Reconnecting with old friends and Re-Un-Hitching....

I was up today at 5:30 and got hitched and ready for the 250 mile trip from North Texas Jellystone Park to Kerrville-Shriner Park. Along the way I stopped in Waco to see my old friend Vonessa. We haven’t seen each other in 20+ years but it was incredible how those years just melted away when we began to talk. Our friendship remains strong and I hope we can find more time to spend together in the coming years. The more things change, the more they stay the same!

I took the back roads and state highways from Waco to the Texas Hill Country. The drive was longer but much less stressful. Along the way I saw Blackbuck deer, Buffalo, and Axis deer grazing in the pastures. There was not an opportunity to stop but I’m hoping to catch a few of these beautiful creatures in my camera lens over the next few days. I arrived at the campsite an hour before dark. Dexter was in a mood and did not want to be left alone. He’s getting just a bit spoiled with all the one-on-one time he’s receiving from me!

This site is a pull through shaped like a half circle. It wasn’t very level and I futzed a bit pulling forward and backing up in an attempt to find a sweet spot, but finally resigned myself to using the Anderson Leverers. It was then that I noticed that the connections were pretty spread out. The sewer connection was quite a distance from the water and electric.  I laid out my water hose and power cord to be certain they would reach once I got set up and proceeded to back the camper up on the Anderson Levelers. I chocked the wheels, unhitched and began to make the connections. It was then that I found the power cord was about 2” too short. I could connect it if I stretched it so it was suspended off the ground! ARGH…soooo close!! Well, there was nothing to do but hitch back up and move the camper so the power cord could reach comfortably. That was a hard lesson to learn! I need to give myself a larger margin of error when eyeballing distance. When I laid out the power cord, it would have worked if I hadn’t moved the camper that 6” to level it! I’m getting pretty good at hitching and unhitching with all the practice I’ve been getting so it didn’t take me too long to make the correction and I was fully set up by dark.   I’m glad to be settled in for the next few days here in the Kerrville-Shriner State Park. My campsite is close to a busy road but traffic noise is just background for me and I’ll put on the white noise machine to muffle it.

I’ve just returned from dinner with my High School friend Janice. We had a wonderful time catching up. I think it’s only been about 15 years since I’ve seen her! What a gift it is to have the means to visit my friends and what a blessing it is to spend time together.

I’m also going to reconnect with some new friends while I’m here as well! Tomorrow some of my new Escape Trailer friends are coming for a visit from San Antonio. On Monday, Sandy and Don, the friends I made in Bothell, WA in the first campground I stayed, will meet up with me for a hike. I am enjoying such a community of friends on the road!

Un-Hitched, De-Winterized, Boomered and Soonered!

What a beautiful park this is! Sequoyah State Park here in Hulbert, OK is quite a surprise. I don't immediately think of a lake and pine trees when I think of Oklahoma, but here they are! Here's a couple of short videos describing the ammenities of this park: [video width="480" height="270" mp4="http://wildthingescapes.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/1380653180-sequoyahstatepark480x270800kbpstravelok.comdiscoveroklahomatv.com_.flv.mp4"][/video]

 

[video width="480" height="270" mp4="http://wildthingescapes.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/1470751447-sequoyahstateparkandlodgeupdate480x270800kbpstravelok.comdiscoveroklahomatv.comimport.flv.mp4"][/video]

Once the sun came up and my camping space was vacated by the previous tenant I was able to get Wild Thing parked, unhitched, and de-winterized. The sites are wide and spacious and this pull-through site is on a cement slab. I did have to tweak the level with my Anderson Levelers but I'm an old pro at that now. Once I had everything set up I flushed all the anti-freeze from the water lines. The temps last night were a balmy 51F and rose to the mid 70's today. Heaven! No worries about freezing water lines here, at least in the next few days. Once I had the lines flushed out I filled the water tank and ran the pump a few minutes to clear out the last little bit of antifreeze. This antifreeze is non-toxic, unlike the type used in cars, but I still didn't want any left in the lines. With that accomplished, I took the water heater off by-pass and let the tank fill, then turned on the water heater. Within a half hour, I had plenty of hot water for washing dishes and taking a shower. It's nice to have a fully functional rig!

