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The Maiden Voyage
Posted On 12/24/2009 16:50:46 by Aktray

First Voyage


Our first voyage in our new RV!  We were all very excited.  I’m sure all you fulltimers remember your maiden voyage.  The uniqueness of it all.  The strange feeling of driving the biggest vehicle on the road.  Trying to keep it between the lines.  Testing out the breaks.  The kids bouncing around when they should have their seatbelts on.  The knowledge that you probably forgot most of the items you would need.

We were embarking on a short 3 hour drive to Big Bear as our first trip.  Not too far away in case something went wrong.  Which, of course, it did.  But we were used to tent camping for many years, so as long as the RV didn’t blow up we would still be better off than before.  We had gotten a good deal on this 34 foot National Dolphin.  It was an ’06 model with only 11,000 miles on it.  Now that we have taken our first trip, I’m positive that someone rolled back the odometer.  Or that must have been one hell of an 11,000 mile journey someone took in it. 

The water  pipes leaked.  Trim and molding fell off regularly.  The AC didn’t work.  The external plumbing connectors all leaked.  About the only thing that worked well was the one thing us “firstimers” fear… the sewage systems.  So that all clears up the mystery of why National went out of business.  Luckily, with a little elbow grease and some visits to Campingworld.com we should have that thing in working order before long.

We were torn between dry camping in the woods or hooking up at an RV park.  I figured an RV park would be more fun for the kids, so we chose Halloways Marina and RV Park.  We got a spot on the lake for $60 a night which we later determined to be a little over-priced.

We pulled in with the firm knowledge we would be laughed at as we tried to hook everything up, being our first time.  I did hear giggles coming from the RV next to us as water sprayed everywhere due to the faulty connectors (probably bad washers).  But, other than that, it was actually pretty easy.

Once hooked up, I came around the back of the RV and hit my head squarely on the rear slide-out causing a knot the size of a ping pong ball on my forehead.  Why is it that things at eye level are the things we can’t see?  I ended up hitting my head on it two more times throughout the course of our trip.  Both my wife and my daughter did the same.  We looked like a family of mutant purple headed goofballs.

While sitting with an ice-cold Corona pressed against my forehead, our neighbors to the right showed up in a class C diesel powered unit.  The RV spots at this park were so close together that you had no choice but introducing yourselves.  Amazingly, they turned out to be a girl I dated back in the 80’s and her family.  It was just one of those one-time group dates where we all went to the movies and said goodbyes afterward – otherwise it could have been kind of awkward. The more important thing was she was friends with people we had known back in those days that we lost touch with.  So it was great to talk with her and her husband.  My son got along great with their young twin boys.  But imagine… out of all the lakes and all the RV parks in Southern California… the people in the next spot ended up being people we know from our home town in Oregon.  Is this how it is in the RV lifestyle?  If so, I kind of like it.

Overall, our first trip was OK despite having to use all of our towels to soak up the leaks from the galley sink, the fridge, and the shower.  I fixed the galley sink which was just a loose drain pipe connection.  But the other two I’m bringing back to the dealer to fix. Aside from that, I could have used the following to make it more comfortable:

·         Ipod connector to the surround sound

·         Cable TV cable

·         Channel locks to tighten the plumbing connectors

·         Dish drainer

·         Dish racks in the cupboards

·         Cooler to keep drinks in outside

·         Red colored flags attached temporarily to the slide-out so I don’t hit my head

·         That fake grass stuff

·         Bike rack

·         Exterior yard lights

·         Sewage hose stand

·         Ropes to tie the kids down while driving (just kidding)

Campingworld.com here I come!

Tags: RV Big Bear


Viewing 1 - 1 out of 1 Comments

From: TSanders
01/17/2010 18:35:27

Love the article. Sounds like a mishap adventure! Makes me want to trade in the boat for the open seas of the highway. Must be fun to dock up with new groups and even run into old friends. Thanks for sharing.



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