Winterizing, oh the joys!

Being a new travel trailer owner, I consulted the experts on winterizing – Google and YouTube. I thought it would be pretty complicated, but it is not bad.

Here is the process I followed the first few times:

  • I disconnected the city water hose from the trailer.
  • I then opened the drains for the hot and cold pipes. On my trailer, it is just under the city water hookup.
  • Then I used a special fitting that attaches to the city water connection. This will connect an air hose to the city water connection.
  • I connect my small air compressor to the fitting, dial it down to 35 psi, then turn it on.
  • I close the hot and cold pipe drains.
  • After waiting for my air compressor to catch up, I go inside and open each faucet one at a time. Air and water shoots out. Once it is just air, I close the faucet, and move on to the next one.
  • Hot water heater. We turn the water heater off the night before, to let it cool down a bit. Turn the air compressor off. (see story below) relieve pressure in the heater by opening the pressure relief valve. Then remove the anode at the bottom of the water heater. This will take time to drain, I leave the anode just below where I removed it, and close everything up……time for a story. The water heater needs to be drained. The first time I did this, I left the air compressor connected and running – building pressure in the system. When I removed the plug/anode, water shot out 6-8 feet after it shot me right in the chest!
  • Time to work on the drains. We use the pink RV antifreeze and pour a couple cups into each drain. The measurement is very important. Usually I upend the gallon jug and wait for two glugs. B-)
  • That is all we do. If we lived in colder climates, we would pump antifreeze into the water pipes.

This is the process we did the first few times. After looking at the temperature in St. George where we store HOWE we stopped blowing out the lines with air. We just open the drain lines and open the faucets. This might catch us someday – who knows. Most people do this once a year in the fall but since we are using it almost every weekend, we do it almost every weekend. B-)

South for the Winter

6th Trip- Day 18-27, Oct 16-25,2020 Fillmore KOA, St George/Leeds KOA, Southern Utah RV Resort PART 1 🙂

This trip started out as a baseball-watching trip. Our high school friend is a fantastic baseball player and we like to go to his games. He was to have a tournament with college scouts watching on Oct 15-18 in St George. Kevin and I decided we would go and watch and camp in our trailer. Well, why not stay longer while we are there! (This is common for us. HAHA) Let’s make it a week, with Kevin working during the days, and then add the two weekends. We found a campground that looked neat but they only had openings from Sunday to Sunday. So Kevin booked that and then we booked a KOA near Leeds. Then, the baseball games got canceled, due to Covid, but we didn’t hesitate, we are still going. 🙂 Since we didn’t need to rush to a ball game, I suggested we go 1/2 way on Friday night. That way we wouldn’t be setting up in the dark. Kevin liked that idea and made the changes.

Friday we left after Kevin got off work (both always antsy to get going with excitement!). We had a great drive to Fillmore KOA. We thought there would be more traffic, this being Fall Break, but we were just a head of it. The campground at Fillmore is really great. It is a Journey with beautiful grass at each site, water, electricity and a dump. We didn’t use the dump, being there just one night. Our site was at the back and opened up to open range. In our walk-about, we saw a lot of ATVs. Talked to one guy and he said it is a popular place for them up in the mountains. We didn’t have a fire that night but just relaxed. I had made Tortellini Salad and homemade Banana Bread for dinner. It was perfect.

Beautiful “backyard” and surrounding area. Fillmore, UT KOA.

