First I want to say that I absolutely love this little RV.  Every day I love it more.  Although it’s small (17’), it is so cozy and comfortable inside—just perfect!!!

Next I want to say that without my friends in Peachland, B.C., Canada, I would have been in real trouble.  But more about that later.


Cruised through Seattle on the way to Chilliwack.  Visited a few of my old haunts (lived in Seattle for 7 years).  First stop was my little house that I loved:N 75th

The house is only two blocks from Green Lake, a beautiful lake with a three mile walk/bike trail around it.  Learned to scull in this lake and this is where Cody spent many an hour retrieving his tennis balls, even though there would have been a $500 fine had we been caught.  The bakery where I worked for a short while as a barista was no longer there and my most favorite EVER Mexican restaurant was closed (Tuesdays are their days off).  So sad.  But never fear, will return to Seattle eventually within the next month or so and will get to Gorditos!!!

I arrived in Chilliwack, B.C. a day early (10/14) so was able to pick up my brake controller (the part that is installed in the tow vehicle and brakes the trailer through the electrical system) and have it installed on the Tahoe that same day.  In addition to braking the trailer as I’m braking the Tahoe, my nightmares about the trailer unhooking and me watching in the rear view mirror of it flying in reverse down the highway were unfounded.  There’s a connection from the Tahoe to the trailer that just IN CASE the hitch separates and just IN CASE the two heavy duty safety chains break, the trailer will immediately brake on its own and stop.  No more nightmares.

As a result of getting the brake installer installed early (instead of 8 am on the 15th of October), I was able to sleep in the next day and take my time getting to Escape Trailer Industries to go through the two-hour Orientation to learn as much as possible about my new baby.  Even though I watched the training video twice, there was still a ton to learn and so left the Orientation with a feeling of overwhelm.  Escape drives the trailer across the border to the U.S. and handles all the import details.  I then met Zoltan (I think that was his name) at a Sumas, WA restaurant parking lot and he showed me how to hitch the trailer to my Tahoe.  I then drove BACK into Canada (in the dark! so nervous!) in order to have a two hour driving class the next morning with Valley Trucking (seeing as I had never pulled a trailer in my life).  Had a great instructor and the class went well.  Even so, quite nervous driving to Peachland after my class.  Windy areas, semi-trucks, cars building up behind me:  serious stressors.

* Side Stories are little incidents that happened that may or may not be of interest to everyone.  If you’re not really into reading blogs, just skip those. 

* [Side Story]:

First incident on the road to Peachland:  After an early breakfast, was starving by about 1 p.m.  Also, my neck muscles were already like rocks so needed a serious break.  Pulled off into a town called Merritt in B.C. Cruised through the town but could not find a spot to park so turned into a residential area.  Before I knew it, I was at the end of a dead-end street with vehicles parked on the side.  Yikes.  Tried to back up using all the lessons I had learned from Patty and from the driving instructor.  Problem was:  I could not see what was behind me and wasn’t able to back up straight enough to avoid hitting a car or a pole.  Tried and jackknifed, tried and jackknifed, tried and jackknifed  Fortunately, the 5th time getting out of the Tahoe to see how close I was to hitting something, I saw a car coming down the street.  A young guy and his girlfriend or wife pulled into a drive a few doors down from where I was.  I approached him and asked if he could help me.  He agreed. I was thinking I would get back in the Tahoe and he would give me directions.  No, he headed straight for the Tahoe.  “Oh, no,” I thought, “I’m letting this young guy drive my Tahoe and my brand new trailer?” “Well, OK, I don’t want to hurt his feelings–go for it, dude!”  He gets in the Tahoe, backs up perfectly the first time — down the street and into his driveway, then pulls it out ready for me to take over.  After grateful thanks, he said, “No problem, I have to do this for my mother all the time — she can’t back up either.”



The Hendersons were waiting as I pulled up later that afternoon.  Bob and Carol live in this sweet house right across from the lake.

Dave, Bob’s brother, actually lives in Prince George, B.C. but was up visiting and helping Bob with some remodeling.  You may remember that these were the guys I met at the Escape Rally in Osoyoos a few months ago. 

Bob and Dave at lake

Bob (L) and Dave Henderson standing on dock of lake across from Bob and Carol’s home in Peachland.

Dave has the exact same 17’ Escape as I, and his was the first one I visited when I arrived in Osoyoos.  Dave spent a couple of hours answering my pages of questions that I brought to Osoyoos, and I spent most of the weekend with them going to potlucks and just sitting around the site, drinking beer and meeting other Escape owners that the bros already knew.  Ever since then, Bob and I have been emailing and Bob and Carol invited me to visit them in Peachland after picking up my Escape.

* [Side Story]:

After Dave backed the Escape next to the house (his Escape was parked on the other side of the house), I went in to make sure not too much had moved around and that it was ready for the big reveal.  My entire large container of steel cut oats had opened and spilled — not only on the floor but also on the seat of the dinette and behind and underneath the seat cushion!!!  What a mess.  Fortunately, Dave has a portable vacuum which he loaned me and which made the clean-up job much quicker than had I had to use my new little broom.


