Sunday, July 22, 2018

June 2018 - Trip #2 - Lake in Wood Campground

Lots of R&R needed,..... but not gonna happen this weekend!!  I booked a group site with our friends last year for this years Father's Day weekend, Friday thru Tuesday and by the time it came around I really needed the break from work.  But guess what??  I forgot about my daughter's annual dance recital which is also the third Saturday in June!  AHH!!   This year Madie dances in Monday Acro, Tuesday Jazz, Ballet, Tap, and Thursday Contemporary.  So we ended up being in BOTH recitals on Saturday.  Yup,... left the campground at 10am and didn't return till 10:30 pm with an exhausted daughter.

Leading up to the recital we also had a busy week trying to pack early, followed by working each day and rehearsals on Wednesday night and Thursday night for each of the Saturday shows.  Not much R&R going to happen till at least Sunday evening or Monday,.... good thing I booked an extended weekend.

Friday morning I was still packing my clothes and working at my laptop,... then my phone,... and then I had a realization, I was Robin Williams in the movie RV, and that was it.  I emailed that correlation to one of my guys from work and signed off, enough of that I was on Vacation.  Finished packing and managed to have 45 minutes to spare to grab some lunch before we were to pull out and meet our friends at a local pull off location.  The drive was about 1 hr 15 minutes and the truck handled smoothly.  I'm still chasing a sound in the front that might be a sway bar bolt or a shock, but could be something even simpler like a loose plastic cover I found last week.  We arrived with our hybrid and our friends in their popup and planned out our site to get them loaded into position first so we could then back into place, forming an "L" with our campers on the site rather than " I  I " being parallel.  Over the weekend that worked out really well.

Recital...... Both Recitals.  This was going to be a long day and we had to leave the camper by 10am to be on our way and to get to Kutztown University in time for Madison to have her pre-dance warmup and prepare for the recital.  The first recital was Acro Dance, and the second included Tap, Jazz, Ballet, and Contemporary.  By the time we were done the first recital we quickly ran to the nearby Airport Diner restaurant where my parents were already seated and saving us some seats so we could have time to get a meal and not have to rush back right away.  Then, they joined us for the second recital since most of Madison's dances were in that one.  By the time the night was complete, we were heading back to the campground at 9:45 pm,.... and were quick to hit the beds when we did arrive back.

The other two girls were able to hang out with our friends and had a really good day full of activities.  I'm glad they had a good time and didn't mind us being away.

Sunday.... Father's Day.  We all awoke and had a good breakfast before getting the day started.  Eric and I played horse shoes and the kids played some games as well.  The afternoon heat was building so we all went to the pool for a while to chill.  I know we did a lot of other things too but I can't recall them all at the moment here.

Monday More R&R and HEAT!  Boy, the humidity was building early and we put the air conditioning on quickly and left it on low most of the day.  While we had time in the morning, we pursued the Gnome Quest, a challenge around the campground that we have done before, but this time with the friends and their kids it was a good time by all.  We waited till the evening to play a around of Family MiniGolf at the front, I lost by one stroke!!  I blew it at the end with two over par holes, Oy!

Tuesday ... Packing up already!  At least we had some good relaxing and lots of laughs and fun with our friends.  Nice part about Lake In Wood is that campsites don't have to check out till 2pm, so you aren't rushed to get up and out in the morning like some locations.

We made it home to a hot and humid house, since our Air Conditioner has been broken for a few weeks.  The heat pump coil has sprung a leak in the fin tubes and needs to be replaced.  So,... what better than setting up the camper again in the driveway and plugging into my 30A camp plug and using the camper AC!  Camp Driveway Day 1!

Friday, May 18, 2018

April 2018 - Trip 1 - Colonial Woods, A family Favorite!

Finally, the weather in Pennsylvania decided to act like spring for at least a week and we were fortunate enough to have it be our camping weekend at our favorite local campground, Colonial Woods in Upper Black Eddy, Bucks County.

We worked at trying to pack during the week, but, kids activities and work running late made it quite a challenge.  So, no better than the last minute to complete packing and loading the truck and off to the campground!
First Camp Setup of the Season
Of course, since it is a new camping season we had a few hiccups in the setup and remembering where we placed some items.  I didn't get the chance to use the Anderson Levelers as this campsite was nice and level already.  I did install the new X-Chocks though, and I do believe they made a good difference in the camper movement.   Whenever we camp on stone lots I often have to go out after the first night of setup and reset the corner stabilizers because of the camper wiggle that develops from everyone in the camper and the shifting stones.  This time, it remained solid and didn't require a readjustment during our weekend.
The Rules of the Weekend, and we did most of them!

