After months of preparation our little RV finally reached a state of
readiness. I found our RV on Craiglist around Christmas 2016 and went
to check it out in a frozen barnyard. Judging from the surroundings
and the expired registration from 2014, she had been sitting for
several years. Justine and I spent a couple nights a week and parts of
each weekend removing and replacing most of the surfaces. We removed
the pink shag carpet and replaced it with vinyl. Justine did the bulk
of the detail work, recovering all of the cushions and sewing new
curtains. I cleaned and revamped all of the mechanicals and got all of
the original systems in good working order. We also dropped almost
$2000 on mechanical work to make her road worthy.
All of the work was made worthwhile when we pulled out of our drive
with the girls strapped into their car seats and headed down the road
for the Salamonie Reservoir. We chose a state forest about 45 miles
south of our home for a shakedown cruise, a token two-nighter to see
what we had overlooked. The RV cruises at a meek 60 mph, but when
you’re driving a small apartment…that feels really fast. It almost
feels too fast when it gets windy, but then again my daily commuter is
a Honda Fit.
The Salamonie State forest is a delightful gem south of Fort Wayne,
outside the town of Huntington. The park features great hardwood
forests surrounded by picturesque farm land, all of which is nestled
up to the banks of one of Indiana’s largest bodies of water. I’ve
spent quite a bit of time in the state forest on the 18+ miles of
decent single-track mountain bike trails.
The purpose of our weekend trip was to continue our quest to “Chase
the Wind” and explore regional kiteboarding opportunities. We also
needed to test out the camper in a low stress, close to home setting.
We were partly successful. Kiteboarding wise, the trip was a bust. A
solid bout of storms in the previous week left lake levels 20+ feet
above normal water levels and flooded all the beaches and launch sites
that I had been scouting for the past month. Camping wise, the trip
was wildly successful. Our little RV performed excellent. All the
systems functioned properly, besides a sporadically flickering “Check
Engine” light that kept my attention while driving.
Besides the lack of kiteboarding options, our little Happy Clan had a fantastic time. The girls loved the unstructured play time at camp andin nature. A big part of my graduate research revolves around the effect of nature on behavior and it was evident that my daughter’s imaginations were running at full speed the whole weekend. They were
chasing bugs, playing in the mud, observing a variety of creatures,
and in general acting as kids should be acting…like kids. We figured
out some key things to change for our next trip up to Ludington State
Park (Michigan) and got comfortable as a family in small spaces.
Stay tuned for more adventures and (hopefully) kiteboarding as our
Happy Clan continues to “Chase the Wind”…