Saturday, after relaxing and breakfast of homemade (at home) Blueberry Muffins, we headed out. On the way, we stopped at The Creamery in Beaver. We had stopped before. We ate cheese curds and grilled cheese/patty melt. Then we walked around the store a little bit and bought some Salsa Cheese Curds. Next was famous ice cream. We ate it outside. Everyone wore masks. As we were walking to the truck to leave, I got a horrible feeling in my stomach. Had to take some time in their bathroom. As I got in the truck, Kevin had the same feeling and took some time in their bathroom. We didn’t feel well for about an hour afterwards, although we continued on our way. I think it must have been all the rich cheese…and it is so good we ate it fast. Thankfully, we felt better later. Oh, right as we left, I felt I needed the bathroom again. Kevin pulled into a parking lot and opened the door of the trailer for me. I ended up not needing it but there is something to say about having your bathroom with you. HA

We checked in at St George/Leeds KOA (Hurricane address). It is our least favorite campground, so far. Very clean but the spaces are too close together. One spot we saw two slides literally inches apart from each other. We would stay there if we have to, but not really planning on it.

Too close to the neighbors! KOA Leeds, UT.

After setting up, we decided to take a drive. We drove through Hurricane (much much bigger than I thought!), on through Springdale, and ended up at ZION NATIONAL PARK! Now, last week I had researched and saw that you get tickets ahead of time for the shuttles. They are every hour throughout the day. They are $1.00. I clicked on it and found out that every hour, for all 10 days we are down here, were sold out! (Places like this have been extremely busy due to Covid and add to that, Fall Break. No worries, we had been here before. We went to the Visitor’s Center and Kevin got his National Park Passport stamped. Success!

Kevin getting his National Park Passport stamped. Zion National Park, UT.

He bought a huge mug and we got Zion masks. Then we drove the “tunnel road”and my gosh, the scenery was stunning. It was “golden hour” about 5:30pm and the setting sun made the rocks, mountains, trees, everything just glow with beauty. We went out the other side of the tunnel a ways and then turned back around. As we entered the 1.1 mile long tunnel, I was curious about the inside. It was built around 1930 and I wondered if the ceiling was curved or flat. So I took a picture…

Entering Mt. Carmel Tunnel at Zion National Park, 1.1 miles
Literal picture of INSIDE the tunnel! I still don’t know if the ceiling is curved or flat! 🙂

ZION NATIONAL PARK

Stunning landscape at Zion National Park, Utah.
The different layers of rock, sandstone, and trees.
Zion National Park, Utah
Zion National Park, Utah

We scored on our little “let’s go for a drive” big time! When we got back to the campground there was a trailer right next to us and so close we didn’t even feel like sitting outside. No worries, we were ready for bed.

Stay tuned for more about this great trip.

Don’t want to stop!

Kevin and I are get such enjoyment out of our traveling and camping. We don’t want it to stop.

We live in the mountains and Autumn, Winter, and Spring can be cold and snowy. Most of the mountain camping around us is closed for most of this time. Besides, I don’t want to camp in the snow and cold. We were so sad to have to put our travel trailer “away”, packed up for the cold. Then I got to thinking about an area 4 hours south of our home that doesn’t get too cold, hardly get snow, and is beautiful to see. Wouldn’t it be nice to have our travel trailer down there, I thought. How about we get a storage spot, keep the trailer there, and pull it out whenever we want to camp when it is too cold around here. But then I remembered how we heard of so many people who wouldn’t get a trailer because the price to store it was hundreds of dollars a month. So I didn’t say anything about my idea to Kevin. One day I got curious and decided to google search storage spaces in that area. I found one for $50 a month. Wow, a lot less than I thought. I told Kevin my idea and the cost and he said he really liked the idea. He was surprised at the low price, as well. Kevin then does some research for good storage places and would you believe…not one space available in the whole entire area there! Ugh, we were disappointed. Oh well, guess we will have to close it up for the cold months. 😦 The storage place that we wanted the most had a way to get on a wait list. So Kevin did but we didn’t hold out much hope. 5 days later, he got the call that a space was available and we could get it. It turns out the price is $37.00 a month! Wahooo!

When our next camping trip is done, we will leave the trailer at our new storage spot.

Short people problem!

5th trip – Day 14-17, Oct 2020, Brigham City/Perry KOA, Utah

My parents have been wanting to camp with us so I decided to set up this camping trip to include them.

Autumn leaf on campsite table.

