Thanks for all the wonderful replies and support!
We survived our weekend in the Casita
. Here is a rundown on events:
1. Laura and I driveway camped Wednesday night for the first time. I took off Thursday and Friday from work. Since I got home around 5:30 pm on Wednesday, we didn't have lots of time to prepare, so we kept it simple. The plan was more or less just to sleep in the Casita
. We did not prepare any meals, but we did sleep, use the fridge
, and yes, we used the bathroom! Heck, I even took a shower Thursday morning in the Casita
. The weather was warm enough that we used the Fantastic Fan all night. It kept the Casita in the high 60s for sleeping. Very nice. I also installed a new propane
gas detector that also involved me buying a crimping tool and some connectors in order to wire/connect the detector. I think RVing may make me handier. I have always been too busy to be much of a DIYer, but I like to try IF I have time.
2. Thursday was devoted to making final purchases in terms of gear and tools. We also waited to buy storage containers until we purchased most of the stuff that we thought we needed. We then organized it and bought containers to accommodate the various categories of items: freshwater hoses and related items, hitching/stabilizing and related items, electrical
and related items, and standard hose for blackwater rinsing and anything dealing with dumping (stored separately). The weather was supposed to have been bad Thursday night and we were not going to driveway camp, but the rain stopped by later afternoon, so we driveway camped a 2nd night as well. Thursday night was cool after the front moved through, so we used our cube heater that worked wonderfully.
3. Friday included an impromptu trip to my mechanic to check on the valve stems of our tow vehicle. Hmmm, did not plan on that. All worked out. Packing and organizing the Casita and Borrego was kinda of two steps forward, then rearrange, etc. OK, we could have checked in at the Bowling Green KOA at 12 pm. We managed to get there at 3 pm. Keep in mind the KOA is about 2.5 miles from our house!
OK, we have a pull through site and I really concentrated on centering the Casita with the concrete patio. I got all set up. The last thing I was going to do was connect the sewer hose, BUT it would not reach the sewer. Strategic error on my part, but no big deal. We just backed up after hooking up the next morning when we were leaving. What did I learn? One, perhaps there is more to parking on a site other than centering based on the patio!
2. I need a 2nd section of sewer hose!
I tried out our new Weber Q1200 and grilled chicken breast. Worked great. We nuked some stir-fry veggies in the microwave
. It worked. Friday was down right cold! It got down to 37. In fact, I was a little warm with the cube heater on the lowest setting, so I turned it off at 5 am. OK, I woke up at 7:30 am and it was 51 degrees in the Casita!!! Cold, but it was nice to turn on the cube heater and get back in bed. NICE.
Timeout for some general reflections and random thoughts:
A. Wow, there is a lot of work involved in getting ready to go camping: planning, packing, hitching/unhitching/hitching/unhitching, and unpacking.
B. I have made a number of reservations. All the folks I have spoken to have been polite and helpful. I have used Reserve America for some reservations and it has worked well.
C. I am impressed with folks at campgrounds. They are just so damn friendly. I got more waves and hellos in 24 hours at the KOA than I have all winter in my subdivision.
D. Yet, campgrounds are quite heterogeneous despite my assumption that all these folks like to camp. For example, there were tent campers and folks camping in the cars across the street from us, but huge Class As within eyesight that probably cost as much or more than my home!
E. I was a little disappointed to see a few folks leaving litter around their campsite.
F. Our Maltese, Gibbs, went with us and driveway camped as well. He loves traveling and camping despite his disdain of other dogs. We are working on that. He loves taking walks, including the campground.
G. Recently, Laura and I met a couple here in Bowling Green that also own a Casita. I met him on a Casita Forum. Since then we have been emailing. He and his wife came to the campground to meet Laura and I. We talked about Casitas, travel, kids, college, life, and meeting again soon. Since our trip, he has followed up with me and would like to camp with us the next time we do a 2 to 3 hour trip. Come to find out, we have several common friends.
Back to the trip. . .
4. Saturday was a crisp morning. Laura stayed in bed. I got up at 7:30 am. I made coffee on the patio under the awning
. It warmed up quickly. GOSH, it was beautiful. I loved putzing under the awning
, fixing b-fast, etc. I took a leisurely b-fast, Laura got up late, I people watched, and before we knew it, it was time to pack up, hitch up, and go home. Given we only drove 2.5 miles to the campground and I had only practiced towing one other time, we took the Casita up Natcher Parkway about 25 miles then exited and came home. Then, it took me 2 hours to unload!
Also, the first time we practiced towing, I thought my trailer hubs seemed a bit warm. I think I liked the security of the having the brake controller set too high. This time, I backed off on the controller setting. Trailer brakes
worked fine and they were warm, but not nearly as warm as the first time. I used a new digital infrared gun to check hub and brake drum temperatures. Lot's of new toys with RVing!
This experience was a means to an end, not an end in itself. We spent lots of time planning, packing, hitching (yes, unhitching, only to get up 18 hours later to hitch up to go home to unhitch), and unpacking. This shake down weekend was not really about the camping; it was about the process. We did have lots of fun with the process, but we are looking forward to staying at our next destination more than 21 hours before leaving!
Oh, we did have a little set back. The refrigerator
had been working just fine on AC for the two days we driveway camped, but I could not get it to light
. I think something needs to be cleaned. Even though I did not need to, I switched it over to DC for the trip to the KOA. By the time we got the KOA, the fridge
had stopped working completely. We have an external fridge
fan that stopped working as well, which tells me that I think it is something electrical
, probably a fuse, but the fuse in the breaker box is fine. The fuse in the external fridge panel is fine. Hmmm. I read the owner's manual last night. Apparently, there are two more fuses behind the power module located in the external fridge panel. I wanted to check that today, but too busy with it being Easter.
BTW, when we hitched up to leave, we backed up, hooked up the sewer hose and managed to empty the black tank and gray tank without any drama! I then did a black tank flush for the practice of using the black tank wand. Whew! All went well.
Unfortunately, I am traveling for another week for work, so no immediate follow-ups on this trip, but we are going to Townsend, TN in the Smoky's in mid April for the 9th Annual Eggscursion Rally! I will take one more afternoon before then to hitch-up, practice backing up, towing, and unhitching. Practice, practice, practice! ;
Smokey Mountains here were come!
P.S. - I do have a couple of questions, but I will put them in a separate post(s).