After months of planning, researching, test driving, dreaming and more, we FINALLY got a chance to take our new Coachmen Apex Nano bhs193 camper on its maiden overnight voyage.
To keep things as simple as possible (considering this was our first time ever doing this), we chose a state park close to home, and close to civilization. Luckily, Paris Mountain State Park in our hometown of Greenville, SC, fit the bill.
We selected site #36 – which had a slight grade to it, but was mostly flat — good for our first time trying to get the camper level. But before we jump into how much fun we had camping, we should back up and share what we learned before we ever rolled into the campsite.
Picture us: car loaded up with supplies, kids amped up for their very first camper camping trip, mom and dad giddy to see months of hard work pay off. We arrive at the storage site to hitch up the trailer and be on our way. We successfully back the car up to the trailer hitch and start the hitching-up process.
After a while, though, it was evident the tongue jack was not working. No matter which way we turned the handle, the jack wouldn’t move up or down. So what now? We were stuck. We contemplated just throwing in the towel and going home.
Enter Good Samaritan #1.
Upon seeing our distressed faces, a kind gentleman walked over and offered to help us. He took one look at our situation and determined that the tongue jack was stripped and would need to be replaced. He promptly returned from his truck with a manual hydraulic jack and jacked up the car enough that it could be successfully hitched to the trailer. He even offered to let us borrow his hydraulic jack for the weekend so we wouldn’t have to cancel our trip. (What a saint! There ARE still good people in the world).
With the trailer safely secured, we made a beeline for the RV dealership where we purchased the camper (only three weeks ago, might we add). They quickly replaced the tongue jack for us at no charge and we were on our way.
After that minor setback, we were on our way to the campsite. We arrived to our spot and it took us a more than a few times to maneuver backing into the parking pad (I’m sure we gave our camping neighbors quite the giggle – one day backing this trailer into its spot won’t be so difficult. Right???).
We set up camp for the night, and had such a wonderful time. The campfire, the hamburgers on the grill, the s’mores, the music, and our very nice camping neighbors, all made for a wonderful first time travel trailer outing.
And even though it started raining overnight, we were nice and toasty in our little trailer. We even had a brief snow shower to greet us when we awoke the next morning.
We were quite pleased with ourselves when we packed everything up and headed home the next day. Until we got BACK to our storage site and had trouble unhitching the dang thing from the car.
Enter Good Samaritan #2.
We couldn’t get the trailer off of the ball hitch on the car. It just kept going up and down. Cold and tired, we weren’t sure what we were doing wrong. Another kindly gentleman and his wife were returning from their own RV weekend travels. He came over and showed us how we just weren’t raising the jack up enough to detach from the car. We turned the handle a bit more and sure enough, it came right off.
All in all, for our very first travel trailer camping trip – having NEVER done anything like this before in our lives – we considered it a very fun success. We were so encouraged by all of the nice, helpful people we met along the way – and we promised we would do the same (once we were confident enough to dispense some correct advice, of course!).
We’ve got another overnight trip in the books in two weeks, so who knows what we will learn on that trip? We’ll make sure to share with you.
But for now, we’re off to the store to buy ourselves our own manual hydraulic jack – because you just never know when you’re going to need to share one with someone else!
Part of the fun of owning your own travel trailer is decorating it to feel like your “home away from home!”