Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Lessons Learned

We learned a couple of valuable lessons on this short trip.  This was the coldest season we ever attempted camping.  One lesson learned was that you go through a lot of propane when the heater is going all day and all night.  I didn’t think to check the propane tanks until this afternoon when I discovered that one tank was very empty.  Not knowing when the first tank became empty, I was not too sure how much was left in the second tank.  So it was off to find a propane refill source.  Fortunately, an internet search found an RV Resort about 5 miles away with propane.  A phone call confirmed they were open for business and off I went.  The internet is a wonderful thing.  The other big lesson was mentioned in my previous blog; the value of checking where your slide-out is going to go, and doing this before you unhitch. 

Overall, not a bad trip.  The wind was pretty bad and the 6 ton camper shook a little. The dogs took a while to adapt, but they seem to be getting used to the different environment.  This trip was probably better than expected since an electrical hookup was available; so we have the luxury of TV and fully charged batteries in laptops and cell phones without turning on the generator. 

We are going to go boondocking next week for 2 nights about 5 miles from here in a Forest Service site, Kelly Island Campground.   The price is right, $5 per night with our Golden Age passports (the joys of old age), but the sites are primitive.  It is right on the Snake River, so I hope to go fishing again (we will see if I do any catching).  The 10 day forecast shows 60 degree temps next Tues and Wed.  This will be our last good opportunity before we head out on a thousand mile journey to north central Idaho on May 15th.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Ririe Reservoir, Idaho

We are 24 hours into a 3 night adventure 21 miles from home base.  We are in a great State Park campground managed by Bonneville County.  The sites are large, but it makes little difference in the big scheme of things because there is no one else here.  The campground web site says they open May 1st, but when we arrived yesterday prepared to “boondock” it, we were pleasantly surprised to learn the electricity and water to the sites was turned on.  The Campground Host is on the job and we are settling in very nicely. 


I learned to check the location of the power outlet box as it relates to our super humungous slide out.  With the slide fully extended, it “nudged” the power box about 1/4 inch.  Of course I didn’t realize this until we had unhooked and set down all the stabilizers, etc.  We are also adding to our standard camping checklist for all the items we forgot.

There are several nice trails right from the campsite and the puppies are very happy to be able to wander off leash.  Annie is showing a tendency to pick up burrs and other assorted vegetation in her fur.  She also got a cactus needle in her nose and gave us a lot of resistance when trying to remove it.  They did not sleep to well last night because when ever one of us got up for a potty call, they both started whining.  They have their regular beds and should have been very tired, but they did not seem to be able to settle down.


Rosie is getting used to the bigger and better kitchen arrangement.  She prepared a very nice dinner of German Goulash with pasta.  When we pulled out some bread to go with this, we discovered we came without butter or margarine.   Oh well, that is the purpose of trial runs close to home.  My Verizon service is providing both cell and internet access of very good quality.  My business continues uninterrupted even out here in such a lovely, natural setting.


Tonight we are having grilled chicken with roast potato wedges, corn and homemade coleslaw.  I tried fishing in the lake for about an hour this morning with no luck (so what is new about that).  The wind started up early today and is pretty steady, especially coming off the water.  Rain showers are predicted starting about 10 pm tonight.  Tomorrow will be cooler, down to mid-40’s and may be wet on and off.  Oh well, such is the camping life.


Happy trails from Ririe Reservoir in Idaho.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

First camping in 2010

Well, we took the bull by the horns and ventured out all of 2 miles on our first trip for the year; and the maiden voyage of Alphie, our (new to us) 1997 Alpenlite 5th Wheel Trailer.  Our destination was South City Park in Idaho Falls, where the city is kind enough to allow one night camping for free.  There are about a dozen campsites, all are paved and most have a grill and a picnic table.  The park is on the east bank of the Snake River about 3 miles south of Downtown Idaho Falls.  Here is a picture of us on the site.


This was a tryout voyage to test all the systems.  We were happy to learn that everything seems to be working fine.  We used the stove to prepare dinner; the hot water heater to clean up; and the microwave to heat hot chocolate.  Since there are no hookups here, we had to conserve our battery power.  We installed 4 LED spotlights and discovered we should get about 6 more.  The night was cold, down to the mid 20’s, so the heater fan was working a lot even with the thermostat set on 62 degrees.  The batteries were pretty low about 5:30 am and I cranked up the generator to recharge the batteries and get the coffee maker going.  I took Sammy and Annie for a walk along the river.  Since we were all alone in the park, they got to run off leash and they were very happy.

We had our first RV guests; my fishing buddy Joe and his wife Ann came out to see us.  We had a nice chat and a little wine was flowing. 

Here are a couple more pictures of us inside the camper

IMG_2665 IMG_2658

When left we visited the free dump station to empty the tanks.  The biggest lesson learned was that it is a little early in the year to boondock (camp without electrical hookups) in this part of the country.  The fan for the heater really drains the batteries.  In about 2 weeks we may head out about 15 miles to Ririe Reservoir east of Idaho Falls.  There is a great county managed State Park Campground there.