Kevin and I stayed in our travel trailer and Mom & Dad rented a deluxe cabin there at KOA. There are smaller Kamping Kabins, but this one had a bathroom inside. We went up Thursday evening. Kevin and I have been to this campground at least three other times over the past years. We like it and remember wagon rides and ice cream socials. Well, those aren’t happening right now due to Covid. Mom & Dad’s cabin has a small stove and a fridge. She made her Baked Beans and brought them for Thursday night supper. I made corn muffins at home and brought them for this meal. We ate outside their cabin.

Charla’s parents & Kevin enjoying a fire.

Friday I played games with Mom & Dad. Friday evening Ben came up and stayed in the cabin. Meals were at our campsite table. We sat around our fire pit that evening.

Camping Brigham City/Perry KOA, UT Oct 8-11, 2020

Saturday we got in Mom & Dad’s van and Kevin drove us to Bear Lake. The idea was to see the Autumn leaves in Logan Canyon. They didn’t disappoint! So beautiful and all colors. While driving up there, I got a text from a friend. She and her husband were camping at Bear Lake but heading down the canyon while we were going up to have lunch with granddaughter at USU. For fun, we found their trailer, took a pic and sent it to them saying “No one is home.” They got a great kick out of it.  We didn’t drive too far around the lake. Drove back to Logan and had a picnic lunch of sandwiches that Mom and Kevin made that morning. We ate at a park just below USU main building. It was a lovely day.

Beautiful Logan Canyon

Traveler’s Quilt Book stop was at “Village Dry Goods” in Brigham City. I bought some fabric that is gray and white that says things like “sewing is my happy place.” The ladies tried to sign “thank you” but ended up signing “never” and I so appreciated their attempt.

Fabric store!

Dad wanted to stop at Smith’s & Edwards. It is the huge store mentioned in a previous post. Back to camp for naps. That evening Kevin made his now famous Smashburgers.

Who is ready for smashburgers? Me!

Mom got excited and told me she wants to buy a camper van.

“Kids” Terry & Barbara Kester, on their phones.

One day I went to use our bathroom in our trailer. “Someone” put the toilet paper on the top of the highest shelf in the bathroom. I can’t reach it! 🙂 THAT is a short person problem. Actually, it was a tall, husband problem because he got in trouble. HAHA What did I do? As soon as I was home, I bought a toilet paper stand for the bathroom. Problem solved 🙂

Someone is in trouble for placing the toilet paper on the highest shelf in the bathroom!

Sunday we had a nice relaxing and lazy morning. Then we all headed home.

Dry-camping Delight

4th trip, Day 11-13, Oct 2-4, 2020 North Fork Campground, Eden, UT

This was a fun camping trip. We went with my cousin, Duane and his wife (and my wonderful friend) Jennette. We followed the GPS, which rightly took us to North Ogden, over North Ogden Canyon Rd. and over the North Ogden Divide. The divide is 6 miles long and goes from 4501 ft to 6190 ft and then down to 5167 ft above sea level. It is a narrow but paved road that is steep. Our truck and trailer handled it with no problems at all. It was a gorgeous drive. We had a hard time finding the actual campsite and turned around on the Eden road (to very fancy houses!) two times. We laughed and said we were “practicing” backing up and turning around in the middle of the street. 🙂 We ended up calling Jennette and Duane to get directions to the specific campsite.  They had gone up the night before. Incidentally, when we left, we went out an entirely different and much easier way. Ha

Beautiful double site. North Fork Park Campground, Oct 2-4, 2020

We got settled in quickly in our nice double campsite. Totally dry camping and that is fine because we have batteries, water, and sewer all onboard. Jennette made chicken wrapped bacon, red potatoes, and chocolate cake all in Dutch Oven.  So nice to arrive and dinner was cooking. It was delcious! We enjoyed a nice campfire that evening.

Outside view from inside our trailer. Stunning autumn colors!

