Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving Camping

We left home Wednesday afternoon to drive 120 miles south to spend Thanksgiving with my parents. It was 43º in Kansas City — windy, cold, cloudy, foggy, and wanting to rain. As we drove south over the Missouri River on I-35/I-29, I took this fog-shrouded close-up photo of the new Kit Bond Bridge (replacing the old Paseo Bridge). It’s a beautiful design – similar to bridges in Australia and China.

Thankfully, there was less traffic than we’d expected, although we followed some ugly thunder clouds. By the time we arrived at my parents, the temperature had risen to 73º — a whopping 30º increase — with high humidity which made all the surfaces in the Casita sweat!

As soon as we got the camper set up in my parents’ backyard, the tornado sirens went off. Soon the rain was blowing sideways with thunder and lightening. Sure glad we weren’t still on the road. However, I worried about our little “egg” getting blown away. Thankfully, no tornado was spotted near us and everything was fine — just wet outside. We always sleep in the camper even at my parents’ simply because we have our privacy, a familiar bed, and Kira can sleep with us without upsetting my mother. Unfortunately, we didn’t realize until we were settled in for the night that we didn’t have the shore power we expected. The next morning, we figured out the extension cord in my parent’s garage wasn’t plugged in good. Oh, well, it was still quite warm when we went to sleep, and even though the temp dropped all night, we had plenty of covers to kept us warm all night without any heat.

The cold and gloom we left at home apparently followed us south ‘cause Thanksgiving Day was below freezing most of the day, very windy and looked like it might snow any minute (although it didn’t). We had a great meal and an enjoyable visit. By evening, the sky was nearly clear (meaning it was going to be very cold at night) but the setting sun put some color in these clouds.
The second night (with shore power this time), we used the heat strip all night long and pinned the insulated curtains shut over the bubble-wrapped windows. So even though it was 19º the next morning, it was close to being too warm inside the camper during the night. The heat strip worked great!

After getting our propane tanks topped off, we headed west late Friday morning for Bourbon County Kansas State Fishing Lake (southwest of Fort Scott, KS) where we’d never been before. It was more or less on the way home. And of course, we had a pretty good head wind all the way. How does the wind always know to change direction against us when we travel?

Apparently the Boubon County Lake is being (or already has been) drained because it was quite low, with lots of exposed rock and lake-bottom showing. We had our choice of campsites since no one else was around. Surprisingly, there is a quite a community of lake houses on the other side of the lake access road. Somewhat comforting to know there’s people nearby just in case of an emergency since we had no cell phone reception.
We snuggled in Friday night for several hours of playing dominoes, and kept score this time. Jeff was way ahead of me when we finally stopped. The night was much warmer than the previous two nights, so the furnace only ran occasionally.

Saturday was total sunshine, very little breeze, and after sleeping in, Jeff made coffee and I took Kira for a walk. Finally, Jeff got a fire going outside to fix breakfast while I cleaned house! The camper nearly always comes home cleaner than when it left.

With the comfortable temperatures, I opened up the door to air our the camper. I washed up last night’s few dishes and put them away, cleaned the A/C intake grill, shook out the rugs, vacuumed and swept the carpet, washed out the dish towels, and put away all the accumulated stuff. Since we’re both horizontally challenged, we need to keep thinking of more ways to store things VERTICALLY.

I like hanging small items on the soffit area above the upper cabinets since we don’t walk under them. But I realized while looking at them that there is also room on both sides of the upper cabinet above the galley to hang organizers or baskets to store those things that keep getting laid down in the way (like sunglasses, notepads, wallet, keys, cell phone, etc). The only thing beside the upper galley door was two dish towels hanging on suction hooks, so I moved them to the unused refrigerator door.  Great — they’re light weight, don’t stick out, are soft if bumped into, and hang down. Yeah, one more unutilized area! I’ve seen the little organizers I have in mind on the walls of other Casitas, so it’s on my list of things to buy. Also, a long-handled sponge with dish soap in the handle so I don’t need to actually put water in the sink or my hands in too much water to wash dishes. Someone suggested cutting a heavy-duty desk-chair pad to place over the carpet in the galley and doorway. That sounds an excellent idea. THEN maybe my throw rugs will stop creeping around.
After we ate breakfast, Jeff heated water to make more coffee as he ran the generator for a few hours. Could’ve used the electric coffee maker, but we like the coffee from this method.
I charged up my laptop and continued with my blog. And I washed up more dishes!  That’s our deal — he cooks and I clean up after him (what else is new?).
I took Kira and my camera for a walk since it was so pleasant outside. Actually, she’s not too good at following me but would make a real good sled dog since she sure likes to pull. Having her pull me up these rocks back to our campsite is rather helpful though. At least I found these colorful bittersweet berries nearby.
Then we started playing dominos again — outside on the picnic table in the sun. It was perfect sweatshirt-only weather. I beat Jeff this time, so I guess we’re equally matched. He kept the fire going and started cooking chicken outside in the late afternoon for an evening meal of chicken stir-fry. It was delicious. . .except I had to wash dishes again. Three times in one day is not a good thing. And yes, we use regular plates and silverware. It’s more economical and green.
Although Jeff attempted to fish a little, but we’re on the shallow side of the lake. He had more fun keeping the fire going. There were a few ducks fishing near this side of the lake so maybe he missed the fish feeding in the shallows.
We finally retired to the camper after dark and continued our dominos game. And I continued to beat him! Go figure.

We slept late again Sunday morning, and although it wasn’t particularly cold and the sun was shining, the wind was blowing at gale force. It made it very annoying to be outside, so we decided to break camp early and grab breakfast along the route home.

As I was securing everything inside, I heard a loud pop and the trailer felt like it had just ran over a huge bump. . .except we weren’t moving yet. Apparently we ran over a nail or sharp rock while checking out the campgrounds and the left trailer tire blew when he lowered it off the jacks. Unfortunately, Jeff didn’t bring his big set of tools and didn’t have a socket or wrench deep enough to loosen the spare tire from the trailer.

So — we drove about 55 miles round trip to the only town that had much open at 11am on a Thanksgiving Sunday morning weekend so he could buy the socket tool he needed from Auto Zone. We returned to the trailer to change the tire and finally get on our way home. We still took our time since we were driving on the worn spare tire, but that tail wind was extremely helpful. Guess the wind doesn’t always know which way we’re traveling! We’re shopping for new trailer tires now. It was a good weekend and probably our last outing of the year. Guess it’s time to get out the pink stuff and clean out our egg for the winter {sob, sob}.

1 comment:

  1. You had quite the adventure. I was really frightened for you when those sirens went off. Real campers camp in bad weather! You guys are tough!


Comments must be approved, so if your comment is promoting some irrelevant website or makes no sense in English, don't waste your time. It will be marked as spam & deleted.