Monday, March 24, 2008

Trip 1 - Mahoney State Park - FINALLY

We knew it might be chilly, we knew it may even snow, we knew it may be windy and cold but we KNEW we couldn't miss the opportunity to get out and get going this past weekend. School was out on Friday and Monday for Easter and Valerie and I both took Friday and Monday off, so needless to say we were going come hell or high water ( or snow, or sleet, or rain or.....)

ONCE we got to the storage unit and hooked up the the Trailer everything went extremely well. We hooked up pulled out and were off to Mahoney State Park, we took a bunch of advice to stay close to home on our MAIDEN VOYAGE and did just that. We were backing into our spot less than an hour after leaving the storage unit.

We basically had our pick of the park and one of the two campgrounds even had shower and toilet facilities that were heated and open all year round. I had contemplated filling our fresh water tank and becoming fully self contained but ended up NOT taking our own water and using the facilities there that were less than 50 steps from our campsite. The last thing I wanted to do is have something freeze up or have to run antifreeze back through the system after our trip. It wasn't bad and we didn't miss a beat without running water or a toilet. I am sure after we get a few trips under our belt I will be a bit more at ease with the whole process, who knows we may even go in Dec/January sometime. :-)

Mahoney has always been more of a tourist trap in my opinion than a camp ground. We've stayed there before in tents and the cabins and it really doesn't seem like much of a place to REST AND RELAX and get away from it all (in the SUMMER that is). This time that couldn't have been further from the truth. During the peak season its always packed and good luck finding a spot, if you don't reserve a cabin a year in advance you probably wont get one and with the water slide and the non stop activities it feels like a busting metropolis at times rather than a comfortable, peaceful, relaxing place to "take a load off". I have a whole new respect for the park after this trip. The jury is still out until we make the trip out there during the busy season.

One of the things that's kind of ironic about the whole trip is that at the top of the hill in the middle of the park they have an outdoor ice skating rink. Camping and ice skating don't usually cross paths in conversation very much so I kind of got a kick out of that aspect of this trip.

We saw deer galore running throughout the park and when I finished backing in our spot I got out of the truck and looked around and had one within 25 feet of me just looking at me. I am sure he was thinking "who's this dumb bunny invading my territory in this 30 degree weather". I am sure he couldn't wait to tell all his buddies what a dumb human he just saw. :-) We even had a couple of other visitors as Eric and Rocky stopped by and went exploring with Alyssa and I.

We took off Sunday morning for Easter services and lunch at SIL's house and simply locked up the TT and left the dogs there with the heat set at 65. 8 Hours later we made it back and it was just like coming home from the office for the dogs. Everything was fine and we were back at this thing we call camping.

We worked out butts off for a bit of the time stocking the trailer and putting everything in its place. The first time always is the hardest, heck now the trailer is stocked so it will be more like; grab you fresh undies, lets go... (or maybe not quite like that for Val and Alyssa BUT, it will be easier and quicker).

One thing I underestimated was the amount of time it took to get ready to leave once we decided we needed to head out, part of that's our first trip newness and part of that is not having running water and part of that is that we brought the KITCHEN SINK for this first trip. We'll learn...

BACK to my initial statement about everything going well ONCE we got to the trailer. I backed out of our drive way and MASHED the neighbor boys car on the way to pick up the trailer. Lots of "closeness" on our street and cars on both sides of my driveway and HIS directly behind my driveway BUT none the less I absolutely didn't see his for some reason. OH well, you live and hopefully you learn something every single day.

The two main things I learned are that this is going to be a GREAT and WONDERFULLY fun time for me and my family (heck we spent more QT together this weekend than we had in quite some time) and friends AND I need to pick up some EAR PLUGS for Valerie and Alyssa just in case I MASH my neighbors car again.


Friday, March 21, 2008

The Adventure Begins

We took delivery of our new Travel Trailer from AC Nelson RV in Omaha the third weekend in February of 2008. It is a 30 foot Cherokee Grey Wolf 28BH manufactured by Forest River. (pics on here from

We chose it for a number of reasons;
  • They had a good winter sale on it
  • Large enough to include family and friends in our outings
  • It is big enough to sleep 9 depending on the size of the person
  • It also has a slide out which really makes it feel roomy inside
  • Light enough to be pulled with my current Silverado 1500

Some I have talked to say we wouldn't want to get any bigger without a bigger tow vehicle (TV). Its rated at just over 5000lbs dry weight with a MAX weight of 7500. My truck's max towing weight is 8200lbs so I think we'll be fine as long as we don't try to bring the kitchen sink with us.

It was a big decision but something we had been contemplating for several years. I had bought an old used '73 13 Ft CorsAir from a buddy of mine in 2004 and the first time we took it out we KNEW we had to somehow expand and it was something we BOTH really knew we'd look forward to.

The CorsAir (I think that was the brand :-) )was pretty rickety and dangerous so we kept it to VERY local areas and only had it out 3 or 4 times but we loved it. Never ran the propane or the plumbing because they were very old and didn't appear to work anyhow. It had had a fire inside a small area in the front storage and basically was a firetrap but hey, it was better than sleeping in the tent. It worked to keep us off the ground and dry (barely). I sold it to a buddy and he's using it as a deer hunting "cabin" now. Its probably best that it's used in a stationary manner such as this moving forward. I'll post some pictures of it on here sometime.

It's really kind of intimidating getting into this hobby but I am looking forward to the challenge and realize that it is definitely kind of like "on the job training" and you learn as you go. I've spent a lot of time the last few weeks reading up on things and asking questions on a couple of forums. There are a lot of VERY helpful people out there and I feel as though I somewhat know what I am doing now. We WILL See.

We are actually off on our MAIDEN VOYAGE tomorrow (err today) to Mahoney State park for two nights of fun. It wont be the brightest or warmest trip but we've been "jonesing" so bad to get out that we're going regardless of the weather. Its a close and quick trip and that's what most people recommend on you first trip to work out all the "kinks". We'll let you know how it goes... BC