Tuesday, August 7, 2012

ORSF with IORG, July 2012

We get very busy with Rainbow and DeMolay but last year we took the Rainbow Assembly camping and they loved it so we took them again this year.  This year was easier because of the new camper but because of the rain it was that much more difficult.  Everyone still had a great time and it went by so quick.  Thankfully we had a bunch of tarps or we would have had a camper full of girls!  Most of the advisors stayed in the camper though and they were all pretty happy to have that option.
We did bend one of our stabilizer jacks and had to replace it so we replaced both of the two front ones.  Now remember they are not leveling jacks so they are not meant to carry so my weight and we did kinda bend this one down in Myrtle Beach on our first trip too so I'm not too surprised.  We will replace the rear two eventually also.  They aren't that solid to begin with.  The replacements we bought were much wider with better parts.
We're heading back out this Friday (this trip was a week and a half ago, just getting around to posting about it).  And both trips are dry camping.  I'm trying to do all I can to conserve the battery but its not easy.  I have some LED lighting and just picked up a couple of these lamps on Amazon that are 30 LEDs each so hopefully they'll be good.  We run the fridge on propane but I'm sure there is some battery use (a fan) and when you turn the ceiling lights on you really are turning on a lot of lights at once.  I want to start replacing them with LEDs too but its gonna take a long time because they are very expensive.  I love how I can buy these two lamps at less than $9 each shipped but God forbid you try buying a LED for a fixture at a good price.  And I know why they are expensive and overall it's all upfront because they last a lot longer and use a fraction of the power, but still I will complain about it, lol.  First I need to pop off a cover and find out what kind of bulbs this thing has.  I replaced the Aliner bulbs cheap enough also through Amazon.  It had 1156 bulb types.  I only paid about $8 each for two bulbs.  Thats all it had inside, lol.  Some will say what I got wasn't bright enough but they were the warm light and probably gave off about 85% of what the regular bulbs had put out.  Good enough for me, saved me a lot.  The Bullet will need a lot more bulbs and they will have to be just as bright if not brighter.  As long as they are the warm color I'll be happy.
Before this trip we did bring it to the dealer for some warranty work.  One of the LED outside lights was taking in water,  one of the 4 motors for the slide wasn't good and we had a tiny bit of delamination on the passenger side storage door that we figured we'd better ask to have it replaced now than get stuck with it later.  The slider works great now.  Initially the mechanic had said it had to be level to slide it out, which I am sure is recommended but I could tell by the way some of the other campers on the lot, including Bullets, that it sure did not have to be level.  But they looked at it, found the bad motor and fixed it.  I've been happy with them.  I still have a $25 gift certificate that I need to figure out what to buy.  I'm thinking a UV protector or wax for the camper.  I better use it soon before I loose it!
After this trip I had to take out most of our gear to dry it out which meant I washed most of it.  I also washed the camper.  I've washed it after every trip and it's staying nice but like I said I want to get some kind of protection on it.  I have used the wash and wax so it is a bit protected.  The car wash place down the street does RV detailing.  I wonder how much they'd charge to wax it?  I'm sure a lot, lol.  I guess if I start now I may have it done before it gets cold ;)
Here is a picture of the camper on site 33:
Site 33, Otter River State Forest.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Memorial Day Weekend 2012, ORSF #28.

Memorial Day 2012
We went out Thursday afternoon till Monday afternoon to our favorite campground and site for Memorial Day weekend.  There was a little rain Thursday night and kind of gloomy Friday but otherwise it was pretty nice especially seeing it can usually get down into the 30's at night on Memorial Day weekend at camp.  Everyone is getting pretty used to the mild Winter we had and warm Spring and seems like most have all but forgotten what it's normally like out this weekend but that's okay because I am more than loving it.
Site 28 from the road.
We take up a lot less space on the site now with the camper.  First Mike put in long ways but the camper was too close to the fire.  It was nice this way, blocked off all the sites behind us and gave us plenty of room to play with the dogs.
Our view from the site.  The river was at the perfect level and sounded so nice at night.

