The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Campsites

We had always been tent campers, but with our increasing age and arthritic bodies, decided it was time to upgrade. After having to get up (at this age at least twice) in the night, roll over and fall off the air mattress, carefully getting up on creaky knees, crawl out of the tent, get far enough away to avoid down hill flow towards the tent as you try to pee without falling over, all in 40 degree weather, we knew there was a better way to enjoy this thing called camping.

Then, like it was meant to be, a Little Guy Max ad flew across my Facebook, begging me to take a look, telling me that it will be available at an upcoming RV show. Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever been to an RV show, but we walked around for hours amongst these huge things that I see being hauled around the highways by folks that scare me behind the wheel. After walking for what seemed like an eternity, from building to cavernous building, about to give up, when we turned the corner and there she was, those awesome awning LED lights, the handle with the purple swirl lights, inviting us closer. I was smitten. I went in, looked around then had to go find Joan as she was resting from the miles we had just trekked. She had to see her and check her out. So much for that A Frame pop up we had just decided on. Within a week we were at the dealership making our final decision.

“Her name shall be Priscilla, Queen of the Campsites.”

The first fun we needed to have was backing Priscilla into the driveway. Now neither of us had ever towed, let alone backed anything like this up. Luckily we live on a quiet cul-de-sac. So after an hour of forward and backward, zigging and zagging, neighbors driving up over the sidewalk to get around us, we finally got her backed in, rather perfectly.

So there she sits in the driveway. We have a few weeks to get her stocked and ready for our first camping trip. The first thing we need to do is learn all about everything.

Ok, fill the tank with water. Seems simple enough. But there are two entry ports for water. Well they sold me this regulator and a hose, so that must be what I need. Hook everything up, turn on the outside hose spigot and go in the house to watch some golf. Keep going out to the camper to check the water tank level. 3 hours later, still no water in the tank. Take the set up apart, look at everything, hook it all back up and start over. I must have done something wrong. 2 hours later, still no water in the tank. Joan shouts from the house, “hey I found this you tube video that might help.” TaDa. Using the wrong entry port.

Finally was able to put some water in the tank, but I didn’t fill it for some crazy reason. Didn’t really have much time to be able to really flush out the system. We’re leaving in the morning. We will only be using this for the toilet on this trip.

We’re all packed up, TV and camper, ready to head to the campground. We pull into the state park and turn toward the campground. Oh great, the entire road is under construction. Certainly glad we got the “Teddy” edition.

There’s our site, an easy pull through. Pull her through, unhook the TV, and start setting up. Plug in to the power post. All set to go.

Here we are, listening to some Jimmy Buffett through the outside speakers, unloading, setting things out… ”Honey, what’s that beeping ?” “I don’t know but I think she told us it meant the smoke and CO detectors were losing power.” Silence. We lose all power. Hmmm. Better go check the shore line. Open up the box; FLIP BREAKERS ON BEFORE PLUGGING IN. Ha. Would be nice if I would have read the large print. Unplug, flip breakers, plug back in. Voila! Power!

Our first night camping in style. Imagine… heat, indoor toilet, comfortable bed more than 6 inches off the ground. Now this is camping.

OK, now I’m looking at the mattress saying ‘really??’ It’s like 4 inches thick. This is going to kill me. I’m going to wake up in the morning not being able to move. Oh well, it’s 3 nights, and we can have a hot tub when we get home. We decided that we would give it a try and if it was really bad we would get a gel foam mattress to put on top. Now being totally honest, we were amazed at how comfortable this mattress was! I slept like a baby every night and not once woke up achy.

Well this is April in Colorado so it gets quite cold at night. We didn’t go to bed with the heater on. We’re still figuring things out so we were not sure of how it all worked, so when it got really cold, I would get up and put the heat on. It would get nice and toasty, then it seemed to blow out cold air so I would get up and turn it off. This worked fine for the 3 nights we were there, but it certainly was not optimum and I’m sure not how it is supposed to work. But this certainly beats being cold in a tent. So after returning from our maiden camping adventure, I did some digging and found about the ‘AUTO’ setting on the furnace, so now when we use it it will turn off and not blow cold air after it gets to temp. I hadn’t found the AUTO setting. The most important learn was that they are not buttons to be pushed. They are supposed to be touched lightly.

So something else learned. Hey, we’re newbies at this. Tents don’t have thermostats. But I still feel ridiculous, yet in the middle of the night you’re not seeing or thinking clearly and we were not totally familiar with the controls.

