Trip number two for the new camper was a quick jaunt up the Gorge to Memaloose State Park. The park is between Hood River and The Dalles. It was a nice enough place, but the lack of leaves on the trees meant there was a constant presence of noise from the interstate and from the UP trains. This site was pretty deserted save for a few mega-coaches where folks largely stayed inside. Not much for other kids to play with, and the playground wasn’t the greatest. Luckily, we found other things to do. Plus lots of time on the tire swing.
The weather never quite turned great – though briefly on Saturday the sun came out fully and the temperature reached nearly 60F. We went to Hood River to refill a propane tank and pick up a growler from Full Sail, then took scenic highway 30 back. Stoping at the Memaloose and Rowena viewpoints made for some spectacular views of the Gorge, and even a peek down at our campsite.
The girls and I tried geocaching only to be disappointed at the tiny little cache we found. Instead of being bummed, we bushwhacked our way back to the campsite, adventuring down some basalt cliffs (to them), through some scrub oak stands, and occasionally around and over some blackberry thickets. It was fun, and the girls seemed to enjoy the route finding.
We’re in love with the camper. It is spacious, the kitchen works well, and it has a furnace, which we used much of the trip. It never got as cold as our first trip to Stub Stewart, but it never got as warm either. Luckily, we were able to pack the camper away dry this time.
We took possession of the camper on Friday. We bought it used back in October but kept it stored with the dealer over the winter. After a few trips last summer with the family, we realized how precious the time with our kids is, and the joy of endless loops around the campground on bikes can’t be beat. The awesome folks at Apache RV center gave us an entire walk-thru, showing us how to operate every feature and critical function of our 2008 Fleetwood Sun Valley. They also installed a brake controller on the Honda, which made everyone a little more comfortable about stopping the trailer. Then, we hitched up the trailer and drove home cautiously. 82nd was interesting, with many abrupt stops. Stopping was a little interesting until we got the brake controller sensitivity dialed in.
We lucked out in that there were no cars parked in front of our house when we arrived. Finding parking will be an ongoing challenge with the steady stream of New Seasons shoppers. Especially when we return, exhausted, dirty, and surly on a Sunday afternoon.
Saturday we set up the camper on the street and started moving in. We’ve been staging with things like sleeping bags, silverware, cookware, towels, etc. in the girl’s room and garage. Finding a place for everything was actually quite fun. And the inside of this camper is, to be honest, huge. It was a little unnerving while parked on the street, but once we’re camping and it’s raining for the 36th hour in a row, the extra space will be what keeps us all sane.
We also sanitized the fresh water tank, checked out the plumbing, and entertained passers-by. The camper seemed to draw some really strange folks, which reminded me to lock down the propane tank, battery, and hitch. Parking on the street will be an interesting experiment. One neighbor was happy to share with us that despite the “no storing things on the street” ordinance, it hasn’t been enforced since 1988. We’ll see how long the neighbors are patient with us. Most seem to think the camper is better than the shoppers.
Now, we’re awaiting our maiden voyage trip. Something small, short, and easily recoverable from. What better time than March to try things out?