Trial Run – Saturday

 Trial Run – Day Two

It’s a good thing we went to bed early because we got up early. Very early. As in, the birds asked us to keep it down because they were trying to sleep. Excitement coupled with a desire to get started got us going.  I should say here in complete honesty Lee got me going.  (Yes, that’s true. – Lee) Lee is a very early riser, so for him a 5:30 rise time is normal, but for me on a weekend, not so much.  We got up and walked outside and it was so quiet.  I mean really quiet, like you never get to experience in a town, and I took a deep breath and smiled.  I had forgotten how much I liked the quiet.  Raising three kids and working at a job that requires non-stop communication with people (I am a project manager/efficiency expert) doesn’t allow for much genuine quiet.  It was a great feeling, but then the practicalities kicked in.  We had no coffee. No food. Some people can roll with these kind of things, but for me these are pretty basic requirements. So we got in the truck went back home and took showers and grabbed a bite to eat.  I know what you’re thinking, at this point we had spent precious little time actually at the campsite.  You would be right and it actually gets worse before it gets better!

Refreshed and ready to face the day we went back to the camper.  Of course it wasn’t even 8am yet, so I puttered around double checking the list and Lee worked on whatever it was that he needed to do. Finally it was time to go back to shopping!  We had picked up a lot of what we needed at Target, but it turned out that there a lot of things specific to a travel trailer that Target didn’t have. We needed to go to a store that specializes in camping and RVs.

The nearest camping store was 1-1/2 hours away in Chichester, near Concord, but we decided to make the drive and go to Camper’s World.  Camper’s World is definitely the place to go for RV camping specific supplies!  We had gone to outdoor/sports places and they have items but mostly these are for tent camping and the hard-core adventurer.  (As you are learning, we are not hard-core adventurers. – Lee) Camper’s World is for the RV traveler and our wish list got MUCH longer once we saw what they had to offer. One thing I want to mention here is their Good Sam club membership. It includes, for $69.95, tow assistance for both your vehicles and trailers.  Even if you have tow assistance on your current vehicle it may not cover the trailer, and I thought the coverage they provide was definitely a bargain for the corresponding piece of mind.  I also want to mention that this is where we blew our budget.  We had spent the bulk of the initial $1,000 on “household goods”, but Camping World had RV supplies, really a completely different category and I’ll be honest we completely blew the budget.  By the time we were done with initial expenses I think we hit about $1,800.  Also, measure everything before you go.  Spacial relationships are different in a camper than what you’re used to, and you’d be surprised how often things won’t fit. Below are some of the more interesting things we saw:

  • Carpet for the steps – Apparently camping is a bit dirty…who knew?  So as I was sweeping for the umpteenth time I realized we needed both mats and carpets steps to minimize the dirt. The people in my family will laugh to hear me say I was sweeping (I am not known as the cleanest person in the world) but it’s a small space and keeping it neat just makes sense.  But step carpeting for the RV was #1 on my list.  Unfortunately we hadn’t pre-measured so we had to delay this purchase until later
  • Electric jack – when we had the incident with not being able to get the camper unhitched poor Lee was cranking the trailer up and down and up and down.  I tried but it’s pretty hard to do, so electric jack is definitely high on our list of things to buy in the future
  • Paddy O’ Room –  This is a way to enclose your canopy.  VERY expensive and we did not buy one, but it did go on our wish list
  • New mattress – the mattress was really not working for me, but the ones they had for sale were in the $600 range.  Too much to spend without some comparison shopping and some thought.  While Queen sheets may work on a Queen short the mattress has to be specially made in order to take advantage of the storage space underneath.  It was good to know there were options, but this was something we would chew on.
  • Pioneer Grill – I love the fact that the camper has a three burner stove and an oven, but I wanted to try cooking on a campfire.  We had done some of this when we took the kids tent camping, but I love a fire and the challenge was appealing.  I did remember however what a pain it was to cook on uneven heat and saw a product I just had to try.  The campfire grill looked great in the box, but older and wiser now I knew it was a long shot.  Imagine my surprise when it worked great.  It is very heavy-duty and has a stake that sticks in the ground.  You can adjust the grill up or down over the fire and it comes with its own nice carry bag.  This product was great and absolutely lived up to its packaging. (Update:  we love this product.  It has totally held up and works at almost every campfire ring we have had.)

Finally done, it’s getting late again and by the time we stopped at the store it was 6pm.  I decided to try something simple, that I had never done before so I made chicken legs, corn on the cob, and sliced tomatoes.  We grill out a lot; hamburgers, steak, beef products, but never chicken, so I was in uncharted territory.  It took 1-1/2 hours to get the fire hot enough and cook the chicken but it tasted great and it was an easy start to my cooking adventures.  I should mention here that the camper has a real table and 4 chairs.  This was a huge selling point for Lee as he doesn’t like the little booths and we were both very happy sitting down to our first meal. (Seriously, take a look at the picture. Doesn’t that look better than some weird booth that turns into a bed? Who wants to sleep where people eat? Who wants to eat where people sleep? Give me a proper table and chairs, and I’m a happy man. – Lee)

 

Lessons Learned

  • Coffee, food, and showers are a minimum requirement (at least for us)
  • A trial run 15 minutes away was once again a brilliant idea.
  • Budget for the money you will need to equip the camper
  • The lighter, cheaper, less expensive option is often best
  • When purchasing always think about storage and space
  • Don’t skimp on the can opener
  • Know what matters to you and don’t skimp on those items.  Everything else bargain shop
  • Invest in trailer roadside assistance.  The piece of mind is worth the price.
  • Be prepared to go over budget.
  • Measure everything in the camper (interior and exterior) before going shopping.

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