Our First Mini Trip with the Roadrunner
This weekend we took our 1972 Roadrunner out for a test run. It was full of firsts. The first time I ever slept in a trailer. Our 18 month old’s first camping trip. The family puppy’s first (and last) camping trip. The first time my husband pulled a trailer behind our suv. The first time our whole six-person-plus-dog family slept in the same 17-foot space. It was full of goodness, and memories, it was also full of lessons and a few realities.
The camper itself is in great shape, everything works and it doesn’t smell like the ‘70s. It could use some fresh paint and a few upgrades but overall it runs like a champ. This weekend was cold but not that cold. It was in the 50s during the day but got down into the 20s at night. We camped at a local reservoir that was practically empty. We rolled in and played on the beach for hours, played flash light tag in the dark and settled in for some evening down time. I’m not a fan of technology while camping but winter camping with kids is a different ball game. It gets dark and cold early and the camper is only so big to fit everyone’s big personalities and energy. We also had an over tired toddler who did not understand why he was sleeping in the woods or why he had to share a mattress with his parents.
Things we learned…
There is always something to buy, fix or look into. Its been 46 years since this trailer had heat, electricity and plumbing installed.
A 46 year old propane heater can work, works great and will over heat a small trailer.
Winter camping is not the same as summer camping. The evenings are cold and dark. The campfire is great but the thrill only lasts so long for kids and 7:30pm feels like 11:30pm.
Bring games, don’t fear technology and know that its okay to give up and go to bed early. We let the older kids settle in to some Kindle Time before bed just to extend the last chunk of evening.
Toddler’s first camping experience may not be all roses. Our little guy was a champ…until it came time to sleep. He’s a robust baby who likes his sleep and his space. He was not keen on sharing a queen size bed with his parents. The best solution was to make a nest at the bottom of our bed where he could tornado around without sticking his chubby little feet in my face.
Winter camping means no running water. Luckily we brought a few big jugs of water but without camp site water things like cleaning dishes become a bit more cumbersome.
Storage is key to efficient camping. We discovered that our old system of camping bins stored in the garage no longer work for our trailer. With internal drawers and cabinets we have the ability to store everything inside the trailer but need to be able to move it outside for easy cleaning.
Dogs hear everything. Our dog is a barker and he heard every coyote, deer, bunny, owl and fellow camper walking by. Our sweet little puppy will not be invited back anytime soon, though we do love him dearly.
Driving with a trailer is slow. Its kind of like walking in the wind with an umbrella. Our gas mileage tanked and we became that slow moving object in the right lane that everyone passes and rolls their eyes at.
Backing up a trailer will test the best of marriages. To be honest we haven’t found our lingo yet as to how best to back it up. Our hand signals didn’t seem to match and the confused look on my husband’s face clearly meant he was better off getting out and looking for himself. Better luck next time.
Cooking inside the camper is awesome but not as fun. It was great to have a working stove top and oven since it was cold outside. But it meant I was inside cooking and the rest were outside by the campfire. Summertime we will still be bringing our trusty old camp stove with us for some outdoor cooking.
Lastly I don’t think I can put a price on camping. My kids truly had a blast and always seem to come closer together each camping trip. With a blended family we are always searching for ways to create the sense of family. Nothing quite says love more than sleeping in a vintage trailer with the dog barking and your baby brother crying and still some how leaving the campsite reveling in the time you get to come back and do it again.