This park received a re-model two years ago and is quite something. They offer horseback riding, a pool, golf course, marina and boating activities, and much more. The campground I am in is quiet and on the edge of the peninsula. Dexter and I took a short walk down to the water. I will explore more of the trails and the nature center with the kids when they come tomorrow for a visit.

This afternoon I drove into Tulsa to meet up with Jane (DH's sister), her husband Richard (who was celebrating his 45th BD today), their 5 children (Roman, Vinny, Laurel, Nicholas, and Colin), and two of their cousins at Richard's parents' house.  Richards Mom, Stephanie, has a sweet dog named Bandit and he and Dexter were fast friends within minutes of our arrival. They kept us all laughing with their antics! We ate Jane's homemade chili ( yummy!), Stephanie's homemade biscuits with chocolate gravy ( super yummy) and of course birthday cake! OU Football is a staple in this household and I was treated (frequently) during this game to the "Boomer Sooner Touchdown Celebration Song" by the whole gang. Here's a video of the fun along with some photos from this afternoons fun!

[video width="1920" height="1080" mp4="http://wildthingescapes.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/20171125_162708.mp4"][/video]

 

What a great time we had! Tomorrow, the whole gang is coming to the campground for a cookout in the camper. I can't wait to spend the day with the Jone's exploring this beautiful park.

 

 

Day 1, 334 Miles, Dexter Riding Shotgun

The sun has set on the first day of our grand adventure and we are cozied into the WalMart Super Center parking lot in Wilkes Barre, PA.  It was a balmy 55F and raining at 7 AM this morning as I hitched up the camper in Ashland, MA. The experience I gained on the trip home from Chilliwack has all finally meshed and I'm feeling at ease and confident with the procedures. Things went so smoothly in fact, that I had to triple check using my checklists. I thought I must be missing something because it was all just too easy! Dexter was eager to get started and felt right at home in his jump seat in the truck. He has traveled by car to Florida with me twice so he's an old hand at road trips.

We left at 7:45 AM and headed to the Mass Pike (I90). It was still pouring rain but traffic was light.

I stopped at the first rest stop on the highway just to check inside the trailer to be sure all the cupboards had remained closed and all items were secure. I have never had an issue with this trailer, but I remember my Dad doing this in his trailer whenever he repacked.  I like the peace of mind knowing there isn't some object flinging itself around inside the trailer as I drive!

The truck is riding a bit lower than before, which is not surprising since I now have all my craft supplies with me! It's kind of poetic that I parked next to this rig at a rest stop.

I stopped at the Lee, MA rest stop to gas up and it was frigid! The temp had dropped to 34F and there were flurries mixed in with the rain. Granted this was in the Berkshire Mountains, but yikes, I think I'm getting out just in time.

Dexter was very comfortable riding shotgun today. He stayed in his front jump seat for most of the journey today down I90 to I87, then I84 to I81. The temps rose to 45F and the rain stopped an hour before we arrived here in Wilkes Barre, PA. Along I87, I saw two jet black chickens scratching and pecking along the highway embankment. What a crazy sight! There were no houses in sight, so maybe they have escaped captivity and are now free range chickens, or perhaps they just...crossed the road...

A message popped up on the truck today telling me that a brake light has gone out. I'll need to get that fixed when I unhitch the trailer. It's nice that the system in the truck can let you know when there are things that need attention! The brake lights are working fine on the camper so I'm still in good shape.

I met a lovely couple as soon as we arrive here for the night. Matt and Adrianne M. took the grand tour of Wild Thing. They are dreaming of a camper of their own and were impressed with the Escape. She is pretty fine and I do love it when folks show an interest. I love meeting new people!

It's going to be a cold night, down in the low 30's, but we will keep driving south and soon the temps will rise. Dexter and I are comfortable and warm in our cozy little house on wheels.   I have the lounge area set up so he can snuggle while I work on the post!

I'm  tired tonight after all the excitement of the last few days but so happy to be on the road. I'll get a good rest tonight and be ready for what awaits tomorrow!

