Stabilizers are for stabilizing

I forgot to mention on our last trip, just before take off to go home, our main door was stuck. I couldn’t open it at all, and the girls were inside. I think the trailer shifted earlier from all the wind (a tornado came later that day). I tried to push the trailer and the chocks I had under the stabilizers slipped from under them, causing the biggest boom ever! No one was hurt and the trailer was fine, except the stabilizers.

This is kind of funny, ironically before the trip I saw a video on mistakes people make while setting up. This was one of them. I thought I understood, but this still happened. The saying was stabilizers are for stabilizing, not jacking up the trailer. I didn’t try to jack up the trailer, I was just leveling it. (But it did the same thing to get it level)

Anyway, this post will go in both categories, my thoughts, and glamping (for the tip on what NOT to do).

How often do we know what to do, but use things to do functions it was not purposed for? Like using a waffle maker to make grill cheese sandwiches, or use a knife instead of a screwdriver… etc. Sometimes its a good idea, but you do have to understand that what we are doing is going against the purpose of it, which lessens the integrity of the product.

Our bodies and our minds were created to do great things, but when we abuse them or lessen the integrity of the purpose, we don’t function to full capacity. Have you ever felt the calling to do something and you ignored it to do something else? Most of the time, like with products (like stabilizers) we can get by with what we have, but it is only for a season. Things last longer when they are doing what they were intended to do.

Something to keep in mind when tempted to go the easy route.

Post post:

This was preinstalled on our trailer:

Our next ones will be a little more sturdy, I was looking at:

Open to any suggestions!

Spending time during this time

Having time to spend time doing things my kids and I both enjoy!

I often would tell the kids how much I liked to draw on clothes, and sketch all the time when I was younger, but I never really showed them. With all this down time, I decided to show my sons and daughter that I really did do these things. My daughter loves to paint, and I wanted to sit down with her and do some things that we have in common. She got to pick colors and even suggest what to draw. We spent time preparing for this time at Hobby Lobby, researching ideas, painting together, and even creating an Etsy store that she may even get paid to do some of the things she loves by others who would value her work! The same goes for all of my kids, biological, spiritual, and students under my care!

As you might can tell, we both love animal crossing and star wars!

https://www.etsy.com/shop/BanksAcrossAmerica

Nashville Trip

Nashville Shores

Trip to Nashville

This trip was extreme on both ends of the spectrum. It was the worst and the best trip so far all wrapped into one awesome learning experience. Here’s how this trip went:

Day One:

The trip started off great due to some of the last trip learned experiences from Stone Mountain Park.

We were to go to Rome, GA, –> Then onto Nashville by nightfall, and find a place to park the camper for the night. (Preferably at someone’s house and plug up for a couple of days) And then back to the ranch.

But here’s what really happened.

We get to Rome at nightfall. Visit family we haven’t seen in 20+ years, and since we were so unprepared for going here and there and everywhere in Rome, I’m driving around side streets in a big truck and a 32foot trailer. (No parking for the gentle giant.) I’m agitated because we are about 6 hours behind schedule. So I’m not one for many words when you might say, “Do you think we have time to go to one more stop?” Not happy.

Time, Darkness, Gas, and Not knowing exactly where you are going is not your friend when you are traveling. Determined to get to Nashville, I press on getting there around midnight.

Lesson 1: You cannot park just anywhere. Last trip I learned that not all gas stations had diesel. This go round, I learned that not all fast food is RV / Trailer friendly. Hungry and behind schedule we had to find a place to eat and gas up. Another lesson learned: Make it easy for yourself, just go to one of the big truck stops with food choices built in.

Back on the road, we finally get to Nashville. Side note: since it was dark, I have no idea how steep the mountains were. I may not even kept going if I could see the obstacles ahead. Thanks Darkness! Anyway, We hit Nashville around midnight, and hearing about parking overnight at Walmart, I decide we are going to try “Boon-docking”.

This may have been a good idea in a different time period, but tonight, we feast on experiences that we will never forget.

Lesson 2: Not all RV friendly places allow overnight parking. Nope. Not even Walmart. I know right? We went to 3 different Walmarts looking for a safe place to park. Ok. 3rd time’s the charm. Found a spot with truckers lined up. Now its 1am and I’m ready to put this day behind me. But…

Lesson 3: Do not boon-dock without a generator / external power source. It’s again just like Stone Mountain, 28 degrees. We’re like yay! finally we can get some rest. Nope. Trailer battery doesn’t last and the fireplace inside isn’t cutting the cold. So. Back in the truck we go. at least the heated seats and the heat in the little confined space will keep us from freezing to death. Not a good night’s sleep. Every 30-45 mins had to crank up to knock off some of the cold. I was not Mr. Popular.

Day Two:

We survive the night, gas up, and find that Cracker Barrels are usually RV friendly! I have a place to park! Starting off on a new adventure, in a new place, clean slate. Let’s have a good time. No. Not yet. We have to visit family, maneuver little streets, find a place to park, and I need a shower. (Even though I have been towing 2 of them for the last 24 hours) Finding that there will be no where for me to park this thing, we quickly decide that a campsite with full hook ups will have to be our next move. Best. Idea. Ever.

