Sunday, April 11, 2021

How Necessary Is a Thermometer for Camping?


Tiny trailer camping was simple, that's for sure. With an ice chest, the food was as cold as it was going to get. I usually tried to keep the chest out of direct sunlight; after that, managing the cooler just meant getting more ice when necessary. 

Now that I own a little trailer rather than a tiny trailer, the rig (an Airstream Basecamp 16-foot) comes with a Dometic 12-volt refrigerator--with a dial to adjust temperature level and everything. The trailer also has a Truma heating system that can work with electricity, propane, or both. And I shouldn't forget the air conditioning unit, although my tiny trailer (an RTTC Polar Bear standy) also had ac. With the acquisition of a more tricked-out trailer, my camping life has become a bit more complicated. I've found that purchasing a couple of thermometers has helped me make decisions about how to manage my more complicated trailer life.

I decided to purchase two tiny thermometers by the ThermoWorks company,  ThermoDrop Zipper-Pull brand thermometers. These small digital thermometers are so named, I suppose, because they are small enough to be attached to a coat zipper pull. I've placed the two thermometers in my trailer, one on an equipment rack at ceiling level, and one in the refrigerator. I've seen this type of thermometer made by other companies, so I'm not obsessing about the greatness of this one brand; however, I've found my ThermoDrops to be useful.

Ceiling cargo rack at rear of trailer

The Truma settings display is mounted on the Basecamp wall near the window and door. It usually reads a much lower temperature than that in the camper, especially as the ThermoDrop reads near the back ceiling. I have no problem just setting temperatures by feel, but it is good to know what the temperature actually is from a device that is hanging free and not attached to a metal wall. Since the thermometer has a touch light, I can also read the display easily at night if I wake up too cold or hot. It's good sometimes to get a little objective information, especially if I'm camping with my wife. Is it really hot in the camper, or is it just me?

Easy display for refrigerator

The second thermometer is placed in the refrigerator, and since I'm new to these tiny refrigerators, the objective information is really useful. I've been noticing, for instance, that the interior temperature might be 35 degrees in the morning and 48 degrees in the afternoon on one of our warmer spring days. I attribute this somewhat to the fact that the refrigerator is not loaded with food, and air changes temperature more quickly and radically than foods. It is good to know, though, what the temperature inside the refrigerator is and whether or not I need to adjust the setting. I'm sure setting the refrigerator temperature will be something I'll become more proficient at as time passes and I become more familiar with the system. 

When I first received the thermometers and turned them on, there was a ten-degree difference in temperature between my home wall furnace display and the displays on the ThermoDrops. I called the company's technical support and was told to set the tiny units on my furnace's wall display in the living room, if possible, and then to wait to see if the readings synchronized. The technician said the units should read to within 1.5 degrees of accuracy. Some time passed, and the units did synchronize with my home's wall unit. With some accuracy determined, I placed the thermometers outside in the trailer. 

How necessary is a thermometer for camping? The FDA states that the temperature in a refrigerator should be at or below 40 degrees. I feel having a thermometer in the refrigerator is important for safety issues; having a thermometer in the main trailer is more a convenience. 

I'm looking forward to other campers sharing their experiences with thermometers, especially with camper refrigerators. I'm certainly self-sufficient enough to decide whether to wear short or long pants without having to check a thermometer, but keeping my food at a safe and stable temperature is something I'm willing to use more objective data when deciding. How about you all?

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Wednesday, April 7, 2021

A Busy Spring for Green Goddess Glamping

 

Garden or Basecamp . . . decisions . . . 

A lot has been going on lately both in my personal life and also on spring camping preparation. For instance, personally, last Thursday I received my second COVID-19 vaccination, and tomorrow I get to got to the dentist for a couple of small fillings. The vaccination side-effects were real but relatively minor, mostly fatigue and a lot of naps for 48 hours, along with a loss of appetite and a bit of a fever. However, it's now the third day and I'm back to normal--which means, of course, that getting tired and taking a nap will now be because I'm old and not because of a vaccination. And as for the dental appointment, it's been a while since I've had to have a cavity fixed, so I guess I shouldn't complain too much. I don't have to enjoy myself, but I shouldn't complain too much. (Update: those two small cavities turned out to be one large cavity beneath an old filling in a back molar. How do I describe the intense experience? Well, imagine twice during the procedure the dentist stopping, looking at me, and saying, "I'm not hurting you on purpose." I just kept repeating to myself, "This too shall pass," and it did--eventually!)

