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Travel Trailer Storage & Backing in…Egad!

Hello My Friends,

We have been home for a week now and we have had to do some of the technical stuff that comes with owning a travel trailer camper.  We had to find storage in Connecticut which is not as easy as you may think.

We do not have any space on our property to store the camper and we knew this before we made the purchase.  Bill diligently called storage facilities in our area to find a spot that was close by and secure.  Believe it or not, it was quite the hunt! While TTs are very common in the midwest, and in other parts of the country, they are not as common around coastal New Haven County.  He finally found a spot in a storage area a couple of towns over. You should have seen us backing the trailer into our space.  Ha, ha, ha, ha!!

When we got to the storage area, we were the only people there.  This was a shame because we ended up receiving help to get into the spaces at each of our campgrounds last week.  The thing about campers that is awesome is how helpful everyone is to each other.  As people saw us struggling to park the travel trailer in Indiana and in Pennsylvania, angels came to our aide.  Thank you to Greg from Michigan, and Joe from New York for helping out.  Basically, they could no longer watch the sideshow of me trying to give Bill directions on backing-up.

Please know that I have many wonderful qualities, but directions and geometry are not my strong suit.  Add to this equation the fact that the driver needs to move in the opposite direction of where he wants to have the trailer go and we have the makings of a disaster!  Thankfully, these two angels helped Bill to navigate the 29 footer into place and they stayed for conversation and to unhook from the truck too.  We were not as lucky in the storage area.

“Turn to the left”, I yell so that he can hear me.  He does and the trailer begins to move the wrong way.  “Stop!” I wail.  “Should I move forward?” Bill yells back.  “Sure”, I say because I had no idea what else to say.  “Move the steering wheel to the right” I yell. Please know that there are two reasons for the yelling, so that Bill can hear me and because terror is now rising throughout my entire body.

He does as I have directed, and the TT goes the opposite of what I am saying, or is it what I was thinking? I think it was both.  Five minutes into the fiasco Bill and I were saying “honey” to each other through gritted teeth.  He was so frustrated, and so was I.  After at least 25 minutes, the Freedom Express was finally parked, and parked well I might add. How? A lot of trial and error.  I’ll bet the security tape is hysterical!

Any suggestions about how to get better at backing the camper in?

Happy Camping!

Pat

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Wanting to hit the Road Again

Today was the second day home since our camping trip in our new travel trailer and I’m already scoping the internet for affordable campsites near me.  Do you feel the same way when your come home?

We are thinking about getting a site close to home and leaving it there for 2-3 weeks so that Bill can go to work and yet we can all camp at night.  What’s the chance that you did something similar when you began to camp after the initial purchase?

We did contact the salesman about the door problem that we had on the way home from PA,  and the issue now needs to go to the technical team to find a solution.  I am looking to add our own style and am scouring sites and YouTube for ideas.  I love to see what other people are doing to make their camper their home.

How often did you camp after your initial investment in your camper? I would just love to know.

Happy Camping!

Pat

focus photography of a ignited firewood
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The Trip Back to CT was STRESSFUL!

Hello My Friends!

Packing up our inaugural camping trip was a real bummer!  That final night as the flame flickered to hot spots in the ashes of our campfire, we began the task of packing up the outside since we were heading out early on Sunday morning.

I think that we will become better and quicker at packing up as our trips go along and when everything actually has a  home for stowing.  We woke up on Sunday morning to torrential rain, thunder and lightning.  It was the first time that I have been in a travel trailer during rainy weather.  The sound of the rain beating on the exterior was  resounding through the little structure.  Boy, we were sure glad that we had packed-up the outside on Saturday night and that we were in a TT rather than a tent!

The storm clouds cleared by 9:00. Stowing things inside was pretty easy.  We boxed up what we were not going to keep in the camper all of the time and put them in the bed of the truck.  It’s funny how I had to look at all items in the TT as possible projectiles when careening down the interstate.  Thinking in that way really helped in the long run because we had “issues” on the road.

About an hour into our drive, I heard Katie yell from the back seat, “OMG, I think that the door just flung open!”  Bill and I look out the side mirror in horror and sure enough, the door was flapping in the wind! “Didn’t you lock it?” asked Bill in a raised voice.  “You did when you put up the steps”, I said back (yay, we were both just below yelling). Now, I KNOW that it was double locked because we ran our pack-up list that we created the day before .  We sat at the campfire together and ran through all of the things that we had to do before pulling out of the campsite, and I wrote all of the items in the notes of my IPhone.  We checked the notes as we completed each task.  The door had been locked, twice, and the handrail was folded over the door.

