Saturday, November 28, 2015

Setting up camp

It was so much fun taking delivery of the new RV - just like you can imagine it would be.  As we walked around learning about all of its systems and features, I couldn't stop smiling.

In the two or three days leading up to the big moment, we took several checklists we had found on the Internet (like this one) and compiled our own exhaustive list of things to load before heading out for our first camping experience in the new coach. We had toilet paper, tools, a broom, soap, dishes, and much more. Our pickup truck was full, but I didn't feel bad because I've read more than one account from people who filled a U-Haul trailer with stuff that they took when they picked up their RVs.

By early afternoon, we began transferring things to the coach.  Instead of imagining this moment, we were living it and loving every minute of it.

Our salesman at National Indoor RV Center had arranged for us to spend three nights at Stone Mountain Campground in Atlanta.  The campground is only four miles from the dealership, so it was a short drive to our first night's stay.  My wife drove our pickup truck; we still need to get the towing apparatus.

I had read more than once about the tight entrance into Stone Mountain Park.  Let me tell you, they weren't kidding.  There I was, driving my brand new coach that I had only pulled out of the dealer parking lot 15 minutes ago, pulling up to these tiny guard booths at the Park's entrance - and hearing the dead branches of some little trees in front of those booths scraping against the sides of my baby.  As I approached, it quickly became apparent that my mirrors were going to barely - and I mean barely - clear the booths.  I'll bet that the mirrors passed with less than four inches on each side!

Right after you go through the Park's main gate, you need to make a left turn to go down to the campground.  Despite the easy ride I had from the dealer to the park, I made a stupid mistake making the turn.  When you drive an RV, you can't "think" like someone driving a car.  I saw an opportunity to make the left turn during a long gap in the oncoming cars and swung the wheel hard to make a quick turn.  There should be no such thing as a "quick turn" in an RV.  I came very close to a man and his family stopped on my left; so close that he had to back up.  He said a few unkind words and made it clear he was no fan of my driving.  I hollered "thank you" out the window and kept on going. And all of this happened with my 18-year old daughter sitting next to me.

As I pulled the rig into the camp registration area, a camp host named Rick and I talked for a minute and he was kind enough to offer up some pointers about getting to our site.  When my wife returned from the registration desk, Rick said he would lead us to the site and help me park it.

Following his directions, I turned the RV around and headed down a road towards our first camp site in the new coach.  The small road didn't have many people on it and it looked like it would be an easy ride all the way.  Until we made a right turn.  By the time the wheel straightened, we were on a one lane, crowded street in a loop of RVs, with many of them and their toads hugging the shoulders of the pavement.  People were walking right alongside the road on both sides, forcing me to go very slowly and carefully all the way to our site around another corner.  As we rounded the corner, we saw the premium sites (the dealer had set us up with one of them) and were pleasantly surprised to see that they were spacious and all had views of the lake. Rick got out of his golf cart and directed me into the site without any problems, thanks in large part to the guy in the site across from ours who saw what was going on and moved his truck.

After stabilizing the coach with the levelers, I got out and made all of the connections.  The first thing was to unbox the new Surge Guard surge protector and get power going.  Then I attached the new water pressure regulator to the coach's potable water hose and made that connection.  Then was the sewer connection (I was surprised that I didn't have to use the sewer hose extension that we had asked the dealer to provide because we thought the one that came with the coach was too short).  Finally, I unpacked the new coax cable I had bought at Target and connected the cable TV.  Everything worked the first time out.  The only thing I forgot, but remembered a couple of hours later, was to open the gray water drain.

We were in business.  Ready to camp in our brand new coach.

Wow.  What a day!


  1. Mike -

    It was a real pleasure meeting you and your lovely wife on Saturday 11/28. Your new "baby" is a beauty and I am sure it will bring you years of exciting adventures.

    My wife and I are really enjoying our 34 foot class A, gas coach that we purchased used, two summers ago. Although it an '06 it was garaged by the two previous owners, and only had 13,000 miles. We too, spent many years of off and on research, RV shows and reviewing blogs to see what other were doing and saying about the RV life style. We rented a 32 foot Class A for a two week vacation just prior to finding and purchasing our RV.

    If you come through Ohio on one of your adventures, let us know!

    Joe & Missy O'Neil
    Fairfield, Ohio

    1. It was nice meeting both of you on our maiden voyage! We'll have to get together and play some H&F! Send me an e-mail using the form on the top right of the blog (under my photo) so I can get your e-mail address and reply with mine.