Vet, Brunch, Re-Register, and Move

Well, I achieved some of what I had planned to do today, but certainly not all. Don't things always take longer than you anticipate? And what about those pesky activities that crop up in the middle of a perfectly planned day...Oh well, here comes that motto again..."make your plans but don't plan on it"! I find things go better when I just "go with the flow" and adjust my day to accommodate the challenges that arise. I started my morning taking Dexter to Slade Veterinary Hospital for a scheduled booster shot. Mr. D has to stay in good shape for his upcoming travel! Once he was back home and snuggled into his crate for a nap, I was off to brunch with the sisters. Faith was flying back to Florida this afternoon so it was my last opportunity to spend some time with her. Mary met up with us and we had a bit more sister time while enjoying brunch at Panera's. It was yummy, but I've been eating off diet too much in the past few days, and I'm starting to feel the negative effects. I'm more tired, grumpy, and hungry than usual so it's time to reign in the carbs and sugar again.

Next, I drove to my insurance office to get a "wet stamp" on the latest round of registration for Wild Thing. It turns out that in Massachusetts, all campers must renew their registration by November, so even though I just went through the registration process a few weeks ago, there was a renewal notice waiting for me when I got home. The renewal required a physical stamp from the insurance agent, and a personal appearance by me at the registry, so off I went. 3 hours later that chore was completed and the camper is now legal for a full year. Next year I should be able to complete the registration renewal by mail.

After checking on Dexter I headed to the camper to start working on the sink and the light, but that was not to be. I had parked Wild Thing in the industrial park where we rent space for our business and my art studio thinking it would be well out of the way, but it seems others felt it was in the way of the delivery trucks, so I made the decision to move it to a storage facility.  I rented a space at 126 Self Storage where my DH and I have done business for years. They took good care of us and before long we had a safe space ready for Wild Thing. I got her moved just before dark. It was a tight back-in space and thankfully a good Samaritan (who was clearly a whiz at backing up trailers!) helped us tuck her in between two other campers. I'm hoping to find time soon to take her out and practice my backing up skills since it's the one area I really need to work on, but for today I was happy to have her settled in and in a secure location.

Tomorrow the insurance adjuster will examine the damage and lay out a plan for her repair and I'll try again to get that light bulb changed!

 

4 States to Hickory Hollow

I left Indiana this morning, drove through Ohio, cut across West Virginia, and into Pennsylvania. After leaving the highway near Donegal, PA and winding up through the mountains I find myself in the peaceful pastures of Hickory Hollow Campground in Rockwood, PA. The leaves are beginning to turn on the trees that surround me and it is quiet and restful here. The sun is dipping in and out of the puffy clouds and the rain has finally seemed to have moved on. I'm happy to be in an open grassy campground with a wide pull-through site. I have full hook-ups and a cable connection for two nights and my Passport America Discount is honored so I paid $33.00 for two nights. My kind of place! Unhitching went smoothly today. I took my time and referred to my checklist. I realize part of my issue with the mishap a few days ago was partly precipitated by the angle of the truck. The back end of the truck was angled up and the nose down, so I should have taken some of the pressure of the hitch off by raising the kingpin of the trailer a bit higher than normal to compensate before driving the truck forward. I've made notes on my checklist for next time and the more I do this the easier it is to visualize the process and anticipate how I need to compensate.

I drove 340 miles today, through lots of construction,  and was happy to arrive at my destination about 2:45. It was a full day and I'm ready for a bit of a rest. While unhitching and setting up, my neighbors, Duane and Cheryl, stopped by to say "Hi". This lovely couple live in the area but enjoy bringing their camper to Hickory Hollow for a weekend get-away! Duane is newly retired and Cheryl is not far behind so they are dreaming of the places they will go. They stopped by later for a tour of Wild Thing and we enjoyed getting to know each other. I just love the community of travelers I am meeting on the road. They shared some wonderful suggestions for places I might enjoy visiting tomorrow.  It's supposed to be sunny so keep your fingers crossed. This is a spectacular area with mountains, state parks, and lots of country roads to explore.

For now,  I'm off to take a walk around the campground, enjoy a glass of wine and fix an omelet for supper. I plan to go to bed early so I'll be rested for tomorrow. Adventure Awaits!