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Author Topic: Maiden Voyage(s) & Lessons Learned!  (Read 1506 times)

SunshineAndHayfields

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Maiden Voyage(s) & Lessons Learned!
« on: October 14, 2017, 04:19:32 PM »
Hi Everyone,

We bought a 2012 26ft Keystone Springdale bunkhouse (no slide) in July - we are a family with four and five year old boys and plan to go camping Spring - Fall, about 4 - 6 weekends per year and 1 - 2 week long trips.   

Our first trip out we spent a week in the Wallowas in Eastern Oregon, our second trip was a weekend trip close to home to celebrate my son's birthday (his idea and way better than a kid party :p). My husband decided he liked the length of the rig (28.5 ft including hitch) for towing purposes, stopping at rest stops, gas stations, etc.  He said multiple times he wouldn't have wanted one much longer. We also felt our towing rig (F-350) was great. We went through a Gorge that is extremely windy, and we slowed down and drove safely through lots of wind gusts. We absolutely loved the bunkhouse feature with kids - it was great for them to have their own bed space that did not need to be broken down/rebuilt each day. We also liked having our own private bedroom that the kids didn't go in and mess with our things. We also loved having a couch to sit on at night.   We used all our appliances, including propane oven to make a birthday cake that turned out great (I did take advice from an RVer and bought a oven thermometer, which helped).

The set up and take down was surprisingly simple - we printed off some lists from the forum and brought them with us to make sure we didn't forget anything during set up or take down.  Our first trip out was a very long car ride and knew the boys would be antsy when we arrived, so we planned and took two very small new toys for our kids to open and play with at the picnic table to buy us maximum set up time with them safely occupied. The second trip, the kids knew the drill and did just fine playing while we set up.

Here were our two biggest mistakes:

1. The first time we took down the canopy, my husband didn't have a good grip on the canopy with the pole and it quickly rolled up within a second, and my hand got smashed in between the canopy posts and the trailer. My husband panicked and I had to instruct him how to release it between screams. It caused quite a scene and about 4 ladies in nearby sites came running to help me. Luckily, besides some big bruises, there was no damage to my hand.  Now we know to be very careful and go step by step and double check in this process.

2. We forgot to uncap the end of the sewer hose when we were dumping the tank. We had released the black water, and thought we heard it draining. We then released the grey water. Then we realized that the cap was still on the end of the sewer hose. My husband had the unfortunate duty of uncapping it. Sewage then burst out about 4 feet in every direction. It was a disgusting mess and a lot to clean up. Luckily, no one was waiting in line and we had lots of bleach.  It was very scary though. 

I think our biggest take home from those mistakes is to go slow, take our time, and be more methodical in the set up and take down process. 

Overall, we are loving our trailer and have already booked three trips for the spring/early summer. It makes camping for a week very comfortable and our kids LOVED it  - great family time - and can't wait to go again. Hope this helps someone - also if anyone has questions or tips about going with little kids, let me know. :)
SunshineAndHayfields
2012 Keystone Springdale 260TBLWE
F-350 Superduty

ArdraF

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Re: Maiden Voyage(s) & Lessons Learned!
« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2017, 04:57:42 PM »
It's always good to hear of new RVers having positive experiences.  Yes, we all make mistakes and hopefully learn from them.  I'm glad your hand wasn't seriously injured, but even that was a lesson learned, e.g. keep your hands clear of various mechanisms!  And, isn't it great that people came rushing to your aid.  That's really typical of RVers.

One of the things that will help you in set up and take down is to always follow the same procedure and then double-check to make sure you did it right.  Of course, your hubby probably won't make that black tank drain mistake again!!  :o  Before leaving a site, BOTH of us do a walk-around to double-check that everything is put away, windows and bay doors are closed, hookup is done correctly, tire inflation is good, all antennas are down, etc.  Jerry does it first because he's the "tire thumper" and I follow behind touching all the connections.  If either of us is interrupted during this process we either restart where we left off or start all over again.  When you're towing it's really important to get things right and every now and then one of us catches something the other missed so it's worth the time we both take to check.

Have fun making great memories with the kids!

