Friday, February 4, 2022

A Dark-of-the-Moon January Overnighter

Primitive pull-through site, Lake Darling
One goal for 2022's camping season is to spend more time off the grid in my Airstream Basecamp 16, and I've already begun fulfilling that goal with my first camping trip of the year--on the last day of January. This year at Lake Darling State Park, the road crew plowed out one pull-through campsite at the park in addition to plowing the main park road. This allowed me to zip in for an overnighter on a warm day, even though the campground was still deep in snow.

Intrepid ice fishing--but not me!
Since the only plowed campsite was a primitive site, I used my propane-only option for the Truma heater, which functioned perfectly. For the overnighter, the batteries also stayed strong, with my leaving the next day still at 12.4 amps. (Note: I didn't use the 12v refrigerator for this trip.) This was good news because I wasn't sure how strong the batteries would stay with the colder weather. I was reminded, though, with my overnight sleep that the Truma's on/off range is pretty wide. The temperature inside the camper gets pretty cold before the Truma kicks in, and then the heater runs until it gets pretty darn warm. Because of this temperature fluctuation, I found myself kicking off and pulling up my covers all night. I'm going to have to read the manual to find out if there is a way to adjust the heater to narrow that fluctuation.

Out on one of the trails
Arriving at around 10:30 in the morning, the pull-through required no leveling or unhitching. I just parked and then took off for a walk. All my hikes this trip were with a new hiking pole that really helped with stability in the snow, especially where others had hiked and compacted the snow to ice. Much of my walking was on the road, which was clear of snow; however, I did get onto some of the hiking paths, moving deliberately since I was the only camper in the park and didn't want to twist an ankle while out on the trails alone. I was opting for a happy experience, not a survival experience!

Probably the most exciting part of this overnighter occurred at home--getting the trailer ready for the trip. Over the winter, I've gradually emptied out the trailer, so putting clothes and some food back in the trailer was a taste of what will come when the weather is warmer. I'm slowly finding how to get the camper ready so that little preparation is needed and I can just load some food and take off. 

The quiet beauty of the frozen lake
I'm hoping in February to take the trailer to a local RV shop to get the wheel bearings packed and the propane tanks topped off. Then when the weather warms enough so that the campgrounds are free of snow, I can take longer trips, both in terms of miles and days. Until then, I'll just be skipping out when possible for a night or two. The silent majesty of the frozen lake was a great way to remind myself of why I like to camp. I'm looking forward to at least one more short excursion in the next few weeks.

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