And here we are at last! 40 days from the morning I set out with an overpacked car, I returned with the trailer we’ve coveted for a year. Dory has arrived at her forever home.
We got to sleep in and relax a bit in the morning and that was lovely. It’s always nice to be in a site where you can look out the window and see trees. I had a couple of interested people asking questions about the Alto, as well as the Caravan Mover. She’s definitely a unique little beauty.
The drive over the Sierras took all my concentration. I recalled the towing presentation from the rally and made sure to brake with the transmission, rather than the brakes. So I was in “sport” or semi manual mode the whole time. Worked perfectly, but I needed to pay close attention to rpm levels as well as speed. The roads are windy and there are fairly steep grades most of the way.
I got a little pulse of nervousness when we got to the CA border check until I remembered this was not a real border check. This was the “Do you have any fruits or vegetables?” check. No paperwork or electronic manifests required.
It was clear that California was just as I had left it: not a drop of rain in sight. Lovely blue skies, but wow, everything looks like a tinder box. Such a shame we can’t just even some of that midwest rainfall out and spread it around a little.
On our descent, we started hearing a ticking sound coming from the back of the car. It sounded very much like a time bomb. And while we knew we had not packed a time bomb, it was annoying. We eventually pulled over to check it out and discovered things in the back had shifted and something was pressing on the lighting button on the grill. There was no propane connected of course, so it was just making continuous sparks for no reason.
Ah yes, I remember Sacramento traffic. It’s not a happy thing and I was glad not to be traveling in the Eastbound direction like all the other poor saps going to Tahoe. Sadly, when we are one of those cars taking Dory up to Tahoe for the weekend, this is what we will be going through.
I had a little moment of overwhelm when I saw Mt. Diablo for the first time. It hit me then, how far I had gone, how long I’d been away, and everything I’ve seen and done since the last time I was here in this valley.
It’s good to be home.
Seeing Richard again was awesome. Of course. We both felt it was a little surreal to have Dory home. We showed her off to the neighbors who had kept our kids and home safe and well monitored in our absence. We got them a pot, so… we’re even, right?
Before I was going to be able to relax, I had to know if there was any way we could get Dory in the garage. I wasn’t at all keen on the notion of leaving her outside. So we started maneuvers with the Mover. As we feared, the bottom of the driveway proved to be a problem. Whether we tried “butt” first or “face” first, the bumper was going to hit either the driveway or the street. We did a lot of maneuvering. Finally, we got some planks under one of the wheels and approached in kind of a slanty way. I’m pretty sure those planks were not rated for 2,000 lbs, but despite significant creaking, they held and she made it over the low part. Then it was an easy climb to the top.
Now the question was whether she would clear the garage opening. We had to disconnect the door from the opener in order to get it all the way up. Then, we lowered the tongue as far down as it would go and we just creeped forward as slowly as possible. I don’t think there was an inch to spare at the highest point, but she cleared! Once in, we were good to go and we could lower and reattach the door. We’ll need a new garage door opener, but it looks like we won’t be needing major reframing.
Hey! We have a trailer in our garage!
The rest of the day we just spent playing in Dory. We unpacked Bruce, washed towels and clothes, and generally enjoyed being home and together. What an adventure this has been. And the further adventures have just begun!
Total miles: 194.6, Engine time: 3 hours 51 min, 18.8 mpg
TOTALS FOR THE WHOLE TRIP:
Total miles: 8,417.2, Engine time: 99 hours, 59 min, 18.9 mpg