Monday, June 21, 2010

The one with a TON of pictures (aka. our 1st camping trip)

[After writing this all up, it got really, REALLY long....I want it for our records, but don't expect anyone (except you, Big Daddy!) to read this]

We had been looking at motorhomes/campers/etc for over a year before we finally found one that caught our eye last month. It isn't pretty...but it was cheap (in motorhome talk) and met enough of our requirements for us to agree that it was "the one" ;) So, Big Daddy drove her home a few weeks ago and I marked this past weekend off my work calendar so we could have our first adventure. We dropped it by our family mechanic, who kept it for about 2 weeks and got it all safe for us (new brakes, belts, etc). We got her back Thursday evening and still planned to leave after work on Friday. Big Daddy picked up Wendy's for us to eat on the way, so we didn't have to cook as soon as we got there. Apparently Captain C was taking pics from the back seat - haha (I forgot my camera....I know, I know :( so I was thankful he brought his!).
Side note: whenever we pick up dinner, Princess P always says, "I'll just have a sandwich from home" so here she is, eating her pb&j ;)

We got to the campground and got the motorhome backed in the first try (woot!) and started getting it set up. Everything was going great until we tried to hook up the water...and the hose was too short. Oh well, we had enough in our tank that we did ok without any fresh water (I had packed quite a few gallons of drinking water and we just saved the few dishes that weren't paper to wash at home). Oh, and I should mention that everything we read said you should definitely bring a car on your first trip b/c you WILL forget things. We ignored that and figured we would just "rough it" if we forgot something....after all, it was only for a weekend.

We had a great first night, playing around the camp and catching lightening bugs. They ended up with a bottle full of them that lit up the camper...until they 'fell asleep'.
Notice the Winnebago manual in the picture....we kept that baby close by this weekend. Although it wouldn't have killed them to throw in a little blurb about how to open (and close) and awning. Each one took us about 30 minutes to figure out - haha!

After dark, T and the boys watched Back to the Future and I read while Paige talked to me while I read ;)

It took some convincing to get little t to sleep by P but finally he did (actually, he said he was afraid she would pee on him so slept hanging off the bed with only his head on the bed - In her defense, she has never wet the bed since she was potty trained by 2 so not sure what his real issue was...except he likes his space).

Saturday, we went out first thing to hike before it got too hot to leave the a/c (what the Winnie lacks it looks, she makes up for with her coolness....awesome!).

Incidentally, this is the last picture that C's camera took before the batteries died...and did I mention that I forgot my camera (UGH!). Oh but don't fear, I did have my phone. Not a fancy i-anything, mind old Nokia flip phone that happens to take pictures - woohoo. Better than nothing, right?

We spend most of Saturday IN the motorhome. And had a blast. We played Farkle and Princess P kicked our butts - lol. Then moved on to cards...I tried to teach t and P "Spite and Malice" that my Grandma used to play with us whenever we would visit. After one round, t said, "Can we just play Go Fish?" we did.

Much better (and I won!). Then we brought in the whole family and played BS (which we called "Liar"). P was WAY too good of a was kinda scary. For being 5, she totally caught on to the game and was all, "What are we on?" "Kings" "I don't have any Kings, Oh is one"...and would totally throw anything down there with a straight face. t, on the other hand, wasn't quite as good and ended up with most of the deck in his little hands.

P also made up a card game for us...that was fun -haha! I had checked out several movies from the library so the kids watched a movie on the laptop and I read more (I almost finished 2 novels this weekend - :) )....Big Daddy and WonderMutt napped.

We ended Saturday with cooking hotdogs and s'mores over a campfire, just to make the camping experience complete.

