camper 3We have had a camper sitting in our driveway for around three years.  When Kent had his dealers license he had bought and sold several travel trailers and did well with them.  The last one he bought he wasn’t able to look at it before purchasing and after bringing it home discovered it had extensive water damage. So, because of all we had going on and time restraints the travel trailer just sat.

Noah and I decided we were going to make it work.  It may not look perfect inside, but we thought the air, electric, heat, etc worked so we were going to do what we could.  Noah has learned quite a bit from working around home with his dad and got a great start on transforming the damaged areas.  We decided to remove the bathroom altogether as we plan on only camping in civilized areas.  With some help from one of Maddie’s friends we were able to get the camper going in time for a road trip to see Kent.

Last Thursday evening I had many plans of making sure I could take on this task of hooking up a camper, unhooking a camper, backing it up and all the things that go along with setting up camp over two hundred miles away from home. I made all my lists of everything we should take. I checked to make sure my vehicle was capable of pulling the camper. The girls and I scrubbed the camper down.  I power washed the outside for what seemed like forever.  We packed up.  I hooked up ALL by myself.  Noah was not able to help me or go on the trip so I was a bit apprehensive.

I have to say I was pretty excited that the camper moved when I put the Sequoia in drive.  Then it got dark and I didn’t have any time to practice.  Morning came, we double checked that we had all that we needed and headed out. As I was driving to town to check the tire pressure on the camper I decided to call the insurance agent to make sure I was covered while pulling this thing. I live ten minutes from town.  As I rolled into the intersection of 65/69 and 92 and my insurance agent was explaining the add on to my policy I looked at the passenger seat and thought “oh crap.”

I’m literally just rolling along getting ready to turn and after ten minutes on the road I see the dogs butt heading out the window.  Before I could do anything he jumped out.  I’m yelling at the insurance agent just add it to my policy! I was so worried that I had killed the dog.  My son’s prized possession at the moment.  I slam on my brakes and Sami jumps out and chases the dog down.  Everyone including Rocky the pitbull are safe and sound. After we are all settled I pull into Hy-Vee gas station, air up the tires and we are on our way once again.

Whew, we roll on down the interstate hour after hour stopping for gas a couple times. Pulling straight in and straight out. I’m thinking this isn’t so bad.  I just hope all I have to do is go straight.  After all, I had no time to practice going in reverse.  Everyone was trying to talk me out of it.  But, I was thinking we have everything we need packed up we will find a camp ground that will be way less than a hotel room and we can be outside.  The weather was gorgeous and I was looking forward to seeing my honey and being away from everything with my girls.

A little over four hours later we arrive at our destination four miles from the prison.  Its a small private camp ground as the state parks aren’t up and running until May 1st.  I talk to the owner, he shows me where to park and I attempt to unhook the camper from the Sequoia.  After a little help from the girls jumping up and down on the bumper and the campground owner putting some boards under my wheels we were settled.  I’m still not sure how I got on those boards, but they are there and yea they are under the tires.  I notice other people have things to make sure their wheels don’t move so later in the evening I make a trip to an auto parts store and purchase wheel stops so we don’t end up in the river.

The girls and I jump in the truck and head to the prison to see Kent after six long weeks of missing him.  It took a bit of time to get in to see him.  I had to fill out some paperwork they looked at we were wearing and informed us of what they expected for future visits.  We were okay for that night and after a few minutes we started our visit with Kent.  It was Friday evening so we were able to stay until 8:30 pm, but  since I didn’t know exactly what I was doing in the camper and we were planning on visiting the rest of the weekend we cut our visit a little short.

Back at the campground we got a fire started and cooked our dinner on the little griddle we had brought along.  We sat around the fire and enjoyed the rest of the evening before heading to sleep.  I hadn’t really thought a lot of things through, such as filling the propane tanks and making sure the heat worked and all, but I had brought a small space heater that kept us warm enough.

The next morning we heated up our breakfast in the microwave and headed to see Kent.  He had told us to try to be there by a quarter till ten at the latest because if we were any later he’d have to be at his bunk for count and wouldn’t get to see us until at least 10:30.  We arrived a few minutes after 9 and were  told the jeans Sami was wearing and had worn the night before would not be allowed in the prison as they were to tight.  The guard advised us we should go down the road ten miles to Dollar General and purchase something not so tight.  I was thinking to myself not one word was said about her jeans the night before, but whatever.  So we went.  By the time we returned it was 9:55.  We went in and were told we’d have to wait until after count.  So to our truck we returned once again.

About 10:30 we finally got to see him, we stayed until visiting hours were over at 3:00.  After visiting we went exploring around the Mississippi.  Its beautiful over here.  The girls both think we should just live here in the camper.  We went to Palisades State Park.  We got out and walked around until the dog freaked out. I had my keys attached to his collar and he flailed himself around and out of his collar not being able to figure out what was clanging around his neck.  We finally got him calmed down and headed back to the camp ground.

The girls were able to take a canoe out on the lake for a bit then come back for a fire and relaxing time.  We have the camper parked within 30 feet of the lake that is attached to the Mississippi River. When they first asked if they could go on a canoe I told them they were crazy if they thought I would let them go in a river in a canoe.  Then I realized we were actually in front of a lake that is by the river and there are buoys warning them exactly where they could go to keep them out of the currents of the river.

Sunday morning we were once again able to go visit Kent this time we didn’t have to go purchase appropriate clothing.  We are able to see him three days out of seven every week if our schedules allow for us to come over here.  I spoke to the campground owner and he said I could leave the camper here for two dollars a day when I’m not camping and when I am its fifteen a night.  I’m sure that’s cheaper or equal to the amount of gas I would spend pulling the camper back and forth not to mention I have a little cheap car I can drive back and forth if I’m not pulling a camper. And so far I have not had to back that thing up!! Hurray!! Not sure what I will do when I have to, but I will face that when I have to no need to worry about it now…