It was August 8, 2007, when we set out. Doug was nervous about the whole camping thing. I was excited about the adventure. It was a beautiful day, but very hot. The air conditioner in Harvey didn't seem to be cooling as well as it should have, but it was still more comfortable inside the RV than outside.
We were having problems with the newly installed radio, too. I was reading the manual and trying to tweak it as we drove, but we just couldn't get good sound out of it.
As evening approached, we used our cell phone and our Passport America campground directory to call ahead and reserve a campsite at the Fox Hill RV Park and Campground near Baraboo, Wisconsin.
We were pretty nervous on this first real camping experience. We'd slept in Harvey a couple of times in our driveway at home; and we had gone to a real campground once, about 25 miles from home, just to practice the hookups and work out any kinks.
On this first night of our Alaska trip, we chose a site with water and electric hookups. But our nervousness about the whole experience wasn't helped any by the discovery that our electric cable wasn't long enough to reach from Harvey to the source of electricity. Doug had to go to the office and explain our problem, and the the campground kindly loaned us an extension to reach the electric hookup.
Then we found that our water hose wouldn't reach the water hookup, either. Fortunately, on the advice of some camping friends, we had brought a six-gallon container for water. Doug used that to fill our "potable" water tank.
For those who aren't familiar with that term, "potable" means "drinkable." So why don't they just use the word "drinkable?" To first-time campers like us, "potable" sounds like something related to "potty."
After Doug filled our potable water tank, we saw water running out of it. Our first reaction was more frustration over what we perceived as a leak. After awhile, though, the "leak" stopped; and we realized that we had just overfilled the tank. What we at first thought was a leak was just the excess water draining from the overflow.
We used the campground showers on that first night out and didn't find that much to our liking. Bedtime preparations were a little rough on that first night, too. But we got through it and found that we were gaining some camping confidence through the experience.
Our first night of camping on our way to Alaska, 2007
Those blocks under the tires are leveling blocks. Leveling Harvey every night became the bane of Doug's existence for the weeks of our vacation. We had been advised of the importance of leveling, with warnings that the refrigerator could cease to work properly if we didn't level the RV when we camped. Doug tends to be a perfectionist, and he wanted that bubble on the level to be smack in the middle. It was always a challenge, no matter how level the camping site looked when we arrived.
The Alaska trip included many challenges, but there were some great experiences, too. More to come.