Saturday morning Kevin made breakfast for everyone. He used the Blackstone Griddle and made hash browns, bacon, and eggs. Delicious! Everyone had seconds.

Can you believe the stunning colors behind Kevin?!!!

Kevin and I then went on a hike. There are lots of trails around there used for walking, bike and horses. The colors of the changing leaves were very pretty. There is a ribbon of granite running along the mountain with bits of Evergreens and trees with autumn leaves. It was beauty to behold.  We walked about two hours. Kevin said it was extremely quiet and with no wind, silent.

On our walk, beauty to behold!

Back at camp, Duane was whittling wood figures and Jennette was working on crocheting.

Duane & Jennete

Lunch was on our own; Kevin and I had sandwiches and fixings. After lunch, Jennette and I worked on her puzzle. In the afternoon, their daughter, Susanna, and husband Nick, came up. They are a fun couple and we enjoyed visiting with them. She knows some ASL so that was super nice.

Susanna & Jennette working on a puzzle.
Susanna & Charla having a good laugh while working on a puzzle.

For supper, Kevin made everyone Smashburgers. Delicious! It was a hit. Campfire and S’mores that evening.

Sunday was lazying around. Took our time getting packed up since check out was at noon. The drive home was really nice. Duane and Jennette said they want to camp with us again. That is a good sign! HAHA

Jennette is an amazing quilter and embroiderer. Her business name is The Masked Embroiderer and you can find her on Etsy at: themaskedembroiderer and on Facebook. She makes the cutest masks, towels, yard flags, etc. Check it out.

Do we have gas?

Catchy title, huh? It is not what you think! Propane keeps your RV warm, gives you hot water, stove and oven, and in some cases your refrigerator. It is a big challenge in winter is to make sure you have enough propane. You need it to keep yourself warm, but also to keep the pipes from freezing and breaking. We have had several different friends that woke up cold in the middle of the night! It is pretty hard to find a place that refills propane at 3 AM!

I have been afraid of this, so erred on the side of caution, and filled my tanks frequently. I knew there had to be a better way. There are guages that you can attach to your tank, but reviews were terrible! They were not accurate at all, and left several people with that 3 AM cold feeling……

There are also stickers that you can put on the side of the propane tank, but they only work well when the temperature is just right. Also, we have a plastic tank cover that would make reading these stickers pretty hard.

After digging around some more I found a better solution. It is the LP Tank Check with monitor. It has sensors that fit by magnet on the bottom of the tanks. Then there is a monitor that you can mount near your switches inside your RV. The best thing is an app on your phone that you can check the level of your tanks with amazing accuracy. It connects to the monitor or to your phone via bluetooth – so you have to be within 50 feet of your tanks.

Installation went very well. I went to Tractor Supply, and had my tanks filled. Then, before putting them back on HOWE (home on wheels) I turned the tank over, and cleaned the bottom. I put a bit of the dielectric grease on the bottom and stuck the sensor on. It has a strong magnet that holds the sensor on.

The only challenge is with the install of the standoffs, or risers to lift the tanks up for a bit. The sensor is thick enough that the bottom flange of the tank needs to be a little taller. They include aluminum standoffs that increase the height of the tank. They press on, and don’t stay on as well as I would have liked.

Pairing them was so easy that I forgot how it went. There were great instructions, and it was super fast.

screenshot of what it looks like on my iPhone

After installing these devices, I do not have to worry any more if I have gas or not.

Willard Bay State Park

3rd trip – Day 8-10, Sept 25-27 Willard Bay State Park, South Marina, Utah

Willard Bay State Park, South Marina Campground, Sept 25-27, 2020

We found this place from a camping app. A few days prior to going, I looked at reviews and they were awful! People, sometimes full-timers, said it was the worst campground they had ever been to. Some of the reviews were this month. I was a bit wondering. I even checked on availability at a KOA campground in Brigham City in case we needed to leave. 🙂 It wasn’t bad at all. The South Marina is a “parking lot” with grass (dead grass this time of year) behind the trailers with nice picnic tables and fire pits. We picked a site on the end and had lots of lovely trees around. Other tables that didn’t have shade had nice covers. Yes, there were a few mosquitoes but what do you except, you are by a lake. They weren’t bad at all. A few gnats but more in Helper than here (see other post). I know in the summer the bugs can get really bad around the lake.

