The family took a couple of days off Saturday and Sunday and went up to Chena Hot Springs for one overnight, shakedown cruise in our new trailer. We had a great time! I got to tow the trailer for the first time and learned lots of new things from Ann such as filling water and hooking up. There were a couple of kinks to work out, of course, like making up the bed and two bunk beds with four family members huddled around the furnace
and navigating the bathroom when there is 1/2 inch of standing water in the shower from our dripping swimsuits. Getting cold, wet feet when using the facilities is not relaxing or satisfying.
The weather cooperated in that it didn't snow, although it did rain steadily, and the temperature probably got to 35F overnight. I finally figured out the controls for the furnace
, which like a lot of things in the Casita
, were simpler than I was trying to make them and it kicked on 4 or 5 times in the night to simultaneously warm us and scare the fool out of us. I must say that I love the furnace
and having it in Fairbanks is going to be a real plus but it is pretty loud. Greta, my oldest girl at 4 going on 15, fell out of the bottom bunk a few times because her sleeping bag, newly purchased for trailer camping, was so slippery. She fell in slow motion and always feet first so no harm done and at one point she wanted to stay on the floor in the hall - until the furnace kicked on a foot from her head. My littlest one, Sadie, had a great time on the top bunk and had no complaints or peeps all night.
The morning was great. Althought the drizzling rain didn't let up it still got brighter out and we made up the dining wing and had pan fried left-over waffles, sausage and eggs. The girls te with their dedicated camping plates, cups and napkins and were generally agreeable until it was clear they had been inside too long. We took another swim, decided to skip a hike since it was still raining and I forgot my hiking boots, and packed up for a leisurely hour drive home. Now that I'm writing this I realize that I didn't turn off the propane
before we left. Oops! I guess I will do that at lunch today...
We had kicked around ideas for names, including Sheepita, etc., and weren't really getting any strong hits. I kind of liked The Snailer, cross between trailer and snail, since it rolls of the tongue, but that was it. Then on the way home Ann blurted out, "The Beluga!" Perfect! It is a fun reference in our family to a children's song the girls have called Baby Beluga and we also grew up next to the University of Alaska campus that used to have a large, white tent called "The Beluga" (where Beluga Field now is) and it is easy to say - "Shall we take the Beluga?"
I'm seriously considering having the front of the Beluga and the wheel wells covered with spray-in truck bed liner. The front is getting nicked up by rocks already and half of the roads here in AK are gravel. It would change the look of the trailer for sure but I think if we did it now it would add decades of life. The other upgrade I'm going to make is to build a little cedar deck for the shower floor. I'll post a picture of it as soon as I figure out why our camera quit working, which is why no maiden voyage pictures available.
I'm also taking the newest pickup in to trade for a car. I'll post the economic breakdown of that transaction on my first post (TX to AK) to finish up the transportation topic. Thanks for sharing in the camping fun!