Welcome to the family, Dory2!
This was a big day. It’s funny, even though we have already done this twice before with the same model trailer, this felt every bit as exciting as the first time, maybe more so. We had to make a few miles to Durango Four Corners RV, where Dory2 has been patiently waiting for a couple of months. Normally, one would take delivery in Quebec, like we did the first time. But now, with borders closed, Safari Condo has had to get creative in how they get their trailers to the customers. They have had a business partnership with Durango RV for a couple of years as a place where you can rent Altos – the only place in the entire U.S. So now they are able to ship units across the border to Durango and U.S. customers are able to take delivery without the customs logistics. Win win all around.
We headed out with Linda and pointed our Altos eastward. The stay in Monument Valley was very nice, as was the drive through northern Arizona. We had planned on stopping at Four Corners, but that was very very closed. So with one stop for gas and one for a bite of lunch at a rest stop, we got there just a bit after 3pm.
Beautiful roads to Durango, CO.
Photo: Linda Pratt
I need to give shout outs and huge thanks to many people here. The people at Four Corners RV – Mike, Ele, Justin and Elizabeth among others, could not have been more helpful and accommodating for us. I don’t imagine they get that many people coming in with an Alto to pick up an Alto, requesting space in their parking lot for a day or two to transfer belongings over. But anything we asked was met with a “no problem” from them, plus a tour of their impressive new facility. They really will have quite the service department this side of the Canadian border for anything related to Safari Condo. So as we approached the place, it was not immediately obvious where Dory2 was, since there are quite a number of Altos on their lot.
There she is!
But we spotted her, protected under a canopy, looking beautiful with her dual propane tanks, massive 440 watt solar panels, and beautifully smooth front wall, uninterrupted by any Big Front Windows. Her production number is 2143 and I spotted that too. For the record, I did look up the number to see if it stood for anything noteworthy. It is prime, and the digits 1-2-3-4 add up to ten, but that’s about it. I thought maybe there’d be something happening on that star date in the future, but no.
Wow. Thanks my friends. I think this picture pretty well captures the moment.
Photo: Linda Pratt
The first viewing was quite emotional. Mike got Francois on the phone from Quebec so he could ‘be there’ in the moment. Then Linda kept prodding us to have a look at the back. Francois had been hinting that there was another surprise in store for us, but I never would have guessed this one. Linda, who knows us really well, figured the “Just Keep Swimming” decal that we had on Dory was special to us. She was quite right. One of the most painful images from Dory’s crash was seeing that decal all squished. It makes me tear up just thinking about it. I was planning to get one for Dory2 when we got home, but Linda arranged to have it put on, in the exact same location, and Francois got to see me choke up over it over FaceTime. We also got to meet Stuffed Dory from the surprise Making Dory photo shoot. She is going to get her picture taken a lot, I can tell you that.
She’s a beauty!
We are both over the moon at how great Dory2 looks. I absolutely love the new blue fabric and grey concrete countertops. There have been some little changes and modifications over the years and I’m a fan of all of them. One we noticed right away being a new style latch for the bathroom door! So much nicer than the push button kind, we won’t even have to swap it out. The layout is thankfully exactly the same as Lola or we would not have been able to fit everything. The only exception to that is a new style utensil drawer and I’m not quite sure why they changed it. Works fine but we lost the chopsticks space (Richard brought 2 this time, thanks for wondering).
Classic Francois photobomb, all the way from Quebec.
Thanks for the Photoshopping Pete Henley!
Things that will be new for us are all in the tech realm. In addition to the 440 watt solar panels, we got 2 lithium batteries that should provide all the storage capacity we could need. Because of that, we got an inverter, which allows for some short use of appliance that require 120v, like the microwave for instance. The van had one of those and the one time I used it to heat up leftovers at the beach made me interested in getting one. She’s got all the upgrades we loved in Lola, like the Truma Combi for heating and water heating, plus the large fridge that makes it possible to pack four Blue Aprons and 3 frozen dinners, plus all the pantry items. I love it very much. The backup camera is a new system, as are the Caravan Movers, so we will have to see how those compare.
Other general observations include noticing that the black wedge cushions are covered with a bit softer, more luxurious material, the front of the fridge is white and smooth instead of ridged and silver, the stove is a different model, and the backsplash behind the sink is wood tone instead of silver. We haven’t used the stove much to compare so we’ll see how it does with cooking rice.
The process of Dorification is no small feat.
We hung out all day long in the parking lot at Durango on Thursday. Richard had to work so he spent the day in Lola with great LTE. I spent the day putting up hooks and organizers and Dorifying. It turns out there is a lot involved in both Dorifying, and un-Dorifying. Richard needed to undo the 30amp fused wire he put in Lola to run coffee on our way here. Because he did not want to be electrocuted by anything coming from the solar panels while he worked, he waited until nightfall Wednesday. He then put Lola back together electrically, just the way we got her. Dory2 came next and now Richard knows how to shut off the battery power. We have run both the coffee machine and the projector off the new wire and it all works. The first thing we did to test the system was watch “Finding Nemo” on the big screen. Because of course.
It was a lot of work and I was super tired by the end of the day Thursday, with one Blue Apron left. It was a grill meal, which is awkward when you are camped in an RV lot. But now the grill is way easier to get to, so we pulled it out and made a delicious steak and panzanella salad with bread toasted on the grill. Just as the timer went off for the steaks, it started to rain. We ate our first dinner inside Dory with the romance lighting package, complete with unmeltable LED candles, fully installed.
She looks ready for adventure.
I’m having a little moment. Dory is fully ours, with all our stuff the way we love it. We sat inside listening to the rain on the roof, one of my all time favorite things, I am so grateful for all the people who helped, and those who expressed sympathy and support when we lost our Dory. Dory2 is awesome and it only took six months to get here, thanks to the incredible people at Safari Condo.
Who wore the photobomb better?
Lola Too is also due for an ode of gratitude. She got us through the toughest of times and we are still grateful to Randy for everything he did to get her ready for us. We are keeping her for sure. She is our lifeline for the just in cases. And we would love to pay the Alto love forward by lending her out to friends.
For those wondering how we get 2 Altos home….
Thanks again for the Photoshopping joke Pete Henley!
P.S. for those worried…. this is a joke. We are not daisy chaining Altos.
We are set and ready to head out. We really hope not to crash again, but I guess we’ve learned that we can handle it if it happens. It takes a lot of adulting to make all of the pieces come together, but it is more than worth it for the sheer joy of the hard core playtime we get in return. There is nothing we would rather do in life than enjoy traveling together in an Alto. If it takes having six or seven on hand at all times, then so be it.
And thus begins a new chapter…
Total miles: 189.3, 16.2, 4 hours 45 min. Parking lot was great. 🙂 Great solar, enough Verizon LTE for Richard to log into work.