Friday Funnies

Guess who?

Yes, I know – another Friday Funnies featuring one of our cats. What can I say? We’ve been on the road so much from Georgia to South Carolina and back that I have plenty of pictures from the pet sitter to choose from. This is either Bob, one of the two cats I “inherited” when my Daddy died, or Bear. Neither of them have any concept of personal space.

Little Camper in the RV Park

Okay, I realize that my experience in mostly solo camping is hardly on par with the ordeals encountered by the family of Laura Ingalls Wilder and the other brave pioneers who dared the unknown wilds of our country, but it’s the closest I will ever get since I don’t ever see myself boondocking. (This post is best read with Helen Reddy’s I Am Woman playing softly in the background.😉)

We towed our camper to the “wilderness” of South Carolina (aka an RV park) in mid-January 2022 where it would become my home for the next few weeks as we eagerly awaited the birth of the newest members of our family – girl/boy twins. (FYI: The twins are here! I blogged a bit about them HERE.) Shortly after we learned about the existence of the twins, I told Kenn that this was what I wanted to do. I knew that twins were likely to be born early and I wanted to be close by so that when my daughter-in-law went into labor I would be on-hand to take care of my grandson rather than being several hours away.

Technically, the first “excitement” was Winter Storm Izzy but that happened when Kenn was with me. (I posted about it HERE.) My first solo problem to resolve was when I woke up freezing at 4:30am the morning after Kenn left. Obviously, the propane tank was empty so it was just a matter of switching over to the other tank. Easy peasy, right? In this case, yes and no. I pulled on my boots and threw a coat on over my pjs and wandered out into the pre-dawn cold where I pulled the cover off the tanks and made the switch but then couldn’t turn the valve to the On position. I even tried turning the valve to the Off position just to see if it was already open and… nothing. The darn thing wouldn’t turn either way. I noticed that the line connected to the tank seemed to be loose so I tightened it before deciding to go inside, thaw out, and redress the problem once the sun came up. Once I could see what I was doing, I realized that not only was the connection to the tank loose, it wasn’t threaded properly at all so I removed it and reattached it at which point the connection showed green instead of red. I wish I could say that I realized that everything was good to go at this point, but I didn’t. I was tired, cold, and frustrated. (Seriously? This was my first day on my own and this is how it started?🤦‍♀️) It took Kenn reminding me that the green connection should mean that gas was flowing to the camper before I tested the heat – which was working fine.🤦‍♀️🤦‍♀️ I reduced the temperature on the thermostat in order to reduce my propane consumption and let the electric space heater do most of the heavy lifting as far as heating the Micro Lite went.

When Kenn came back for the weekend, we took both propane tanks to the nearest Ace Hardware for refilling/topping off. (Side note: we later learned it would have been cheaper to go to Tractor Supply.) We also used this as a test to make sure that I was able to disconnect/lift/move/reconnect the tanks both when empty and when full; I could.👍 Ruby is such a big truck that getting the tanks in and out of the bed was a bit of a struggle but I could make it work. Oh, we also checked to make sure that I was able to turn the valves on both tanks, which I could. I don’t know who tightened that valve so tight the last time the tanks were filled but geez, dude. I couldn’t turn it at all and it was a struggle for Kenn.

The next problem, a clogged camper toilet, occurred when Kenn was packing up to leave so we resolved that one together. The next solo problem, no water, occurred the morning after Kenn left. (Hmmmm. Does anyone else see the pattern developing here?🤔) I discovered the lack of water when I made my pre-dawn visit to the necessary. Fortunately, after Winter Storm Izzy, we began keeping a few gallons of water on hand for just such an emergency. Honestly, I was surprised. Yes, the temperatures the night before were in the 20s (Farenheit) but so were many others and I had left water dripping just as I had on all of those other nights. Once the outside temperature rose above freezing, I went outside and disconnected the water hose so I could move it into the sun; that’s when I discovered the problem: the water had frozen at the connection where the flow enters the camper. I used some of our stored water to melt the ice plug at the connector and then flushed the hose to make sure there was no ice in it. (There wasn’t.) Before reconnecting the hose to the camper, I MacGyvered a protective cover for the connection out of a zippered plastic baggie and a dish towel. It wasn’t pretty but did it help? Yes. Maybe.🤷‍♀️ There were several more nights in the 20s and we only had issues one more time,

My MacGyvered protective cover

It may not seem like much, but I’m proud of the not-quite-a-month I spent sort of on my own. (Kenn was with me on weekends and when the twins arrived.) You see, I’m one of those people who’ve never lived on their own. I didn’t want to move home after college, but I did since I wasn’t sure I could afford to live on my own. I wound up staying there until Kenn and I married. I’ve proven (at least to myself) that I can live on my own and deal with whatever comes my way.

Until next time, take care and happy trails!

Adventures in Camping: Winter Storm Izzy

This isn’t the post I originally had planned for this week; that one has been postponed until the 27th. (A winter storm takes precedence, LOL.) Kenn and I hauled our travel trailer to South Carolina on Thursday, January 13th. This is going to be a longer stay for me but I’ll go into that in another post. We always keep an eye on the weather for our destination when traveling but apparently didn’t pay as much attention as we usually do. It wasn’t until I heard the weather reports on the drive up that I realized that there was a real chance that our destination would receive snow and/or ice.