P was pleasantly surprised to find a duck shaped chip ;)

Sunday was Father's Day and the kids had brought along their gifts for Daddy. They LOVE giving gifts and had been asking all weekend if they could, but we made them wait until Sunday. And no, they didn't get him anything from VS...they just grab whatever bags they can find to wrap things in :)

After a pancake breakfast, we decided to load up early and go home and swim, instead of staying b/c it was SO hot on Sunday. So by 11, we were all ready to go....and the motorhome wouldn't start. Totally dead. AAA came and tried and the battery was fine so they left. Remember when I said we weren't going to bring another hindsight, that was dumb. T's brother and his wife ended up dropping what they were doing to come all the way out to us to help.

My sister-in-law and I sat in the cool motorhome and caught up with each other while the boys replaced the cylinoid....but it still didn't start :( So they took us all home to get the van and Big T bought a new starter and we drove back to the lake, praying that this would be it. Now, let me stop here to say that while T is an amazing husband and father, he isn't a mechanic. This was totally new ground for him, but his brother had walked him through taking the starter off before he left so he figured he could put it back on. It turns out, that even if the car is off....if you hook up a starter, it WILL try to your hand. I haven't been that scared in a LONG time as when I heard that thing start firing up with T and t under the motorhome (little t could squat under there and wanted to watch). T was shaking like crazy and I didn't know if I was going to have to drag him out by his feet and revive him or what...but he was fine. Just a little shocked ;) I undid the batteries, he finished hooking it up and (after everyone was out from under it!), it started up perfectly. What a sweet, sweet sound!! Finally, 7 hours later, we were on our way home, sweet, home.

Even with the delay, it was a great weekend and we can't wait to do it again. Although, next time, I will follow in the car....just in case ;)

We asked the kids their favorite and least favorite parts of the trip, to see what we needed to do differently next time.

C: Fave - building the fire; Least fave - hiking
t: Fave - lightening bugs, fire, and everything; least fave - didn't have a least fave!
P: Fave - playing in the sand, and everything; least fave - also didn't have a least fave!
Me: Fave - all the time with the family - priceless! least fave - bed sucks (we threw out the bed that came with it and had one made...and it truly sucks!) and bug bites - the bug spray we bought didn't work...thank goodness for:


  1. That looks like so much fun. I love your camper. I think it's nice! We have only used ours for the races so far, nothing "leisurely". I can't wait to take ours out. Your post makes me want to go now. Of course, it's a huge ordeal. Kevin takes forever to get it ready, pack it, etc. :) your pics here, can't believe you forgot your camera though! lol.....

  2. What a great adventure! I can't wait to hear about more of them. :)

  3. What a fun time. I'm so glad things worked out the way they did! Glad you didn't call us, though. I'm not sure Mike would have been any better a mechanic than T! :-)

  4. FUN FUN FUN!!! Even with the technical difficulties sounds like such a great and memorable weekend. I'm so happy that all loved the new experience with "Winnie"! :) Here's to many more adventures to come, can't wait to hear about them too!!

  5. What fun!! You really did score! by the way...are you Weston Price fans...Nourishing Traditions book by Sally Fallon, etc?

  6. I think it's awesome that you've been able to get this really nice mobile home with cash! It's nice to hear stories of people who live under their means and still "LIVE!"
    JRA in CO

  7. Camping is the BEST! Sweet ride! I hope it proves to be a good purchase without any further tech difficulties.

  8. You might be interested in going to great cakes soapworks website and ordering a bar of her bye bye bugs soap. I've used it this summer and haven't even had to use the bug spray. I have had one or two bites but the other campers were ate up. Besides showering with it I would wet it and rub it on my arms, legs, neck and ears and it worked great. Sure beats bug spray! (I am not affiliated with the lady, but I am one happy customer).

  9. OH very cool Autumn. Thank you so much for the tip! I'll check it out.

  10. God is good! I think we have a lot in common- I'm married to my best friend as well and we have 3 great boys- we love love camping adventurez and saving money- i'm a coupon queen- check out my blog at
    i am working to find more followers and people with shared interest- tks, God Bless ya'll in the new year!


I would love to hear your thoughts!!