November 18, 2014 (by Angela)
Tomorrow will be one week – 7 days – since we picked up the 5th wheel and began our RV experience. It has been nothing like what I imagined our first week would be, but then again, the weather has been nothing like what would be expected in mid-November in Tennessee. I’d say temperatures are at least 20 degrees lower than normal for the time of year. If you read Vexed by the Polar Vortex and Last Minute Major Change in Plans, you will understand that it was indeed the weather that led us to an early move in.
Since parking the camper at Yogi Bear Jellystone RV Campground in Nashville, Tennessee, the weather has been wild! Nightly temperatures have ranged from 22 degrees Fahrenheit our first night on the 13th to a balmy 34 degrees on Saturday night the 15th. Along with the warmer weather Saturday night came around 24 hours of non-stop rain, sometimes hard, but always steady, which ended in a bit of snow on Monday early. Monday night – last night – we dropped to 17 with wind chill in the single digits. What a way to be inducted into the RV lifestyle.
Jim wrote of lessons learned yesterday, but the last 24 hours has been a rollercoaster ride of lessons. We’ve learned that there is no easy way to go in and out of the trailer with arms full of items being moved into or out, and it is exacerbated when trying to block an almost-100-pound dog from making a break for unleashed freedom. We’ve learned that it is difficult to get the trailer stabilized well enough that the sway is not pronounced. The fact that moisture in a trailer is a battle fought is now clear, and I’m wondering how to address the condensation present in almost every window due to the difference in the inside and outside temps. Today, we learned that using the on-site laundry can be a time effective way of getting the weekly washing done, and it can be a fun thing to do as a couple. Jim and I found out that we, even as beginners doing so for our first time, can stow items and break camp in 45 minutes if needed, even though we were still in the middle of putting our things into the camper.
We’ve learned that both of us must check to make sure that everything that should be cut off is cut off, especially if the fresh water tank is empty and temps do not allow hook up to site water. During travel, drawers and cabinet doors may jar open. When setting up camp, first put out the slide that will allow for inspection. Once that one is opened, it is easier to see items that may have opened in transit before opening other slides. Failure to do so may result in damage to the RV. Finally, what we already knew about our relationship has been validated once again: we work well together as a team. You should have seen how efficiently we re-established our camp today after the short trip to the RV service center from which we purchased our trailer, Cullum and Maxey, to check out a few issues we were having before leaving town.
By the way, those folks at Cullum and Maxey are awesome. Our salesman, Larry Leaver, has gone above and beyond. Talk to him if shopping for an RV. The service staff has been amazing. They spent an hour and a half today, checking out, repairing, and educating us on questions and concerns we had without charging us a penny.
It has been a crazy, exciting, challenging, fun, nerve-wrecking, cold, wet, wonderful week that ends tomorrow with our first real road trip to Mountain Lakes RV Resort in Alabama. Our time here more or less ended with a final trip tonight to make S’mores at the snack tent next to Santa’s Shop at the end of the Dancing Lights Tour here at the park. We highly recommend this holiday experiences if near or in Jellystone.
Oh, for those of you who may wonder about the results of some of our lessons, the only real harm done was some not-too-noticeable cracks and dents in one cabinet door. Luckily, I was listening and paying attention, so I heard the wood-crunching sound early enough that the cabinet that came open in transit and could not be seen was not lost, only a little worse for wear. Actually, unless you know where to look, you can’t see the damage. Dad told us that it would not be a matter of “if” but “when” we’d have such things happen. As usual, Dad was right.
So, let’s stay calm and RV on!