A Tale of Two RV Trips-Trip #1-a travel trailer

Ready to leave

For this first experimental RV trip we rented a Pacific Coachworks 18RBS Mighty Lite from a local trailer rental company. Hopefully our experience is not representative of the trailer.  Read further to see what happened.  I do comment on the various campgrounds we went to.  They were the good part of the trip!

Day One- El Charro Regional Park San Luis Obispo, CA.


We got to El Charro just before dark. Found #4 Ramoildo.   Amazing Jack backed in on the first try. We hooked up electric and water to cricket song.  We did not want to unhitch trailer in the dark so Jack fixed one of his refrigerator meals which turned into a quesadilla with hot dog cheese for dinner.

El Charro Tree

Day Two-

El Charro Regional Park is an absolutely wonderful place and campground.  We woke up to shafts of sun on one of ‘our’ trees.  Ate breakfast outside and watched a ‘wild’ black and white cat walk silently past us.  Our big dog seemed to bring out the silent jungle beast in the cat.  There was a peaceful and large dog park as part of this very well crafted regional park.  We took Moishe, our Belgian Tervuren Shepherd,  for a run.  He loved it and the local dogs got a workout from our herder who gathered them into a group and ran them in circles.  Happy owners with worn out dogs-Moishe was a hit!  When we went to leave, the RV lights wouldn’t work. We finally got them reconnected and Jack had to go through our  Ford Expedition’s checklist. Our SUV was trailer ready with heavy duty hitch and break set up.  Very picky and careful system it turned out to be.  But worked very well.  Little did we know this was but the beginning of our camping trip with Murphy’s Law.

sky mt.el charro

View Leaving El Charro Campground

We left late from San Luis Obispo.  We had a long ride ahead of us to get to the Los Angeles Area.  But Solvang beckoned so we got my son and his family cookies.  By this time we were realizing the problems  with our rented trailer.  So we took precious time to look at Airstreams at the local dealer.


Solvang CA

Arrived at Soledad RV and Camping Resort in Acton, CA.  It is part of the Thousand Trails system but we got one of their individual sites.  Discovered reviews weren’t kidding when they spoke of train noise.  The loud whistle blowing train went right by our campsite.  However, didn’t bother our sleep.  Quickly became background noise and quite colorful to look at in the day time.  Friendly Engineers waved back.
We set up in dark. My son and his wife arrived with car headlights and strong flashlights.  We left the car attached just did electrical.  Our campsite had no grass but near the dog run.  We were in B 105. Dinner at 49er bar and restaurant – quaint place, food decent,  music not quite to our taste.

Day Three-

Murphy arrives with out mistake.  Jack tried to complete set up.   Water was easy.  Jack couldn’t find the sewer hose.  Fortunately the camp store had one.  The ‘missing’ sewer hose was in the bumper but missing a part.  Glad we bought one!   It was pouring rain.  He had to get on ground lying on a plastic garbage bag and a towel. He did it and it worked.  Next the propane tank was loose. Got it undone. Filled it and attached it.    We have heat.

How could I forget the broken awning. I was on the right side.  Jack on the left.  My side worked perfecting but the left side screws pulled out of RV when we went to raise it. Thousand trails campgrounds have their own maintenance men so two came by.  Tied the awning on with bungee cords and remarked that this rental wasn’t well maintained at all.  Really!?  I manned the phone.   Made calls to local RV service and to the rental company, Family RV.  Their maintenance guy found a mobile service that serviced Acton.  That hero fixed the awning while we left to go visit the kids.  That was supposed to be the focus of the visit.  But instead we were getting a crash course in all that go wrong with a travel trailer that’s not well cared for.
Our daughter-in-law was ready with food and a fire and out grandson visited from college. It was 37 when we got back to the trailer. We hadn’t left heat on to save propane.  Sigh.

The men at Soledad

Trailer and Car at Soldad RV Park

Day Four-

Sun and a shouting blue sky, crisp tingling air, but Jack missed a problem so he knocked my open coffee cup to the floor. I got clothes out of the wardrobe to warm them up. I woke excited to all this air and earth like river camping with walls.

Day  Five-

Sun but cold on the day we were to leave. Lining up hitch and ball took forever. Over an hour. With all my vision problems I couldn’t tell when they were lined up.  I tried sticks.  I tried tape.  I tried feeling. My hero Jack did it with the back up camera. Thank goodness we made a video of hooking up the trailer before leaving rental lot. The stabilizers were a pain to get right. Chains etc. easy. Uncoupling lines not bad. Levelers up. Finally left at 3:30. On the road, it took me over an hour to find a campground that would work. We ended up near Bakersfield in a campground near Hwy. 58.   Orange Grove RV park was beautiful. Each space had an orange tree or two. They had orange pickers you could borrow so Jack picked fresh oranges for dinner/breakfast. All sites were pull through.  The campground was near the Hwy and the train.  Truly a good thing we like trains.  Stayed hitched and the hook ups were not bad.

Leaving orange

Trailer and Car at Orange Grove RV Park 

Day Six-Finally the real going home day-

I packed what I could, cleaned what I could while Jack took Moishe to dog park.  Note:  in an orange grove RV park don’t use orange balls. Leaving was easy since we never unhitched.  In car ready to leave 10:47.  Took a tour of park and hit the road. Going home 99.

Orange tree out window

“Our Orange Tree” from the trailer door

Despite all the crazy stuff we loved the experience.  Each campground had its own feel.  Opening your door to the outdoors all around was such a treat.  We now have quite a list of things we want in a travel trailer.  As Jack said if you ask God for information, be careful.  We got a lot of information.

About Winding Stream Press

Janice DeRuiter Eskridge, M.F.A. is a poet who worked for over a decade as a poet-teacher for California Poets in the Schools. Helen Shoemaker, Ph.D. L.M.F.T. is a university professor who teaches in the areas of child development and counseling. She is also a therapist in private practice.
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