So what do you do with a 37' trailer when you don't know squat? No problem: ignorance is bliss!
We left TravelTown on a Friday afternoon just before they locked the front gate. Which means we set up camp for the first time as the sun disappeared in the western sky, laughing all the way down below the horizon. I think we came close to getting it right since nothing blew up, burned out or leaked. Reading a book, and we read several, just isn't do the same as touchy-feely when connecting sewer, water & electrical yourself.
Lesson #1: pretty much level is not the same as level! I thought I was close, but when I stepped into the toilet compartment, the door would slap my ass as a reminder that closies don't count. That was a little annoying, but the coup de grace was the corner of the cupboard door that silently swung open and found my head every time I got out of my chair. Oh... and another cupboard door that swung in front of the TV screen during the best part of a movie.
By our 2nd night at Santa Fe Skies the weather had turned cold in Santa Fe. But the propane furnace made life comfy during the now-freezing nights. Lesson #2: the furnace sucks up 10#-15# of propane every 24 hours when you use it as the only heat source. We were going through a 30# tank every 2-3 days. Since the park hadn't renewed their propane filling station license in time and couldn't refill the tanks, I hauled the empty 30# tanks to Ferrell Gas in Santa Fe to get them refilled.
Corollary A to Lesson #2: why on earth would a sane person want to use propane to heat their trailer when they can use electric heaters that use electricity you're paying for anyway as part of the nightly fee? Duh! So off we went to Home Depot for a couple 1500 Watt heaters.
Celia, who by now had restored herself to her former rank of Admiral, let me know that hauling dirty laundry to the on-site laundromat was no better than when we were cruising and that we needed a change. Normally I, as the Captain, would have responded with authority and installed the needed equipment to keep the Admiral happy. However I have come to realize that staying an enlisted puke has its benefits. When something doesn't work out right I can just shrug and say "but that's what you told me to do, sir! Ummm, ma'am."
ventless combo washer/dryer at Camping World, then confirmed they had one in stock in their Albuquerque store, and scheduled the installation.
By this point we had things livable enough that we thought it was time to suck it up and get the Dog House on the road. This time it was a big adventure as we pulled out of Santa Fe and headed south for the parking lot at Camping World. All of 65 miles and a chance to see what the fuel economy of this big truck really is like. We hit all of 10 mpg. Uh-oh. And since Albuquerque is at 5,000' elevation compared to 7,000' at Santa Fe, it was essentially downhill the whole way there. Double-uh-oh. Reality checks really suck.
For the benefit of those who don't already know, Camping World is a specialized retail facility created to remove all available $$$ from the pockets of RV owners. Lots of tantalizing toys that often diminish in utility once removed from the plastic bubble wrap. If you've ever played boats, it's akin to West Marine but with a giant service department.
Even though it was mostly just a chance to get things figured out on the RV, our time at Santa Fe Skies was actually very enjoyable. The setting is gorgeous with expansive views across the city to the Jemez and Sangre de Cristo mountains; off to the south we could see the Ortiz mountains. These views are possible because the park is located on a low mesa south of town.
The park is very 'rural' and is actually located on a small portion of what is named Brown Castle Ranch. The owners (the Brown family) have added a 3/4 mile walking trail around the park which was ideal for getting us and our dogs out for some exercise. And they still have a lot of the old ranch equipment that was left behind by previous owners.
Being away from most of the evening lights of Santa Fe (street lights, buildings, parking lots) gave us the clearest view of the night sky I could have ever imagined. I would like to have been there when it was warmer so I could have stayed out and enjoyed it. A person would have to be hardier than Mrs. Bowman's little boy to enjoy it during the fall as the temps dropped into the high 20s, but a late spring or summer stop here should be well worth the above-average cost.
Next stop Albuquerque.