Retrofit to manual

One great happening is that I have retrofitted my Airstream Basecamp's electric hitch jack back to its original manual jack. The reason I did this was because the rear hatch to my Nissan Pathfinder SUV would sometimes not open with the taller mast of the electric jack. Philip Pickering at RV One in Des Moines set it up so that the retrofit was free, although I did have a two and a half hour drive. I had been given the electric jack as part of our purchase, but the company understood that having access to the Pathfinder's rear hatch was important and provided parts and labor for the retrofit for free.

"You're going to miss that electric jack," Philip told me after I had shown up for the retrofit. "I have no doubt," I said, "but even since I've been here today and the original manual jack is now back on, I've opened the hatch twice. There will be times when I'll say that I wish I had the electric hitch, but not as many times as I'd be frustrated by not being able to open the rear hatch."


Another great milestone is that we've bought the Zamp 230-watt solar suitcase kit for our trailer. I've only hooked it up once in the driveway to make sure it works. It was easy to hook up with the Basecamp being solar ready with an exterior Zamp plug. Although there aren't many places to truly boondock here in Iowa, there are a lot of primitive campgrounds and campsites that we can now stay at for longer periods of time. We didn't buy the solar roof package with the new unit because so much of our camping experience is in established campgrounds. I'll write in more depth on the solar system later when I've used it more. 

Yakima OffGrid cargo basket

I've also purchased a Yakima OffGrid Roof Cargo Basket, which will allow me to take some of the gear from the rear of our SUV and to open up the back some. My son helped me with the final mounting yesterday. I'm not looking to move a lot to the roof, but just some of our gear up on top will open much more space. Etrailer has done a good job of providing me with necessary supplies. Their prices are good, too, but if you find a cheaper price, let them know and they'll match it. 

Huntington Beach State Park, SC

This upcoming week I'm also looking to get both of our vehicles serviced so that they'll be ready for travel. The week after next I have an appointment at a local RV dealership to have our Basecamp de-winterized. They said they will let me watch and take notes. Next year, my wife and I might be heading out in January-February for some time on the Atlantic Ocean, maybe South Carolina. That means we would have to de-winterize when we arrived in warmer climes and then winterize when returning to Iowa, since March in Iowa can still be mighty cold.

Lake Michigan, Terry Cluchey photo

As for future camping trip planning, Sandy and I are organizing a fall trip to Michigan, using Traverse City as our focus spot since we've been there once. This time, however, we will explore both the shores of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. We've already made reservations at two state parks, bought a park pass, and have also signed up for a year with Harvest Hosts. With a discount, the HH fee was under $70, and we think we can use the sites for on-the-road travel on the way up and back. Although some of the sites aren't much better than a Walmart or a Cracker Barrel, we have found a couple of sites that might work--and I'm researching more. Even with the parking lot camping at Harvest Hosts, though, there appears to be an effort to make the stay fun. The chambers of commerce, for instance, are consciously selling the beauty and uniqueness of their cities.

The funny thing is that we don't want to travel through the Chicago area, so rather than diagonaling northeast up to the lakes, we'll be traveling first east and then north on a route that skips larger cities, Peoria being the largest city we would travel through, I believe. When looking at our route on the Harvest Hosts' map, there is this band empty of host sites--which happens to be our route. I take this to mean that we have chosen a rural route, but one vineyard, one chamber or commerce parking lot, and one farm seem to be possible stopping sites even if they aren't located at the best mileage locators. We expect to be gone about a month.

Rathbun Lake, Buck Creek Campground, Army Corps

I also know that some spring and summer reservations closer to home will be necessary, so I'm looking at the Army Corps facilities and state parks for some times, trying to coordinate with the times school will be out for the grandkids, the swimming possibilities, and how flat the area is for kid bicycling. We want to do this at least a couple of times this summer, hopefully before the weather becomes too muggy, the water too scummy, and the chiggers too hungry.

Another topic that I'll be writing about in my other blog, Tom Kepler Writing, is the fact that my younger brother passed away two months ago. My parents, my older sister, and my brother are now all gone--kind of a weird feeling. My brother's passing has taken some time to take care of matters in addition to the emotional processing. I won't write more here except to say that we had some good camping times together, all of us, parents and kids.

Oh, yes, and top of all the travel plans, I've been working in the garden. Arugula, chard, radishes, and kale are up in the greenhouse. I hope to plant some cilantro soon, and peas, too. I've planted some lettuce, but it looks like I'll have to replant. Early year crops are always so much fun to plant after a long winter. Today's supposed to be 78 degrees, so yippee!

