Saturday, July 11, 2009

Our last Night in Long Key

Well we did stay in Long Key last night. I think Ken felt better after he had everything packed up yesterday including the boat tied to the roof of the truck. So everywhere we went yesterday .. the boat went with us.

We went up to Windley Key and got 3 more stamps in our State Park Passport book. Which was about 23 miles north of us .. then we went down to Curry Hammock Campground (yes another stamp for the book) which was about 10 miles south of us. This is a small campground they only have about 28 campsites but they look nice the had gravel spots instead of sand. And an adjacent beach. Yep all along the boat was with us.

We stopped at Robbies at mile marker 77. you are able to feed tarpon there.. BIG tarpon. It is amazing they sell food and you go out and there are literally a hundred plus tarpon in size from
3 ft to about 6 feet plus. and they just hang out for the food. Jacob had a blast feeding them... he really wanted to fish and catch one...but at last he couldn't. We ate at the Hungry Tarpon there.. it was a really nice dinner the CHEF came to our table to make his recommendation for dinner, it was really nice. Finished dinner went back to camp to relax, then off to bed.

Well It is just inevitable that I be woke up at 4:30 ish ... why should this morning be any different than the others.. This morning I am awaken by the camper moving in the wind!?! Yes the camper is actually being moved, swaying in the wind!! I looked out the windows and could not believe what I was seeing it looked like a hurricane! The bushes were all double over. I went on the internet and looked up on weather bug this time ... and the weather report said winds 20-25 mph with gusts up to 30 mph. Well I watched and they were sustained 30 mph gusts for about an hour and 15 minutes. Moving our camper, this is a 24 ft travel trailer, not a popup! All along I am just praying that nothing breaks or gets blown off ...hmmm the AC unit .... My biggest worry (nightmare) was the fact that the boat was strapped to the topper on our truck ...I was having visions of going out and finding the topper ripped from the truck and it and the boat on the ground near the truck.

But the winds were so strong I was afraid of opening the door even to check ...the winds would just blown the door out of my hands and slammed it against the trailer. So I sit and wait praying that nothing happens ... after all I had talked (whined) Ken into staying another night.

Well the winds calmed and I went back to bed. When we went out everything was still in tact, thanks heavens. So we hooked the camper up and headed out for home.

Now we have a reservation for Koreshan SP in Naples on the way home. I had broken the trip up so that Ken would not have to drive the trailer all day to get home. We were just about out of the Keys when my Sister called and said they were in Sanibel again for the weekend and suggested we might be able to stop and stay at the campground on Sanibel for the night (instead of Naples) since it was not much farther up the road. We then would be able to visit with her family a little and get out on Sanibel beach. I took the chance and called Periwinkle Park and they indeed had spots open...apparently a lot of them...she didn't even need my name. So we headed for Sanibel. We had a nice smooth trip to Sanibel got checked in at the campground and headed out to the Condo that Gobbie was staying in. I called Joseph and Melanie and invited them to come down and visit and stay the night with us in the camper and we would all go back Sunday morning. And they did come down, it was nice to have all of us there and I think they had a nice time. We had dinner and Joseph and Melanie wound up going back home after we ate, it seems we had a break out of the sickies at church and were loosing Sunday School teachers left and right. We actually had 2 confirmed cases of Swine flu...Glad we were gone for 13 days we missed it completely.

So we spent the night in Sanibel got up the next morning and met my sister and family at "The Sanibel Bean" my nieces favorite coffee shop had breakfast and headed home. With out incident.

Tomorrow we will take our bruised and battered Camper to the shop to get it fixed...thank heavens for Insurance.. =)

Friday, July 10, 2009

Accessing the damage

The Duck tape, on the earlier, broken from the wind vent is still holding nicely... AHH the wonders of Duck Tape
This is the antenna
It got whacked pretty hard. It is snapped apart and the back wing is bent down, We can't get it down all the way.
The lovely slicing job at 4:30 this morning
The bolts half pulled out of the roof
Well there you have it.  What is left of our antenna, the bolts half pulled out,the lovely slicing job to the awning at 4:30 this morning, and our awning laying peacefully behind our trailer.
Ken is packing everything up.. camping, this trip has lost its sparkle ...I am trying to talk him into staying one more night and then driving straight through tomorrow, but we'll see......

Camping Life Day 7 In the Wee Hours of Morning AGAIN

Just when you think it can't get worse.... it does.

 We were awaken again this morning at 4:30ish by a very large banging sound on or roof. Sounded like a tree landed on us. Woke all three of us up right out of a dead sleep. Then this flapping sound. We went..rushed outside and the winds were VERY strong. ... They had taken out our awing. So here we are again all three of us outside in our pajamas at 4:30ish in disbelief, is this really happening?? Our awining was now flipped over the top of our trailer, covering the AC unit (can't tell how badly it got hit it yet), and just about completely took out the antenna. It pulled the screws that were bolting it to the roof, just stripped them almost completely out. 

Now we have a newly purchased 8' to 16' extension ladder (see day 2 or 3, I don't remember it's 5:00 IN THE MORNING).. 