ArdraF
ArdraF
:D :D

Kevin Means

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Re: Maiden Voyage(s) & Lessons Learned!
« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2017, 06:27:54 PM »
Great write up and description! Really glad you had a good time, and I love the part about leaving the cap on the drain hose! LOL

Kev
2011 Winnebago Tour 42QD
Towing a Jeep Rubicon Unlimited LJ or an Acura MDX
RVI Brake 2, Minder TM-66 TPMS, 970 watts of solar
(Can't wait to spend more time RVing)
Lakeside, California

ArdraF

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Re: Maiden Voyage(s) & Lessons Learned!
« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2017, 06:30:30 PM »
Kev, you love it 'cause it wasn't YOU!!  ::)

ArdraF
ArdraF
:D :D

Kevin Means

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Re: Maiden Voyage(s) & Lessons Learned!
« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2017, 10:59:08 AM »
True, but there was this one time...  ;D Say hi to Jerry.

Kev
2011 Winnebago Tour 42QD
Towing a Jeep Rubicon Unlimited LJ or an Acura MDX
RVI Brake 2, Minder TM-66 TPMS, 970 watts of solar
(Can't wait to spend more time RVing)
Lakeside, California

malexander

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Re: Maiden Voyage(s) & Lessons Learned!
« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2017, 06:14:20 AM »
I always check the sewer hose end connections, where they screw into, or clamp on to the hose. I had one come apart on me once, SHORTLY after I pulled the dump handle.
Marshall Alexander
2007 Fleetwood Bounder 38N DP, 2008 GL 1800 Goldwing, 2007 VTX 1300, Cessna 150 & 172, Rans S19 Venterra

Peggyy

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Re: Maiden Voyage(s) & Lessons Learned!
« Reply #6 on: October 16, 2017, 07:28:55 AM »
Sounds like you had a great time with just a couple of glitches!   We learn something every time we go as we are still relatively new to all this as well   Keep on camping!
GMC Sierra 2012
2016 Jayco Jay Flight SLX 264BHW Travel Trailer
sweet home Alabama

H5-Phil

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  • Penryn, CA. (foothills of the Sierra)
Re: Maiden Voyage(s) & Lessons Learned!
« Reply #7 on: October 16, 2017, 08:26:07 AM »
Welcome to the dumping misfortune club :)
Here's something that will help you (or anyone else) that finds themselves in this situation again.  Before uncapping the sewer hose, go to the RV and CLOSE all of the waste valves that you've opened.  This will greatly reduce the flow and pressure when the business end of the hose is opened.
BTW, I chuckled when I saw that you listed this as issue #2...

Hi Everyone,
 
2. We forgot to uncap the end of the sewer hose when we were dumping the tank. We had released the black water, and thought we heard it draining. We then released the grey water. Then we realized that the cap was still on the end of the sewer hose. My husband had the unfortunate duty of uncapping it. Sewage then burst out about 4 feet in every direction. It was a disgusting mess and a lot to clean up. Luckily, no one was waiting in line and we had lots of bleach.  It was very scary though. 
:)
« Last Edit: October 16, 2017, 08:29:04 AM by H5-Phil »
Phil & Karen with Crash, our 'guard' Dachshund
KE6HUL / KE6NYJ
2014 F-350 Diesel XLT. with Leer shell
2004 31' Alumascape TT

cgmartin

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Re: Maiden Voyage(s) & Lessons Learned!
« Reply #8 on: October 17, 2017, 02:16:57 AM »
Those sort of things doesn't just happen to newbies.  About a year ago, during a camping trip to Dead Horse Campground in Cottonwood, Arizona. I arrived at the sewage station and found an older couple standing around looking puzzled. The gentleman told they had never emptied the tank before. After I gave him some instructions, he and his wife stood by watching my procedure. I placed the end of the sewer hose in the underground opening, then went to open the valve. Well, with the pressure of the contents coming out furiously, the end of the hose came out of the sewer opening and began flailing about, spilling the contents all over the place. If you can somehow picture the scene somewhat like in the movie "RV." What could I say, but: "and that is not the way to do it."  I then spend about 20 minutes hosing the spillage into the opening. I think the couple left shaking their heads and probably thought I was a newer newbie than they were.