Willard Bay State Park, South Marina Campground, Sept 25-27, 2020

We got settled into our camp spot and I took a walk-about. I like to see how other people set up their campsites. Next to us was a large motor home with 2 TV’s on the outside. Wow!

We couldn’t see the lake because we are next to a long berm, or dam. But across the bridge and up some stairs and wow, this fresh water lake is huge! There isn’t a beach here on the south side but there is a boat ramp. Several people were fishing. Of course I got my iPhone out and started snapping pictures.

Willard Bay State Park, South Marina Campground, Sept 25-27, 2020

For our evening walk-about we walked along the water on the berm/road. After about 15 minutes we started feeling the mosquitos and goodness, we should have sprayed ourselves. Kevin is sweeter than me and got several bites. I didn’t get bit at all. It was getting dark and we went inside, relaxed, and read. OH boy, we sure sleep great in our trailer! Every night is just like being in our comfy bed at home. The mattress is the same size, a queen, and very comfortable.

Willard Bay State Park, South Marina Campground, Sept 25-27, 2020

The next morning Kevin cooked on the Blackstone Griddle that his brother gave to us. He cooked hash browns, bacon and eggs. Delicious!

Come and get it! Breakfast is ready.

After cleaning up, we drove the truck north to the main marina. Kevin wants to try a kayak and we checked into them. They are cheap to rent. But the wind had picked up and it was a bit cold to be on the water. He will try it another time. We drove through the two campgrounds. Back to those reviews, some said the freeway noise was horrible. Kevin agreed. Something with the noise bouncing off the close mountain made it exceptionally noisy. (I wouldn’t know became I am deaf. 🙂 )We found a spot we would like to stay at on the water’s edge. Next time.

Willard Bay State Park, South Marina, Sept 25-27, 2020

Next we headed south to Lifetime Products Factory Outlet. They make hard plastic chairs, tables, play grounds and sheds. We were interested in a shed so we can move yard tools and things out of the garage. That way we have more room to get around our vehicles, and Kevin has more room in his wood shop. We found one we like and asked about “scratch and dent.” We bought one; the only thing that was damaged is the box. We will need to pick up this week. It is a cute one.

This is the finished shed after we put it together. 🙂

I looked up in my Traveler’s Quilt Book and found a few fabric stores in Ogden, where we were. We went to “My Heritage Fabric” and bought some fabric that had cute quilt saying on it. I will make them for my sewing friends for Christmas. As we were checking out, I saw a lady with an amazing panel: a map of the US and then National Parks around the edges. I have been looking for a good National Park fabric, even online, and everywhere was sold out. And I liked this one better than any others I had seen. After she left, I asked the saleslady for it. She said that lady had bought the last 3 panels. Oh, I was so disappointed. She offered to call her “sister store” and see if they have it. They do! We drove to the other side of town and got it. A darling store, in an old house, called, “Bertha & Beulah’s”. I got great fabric to go with the  panel. Kevin suggested a quilt for the trailer. Oh yeah!

My Heritage Fabrics quilt store.
Bertha & Beulah’s quilt store

On the way to our campsite, we stopped in at Smith & Edwards. It started out as a military surplus store. It still has a lot of military surplus, but has expanded to sporting goods, farm supplies – just about everything. It is a huge store. I mean, ridiculously huge. Kevin bought me a hiking pole.

