After four long months, longer for Kevin because he was the one who actually did the work, we are finally using our camper. As I mentioned in my July Reflections post, I had no intention of going camping before our scheduled trip in September, but this past week was so traumatic for me (I sound so weak when I say that), that Kevin felt sorry for me and pretty much made me go camping. And he was right, I feel lighter and out here COVID doesn’t exist.
Our first camping trip together, (though technically this is not our camper’s first time going out, Kevin took LeRoy camping the third weekend of July), was to Port of Kimberling Marina just south of Branson, Missouri. We picked this campsite because it’s not far from where we live, about 90 minutes, and it’s located on a lake. We didn’t want to take it out too far our first time using it because we knew we would learn a lot from this experience and we didn’t want to be too far away from home in case something happened and we needed to cut our trip short.
We arrived at 3:30 PM on Saturday, July 31st and left at 10:00 AM on August 3rd. This was Kevin’s first time pulling the camper and though he has already pulled it twice, (when he bought it and brought it home and when he and LeRoy went camping), I was a nervous wreck. I was worried about cabinet doors flying open and I couldn’t help picturing shattered soup bowls on the floor when we parked it and opened it up.
Kevin did great pulling it though and there were no problems getting down here, at least, with the trailer. Kevin’s truck air conditioning though, not sure what is going on but his air emitted some sort of gas, or something, and it made my eyes water so much I literally had tears running down my face. I legit couldn’t see. It was burning Kevin’s eyes but he at least was able to still drive. We turned the air off and rolled the windows down and after a while, my eyes stopped watering. He said he had the air worked on but something is clearly still off and he will need to take it back in to figure out what’s going on. He also has a loud clanging, bumping sound from the front end as well so he’ll have to get that checked out. In fact, he really just needs to make sure the whole truck is in tip-top shape because we’ll be taking it cross country soon(ish) and we don’t want to break down anywhere.
Though, I suppose if we did, we would have someplace stay. Ha!
I booked the campsite and like a dumb ass, I forgot to print off the directions, or even an address, so we really had no idea where we were going. But we figured, it was a large(ish) campground, located at a marina, SURELY there would be signs, right??
Uh … sort of. There were signs, but somehow we missed the turn off and we nearly ended up in Arkansas before we realized we overshot our turn.
Note to self: Make sure to print off address along with the confirmation next time, dummy.
After turning on my phone data and using GPS, we found our campground. However, when we pulled in, we couldn’t tell where the office was so we pulled over to try and figure it out and a woman pulled up alongside us to direct us. She said she did the same thing when her family pulled in and we were grateful for the guidance. It was also nice to see there ARE still nice people out there somewhere. If you watch/listen to the news nowadays, you would think everyone is out for themselves and a total asshole. Not saying there aren’t some ugly people out there, but it’s nice to run across nice ones.
(Also – reminder – be nice to people).
It would have been too much of a hassle to turn our rig around and head toward the office, so we locked up the truck and walked to the office. We checked in, found our spot on the map they gave us and we found lot number 53.
Here comes the fun part – backing in.
I know this may come as a shock to some of you, but I’m not the best navigator when it comes to stuff like this. I’m one of those people who frantically wave for him to veer off to the left but forgets to make myself visible to him so he KNOWS to veer left. lol I think we need to start using our phones, maybe I can give better verbal instructions instead of visual instruction. After some maneuvering, Kevin gets the trailer into place, unhooks the trailer and takes out the cable to connect the electricity. He made our electric connector more toward the front of the trailer, though wonders now if he should have made the connector more toward the back of the trailer, because when we went to hook up the cord, it wasn’t long enough to reach the site box. Oops! So, poor Kevin had to hook the trailer back up to his truck and back up another two feet for it to reach.
Note to self: have a longer cord on hand and don’t unhook the truck until we are sure our cords are going to reach.
After hooking up the electricity, water and sewer, it was time to open the trailer. I held my breath. Would it look like total destruction? Did the fridge fall over? Did everything from the cabinets spill out? Was the TV broken?
I’m happy to report, everything was just fine. Kevin had told me he put magnets on the cabinet doors and they held, everything was where it was supposed to be. I was really nervous though when we missed our turn off and had to turn around because we picked a pretty bumpy driveway to do it in and I was convinced it would be utter disaster but nope, everything was fine.
