05 January 2013

Storming the New Year

I meant to post an update before we high-tailed it out of town last week before the weekend.

Christmas came and went as planned.  Kids came done for a few days, we celebrated only two Christmases this year with them and my family.  Was fairly quiet/uneventful (aka drama free).  Everyone got new toys to play with (including the dogs).      

Last weekend we loaded up the wagon and headed west of town for our annual New Year’s Eve rally in a small campground out in the country.  Nice, quiet affair.  Good way to ring in the New Year with friends and family in the country.  3rd time out in the new trailer with momma and the dogs.  The more I use it, the more I learn how to make things work or, more importantly, what doesn't work.  A 16 year old trailer is going to have a few quirks/hiccups – my parents have been cruising the country in their trailers for over 30 years and they have pretty much seen & done it all.  From flat tires, melted power lines, lost wheel, refrigerator quits, a/c problems, water leaks, broken hitch, and even rolling their trailer has not dimmed their thirst for the road.  

My old trailer was always having one problem or another.  The A/C was built like a tank – it would run, but it was noisy, vibrated all night long but it would put frost on your pumpkin.  I was always chasing leaks in the trailer, the floor needed replacing, and I won’t even begin my diatribe on tambour doors.  The new rig is light years ahead of our old one.  5 feet longer, 3 feet wider, lots of room, lots of storage, bigger holding tank capacity, quieter a/c, great shower.  Makes the trek a lot more enjoyable when we have the room.  We are still learning how to operate the trailer and some of its quirks.  Last trip I deemed I needed a sway control/stabilizer.  On  this outing we came up with a few new challenges that made the trip interesting (lost a sky light, the furnace didn't work).  Arrived late Friday evening only to find my sky light in the bathroom had not made the trip out of Houston, so now I had a 2 foot hole in the top of the trailer (much foul language ensued).  Spare sky lights are not something I normally keep in the tool bag, so I had  to improvise a cover from some cardboard, garbage bag and duct tape.  After all that drama, I wasn't really in the mood for Mexican food at a local restaurant.  Maybe the mini-crisis put me in a bad mood, but the food wasn't appetizing at all to me (or perhaps it was the 3 hour wait).  The furnace never came on and I called in a local repair guy that specializes in RV repairs (handy when you live next to an RV park).  He figured out that the relay was shot and needed to be replaced.  Of course, he didn't have that part and would have to order it (remember it is the weekend before New Year’s) but it would probably not be in until Tuesday (the day we go back).  This did not really pose a major problem since we had a heat cube (small ceramic heater that will pretty much cook you out of the trailer) and electric blankets.  New Year’s Eve we had plans for a lot of activities but the front hit early and it was pretty much nonstop rain all day.  Normally I don’t mind the rain but camping with two very hairy dogs that love to walk, I envisioned chaos inside my new rig.  No matter how much I tried to dry them off and lay down towels, it was a mess.  I was also worried that my jury rigged sky light would not hold up well in the rain, but it held up quite well.  

Despite those challenges, the rest of the rally went well.  Saturday morning we had biscuits on a stick - cooked over an open fire (or heater).  Saturday night we attended a local dinner theater - "Murder By Chocolate" in a local castle (yes, I said castle).  I was going to cover that trip here but it would make the post way too long so I'll go into detail in one of my next posts.  Sunday night we cooked turkeys Scout style (in a foil tent with charcoal) but the cooks were having problems getting the turkeys to the right temperature so we "rigged" up some of our propane heaters and created an outdoor oven.  Not exactly per the manual, but it did the trick.  (Improvise, Adapt, Overcome)

Home sweet home (before the rain set in)
Sadly, our planned New Year's Eve parade was cancelled due to the rain so I will just pass along some of the pictures from last year's festivities.   

The 2011 Toilet Bowl Parade

One good outcome was that my sky light repair job held up on the trip back home.  Had fears that it was going to blow off on the ride and the inside of the trailer would be soaked.  Never underestimate the power of duct tape.   

Now quite an official "Airstream" approved modification

And just to tease you on the castle visit, there was an actual working trebuchet that we got to operate.  To give you an idea of how it operated, I snagged this clip...  

And for anyone keeping count, 7 days until liftoff...


ShadowRun300 said...

I have found that my greatest memories come from trips that have had some sort of crisis. They make for much better stories.
Your duct tape job is incredible. Hard to believe you were worried it wouldn't last.
7 more days til the run? Haven't heard much from you on the running side. Hopefully you've gotten more miles in than I have. (not hard to beat. I've had NONE the last 10 days.)Good luck to you if we don't hear from you before then!

ShadowRun300 said...
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terri said...

Well the trailer and the weather sure put your patience to the test, but it doesn't sound like it was enough to turn you off considering another adventure. If nothing else, you've got the major quirks covered and should have a much easier time next time around.

Rock Chef said...

where would we be without duct tape and cable ties?

Love the trebuchet too.

Abby said...

Skylight patch looks good to me! And biscuits on a stick cooked over the open heater - very improvisational post!
And wow, a real-life working trebuchet, how fun! We have one, but it's about a foot tall. Doesn't take out too many castles.