This all occurred as the traffic in PA was going from two lanes into one and we just could not pull over; it took about 1/4 of a mile before we could stop which seemed like an eternity.  We pulled over, I ran down and saw that the tissue box, the sink cover and even the dinette table had moved around the camper.  THANKFULLY, nothing fell out of the TT door, and it did not look like we sustained much damage (some of the veneer on the dinette had been pulled off).  I double-locked the door, pulled on it to be sure that it was secured, and snapped the handrail over the door.  We began to sail away.

Guess what? The door flung open two more times!  We had to get off of the interstate, and pull into a police station so that we could really check out the darn door.  Just like before, it seemed to be locked even when pulling on it but we just could not take the chance, we had to tie it down.

Now, Bill is just like a Boy Scout, he is always prepared.  He had a ratchet tie in the back of the truck because you never know when you will need one; thank Heaven!  He wrapped it around the handrail and ratcheted it down to the stairs.  Now, even if the door did manage to open again, the rail would keep it in place.  We left KOA in Bellefonte PA around 10:00 AM and we were supposed to be home before 2:00.  We pulled into our driveway after stopping only twice for creature comforts: gas, bathroom and a doggy walk around 6:30.  All of the other interruptions were due to the door.

We missed our niece and nephew’s graduation party (we are so sorry!), and were tense in every way imaginable but we were home!  The TT made it and  so did we-yay! Now we need to call the RV dealer to find out where we go from here regarding to door, locks and handrail.  I’ll keep you posted.

Even with all of this, I LOVED the trip!  Would I do it again? Absolutely, hopefully next weekend!

Do you have any stress stories about your TT to share?  What happened? Did it change your love of camping? Thank you for sharing. 🙂

Happy Camping!

Pat

Freedom Express!

Hello my friends!  I am sorry that I ended up going, “radio silence” for the past few days.  As a newbie in blogging, as well as in camping with a travel trailer, I realized that the internet is essential when I’m trying to post.  I finally said something to my son and he was able to get my laptop up and running in a matter of minutes.

We finally picked her up; our Freedom Express Ultra Light 248RBS! She’s a beauty! She is just a little over 28 ft. long and sports a very nice rear bathroom.  The four of us, my husband Bill, my kids Will and Katie, and Ginger and Bella our two dogs, made the trek from Connecticut to Coldwater Michigan to pick her up so that we could really begin the camping journey. Yahoo!  So far the journey has been pretty restful and relaxing with a couple of spicy moments to keep us all on our toes!

When planning out the trip we decided to stay 20 minutes away from the dealership at the Yogi Bear Campground in Freemont, Indiana for the first two nights.  First off let me say that we really enjoyed the campground!  As one of the employees at the dealership said, “Wow, that’s the Disney of campgrounds,” and he was right.  It had an indoor pool, outdoor pool, huge splashpad for the younger children as well as a huge water slide section (additional charge that was reasonable-$12 covers admission for an entire day.)  There was a jumping pillow, mini golf, delicious ice cream, and a well-stocked general store.  Beyond this, they had playgrounds for each section of the campground, full hook-ups and events for the family throughout the day.  Golf carts? Yup! There were also paddle boats, golf carts and pedal carts for rental too.  If anyone gets bored there they are really trying to have an awful time.  We were not, so we enjoyed every minute!

Another reason that this was a good choice was because the sites themselves were well-maintained, and the patios were an awesome size.  The campfire pits were in a good position, not too close to the trailer or the patio; perfection!

The final reason why this was the best choice for us is because we needed to go back to the dealership each day.  We received a temporary paper license plate for the trailer at pick-up and amazingly the real deal came in the next day.  Sure, we could have had them send it to us back home but having the real plate meant that we could add the vehicle to our EZ Pass which makes going through the tolls SO much easier.  I highly suggest getting one for your travels if you have not yet.  We got ours a few years ago from NY State and we have never regretted the purchase.