New fire rings.  I like them but I think Mike is kind of partial to the old ones.
It was pretty nice having a fridge and freezer while boondocking.  We ran the fridge off of gas all weekend and it used far less fuel than I thought it would and it stayed perfectly cold.  Neither of us can understand how the temperature control works, just a plastic clip on the foils in the fridge.  Something  I'll have to look into.  When Mike asked me I told him I didn't know why or how and that I was just glad it did work.  Funny having ice cream at camp without having to wait for the ice cream truck.  Kenzie and Mackenna still had their fair share off the truck.  Mike made some awesome baked beans in the dutch oven.  We had them for dinner with ribs and then in the morning with eggs.
Baked beans in the dutch oven.
The back roads of camp are all gated now and you have to go through Dennison or way back through Birch Hill.  I guess there's a few good reasons for that with money probably being the driving factor for the DCR which is all good seeing so many people use the park without paying.  Another good reason is less through traffic (aka trash and speeders) and it makes it much nicer riding the bikes, fishing and playing with the dogs.  Once you're camping at any state park your pass is good at all of them too.  Good thing because the dump station is also at Dennison.  Another difference this year is lack of water spigots.  The one right near our site is shut off.  They had another water main break before the season.  Every year there is at least one now and there are only a couple spigots left working in the park.  Eventually they will have to close to replace the lines.  I'm glad I noticed before we dropped the trailer because usually we would just run the hose right there at the site to fill up.  I was pretty thankful for the 30 gallon fresh water tank which lasted us the entire trip.
Wild Iris out back.
Butterfly out back.

Tired pups after a long afternoon fishing.
They also replaced all the site markers with posts which a lot will most likely be backed into and ran over but yay for getting them off the trees.  They always push the no nails in trees rule (a very good rule) but then the site markers were nailed to the trees.
New site post with our sign covering it.
We will be bringing the camper down to the dealer to have a couple things looked at.  The slider doesn't like to go out evenly no matter how level we are.  We are getting some water in one of the front LEDs and something else I cannot remember at the moment.  But other than that I am so glad to have this camper.  I loved the Aliner and miss it dearly but this unit makes camping so easy, so much less stressful and it's just great to have everything right there and lots of comfort and joy as the Canucks always say.  But......it is not fun washing it down after every trip and I do want to seriously look into getting an awning for over the slideout because it is a bitch to clean.
Closer view of us sprawled out on site 28.
We have trips planned back to Otter River in July, August and the end of the season.  We're planning a trip to NH in June.  We're looking to find a campground with full hook ups for the weekend, maybe a long weekend if we have enough time to take off.  For now back to the real world!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Free Crochet Pattern, Rug for the Camper

Crocheted Rug

The size of a bathroom camper makes it a little difficult to find a rug small enough to fit.  I debated buying one of those micro absorbent pads that they are selling everywhere as dish draining clothes, very cushy and absorbent.  All the colors I found were too dark or too light and it still wasn't exactly the size I wanted.  So I made one.  The yarn I used is good old rugged acrylic, whatever I had in my stash....which oddly enough matched my camper nicely.  I used 3 strands together and a size N hook.  Here is the pattern:

With 3 strands and a size N hook chain 60 + 2 extra for the turn.  Chain very loosely so you don't end up with a tight side.  A foundationless row would work great here but I can't get the method down nice enough.

Turn, last 2 ch don't count as a sc, they are just keep it square on the first row.  SC in the next 60 chains.
Ch2 and turn.
SC in first sc, lsc in next, repeat pattern to end.  (lsc is an long single crochet, insert your hook in the row before).
Ch2 turn, lsc in first SC, sc in next lcs.  Alternating between the sc and lsc through out.
Repeat until the rug is as long as you like.  I did a slip stitch across the last row to tighten it up a bit.  I left the short sides as they were.  
You can adjust your starting chain to make it longer or whatever you'd like.  This is really just a sc and a lsc repeat.

