Archives for category: Our Life

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Well, the chocks are in the wheels & our Sunline is parked in its portico for another winter as we bid a reluctant adieu to the 2017 camping season.  We were SO hoping to have another opportunity to camp before the parks closed this past weekend but… no dice!  Instead, we found ourselves doing the last of the winterizing this weekend & wondering where the time went.

We had plans to camp at the end of October with Sunline friends but that fell through due to two-day downpour-windstorm.  Then, we planned to camp on Thanksgiving but Mom asked if we would come to her house, along with my brother, sister-in-law, & nephew, for a family Thanksgiving.  When your almost 86-year-old Mom asks that the family get-together, the answer is always “Yes!”

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Our lovely spokesmodels, Mom & Kathy, presenting the raw bird.

Still, some of our local PA state park campgrounds stay open until mid-December when deer hunting season ends, so we thought we could camp after Turkey Day but no such luck!  Busy-ness set in with a vengeance &, before we knew it, we were running the pink stuff through the water system, removing all the “freeze-ables” from the cabinets & cleaning the interior of the 2363.

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Our season started with two trailers, the super Sunline & the jaunty Jayco.  While we didn’t get in as much local camping as we like, we did have our 3-week Four Corner-Southwest tour with the Jayco which, at the risk of sounding repetitious, we’d do again in a minute, it was that good!  The Jayco did its job & was sold, the Sunline remains, & for now, our season ends – & blog entries become more sporadic, if that’s possible 🙂  – until the Spring!

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Our trip to the Southwest with our Jayco pop-up camper was great &, in my blog entries about the trip, I mentioned the upsides of pop-up camping.  Put succinctly, pop-ups are easy: easy to tow; easy to maneuver & fit into campsites; easy on gas mileage; easy on visibility when traveling.  So, if pop-ups are so easy, why didn’t we keep ours?

Well, just as there are upsides, there are downsides to camping in a pop-up.  While the downsides are few – at least in my estimation – they are significant enough to consider in the long run.

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One downside, which you can notice in this picture of our Jayco at a campground near Grants, NM, is that with our bunks fully extended we’re “sleeping on air.”  Or with air totally surrounding us.  While that’s not always a bad thing, in Grants, the temps got down to the upper 30s &, we ran the Jayco’s furnace but, set at 60 degrees, it was running most of the night just to keep up.

We knew this before we went on our trip because two weeks after we bought it last Fall, we took the Jayco on a trial run in a state park campground near where we live.  The temperature that night fell to 37 degrees & the furnace quit; when we woke up, the temp inside the pop-up was 39 degrees!  Fortunately, Matthew was able to fix the furnace & we also had our sleeping bags & a small electric space heater with us but, as Matthew pointed out, we would’ve been warmer sleeping on the ground without the 37 degree air surrounding us.

To be fair, there are mods you can do to make it warmer in a pop-up.  You see one of those mods in the picture above, that is, the blue Pop-Up Gizmos, a tarp specially made for pop-ups to help keep the warmth in.  On-line there are any number of RV sites with tips for keeping the bunks warmer.

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Okay, so maybe you don’t camp in the cold but here’s the flip side.  The above pix was taken at Goulding’s Campground in Monument Valley where the temps were in the high 80s.  With the sun beating down, the Jayco got very warm inside & we didn’t have A/C.  We were able to open the flaps & cool it down some but not before getting a few pounds of red dust in it during a sandstorm.  

Once again, the Pop-Up Gizmos can help as the reverse side of the blue tarp has a silver reflective surface.  The Gizmos, however, do not hold real well when it’s windy so their use is limited.  That, & not everyone wants to bother putting them on.  So, the surrounding air temp is a big consideration when pop-up camping.

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Another downside is setting up & breaking down.  Contrary to what we thought, Matthew & I didn’t really mind the outside set up & breakdown – extending/closing the bunks, placing the door, leveling & stabilizing.  It took more time to set up the Jayco than it does our Sunline but we didn’t think it was that bad.  

I was in charge of the inside set-up & breakdown, however, & that did get old after a while.  The pix above shows a bare Jayco because we were getting ready to sell it but when we were camping it was a different story.

We packed light but, still, the cushions & indoor tables had to be set up & as did the microwave we brought along. There were boxes with food, kitchen supplies, & clothing; there were outside chairs.  We kept the bedding on the beds so that was one less thing to do.  (As you can see from the pix of my Mom going to bed, a lived-in camper looks more like this.)  Then were the things we had to get out of the F-150.

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With the exception of the nights spent at Chaco Canyon & hotels, we were setting up & breaking down daily.  While we got into a routine as happens when you camp frequently, our pop-up routine, especially inside, never went as seamlessly as it does with our 2363.  And, after three weeks of camping, I’m not sure it could’ve gone any more smoothly.

Another downside were the tires or actually the size of the tires.  Pop-up tires are usually 12-13” tires, altho’ some newer pop-ups have bigger tires.  The problem is that, being a smaller size, the tires tend to heat up while traveling in a way larger tires don’t.  In fact, most pop-ups & many trailers have tires that are rated to be driven under 65 mph… & many people do not know that. We transferred the tire pressure monitoring system from the Sunline to the Jayco for the trip; it tells us the tire pressure & temperature of our trailer tires.  That helped make it less of a worry but, at highway speeds, it was still a concern.

These were three of the downsides which made selling the pop-up easier.  Of course, without the downsides we definitely would have had second thoughts about parting with it because it was a good little camper.  But the primary reason for selling the Jayco …

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… we have our Sunline which we love & which has provided us with many days of happy camping!  When it comes right down to it, there are upsides & downsides to all RV camping so  it’s all in what you like  & can afford!

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For a number of reasons, when we planned this year’s trip to the Four Corners region in the Southwest, we decided not to take our 24’ Sunline but instead buy a used pop-up camper especially for the trip.  After researching & studying floorplans, we settled on a Jayco 1007.    

Last October, we were able to find a 2006 1007 in very good condition (albeit needing some minor repairs by husband-man) at a local RV dealer. We got a good deal on it because it was the end of the season & still had time to take it out camping on a trial run.

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In May, we set off to the Four Corners with Mom & the Jayco & the trip was a success.  Mom had never camped before & took to it like a pro.  We found out that there’s a lot to like about towing & camping “small,” which I’ve written about in previous entries.  Yet, much as we liked the Jayco & had a great time on our trip, we knew upon getting home we would be selling it.

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Someone from the church that Matthew serves had expressed an interest in the Jayco even before we left on for vacation, however, they had other expenses this summer & were unable to buy it. My brother thought that they might want it but would’ve needed to buy a new tow vehicle & weren’t ready to take that step just yet.  So, we cleaned up all the road grime, inside & out including a few pounds of left-over Monument Valley red dust, & put the 1007 on Craigslist.

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Five hours after listing it, we got a reply from someone who lived literally “over the mountain” from us & who wanted to see it ASAP. Turns out it was a very nice family with four kids (one already grown) who, after giving the Jayco a thorough inspection, decided to buy it.  They planned to road-test it on a trip to Tennessee to see the total eclipse – how cool!

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We broke even on the sale which we were happy about but, truth be told, a little sad to see the Jayco go.  Perhaps my next entry will be about the reasons why we didn’t keep it.  Truly, the 1007 was a great little camper & we hope it will serve the family who bought it as well as it served us!