After much consideration, I decided to stay very local and booked a spot at the LCRA North Shore Campground located in Bastrop for 5 days and 4 nights. As you pay by the night, that extra day split between the arriving and departing day is a small bonus. This was a short distance of around 50 miles one way and would give me a feel for how the truck and RV work together. I made sure to fill the tank with Diesel before I left as I don’t fancy hauling a big RV into a regular gas station. Surprisingly, the diesel tank on the truck only holds 25 gallons which for a vehicle that only gets an an average of 13 mpg when towing, it not very big. It will only get around 300 miles per tank and that’s if I am lucky. It is going to take at least one stop on a long haul which will mean doing some research on available gas stations or truck stops. All part of planning a trip.
As expected, the truck performed very well and had no problems in hauling the 10,000 pounds of RV along the highway and in some places, I literally had to slow down as I was travelling much faster than was comfortable even on a 70 mph highway.
I arrived at the Park and stopped into the office to check. The very pleasant lady gave me directions which I immediately screwed up and ended up in a dead end. Luckly, there was a lot of room to back the RV out and I found my allotted site which was right next to the lake. It was a back in site and a bit tight to get into and it took me several attempts before I was finally satisfied with my location. It would help if there was another person available to help direct but as that was not the case, it meant a lot of trips in and out the truck checking on where we were heading. At one point, I had managed to steer the unit between a couple of trees at a 90 degree angle to the campsite, missing the electrical pole by a couple of feet, that is how difficult it was alone but I finally got it straight.
Uncoupling and setting up was much better than it had been at home on the first time that I performed the task even with my neighbors help. The fifth wheel unit just did not want to uncouple on that occasion but I learned from that and had everything lined up much straighter. I also had the height of the 5th wheel connecting unit and the truck unit figured out this time which helped considerably. Actual learning experience is a wonderful thing.
With the unit set and pretty much level, I was able to let the dogs out of the truck and we went for a short walk by the lake so they could stretch their little legs. All of this is new to them and yet another learning experience but they adjusted pretty well. I think they would adjust to anything as long as I am with them.
It will take a while to remember where all of the different things are stored. There is a separate larder for the cans and packaged foods and places to store pots, pans and dishes but I found myself trying to remember where I had put other smaller items. Eventually, everything will have its own place which is essential in an RV as storage space is a premium.
We settle in for the night after taking yet another short walk and discovered much to our dismay, that the internet within the park would not extend down to our location meaning that I couldn’t use my laptop to get to my writing program which is my heart and soul.
I turned my attention to the TV in the hope that it would perform with the Furrier Antenna on the roof which it did but would only bring in a very few channels most of which were not worth watching so we gave up and went to bed. During the day, we ran the A/C as it was pretty warm inside the RV with the outside temperature in the low 80’s but at night, we switched over the the heaters as the nights are now growing much cooler.
On Tuesday, I had to make a trip back to the house in Austin to pick up some essentials that I had overlooked when I packed and on our return, we spent most of the day wandering around the park. We had a new neighbor come in who was also alone and I could see that he was having the same problems that I had when I parked the rig so I went out to help direct him to where he needed to go. It took a while but eventually he had it centered on the pad. He told me that he had tow behinds before and this was his first fifth wheel which made me feel much better about myself. He only stayed one night I guess to try out his trailer the same as I was and was gone by the time I got up the next morning.
Bastrop Lake this time of the year is lacking greenery but what it does have is ducks, lots of ducks. They are in different flocks spread throughout the lake and are very busy and noisy. Way off on the far side I saw several what looked like Egrets but it was really too far to tell. They appeared to have a nesting area in the few trees there. I did not have my long lens with me to get any shots.
Wednesday, we went for short hike as the weather was so great and spent the rest of the day fussing with the internet. I was able to use the cell phone to project the signal to the computer and could start work again. Incidentally, I didn’t realize it but as I used this method, it also shut down Outlook which is the incoming email system on the phone and to date, I have not been able to get it to restart and have had to install Yahoo to get the mail.
On Thursday, my friend BJ, who lives in Bastrop came over and we went hiking the trail that joins the North Shore to the South Shore Parks. We have walked it a couple of times before from both ends but have not yet covered the full hike of around 4 miles one way. We didn’t do that today either and settled for a short couple of miles. She stayed around and we spent a pleasant hour or so catching up mostly on the Austin Pond Society business and gossip.
Friday was the final day at this park. I woke up early in anticipation of what might lay ahead with having to hook the RV back up to the truck but as it happened, everything went fine. The more I do it, the better I will become at it as I learn the little tricks to get things to work. Driving home was a cinch with not too much traffic and I was able to keep up with it anyway with little trouble.
As I have mentioned before, my driveway is pretty tight get such a big RV in what with overhanging trees and power lines. My neighbor Clara happened to be outside and I got her to be my backup person. She was pretty careful and a couple of times, warned me away from the overhanging tree branches. We finally got the RV where I wanted it without too much trouble. Luckily, my street is not that busy so actually blocking the road for a few moments as I made the turns, was not a problem. Again, by taking care to have the truck and trailer lined up and now knowing more about the hitch plate spacing, the fifth wheel popped right open when I needed it to. I levelled the RV in the driveway opened the slides where it will sit until our next trip hopefully in a few days.
My impressions from this trip convinced me that I have made a good choice this time. The truck proved to be more than capable of hauling. There is plenty of room for me and the dogs and as with all RV’s storage space is at a premium. There are some things to work on, the TV for instance that needs a different supply system, maybe a Dish Satellite or even the new TV from my kitchen installed in place of the current one, would work. The Queen sized bed which is pretty hard, needs a mattress topper and other small things. I would like in the future to have the sofa removed and a desk put in it’s place but all in all, I am more than satisfied.
A very fun and successful first outing in our new soon to be, future full time home.
There are six permanent Airstreams in a row shown in the pictures above that are available for rent. Not cheap though at $275 a night.