Making this in acrylic means it can take a beating and multiple washings, great for camp.  I washed mine after the first trip and lay it out on an Adirondack chair to air dry and realized it would make a great chair cushion as well.  I am going to make one for a camping friend with pretty much the same interior colors for their camper because she's sweet as pie to me.  I'm hoping I have enough stash because these wip up fast using 3 strands.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Maiden Voyage

All Loaded Up and Ready to Go!
Against the better judgement of a typical camper we decided our first trip would be 900 miles away!  Although not entirely true seeing we spent all of March and half of April playing with the new toy in the driveway.  The only thing we hadn't really experienced was the lovely dumping of the tanks.  My husband has towed many things and is an excellent driver so no worries about all that.  I packed everything I could think of for this trip.  We were not only taking the new camper for the first time we were traveling in a pack of seven!  This includes one 18 year old girl who has never camped, the four of us and our two chocolate labs.  I packed two tents and a screenhouse that never saw daylight among other items that never were needed.  Let me say how easy a full size travel trailer makes things!  Incredible.  And as far as the dumping went we were on one site for four days, moved and dumped then spent the rest of the trip on another and of course dumped on the way out.  And we did so like pros.  We skipped the line at the station and just dumped at a camp site that had sewer.  We were in and out before the guy first in line each time.  Granted I have forbidden the use of the camper toilet for #2 purposes so maybe that helped?  I don't know but it was no where near as dreadful as I thought it would be.  We had electric and water hookups so life was good.  We've mapped out a bunch of new sites that will work for us now that we have a full size unit too.  I'm not sure how easy life will be once we are dry camping in our favorite state park here in MA.  But it will be easier that is for sure.  Now I get it and I love it.  Next time I will pack a fraction of what I took this time.  The fact that the entire front end of this camper is a big pass through made it very easy for me to bring everything too.  The only thing we ended up needing once we were into it were some leveling blocks.  The Aliner was short and simple with one axle, leveling was a breeze.  And not that it was hard with the new camper but it was more sensitive to an uneven site and I didn't back any wooden blocks (sorry I am not paying $70 for orange legos, altho we did pick up a couple leveling ramps).  We did find that the camper moved around a bit and we think that's from the tires moving back and forth slightly.  We blocked up well under our scissor blocks (see pic below) as we watched our neighbor with a new 40' giant bend his.  Maybe a couple BAL tire levelers in our future?  There is a little bit of water coming into one of the LEDs up front but not all the way.  We'll stop by the dealer on our way out to our next trip.  Otherwise no issues!  I will be making a check list though..... antenna down?  gas shut off? ....
In Her Element. Myrtle Beach State Park.

Kenzie on the Zipline


Our trip to Myrtle Beach was awesome this year.  We explored new adventures including Alligator Adventure which was a blast and very interesting.  We got to pat huge turtles and watch the alligators feed which was great because we didn't see any alligators at Huntington State Park this year.  The water seemed low most places so maybe that's why.  The SkyWheel was awesome and again I set aside my fear of heights, thank goodness! We also visited things we have before like Wonderworks which had more to offer this year than it did last year so it was a lot more enjoyable than I thought it would be returning to the same place two years in a row.  Kenzie did the zipline and loved it and we shared all these things with our "foster daughter" which seemed to make things nice for all of us because we all love to share things we enjoy with others.  So we took a picture with a baby tiger at the T.I.G.E.R.S. exhibit too.  Mike tried crabbing at Pawley's Island and we saw friends and family from the area that we hadn't seen in a long time.  The weather was perfect and the girls including myself all got a bit too much sun but no one complained a bit.  We found a doggie spa for Deogee and Hailey so we were able to go out and enjoy the attractions and shopping without worrying about them.  The spa had couches and a pool, lol.  They had a nice vacation too!  The ocean was wonderful, sunrises to sunsets.  We really enjoyed our break from reality this year but it sure did make it hard to come back to the North where it seems cold not just weather-wise but people too.  Every year I come back and ask myself why we stay up here but they I remember the paycheck.  Someday that won't matter as much as it does today though.  Someday we may not come back.
Petting the Turtles
Deogee and Hailey

