Wednesday, January 7, 2015

It Isn't All Peaches and Cream Part 2

We left the last article with our service call finished and our Roadtrek ready for its first really, real trip of the season. The plan was for what should be our annual trip to Maryland during the last weekend in April for the Fort Frederick Market Fair - an 18th Century market fair of the best sutlers (suppliers) of 18th Century reproductions for reenactors. I have written about this fair on this site before and you can find my article just about it on the Places To Visit page of this site. Anyway - before April I had been in a search for a campground to stay at. We will never go back to Jellystone Campground in Hagerstown again - see those articles on the Campgrounds page. Reports about the KOA that is in that area have very mixed reviews and there are too many comments about an entrance road that runs too close to the edge of a river - and since we come back late at night each day, that is something that I don't want to find out really is a problem when we get there.

Over the years this event has had very scattered weather - it can be freezing, it can be very hot, and it often rains a little on one of the days. For those hot nights - and there have been enough of those to be prepared - the A/C is essential and for that we want to be able to plug in to shore power. And aside from that the local Walmart is in an area that does not permit overnighting in their parking lot. There is RV parking at the event site which is a state park but for this event that parking requires driving through the actual event grounds which means coming in and going out at specific times of the day - which would not work for us at all. So I was on a quest - looking in every direction for a campground. In some areas finding campgrounds - at least campgrounds that are without problems - is not always easy. I finally came down to a small, privately owned campground in Winchester, West Virginia. The event we were going to is in Big Pool, Maryland which is on the Pennsylvania border on the western central side of the state. Winchester, West Virginia is not anywhere near there but with the right route it is a little over an hour away. While not ideal, that is tolerable. I looked closely at the campground rules and there was something that looked like they could be a problem - the time needed to come in to the campground (not after a certain hour) without a $50 fee. I contacted the owner and that was not a problem as long as we had a reservation as this was only for late arrivals without a reservation. Fine. I had a campground that was a strong possibility despite its location.

Now is when the weather - which has been a thorn all this past year - comes in for the first time of this season. Weather reports for Big Pool were dismal. Heavy rain storms were expected all throughout the event. While I have learned that long term weather forecasts are not to be relied on, I did not make reservations at the campground (because of the time of year they would not be a problem getting the day before needed) and I continued to watch the reports as the event got closer and closer. And the weather forecasts did not improve. This is an all outdoor event in large open grass and dirt fields. There is no cover from the rain other than under the canvas of the sutler's tents. You are walking through the mud or on whatever wood could be put down to prevent those attending from sliding into ditches and holes in the ground. For one day - OK. After a rain - OK. Not for the entire event. And it came down to when we would leave and it was decided that it would be better not to go. It turned out to be a good decision, as a friend who combines his trip to this event with a visit to his kids in Maryland did go and said that the rain was so bad that not only did the site flood but some sutlers were washed out. There was one day of fair weather in the  mud.

OK, it isn't all peaches and cream! Would it have matter if we were staying in a hotel? - not this time.


Memorial Day weekend was the next possible trip. We have local reenactments that we are involved with in May so travel is out. We had not planned on Memorial Day away for 2014 but now with the urge to get away, it was looking better and better. The problem is this is one of the BIG campground weekends of the year - and holiday weekends at campgrounds require non-refundable deposits and defined days to stay. For example - want to go Thursday, Friday, and Saturday - that is not possible. You have to be there Friday, Saturday, and Sunday or at least pay for those days. Some campgrounds will let you cancel and get your deposit or part of your deposit back if you inform them within a certain number of days of your intended stay - but that was past at this point. I called around to see if we could get someone's cancelled reservation - nothing. If you don't make a reservation as soon as reservations open for a holiday weekend - usually a full year in advance - don't plan on going.  No Memorial Day weekend in the Roadtrek.

I have come to think in terms of holiday weekends don't have to take place on the days everyone else says is a holiday weekend. As long as we can get away and Meryl can rearrange her work schedule, we can go just about any week before or after the holiday.  So, just because Memorial Day was last week we could go another week. Other than one weekend in June that we had a reenacting event, we were open - that is if the weather was cooperating. And it wasn't. Rain and storms weekend after weekend, mid-week after mid-week. When you are going to places where what you want to see and do is outside, the weather (at least to us) matters. So the Roadtrek sat on the driveway waiting.

We did get away for the First real trip in June. And that story has already been written and you can read that here - or perhaps re-read it if you read it in June. 

And by the way - the Roadtrek outside storage compartment support arm that I mention in that article - well, I thought that I had fixed it by a slight bend to the section of the top part of the arm that interlocks with the lower section of the arm to keep the arm from falling, but that fix was short lived. When it feel on Meryl again,  Meryl came up with the idea of a large office spring clip used to clamp the two sections of the arm together stopping them from slipping apart. So far that seems to be working. This arm is riveted together and to the body of the cabinet. There are no screws to tighten and no way to replace this without drilling it out. I guess it would have been too simple to screw the support arm brackets in originally so that the arm could be removed if needed. Nothing is that simple. Well - it isn't all peaches and cream!

End of Part 2
Part 3 Next...

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