Things We’ve Learned (so far)

Today has had it's ups and downs. It was a travel day where we went from Columbus OH to Erie PA - a drive of roughly four hours. The drive was quite pretty through the rolling hills of east Ohio heading up towards the Lake Erie coast. However - we didn't get settled in until around 4:30 and it hasn't been the smoothest of landings. Everyone else is in bed - I'm exhausted but want to take the time to post this while it's quiet. We haven't even been out a week yet but have learned so much. Here's a quick stream of consciousness list:
  • Wi-fi may be advertised but we need to ask how available it is. So far it's been at the camp office 1 mile away or at the coffee shop that's a sister business of the private campground (so feel compelled to buy a cup of coffee to be able to use the wifi).
  • Laundry facilities may be advertised but can be a couple blocks up, across a busy road, and then not have anywhere to sit.
  • We should check the weather before paying for two nights in advance.
  • Drive times of four hours can still mean 8 hours between sites - we need to factor in gas stops, potty breaks, camp offices not open for a 1/2 hour past what their sign indicates, mis-entered addresses into the GPS, etc.
  • We need to prep more the night before so we can be on the road earlier - this would allow us to change our minds about a park after getting there and finding it not all it sounded like on the phone. Tires can be aired up, dishes done, awning up, picnic table pulled away, interior seating reset etc.
  • I need to not tell clients I'll have work done on a travel day - having a deadline just adds too much stress.
  • I don't like camp hosts that want to help direct me into a spot - MsBoyink and I want to learn to do this ourselves and the extra help isn't.
  • I need to remember that the trailer tracks inside the truck when turning - I keep catching curbs with the trailer.
  • I need to check the bike rack for being loose when stopped (I'll know tomorrow if it's bent or not).
  • If I ever buy another RV I'll buy new - I keep finding issues with this trailer not disclosed by the seller and I didn't inspect it well enough. In the end the money (and warranty) would be worth not having the stress of wet walls and other worries.
  • Having an air compressor on the truck is a wonderful thing.
  • Having additional lights on the rear of the truck is a wonderful thing.
  • Having a toolbox on the truck is a wonderful thing.
  • Having freestanding and reconfigurable furniture in the trailer is a wonderful thing.
  • Having a good mattress is a wonderful thing.
  • I'm hoping I'll get used to bouncing on a regular basis - kids walk very heavily while inside.
  • I'm almost overwhelmed with the technology I have at hand and am constantly unsure of what to use for what.
  • Fall is beautiful but mercurial. We've had some nice days but are again looking at cool & rainy our first day in a new spot and MsBoyink doesn't do well in those climes. We may head south sooner than expected.
  • It's easier to drive slower than everyone else and let them all go by.
  • I have more locks to keep track of the status of now than at any point in my life.
  • The breakers in the electrical boxes at campgrounds aren't always turned on.
  • We should have worked in a "vacation" of a week somewhere before trying to just go on with life now untethered and on wheels. It was talked about but somehow didn't happen.
  • A traditional wool Army blanket is a wonderful thing.
  • Heated mattress pads are a wonderful thing.
  • When a campground lists showers as a feature it doesn't mean they are free.
There'll be more I'm sure... On the upside I took both sunrise and sunset pictures over water today. Attached are the sunset - the sunrise photos are on the D40, and I'd have to fire up the laptop with the card reader in order to post them so you'll just have to's that too much technology thing again..;)

Sunset over Lake Erie

9 Comments Things We’ve Learned (so far)

  1. Picture of Margie Lundy Margie Lundy October 01, 2010

    Fun! A vacation when you first hit the road is wonderful, well, would have been.  And we so agree on the helpful camp hosts. Allen and I have a system, and you don’t mess with the system! :)

  2. Picture of John Knotts John Knotts October 01, 2010

    Oh yea, the working on travel day… that alone has made some of our trips miserable.  We don’t do that anymore.

  3. Picture of Michelle Overbeek Michelle Overbeek October 02, 2010

    Beautiful picture!

  4. Picture of Grandpa A Grandpa A October 02, 2010

    You were tired.  I don’t believe you backtracked to Michigan to see the Lake Huron “coast” but you sure did discover a colorful Lake Erie.  There are great Walleye in there you know.  May your routine find a new pattern that is comfortable and satisfying.

  5. Picture of salguod salguod October 02, 2010

    I’ve learned that buying a trailer that someone hasn’t used in a while can save you money, but will have a number of issues that you will discover as you camp.  A regularly used trailer from folks who are upgrading is likely to be ready to camp with no major issues.  Same may go for buying used from a dealer, you never know what you’re going to get.

    On locks, somewhere I saw a company that makes padlocks that they can common key with your GM vehicle so you have one key.  Of course, that doesn’t help with all the trailer compartments.  I can’t find the right combination of keywords now to bring it up on Google, though.

  6. Picture of Michael Boyink Michael Boyink October 02, 2010

    Yea -it’s Lake Erie.  You’d think the city name would have been a clue..;)  I knew it was wrong moments after posting but getting everything turned back on and hooked up to make the change was too much..;)

  7. Picture of Mike Leonard Mike Leonard October 02, 2010

    Hey Mike - great list. Thanks for posting it. In our de-cluttering, I came ======> <======== this close to selling my compressor. Did not think I would ever use it again but obviously I will have a ton of use for it on the road! All those tires!

  8. Picture of Cherie @Technomadia Cherie @Technomadia October 05, 2010

    Welcome to the road :)  Trust you will all find your stride and balance.  The first few weeks (or even couple months) are a pretty major adjustment.  You will learn so much, define your systems and find what your family’s style and pace of travel is.

  9. Picture of Boyink Boyink October 05, 2010

    Thanks guys.

    @Mike - I put a 12v compressor on the truck.  It’s mounted under the hood so doesn’t take cargo room in the trailer.

    @Cherie - thanks.  I figured we were on the lee side of a learning curve so am just trying to persist.  In spite of the poor weather we’re holding steady, still out seeing the sights in the drizzle.

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