Back to our campsite. After relaxing, armed with my new hiking pole, we walked along the lake for about a mile. The wind had picked up but it wasn’t really cold. We liked to watch the seagulls and the boats. We tried for find a geocache but it looked like it was in the canal. Nope, not going to do that. Back to the trailer and Kevin made smash burgers on the Blackstone. I had them all mixed and prepped in balls at home so it wasn’t so messy. Oh man, they are delicious! After dinner, Kevin made a fire in the fire pit. No bugs, light wind, perfect relaxation. Let me tell you, the sky gave the most amazing sunset. I kept running up to the lake and over to the trees to take pictures. The sky was breathtaking.  

Willard Bay State Park, South Marina Campground, Sept 25-27, 2020
Willard Bay State Park, South Marina Campground, Sept 25-27, 2020

Sunday morning I heated up the breakfast from yesterday. The temp outside was 47 but we were nice and warm inside. We didn’t even have to turn on our heater at all this trip. It as a great weekend and we want to come back. We will try the north campground by the lake but not in the summer.

As I look back at photos I have taken, I realize I like old posts. 🙂

History of Smith and Edwards

Willard Bay State Park

Just Put That Thing On The Coals.

A fun way to cook while camping is: put it together, set it on hot coals, let it cook, open it, and enjoy. Oh, clean up is easy because you throw it away.

Foil Pack cooked in the fire pit on hot coals

Let me explain. 🙂

A Foil Pack, also called Hobo Dinner, Packet, and several other names, is where you use aluminum foil to wrap up the food and then you place it on hot coals. You can cook all sorts of things this way. Start with 2 large pieces of aluminum foil (I like to double it so food doesn’t burn as easily.) You don’t want your food to stick to the foil so you can spray the foil with cooking spray, add butter, or add oil. Place the food in the center of the foil. Grab the long ends, bring them together and then roll down towards the food. Leave some room for air and steam. With the short ends, crimp and fold over a few times. You place the foil right on hot coals and let it cook. When it is done, use a shovel or tongs to take the pack off the coals. Be careful where you set the Foil Pack because it might melt something plastic. Open carefully, remembering the steam will be very hot. Let cool slightly and then enjoy. Be sure to look online for other tips to use. There are a lot of Foil Pack recipes online as well.

One time I had planned what sounded to be a yummy Foil Pack Breakfast. That morning I woke up and I thought, “ What? Am I crazy? How long will it take to start a fire, get it nice and hot, let it get coals and then be ready to place my Foil Pack on it? Too much time, I am hungry now.” 🙂 So instead, I made it in our trailer on the stove. Just like cooking at home.

Too hungry to wait for coals so I made this on the stove in the trailer. 🙂

Our favorite is Foil Pack Taco Burger & Potato Delight. In fact, years ago when we were camping, we made these. We liked them so much, we drove down the mountain to a store to buy more ingredients to make them again the next day. 🙂 

Foil Pack Taco Burger & Potato Delight

1 pound raw hamburger meat

1/2 cup plain bread crumbs

2 Tablespoons taco seasoning

1/4 cup milk

3 cups frozen southern-style hash browns

1 can condensed fiesta nacho cheese soup

Mix the first four ingredients together. Form into 4 patties. Place one patty each on a sheet of aluminum foil.

Mix together the potatoes and soup. Put onto the 4 patties.

Cook about 40 minutes. Make sure to test the doneness of the meat.

Other ideas:

Italian sausage links, bell peppers, onions, olive oil

Chicken, taco seasoning, black beans, salsa

Flank steak, bell peppers, onions, garlic, olive oil, provolone cheese

Nacho chips, cooked chicken, enchilada sauce, black beans, nacho cheese

Eggs, hash browns, ham, cheese

Camping Castle Gate RV Helper, UT Sept 11-13, 2020

The possibilities goes on and on. Please share with me if you have a favorite Foil Pack recipe.

Who did the town of Helper help?

