May 24, 2012 was a great day for our family. We purchased a 2013 Keystone Outback from Mike Thompson RV in Fountain Valley California. The only dealer that was close to us in San Diego, was not interested in ordering a trailer for us. They only wanted to sell what was in their inventory. So we made the 100 mile trek to Fountain Valley and struck a deal.

This was our first look at the trailer at Mike Thompson RV in Fountain Valley. They had two 250rs models. One was a 2012 and the other was a 2013. There was not any difference that we saw between the two trailers.

I do not mean to give the impression that this was an impulse purchase. I looked at many different trailer forums, manufacturer websites, etc. over a three year period. We could not afford the trailer we wanted. If it were not for a generous gift from my mother, this particular purchase would have never happened. The biggest factor for purchasing this trailer was the rear king slide. My wife and I found that we don’t like queen sized beds too much. Actually, I take up quite a bit of room and I encroach on her space. I was not sure how my wife would react to the floor plan. The rear king bed is not a walk around. You have to crawl into the bed. A disadvantage is that it is harder to make the bed, but it is a small price to pay for such a luxury.

Rear facing view showing the king sized bed. The bed is on a rear slide that extends outside of the trailer. The overall trailer length is under 28 feet. Fully extended, the trailer adds another 5 feet.

The front of the trailer has two bunks for the kids. Surprisingly the bunks support up to 300 pounds. The bottom bunk flips up to allow the storage of large or bulky items such as bikes. My oldest son claimed the bottom bunk before the contract was signed. My youngest boy was happy to take the top bunk. I was happy there was no fight between them for the bunk that they wanted.

Ryan enjoying his newly claimed bottom bunk. This bunk flips up to allow the storage of large items such as bicycles.

Jake enjoying the top bunk. We purchased a ladder from Camping World to allow access to the top bunk. He is quite the character as you can guess from his pose in the photo.

We also enjoy the side slideout which gives us a great deal of room. It has a U-Shape dinette that has a table that can be moved around if needed to accommodate larger people. I did notice that the panels seem a little thin. I may decide to use thicker plywood to reinforce the seating area.I am sure it is fine for most people. I happen to be a little on the fluffy side.

The side sildeout provides our family of four with more than enough room to move around the trailer. My wife is contemplating the purchase when this photo was taken.

The kitchen area is very nice and functional. The only complaint is the lack of counter space. We often have to place items on the dinette table behind us when preparing meals. It is a small issue that is easily dealt with.

Kitchen area of the 2013 Keystone Outback 250rs.

The trailer now sits in the driveway awaiting it’s maiden voyage to Lake Jennings. Another post with photos to follow.

I use four chocks and Bal-X tire chocks to keep this trailer in place on a sloped driveway.

My tow vehicle is a 2008 Toyota Tundra 4×4 with the 5.7 liter V8. It does a great job of pulling the trailer but I do notice that the truck is working hard on steep grades. I was able to maintain 55-60 miles an hour up a 6% grade with temps around 100 degrees Fahrenheit. I averaged 8.8 MPG on hilly territory. On flat ground, I was able to achieve 9.9 MPG.

A rare photo of the tow vehicle attached to the trailer.

Triple Crown Blackberries

I will have a handful of berries this year with much more expected for next year. Triple Crown Blackberry.

Mulched with wood chips and fertilized to keep them green. I am hoping for more primo canes between now and the fall months. Black Satin is on the right, the rest are Triple Crown Blackberries.

Plants are filling in, but I was hoping for more growth. Triple Crown Blackberries

Anna Apple Tree, overloaded as usual.

These are junior first year plants. Watch out next year! Marionberry and Boysenberry in the background.

I found a person on Garden Web who has a weather station and also has the ability to poll data from surrounding weather stations, (Wunderground Weather), for the amount of chill hours. I politely asked if he could find the data for my area. Thanks to Tom on the Fruit and Orchard boards at Garden Web. He sent me the following information:

MSDLKD 2011:
below 45 chill hours: 608
45 to 32 chill hours: 593
utah chill hours: 702

MRIOSD 2011:
below 45 chill hours: 543
45 to 32 chill hours: 539
utah chill hours: 761

MELMSD 2011:
below 45 chill hours: 528
45 to 32 chill hours: 519
utah chill hours: 700

The data shows an average of around 500 chill hours which is more than sufficient for the apples, berries, etc. that I am growing. The all capital letter names are the weather station names assigned to my area. The Triple Crown Blackberries need about 500-800 chill hours which might explain why they have not emerged as strongly as my other berry plants. I have been told to be patient and wait a couple more years before I make a final judgement. I know the Boysenberry and Marionberries will be thriving. I may just let them take over if the Triple Crowns do not put on a show.

June Berry Update

The blackberries are waking up. It seems the thorned varieties are growing like crazy while my thornless varieties have not reached their full potential.Image

You can see from the photo above that the thornless varieties are thriving but not as vigorous as the thorned varieties. The three blackberries from right to left are Triple Crown. The blackberry on the far left is the Black Satin, which experienced some die back. It too has new growth, but I may end up replacing it, if the plant appears to struggle again.