Thank you Lord for the things you give us that we don't completely understand. He always has a reason... we now know why we needed to purchase that $80.00 ladder.

 We came to the conclusion we were going to just have to cut that awning loose. Because the bolts were pulled more than half way out there was no way it was going to hold for the drive home. So we got Jacob's trusty fishing knife and sliced it off. Now we had to get it off the roof. The opening part of the awning is very heavy it has a spring mechanism that rolls all the awning up into a nice roll. This is what is flipped over the camper taking out the antenna and not sure about the AC... it is still working... but we are not sure about the cover yet...IT'S STILL DARK.
The awning is now laying in the bushes on the back side of our camper, cut free from it's entanglement. Ken was able to snap free, (yes twist till they broke) the rails from the camper since they were already half snapped off .  Ken is concerned that the back end of the awning took some wood out (framing) when it snapped... we'll have to get a better look in the morning when the sun comes up. But for now pray that the AC unit holds together. 

By the way the roof vent with its duck tape (which is why we bought the ladder) is holding together quit nicely... to bad we didn't use the duck tape on the awning ..... we might be using this universal tool on the AC cover before it's over.

Sadly we were not the only ones to loose their awning.. our "neighbor" who was out walking her dogs, told us at least one other camper lost their awning too.
She and her husband were able to get theirs in before they lost theirs. We'll see in the daylight there might have been more.... they were really BIG gusts of wind..
But for now I am going back to bed.   Pictures to follow.....

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Life of Camping Day the first evening(Fri) in Collier-Seminole

Oh I  forgot to tell you one thing; the first evening(Fri) we set out. We were hugely delayed because we had bought a used 15 HP motor cheap--the reason it was cheap is 1)it's old and 2)It is missing the prop. Well the guy we bought it from Tuesday night before we left said he could have one by Thursday, Thursday he said he could have it by 12 on Friday........ you guessed it by 12 on Friday looked like there was going to be no prop at all. So this guy is really nice and scrounges us up a Loaner motor to take to the keys... Ken and Jacob go and run to go get it... it is now going on 4:00 pm on Friday the weekend of Fourth of July when everyone is going somewhere!!  But I have to tell you traffic was not bad I was pleasantly surprised. So we get to the camp site and Blah blah blah you already hear about the mosquitos and such. But what I forgot to tell you is. And for those who went camping with us Memorial Day weekend..... Yes the alarm started going off again at 1:30 am. This is, for those of you that weren't with us, the alarm for gas leaks it smells a leak and the alarm goes off.  There is nothing wrong with the gas line just the stupid alarm.... The RV repair shop where our camper spent the last 5 weeks checked it out and said nothing was wrong and the alarm had not gone off. Of course they were not around it in the wee hours of the night when it goes off!!! Their suggestion was to bring a can of compressed air and "clean out" the sensor when it does it. Did it, it didn't work. so we took it apart and CUT THE WIRES... problem solved it hasn't gone off since :-)

Life of Camping Day 2 part 3

I might as well continue and get you up to date.

Day 2:
Well we head to the Keys today... can't get out of this campsite fast enough. Not that the campsite is horrible just the mosquitos. 
We continue to drive down 41 to the Keys. The traffic was not bad at all going to the keys, but coming out of the keys it was backed up!! So we get to our Camping spot and back the camper in and proceed to plug the camper in, only we can't find the outlet. Oh there it is on the other side of the camper????  Camper and MOST/ALMOST ALL/EXCEPT ONE camping spots have there plugs and outlets on the back side that is driver side of the camper. This camp however,apparently to save space and or money has placed a central hook up between every two campsites. Which is great if you are in a ODD number(this is a BIG hint only reserve ODD numbered sites) spot but if you are in an EVEN number spot the plug is on the wrong side.  So I hop on my bike and go back up to the Ranger station and see if possibly they might have an odd number spot open till Friday night.......of course they don't these people know about the even odd thing.  But the Ranger--who seemed surprised that we didn't have an extension--at which I replied ((gritting my teeth)) we've never needed one before--could tell us where we could find one. Now it is 5:30-6 pm on Sunday... what are our chances... It's the Keys, it's their off season and they are just generally laid back, nobody is going to be open... except. The place is a campground up the road that has just gotten a shipment in and should have some. So we leave the camper behind and run up to the campground to purchase a extension cord. They only have one 10 ft cord left---after all this was 4th of July weekend and the campsites were bursting at the seams in the Keys---Ken says it is not enough, I think it is,what choice do we have we buy it hoping for the best.
Well sometimes the best just isn't good enough----we get back and attach the extension to our plug---walk over to the power outlet aaannndd it is, and I'm not kiddding you 13"short!!!!
Our only option is to move the camper over 2 feet in this already narrow spot, till we can get yet another extension cord to fit, And moving the camper worked! with a few inches to spare!
The camper is staying right there... it's not moving again, it will be fine!!! WE have electricity!!!
Now I now all you die hard tent camper are just rolling your eyes at us but this is how my husband/we camp.