Oldgator73

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Re: Maiden Voyage(s) & Lessons Learned!
« Reply #9 on: October 17, 2017, 08:34:04 AM »
Way back when we were fulltimers were at a somewhat upscale CG in San Antonio, TX. I was dumping and something went wrong, can't remember what, but the contents of my black tank spilled and ran down the road. A couple was walking by and I overheard one say to the other "Someone had corn last night". Pretty embarrassing but I got over it.
2016 Winnebago Winnie Drop
2016 Nissan Frontier 4x4 Crew Cab
Air Force Retired
It's not the weight of the load, it's how you carry it.

NCSU Dad

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  • OBX NC
Re: Maiden Voyage(s) & Lessons Learned!
« Reply #10 on: October 17, 2017, 08:02:30 PM »
Thanks for the narrative. My wife is getting cold feet as we get closer to buying our first RV. Her hesitation started to build while watching RV YouTube videos with me.

I read your Maiden Voyage to her and she saw it as a positive experience.

Dawgfever

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Re: Maiden Voyage(s) & Lessons Learned!
« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2017, 07:33:59 PM »
CG , no good deed goes unpunished

All others....just bought our first rv and waiting for our first weekend adventure. We will report back !
2012 F-350, 6.7, LWB, CC, SWR.  Pulling a Grand Design Reflection.

AutumnLief

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Re: Maiden Voyage(s) & Lessons Learned!
« Reply #12 on: October 20, 2017, 07:05:21 AM »
LOL

Thank you for giving me some good advice and some good giggles. I hope our first trip goes a little better than yours!

Oldgator73

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Re: Maiden Voyage(s) & Lessons Learned!
« Reply #13 on: October 20, 2017, 08:00:39 AM »
LOL

Thank you for giving me some good advice and some good giggles. I hope our first trip goes a little better than yours!

Just remember, and this isn't to make you nervous, when you pull into the CG everyone will be watching you. All activity stops. Folks will pull up their lawn chairs, pop their beers, poor their wine and get the snacks out to watch the show. Just kidding. Don't sweat the small stuff. Have fun.
2016 Winnebago Winnie Drop
2016 Nissan Frontier 4x4 Crew Cab
Air Force Retired
It's not the weight of the load, it's how you carry it.

fman

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Re: Maiden Voyage(s) & Lessons Learned!
« Reply #14 on: October 21, 2017, 09:20:12 PM »
That is really a nice story. I'm sorry but I would have loved to have seen the backed up hose issue. Only reason is I came close to the same thing and just stood and looked at the hose for about 5 minutes before I got the guts to take on the job. Mine was not as bad as yours though. One thing I purchased which has helped me when we go out are theses. http://www.rvminders.com/
Now keep in mind you have to use them for them to work. I keep forgetting to put them on when I park the RV at the house and yesterday backed it out while it was still plugged into the house. Luckily no damage other then my pride for forgetting.

Dance Chick

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Re: Maiden Voyage(s) & Lessons Learned!
« Reply #15 on: October 22, 2017, 06:50:31 AM »
Good for you that you're doing this with your boys. Our "boys", who are now grown men, have great memories of our camping years. It is good, wholesome family time.

One doesn't have to be a newbie to make mistakes. We left yesterday to head to TN from FL. Our CRV must have a fuse removed to tow it behind the MH to keep the battery from going dead. (I've tried to get DH to install a charge line as many others have done, which makes removing the fuse unnecessary, but he wouldn't.) Now, how many times have we done this? Oh, about a gazillion. Well, NEITHER one of us remembered to do it. I don't know why, but we didn't. Seems kind of dumb now. We got to Perry, GA to spend the night, and yup, dead battery. So, you see, even those of us who should know better, sometimes do things that just don't make sense.

Enjoy your RV and your family times.
Gene, Gayle, & Oliver (the dog-but don't tell him)
2006 Holiday Rambler Endeavor 40 PDQ/2012 Honda CRV toad
Blue Ox towing/Air Force One braking
"And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance."

HappyWanderer

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Re: Maiden Voyage(s) & Lessons Learned!
« Reply #16 on: October 22, 2017, 07:18:39 AM »
As to forgetting things, always do a 360 around the vehicle(s) before moving an inch. Look high and low, check the awning, try every compartment door and check connections to trailer or toad. It takes all of a minute, but could prevent headaches down the road.

That's my routine before turning the key every time, even if I just did it 10 miles ago.
I don't have gray hair. I have wisdom highlights.