Ms. Bunny and I discussing the situation.

I had a funny surprise yesterday morning on my way to the dentist. I saw that the wind had rattled open the door to my little greenhouse during the night. Going to close it, I peeked in and saw a bunny looking back at me! She was in the process of making a nest, digging up some arugula. It was a great spot for her to nest--as long as I kept the door open and didn't mind her eating all the plants! I shooed her out and closed the door. Mamma bunny will have to find someplace else in the yard. 

Screenshot of the book cover (including guidelines and bleedlines

These are all the reasons I've taken a brief break from my blog writing. Soon I hope to be out camping again, writing about my experiences, and also writing about the great camping adventures others are having. Blog writing, at least for me, is a blend of personal experience, camping stories, and research. I've also almost completed a camping book on the experiences of RTTC tiny trailer owners. It will be available toward the end of April on Amazon. I'm planning soon to take two or three days at a local campground for one final read-through of the book. It's wonderful to be able to share, be it with blog or book, and I wish everyone a safe and fulfilling spring camping experience.

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Friday, March 19, 2021

Should I Ditch the Electric Trailer Jack?

 
I've managed in this wild late winter to camp twice with my new 2021 Airstream Basecamp. One unpleasant revelation was when, on my second camping trip, I discovered that the rear hatch of my Nissan Pathfinder wouldn't open when the trailer remained hitched to the SUV. The mast of the electric jack blocked the door from opening fully. The hitch had been given to me free by our local Airstream dealership and mounted on our trailer orientation and pick-up day.

As you can imagine, having my rear hatch blocked didn't exactly thrill me. After some research with other BC owners, I determined the height of the standard manual hitch jack was 14.5 inches high. Talking the situation over with my wife and reflecting on the situation some, I decided that whatever the hassle of using the manual hitch jack crank (very little, from my experience with my tiny trailer), the hassle of not being able to open my rear hatch while hitched was greater. The solution, of course, was to remove the electric hitch and retrofit the trailer with its original manual crank system. 

I had two problems: 1) the dealership had not given me the original manual gear when I towed the trailer home; and 2) I wasn't 100% certain that the manual jack wouldn't block the car's rear hatch also. I planned to email the dealership regarding the trailer's original hitch parts, but first I wanted to see for myself what the clearance would be with the original hitch height. 

Imagine my surprise when the door narrowly missed the mast and opened the whole way! It was a close miss, but there it undeniably was--the rear hatch fully opened. How can this be? Thinking about it a bit, I realized that when the door had been blocked, the car was angled with the rear down slope and the trailer somewhat level, which moved the hitch mast close enough to the vehicle that the arc of the door's opening intersected the hitch mast. At home in the driveway, the Pathfinder was angling slightly downhill to the front, increasing the distance between the opening arc and the hitch mast. 

I wondered for a bit that if the electric hitch mast blocks the rear door, could I just put one or two leveling blocks under the rear tires? That would adjust the angle to increase the opening leeway. However, that's a bit of extra work, and what if I'm at a gas station or Walmart and just wanting to quickly pop open the rear hatch? I was back to the original question: what is the biggest hassle, using a manual hitch jack or not having access to the rear hatch? 

What I realized was that the door would find a way to be blocked at inconvenient times . . . given enough time . . . such as at busy gas stations or during a rain storm. Even with the RVOne dealership two and a half hours away, I think it will be worth the effort to retrofit back to the manual hitch jack. The manual crank is lower and also farther back than the bulb-nosed, taller electric hitch jack. With the manual jack, I won't ever have to worry about the rear hatch being blocked. 

With the manual jack crank, both jack and the rear hatch door will always be fully functional. Fully functional, I like the sound of that. Besides, I can use all the exercise I can get. I've written to RVOne, and what I'll do is schedule the retrofit during a camping trip to a state park near Des Moines, now that spring is here. Yes, that sounds like a plan.

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Friday, March 12, 2021

Ups and Downs with My Airstream Dealership

Pick-up day at RV One in December, 2020

One of the reasons my wife and I chose to buy an Airstream Basecamp was that there was an Airstream dealership nearby, and by "nearby," I mean that the RV One dealership is in Des Moines, two and a half hours away. Two and a half hours may not seem to be nearby, but the trailer my wife and I had been considering along with the Basecamp was a Canadian Safari Condo Alto, which is based in Quebec and has no US dealerships. Twelve hundred miles or one hundred twenty? We went local.