By the time we had gotten the outside hooked up and taken care of, we were DRIPPING sweat. Like, so much sweat I couldn’t see, again. (You can imagine how attractive I was after enduring faulty air conditioning and then enduring a sweat bath while setting up). I hadn’t eaten anything all day and it was 3:30 by the time we arrived, very little water so I was feeling faint. So was Kevin. So after we turned on the mini-split and cold air started coming out, we just collapsed on our chairs and waited to cool off for 10 minutes before we started getting the inside set up.
I had packed a cooler full of food and I’m glad I did. Our fridge took THREE hours before it cooled off enough for us to unpack the cooler.
Note to self: always pack cold stuff in a cooler and leave in cooler until fridge cools down.
It’s a great fridge, we bought a half fridge, not a dorm fridge. We needed something bigger but obviously not a full-size fridge and it really does work well. When you plug it in, the freezer gets cold pretty fast but I’m assuming it puts so much energy into getting the freezer cold that it takes a while for the rest of the fridge to cool down. It worked out okay though, we had put in frozen packs and we had saved two of the ice bags that came with our Hello Fresh boxes (back when we signed up for Hello Fresh – our discount code ran out and we’re not about to pay $60 bucks for two meals per week), so the cooler stayed pretty cold. I then moved the ice packs and the ice bags to the fridge and that helped cool the fridge down even faster.
After getting everything set up, it was time for dinner and I was STARVING, again, hadn’t eaten all day, and we had wraps, chips, water and banana bread. (I had baked some banana bread before we left). Kevin then hooked up the TV and using our PS3, we watched Blazing Saddles. I’ve seen that movie before but Kevin had not and in fact, one of the conservative talk show hosts that he listens to quotes from that movie and he was curious enough to want to watch it …. so we did.
If you haven’t seen Blazing Saddles, don’t. It’s BEYOND stupid and offensive, you could NEVER make that kind of movie nowadays. I don’t get offended very easily but there were so many N-words I just couldn’t stomach it.
Kevin also regretted watching it. And this was yet another reminder why we stopped watching movies – they are mostly garbage.
Our first night in the camper went well(ish). The mattresses were not as hard as I thought they would be but I had put a comforter down to try and make it softer. It may have made it softer but it also made it HOT. Our mini-split air conditioner works REALLY well, but the bed is at the back of the trailer, the mini-split at the front, so it gets a bit stuffy. I was hot/cold all night. We brought a fan and that helped push some air to the bed but laying on the comforter trapped my body heat and it was not fun.
Plus, I NEVER sleep very well the first night anywhere we go on vacation because it takes me a while to get used to my surroundings and I’m a light sleeper anyway so it doesn’t take much to wake me up.
Plus, we had some WICKED storms come through that night which kept me up.
(Side note: we also lost a limb back home – LeRoy took a picture of it and sent it to Kevin. It was too big for LeRoy to move on his own so guess what Kevin gets to do when we get home – where’s the chainsaw).
So no, our first night wasn’t the best.
Note to self: Don’t put a comforter on the mattress and then sleep on top of it in the summer months. Maybe in the winter …
Also, I wrote mattresses. Plural. That was not a typo. I bought two twin mattresses from Amazon. Actually, they are narrow twin mattresses. I bought two because we can not sleep together, largely because I’m a fish out of water whenever I sleep and I move around so much it wakes Kevin up. So I figured I would buy two mattresses and hopefully it wouldn’t disturb him too much. Newsflash – I didn’t disturb him. Much.
Sunday, we stuck around the trailer, read and watched two movies: Quarantine and Wall Street (the second one). Quarantine was a horror movie and it’s about people who contract rabies but this virus is so fast moving that it consumes it’s victims in record time and they start turning on each other. Sort of like a zombie movie. It’s also told from a first-person perspective, sort of. It starts out with a reporter and her cameraman hanging out at a firehouse and assigned to two guys who will take them on their calls.
