Friday, May 18, 2012

First trip of 2012: Shaking off the cobwebs


This past weekend we took a collective deep breath and set off for our first camping adventure of the 2012 season, at Hickory Run State Park. Since we hadn't been camping in five months, and the last time was somewhat of a comedy of errors, we were a little apprehensive about it. Aside from installing our new batteries, we hadn't moved the trailer from its storage facility home in months, and we had a lovely dump station situation to look forward to.

Posing with the new batteries. YAY!
The drive up the Northeast Extension was pretty harrowing. Because of the construction going on, there are only two VERY narrow lanes, and trucks and buses are alerted to stay in the left lane. Nothing about trailers, but we figured we fell into that category. Hauling a trailer in the left lane of a two-lane highway probably doesn't make a lot of sense - at least it didn't to the two million cars that passed us on the right. Eventually we settled in behind a truck that was driving at a comfortable speed, one where my heart didn't drop to my knees every time an SUV passed us.

Steve admitted he was a little rusty on the driving front, but by the time we arrived he was getting the hang of things again. Which was a good thing, considering the road that leads to Hickory Run is one of those winding, steep labyrinthine delights where any wrong move could send you right off the edge. Needless to say, we were both relieved and exhausted by the time we found our campsite and settled in. We'd brought along fishing rods and even purchased fishing licenses, but laziness and our appetites took over and we decided to eat first instead.

After checking in, I insisted that we pay a visit to the dump station, even though Steve wanted to put it off until we left. First of all, our entire reason for taking the trailer out was to dump the tanks (this was also our reason for taking it out in December, but we learned that in the winter, tanks freeze). Even before we took off, Steve had me dump a bag of ice down the toilet, hoping that would break things up. (Sorry for the imagery. Even though we may make it seem that way, trailer life isn't all glamour all the time.) So luckily we had the whole dump station to ourselves. Steve pulled up his sleeves and did his thing, while I sat back and enjoyed the fact that I don't have to deal with that stuff.

Gettin' busy
The campsite itself was fairly quiet. We'd expected to get a wooded site similar to the one we'd had last year, but this time we occupied a space that was more open and grassy. The sites were situated around a field with a small playground. Behind us, there was a smattering of trees and brush, and just beyond that the road.

Road leading to our site
So we really didn't have the feel of a state park as much as we wanted to. It felt more like a campground this time around. But as far as what we needed, it was great. The temperatures varied between 60s and low 70s, which was perfect for our campfire.

Campsite
The one thing we did have to do before fully relaxing was go to the camp store for some necessities (logs, s'more supplies, bug spray). We left Lola behind and set off for the trek on foot, not wanting to disconnect the Mountaineer if we didn't have to. However, we totally underestimated how far away we were from the store. This wouldn't have been a problem, except that Steve had to carry a bundle of logs on our way back, while I schlepped the four or five grocery bags up and down my arms. Lesson learned: Unhooking the car is worth it.

That night was the first time we let Lola out of her crate to sleep. In the past, we had to struggle to set up the crate in between the dinette and the kitchen counter, so if you ever wanted to walk to the bathroom in the middle of the night, you'd either have to hope you remembered it was there or suffer a painful toe-stubbing injury. Now, we're just using the crate as a gate to section off the bedroom from the rest of the trailer. At our house, we've gradually phased her out of crating and she's been amazing (nothing chewed or destroyed yet, knock on wood!) but we worried that she might whine and cry in a smaller space.

Surprise! She was a real gem and didn't whimper once. I think she's so happy to be able to spend the night on a comfy couch that she doesn't even think about venturing into the bedroom.

Other highlights:
1) Kerplunk. To fill in the "down time" when it's too late to do anything, and there's nothing interesting on the non-cable TV, we splurged on a board game, which happened to be a childhood favorite, Kerplunk. Turns out it's just as entertaining as I remembered (or maybe we're easily entertained) to try to find the perfect spot to pull out one of those sticks so as not to disturb the marbles resting on top.
See all the marbles in my tray? Think this is when I lost



2) Remembering the joys of camping. Even though we didn't go on any extended hikes, it was nice to be able to take a walk around the campground with Lola and check out the other campers. Most of the people there were in tents, but we also spied an Airstream that looked pretty cozy.

I missed posing with Lola!
The area in the middle of the campsites
Steve's mostly successful campfire - the damn thing didn't want to stay lit!
So overall, the trip turned out way better than we predicted. The tanks are finally empty, so we don't have that to worry about. However, we do have to get our trailer in for inspection sometime this month or next (who knew? trailers need to be inspected too) before our trip to Savannah. It looks like all systems are a-go for now! Can't wait to get back on the road. 

25 comments:

  1. nice to see you posting again!!..sounds like your first trip was a resounding success!!!..we are heading out this afternoon for our 2012 maiden voyage!!..should be interesting!!

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    1. thanks Sue and Doug!! good luck on your maiden voyage, can't wait to read about it! About to hop on over to your blog right now and catch up on what I've missed!

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  2. Was wondering if you guys got out for your first trip yet. We're still stationary for a few more months yet. Dreaming of getting outta here! Same view of the same river outside our back window.