Cannot say enough about the hospitality of the Hendersons.  They were just so wonderful and even though I had not met Carol before, we hit it off great and I feel like I’ve known her forever.
family photo

Family photo:  Carol, Bob, Ellen holding Frankie and Dave

They all spent an entire lonnnnnng afternoon going shopping with me to pick up all the little things necessary for trailering.  Things like:  hooks, mat for the entrance, bungee cord, RV polish, rack to holder plastic garbage bags, mirror extenders, tire pressure gauge, etc.  But most importantly:  a propane grill which we initiated Monday evening.  Worked perfectly! 

dave and grill

dave and mirror extension

Dave, just finishing putting together my new grill.          Dave installing extra side mirrors 

And yummy breakfasts and dinners AND a wonderful variety of alcohol each evening: wine, rum & coke, sake, beer Bailey’s on ice.  And a great daily doggy fix:  their dachshund, Frankie a.k.a. Frank (as in Frankfurter).

And was incredibly blessed to have an expert instructor work with me for four days to teach me all I needed to know to feel comfortable with my Escape.  Without Dave, I would have been in serious trouble.  Not only did he school me on the furnace and hot water tank and filling the water tank and emptying the grey water (from shower & sinks) and black (waste from toilet) tanks and much more, but he had me open and close my awning, was it five? six? times.  It’s really important to know how to retract the awning quickly in case of strong winds and he wouldn’t stop until he knew I was able to do that.  And the hitch!  The darn hitch!  I DO tend to make things more complicated than they are but doing the “equalizer” hitch correctly is critical.  There is no instruction manual for this so without Dave, I never ever could have unhitched or rehitched.  Again, we went through both processes five or six times until I finally felt comfortable and now know I can do this on my own when I’m alone in the wilderness.

I put the hitch on all by myself!!! After a mini-meltdown the day before, finally accomplished unhitching and hitching all by myself!!!  Celebration time!!!

It was hard to say goodbye to the Hendersons; in fact, wound up staying an extra day.  But headed off about 11:30 a.m. on the 21st.

leaving the henderson homestead sniff, sniff

Leaving the Henderson Homestead on the 21st.  (sniff, sniff)  😥 

* [Side Story]:

Was planning on stopping in Chelan tonight but realized at about 3 p.m. that I wouldn’t make it there before dark so pulled off at Omak WA.  Drove around the town looking for a freebie place to park overnight.  Finally saw a hospital and thought that it would have space and would be a safe place for the night.  All the parking in the front was taken but saw a large empty area in the back.  Pulled back there and there was a “No Parking” sign on the right side and a huge yellow circle on the left side so decided to do a U-ey and try somewhere else.  Didn’t quite make the U-ey, so had to back up a few times.  Lots of space — all went well.  EXCEPT . . . when I pulled away, saw in my mirror a red light embedded in the asphalt, only to realize THEN that this was a helicopter landing spot.  SO lucky I didn’t hit that red guide light.



Had an absolutely wonderful drive from Omak this morning.  Up at 7 and on the road.  Driving through the “Country Roads” was all that I have been dreaming of.  There was fog floating over the mountains and the views were spectacular.  The gorgeous lakes were all on the opposite side of the road so I didn’t have to worry about slipping off into them.  :)))  (Have I mentioned yet that I have a fear of heights?)  Drove until about 11:30 when I could not wait another minute for coffee!

Had always heard about Leavenworth, WA and as long as I was going right past, decided to park and explore.  Desperately needed some walking/burning-off-energy time.  It is extremely touristy but still enjoyed visiting some of the shops (mainly food focused).  Stopped in a Starbucks (of course . . . this is Washington!) for the wifi and am sitting here with a Frappacino and will try to get this posted today.

So where to next?  Trying to take all backroads to Camano Island State Park in Washington.  I don’t know how long I will be staying there — playing this all by ear.  Could be a week, could be a month.  Could be I find another state or national park near Seattle to stay. But I have several good friends in Seattle that I’m very excited to see and spend some time with.  Will keep you posted.

In the meantime, am very excited about this adventure.  So far, it’s been absolutely wonderful.  I started with absolutely no knowledge of RV’ing but feel I have a good start on things (thank you again, Dave!).  Yes, a lot more to learn but that will be part of the adventure.


28 thoughts on “THE CHILLIWACK PICK-UP!!!

  1. sue olsen

    So glad to hear that you are loving your adventure!! It makes my heart happy and I love to read your side stories. Enjoy the West coast!
    Much love from the North Coast!
    Sue O.

    1. Ellen Darby Post author

      Hi Sue! Thanks for writing. And for your kind words. Please keep posting your beautiful art. I miss most of the FB posts these days but will try to check your page regularly. Love and a big hug!