The Conversation Chair, .... aka,... SOFA!

Ribbon Dancer!
Colonial Woods has been one of our favorite camping resorts since we first got our popup camper.  We still walk past our first site and say, "Remember that time when we first came here...."  (If you want you can look way back on my block archive on the right).  One time we were here, Becky took the photo below with the three girls on the bridge by Site R6.  So, now each time we go back and get that site, we re-create the photo and look how much they have grown up!
Colonial Woods is our Favorite Place to have our kids grow up!
Saturday was a fun filled day of activities where the kids made crafts at the main lodge, went on a campground scavenger hunt, and even got some fishing in.  The fish weren't biting though no matter what we tried and we were out there for a few hours throughout Saturday and Sunday.  No matter if we catch fish or not, it is still a good time to go fishing together and drown some worms in the lake.

Someone planned her outfit just for this occasion!
Saturday night the weather wasn't looking all that good so we cleaned up some of the outdoor items before the rain moved in for the evening just after dinner.  The interior U-shaped dinette table is great for nights like this because we can all it around the table and play games.  This time, it was a new one called "Toasted or Roasted", a card style game with a theme of making toasted s'mores.  We had some laughs and a lot of fun, even though the game became very long........
Sometimes it rains, so we play Toasted or Roasted!

Nothing biting,..... 
Our first camp trip is over before we know it and it is time to get back home and back to the work week.  As much as we don't want to, we still agreed to pack up.  It will be a little bit of time before our next trip in June because of the kids activities and my work schedule, although I really need to begin taking more vacation days just to relax.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Spring Preparations,.... another words, Spending Money!

Well, as you have probably noticed on this blog we try to be proactive with our planning and maintenance on our camper and vehicles, and unfortunately this time one big item snuck up on us.  This winter I had the truck worked on preparing for the camping season which included new brake rotors, brake pads, and front brake calipers.  We had hoped that would be good for this year since the truck has been running well.  That is, till I went out to get the camper ready and was checking all the tires on the camper and then the truck.  This is what I found......
Cracking side walls and beginnings of dry-rot

The aged Bridgestones
 So, with two weeks to go before our first outing I made some phone calls to get some pricing and some recommendations from friends who have bigger trucks on what tire brands to consider.  Of course, we want something with good load rating and reviews too, so we ended up going with the Cooper Discover AT/3 tires,.... All FOUR of them.  Yea, felt that money getting sucked out of my wallet that is for sure!
The new Coopers!
Opening the camper and stocking it for our first trip went well and our camper survived the winter really well.  A few little odds and ends to clean and we were de-winterized and ready to plan our camping trip.  I'll have another post soon about some of our new camper goodies for this season.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

2018 - Its almost SPRING!!

Winter,.... it just keeps dragging on here in Pennsylvania.  We have had 4 NorEaster storms in the past month, bringing cold damp weather, winds, snow, and blizzard like conditions.  The camper still has the cover on it.....

We are quickly approaching April next week and while I have been inside the camper to check on things (which look fine so far) I have not yet been able to do any spring maintenance on the roof seals, gutter extensions, battery box, propane cylinders, wheel bearings, etc.  I am really hoping that the weather turns for the better in the next two weeks.

I've also made some phone calls now that we are starting to figure out the kids schedules a little more to try and get some additional camping weekends in place.  As they become more involved in Girl Scouts, Dance, and Track, the calendar just doesn't seem to have an open weekend or much downtime at all.  In fact, between the kids and work, 9pm comes so fast and we are exhausted.  We are going to really need to make our camping trips R&R trips,.... just to refresh and reboot.

Here is a quick video of some goodies that we just received for this year,.... till next time!

Friday, December 29, 2017

Winter time again,.... Time to Cover it Up

Time to put the cover on again.  At first, this was a two person job, but I have found a way to get it done by myself using two ladders, a GoPro, and a Drone.

  1. First, I find it best to have the camper cover laid out open on the driveway or yard with the roof side up just as if it was in place on the camper.
  2. Then, fold one of the sides up and over the top section.  I typically chose the side opposite the camper door.
  3. Fold over the other side back ontop of the other.  This way you have only a plan view of the cover with the sides flopped over the top.
  4. Fold one edge of the roof now about 1/3rd across the roof.  
  5. Go around the other side, and fold that roof edge back over the center again. 
  6. Now, roll from the rear to the front.
  7. Get both ladders positioned at the front of the camper and lift up the roll up ontop of the camper and set in the middle.
  8. Unroll down the center of the camper for the full length, carefully going over the AC and antenna.
  9. Unfold the sections so that the roof is covered, but don't go down the sides yet, time to check the alignment and position on the roof.
  10. Once aligned, roll down the sides and get ready to button it up.
So, that list is hard to describe if you haven't had the struggle with one of these huge covers,.... definitely don't try it on a day with any wind!  Here is a short video from this year to help put action to the description above.