We have experienced ups and downs with RV One, Des Moines, but we still feel that they are sincere in their efforts to make us happy customers. Perhaps the fact that our camping experience is based in tiny trailer experiences--that we're moving from a smaller (as in "tiny") trailer to merely "little"--has something to do with our ups and downs. Whatever the reasons, my wife and I have come to realize that we have to closely pay attention to our interactions in order to make sure that our needs are met. Being fair, I also realize that the need to stay alert when dealing with dealerships is not limited to just our RV dealership. Cars, boats, RVs . . . let the buyer beware--somebody wants to make a sale and get a commission.

One of our most positive experiences with RV One in Des Moines came on the day of our Basecamp pick-up. We were in the process of completing our orientation when I said to Michael Farland, the Airstream salesperson, "Hey, where's our visor awning?" He replied that they didn't come with the 2021 models, but he'd check with Airstream. He came back later and said, "Nope, they aren't included with the 2021 models. The Airstream rep just said to check the 2021 brochure." I explained the obvious, that we had purchased the trailer in June of 2020, and then showed him the brochure that we had referenced with the salesperson when buying the unit--which said the visor was included. "Pretty tacky," I said, "making a sale and then changing the agreement after the sale." Michael came back later, after having checked with RV One higher-ups, and said that RV One was going to mail us the visor for free, saying that even if Airstream didn't reimburse them, it was still the right thing to do. That was definitely an "up" experience with RV One, a class act.

Our first rough experience with our dealership was when we bought our Airstream Basecamp from a non-regular salesperson and experienced some difficulties. We had been told that lithium batteries were standard for the Basecamp by that salesperson when we bought the unit and later learned that they were not, that rewiring and expensive battery purchase were required for a lithium set-up. We were transferred during our six-month wait for the trailer to the more experienced and knowledgeable Michael Farland, who resolved the issue by providing us with two AGM batteries for free, not lithium but still an upgrade.

On pick-up day, we were first told that our weight-distribution, anti-sway hitch, which had been included free in our original purchase package, wasn't necessary for our Nissan Pathfinder. Would we like an electric hitch jack instead? My wife and I deferred to the superior experience of the dealership and went with the electric hitch jack. I have to say the trailer tows well, although there is a slight "squat" to the Pathfinder when hitched up, but it's very slight. Our big surprise is that the rear hatch of the Pathfinder cannot open when hitched. The electric jack's mast blocks the hatch's opening arc. We are going to live with this for a while, but there's a very good chance that we will eventually revert to the manual crank so that we can open the rear hatch when hooked up. Although it is a somewhat picky point, we feel that dealership should have known and mentioned this situation. 

On pick-up day, we were also told that the Zamp outside plug on the trailer that is wired for hook-up to a portable solar array could only take one hundred watts of input, that a 200-watt suitcase package would require the trailer to be rewired with heavier gauge wire from Zamp plug-in to battery. We were also concerned that the door hinges were not secured strongly enough on the aluminum siding, something we had read about online and saw for ourselves with the give of the back door when opening. Our salesperson assured us we could come in later and have metal disks placed behind the hinges to strengthen the attachment surface. Finally, during our orientation session, the technician told us that if we wanted to, we could have our unit winterized / de-winterized at the dealership, and the technicians would show us the process. 

We hooked up, and my first experience with the electric hitch jack was that it was incredibly easy . . . and incredibly slow! We had a great drive home. We parked the trailer, plugged it in to our 110 outlet from our garage, and began the process of moving in. This was a great time, even though the 2021 January and February storms were excessively cold, snowy, and icy. March eventually came, and I called RV One to set an appointment to take care of four things that had come up from our original talks and from my interaction with the trailer.
  1. Have the Basecamp wired to be able to handle solar packages of more than one hundred watts.
  2. Have the metal disks mounted behind the weak points in the door system.
  3. Have a wire secured in the driver-side kitchen cabinet that had been left loose when the electric hitch had been mounted. The wire was catching on the cabinet door when the door was opened and closed.
  4. Have the technicians take me through the de-winterizing process.
I called RV One in early March and talked to someone in the service department about the four items on my list, wanting to make an appointment. He wrote down the items and said he'd get back to me with an estimate. During the conversation, though, he did mention that the rewiring would be expensive because it would require removing panels. He also said that the winterizing and de-winterizing processes are done in the shop without customers present; in fact, when I told him I had been told at pick-up that I could observe, take notes, and ask questions, he said, "Who told you that? We don't do that."

