Our Excellent Camping Adventures

Feb. 27, 2011 - Camping season 2010 was one of changes for us.  First, in September we took delivery of a new tow vehi

cle, a 2011 Ford F-350 Super Duty Lariat with a 6.7L diesel engine.  We wanted to be able to tow pretty much anything without having to worry about every pound of weight.  This should do the trick and so far it has been a great truck.  The Sequoia served us well but was 10 years old, spent most of its life towing reliably around the continent, but was starting to show its age.

Another change from the ordinary for us was we decided this would be the year we would try something completely different for Christmas, and go to Florida.  It turned out waking a trailer from winter sleep is not easy.  In the cold things don't work quite as well, and break much more easily.  So prepping the trailer took about twice as long as planned and being away on a business trip to New Zealand for 10 days just prior to leaving from Florida added to the, um, excitement.

Fortunately Mother Nature was fairly cooperative and although I had to keep a driveway clear of snow to get across the lawn on departure day, it was pretty easy to do and we could still get back in upon our return just before New Years Eve.

The biggest mistake I made was not getting the heat going in the trailer a couple of days before we hit the road.  That meant the first overnight stop at the Flying J in Carlisle, PA involved heating what was effectively a rolling freezer, using the trailer's furnace.  The Memory Foam on the beds was as hard as rock and we all ended up sleeping in our clothes and with lots of covers both on top of us as well as underneath.  Lesson learned.  Pre-heat the trailer, and buy a generator.

By the way, there's a great place to stop on the way where you can have your entire rig washed by hand, and that's at the Blue Beacon Truck Wash at exit 29 near Brunswick, Georgia.  For $36 eight guys hand wash everything.  It was nice to see the truck and trailer sparkle.

We did the drive to Florida in three stages - first from Ottawa to Carlisle, PA.  Second night was at the KOA in Savannah, GA, and the third day took us to Orlando, FL.  The travel times were eight, nine and 5.5 hours.  We spent five nights at the Tropical Palms Resort and visited Disney and the Kennedy Space Center.  We moved to the Sun 'n Fun Resort for five nights, over near Sarasota, and spent the time mostly relaxing and looking around a bit.  We did the drive home in two days, the first day being a 14 hour run to Ashland VA, where we stayed at a KOA so we would have electricity for the heat and could winterize the following morning, and the second day was about 11 hours to get home.

Weather was our big concern and although the forecast both ways was good we hit a major snow storm in northern NY, wicked construction on the Beltway around Washington, and heavy rain through South Carolina and Georgia.  On the way home we had good weather the entire way, and found a way to avoid most of the Beltway nightmare.

While Florida was cooler than usual, we were able to enjoy a nice vacation.

The rest of the season was pretty different, this being the first year with one kid having a summer job and both kids getting less interested in camping and more interested in friends.  So there's the typical evolution of life taking place and we're just trying to keep it all in balance.

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Site Updated Sun-27-Feb-2011