Monthly Archives: March 2016

First trip of the year… Rain, Sun in a Box and hand cranks… OH MY!

OK, I think maybe we’re a little boring. We tend to go to the same campground over and over and it’s in the town we live in. But, in our defense, this trip was to make sure that the new tow vehicle (Little Red Wagon, our “new to us” Jeep Grand Cherokee) did okay.

OK is an understatement! Oh, my gosh, it did great! Amazing to go from our little Jeep Wrangler to this V-8! To say the least, it was quite the change. Pandora just kind of floated back there. Easy-peasy!

Aren't they pretty together?
Aren’t they pretty together?

I also did some decorating. We had originally gotten some really nice, fluffy gray bed throws. They were awesome, but had some serious static cling going, no matter how much fabric softener we used. Also, they shed like crazy! So, you wound up having to fight your way out of bed and then lint roll yourself! Eeek!

I thought there was a little TOO much gray in there, so I wanted to punch it up with some yellow. I am, at heart, a cheap skate. I hate paying a lot for much of anything. Which, in hind sight, is probably how I wound up with the clingy covers. Ooops. But, I posted on Facebook to see if my friends would keep an eye out for some cheap yellow quilts. My friend Teresa hit the jackpot and found me some for $14 each at Steinmart!!! I also got a nice, gray pillow cover for my body pillow (a must have for me). So, here’s a totally staged picture. It looked like this until the very first night I went to sleep in it, and I never made it up after that. Sorry, I’m a slob. But, can we pretend it looked like this all weekend?

Moxie the Owl just adds the perfect touch. She knows it's a comfy bed!
Moxie the Owl just adds the perfect touch. She knows it’s a comfy bed!

And, yes, that’s a candle in the left corner, but I’m not a fire bug, it’s LED and battery operated. It’s so nice to have that at night. I just reach over and pop it on when I have to get up to go to the bathroom. It’s dim enough that it doesn’t kill your night vision, and bright enough that I don’t fall and kill myself on the way to the bathhouse!

Now, we all know that the best parts of camping are the unexpected, right? Well, we have covered that for the year! Let me tell you about our first night. For starters, I wound up having to work late, so we didn’t even get out the door until about 7:30pm. So, it was getting a bit dark. Luckily, campground is close! Did I mention it was raining? Just a sprinkle, but still.

We get there, and pull on into our space, level and unhook. We are getting pretty good at this, so I’m thinking we have it made. Then, we hit the switch to raise the roof, and… it goes up about 3 inches, super slowly. And dies. Caput. Dead. Finis. No more. Oh, no.

All is not lost, though! There’s a little port on the front, where the motor is. Just  insert the little hand crank-thingy and all will be fine. Now, where did we store that? Oh, yeah. Under the mattress. SIGH. Luckily, we could reach in and pull it out through the door. If it had been in the middle or if the battery would have been totally dead… we’d have had a much worse evening. It is now stored IN THE JEEP!

So, we got it out and began the process. It’s almost full-dark. But, I remember having the hand-crank roofs when I was kid, and it didn’t take long. Well, that was when they were made hand crank only and had a huge crank.

Old School! These were easy!
Old School! These Were Easy!

 

Now, it’s a tiny thing, like a coat hanger wire on steroids. And, it takes F O R E V E R.

This. I hate this thing.
This. I hate THIS!

So, we haven’t eaten, it’s dark, it’s raining and the roof is going up by millimeters. But, you know what? We just laughed. We’re in a beautiful place, listening to the river just roaring, and we’re about to get to spend a whole weekend together in our wonderful camper. So, it’s all good!

Of course, by the end of the weekend, we’d ran home to check on the Mom and the Cats, and brought back the trickle charger to get the battery back to life. No luck. It was dead. Gotta get a new one. But, it is the original battery, and who knows how well it was maintained. So, not the end of the world. Chad was NOT going to use that stupid little crank, though. Not my man! So, he brought a different socket to use on our cordless drill (the one we use to put the stabilizers down). It went MUCH faster this time!

He hates having his picture made, but this was genius, so I had to!
He hates having his picture made, but this was genius, so I had to!

One of the things I have always loved about camping, and am so glad has remained true, is the friendliness of other campers. While we are hand cranking up the camper in the dark, a guy comes by and notices we’re doing this by flash light. He asks if we want to borrow his lantern. We told him thanks, but no. A few minutes, he’s back. With the actual sun. Seriously, someone took the freakin’ sun and crammed it in plastic housing. I have no idea how they did it, but it was AWESOME!!! It made it like setting up the camper during the day. We took him up on his offer, and then proceeded to buy one just like it the next day!

It's the sun.
It’s the sun.Buy it Here

His name was Bill, and over the weekend, we talked to him and his girlfriend Sherri several times. He even brought Chad over a cold beer, and let us share his campfire. They introduced us to the couple beside them, who had made a weekend trip down from WISCONSIN! That’s a very long drive for a 3 day weekend! They were the only other pop up in the place. They had a Flagstaff like ours, but bigger. I had camper couch envy! They have the wraparound sofa. It’s so nice! But, I didn’t say it out loud. Pandora might hear, and I don’t want her feelings getting hurt.

For some reason, camper manufacturers assume that you are going to cook (they include a cook top in the camper), but never wash dishes. At least, I assume that’s what they assume, because the sink is about 7 inches across and about 5 inches deep.

This is supposed to hold iron skillets. Right.
This is supposed to hold iron skillets. Right.

OK, maybe not that bad, but they are STUPID tiny. And, then, to make matters worse, they have faucets that have no rise. You seriously cannot fit a small Tervis tumbler under our faucet to fill it with water. And, I’m supposed to do dishes in that. Really??  So, I bought this to add to our sink.