2nd camping trip- Day 5-7, Sept 11-13, 2020 Helper, Utah

Kevin found a campground through the app called “Good Sam” and we thought the area would be a nice place to explore. We left on Friday right after Kevin got off work. We drove up Highway 6 through Spanish Fork Canyon. The truck pulled the trailer with not a problem at all. Kevin is an excellent driver and very safe. Hwy 6 is a stretch of road that used to be the worst in the US. Thankfully, UDOT has added a lot of passing lanes and I know that has helped reduce so many accidents. We got to our campground and greeting us was a huge barn that is several stories tall. It looks new-ish and has the registration, store, and laundry for the campground. The people who built the campground said (on their website) that they traveled to Helper over the years for the Art Galleries, Christmas festivals, and other times throughout the year. They wished there was a campground there. So, they built one and it is charming. It is called, “Castle Gate RV Park”. The campsites have tiny, packed gravel with different colors so you know where to park.

Camping Castle Gate RV Helper, UT Sept 11-13, 2020

Once we got set up, we had sandwiches and then just relaxed for the evening. Our evening walk-about was nice with just a few swarms of gnats. When searching the area for things to do, I came across a museum that sounded like something we would enjoy. However, it  was closed due to Covid. That evening, I looked up the website again and it said closed, but opening in the Fall. Well, I exclaimed, THIS is Fall! HAHA 

The next morning Kevin called the museum and yes, indeed, they had opened back up the day before. Wahoo! After I cooked eggs and hash browns in the kitchen, we ate, and then drove through the tiny town of Helper. So named for the trains that need to “help” the long trains up the incredibly steep grade.

Display at Western Mining & Railroad Museum, Helper, UT Sept 11-13, 2020

Many of the houses are original to the coal mining days. The town has a small grocery store, several bars, a school, and a few other stores. We drove south of town because I thought I saw an old train water tower and building. As we got closer, we saw they weren’t ancient. 🙂 The railroad tracks led into an old repair building.

Train maintenance shed, Helper, UT Sept 11-13, 2020

We followed a dirt road up the canyon and enjoyed beautiful mountains with layers of rocks. We were able to drive several miles before coming to the end of the road and a gate.

Beautiful layers of rock. Helper, UT Sept 11-13, 2020

Then it was off to see the Western Mining and Railroad Museum. Masks were required, which we were thankful for. We were there almost 3 hours! We decided to walk down the old main street. Many of the buildings we read about in the museum, we now saw with our eyes. How cool is that! It was way past lunch time but there wasn’t a lot open. We walked to a gas station, got big drinks, packaged ice cream treats and sat at a nice picnic table they had outside.

Main Street, Helper, UT Sept 11-13, 2020

Back to the campground for lunch. Then we took our chairs and walked behind our campsite where the rush water of Price River was flowing. We sat under the shade and read our books the rest of the afternoon.

Camping Castle Gate RV Helper, UT Sept 11-13, 2020

Dinner was foil dinner (AKA Hobo Packets) with brats, peppers and onions. You put the  pack right in the fire pit on the coals. It is done when I smell it. HAHA

Camping Castle Gate RV Helper, UT Sept 11-13, 2020

Ate outside and enjoyed it. We sat around the campfire the rest of the evening. One thing I noticed about our trailer is that the smoke doesn’t get inside the trailer. That is nice: I like campfire smell outside, not in. HAHA

The next day it was time to pack up and head home. The campground was great; I think with the rocks it would be terribly hot in the summer,  but when we were there, it was perfect.

If you want to learn more about Helper and the “help” the engines were to the railroad, read more here..

Wikipedia on Helper

Castle Gate RV Park

Railyard, Helper, UT Sept 11-13, 2020

Next time I will share some tips and recipes for camping.

I can’t believe I said that! I am deaf!

I became 100% deaf a year ago, March 2020. So how do Kevin and I communicate when he is driving? How do I help him back up the trailer into a campsite when I can’t hear what he wants me to do? How do I help set up the trailer when I am on the other side of the trailer and can’t hear when someone asked for something? These are just a few of the questions that come up for someone who is deaf. I ask you, if you are a hearing person, please read on so that you can understand what is going on for deaf people. If you are hard of hearing or deaf, I hope you find a helpful hint or two here.