Since I’m going to be here for a while I had elected not to bring a lot of groceries with me and just do some shopping after we arrived. We made a Walmart run after getting the camper set up and resting for a bit. We were able to find most of the things we needed but several areas (especially dairy and luncheon meat) had been cleaned out. We visited with our family in the area for a bit on Saturday and then hunkered down for the storm. I use a white noise machine and ear plugs when I sleep but some sort of noise still woke me up around 5am on Sunday morning. I could see snow accumulated on the skylight in the bathroom and sleet/freezing rain started shortly afterward. (We eventually realized that the recurring noise was the awning over the slide snapping in the wind.) Once the sun came up, we ventured outside. (As Southerners, we rarely see snow and ice so we have to enjoy it while we can!)

Snow selfie in front of the RV park office
Our campsite fairly early in the storm
Our trucks wondering what in the heck is going on

We wound up with 4-6 inches of snow interspersed with layers of ice. Now, I know you Northerners are probably rolling your eyes at how Southerners panic over a little snow. However, there is a reason for our panic: simply put, we aren’t equipped for winter weather. (I saw one snow plow in this area.) In my home state of Georgia, we don’t have snow plows or road salt. We also don’t have snow tires or chains nor do we know how to drive on snowy/icy roads. The safest thing to do is to send us home until everything melts – after we buy up all of the bread and milk in the area, of course.😂

It looks like we may have another round of snow and ice rolling in next weekend so, if you’ll excuse me, I need to make another run to Walmart!

Until next time take care, stay warm, and happy trails!

Review: Twin Lakes Campground

Twin Lakes Campground is located in Pendleton, South Carolina. We have family in the Pendleton area and Twin Lakes gives us a nice place to stay when we visit. We wrapped up our second visit over New Year’s. The website states that there are 102 public campsites; however, during both of our trips we have stayed in the section containing sites 25-58. Sites 25-58 are located on a finger of land extending into Lake Hartwell; all of the sites are on the exterior of the loop so they are all a short walk from the water’s edge.

The presence of Lake Hartwell means a lot of early morning fog. This is my favorite picture from our last trip.

I quite like Twin Lakes. The campsites are nicely spaced so you aren’t on top of your neighbors. That said, there are a few key things to key things to keep in mind:

  1. There are two bath houses available to sites 25-58. However, during the December 1st to March 30th time frame the bathhouse between sites 30 and 41 is closed. (The bathhouse near site 58 is open year round.)
  2. Also during the December 1st to March 30th time frame, if the temperature is predicted to be near 32 degrees (F) or lower, water to the campsites will be turned off. The bathhouse near site 58 will remain open.
  3. The gate to the park is closed from 10pm to 7am. Unlike the gates at most other campgrounds that we have visited, guests are not given a code by which the gate can be opened. So, if you get caught on the wrong side of the gate, you seem to be out of luck.
  4. During our first stay in February 2020 (just prior to the pandemic) I found it disturbing that there was no soap provided for the washing of hands in the bathhouse near site 58. (My husband confirmed that the absence of soap also applied to the men’s room.) I understand that keeping soap dispensers filled is just one more thing for the campground hosts to manage, but no hand soap in the restrooms? Gross. Since our latest stay over New Year’s 2021 was smack dab in the middle of a surge in COVID cases, I did not visit the bathhouse so I cannot confirm whether or not the lack of soap is still an issue.

When we pulled out to begin our journey home after our most recent stay, the dump station was closed and a crew was busily at work digging up pipes leaving us scrambling for a way to empty our grey and black water tanks before arriving at home. (There may be another dump station for the sites in the other section of the campground but that section has been closed during both of our visits.) Some of the Georgia rest areas/welcome centers have been retrofitted with dump stations; sadly, neither of the ones on our route home fall into that category. However, there is a new Love’s truck stop in Madison, Georgia which is quickly becoming one of our routine stops. A quick internet search showed that that Love’s had a dump station available. Using the dump station cost us $10 but it was money well spent to not have to worry about it any more. Allen, the Love’s manager who unlocked the cap for us, implored my husband to make sure that everything went down the pipe as it should; he said the last person had left a mess that he had to clean up. Once we began the process of emptying our tanks we realized that the dump station is poorly designed; there is no way someone emptying their tanks without assistance can avoid leaving a mess as the current set up requires there to be someone holding each end of the sewage hose. Once we finished, my husband went back inside and spoke to Allen again and explained to him how the dump station needs to be modified in order to avoid more nasty messes. (Not expecting the drainage to flow uphill would be a good start.) Allen appreciated the feedback since he is not an RV’er; it will be interesting to see if Love’s acts on the information.

Now I’m going to get on my soap box for a minute. While using dump stations is not anyone’s idea of fun, it is a necessary part of the RV/travel trailer lifestyle. When using a dump station, I believe it is our responsibility to clean up any messes we leave behind, even if the dump station is poorly designed. While we may not want to clean up literal crap, expecting someone else to do it for us is just wrong. Truck stops and rest areas do not have to offer dump stations; they do it as a service to their customers/visitors; abuses will result in the loss of these voluntary services. Don’t be part of the reason the rest of us can’t have nice things. End rant.

On another more humorous note, as someone who was in her late teens/early twenties in the 1980s, my brain seems to default to Back to the Future mode when discussing Twin Lakes. I had to double and triple check to make sure I didn’t refer to it as Twin Pines campground in this post like I usually do. (Twin Pines is the name of the mall at the beginning of Back to the Future.) 🙂