Great first full day at the campsite. We are absolutely loving Priscilla. So much nicer being able to make coffee in a kitchen, have food in the refrigerator. The bed was incredibly comfortable. Made a nice fire, had some breakfast. Looks like a beautiful Colorado day. A great day to open up the windows, let some of that Colorado air blow through and air out those Colorado fumes.

Night 2 in the camper. So awesome to be able to lie in bed watching the evening news after putting the fire out. This is heaven camping. Another cold April night. This time we needed the heater a bit more. Still hadn’t figured out the AUTO yet, though, but it works great and warms us up. It doesn’t take long in this little camper to get things nice and toasty.

Now we wake up in the middle of the night because it is ‘that time’ you know. For some reason Joan says, in a very groggy state, “should we pee outside?” And I say yes, probably. So off we go, behind the camper to pee outside. So now remember, I did not fill the water tank very full, so in a sleepy stupor I think oh no, we will not have enough water to flush and we will be sorry. Yes, old tent camping habits die hard. I assure you, that will be the last time we do that-hopefully! I understand how to fill the tank now.

Day 3 camping. The weather is taking a turn for the worse as the wind is picking up. We’ll have a quiet day at the campsite. I decide to get my metal detector out and see how it works and maybe I can find some treasures. Far too windy to fish. Joan has been trying to get the Winegard satellite hooked up and working. So far no luck. Looks like the cable has to go through the window. More investigation needed.

As the day goes on the wind gets stronger. By late afternoon we decide it’s time to start getting things packed up and put in the cargo hold. We leave in the morning. We work on getting the awning rolled back up and secured. Struggled with this as the wind got stronger and it was getting colder. For some reason we cannot get the rails stowed correctly. Finally after trying and struggling, it was time to get out the duct tape.

We make a nice dinner over the campfire. Far too windy for s’mores. It’s so awesome to be able to eat a nice dinner at the table out from the wind and cold.

Night 3 in the camper. Big storm decides to roll through. We crawl in bed, watching tv, and leave the shade mostly down to watch the lightning. Amazing light show above us. We were seeing 40-60 mph winds!

“The house began to pitch. The kitchen took a slitch.”

The camper rocked and rolled but we felt completely safe as the eye of the storm passed over us.

Today’s packing up and leaving day. It’s great to be able to have a nice breakfast at the table, toasty warm, watching the cold, wind outside. Everything outside is packed and stowed. I am amazed to think all we have to do it stow things inside, lock the doors, hook up the TV and drive away. No more knocking down and folding up a tent. If we had been tent camping in this weather we would have packed up and left much earlier.

So now it’s time to hook up the TV. This time it takes us about 10 min. We are getting really good at this. We go around the site, the camper, etc. for our last check to make sure we have everything, all lights are working, steps are stowed….

Luckily we have a pull through site so we don’t have to practice our back up skills, or lack of. Time to head off to the dump site for our very first time. I am so excited to experience ‘the dump.’ Great, a pull through on two sides. OK I can do this. Get out the stinky slinky, put on my gloves, figure out the set up at the site, hook up the stinky slinky to the waste outlet. Now I pull the plunger as Joan asks why I am sitting on the ground with the hose laying over my lap. Phew, everything was on tight! Note to self – don’t sit under the waste outlet with the stinky slinky laying over your lap.

I go to rinse with the grey water. I tug and tug and cannot budge the plunger. Hmmm. It’s freezing cold and windy. This is going to have to wait and be looked at. There is a water hose so the dump hose can at least be rinsed. We did it! Not so bad after all.

We head home to unpack and try to figure out the issues we had. Pull into the cul-de-sac to try this backing in again. HA! 10 min this time and a perfect parking job! I’m sure that’s a fluke – and I don’t mean the fish!

Our next camping trip is coming up soon so I think we will be a little more prepared. Now we know how to make sure we have power and got the furnace AUTO setting figured out. We also figured out the awning rails thanks to a you tube video we found, so we were able to remove the duct tape. We’ll be able to really flush out the water system and actually put enough water in the tank for our needs – and not think we have to pee outside in the middle of the night! There was an issue with the grey water tank plunger and after a couple of tries the dealership took care of that so next time we should be able to do ‘the dump’ thoroughly. We’re not really sure what caused the initial problem of the sticking plunger.

We love Priscilla! She is definitely the Queen and we are the coolest kids in the campground. Our next trip is coming up in a couple weeks and we will be ready!

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