Enter: Rinse Ace!
Enter: Rinse Ace!

It’s supposed to be something you use to rinse a baby off in a sink. But, it snaps onto your existing faucet aerator (did I spell that right? Spell check says yes, but I’m just not liking it), and works like a spray handle on a kitchen sink. I can fill glasses, our hot pot, and rinse off dishes easily. I can also fill the dish pan I use like it’s a second sink basin. SO MUCH EASIER!!!

Naturally, I did not remember to take a picture of it in use, or even just attached. But, it’s a freaking miracle, and keeps you from having to attempt major remodeling to add a better sink and/or faucet. And, at $20, worth every dime!!!

Next post, I’ll share a new State Park here in TN that we visited. I thought I’d keep this one camper-centric and share outdoorsy stuff separately. Does that make it more cohesive? Not that my rambling is EVER cohesive. But, still…

 

Up with Upholstery

So, eventually, we want to reupholster the dinette cushions. They’re not dirty or worn, just very blah. Most of the camper is decorated in gray, yellow and blue. With blue being the color of the canvas, we tend to use more gray and yellow inside.

We have our adorable owl curtains & other owly accents. So, keep those in mind:

 

See, isn't she adorable??
See, isn’t she adorable??

 

Now, with that adorable-ness in mind, here’s some of the upholstery “in the running” for being Pandora’s next update. Vote for your favorite!

dotty
dotty
Script (pick top or bottom
Script (pick top or bottom
dandelions
dandelions
peacocky
peacocky
flowery
flowery
ovals
ovals

Spring is Coming!!

Well, we’ve had a strange winter. It was crazy warm throughout December, and then when January hit, it was miserable. Wet and snowy, and nasty and cold, and all the other bad words you can think of. So, we hunkered down and dreamed of warm days by the river.

Lousy weather made for beautiful sunsets
Lousy weather made for beautiful sunsets
Brrrrrr
Beautiful drive home on a freezing cold day

Today, it’s feeling as if it might some day be Spring. It was over freezing, the sky was clear and blue (for a while, anyway), and if you got out of the wind, it felt pretty good.
So, we felt the camping itch, and got Pandora out today. During the winter, we got a new (well, new to us) tow vehicle (TV for those of you that get the slang). It’s a Jeep Grand Cherokee. Chad being Chad, he went through it from one end to the other, replacing everything that was even slightly less than perfect. He’s a gear-head and perfectionist, so it look new, even though it’s a 2004 model. Today was the first day we got to hook up Pandora and give it a test-tow. Holy crap, was it ever different than towing it behind that tiny Jeep Wrangler. You can forget it’s even back there!
Naturally, I got all excited and forgot to take a picture of it hooked up. SIGH. But, here’s a pic of the tow vehicle by itself. As I name every inanimate object in our home, it has been named Little Red Wagon.

Little Red Wagon on Roan Mountain
Little Red Wagon on Roan Mountain

We did a small version of Camp Driveway. We pulled Pandora out of the yard and up into the driveway, pumped the tires up a bit, and popped her out. I was terrified that we’d find a family of chipmunks a commune of mice and a couple of anacondas, but thankfully, we only found one spider and one dead stink bug.
We just had to get something fun done, so we thought we’d do a quick project. I had bought these super cute owl drawer pulls on Etsy, and Chad put them in for me. It should have taken just a few minutes, but of course, it’s us. Let’s see… some of our original pulls were on with phillips head, some with flat. The new pulls were too long for the 3 doors, but not the 3 drawers. And, one pull had been put in with some sort of epoxy, and hadn’t been screwed in properly prior to that, so we had to pull the pull off the screw, tap it and re-epoxy. Yeah, only us. But, totally worth it.
Before:

IMG_1080IMG_1081
After:

IMG_1085IMG_1083

Whoooo's cute?
So stinkin’ cute!!!!!

Chad also took a moment to figure out a solution for the side canvas. We had two places it was supposed to tuck in that it was always working loose. They simply didn’t give a long enough “tail” on the canvas. So, he did a quick fix with just a sheet metal screw. Just caught the canvas in its “tucked” position and tacked it in to stay that way.

The blue part to the right loves to pop out of the channel
The blue part to the right loves to pop out of the channel
You're so screwed.
Not anymore!!!

The only other addition was a purchase to keep me from killing myself. We have a slide out step that slides STRAIGHT OUT. It’s still a pretty good hike up onto it. It was only a matter of time before I wiped out. So, we got me a little step. It’s awesome!! Super stable and came in handy. We stood on it to get the canvas wraps all the way around the corner posts. We usually just have to jump and smack at it. Yeah, we’re some short campers!

No more jumping!
No more jumping!

I realized that I was the worst blogger ever last year. I didn’t post stuff from the other campground we stayed at last year! It was a 4th of July trip with family, and it was AWESOME! So, I’m going to put up a post about that soon. Better late than never, right?!

I’ve ordered several things for Pandora over the past week, so hopefully the next time we pop her open, we’ll have some pretty interior shots. She’s freaking adorable, and I must share.

OH, and big mile stone!!! Pandora has been ours for a year now! She has to have her tags renewed this month. Technically, in TN, she’s a small enough trailer we do not have to tag her. BUT, it makes it easier to trace and file paperwork if she’s stolen, and helps with insurance. So, she’s tagged.

Any of our other camping friends, where are you planning to camp this year? When do you get started? What are your go-to camp spots? Are you a rough it person, or a glamper? What kinds of fun stuff are you going to do to/buy for your camper?