Belle, First Big Mistake, and Glamping in the Rain

I guess I was more tired yesterday than I realized. After posting, catching up with DH, and having some supper, I dozed through most of the evening, then I slept straight through the night until 7:15 AM. It was a warm 55F last night and raining, which made for good sleeping weather, even in a WalMart parking lot. Once in my camper, I’m in a world of my own so I can be comfortable anywhere. I was on the road by 8 AM and drove 270 miles today to Millpoint RV Park in East Peoria, Il. It rained most of the day so I drove a bit slower (60-65) than I had yesterday (65-70) and found that my mileage increased from 12 mpg yesterday to 13 mpg today. I may be on to something!

I drove from Iowa into Illinois and crossed the mighty Mississippi river on my route today.

At the Spoon River Rest Stop, I met a lovely RV couple, John and Shirley, and their sweet dog Belle. They have a place near Seattle, WA and winter near Quartzite, AZ so it's likely our paths will cross again in the near future! They were interested in seeing Wild Thing so I gave them the grand tour. John said he saw me yesterday driving on the highway and the camper caught his eye so he was glad to run into me and Wild Thing a day later at this rest stop. Trailer folks are so friendly! Belle was so sweet and graciously let me take her picture for the blog!

It was tiring to drive in the constant rain today so I was glad that I was well rested and had planned a short day. Millpoint RV Park sits on Upper Peoria Lake on the Illinois River and I have a shaded pull-through site. I made my first big mistake unhitching today but thankfully, Wild Thing and I are OK.

I haven’t unhitched in a few days so I was trying to be methodical going through the unhitching routine. I put the  X chocks on the wheels and lowered the front landing gear down onto the plastic “lego block” type blocks before opening the hitch lock arm and pulling the truck forward. When I did so, the landing gear slipped off the lego blocks and the landing gear of Wild Thing dropped down 4” to the ground. Yikes,  It was pretty startling, to say the least! The camper did not hit the truck nor was there any damage, but the landing gear feet were now sitting on the soft wet ground and I knew I couldn’t leave them there! I reviewed the routine and realized that I had not locked the hitch arm open with the cotter pin so there must have still been some tension on the locking mechanism of the hitch that caused the issue. Arrrgggghhhh.

After taking a break to think it through, and still my racing heart,  I hitched her back up to the truck, lifted the landing gear (which thankfully were ok), and placed wooden blocks under the landing gear feet (probably a better option in the rain) then lowered the landing gear back down, locked the hitch arm open, and disconnected the truck again. All went without a “hitch” this time! I apparently need a checklist for unhitching as well as hitching although I’m pretty sure I won’t (ever) make that particular mistake again!

I’m so thankful that there was no damage and after talking to my DH, I’m feeling OK. I have tried to be so careful with everything but we are fallible beings, aren’t we? I hate making such a big mistake but I’m hoping by sharing my mishap I’ll help keep someone else from doing the same. I’m sure it won’t be my last error but I’m going to do all I can to keep them to a minimum and hope for small ones in the future. I feel like a new Mom who just dropped her baby on its head! Thankfully, my new baby Wild Thing is strong and resilient and very well built!

I’m now happily “glamping” in my warm and dry Wild Thing as the rain continues outside.  I set up the back bed area to see what that would be like. My dining room table is mounted on a Springfield 3 Stage Pedestal that allows me to leave the table attached to the pedestal and just lower it into position to make the bed.  The lowered table-top is then covered with cushions from the benches and Voila, a second bed.  Adding some extra pillows along the back makes this a comfy “lounge” area. Side tables that flip up on either side give me space for a drink, a book, or my laptop. I’m using the King Jack Antenna to get local digital TV channels (16 here) for free. This is definitely not your Mama’s camping….this is glamorous camping aka Glamping!


I do hope the rain lets up tomorrow enough for me to get out and explore a bit. My travel time is dwindling and I'll be back home in less than a week.