Sunrise on the Beach
So now we are looking forward to Memorial Day weekend at Otter River State Forest.  Our old reliable.  Our camping friends will probably be very surprised as we are well known for our professional tenting abilities.  I am sure we will be judged, lol.  But that's okay because at the end of the day it is all about getting out there and enjoying the outdoors, family and friends.  Seeing and going places you otherwise would not.
  Happy Camping!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Some Pictures

A few actual pictures.

Bullet 230BHS

Outside Dining Slide Out

Awning extended

Under Awning

PrevoStep Step Covers.  I highly recommend them!

Stanley is ready to go!

Upgraded Dining Light

Purple Sheets for the Master.  Just bought regular full size sheets for the camper size queen bed.

Homemade sheets for the bunks.

No such thing as a rug this size so I made one, crocheted sc and lsc with three strands of left over acrylics.

Upgraded porcelain toilet (this unit came with Comfort Package II, heated underbelly, black tank flush system, porcelain toilet, step light, motion sensor porch light, outside grill and picnic table...the dining light was just a bonus I guess.)  

Wider shot of the bathroom with the little crocheted rug.

Lots of storage, this is the closet in the back.  Stanley says it passes.

Another storage closet.  We added a couple drawers from Target into it as this camper doesn't really have many drawers.  They fit perfectly and are single units.  We can add more later if we want.

Now I feel better that I'm not just showing stock photos on the blog :-)

Time for a New Blog

 When isn't a good time to start a new blog.  I often wonder how many unused and unseen blogs are out there floating around.  I am starting this one because as of this past weekend we sold our 1998 Aliner that we restored and my current blog was really all about that camper and I realized I needed/wanted one that was more focused on our camping adventures, insight, experiences and finds rather than just one camper.  My husband and I have been camping since before we were born.  It's in our blood and we love to get out there.  We spent most of our lives together camping in tents until a few years ago when we rescued a rotting Aliner from the salvage yard and restored it.  We loved that camper so much and spent a lot of time doing it over and documenting for future workers of similar projects, see our Aliner Blog here. But long before we stumbled across her we had been looking at full size travel trailers.  Every year we go to the camp show and countless times we've dragged our poor children through camper showrooms to never actually buy one.  Well this year that changed.  We went to the Boston show, second time, usually we just go to the free Worcester show but since they combined it with the boat show it's fairly useless.  Mike's cousin sells at our local RV retailer so we had someone we felt comfortable dealing with and we finally came across the right camper for us.  It had everything we wanted as far as bed space, styling and weight.  The show price was great, we were able to get a little more off of that too plus I just happened to get a raise at work that would cover the rest of the financing.  The perfect storm.  We bought a 2012 Keystone Bullet 230BHS with the Godiva interior.  Our first trip is planned for April, what has become our annual trip to Myrtle Beach.  In the meantime we've been packing her up, outfitting her with storage solutions, new sheets and playing with all the goodies and learning how everything works on a big camper.  My parents had trailers while we were growing up but of course I never ever paid any attention to what they did to them, lol.  We've also been watching lots of YouTube videos and who would ever thought we'd be thankful someone made a video about how to dump and maintain your black tank?   Here are some stock pictures of our new camper and the floor layout.  Oddly enough I haven't taken any yet of our actual camper but I'm looking forward to many pictures, updates and memories in it.
Interior looking toward the front.  This is a stock photo ours is a slightly different color scheme.

Stock Photo of bathroom.

Stock photo of bunk area.  I already made new sheets for both bunks. So expensive to buy RV sheets....and they're smaller, WTH?

Dinette slide out.  Ours has an upgraded light fixture and different color scheme, including dark brown legs on the table, thankfully.