Hey everyone, first time RV owner here. My wife, Katie, and I live in Southern Pines, NC and just bought a 2013 Summerland 1890. We are going to try and take it out as often as possible on short weekend trips, since we are lucky enough to be surrounded by many parks and rec areas. If anyone here has recommendations for anything close to the Sandhills area, I would love to hear about them.
I hope you all enjoy the story of my first complete RV camping experience as the team leader (or HMFIC as some in the construction industry might say).
We took our camper out this past Saturday, immediately after we bought it because, well, why not? We were both so excited to test it out with our two year old son that we took it home, threw some clothes/bedding/food in it, grabbed the dogs and hit the road. We didn't want to travel too far on our first trip so we opened up the RV phone book we received from CampingWorld and found the Oasis of North Carolina Campground (http://www.oasisofnorthcarolina.us/
) in nearby Aberdeen. Only 25 miles away, we should have been there in about 30-40 minutes. That would have been if I wasn't driving like a little girl while towing the surprisingly heavy trailer up/down hills (no offense to little girls).
As we pulled up, we were greeted by Bob, who together with his wife Sharon, own and built the park 7 years ago. Bob told me to go inside the office and check-in with his son, Tommy. While I was filling out my information card, a younger camper came up to Sharon and asked for three "C" batteries (Lesson 1 to myself: Remember batteries). She found some from her personal collection (Bob/Sharon live at a house on the grounds) and gave the batteries to him as a courtesy with a big smile.
My wife and I have two relatively big (110 lb +/-) lab mixes, and like any dog lover will tell you, they are definitely part of our family. One of the reasons we bought a camper was so that we didn't need to leave our furry friends behind when we travel. That being said (or typed), I knew this campground would be a great first experience when Tommy's young dog came up and greeted me. Sharon told me that dogs were welcome all over their campground, and didn't require leashes, as long as they weren't aggressive. Tommy walked over to my pull through, full hook-up campsite and offered to help me with anything I needed. The campground is relatively small with roughly 25 full hook-up sites and has a few "permanents" that only stay in their RV during the week. There were a few other travelers with RV's there, a family staying in a yurt and another family in the cabin. This campground was the perfect spot for me to try this whole RV thing on my own, without a bunch of people getting free entertainment by watching me make a fool of myself. Heck, I didn't even need to back the trailer in!
Now don't get me wrong, my parents bought a camper when I was in college and I did my fair share of camping with them. I know the usual things that go with setting up and tearing down a RV, but I learned you can never prepare for everything. I spent a good 5 minutes trying to jack the trailer up, lifting my rear bumper with it every time, only to remember that I had to slide the lock into the back/open position (Lesson 2: Learn how to unhook the trailer quickly before the next trip). Luckily, Katie didn't notice me struggling with the hitch since she was watching our son ride his bike and playing fetch with the dogs, or I think she would still be poking fun at me about it. Stabilizers came down pretty easy and lucky for me the camper has leveling bubbles located on all four sides. I realized I must have been standing on a hill while eyeballing this operation because when I checked, I could barely see the bubbles in the levelers. Finally, I get the leveling out of the way and now the fun can begin.
Hooking up the 30 AMP power cord was pretty straight forward, as was the water hose with the pressure regulator in-line. CampingWorld sells a relatively cheap, but very useful, starter kit that includes a sewage hose, water hose, water pressure regulator, RV toilet paper, septic tank cleaner, & a 30 AMP/110V adapter. Katie kept asking me to hook up the lav for her since she didn't want to go explore the public facilities just yet. (As it turns out, they had dual bathrooms and showers, in the center of the campground just built a year ago, and they keep the facilities extremely clean.) I made sure to purge the air in the water line, and then I turned on our water heater to check it's function. Keep in mind, when I bought this used 2013 Keystone from CampingWorld, they showed me that the AC, fridge, freezer and electrical systems all worked, and they also pressure tested the gas line, but they never hooked up water to test the plumbing. The water heater worked great, so I turned it off and went outside to start doing what we bought this camper to do, spend some time as a family.
Katie asked for me to go back inside and grab something that I now don't remember. I went inside and heard water spraying in our bathroom and saw water flowing from the bathroom, through the kitchen area and towards the couch at the end of the trailer (Lesson 3: Clearly I did not level this damn trailer).
On a side note, my mom and dad gave me only a few reminders before I started this trip, one of which was to make sure the faucet was over the sink when I turned on the water. Funny story, they didn't and found water all over their kitchen. Hindsight....that isn't a funny story.
In my rush to get the lav ready, I didn't go in and check the shower head. I opened the the door expecting to get hit in the face from the shower, only to find water spraying from the back of the lav. I desperately stuck my hand blindly back where water was spraying from, inside the bathroom wall, in an attempt to find a valve, or maybe plug the line with my finger. I couldn't even figure out what the source of the water was with all the hoses hidden back there.
After what seemed like minutes, when in reality it was probably only a second or two, I came running out of the trailer yelling for Katie to grab all the towels since I had no clue where she put them (Lesson 4: Know where everything in your trailer is...everything
). Remember, this is a relatively small campground, with probably 25 total sites, and only about 4 other families there at that time. I ran around my camper and truck and shut off the water at the spigot. With all the commotion, our quiet little site now seemed to be the center of attention. A few campers and the staff stopped by our site later to see if they could help, but with the exception of filling up our water cups all night, there wasn't much they could do. Don't get me wrong, I am very grateful that there were people that were kind enough to offer help when they saw us having a problem.
This incident happened around 08:30, CampingWorld closes at 8. I tried to contact them immediately, but of course, no one answers the phone. Now, I bought this camper used from CampingWorld, as-is, no warranty. I mean... come on.... who needs to pay for an extended warranty on a 1 year old camper, right?
I could drag this on for much longer, but that was the fun part. We managed to survive just fine filling up bottles of water for cooking and for using the lav minimally. After everything settled down, we had some mac'n'cheese and hot dogs for dinner. By then, it was beyond time to put our son to bed and we called it a night ourselves. The next morning, Katie and I decided it was too nice to leave first thing, so we hung out at the campground with our family, enjoyed the beautiful weather and officially met some of the other campers who had offered help the previous night. They were very friendly and invited us over to watch the races with them, but we decided to hit the short road home to clean out our camper and prepare it for next weekend.
While I was cleaning out the camper, I decided to see if I could feel/see what hose was broken or disconnected behind the lav. When I reached back into the wall opening at the base of the lav, I grabbed a bundle of about 20'-30' of rope that had been neatly wrapped and stuffed back there, with the other end attached to one of the hoses. I decided at that point to just put the rope back and let the professionals handle it. I'm guessing that someone was in the process of working on the water line to the lav and just stopped halfway through. I am hopeful that CampingWorld will step up to the plate and fix our camper this week as discussed.
Repair Status Updates:
I brought the camper in today 5/26 to be fixed (yes, the service department is open on Memorial Day), and I am waiting to hear back from them tomorrow. When I dropped it off, the service manager said they would handle it right away. The service agent asked me when I wanted it back, and he didn't seem to have any issues when I asked for it to be fixed by Wednesday. I called to check on it today around 5 and was told that it had not been processed yet. I am hoping the repairs are not too serious and we do not miss out on our planned trip to Jordan Lake for this weekend.
Hope you all enjoyed my first post to the forum and even though I haven't met any of you yet, I am sure it is only a matter of time before we cross paths in this large, yet surprisingly small, world of camping.