SunshineAndHayfields

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Re: Maiden Voyage(s) & Lessons Learned!
« Reply #17 on: October 22, 2017, 10:27:11 PM »
Thank you all for the supportive comments and stories!  :)
SunshineAndHayfields
2012 Keystone Springdale 260TBLWE
F-350 Superduty

Mauleman

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Re: Maiden Voyage(s) & Lessons Learned!
« Reply #18 on: October 30, 2017, 01:32:40 PM »
we pick up our ,new to us, diesel pusher on friday this week.. after reading this thread I fear pulling into our first campsite is sort of like the show at a boat launch ramp... I guess , just take it slow and learn from mistakes is the rule.. although I have already learned , by reading , about the dump issue...and Cousin Eddy does come to mind...
« Last Edit: October 30, 2017, 01:34:33 PM by Mauleman »

sadixon49

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Re: Maiden Voyage(s) & Lessons Learned!
« Reply #19 on: October 30, 2017, 04:21:48 PM »
As long as you don't leave the campsite with the awning out. Don't ask me how I know that. My RV is back at the dealer getting it's awning replaced.
steve
2017 Jayco Redhawk 26XD
E-450 Ford, 6.8 V-10
EEZRV TPMS

Old_Crow

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  • Home is where you make it.
Re: Maiden Voyage(s) & Lessons Learned!
« Reply #20 on: November 01, 2017, 12:09:56 PM »
Watched a guy pull out of a campground the other day.  Had one of those very tall 5ers.  Also had the satellite dish standing tall and proud on the tallest part of the 5er roof. 
Somebody caught him when he stopped at the store across the street.

I once drove to and from the dump station at the park I was staying at with my OTA  tv antenna cranked up.  I got away with it because there's no overhead utility lines at Ft. Pickens.
Wally Crow
Retired 30 year ASE Master Auto Tech
Y2K Bounder 36S F53
'03 Jeep Wrangler Sahara

Oldgator73

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Re: Maiden Voyage(s) & Lessons Learned!
« Reply #21 on: November 01, 2017, 12:24:06 PM »
Many times driven away with steps down and or assist handle out. Had our fifth wheel at the factory once. I had welded a receiver hitch to the frame on the rear and installed one of the wire mesh carriers that we put our bikes on. Got a few blocks from the factory, turned a corner and the carrier slid up beside the trailer with bikes still attached. Pulled over and found that the factory folks did not put the pin back in for the carrier.
2016 Winnebago Winnie Drop
2016 Nissan Frontier 4x4 Crew Cab
Air Force Retired
It's not the weight of the load, it's how you carry it.

Mauleman

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Re: Maiden Voyage(s) & Lessons Learned!
« Reply #22 on: November 01, 2017, 07:15:13 PM »
Many times driven away with steps down and or assist handle out. Had our fifth wheel at the factory once. I had welded a receiver hitch to the frame on the rear and installed one of the wire mesh carriers that we put our bikes on. Got a few blocks from the factory, turned a corner and the carrier slid up beside the trailer with bikes still attached. Pulled over and found that the factory folks did not put the pin back in for the carrier.
  lol in flying we call it a pre flight check list....

Oldgator73

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Re: Maiden Voyage(s) & Lessons Learned!
« Reply #23 on: November 02, 2017, 06:35:23 AM »
Not RV related but how many of us have been to a drive in movie and witnessed folks pulling out with the speaker still attached to the window.
2016 Winnebago Winnie Drop
2016 Nissan Frontier 4x4 Crew Cab
Air Force Retired
It's not the weight of the load, it's how you carry it.

jphal

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  • Cultivating the RV Journey
    • Cultivating the RV Journey
Re: Maiden Voyage(s) & Lessons Learned!
« Reply #24 on: November 02, 2017, 07:16:21 AM »
This post resonates on a lot of levels for me, being the newcomer I am to RVing.
As a kid I was invited on a camping trip to Lake Shasta in a Class C, and loved the bunk area above the cab. Can even remember seeing kids looking out the front window of it in other RVs while on the highway.
And that memory, along with a couple years in the Boy Scouts on some great camping trips, has led me decades later to trade-in the Hybrid SUV for a GMC truck to tow my Travel Trailer. It does appear that checklists are your friend in setting up and tearing down camp, plus the hook-up of the trailer package. Will plan on taking my time, checking it twice and going slow.
2015 Crossroads Z-1 RD11
2017 GMC Sierra 1500
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