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Getting Our Ducks in a Row

By kismet - Published August 15, 2011 - Viewed 795 times

While lying in bed, I started to hear it ever so faintly, off in the distance, as if in a dream. What I hear is the familiar sounds of serenading birds, they start their early morning routine just before the sun comes up. I listen intently; amused by their chatter as the day starts to unfold at 5:30 a.m. Lisa states that I must have slept well as I didn’t move all night, which made me wonder how she knew this. So, being the polite, dutiful, husband I am, I asked Lisa how her night’s rest was and she told me she didn’t sleep so well. She went on to tell me she’d been awake for a couple of hours thinking. Concerned, I asked her what was troubling her. Lisa told me she’s starting to worry about all the things that need to be accomplished before we head west in a few weeks. Now I start to worry, but thank goodness I soon remember that all we need to do to stay on top of this schedule is to tackle something every day and by the time we’re ready to leave all this worrying will magically disappear. We’ll be singing like all those birds announcing a new day outside our bedroom window. It’s now 6:05 a.m. and I’m feeling good about our future plans!

This looks like the gate around the White House, that’s what I call secure!

I’m a list guy you probably know the type! Since college, I’ve had a continuous list of items I need to get taken care of on any given day. The list never goes away, I just cross off completed items, add new things and rewrite, or update the list every few days. I’ve been doing this for over 40 years and it seems to work for me, this is how I get things done. With that said I guess I’d better start a “things we need to do before we leave to head out west to get our new Ranger Tug R-27” list.

With I-75 in the background this photo shows the width of one of the storage buildings. My list starts with all the chores associated with closing up the house. Putting services like cable and garbage pickup on vacation service, finding someone to mow the yard, calling the Doctor’s office to set up an appointment for a physical, having the mail held, arrange for someone to pick up and have our mail forwarded to us, just to name a few. We’ll be having friends use the house on and off while we’re gone, so we’ll also need to make a list with instructions on how to open the place up. My list continues with items to do with our road trip out west, places we want to stop during our trip including hotel reservations at Glacier National Park. We have a separate list, which includes what we want to pack in the truck, mostly boating related. Before we leave home we’ll need to make arrangements for boat insurance and BoatUS Towing service, and I’m just getting started. I wonder what’s on Lisa’s list? The birds have stopped singing, it’s 7:26 a.m. and Lisa’s gone back to sleep, most likely processing her own list as she gets another forty winks.

With I-75 in the background this photo shows the width of one of the storage buildings.

While preparing our to do list I complicated matters by moving our departure date up by three days. So, not only were we tackling our lists, we now had to do it all three days sooner than originally planned. Nothing like a little self imposed pressure to get us motivated to stay on task! To make things a little more manageable I broke our 2.5-month inaugural trailer trawlering exploits down into three parts. First, I had the pre-trip planning list (close up the home front and get out of Dodge), the road trip out west, culminating with the Ranger Tugs purchase list and finally the cruising and towing list.

Our 2.5-month introduction into the world of trailerable cruising starts when we depart our hometown of Traverse City, Michigan for Kent, Washington. Our plan is to head west on route 2, cross the continental divide in Montana, snake our way through Idaho, ending up in Kent where we’ll pick up our new Ranger Tugs R-27, 6 days later. After a couple of days of orientation, from the good folks at Ranger Tugs, we’ll spend a month in the Puget Sound, San Juan Island area before we tow the boat to the Columbia River to visit our son Ross and friends in Portland, Oregon. Next we’ll move on to Lake Tahoe, California (I promised Lisa we’d go back some day), Lake Powell, in Southern Utah, and finally east again, to Alabama. After a 10-day cruise on the Tennessee River, we’ll complete the circle back to Traverse City to enjoy the holidays. That’s a lot to pack into 2.5 months so I guess it’s a good thing we started our planning lists when we did.

Close up of the yard light and camera security devices.

As I peruse my list later that day it suddenly jumped out at me that I had not considered what we would do with Kismet, (same name as our prior three boats) once we’ve finished our cruising time on the Tennessee River. At first blush it might seem logical that we would tow our Ranger Tug the 849 miles back to Traverse City. However, and you may recall, our new boating adventures are meant to be flexible; since we plan on taking her to southern Florida after the first of the new year it made more sense (to us) to leave the boat in Tennessee. So, rather then towing Kismet on a 1,700 mile round trip during the start of the winter season on snow covered roads, as well as being faced with the winterization of all the boat systems, we made the decision to store her until we head back south – hence the search for a boat storage facility began.

A clean ship is a happy ship; I guess that applies to Motor Coaches as well.

I thought to myself that we had several options, including leaving our boat in the water at one of the many marinas along the Tennessee River. The more I thought about this idea the less I liked it. With fresh memories of the 2010 storm season and all the devastation it left in its wake, I couldn’t imagine leaving our Kismet alone to fend for herself for that period of time. We could leave the boat in a storage yard on the trailer but, again, it would still be exposed to the elements of nature. I also lamented about the boats security, especially with us being too far away to watch over her.

As luck would have it I solved our boat storage situation quite by happen chance. While reading the AGLCA forum (Americas Great Loop Cruising Association) I read a posting from a fellow Ranger Tugs owner. He had written about the virtues of an indoor RV and boat storage facility where he was storing his boat, not far from where we plan to be at the end of October. I couldn’t get onto the web site of RV Park Palace fast enough (www.rvparkpalace.com) to learn more for myself.

 This shows the security monitor, with 16 separate feeds from inside and outside of the buildings.

The thought of indoor climate-controlled storage had not even crossed my mind and my initial thought was that it would be pricey. While visiting their web site, I was happy to find that their prices were reasonable, less then I’d pay at a marina, but more importantly, my separation and safety anxieties would be calmed.

After checking out their web site, I had a good understanding of how the mechanics of the place worked but I needed more information. I made a call into RV Park Palace (423-305-7275) and had a very informative conversation with their Office Manager/Marketing Director Tim Aslinger. Tim helped me gain more clarity about their overall operation. Besides having two 80,000 square-foot warehouses conveniently located off of I-75, the property is completely fenced in with an automated gate which opens by a pass code. Tim told me that RV Park Palace takes pride in their superior customer service and the security they provide for stored motor coaches and boats.

Three Ranger Tugs comfortably tucked away until their next cruising adventure.

One of the unique features they offer is the ability to make arrangements for a mobile repair company to call on RV Park Palace to address your service requirements and to perform minor maintenance on your boat or RV. The beauty of this is that you don’t have to haul your boat all over an unfamiliar town and your boat is being worked on in a secure environment. The secure environment consists of 16 surveillance cameras mounted inside and outside of the warehouses that stream their feed onto one large monitor in Tim’s office. Since Tim cannot be onsite 24 hours per day, everything is recorded for an added element of security – no one can access your boat without prior written consent. It appears to me they take this business very seriously. Tim told me that in the three years they’ve been operating they’ve not had one incident.

Another reason RV Park Palace works for me is that we can contract on a month-to-month basis; in our case, we only need 2.5 months. Because of their central location and the transient nature of their cliental a large percentage of the stored units are from outside of Chattanooga and Tennessee. I don’t know about you, but for $199 a month (under 30 feet) I feel this is a great value; we’ll get Kismet inside climate-controlled storage, a secure environment; she’ll be pampered, even serviced if we want and it’s conveniently located just off I-75 for retrieval when head south in January.

Three Ranger Tugs comfortably tucked away until their next cruising adventure.

By the time this article is posted the construction of our Kismet will be about complete so, as my father used to say, “It’s time to get this show on the road.”





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