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    1. Hi guys!! You're getting so close to full-timing now, it must be so exciting! I'm sure you can't wait. We need to meet up one of these days somewhere near your neck of the woods!

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  3. Yay you're back!!! I missed reading your posts. Now you just need to invite us on a trip with you ;)

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    1. I know finally! Now I'm back in the swing of things. We should totally do a trip sometime!! That would be so much fun.

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  4. Thought you had disappeared but glad your back. Our countdown is 16 days out but we just openned the office window to the sweet smell of somebody using their wood burning fireplace. The hitchitch is grow. Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

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    1. Thanks Rick and Kathy! There's nothing better than that smell, that's for sure. I bet you can't wait to get back on the road!

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  5. Somebody should buy Steve a pair of gloves for the dump station. When things go wrong, (and one day they do for no reason at all) it happens in a big HURRY and if you aren't already wearing gloves, then it can get real icky gooey nasty stomach churning really fast.

    With gloves you can jump into action to try to abate the situation before it gets much worse, without gloves, well...

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    1. Very true! Thanks for pointing that out. Steve normally wears gloves but was out of them at the time. As a plumber, though, he's kind of an expert in stomach churning stuff...haha, so I guess he's not too fazed by it all. Better him than me!

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  6. You sound a lot like us....taking trips to dump our tanks!!! We started taking a large bucket and filling it in the bathtub and leaving it there on the ride to the dump station when we leave then dump it down the toilet when we dump the tanks....seems to work well. We haven't been to many full hookups lately so we have to get as much done at the dump station as possible. The campground looks nice. Glad you had a great weekend!!!

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  7. Matt's Young Marines do their boot camp at Hickory Run! If you're ever there late July and see a bunch of children in camouflage, ask them where "Doc" is. :)

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  8. Congratulations on a successful first trip of the season. Our FL trip was great and we are leaving tomorrow for a long weekend in the Quad Cities KOA near Moline, IL. The Great River trail(bike path) is right along the Mississippi River and we love the scenery. Looking forward to reading about your Savannah trip.

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  9. Thanks for blogging about your camping trip! Fun! Can't wait to read about Savannah... RV trip to Savannah would be my dream come true :)

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  10. We just bought our first travel trailer, a Crossroads Slingshot! We have no experience with this sort of thing but can't wait to get started. Like you our tow vehicle isn't too powerful so our trailer is small, 27 feet, and light, 4,700 pounds. There is so much to learn! Dumping? Sounds kind of scary! Guess we'll figure it out before our first trip later this month.

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  11. Hi, Nice post thanks for sharing. Would you please consider adding a link to my website on your page. Please email me back.

    Thanks!

    Joel
    JHouston791@gmail.com

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  12. Hi,
    Will you please post a link to your Blog at The RV Living Community? Our members will love it.
    Members include: Full-Time RVers, Full-Time RV Experts and Enthusiasts, etc.
    It's easy to do, just cut and paste the link and it automatically links back to your website. You can also add Articles, Photos, Videos and Classifieds if you like.
    Email me if you need any help or would like me to do it for you.
    Please feel free to share as often and as much as you like.
    The RV Living Community: http://www.vorts.com/rv-living/
    I hope you consider sharing with us.
    Thank you,
    James Kaufman, Editor

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  13. Absolutely! Trailers need to be inspected also. :) It’s actually a good way to prevent experiencing tire problems along the way, or worse, getting a flat. Trailer tires are far different from automotive tires, you know. Trailer tires have stiff, beefy sidewalls and a few structural components which provide stability that handle the stress and dynamics imposed by a towed load.

    Tia Oshields

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  14. Hi Happily Hitched. My hubby and I are getting ready to purchase a 5th wheel and become full-timers. We are under contract to sell our house and are closing Nov. 13th. Just wanted to let you know your blog has been very comical, informative, and amusing. My hubby and I have read every blog post together and have really gotten excited about our journey. Hope you start blogging again soon.

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  15. You’re right, Tia. Tire checking is indeed essential especially on RVs, since it has more load and it’s used on longer trips. In addition, be sure to check the battery of an RV. You’d need a voltmeter, hydrometer, protective gloves, eyewear and water in checking your RV’s battery.

    Rosalinda Rudloff

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  16. KERPLUNK!!! I haven't played kerplunk in SO long.

    If you ever get to Colorado with your RV, be sure to message me... we'll get together and play some kerplunk.

    Andrew
    Mattress Insider

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  17. OK Solla-mates, I have to ask. Where have you been? It's been a long time since your last post. Did you go on your summer RV vacation? Did you sell the trailer? How about an update? I hope you are doing well and planning on keeping the blog going. Curt

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  18. Saarthak Travels Solution, as a privately owned Travel agency in Delhi has offered tour and travel services to guests since 18 years. They provide various tour packages in reasonable rates like Himachal Tour Package and many others.
    Go for Video

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  19. Hopefully everything is ok, hope to get an update soon.

    Erik

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  20. Where have you guys been? Come back to blogging. Still on the road? Check out my blog sometime!

    ReplyDelete