Lesson 4: Reserve a campsite before your trip. Go there first. Unhook. Drive around and see the sites. We ended up going to Nashville Shores, One of the only few places that would take us without a reservation, and was open this time of year. It was the off season for them, so there were only 2 other families there. Awesome. Full Campsite Amenities, all to ourselves. Shout out to Misty for helping us get checked in and giving us the run down on the place!

Trailer Free at Nashville Shores

When we dropped the trailer, we dropped a lot of restrictions on driving, parking, where we could fit in, all sorts of things. I could swear also that it gave a sigh of relief too. Full hook ups mean heat, hot water, a place to cook, RELAXATION. at last. The best sleep ever. Too bad, we go home tomorrow.

Day 3. Homebound. The only lesson learned was this, well I’ll put it like the others.

Lesson 5: Plan your route. Consider your timing. The only hiccup we had coming home was hitting Atlanta traffic at 6:30 pm. Atlanta is my hometown so I knew what it would be like, but I didn’t know it would take 1 hour and a half to just pass through, but I wasn’t surprised. It was also raining. Other than that. Best day yet!

cock of the walk

Have any pointers for us? Leave a comment below!

First Trip: Stone Mountain

First Road Trip!

So, you have a new trailer, what do you do? Plan a trip! So we all decide that our first trip will be Stone Mountain Campground. Great!

*** Disclaimer: We had an absolute great time. Great Memories were made. I LEARNED A LOT. ***

Day One: First time driving.

3 hour trip took about 7 hours. Here are a few things I learned:

  • People do not care too much for a person driving with 10,000 plus pounds behind them. Nope.
  • NOT ALL GAS STATIONS HAVE DIESEL. What???
  • It is not simple to find a spot to turn around with a 32 foot trailer, and an inexperienced driver. (it took me about 45 minutes to get turned around, and find a gas station that carries diesel. hint: follow the big trucks)
  • Know where you’re going if possible. Shifting lanes in stop and go traffic will be bad on your nerves for sure.
  • Bring Snacks!
  • If you have a spotter, have them understand that the truck and trailer is NOT a car, you have little turn ratio and you definitely need a lot of room if you’re not use to backing a trailer.
  • Check the weather before your trip
  • Last thing, four pieces of free firewood does not build a good campfire.

First day consisted of us getting there, and as soon as I dropped the trailer, we’re off to Walmart! This is a 3 day trip, first day was spent driving, and now we buy a lot of food that we don’t need. Thanks hungry stomach, Walmart wins big this time.

Day 2

We spend in training, so the day is gone and the kids stay behind and play games all day. After we get back from our training, we comeback to guests, and the kids are hungry. When I say kids, notice in the picture that these are giant 20 something babies. They waited for me get back before they would eat. (Mainly because I need to cook first)

We try to our hand at creating a bon fire with four or five pieces of wood. Dad’s, take my word for it, I don’t recommended when you build a fire in 30 degree weather, and expect your family to sit with you as you do it. Especially when they set the trailer to 72 inside. What you can expect while you freeze is “is it ready yet? I don’t see fire yet!”

But you are making memories.

Day 3

Family fun in the park, and we pack it up to leave.

It took me a while, but we made it home in only 4.5 hours this time.

TIPS for next trip:

  • Use RV Apps on Phone
  • Find nice truck stops
  • Make sure you have enough hoses and that they are long enough
  • Try to map out your trip BEFORE you leave!

Here is a link to Stone Mountain’s Campground. It was a great experience!

Back Story: How did we get into #campinglife?

Jacksonville Beach

Here is my (Jeff’s) version on why we decided to buy a truck and trailer, and start traveling.

I caught the flu. I was sick and couldn’t move. God had my full attention. With me down for a week, I noticed some things. The business functioned without me. The family still ate without me cooking every meal. Facebook and Instagram did not miss me at all. (not many people knew I was sick.)

Things I thought were “must do’s” were not so important anymore. What was important was… my family, my prayer life, my attitude, and how I treat others.

What came out of this was the need to be with family, and the need to see outside my little town. So, I looked into the RV World, and what a big world it is! Coaches, trailers, fifth wheels, toy haulers… what the heck? I got a little truck… what can I do with this?

Nothing. I found a great deal on a travel trailer, but I have to buy a truck to pull it. What do I do? Yep, I have to go buy a truck too. Last thing, who is going to drive this monster with a 32 foot tail? Yep. I guess it will be me…

Let’s Go!

*Big shout out to @TravelCamp in Savannah GA, helping us get started!

New to the camping world…

Trailer Setup
Just bought the truck and trailer! Let’s Go!

So this just happened… One day we say, “Let travel and explore”, and then a few days later we have a new truck and a new trailer, but get this, NO EXPERIENCE. Never had a diesel truck. Never driven with a 32 foot trailer. Never even been camping in this fashion. Total Newbies to the whole camping game…

But I’m truly stoked. Ready to experience it. As soon as we got home, we got the kids together, and planned the first trip. Can’t wait to blog this adventure!

First trip is in a few days!