The (Baby) Beluga! - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-17-2007, 11:48 AM   #1
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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!

Joel
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Old 09-17-2007, 11:57 AM   #2
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Thank you Joel the the up-date. It is fun reading your posts with your kids.

It seems there should be a fix for the standing water. Just to double check, is your FRONT shower gate valve fully open? It sounds like it is 98% closed, thus leaving standing water. I hope it is that easy a fix for you.

Mike
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Old 09-17-2007, 01:03 PM   #3
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If you go with the spray on stuff avoid getting white, everyone I know says it will yellow over time.

You might look at a rock gaurd system that hooks onto you 2" hitch. There are several on the market, some cost less than others but all work pretty good at catching rocks, gravel, spray.
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Old 09-17-2007, 01:32 PM   #4
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I was wondering about your suggestion of a rock guard, do you know a source of where to take a peek at one or purchase it?
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Old 09-17-2007, 04:37 PM   #5
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Here are a couple of different models. I have a rock tamer and am happy with it. But for roads with more rock you might like the Louvered Tow Gaurd at JC Whitney, it covers more area.

http://www.jcwhitney.com/autoparts/Search?...;searchbtn.y=14

http://www.jcwhitney.com/autoparts/Search?...p;sku=gaf22947g

http://www.realtruck.com/productline/545/1..._mud_flaps.html
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Old 09-17-2007, 08:43 PM   #6
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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.
Joel
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Name:	Shower_Grating.JPG
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Here's the grating I added to my shower in the front of a 13' Scamp. It's clear fir and stainless steel screw-nails.

Ron Mayo
Lopez Island, WA
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Old 09-17-2007, 11:53 PM   #7
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How about using Dri-Dek so you don't have to drill holes?

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Attachment 10106


Here's the grating I added to my shower in the front of a 13' Scamp. It's clear fir and stainless steel screw-nails.

Ron Mayo
Lopez Island, WA
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Old 09-18-2007, 12:26 AM   #8
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The family took a couple of days...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.

[That all sounds good! Camper Girls know wearing shorts is best.]

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.

[I love my fiurnace, too! Northwest BC.]

Greta, my oldest girl at 4 going on 15, 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.

[That is the Beauty of the thing!]

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...

[You are on your way!]

Thanks for sharing in the camping fun!

[Thank you, Joel!]
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Old 09-18-2007, 02:26 AM   #9
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The Beluga - great name! And Baby Beluga - great song! Now that our daughter is a teenager, I'd almost forgotten.
We went to Chena Hot Springs last summer. Just wondering how things went for you on the "roller-coaster" section of road (melting permafrost?). Oh well, driving Alaskan roads is often like getting a free massage.
Even though we took it slow and easy, most of our seat cushions wound up on the floor, along with a curtain and rod, which had escaped their deluxe fasteners (twist ties).
Too many people at the resort itself for our tastes, so we stayed at one of the campgrounds along the way. Driving along, we introduced our teenage daughter to the Jeff Healy Band. Beautiful country and great trip!
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Old 09-18-2007, 12:02 PM   #10
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Hi Connie,
Things went pretty well on the drive out and back. I'm pretty surprised at the towing capacity of the Ford that Ann picked up in TX. It's just a half ton and yet is rated to a 9330lb towing weight so the biggest problem I had driving was to remind myself to slow down on the heaves since I could hardly feel the trailer...
Chena Hot Springs Resort (Resort?) was great for us because there was hardly anybody there. Three of the 30ish rv spots were taken so we got to choose the most private slip right on the creek. We swam twice and even saw locals in the pool. We ate dinner one night and lunch the next day and the food was fine. Some of it is even grow right there, using the hot springs as heat and water. The owner, Bernie Karl, is a little bit of a nut - for the last few years he has been successfully developing the first geothermal energy plant in Alaska. I think it went online last year and save for a fire in his contol room that halted production for a bit has been a hit. He used to spend tens of thousands of dollars a month running diesel generators out there and apparently has all of them idle. He has so much electicity now that he has just installed a hydrogen plant and is busy splitting water to create hydrogen for some of his vechicles.

On another note: Ron, I really like the clear fir deck in the Scamp, it looks just like what I had in mind with cedar.

Yet another: I heard that they make clear spray-on bedliner. I wonder if that would yellow over time?
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Old 10-01-2007, 05:02 PM   #11
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Hi to another Beluga---my grandchildren also sing the song. Must have all learned it. We redid the inside with curtains with ocean waves and pictures of Belugas back in July this year.
Can't have too much of a good thing, I always say!
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