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Casita de Ken

On August 11, 2020 I picked up my 2020 Casita Spirit Deluxe travel trailer at the Casita factory in Rice TX. My appointment was scheduled for 10am that day, but I showed up an hour early. While I took care of the financial and vehicle registration details with Carla; Austin and Louis prepped the trailer. One prep detail was installing and adjusting the Anderson Weight Distribution Hitch (WDH). This took about an hour or so. The WDH may have been overkill, but should come in handy if I ever get a lighter tow vehicle. NOTE: The van weighs 5300LBS empty and can tow approximately 4700LBS, while carrying all of my other stuff (like my 600LB+ motorcycle, generators, and miscellaneous camping gear). As an aside, while driving back to California, the van averaged about 20MPG towing the trailer. It averaged about 23MPG on the trip to Texas without the trailer. Not bad!

Anderson WDH installation
Getting hitched at the Casita Factory in Rice TX

First stop was down the road a few miles at Nelson’s Propane to fill up the tanks. After that, it was off to Lake Livingston State Park for a three night shakedown cruise for the trailer and me. This would be the first time trailer camping for both of us. The RV spaces at the park are mostly back-in so I got to practice backing up my Casita for the first time. Turns out that this time it was extremely easy; it was daytime, the space was clear, and angled to the road (nothing challenging like a 90 degree alley dock that truckers do all the time). Once situated in the space, I prepared the trailer… leveled it, chocked the wheels, connected the electrical and water, then unhitched from the van. Being the first time, I went slow and thought through each step. Took about 1-1.5 hours. NOTE: At my last stop before getting to California, it took about 25 minutes, at a very leisurely pace, to prep for travel. Of course, I had not unhitched from the van so that shaved about 20 minutes from the time.

Space #55 at Lake Livingson State Park in Livingston TX

After shakedown cruise, I started making my way back to California. I got as far as Hondo TX, where I stayed for 5 nights. No, there is nothing special about Hondo (at least to me), except that my van was due for its 20K service and there is a Ford service center in town and they could fit me in on Wednesday at 10am. So, I cooled my jets at the Lone Star Corral RV Park. The place was quiet and had all the things I needed, except excitement.

Space #47 at the Lone Star Corral in Hondo TX

While in Hondo, I drove to San Antonio, about 50 miles east, and did some sightseeing. I can now say I Remember the Alamo. According to the security guard, if I came a week later the Alamo would be open for visitors. I was able to get this awesome selfie though. 😉

Remembering the Alamo

I walked around the downtown area to savor the flavor of the place, and get out of the heat.

Cool looking church
The flavor savored
It’s Texas! Even the statues are packing heat!

Leaving Hondo, I made it as far as Lubbock TX. Stayed the night at the Loop 289 RV Park. At my previous stops, I never drained my grey water tank. Now I know how long it takes to fill up a 32 gallon tank; 10 days. I used city water for bathing and cleaning dishes; but not for drinking. I also never used the toilet (a Luggable Loo and kitty litter worked quite nicely for handling (not literally) any solid waste)… besides, not having to deal with (I.e.; touch) a used black water sewer hose is a blessing.

#6, Loop 289 RV Park, Lubbock TX

Left Lubbock and drove to Holbrook AZ (~550 miles) and stayed at the OK RV Park. This is where I learned that the RV equivalent of “Measure Twice, Cut Once” is “Measure Twice, Park Once”. If I had taken the time to measure where the electrical and water connections are, with respect to each other (11 yards apart) I would not have needed to take the time to repark and relevel my trailer. 😦

That night, I opened the Amazon app and ordered a 25 foot 30A extension cord, in case I ever forget the aforementioned lesson.

#20, OK RV Park, Holbrook AZ (NOTE: The blue post near the front of the van is the electrical box and the blue water filter near the back of the trailer is the water connection)

Next stop after Holbrook AZ was Tonopah NV. Had to drive through Las Vegas, were the temperature hovered between 111 and 115 degrees. Got to see how the van handled towing a trailer is very hot weather. It did very well, BTW.

I have a Bluetooth OBD2 reader connected to the van all the time so I can monitor the van’s vitals while driving. Of particular interest to me are the engine coolant and engine oil temps, and the gallons per hour reading. The screen prints below show the highest temps reached in Las Vegas. The dashboard indicators said everything was normal so they were not outside of what Ford engineers deemed acceptable. BTW, I bought the extended bumper to bumper warrantee from Ford so if anything goes wrong in the next 6 years/100K miles, they fix it. 🙂

Highest engine oil temp NOTE: The van was going down hill so the GPH and RPM were moderate
Highest coolant temp NOTE: The van was climbing a hill, as you can see from the GPH and RPM

Stayed at the RV space behind the Tonopah Station casino/restaurant in Tonopah NV. After the Las Vegas blowtorch, Tonopah was a very comfortable 95 degrees.

Hanging with the big boys in Tonopah NV

The final night before reaching California was spent at the Desert Rose RV park in Fernley NV. I lived a few miles from this location until 2013 when my company made me relocate to Charleston SC. My youngest son Bryson lives in Fernley so we got to enjoy some all-you-can-eat sushi at Sushi Moto and then breakfast the next morning at the Black Bear Diner.

#136, Desert Rose RV Park, Fernley NV

The final drive from Fernley NV to Redding CA was easy and short. The final challenge though was backing the Casita into my Dad’s side yard. The path is slightly curved, elevated, and includes a gutter and slippery grass. With my Dad’s guidance, we were able to get the trailer to where we wanted it… and only tore up the grass just a bit. The tires on my van are for pavement so easily lost traction on the moist green grass. Nothing a bit of potting soil and seeds won’t fix. And, the biggest triumph, neither of us used any of the bad words we both know. 😉

The path to the side yard, with divots
Safe and secure

One last thing… Here’s what Casita de Ken looks like from the inside:

Wide angle looking toward the back
Through the front driver’s side window
Wide angle through the front driver’s side window
Through the rear driver’s side window
Through the rear window
Through the passenger’s side rear window (there is no forward passenger’s side window, just the door, which has a window with a louvered shutter so photos would not show much)

That’s all for now folks.

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