Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Our first RV Adventure... Learn from our mistakes!!! Part Two

To understand the mistakes we made on the first day was please read Part One of this adventure.

Lesson 5: Walmart is your friend!!!

We spent an unlevel but warm first night in the new RV. When we woke up, we knew we would have to make a trip to Walmart. We were close to Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin which has a Walmart. We made sure the dogs were comfortable in the RV, jumped in the truck, and headed to town to get some more items for the RV. But first, breakfast!!!

I consulted Yelp which recommended Huckleberry's Restaurant in Prairie du Chien, WI. We were not disappointed. It was one of the best breakfasts that we have ever had! I don't remember what we ate but we highly recommend Huckleberry's if you are in the area!

Now that we were full we headed to Walmart which is only a mile away. So far, we were only 12 miles from our campsite. The main thing we wanted at Walmart was a 30 amp extension cord black tank deodorizer. We found those items and some other essentials, picked up some firewood at a local Kwik Trip, and headed back to the RV.

Note to self: Walmart has almost all of the items that you will need on Day 1 with your RV. Many local places also carry RV products. We found out later that our local True Value had a very good selection of RV products. But when you are on the road or in an unfamiliar area and you don't know the local stores, find a Walmart along the highway. But if you can, I recommend shopping local. 

Lesson 6: Choose your site well and be patient when leveling. 

Let's face it, for those of us who are not fortunate enough to have automatic leveling, leveling is a pain in the ass! It's easier if you have two people but it's still a pain! When Matt and I level, I am usually outside setting up the blocks, and Matt drives and checks how level we are. If we aren't level he pulls forward and I adjust the blocks.

Source. RVillage.com
Since this was our first trip, I only had one set of ten blocks. That wasn't enough considering we have six tires this particular site was far from level. Of course, arguments issued. I was tired of being outside in the cold and Matt was frustrated because we couldn't get level (something he is MUCH pickier about than I am).

There were very few campers in the campground, and the one next to us looked like it was more level. When we spotted a Ranger driving by we flagged him down and asked if it would be okay if we move to the next site. He said it was fine and we did. Leveling in this new site was much easier AND we could reach the electrical box! We were winning!

We fired up the refrigerator and finished unloading the truck. It was finally time to camp!

Note to self: Leveling the RV is stressful for all parties involved. If you are a couple and you have been through this, you know that tempers get heated and people say things they don't mean. Please be patient and understand that everyone is ready to be done setting up and do some relaxing! Also, make sure you have enough blocks for all tires. For the last couple of years, we have been carrying four sets of blocks and that has worked out. This year we will be using Andersen levelers and a Levelmate Pro for the first time. More on those in a later blog post. 

Lesson 6: Find enjoyment wherever you are. 
Our campsite at Pike's Peake State Park in McGregor, IA. This
is after we FINALLY got set up!

Since we were finally set up, and the dogs needed some exercise, we went for a walk around the campground. At 2pm the temperature reached the mid-40s F. While we walked, we looked for sites that we would want to stay in if/when we return. This is something that we always do when walking the dogs through campgrounds. We decided that we would stay in sites 28, 44, or 45 in the future because they appear more level and the electrical box is more accessible.

We avoided the many hiking trails because it was muddy, but as we stayed on the road we found an amazing public/day-use area. There were gazebos with grills for parties and one huge stone pavilion that can be reserved online.
Lindsay with dogs Tallie and Indy in the stone pavilion at
Pike's Peak State Park near McGregor, IA.

We also found some lookout areas with beautiful views of the Mississippi River. The dogs enjoyed our cool, crisp walk and we did as well.
Photo Credit: Pikes Peak State Park

Note to self: Traveling will have many bumps in the road and I mean that literally and metaphorically. Sometimes the things that we think of as bad at the time, make for the best stories. If we learn from our mistakes as newbies, we will be able to share what we have learned with future newbs. Anyone who has been RVing for any length of time had to start somewhere. We were all new once. 
Photo Credit: Pikes Peak State Park
All in all, our first weekend in our RV was a success. We learned a ton and we had a great time! We make a hobo packet over the fire the second night (recipe later), enjoyed a few adult beverages around the fire, and spent time with each other and our dogs. We now have a set-up and tear down system that works well for us. After four summers of RVing and over 10,000 miles of travel, we are far from experts. But every trip has taught us something new and we continue to learn from our mistakes, FaceBook groups, and YouTube videos. The RV community is extremely friendly and helpful. If you're new or thinking about buying an RV, take advantage of the knowledge that experienced RVers can share with you.

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Our first RV Adventure... Learn from our mistakes!!! Part Two

To understand the mistakes we made on the first day was please read Part One  of this adventure. Lesson 5: Walmart is your friend!!! We...