We are back from our maiden voyage with our new Track and Trail toy hauler.
Wow! I learned so much during this trip. It was exhausting, but fun at the same time. Stressful but relaxing at the same time.
I know. I sound like I have a split personality. But the trip was all of those things. At the end of the day will I say that I am happy to get back into camping with my family again?
And the answer to that is…
That’s because we made some great family memories. We enjoyed each other and nature. We unplugged and just hung out.
I learned a lot.
Traveling took longer than expected
I was so organized for our trip. I researched campgrounds and mapped out where we would stop every night. The problem was that the mapping didn’t take into account that we were hauling a trailer. It also didn’t take into account traffic or hills or bathroom breaks. After getting to the first two campgrounds after hours, I learned to tack on a few hours to our expected arrivals.
Gas mileage stinks
Now before you roll your eyes like I should have known that, let me say that I did account for a decrease in gas mileage. I just didn’t decrease it enough. See, our trailer, with its lovely high ceilings, also made for a lot of wind resistance. Thus our gas mileage was much less than we thought it would be. My husband, being the engineering mind that he is, is already researching how he plans to fix that for our future trips.
Drivers do not respect vehicles hauling trailers
Honestly. Don’t they teach, in drivers training, that a large vehicle hauling something cannot maneuver as quickly as a car or that it cannot stop on a dime? Now, I grew up with a dad who drove a semi for a living, so I am a little more aware of that than some people, but I was truly amazed at the number of times that we got cut off by cars and pickup trucks that seemed to think we had powers over the laws of Physics.
Make reservations whenever you can
Even though it had been quite a few years since we stayed at campgrounds, I do have some memories of trying to just “show up” at a campground to find out that there was no space available or be given the worst site possible because the good sites were saved for those reserving the place. So I made sure we had reservations for all of the campgrounds we stayed at. I was particularly thankful that we had reservations when we arrived late because, at least the campgrounds knew we were coming. And one of the campgrounds was actually full when we arrived so we wouldn’t have been able to stay there without the reservation.
Don’t arrive after dark or after office hours
This was something I learned the hard way. One campground had plenty of light at the office and an after hour box to take care of registering. Another campground had us using flashlights to back into a site and hook up. There was one campground that we wouldn’t have stayed at if we had arrived when it was light out.
Take a shower when you can
Because we stayed at campgrounds that we had never been to, we were not sure about the amenities. I did check out many reviews, but my standards for clean bathrooms may not be the same as other people. The first thing we did upon arriving at the campsite was to check out the bathroom facilities. If they were clean facilities, I made everyone take a shower. Not all campgrounds are created equal and I didn’t want to assume that the next campground would be better.
Make sure to take quarters with you.
Did you know that some campgrounds charge you to use their showers? Yep. We didn’t know that. Thankfully, we were visiting relatives when we stayed at that campground. My mother-in-law was kind enough to give me a roll of quarters. Another reason to have quarters is so that you can utilize the laundry facilities, which we did need to do once while we were gone.
What about you?
What have you learned in your camping journey?
Do you have any advice for others just getting started?