Monday, October 08, 2007

Adventures in Camping Part 1 ....

or maybe this should be titled "better safe than sorry".

Our first camping trip with the new trailer. We picked Hannah up from school just a little early so we could get on the road. Since it was our first trip we wanted to make sure to get set up before dark. We hit the road at 3:30pm Friday - heading for Lake Powhatan - a National Forset campground right outside of Asheville. We would be dry camping in the National Forest and stay for 2 nights. We figured 2.5 hrs to get there. Plenty of time and better safe than sorry, right?

About a half hour out, just before we get on the interstate, Chris pulls over for a safety check. Hmmm.... the wheels feel kinda hot on one side. Maybe the wheel bearings need grease? This was the one thing not checked at the dealer when we bought it....... Now what. It was the one thing he did not check.

We keep on driving. I get on the phone and start calling the dealer.....they had given us an 800# to call if any problems or questions arose. It is Friday afternoon around 4pm. I keep getting voice mail. Do we head on up and go to the dealer? Turn around and go home? We decide we can make it to the dealer - it is about the same distance there as home. If needed, we will just leave the trailer there, get a hotel and head home in the am.

I finally reach a manager at the dealership. Sure, he says. Come on in - as long as it is before 5:30pm when we close. We can look at it but not work on it that late. But you can stay here if there is a problem and we can work on it in the morning. So we keep going. Get to the dealer at 5:10pm. The manager is waiting for us with a service tech. Hmmmmm - yep, they are kinda hot. Manager thinks it is the brakes. Service tech thinks - better safe than sorry. We had better look at it in the morning.

So they tell us to go find a spot in the campground for the night, hook up to the electric and water and sewer. Chris says, maybe we should head home. No, they say. Stay here for free. Relax tonight and be back at 8am when we open and we will pull the wheels off. If nothing is wrong, you will at least know the bearings are greased. If there is a problem we will fix it. Better safe than sorry, right?

So we pull over to a giant field with rows of electric hookups. Find one off by ourselves. Cool, it is level so we do not even disconnect the truck. Pull out the beds, start the grill, have dinner and a glass of wine, play some trivia pursuit and off to bed.
The next am, we unhook, fold in the beds and are back across the street at 7:45 where there is a mechanic waiting for us and he takes the truck off to the service bays. We go in and have breakfast and watch tv and hang. After a few hous, Chris wanders off to talk to the technician.

Yup, he says - you probably would not have made it thru the weekend. The brakes were adjusted wrong, the grease was liquidfied and that was causing it to get hot. We need to adjust the brakes and re-grease the wheels. Better safe than sorry was EXACTLY THE RIGHT THING TO DO.

By noon we are back on the road, by 1pm we are at Lake Powhatan and now part 2 of the trip begins. We level up (this time not so flat), pull out the beds and get ready again. Hannah decides to learn how to whittle. We ride bikes to the lake (not very big). This time, no electric or water hookups so we test out the battery, cook out on the campstove.

So we had practice taking up and down, driving, hooking up, and generally using the camper. We learned a few things and found out that the camper should work pretty well for us. We are ready to head out again 2 and 3 weekends out.

BTW - it was 80 degrees during the day so it was warm mountain camping. We are hoping for some cooler weather next time.