2017 - Trip #7 - Mountain Springs Campground

Sometimes you have to break the routine and try some new campgrounds to make new friends and see new things.  This time, we chose Mountain Springs Campground near Hamburg, PA based on the recommendation of our friends we met and camped with at Lake In Wood.  An hours drive away, just about right to make the trip as soon as the kids get out of school and be all setup and comfortable before dark sets in.
Our full-hookup campsite down on the bottom of of the campground
After all the driving and setup, have to get going with a quick meal before we can go off to fun activities.  Sometimes, I get creative to help motivate the kids to eat before we go play.  Mountain Springs had a very nice arcade, bingo hall, pool, playground, and large pond for fishing, and a well stocked camp store.  Everyone seemed very nice everywhere that we went.

Saturday was a fun filled day full of campground run activities.  Some of them overlapped too so we couldn't get to them all.  Since it was one of their halloween weekends they had costume contests for everything, even a costume dance party at the end of the day!  First up, was the pet costume judging and parade.  Allison always has her "Ike" with her, which is a stuffed black and white dog that she even walks on a leash.  The camp staff was great, and let her participate in the event as well.  So many of the people were encouraging too and some of the dogs were even fooled.  While she didn't win, they did have a prize for everyone to have so she ended up getting "Ike" a dog food dish.

Allison (2nd to right from center line in sidewalk)
Shortly after the puppy parade, the campground began the afternoon trick or treating for the kids and adults.  Lots of fun, and this year we broke out the good favorites, Pac-Man Family!  Since this trip was a short planned trip, we pulled these out of the garage and dusted them off, and they were still a big hit!  There were lots of good costumes though that we saw around the campground which gave us some good competition when it came time to judge.  We managed to get SECOND place in the family / group category!

Besides the above fun activities, we had time doing things around the campground.  Below are some of the fun photos from our highlights!  Lots of smiles, laughs, and good times!
Lilly caught a nice trout

Ally caught a nice bass

Bella loved playing BINGO

And when Madie wasn't dancing, she was being a gymnast

And that ends our 2017 Camping season already.  We had some really good trips this year and some not so good ones,.... but 2018 will redeem us with some new explorations and back out camping with friends.  

Thanks for reading along!

2017 - Trip #6 - Knoebels Craft Fair

The Annual Craft Fair is upon us again.... Lets hope the ladies saved enough money up!

The trip up to the campground was smooth and very light on traffic as we made our trip up early Thursday morning so we could spend some time over at the craft fair before the crowds built up as the days progressed. 

A sample of the fall colors
Not crowded yet...... 
Each year we find that there are some really good new vendors mixed in with the regulars.  One reason or another, someone backs out or doesn't renew in time and their spot is taken by someone on the waiting list.  This year was no exception and we found a really awesome vendor who made plaster castings of your families hands which made a great memory.  The photo really doesn't describe the detail that this captured,.... all the skin lines and fingerprints are there.

Our Prize craft - Our family hands
Someone is growing up way to fast!
We also made sure to have down time over the weekend to stay at the campground and do some fun things with the kids.  Since most of the people there are vendors or are attending the fair, the campground is nice and empty during the day.  I flew my drone from the far side of the lake away from everyone and took this photo of the fall colors and campers.  We are in the patch of trees in the center of the photo just beyond the brown dirt of the lake.
My drone view of the campground
Here is our campsite from the ground, all set up and comfortable.  We like this site as it is set into the trees and lets us have plenty of space and away from the main traffic flow through the campground.
Our camper setup under the protection of the trees
Some of the other activities we did at the campground were crafting, reading, and fishing.  As you can see, it was a fairly warm October and the kids were able to be comfortable in tee shirts and shorts most of the time during the day.  Ally and Bella caught a few fish thoughout the hour or so they were fishing, and even caught one at the same time!
Both the girls caught a fish!

Becky doing a FB LIVE Oil and Makeup Class

The covered bridge at the end of the campground nestled against the trees
I explored the skies a little more and took a photo of this covered bridge at the end of our campground, and drove around a bit looking at some others but they were pretty tight into the trees to photograph.  Neat to use the drone for some unique angles and photos on every day locations.

So, we packed up the truck with all our craft fair findings and knick-knacks and headed for home on Sunday afternoon.  We would be leaving again on Friday for our final trip of the season.