Pictured above is the Marionberry and behind it is a thorned Boysenberry. The plants have exploded with new growth.


The Olallie has made some progress but is not as vigorous as the Boysenberry or Marionberry.

There is a new thick primocane coming up on one of my Triple Crown Blackberries. I would like to see four or five more come out just like it.

Some more primocanes coming from another Triple Crown Blackberry.

Ripening Marionberries.

Triple Crown blackberry blossoms.

Some of the apples on my Anna Apple tree are formed nicely, but I estimate that up to a third of the Apples did not pollinate correctly due to the spring rains or lack of bees? Not sure.

Some nicely formed Anna Apples that I am happy with….but look in the lower left corner. See that skinny one? It was not cross pollinated or pollinated correctly.

I need to learn how to prune. The tree is a little lanky, and it leaned a little toward the fence some time after planting. If it leans more, I may have to stake the tree with straps to convince it back to proper standing.

The Blackberries are awakening and showing signs of life. The Black Satin Blackberry had some issues and there was some die off on three of the four canes. The fourth cane seems to be happy with new growth on it, but I will keep a careful eye to see if there will be some future issues. If you want to see a before and after of how far these plants came along, just scroll down a few stories to see when they were planted. You can click on the photos to make them much bigger. Double-clicking makes them give the finest detail.

You can see the brown canes that have died off. They were very small and week to begin with. There is one healthy cane that has new growth on the bottom, and further up on the blackberry cane.

Some new growth up 5 feet from the base of the Black Satin Blackberry.

Some new growth on the Olallieberry. I am quite surprised how fast this berry has adapted to being transplanted. There is a Kiowa Blackberry in the white bag sitting in wet sawdust chips for two months. I should transplant it to a pot at least. I don’t have any room to plant it at the moment. Maybe a backup if the Black Satin Blackberry dies?

The newly planted Marionberry is taking off too. With new growth coming from the base as well as new growth coming from the existing canes. You can see the Thornless Boysenberry in the background establishing new canes.

The Thorned Boysenberry is beginning to sprawl over the yard. I propped some of the canes over a shovel to keep the new growth from getting scorched on the hot ground. Once the canes are long enough, I will attach them to the trellis. Yes, you can see a bunch of Anna Apples in the lower right corner.

The Triple Crown Blackberries are the last of my berries to show any signs of growth. Seems like they wanted to sleep in this year.

Another close up view of the Triple Crown Blackberry growth. I should see a few berries this year.

Some more growth on another of my Triple Crown Blackberries.

Another view of the thorned blackberry patch. (Thorned Boysenberry, Marionberry, Olallieberry)

The Baba Red Raspberry is in a pot, but has managed to give me a handful of berries. I need to find a place for this berry. The flavor is awesome.

This a temporary home for this Baba Red Raspberry. I just need to keep it alive until the fall.

It is that time of the year where my roses are exploding with color. They get a good hair cut in the fall and a dose of Miracle Grow fertilizer in the spring. Other than that they get watered when thirsty.


I didn’t know what to do with my Bababerries, so I chickened out and planted them in containers. I am worried about heavy clay soggy soils that Raspberries do not like. I am also concerned about runners and the spread of the patch. It is my understanding that Raspberries can be hard to control once they are established. Maybe I will need to construct a raised bed. It looks like I will have a handful of berries off the plants that I have in containers.

Looks like I will have a handful of Raspberries this year. I have them planted in containers until I know where I want to plant them.


I was getting real nervous about the thornless blackberry plants that went in the ground last July. They thrived right through fall and then came the winter rains which caused my berries to become saturated. The  Triple Crowns have nice green vines and the buds are swelling. I am finally seeing some green.  These are last years canes that will provide me with some fruit this season.  I have not seen new canes come from the crown of the plant yet. Hopefully, I will see some monster canes in the next few weeks. See photos below. You can click on the photos to enlarge them.

The buds are beginning to break on my Triple Crown Blackberries. I guess they wanted a little extra sleep since they are still growing.

Some more emerging growth from the Triple Crown Blackberry.

I am still worries about my Black Satin though. It has only one green cane and the rest have turned brown and are starting to shrink. It may have succumbed to the water logged soil. If the plant does not show signs of life, I will put another blackberry in it’s place. See photo below.

The Black Satin seems to be having a tough time. I will be patient. Eventually I may have to replace it with another berry variety.

The recently planted thorned varieties are doing very well. They are ill small since they were planted about a month ago. But they are showing new signs of growth.

The Boysenberry plant seems very happy. It should be very large by the end of fall.

The Olallieberry is planted in the lowest part of my yard and is underwater far more than the rest of the plants. I would say that this plant seems to be taking the abuse well.

Even the potted Marionberry, which I thought was dead over the summer from lack of watering is showing signs of life. I planted a month ago in the ground, not expecting much.

Planted the Marionberry and Olallieberry and pounded in the trellis to support them. I hope there is enough room for the semi Dwarf Anna Apple Tree and the berry bushes. I think I will be trimming heavily over the next few years.

The Olallieberry will be trained against our outdoor dog enclosure, which our dog only uses during the heat of the summer. At least the plant will provide shade for her.

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