Surviving Your First Night in a R.V. – Little Pee Dee, SC

Who has the Camping 101 guide for me?

Where to first and how on earth do we do it?! You better believe there were plenty of questions and a lot that led up to this point, but for now I’m jumping to that first adventure in the woods. We picked up The Turtle on a Thursday, got out 30 minute walk through with the RV tech, spent a little money in the store with the list of items they said we would ‘need’, and we were on our way! We picked a state park not to far from home to give us a sense of security in case something happened and we would need help. We left after work, hit terribly frustrating traffic leaving town, but we were on our way to Little Pee Dee State Park in South Carolina.

Arriving was a super exciting feeling and also a bit nerve wrecking since neither of us was really sure what on earth we needed to do. We called the ranger that told us just to head on to our spot since we already had reservations. We found our little plot pretty easily but were halted by the trees on either side of the driveway to it. “So now we are supposed to back it in…which we don’t know how to do…in a 10 foot gap between two trees. Awesome.” We then stared at each other.

Turns out Camp Hosts are awesome! I hope this perspective never gets tainted for me but perhaps I’m a bit idealistic at this early stage. I wish I could remember their names, but a nice couple from Ohio were the workcampers here to help us get settled. The wife asked if we could get in and after trying to sound more confident then we actually were, she said she could find an easier open spot for us. She walked us over to a plot right off the lake that didn’t have the tree death traps trying to smash our new purchase. This is now where you have to ignore everyone around you, don’t care if people are watching you not know how to back up, and just smile and ask for help. The husband who was a former truck driver came over to walk me through the reverse process, because as he said, “You can’t learn to back up if someone else does it for you!”

Dodger was dying to get out of the car and meet everyone by now, so we parked, unhooked, did the basic set up that we could remember being taught, and then checked out the immediate area and tried to figure out what we were going to eat. I did make a fire…but it turns out it lasted just long enough for me to take a picture. This would be something we would have to try again tomorrow as we were nearing a near ‘Hangry’ state. Thank goodness Kelley packed cold cuts and we chowed down on some sandwiches.

Things to learn tomorrow:

  • If we don’t roll down the incline in the middle of the night, see if we are going to! (This led to Kelley sleeping on the couch at the high end of the trailer for fear we were going to end up in the lake because of the slight grade of the site!)
  • Speaking of, are these wheel choke thinks doing anything either??
  • Our fridge is not cold and doesn’t run, why not? And we have tried all the energy possibilities!
  • Where is the canopy for the front and will it keep the bugs out?
  • Are we going to survive or starve to death? I see a grocery store or fast food in our future tomorrow!
road trip with our dog
road trip with our dog
road trip with our dog

Little victories

We did not roll down the hill, found the canopy and it went up amazingly smoothly. There were still bugs but the tent over the front did help, plus gave us a better sense of privacy. That was something we did not think about! We were going into the woods to get away, we didn’t expect to have everyone coming over to say hi and check out our rPod and we what we were up to. We aren’t weird loners but it is going to take awhile to get used to having neighbors so close without having solid walls between us.

We did have sandwiches again for breakfast but that felt okay because we were were just so hungry! Also it was early morning since Kelley is a morning person, plus again the fear of not wanting to roll down the embankment keeping us up. While we were looking to get away we did bring one guilty pleasure. Leslie is a HUGE West Wing/Sorkin fan and has tried for a long time to get Kelley on board. We did finally start it a few weeks ago, so the season 2 DVD’s are in the Turtle and are the only tv we are allowing ourselves. Hey, it’s vacation and hot out sometimes and you just want to relax in the AC! That and it’s perfect for 5am sandwich time!

Once the sun began to peek out we grabbed Dodger and set our for a morning walk. A peaceful sunrise on the lake was exactly the peace we have been looking for! We watched two fishermen and Dodger tried to mimic the Canadian geese water landing.

road trip with our dog
road trip with our dog
road trip with our dog
road trip with our dog

The great thing about having an rPod is AC! We get hot and tired, and head inside! Early mornings mean early naps! Once we are awake and refreshed we decided to head into a small town we had seen on our way in since we still hadn’t figured out how to get the fridge to cool and were running out of ice. About 12 miles back toward the state line was Lake View, SC and Pages Millpond. It looked like something our of a bayou fairy tale. We looked, Dodger sniffed, and the back to the campsite.

road trip with our dog
road trip with our dog
road trip with our dog
road trip with our dog

After watching some YouTube videos, and yes it made me feel stupid but it really did work, we were able to successfully make a fire and make ourselves hot dogs, baked beans, and roast marshmallows! We have entered the campers dominion! I don’t think we actually got any pictures though because we were too excited…and also a little scared of starting a forest fire.

Our last morning we wanted do get Dodger out to this great field we had walked by several times. We know the rules for dogs on leashes, and we are constantly working to improve his training, but letting that little booger off his leash makes him so happy! The early morning game of catch between the three of us was totally worth it!

road trip with our dog
road trip with our dog
road trip with our dog

Leaving has challenges too

Packing up to head back to reality was sad, but we knew the time had come. We survived our first trip even if it was only one weekend. We even went and showered in the bath house which was remarkably clean and had hot water. The camp hosts again came by and helped us to re-hitch the trailer since we were having problems with it. Turns out you can think it is connected, even move it forward with the car, and yet it actually is not attached at all! God bless the wheel chocks were still in place to prevent catastrophe! We needed to get to more level land to add out stabilizing bars to the hitch so we saved that for a parking lot down the road. We successfully emptied the water tanks for the first time. It was much easier than I imagined but also equally gross, ugh…just the thought!

Stabilizing bars did create quite a headache as we were trying to figure out how to get these massive metal bars on the trailer hitch ourselves. Raise it, lower it, move it kick it??? We did finally get everything in place but in all the frustration we forgot to lower the crank or move the wood block…so hitting the gas and tearing off of that was a harrowing moment. We also knew the Jeep was working hard to pull the Turtle but just tried to listen to the car and make sure we didn’t seem to be pushing it to hard. Note to self…RPM’s around 3 cause the car to overheat and smoke. So now we are on the side of the road, dog in the ditch in case the car catches on fire. We did continue on at a slower pace and the lesson was learned.

All-in-all it was a successful trip! Now, what’s next…