  2. Jan Leavitt

    Your real journey is beginning now Sis. You have mastered the mechanics now the road is yours. How exciting! I love your emails which allows me to vicariously experience your travels. Safe travels my dear sister.

    ❤️ Jan

  3. Bettina

    Your writing is totally awesome. I’m traveling every mile with you and every back-up adventure. I so admire your ZENKI guts. Truly amazing courage. Keep writing and filling us ‘stuck in the muds’ in to the real road life!

    Just as an aside, I’ve had my Suburu Forester for over 5 years and I’m JUST learning how to read the side and rear mirrors well enough to back up accurately. The new models have a camera which looks quite appealing…


    1. Ellen Darby Post author

      Dear Chika B. last thing you are is stuck in the mud. Your life has been one adventure after another!!! Thanks for traveling with me–it means alot! ❤
      For the record, there’s a backup camera on the Tahoe but it wasn’t much help at all for me backing up before I got the trailer. Best thing it did was beep like hell when I was close to hitting anything! 😃

  4. shirley stevens

    Hey there Twinster—Good to hear from you and glad all is going well. (some of the time that is) . Hee….You are learning as you go and Im so proud of you and can’t wait to see you —by Christmas i hope. Take your time and enjoy your ‘new home on the road’. Love you!!

    1. Ellen Darby Post author

      Hi dear Twinster. Yes, it should be by December! Can I sit on top of your Christmas tree? Seriously, will keep you posted. Thinking probably early Dec. love you and can’t wait to see you!

  5. Leon Webster

    Trust me, Ellen, it gets easier over time. There will come a day when you are backing up without any stress, and putting the trailer into tiny little spots. Did you stop at Chelan? Lindy and I spent a few hours there and have regrets that it wasn’t a couple of days.

    for those one night, “i just gotta find some place to park and sleep” times we often do the Walmart/Crackerbarrel/Cabellas lots. Not as bad as you might think. We also do Harvest Hosts. ( $40.00 up front cost, but you get a list of wineries, orchards, farms, museums, etc. that will let you camp for free. We spent a night at an apple orchard just south of Chelan, camped right on the banks of the Columbia River with the most amazing smell of apples all around us. The etiquette is buy something from your host, so we had espresso and and omelette from the orchard’s coffee shop the next morning.

    I am glad you like your trailer and glad that your adventure is beginning! Looking forward to hearing more of your tales!

    1. Ellen Darby Post author

      Hi, Leon, thanks for writing! And for such good information (and support). I drove through Chelan but did not stop. It did look very enticing.
      I had Harvest Hosts in my notes but now you’ve re-sparked my interest and I will definitely join.
      And no problem at all with walmarts or cabelas. Hey, last night I parked in the parking lot of an auto parts supply biz! 😳 Tonight is my very first RV park. In the mountains about an hour west of Leavenworth. My Tahoe died after I pulled in so hoping it’s healthier tomorrow.
      Take good care and thanks so much for posting!

  6. Alyx

    I am SO proud of you and love reading your adventures and new beginnings !! You are one incredible soul … isn’t it marvelous that so many people recognize this !? ( see me and many others smiling )
    Take good care of yourself ….. we all know you will …. enjoy your freedoms and am sending much love for your traveling mercies !


  7. Lindy

    I just read your entry on the forum and thought your first impressions were quite interesting. Yay, foot flush toilet–we switched and I also love it. Your format is the exact one I would choose were I traveling solo. I loved the coziness of the front bed and since you put in a permanent bed I’m sure it’s even more comfortable. Plus in the back you get the advantages of the bigger table, back windows and extra counter space while using the kitchen. You were so smart to go to the rally and ask so many questions. And what a stroke of good fortune to meet Dave and be the recipient of his experience and hospitality. You are on a roll! Lucky you!

    1. Ellen Darby Post author

      Thanks, Lindy! Yes,feel good about my Build Sheet choices. Truly, I’ve slept better in my little cocoon that ever before–even with the strong winds on Camano. Going to the rally was huge! Thanks so much for commenting–hope to see you guys on the road some day!

  8. zenb

    Hey B –
    You are on the road. How exciting and i love hearing about your adventures. Remember to keep your mind on the road and your hands up on the wheel! Get a long little doggie…


  9. Lucy J

    Hey Ellen!

    Just reading your last post on my phone. We’re not home yet. Thinking by next Wednesday. The 11th.
    Are you still at Camano Island?keep up having fun.

    1. Ellen Darby Post author

      Have been in Seattle for the past few days hanging with friends. Leaving Monday or Tuesday for San Francisco (Corte Madera).
      Can’t believe your trip is almost over!!!
      Will be emailings soon,

  10. Nadine Collister

    Sounds like you are having a wonderful venture. I’ll be picking up a niece in Pittsburgh and taking her to State College where we are having a family Thanksgiving or I would try to connect with you. You sound so happy. Love you. Nadine


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