Friday, March 30, 2007

The Shakedown Trip and the need for a checklist

One month after the impulse purchase of the RV, we took our shakedown trip to Lake Somerville and an MS 150 training ride. It was April Fools Weekend, and we were foolish just once.

We had a non-RV spot Friday night, with beautiful TV reception and a close-by bathroom. We weren’t on the lake, but Rocky Creek Park is a peninsula, so the water is everywhere you look. Deer were abundant. There was a giant storm in the night, but I just LOVE storms in the outdoors.

I voted to stay another night in Rocky Creek at Somerville, and we were rewarded with a utilities site opening up. We did the water and electric hookups for the first time, got comfy, and discovered my perfect tree heavy site had no TV reception. It was minutes before the Final Four playoff game. This would not do.

We threw things together. The slider room would not come back in. Out came the manuals, which described putting a wrench on it and cranking it in manually. We had no such tool. I made a phone call to the dealership, and they said, "Is the emergency brake on?" No, it wasn't, but sure enough, setting it made the slider operate just fine.

The slider panic ate into the time, and we began a frantic search for a site with good reception. Carl was driving and I was rotating the antenna every 100 feet or so. That’s when we did the foolish thing ...we left the skylight up and trashed it on some tree limbs. It was flapping around. Without some repair, we would be in trouble in another storm, and we certainly could not drive home that way. What we needed was some duct tape. Of course we didn't have any. I borrowed some from other campers, and Carl taped it back together.

I said “No reception for the Final Four, broken vent, and bugs flying all over the place. It’s an omen. I’m going home.” But by the time the roof was fixed, I had decided we should just stay there and get in some more experience. How often do I get Carl to spend a night in the great outdoors?

I was glad we did. I rode the bike out at dusk to see the deer and got an extra treat of a bunny and lots of buzzards. The park shower was great. Cooking and cleaning up all went smoothly. I slept like a medium good baby. Unfortunately for Carl, Georgetown lost.

We woke up to buzzards mating overhead in the trees, cranked up the RV and went to Brenham for breakfast. Carl is looking for a skylight to replace the broken one ($500, thank you very much), I am working on the drive-out checklist, and there's duct tape in the tool kit now.