This post is going to be a little different because I’m going to talk about our recent RV trip (with just a little photography thrown in).
Our usual June schedule is to get in the RV and go to Prescott, Arizona to visit family. We spend a few days there, and then return home. This year we also had family spending a few days in Mammoth Lakes, California within a couple of days of our planned Arizona departure. So, we decided to connect the two trips together to make it one grand adventure!
Another difference between our 2015 Arizona trip and this year’s trip was we got a new motorhome. Our previous motorhome was a 29 foot Class C, and this year we have a 33 foot Class A.
There are quite a few differences between the two motorhomes, including size. Goggins (a name we borrowed from our Grandson) is built on a W22 Workhorse chassis, is 33 feet long, has 2 slideouts and has much more storage than Maverick. Maverick was built on a Ford E-450 Truck/Van chassis and didn’t have any slideouts.
Driving Goggins is a much different experience than driving Maverick. At almost 13 feet high, Goggins presents quite a large flat surface going down the road, kind of like a billboard. So, when it gets windy or large trucks pass me, I can really feel it. Nothing unsafe, but it can really get your attention and keep you on your toes!
Our adventure started in Fontana, California, across the desert (during a heatwave) to Prescott, Arizona. From Prescott, we continued on for an overnight stay in Boulder City, Nevada. It was still very hot in Boulder City, and we had the longest leg of our journey across the Nevada desert to Mammoth Lakes, California. Before we headed home, we spent a couple of days in Lone Pine, California.
Just before we got under way, I was able to purchase an RV specific GPS, the Garmin RV 760LMT. The Garmin 760 is a decent GPS, and it’s larger size makes it easy to see on the large dashboard of Goggins. I was able to connect it to my Mac using the supplied software and download all of my routes and waypoints. I could have included the route as well, but opted not to, and let the GPS do that from waypoint to waypoint. There’s not much else to say about it, except that I didn’t rely solely on it for planning our trip. There are a lot of trip planning tools out there, but I found Good Sam’s Trip Planner does a very good job. The other tool that I used a lot was Google Maps. For each leg of the trip, I used Google Maps to locate gas stations, and shifted to Street View to verify that it was suitable for an RV the size of Goggins.
The grand total in milage was just over 1,200. This was by far our longest RV trip to date. As I already mentioned, we crossed many miles of desert. We also had the opportunity to do quite a bit of climbing up some very steep grades. At 33 feet long, Goggins is quite heavy at approximately 20,000 pounds, not to mention that we also tow our Honda CR-V. I have to say that I’m very impressed with the Workhorse Chassis. Goggins is powered by a Chevy Vortec 8.1 liter engine and has an Allison transmission, and the combination worked quite well. The only downside that I can think of is that at times there is quite a bit of noise. It doesn’t help that we are sitting right on top of the engine and transmission, but the main noise maker is when the clutch fan kicks in. And, since we were in the middle of a heat wave and doing a fair amount of climbing mountains, the fan kicked on a lot!
As the temperature rose outside, I started off by using the dash air. It worked adequately for awhile, but as we got further into the desert, between Blythe, California and Quartzsite, Arizona the thermometer climbed to 120. In order to keep the inside of the coach somewhat comfortable, I started the generator and turned on both of the roof air conditioners. This strategy actually worked well, that is until we got onto some rough roads. Once we got off of Interstate 10 and on some two lane secondary roads heading to Congress, Arizona, we pitched and bounced around enough that the carburetor on the generator flooded out. I pulled over and was able to get it running again, but the road didn’t change and it just stopped again. Luckily we were gaining elevation and the temperature was slowly dropping from 120 down to 100. I know, that still seems very hot, but the drop was enough for the dash air alone to keep us comfortable.
Moving from a Maverick (Class C) to Goggins (Class A) with its 2 slide outs was a huge difference when we are parked. We have quite a bit more storage, both inside and a lot more leg room! We can stretch out, the dogs can play, and we aren’t bumping into each other constantly. It’s amazing what a couple of slide outs will do! One of the other little luxuries we now enjoy is a powered awning. In the past, Maverick’s manual awning did provide shade, but it was always a pain to put it up when a sudden wind came up. There were plenty of times during our 9 years with Maverick that a pleasant day turned to night, and we went to bed with the awning out (but tied down). Then, seemingly out of nowhere a heavy wind came up and started pulling on the awning and shaking us awake. So, I pulled on my clothes, jumped outside in the dark and worked to get the awning put away before the wind did any damage. Now, with Goggins I simply push a button, and the awning rolls up without a fuss!
From my ramblings above, you’d think the trip was only about driving Goggins. As I mentioned, we did visit with family, both in Prescott and Mammoth Lakes. We saw some beautiful scenery, drove through some very interesting little towns like Goldfield, Nevada, and had some fun hiking and playing golf! I was also able to sneak in some photography now and then.
So, I know this website is dedicated to photography, and you’re probably wondering what this post has to do with that. Actually, not much! RV’ing, spending time with family, spending time in nature are also passions of mine. I did mention that I was able to sneak in some photography time, and I’ll cover that in another post. The only thing I will say is that I used my LG-G4 cell phone’s camera for all of the photos in this post. Yes, I did have my other cameras with me, but there were many times when all I had was the cell phone. The LG-G4 did a pretty good job overall. I used Snapseed to edit my photos once they were on the phone, and I have Google Photos set up to automatically back up every shot I take. It works great and is something you should consider.
That’s it for this post. I’ll get back to photography next time. In the meantime, get out there and make some memories!