They arrive at a house to find out why a woman is screaming and acting funny. When they get to her apartment, it’s apparent something is not right with her and all hell breaks loose. The city locks them in this house and no one can leave. What’s cool about this story is the story is told from the cameraman’s perspective, he’s holding the camera and shooting the entire thing. You’re part of the story, only you see it through the cameraman’s eyes, or his camera, to be more precise. There is a lot of shaking and I felt sort of sick to my stomach from all the movement at one point, but you felt like you were right there, almost like a first-person shooter game, if you’ve ever played those before.
Wall Street was pretty good, too. I think Gecko is the perfect character for Michael Douglas. Sunday was super chill and it was exactly what we needed. No agenda, no plans, just relax and breathe.
Kevin grilled some hamburgers and we drove into Kimberling City and got ice cream at Sonic. The temperature cooled off quite a bit after the rain, too, so overall, it was a great day to just hang out around the campsite.
The second night was much better. I took the comforter off the bed, slept in a tank shirt and under a sheet and was quite comfortable. If fact, I slept so good I snored – a lot. So much so that Kevin had to get up and put in ear plugs.
Oops. I wish I could say I was too dainty and feminine to snore but nope, I snore so much it sounds like an out-of-control lumberjack waving his chainsaw around like he owns the world.
But I slept great, (thanks to taking a Benedryl as well), and I felt awake and ready to tackle Monday.
And we literally did nothing on Monday. Well, that’s not entirely true. We walked around the marina, took some pictures and relaxed by the lake to watch the boats come in / out. There was a swimming spot nearby so we listened to the kids yell and have a great time. The weather was perfect – sunny and warm, but not too warm. We read, talked and just zoned out for about three hours. It was balm to my soul and MUCH NEEDED. I could feel the stress just melting away.
I know what you’re thinking – “But Karen, you’re literally camping right next to the water. Didn’t you and Kevin go on to the lake?”
No, no we didn’t. Neither one of us are big water people. I am not opposed to hanging out on the lake but there is no way I will go swimming in the lake. It just creeps me out too much. The first time something brushes against my leg, I’m out. Though I have to admit, the water looked pretty clean. I feel the same way about the ocean, too. I will not swim in the ocean. The closest I get is walking along the beach. Never more than thigh deep. I’ll be honest, I’m not the best swimmer, which is probably the biggest reason I’m not a big water fan.
Our last night, we drove into town and ate at a local BBQ place. It was pretty great. Had a pulled pork sandwich and we shared some fries.
So no, we didn’t spend any time ON the water. We simply sat around and enjoyed the scenery. We had no plans and we didn’t do anything. It was pretty great, honestly. It was a last minute trip to just get away and get some fresh air and that’s exactly what we did.
This is PRECISELY why we wanted to buy a trailer to begin with – to just get away for a bit. And I have to say, this was a great first trip out. We learned a lot about the trailer and I have a list of things I would like to improve.
Some kitchen utensils – can opener, spatula, knives, measuring cups, teaspoons, etc.
Salt and pepper shakers
Small skillet / griddle
More hooks on the wall
Small towel rack for the kitchen towel and to hang our wet wash cloths on
Black out curtains
We didn’t have any curtains for the windows but Kevin had cut a template for the windows out of Styrofoam and thought it would be a good idea to cut three more to use to stuff in the windows when it’s not in use and that’s what we used to cover the windows. But I would like to hang some black-out curtains at some point. Just little things like that to make it more homey.
The toilet Kevin put in was a life saver. Especially Saturday morning when it POURED rain at 5:30 AM and I had to pee but didn’t have to put on shoes, grab an umbrella and trudge through the rain to the toilets. I was just able to use the toilet and go back to bed.
BEST IDEA EVER TO INSTALL THAT THING.
So that was our first trip in our cargo trailer. It was an impromptu, little planned trip, but we had a blast and I can’t wait to do it again. Which, by the way, we have two camping trips coming up in ONE WEEK sometime this Fall. We’re planning on vlogging the trip so that will be fun to take you guys along for the ride. I’m sure we will regret taking two camping trips in one week but with Kevin’s work schedule, it’s really the only way we can do it right now. He has a big client that demands all of his attention on Thursdays so … we have to get creative on the duration of our trips. The first trip will be four nights up north of us, and three days south of us. Stay tuned.
For now, here are a few pictures from our first trip.