Later the same day, I was contacted by phone to a more senior representative who had an update. First, he provided me with good news. He had contacted Airstream, and the wiring for the Zamp connection was for up to three hundred watts, so no rewiring was necessary. I really appreciated the time he had taken to research the situation, although I would have appreciated not not having been given the wrong information when picking up the trailer. The second bit of information was that he had never heard about reinforcing the door hinges or open-door latches, and that he'd have to research that and get back to me. Regarding my being shown how to de-winterize my trailer (as part of the company's doing the job for payment), the service rep said, "Winterizing and de-winterizing are a big money-makers for us. That's the reason why we don't train our owners to do it themselves." I guess I understand that, but I was willing to pay them for their time.

The unsecured wire in the cabinet I decided to deal with myself, since that one item wasn't worth the trip to Des Moines. After pulling out the pots and pans in the cabinet, I discovered the reason I couldn't just pull on the wire to grab a little more slack so that I could move it out of the way was that the gauge of the wire made it difficult to pull. Sticking my head into the cabinet, I was able pull to the wire out from the hole in the wall and then re-bend the wire so it fit along the cabinet wall. Then, of course, I duct-taped it to keep it secure. Tom Kepler, handyman!

The service rep had said he'd get back to me on the door hinge reinforcement but hasn't done so yet. There could have been some miscommunication, though, since I had told him I wouldn't be coming up. That's the whole thing, really--lack of communication and miscommunication. This blog post really isn't one long complaint. I believe everyone is trying and wanting me to be a continuing happy customer. The number of times information has been lacking or incorrect has made me cautious, though--and maybe that's good. Dealerships have many customers, but there's just my one trailer for me to look out for. 

A frozen morning on our second trip out

My wife Sandy and I have decided to just get on with the new camping season with our new camper. We can now order a suitcase solar panel kit, most likely Zamp's 230-watt unit. And as for the doors, we'll just be careful with the doors and their open-mode fasteners, especially when it's windy. 

As for the de-winterizing, I've made an appointment with Bowling RV in Ottumwa, Iowa, for them to de-winterize the Basecamp. First of all, they come with high recommendations. Secondly, they are only a bit over a half an hour away, much closer than Des Moines. When setting up the appointment, I was also told that it would be fine for me to watch the de-winterizing procedure and to ask questions. Actually, I feel pretty happy about having an RV connection close by. Also all the appliances, such as the refrigerator and the Truma heater, can be fixed by any dealer authorized for a particular system, so if some appliance goes bad, I may not have to travel to Des Moines.

As a final thought, my wife and I talked this morning, and we've also decided that we're going to probably retro-fit our camper back to its manual hitch jack. I had no problems with my old trailer's manual jack, and being able to open our car's back hatch while hitched is important. I'm going to contact RV One, though, and talk to them because when they attached the electric jack they did not give me the parts to the original jack.

All this RV dealership stuff is new to me. I bought my first trailer, the RTTC Polar Bear, the "Green Goddess," used from a private party (also in Des Moines, actually). The builders in North Carolina are a small company and were very willing to work with me when I called them. Perhaps the small companies that build tiny trailers are more mom and pop down-home than the bigger companies. Of course, there is always the danger with tiny companies that they will not be in business long. As for RV One, I fully expect I will interact with them in the future and have no problem with that. On the whole, they've been very helpful, and we're happy with our experience--more ups than downs, although we are reminded to pay attention to details.

At any rate, the weather is getting better, camping season is ahead, and maybe a lot of my confusion has just been because I am new to the bigger, more complex nature of modern trailers, even though the Airstream Basecamp is still a little travel trailer, at just over sixteen feet, hitch to bumper. I thank all who have helped us, and wish everyone health, happiness, and success--I'll be out camping and hiking to ensure mine!

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Wednesday, March 10, 2021

2nd Time Out with Our Airstream Basecamp

Lake Darling, SE Iowa

Although we had been packing and preparing for a second outing with our Airstream Basecamp, we hadn't planned on going last weekend. On Thursday I had received my first COVID-19 vaccination shot, we had grandkid plans on Sunday, and Tuesday was a scheduled dental check-up. However, I weathered the first shot with just a bit of a sore arm, the grandkid time fell through, and at least the weekend was free. 

