Thursday, June 19, 2008

Bringing Her Home

We drove to Danny's Campers in Westfield, WI to pick up our Chalet XL 1920 today. While at Danny's we added a weight-distribution hitch to the camper, an electronic brake controller to our 2006 Honda Odyssey and a receiver hitch to the back bumper of the camper. [In anticipation of acquiring a camper, we added the towing package to the van when we purchased it.]

We measured the height of our hitch before adding the camper. Then we attached the camper to the hitch without adding the weight distribution bars. The height dropped over 2". Finally we attached the camper using the weight distribution bars and the height dropped less than 1/4".

It was a long day for the kids. The drive alone was over 5 hours each way, and we were at Danny's for about 6 hours. We took the kids out for lunch and then played a round of mini-golf (their first time). We took a break from our game to feed the fish. Our youngest got such a thrill from watching the big fish swim toward the food pellets - and throwing his golf ball into the water...

Back at Danny's, we got a thorough walk-through of the camper, general maintenance and using the brake controller. Dan and his staff really treated us well - and more than tollerated our two kids underfoot. Their attention to detail was obvious and we really appreciated how clean the camper was upon our arrival as well as the little things they added, taught us and suggested.

When we finally pulled away after 6pm, the kids were tired, we were tired, we were all hungry - and we were all excited! We drove for about an hour and found a nice wayside near Castle Rock where we pulled off, popped open the camper and made a quick sandwich supper while the kids climbed the path. Whew! That was slick!

The camper towed pretty well although it definitely felt different behind us. The height of the camper when it is closed is just slightly higher than our van. We got record gas mileage on the way to Danny's (just over 26mpg) and got barely 15mpg on the way home. We didn't run the air conditioning either way.

We pulled in at about 1am and I suddenly felt overwhelmed that I needed to figure out what and how to pack for a family of four that was leaving in a couple of days for our first outting. But we were all still excited.

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