   I am starting to wonder if I will ever need to use the 2nd stage for anything I will drive on.

As we got a few miles into the desert we noticed it was about 110 degrees outside.   Just then the tire pressure monitoring system started alarming.   After my initial “oh crap” moment i realized it was an over pressure, not an under pressure situation.   Turns out I had set the upper threshold too low.  Live and learn…. err, every day is a learning experience.   No harm, no foul and we kept trucking to Yuma.

We arrived at our destination just at 5pm, were checked in within a couple of minutes and a guy in a golf cart escorted us to the site.   Fairly uneventful except it was extremely hot,  so hot I had to turn the fridge down a few points to keep it cold.  But that’s a story i will write up later.

JFYI.  Both A/C units were on all night while in Shangri La.



Working on the punch list prior to leaving for the long trip .

Where has the time gone  Last minute updates to the coach are happening right now at a feverish pace.   Swapping a white outlet under the dining room table for the brown one that was impossible to find when you needed to plug in your phone or tablet, extending that circuit over to the side of that cabinet for plugging in the TV I installed behind the couch.  And hopefully I will have time to install the Linear actuator that will raise and lower that same TV with the push of a remote.

Ordered a new See Level Bluetooth tank monitoring system to replace the OEM system that always had me wondering how full they were.  While it’s slowly making its way here, I’ve been pulling wire from all the tanks and finding a place to draw power etc.


I sold the Jeep last Monday after Kathy said enough of the jarring ride.  Had the Equinox modified on Thursday to be able to tow it behind the coach.

We had a Base-plate installed along with a wiring kit to have the Equinox’s tail lights show followers what we intend to do.   And as a bonus I had a switch installed so we don’t need to unplug a fuse each time we tow and replace it when we get there and need to drive the car somewhere.

Our first few “Shake Down” trips around San Diego

Let me start out by saying I am way behind on setting this up.  Needed to get the coach customized for us to make the long trip more enjoyable.

Our first outing was to a small County campground called Dos Picos outside of Ramona CA.   Beautiful secluded park with some very low hanging large (18″)  branches way to close too our coach.   Dos Picos Campground

Our next trip the following weekend was to Santee Lakes,  much closer to home than the previous park.   It’s a very crowded place on weekends, as it’s close to the City of San Diego.     Santee Lakes Campground




The following week we headed off to the mountains east of San Diego.   It’s a good climb, a real test of the cooling system and horsepower as this was the first time we pulled the Jeep and we did one 4000 foot pass on the way.    Potrero was great,  lots of huge California live oak trees for shade.  Our campsite had a 10 acre wooded area for our table and chairs.  It was amazing!   I scoped out some other sites with full shade to maybe come back during the summer months which can be really hot out here.     This is the trip where I almost stepped on the biggest rattler I have ever seen.   Luckily it moved back a bit, kind of the sidewinder coil and I stopped,  yanked my dog back, turned around to get out of there and noticed Kathy was halfway back down the trail.  I guess she only had to outrun me.

Potrero County campground

The final shakedown was to Sweetwater Summit campground south of town near Bonita CA.   Our nextdoor neighbors recommended this place and it lived up to their claims.   We will come back to this place a lot in the future.   Sweetwater Summit Campground