Today we got underway about 1030 for our 150 mile trip from Phippsburg Maine to Trenton Maine. It was a pretty easy day…most of the trip was on freeways so we just rolled along about 62 mph and let the idiots race by. We pulled into Timberland Acres RV Park here in Trenton and were assigned to site 192.
I thought I would give you a how-to on getting set up in your campsite on arrival along with some before and after photos. In a day or so I’ll add a post that details the break camp procedure.
First; a little about RV sites. They come in both pull through and back in depending on how you get into the site. Pull throughs are easier; you pull in forwards on arrival and continue forwards when you leave. No backing means it’s easy in and easy out. The drawback is that sometimes pull throughs have no view where as a back typically has the rear window of the rig facing the woods, a creek, the beach or some other view-worthy aspect of your campsite. Back in sites obviously require that you back in. This is a lot harder than getting into a pull through site and back in sites are typically more constricted so you’re also having to back in between trees or rocks or what have you.
Sites are further divided by the utilities available. For non-boondocking (camping without any utility hookups) you get either 50 amp or 30 amp electric. If it’s hot and you want to run the A/C; you need 50 amp although you can get by with a single A/C on 30 amp if you make sure the water heater is off and don’t start the microwave while you’re using the A/C. On 50 amp hookups power draw is pretty much not an issue. Water is provided at most camp sites. We like to get what is known as FHU or full hookup sites; these include electric, water, and sewer. If you don’t have FHU then typically you have electric and water and have to use a dump station on the way out of the campground to dump your waste tanks. If this is the case; then you take showers up at the bath house instead of in the rig. In this situation we can make it a week pretty easily and have made it 2 full weeks without dumping tanks by being careful.
Anyway; let’s talk about today’s arrival and setup at our site. We were assigned site 192 which is a FHU 50 amp pull through site. The first thing we always do is drive down in the car (leaving the rig at the office) to physically look at our site…checking for low branches or tight turns on the way in, the location of our utility pole, how we want to enter, and where we want to be in the site. Here’s a picture of our site from the entry end and then from the exit end along with a picture of the utility pole.
As you can see the utility pole is on the left side of the site (the rig utility connections are on the left or street side). The gray box contains 50 and 30 amp breakers and separate plugs for each circuit. The faucet is the water connection and the black cover on the ground is the sewer dump connection.
After taking a look at the site we went back up and drove the rig in and with Neil driving and Connie observing and talking to Neil via walkie talkie we got positioned in the site in the desired place. Where you park in the site depends on trees (so you have southern sky visibility for DirectTV), whether you want to be able to get the awning out (you do), where you want to park the car and BAT, and other specifics for your site.
Once parked in the correct location; the next order of business is unhitching and getting utilities attached. First up; Neil lets the air out of the air hitch to drop the hitch to it’s lowest position while Connie puts chocks ahead and behind the trailer wheels and 2×10 jack pads under the hydraulic lifting jacks that level the rig. At this point we also verify the polarity and ground on the power connection, connect the power cable, and close the breaker so we have electric power. Once these are complete, the front jacks are lowered to take the front end weight of the trailer; Neil typically picks up the hitch pin relative to the hitch about an inch. Once this is done; the lever on the hitch is tripped to disengage the hitch, trailer electrical and camera cables are disconnected, and BAT is pulled forward clear of the front of the trailer. Next hit the auto level switch on the BigFoot leveling system and after a couple of minutes the rig ends up level…we typically then raise both front and rear jacks another couple of inches to keep the steps off the ground.
Next up…Neil sprays bug spray around the jack pads to keep creepy crawlies from coning up into the coach. At this point we extend the slides for living room, galley, and bedroom…connect the water hose and adjust pressure…and connect the stinky slinky which is a flexible hose going from our sewer connection to the dump pipe near the power pole.
Next…we split up. Connie starts unstopping the inside, putting stuff back on countertops and generally getting the inside ready for living in. Neil finishes up the outside items…putting up the flagpole and light, putting out the awning and awning tiedowns, parking BAT, covering the hitch, stowing the trailer electrical connection cables, getting stuff out of the car and BAT that was there for the travel (me and Kara, lunch remnants, empty coke bottles, and the like.
Total time from arrival at the site (assuming no clearance issues that require multiple attempts to get backed into and properly positioned in the site) to all finished and setup is about 90 minutes. We’ve got this pretty much down to a science by now…things are always done in the same order so we don’t forget anything and each of us has our parts to handle. The shot below is our final setup here in Site 192 after getting everything done.
After this; Neil went on a 16 mile bike ride around the area while Connie worked some on our entertainment plans for the next couple of days.
I hope this brief description of our setup process gives you a little insight into what we have to do to get from travel mode into setup and ready to live mode.