Life of Camping part two actually day 1

I figured since I am awake I would back up to day one of camping.. this way I can just print it out when I get home and scrapbook it... it's the journaling I always hate to do.

Day One: We arrived at Collier-Seminole SP last night. It is on 41 somewhat in the Everglades. When we stepped out of the truck we were just swarmed by mosquitos. I literally could not breath with out fear of aspirating one. I looked down and my ankle were just covered! Out came the bug spray just not fast enough and you couldn't spray it in enough places. So we decided not to go outside at all last night. Didn't even unhook the Trailer from the truck or even pull out the awning. We ate sandwiches for dinner, not that we couldn't cook it was just cooler not to cook inside. The people around us must have thought we were going to make a quick getaway in the morning.
There were a couple of tent campers that did disappear this morning.
Well we unhooked the trailer this morning and headed for Walmart. We can't go camping with out finding the nearest Walmart and going at least once, ask all my camping buddies. It just doesn't happen... sometimes it is a 2 trip venture. This one was.
When we got back from the first trip Jacob turned on the light over the sink and it was real dim hmm. So we though we'll turn off everything that wasn't necessary and it did get brighter I figured it was the camps electricity didn't mention it to Ken since he was already napping exhausted from our first trip to Walmart.
Ken stayed back and napped while Jacob and I made a second run to Walmart.  When we got back Ken was working on the fan in the AC unit, it had stopped working. He could "beat on it" and it would start but if you stopped it it would not start again till he banged on it some more.
OK this is day 1 of a 8 day camping trip to the Keys and our AC is not working????
Well it's running and Ken senses that something is not right-he can't hear the converter running (I didn't know you could hear that??). So out come the tools and he takes the from panel off under the refrigerator and proceeds to bang on the converter (well it worked on the fan motor).
then he finds a plug... not plugged in?... wonder where it goes?. Well it is the plug for the converter, but where do we plug it in?? Then he finds a outlet on the backside of the power panel and plugs it in.. voila it works and more importantly the fan motor and the AC are working properly now and the lights are not dim anymore. Now this area under the refrigerator is where the big external plug for the camper is stored you just push it through the hole on the outside of the trailer. The external plug line had wrapped around the converter plug and when Ken hooked up the electricity last night it unplugged the converter. Problem solved the trip will not be a total loss. Well not completely.
We have one more night here and we cook in the trailer, the mosquitos are just horrible. You can't stand outside.... NOBODY in the whole camp is standing outside!!! 
PS the camp is only not even 1/4 full  apparently they read the mosquito meter.
There is always tomorrow. 

The repaired Vent

The life of Camping (this is actually morning of day 4)

Good Morning...well maybe, Ken and I got woke up around 4:30AM by this kinda knocking on the camper, we couldn't figure out what exactly it was. It was very blustery outside and we chalked it up to the awning flapping in the breeze. about 45 min later we realized what it was.... the vent right over our bed has cracked and is now being pulled apart by the wind, flapping open- hanging on by a thread..
Now our camper is about 5 years old and we had this vent replaced once already about 2 1/2 years ago and we just replaced the back one last month. Well as luck would have it we didn't bring our 10 foot ladder ;-(. So we tried to get to it from the inside with no luck.. well with out removing the entire framing. So at 5:30 in the morning we (all three of us are outside, in our pajamas starring at the vent flap on the roof, like it was going to fix itself, trying to figure out how to fix it (where is Mac Gyver when you need him) before it completely cut loose. Time was of the essence.
Well my husband (yea the one who had back surgery the end of November) decided to climb up on the trailer tongue then upon top of the Propane tanks (he is now about 5 feet off the ground) and tells me to get him the broom. We'll he was able to reach the vent cover flip it back over to it original position. OK now what? ...ROCKS we can hold it down with rocks (we live in "The PARK" this is completely acceptable). So at 5:45 in the morning Ken is standing on top if the double Propane tanks holding the vent flap down with a broom and Jacob and I are looking for rocks!? nice flat ones that are not to heavy.
Then Ken carefully lifts the broom of the vent ( I am praying that it doesn't catch a gust of wind and finally do it in) places the rock on the broom then positions it over the vent and gently slides the rock on to the vent, he repeats this with the second rock. Now if we had some of the ultimate fix-all tool GRAY TAPE we could have fixed it proper and Taped that sucker down.
So we go inside and you can see up through the vent. Well I am the daughter and sister of Engineers, I wasn't really happy with the position of the rocks on the vent. With the placement of the rocks and wind velocity and time of day etc. it just wasn't calculating out right for me. I wasn't happy about the placement-they need to be moved. So again my husband climbs up on top of the Propane tanks and carefully slides the rocks till I am happy-I mean they are in a better calculated spot on the vent.
OK all said and done it is now about 6-6:15am My son and husband are asleep and I can't go back to sleep. There will be a nap later.

Moral of story replace your vent covers every 2 years whether they need the or not, 2 1/2 is to long. I will be putting an alarm in my iPhone to remind me. Oh and to replace the tire every 3 years whether they need them or not but this is a whole other story.