The adventures of a knitting grandmother

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She spins, she knits, she blogs about it all.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The Covered Wagon

I seem to be in the blogging doldrums these days. Not the knitting doldrums, as work on the Simple Lace Scarf (Moira) takes me into the last ball of yarn. The Harebell Lace-Pumpkin Socks-Baby Lace socks are growing slowly but surely as well. But blogging? Now in my own defense, it has been pretty darn hot and muggy here. We don't have air conditioning, except for a window unit that we use in our bedroom. The house is cooled by a swamp cooler. For the uninitiated, a swamp cooler is a box that sits on the roof, with a very large fan in it that blows air into the house. The sides of the box are made of pads which are soaked with water when the unit is turned on. The fan sucks in air through the wet pads, which cools the air, which then gets blown into the house. It works quite well, until the weather turns humid and/or rainy. Then it doesn't do much good at all except to keep the humid air moving like any other fan would. Fortunately, it's only for a few weeks of the year.

Anyways, I decided that today I would do a post in Kathy's honor (Kathy who sent me the super Regia of my last post). She had asked a while ago to see the camping trailer, so I present this post at her request.

Above you see the camper in travel mode. Everything is folded up and locked down; the refrigerator is running off the car battery. (Yes, there is a small square refrigerator built in, which holds a surprisingly large amount of stuff.) Normally the refrigeration and all other power systems will run off electricity at the campground, but we are also capable of running off propane gas -- there are two propane cylinders mounted on the front of the camper, in that small white box, and we can also run on battery if there is no electricity where we camp (two large marine batteries, also mounted in the front). We pull it with our minivan, which we ordered with a special towing package built into the engine. It allows the car to pull all that extra weight without overheating, etc.

Once we arrive, the top cranks up and the beds on either end pull out. The beds slide out and everything that is folded down for travel folds back out to make a king size bed on both ends. There is a mattress already on the bed and we toss our sleeping bags on top of that. It is amazingly comfortable.

Then one side pulls out to make the dining area. This is what really gives us the room inside the camper. Our old camper had the table set smack in the middle, and you had to crawl over it and anyone sitting at it to get to the bed behind it. The old trailer also had heavy canvas sides that were hotter than heck and leaked on a regular basis. It had no air conditioning (you can see the air conditioning unit sitting on the top of this one) and no heat (we have propane heat now). A faucet for cold water only and a small propane stove. It was pretty bare-bones. You can see Joe hooking up the water hoses here. We now have a small hot water tank which is more than sufficient, which feeds hot water into the sink and the shower (yes, dear readers, there is a shower). Because the hot water heats up sooo hot, you need a lot of cold to make it a reasonable temperature. So the five gallons in the hot water tank lasts a long time. Of course, you do have to watch the temperature when you turn the water on.

Here is the dining area. It holds four adults comfortably. The canvas on the sides will zip down and make a nice window area. Under the seats are two big bins for storage. The table area is almost constantly in use while we are camping; it can drop down at night to make a double bed. The only bad thing is that you have to move any teenagers sitting there if you want to get into the storage for potato chips or supper fixings.

We keep an entire functioning kitchen packed away in the camper. Dishes, silverware, kitchen tools, cups, pots and pans, mixing bowls and storage containers. I don't need to transfer anything from the house to the trailer when we go anywhere. We also have a toaster oven and a hot water pot packed away, as well as enough towels for a Girl Scout Troop and then some.

Here is a shot of the length of the trailer, from me all the way at one end to Barbara all the way at the other. As you can see, there is a lot of room in here. The dining table is off on the left, and the sink and stove are on the left closest to the camera. The refrigerator is under the stove. You can see the air conditioner in the middle of the roof. On the right, closest to the camera, is storage and a shelving unit. Next is the door out, then a small couch with storage underneath it. Just past the couch is the shower and toilet area, which is not set up yet. It all unfolds and sets up into a small shower area with a chemical toilet which we only use in dire circumstances. (It's pouring and storming and the campground toilets are a bit distant, for example.) The shower is probably my favorite feature in this camper, as we avoid having to use campground showers which may be less than sanitary and, in some areas, we avoid having to pay to take showers in the less than sanitary facilities.

We also have a large awning that pulls out over the door side of the camper and we can also attach canvas to the awning supports to make a screen room, giving us extra room and storage. We have camped with 8 adults and teens at one time, three on each end and two on the dining table, but it is pretty tight and you have to keep all the suitcases, etc, in the cars.

So, once you are all set up, you throw a couple steaks or some chicken on the grill, fry up some potatoes on the stove, make a salad with what's in the fridge, bake a small cake for dessert in the toaster oven, wash up when done with the hot water in the sink, and head out to take in the sunset.


Blogger JennyRaye said...

Your pop-up pictures make me so miss ours and all our camping (mis)adventures! We had a Jayco, similar to yours except we didn't have the pull-out feature. Never used the shower, though. Gotta work on the dh!

9:58 AM  
Blogger KnitNana said...

That is so cool. I've dreamed about retiring to the RV life and thought a small self-contained vehicle would be the answer. Hmm...maybe not - this might actually be the better choice!
We'll see...Thank you for the info and photos...

6:31 AM  
Blogger Roxie said...

Oh. Pat, you are so much tougher than I am! If it doesn't have a bathtub and mints on the pillow, I'm not on vacation.

And what a gorgeous picture (of you?) on the canyon rim!

3:44 PM  
Blogger knittyref said...

We have the bare bones pop-up you mentioned early on and we love it. Ours is provisioned much the same as yours though, so it's ready to head out at a moment's notice.

Nowadays it's mostly just the Hubster and I who camp. There's nothing better than hitching up the trailer, throwing the clothes, food and firewood into the car and going. Unless it's coming back and just parking the trailer in the drive and not having to unpack!

9:35 AM  
Blogger Ann said...

Wow. Thanks for the tour. What a lovely vacation. I cannot get hubby to go along with one of these, eventhough I know the kids would love it and it would give us the flexibility to get up and go on a moment's notice. I may have to forward him your post, as this camper is quite plush... what fun.

7:16 AM  

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