Kevin and I have an amazing relationship: married over 32 years, best friends, and truly part of each other. We get along incredible well and are each other’s favorite person to be with. So with all that, suddenly I am deaf and we can’t communicate while he is driving, or when I am driving, for that matter. I can’t look away from the road to see what he is signing (American Sign Language) and he can’t let go of the wheel to sign while driving. What is a couple to do? It wasn’t until October last year when we finally figured out something that would work. I have an app on my iPad called “AVA” that we have used before. It needed internet connection and that doesn’t work when you are camping and driving around the middle of Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada, for example. Around October, AVA company made it to work without internet connectivity. This opened up a whole new way for us. When Kevin is driving, I set the iPad on my lap and as he talks, AVA uses voice-to-text to type out his words. Now, believe me, it isn’t great and makes many mistakes including thinking we are swearing! 🙂 But it is better than no communication at all. While we have to start and stop the app often, it is fine because at least we can work on getting it right and thus having hours and hours of communication.

What about backing up the trailer? I call Kevin on FaceTime. He has the phone on the console in the truck but if he needs to communicate something with me, he can stop, pick it up and sign to me. I talk him through backing up. Instead of using “left/right” (which I think could be terribly confusing.) I say “driver’s side” or “passenger side” depending on which side I want the back of the trailer turned towards. It works out great for us. Well, except for one time! I was talking to him as he was backing up. I keep saying into FaceTime, “driver’s side” pause “driver’s side” pause “driver’s side (a little louder)! Then I start pointing because he isn’t putting the back of the trailer where it needs to go. Stop! I walk up to Kevin and he says he is so confused…did the mirrors get turned upside down because I am pointing in the opposite way I am talking. For goodness sake, I realize I had been saying the wrong side! So then I said, “Well….backseat DRIVER’s side?!” We were laughing so hard we were crying!!! Now don’t worry, this was backing up into a large storage space (we will tell you more about that when we get to October camping).

As for setting up or tearing down our campsite, I have found things that are helpful but don’t need to be talked about. I can set the chocks and stabilizers. Did you read the blog post about our first campground? My job then was just to stay out of the way. HAHA But now we have it down where I can help with a few things.

Now, here is the part where I can’t believe I said that!!!!! We will tell you more about this camping trip when we post about November but I will let you know this part now. 🙂 We were camping in Mesquite, NV and in November, it was a perfect warm place to be. We don’t eat out much because of Covid but in looking for a fabric store (squeal with excitement) we passed a Mexican restaurant with outdoor dining. We looked at each other, our eyes wide with excitement, as we both said we wanted to eat there that evening. Later that day, we went to this restaurant. The nice young man led us to our seats out on the patio. As he handed us the menus, I asked, “What do you recommend?” I kid you not! Sometimes I completely forget I am 100% deaf. This nice young man starts to rattle off what he recommends. I am trying to suppress a huge giggle and Kevin is about losing it, trying not to laugh. I nod politely as I assume he told me his recommendations. I was so glad Kevin was there to be able to answer follow up questions. We STILL laugh about this when we think about it.

Of course, losing one’s hearing isn’t all fun and games. It is life changing. I have jotted down little thoughts as I started down this journey of being deaf. Maybe I will share it sometime.

Sometime down the road, I will write about traveling on an airplane and tell you about being deaf and getting a wheelchair handed to me. 🙂

I would like to read any comments you have. Please comment below. Do you have questions about being deaf or hard of hearing? Are you deaf or hard of hearing and having ideas to share to help others who are traveling? Comment below. Thank you.

Technomadia

Adventures in Nomadic Serendipity

Changing Lanes

Full Time RV Living

WatsonsWander

Go, See, Do, Experience!