Ready For Our First Night Camping! - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV

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Old 03-27-2016, 05:25 PM   #15
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Name: james
Trailer: Boler 1984
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Treat your first camp out just like tenting then add necessary items as required. Items not used can be taken back into the house.

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Old 03-27-2016, 10:48 PM   #16
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Name: Dean
Trailer: 2005 Casita 17' Freedom Deluxe
Posts: 345
Hi All,

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!

Final thoughts:

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 on propane. 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!

Take care,


P.S. - I do have a couple of questions, but I will put them in a separate post(s).

Laura & Dean | '05 Casita 17' FD | '09 Kia Borrego Limited V8 2WD
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Old 03-27-2016, 10:58 PM   #17
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Name: Bill
Trailer: 2016 Scamp 13 Deluxe Birch w/front dinette
Posts: 298
Dean..sounds like you did great

Sounds like you guy's did great ..

Like you said, better to take a few practice runs as long as you can.

Good luck on the upcoming trip to the Smokeys
A three egg family..

(2) Big Green Eggs for cooking..(1) Egg for camping
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Old 03-28-2016, 03:17 AM   #18
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Name: Dave
Trailer: Casita SD17 2006
Posts: 2,081
Hi Dean, I'm sure you've seen posts dealing with the refer not lighting on PL. Only takes a little bit of dirt or a spider nest to clog it up. If you have an air compressor blow it out. Had to chuckle about taking 2 hours to unload. I think you'll find that you can leave most of your things in the trailer for the next trip and cut that time down. We pretty much only unload perishable food, trash, dirty clothes, any extras we took along for that trip and I do a quick cleaning. I keep mine ready to use, water, LP and supplies in case of emergencies.
Loading for a trip is another story. May take a week but we're retired. The food is the last thing loaded. BTW, even if you use a check sheet you will some times forget things. You may have to heat up the soup in the coffee pot cuz you just had to do that big cleaning of the pots and pans and they're still in the dishwasher .
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Old 03-28-2016, 06:56 AM   #19
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Name: Kevin
Trailer: 28' Bigfoot Silver Cloud
Oak Park, IL
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Looking forward to seeing all your new skills at the Eggs a la Bourbon gathering in June. You will get to practice your front to back leveling a bit, too!
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Old 03-28-2016, 07:45 AM   #20
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Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 Std
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Morning coffee outside in a beautiful location while the family sleeps in is one of my favorite camping perks too! Last week I sipped mine watching the sun rise over Lake Pleasant as the full moon set in the west and a wild burro came down to the water for a drink.

Get used to surprises. Yours was the fridge, mine was a suddenly non-functional DC power system.

As long as there is coffee in the morning, the rest is negotiable.

Sounds like a great beginning, Dean!
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Old 03-28-2016, 08:31 AM   #21
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Name: Mary
Trailer: Escape 21; (formerly Casita LD 17 & 16)
Posts: 9,088
Talking Elegance

Originally Posted by DeanCHS1980 View Post
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!
That's how we do it on the rare occasions that we have a site with sewer. I always figure folks who have their stinky slinky in semi-permanent set up mode, have either been there awhile (camping in one spot for weeks at a time), or don't know it's not a good idea to leave the holding tank gates open. We don't want to expose our slinky to the elements (sunshine or being kicked). What you did is what we call the more elegant solution to the problem. YMMV.

Congrats on your first camping. Obviously you are going to love many more to come!
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Old 03-28-2016, 09:23 AM   #22
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Name: Kathy
Trailer: 1987 Bigfoot B17
Posts: 562
Congrats on your first real camping trip! Everything will get easier and quicker with practice. I sometimes think short weekend trips are more work than long trips. After you get everything into your trailer for your trip you're good to go for weeks or months on end!
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Old 03-28-2016, 05:17 PM   #23
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Name: Dean
Trailer: 2005 Casita 17' Freedom Deluxe
Posts: 345
Hi All,

BillE, I have definitely practiced the hitching/unhitching routine many times and recognize the importance of locking down a routine. I have learned a bunch since November.

Dave, you know me, I wil do my "research" on trying to diagnose the problems with the reefer. Yup, with a little practice, I think we will figure out what to leave in the Casita, so I don't have to continue packing and unpacking the same item over and over.

Kevin, I recently stopped by My Old KY Home State Park. Between back-in sites and some unlevel sites, there will be opportunity for learning and practice!

Jon, love your approach to coffee. A good cup of coffee helps get the day started right. Would have loved to have seen the wild burro!

Mary, I like your reframe of my "elegant solution". I thought I made a mistake. Instead I was doing "best practice" and didn't realize it!

Kathy, I agree. I was talking with Laura that it seemed like packing for a short trip was potentially the same as packing for a longer trip.

Take care,

Laura & Dean | '05 Casita 17' FD | '09 Kia Borrego Limited V8 2WD
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Old 03-29-2016, 02:45 PM   #24
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Name: Wendy
Trailer: Scamp
Posts: 22
I can relate to your checklist and excitement. I have taken two weekend trips in the past month with my new baby egg. The first weekend, the door blew open on the freeway. And I cooked a lot of sausage for a potluck in the Scamp. It smelled like sausage grease for two days. I bought an electric skillet yesterday so I can cook outside next time. The next weekend one of the stabilizer jacks fell back down as I was leaving the campsite. I heard something scraping. A camper was running behind the car to tell me about it. Aren't campers great?! I am learning so much. Now I wrap a little electrical tape around each stabilizer to secure it to the bumper.
Have fun. No matter how much planning, there are always little details to learn.
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Old 03-29-2016, 07:48 PM   #25
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Name: Riley
Trailer: 2007 Casita Spirit Deluxe
Posts: 2
We have totes for our gear that stay packed and ready to go. When it's time to pack for a trip we only need to worry about clothes and food.
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Old 03-29-2016, 09:08 PM   #26
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Name: Cathy
Trailer: Escape 19' sold, 21' August 2015
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Dean, congrats on the big first go-round! The hitching will become easier and easier until you will wonder how you took so long in the first place. And what the heck are you packing? LOL. You'll find much easier and faster ways to do that, namely, as others have said, clothes and dishes only.

We took hours at first and now we are much faster. Can't forget the walk around, looking up at what is on the roof that needs retracting and down underneath at what needs retracting! And look around the site after pulling the trailer out, and you should be good.
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Old 03-30-2016, 09:59 PM   #27
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Name: Dean
Trailer: 2005 Casita 17' Freedom Deluxe
Posts: 345

Wendy, door blowing open, sausage grease, and a scraping stabilizer jack on a recent trip. Thanks for sharing. Let's me know that we are all learning together!

Riley, we now have our gear organized in totes as well, so I think packing will be easier next time even though there will be other efficiencies to learn.

Cathi, yup, I think I will get more efficient hitching up. I also think packing will be easier next time since we have figured out what basic gear will go on the trip every time and have stowed it in containers. So, we are moving toward only needing to pack food and clothes.

Thanks to all!

Laura & Dean | '05 Casita 17' FD | '09 Kia Borrego Limited V8 2WD
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Old 04-01-2016, 10:48 AM   #28
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Name: Donna
Trailer: In the market
New Jersey
Posts: 9
I am watching your adventure with excitement. Our first trip is still three weeks away. So far we have driven around the block, and managed to get our Burro back into the driveway (good thing you can roll it by hand).


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