Sandy and I decided to hit Lake Darling State Park again. It was close, and a couple of days off the cellphone/internet grid was not a bad thing--a bit of a break, in fact. Since our stay would just be Saturday and Sunday nights, and since I had been packing for a trip sometime soon, all we had to do was pack refrigerator food and clothes for Sandy, easily done. By 1:30 we were rolling, having hitched up and double-checked everything. 

We parked right along the water--or I should say right next to the ice, for the lake was still frozen over. Camp was a quick set-up because the site was level and didn't require leveling or unhitching. After cooking a quick one-pot meal, we walked along the lake, not far because we were tired, but long enough to soak up the silence and the warmth of the afternoon sun. We had cooked lunch slowly, enjoying the process of remembering where we had stored everything, and the Instant Pot made the cooking and clean-up about as easy as it can get. Dishwashing was outside, using the old system of pan, rinse pot, and drainer, the same system we used when we camped with our tiny trailer. Yes, the Basecamp has indoor plumbing, but we haven't de-winterized yet because Iowa is still experiencing freezing temperatures. Besides, March and April can still get unexpected cold snaps. 

Sun reflecting from the icy lake

We had chosen Lake Darling because it has a good cement path walking trail, which meant we didn't have to hike through mud. There were still patches of snow across the path, though, necessitating treks through slush and puddles. No mud, though! It's a good thing that our plans for the weekend were to take it easy and rest because we even stopped for a sit on a bench for a while on our return. 

That night we decided to sleep utilizing the full bed configuration, with our feet to the front. With a soft, old Coleman flannel sleeping bag open beneath us for our bottom bedding, and summer down bags unzipped and a cotton thermal blanket on top, we found sleep easy. We were ready to learn more about the mattress pads, though, and the heating system. What we found was that with lows a little under freezing, setting the Truma thermostat at fifty-five degrees was too warm. I turned it down a couple of times during the night, two degrees lower each time. Also, Sandy found the bed a bit hard for sleeping on her hips. We decided to try on Sunday night our old hiking Thermarest mattress, but then forgot; Sandy found the second night easier, but we're still going to try the Thermarest on our next trip. On the second night of our stay, I turned the heater thermostat down to fifty degrees, which provided a good level of coolness, although I wore a warmer top to keep my shoulders warm. Our early conclusion regarding sleeping is that we won't have to buy a topper to soften the bed. We'll see!

We had fun trying out our clothes packing arrangement this trip, keeping our sleepwear in the overhead netting and a change of clothes inside the seat hatch compartment, close to the front and easily accessible. Our plan is to have a change of clothes and underwear above so that we only need to access the hatch storage infrequently. Having the hatch cover split for two openings really helps, though, and we wonder if Airstream will ever split those long bottom pads, too, so that access to the front hatch lid is even easier.

Our biggest pleasant surprise was that stocking the camper's interior really enables getting away with less work, fuss, and bother. It was mostly refrigerated food and drinking water that was our last-minute packing. We found using the bag system with our inside toilet made the night experience easier, and we're looking forward to using our trailer to its full capacity soon. I could de-winterize now (I'll have a later blog post about that), but we don't mind learning about our trailer's systems a bit at a time. I've really learned a lot about the Truma heating system, and when it comes time to utilize the plumbing, I'll have the Truma mostly figured out.

We did learn a few new things from our second trip.
  • When it's windy, open the door with two hands, one opening the latch, the other keeping the door secure. The wind really wants to whip the door open and slam it against the trailer.
  • We're glad we have a thermometer for the refrigerator. We found the inside temps to vary with the outside temperature, so we had to adjust the cooling gauge.
  • I still really dislike the fact that the electric trailer jack mast blocks the SUV hatch so that I can't open it when hitched up. I probably wouldn't have accepted the electric jack as a free add-on if I had known the car hatch would be blocked.
  • The Truma heat is great! Even though I've read about the Truma panel and condensation issues, the basic unit heats the trailer really well.
  • We found it best to crack the ceiling vent and turn on the fan for a bit when heating water for tea in the morning. The steaming induction kettle puts moisture in the air really fast. We also feel the fan's motor is loud, even on the low setting. 
Sunday was a longer walk in the morning with less wind and more heat--a beautiful day. We came home for the afternoon to read and relax with a light dinner, more reading, and early to bed. Our weekend experiences included being a high point on the locals' drive-through procession. We even had one woman and her son stop to ask about the Basecamp. After snapping a photo, she said, "That would be just perfect for us!" I certainly couldn't argue with her opinion. 

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