The Great Adventure

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As the title suggests, we are embarking on a new adventure. It has taken several months of planning and trial and error but we finally have put it all together.

I am writing this from an KOA RV park located in Fredericksburg, a few miles from my home, which is probably at least 50 miles away back in Austin. This is the first of many trips that I plan on taking with the eventual end goal of staying on the road permanently until I can no longer drive.

Showing the rear door.

I bought an RV of the kind known as a Toy Hauler named such because the rear 10 feet of the RV is made for carrying an ATV or a couple of canoes or anything that the owner wishes to carry. The back of the RV drops down to make a ramp. As I do not have either of these items nor do I plan on purchasing them, I will use it to carry my tools and other things that I want to bring along and such that I would like to keep in the future when I eventually sell my house. At least, that is the plan but I am keeping an open mind. The problem that I have is the 3 remaining ponds and the Koi and Goldfish that live in them. They and the mechanics that drive the pond require attention not to mention feeding the fish although they would survive without the additional hand feeding. Currently, my neighbor has kindly agreed to look after them at least for this trip.

The unit has 3 bunk beds in that storage area, one as a double the other a single. When not in use, they fold up against the wall leaving all kinds of storage space. I spent last evening sleeping in the double bunk just to try it out. It was a lot more comfortable than the previous time I had spent sleeping in the trailer (see below). The unit also has a pull down queen size Murphy bed in the living quarters where I slept the first evening after purchasing the trailer from Crestview in Buda. They encourage new buyers to spend a night in their campgrounds to find any bugs in the units. On that particular episode, I was poorly equipped not having any bed covers and for a pillow, I had to make do with a very hard metal framed deck chair in a bag. I scratched around and grabbed anything soft that I could find like towels, spare clothes and such, anything to soften up the deck chair. It turned out to be quite an eventful night with not much sleep. The dogs knew it was a whole new adventure and they too were on edge all evening.

The RV is 30 feet long and 10.5 feet high so before I brought it home, I was busy cutting the lower limbs off the trees in my driveway. Even with that, I managed to get myself into a bit of a pickle when I did bring it home and tried to park it. I chose to drive in instead of backing in and then it took me an hour of persistence along with a lot of bad language before I was able to get the trailer back out and onto the road. I then backed it in as I should have the first time around and it fit perfectly. I should mention that I am not without experience in driving big rigs as many years ago, not long after I arrived in this country from the UK, I got my license to drive tractor trailers which I did for a few years in the winter in New York State, delivering oil to different places, schools, factories and such. Not exactly the best time of the year to be driving with the ice and snow. It seemed like all of those skills that I had back then were all gone when I managed to get the RV stuck. It was easy getting into the driveway space but very difficult getting it back out. Oh well, water under the bridge as they say.

For my first trip, this one, I wanted a campsite that would give me some driving and towing experience as well as setting up the RV when I got here. Luckily, the sites at this campground are pull through so I didn’t have to mess with backing the trailer into the spot. I went through the setting up and disconnecting from the truck aided by a very helpful neighbor who happened to have the same make trailer as me. I have visited Fredericksburg before when I was still married over 28 years ago, but it was still a surprise how far it was. The rig towed well but it was heavy on the gas as I averaged around 12 miles per gallon. The truck has a six speed transmission and we spent a lot of time in the lower gears.

Sandy
Mikey

I had pre-registered and all I had to do when I arrived was give them a call and they came out and escorted me to the chosen site where I spent the next 45 minutes setting up. Later on in the evening, I took the dogs for a walk and discovered there was a fenced in dog run AND a special play area for them. We visited the dog run and I let them off their leashes. Sandy was very busy checking things out and marking everything within reach. Mikey, not so much. He stayed close to me most of the time. He lacks her confidence, probably something in his past. He is well behaved when we walk and stays to heel most of the time. Sandy on the other hand, thinks that every smell is a brand new smell and we are always stopping as she checks things out. She is constantly “marking” which I thought was a male dog thing but apparently not. Mikey is not a bit interested in either smelling or marking. Just goes to show…Sandy growls at just about every dog we come in contact with. Actually growls is not the right word, more like screams at them. She tries to go after them regardless of their size but so far, we have only had one actual fight which didn’t amount to much. Mikey, on the other hand, while all this is going on, is trying desperately hard to jump up into my arms to get away from it all.

Such is the life of dogs.

We took a walk around the Park and came across these two longhorns with the biggest set of horns that I have ever seen on an animal. They were both humongous.

We drove into Fredericksburg to take a look a round as I needed to buy a charge cable for my IPhone, another of those things I forgot. I almost need a duplicate set of everything for the RV. The Main Street was pretty busy with a lot of people all scurrying around about their business and a lot more who were visitors just like me. From what I could see, they all wore masks although staying 6 feet apart was a bit of a problem. Other than the cable, I had no desire to get out and walk around as it was pretty hot with the temperature in the mid nineties. I managed to find a Starbucks and bought a Latte, the first I had had in several days as I have been trying to cut back.

We spent the second night on the Murphy bed and this time, I had remembered to bring a pillow. We all slept very well and the Murphy is much more comfortable than the bunk beds. Guess I will use that in the future. The next morning after a lazy breakfast, we made preparations to depart. I noticed that several trailers had already moved out with the early birds and the park was pretty empty.

Breaking down the trailer to get it ready to tow worked very well as I am finally getting the hang of it. We drove out at 11:00 am and made the journey home this time backing the RV into the driveway and parking it safely. It would help if I had a co pilot in these maneuvers as I have to keep getting out to check when the rear end is as it is outside of the view of my mirrors due to having to turn it to get in. The backup camera that I had installed on the RV was not working, something to get checked out, but I live on a quiet street and only a couple of cars came by and managed to squeeze around me.

I talked to my neighbor who had looked after the fish ponds and she didn’t have any problems so hopefully, I can find a different site to visit next week. Incidentally, Fredericksburg is in Gillespie County which has a very low rate of Covid-19 cases of 171 with only 2 deaths so I felt somewhat safe.

Written 7/29/2020

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