We also needed to go back yesterday because one of the tail lights did not work on the trailer.  Yes, we were hot and I might add a little crabby while we were waiting, but thankfully we had a professional trace the problem to a blown fuse.  Phew! It wasn’t a big deal and we were on the road within an hour and a half.  It made the next part of the trip more relaxing…except for pulling a gigantic, brand-new trailer behind the truck. Another newbie moment; at the beginning of the 6 hours Bill was tense and obviously nervous, as time went by he became more and more comfortable. Bill did an AWESOME job on his maiden voyage!  We made it to State College, Pennsylvania by 8:00 PM.

This is about halfway between Haylett RV, in Coldwater and our home.  The scenery is amazing and so is the weather.  Temps in the low 80’s with a gentle breeze; perfect for BBQ and swimming.  We are going to play horseshoes later this afternoon.

Well this post is quite long-I missed you!  Please check in tomorrow and I would really appreciate a share if you are so inclined.  Enjoy your day today.

Happy Camping!

Pat

 

Saturday Night: Ready, Set, Go!

This is going to be a short post.

Laundry…done! Packed…done! House sitters…here! Truck…ready!

Pat & Bill…happy and excited!

Our camping trip is about to begin.  Time to pick-up our baby…can’t wait to share pictures of our new travel trailer.

Thanks for reading.  I love reading and responding to your comments. 🙂

Pat

 

Chomping at The Bit

Bill gets out of work in 30 minutes–he has been so excited for 4:30 to come today–camping is right around the corner!  I picture him acting like Fred Flintstone, a horn blowing and he yells, “yabba, dabba, doo!” as he skies down an apatosaurus’ tail (BTW, back in the day we called it a brontosaurus but scientists has since enhanced the name: aPATosaurus).  Anyway, one of the reasons that we began thinking of a getting a travel trailer for camping is because we have two beautiful dogs whom we love! Ginger is around 10 years old and most likely a chow-labrador mix.  Bella is 4 and she is a zuchon, half shih tzu and half bachon.  I appreciate the name that they created for her breed as it could have been a lot worse, and something that you wouldn’t want to repeat to your grandkids or grandma!

So getting back on track, both of our doggie girls are coming with us as we pick up the travel trailer.  The fur babies have always hated being boarded. Last time it took Ginger days to relax and stop panting once she got home from the kennel.  That problem is gone now that they will be joining us.  Yay!

Since the pups will be traveling, we decided to get them to the vet before we left. It was time to update their rabies, lyme disease and other vaccinations and we want to be sure that they are in great shape for the trip.  Not only do we want them to stay healthy, we want to be sure that if, I should say “when” they encounter other pals on the road they won’t pass on anything awful.  Ginger did need a little procedure but has been cleared to hit the road (not only did she get anesthesia for the procedure, she needed an anti-anxiety injection because she missed us so much when she woke up at the veterinarian’s office. This episode helped to confirm that the decision not to boarded them was the right one!)

As of this posting, we have shopped for equipment, done oodles of laundry, began to pack dry goods, and got the dogs all set health-wise.  Now we need to do a little bit of grocery shopping, finish packing and check our route so that we don’t end up on a parkway where TTs don’t belong. I wonder, has this ever been an issue for any on you? Do you use a particular app that helps drivers with campers, TTs, and RVs navigate well?

Thank you for taking the time to read my posts.  I so appreciate it and hope if you like it you will pass along to another traveler.

Pat

 

Trying to Take the Whole House

I have a question for those of you out there who have been camping for a long time, do you try to bring all of your belongings with you when you camp?  I have a feeling that it is kind of like having your first baby and over-packing the diaper bag when you head to the grocery store with outfits, toys, diapers and wipes, shopping cart cover, sunblock, mittens, sunhat, snow hat and the like when all the baby will ever need is a pacifier. Having said that, I needed to experience the dragging of the 40lb bag from my car to the store while balancing the baby in the carseat in the other hand.  Actually, I had to have that experience about ten times before I decided to leave the diaper bag in the car.

As Bill and I begin to pack for our trip, our dining room table is covered in items that we think are essential.  Looking at it now, I’m not quite sure that we will need all of this stuff on our first outing.  Sure, linens and towels are musts but a new paper towel holder? Surely we will survive without that, won’t we?

So, I am asking a little advice…what would you say are the essentials that everyone should have on a first camping trip in the new travel trailer?  I sure would love to know your thoughts.

Thank you!

Pat

 

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