Saturday, December 9, 2006

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

New Products - Dried Potatoes

When we go camping, we don't always carry fresh potatoes, and even if we do, I don't always like to go to the trouble of peeling and shredding and slicing and such. I used to buy Betty Crocker's Hash Browns, and they disappeared from the shelves for a while. Then yesterday, I saw them at the store, but BC has changed the packaging and now has a ine of "Seasoned Skillets." They still have the hash browns, but they now also have Crispy Potato Slices in two different flavors - Lightly Seasoned and Roasted Garlic & Herbs. I'll be giving these a try in a couple of weeks when we go to Overton Beach for Christmas.

Sunday, December 3, 2006

Review: Lake Perris State Recreation Area

Fall, winter, and spring are the best times, in my opinion, to come to this park. The weather is cooler, and the crowds are down. We chose to come here for our "shakedown" in our new trailer, and were among only 8 trailers/motor homes in the entire place.

I've created my review template and will give it a try here. Let me know if there's something I've left out that most people would want to know.

Address: 17801 Lake Perris Drive, Perris, CA 92571
Phone: (campground) 951-940-5603
Website http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=651
To make a reservation: ReserveAmerica.com, or link from website, or call 1-800-444-7275
Rates: Hookups: $34 (3/1 – 11/30) and $29 (12/1 – 2/28); Non-hookups: $25 (3/1 – 11/20) and $20 (12/1 – 2/28). Senior discount $2/night (62+)
Note: Park entrance fee is waived if you're camping.

General Information:
# Sites: 353
# Sites with hookups: 265, 7 of which are wheelchair accessible
Note: these are water/electric with a drain for gray water
Dump station: 3; next to campground entrance/exit
Size of sites: approximately 30 feet in length, but that’s to the curb – so longer rigs just back in and hang over the concrete. We saw several long motorhomes there. The sites are wide, so your TV or toad park alongside your RV.
Office hours: Summer (April-October) – 6 am – 10 pm, Winter (November-March) – 6 am – 8 pm
Interstate access: If you’re on the 215, exit Ramona Expressway and go east about 1 mile to sign pointing left to park entrance. If you’re on the 60, exit Moreno Beach Drive and go south about 3 miles to the park entrance. The Ramona entrance closes at 8 pm; the Moreno Beach entrance is open 24 hours.
On site staff? Friendly, helpful? : The rangers work the two main entrances and the campground entrance during the hours stated above. The ranger who checked us in at the campground assigned us to a site, but then told us we could really camp anywhere we wanted, and even recommended 4 sites that she considered to be excellent sites. The volunteer who was raising the flag Saturday morning was friendly and helpful when I asked him where the Target and WalMart were. Rangers make the rounds each morning checking to make sure you're registered, but they leave you alone.

Noise info:No major highways or trains, but on Saturday nights during spring, summer, and fall you hear the bzzzt-bzzzt-bzzzts from the Perris Speedway near the Ramona entrance. We heard some teenage boys horsing around Friday night, but at 10 they went inside and all was peaceful. Then the coyotes were the only things we heard. Saturday night, we were plagued by high winds, so that’s all we heard.

Restrooms: typical state park restrooms – clean, but no heat
Showers: available, but remember, these restrooms aren’t heated!
Pool: no, but in the summer you can swim in the lake – one of the swimming beaches is within walking distance of the campground
WiFi: no
Cell phone reception (I have Cingular): sporadic – sometimes good, sometimes nonexistent
Laundry: no
Store: no
Notes: If you come via the Moreno Beach exit, you pass a WalMart. For military retirees, March Air Reserve Base is about 3 miles away, with a large commissary and BX.

Notes for future reservations: the sites are grouped together in threese, fours and fives – always get an “end” site so no one is on one side. In addition, try to get a site that has sites directly across the street from it so you can have room for backing and hitching. Otherwise, you’ll hit a curb.

This was the site directly across the street from ours. The bathrooms are on the left.

This photo shows you the width of the sites - wide enough for RV and TV or toad to park side by side.

Trailer Pics - Our 2007 Thor Wave

Now that I finally took the camera to the trailer, I decided to take some photos of it. Above, it's parked at site #233 at Lake Perris State Recreation Area, where we took it this past weekend for the "shakedown" - the first trip.

Here's the dinette and tv, taken from the slide-out couch.

To me, a good kichen is a very important feature in a trailer. This is our rear kitchen, which I think is a wonderful kitchen to cook in!

Another shot of the kitchen; from another angle.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Things to Stock in a Travel Trailer

bed linens

matches & lighters
cooking pots
baking pans
melamine or corelle plates
melamine or corelle bowls
acrylic drinking glasses
plastic containers for leftovers
foil (line baking pans with foil so you don’t have to wash them!)

coffee mugs
sharp knife
can opener (Make sure it works before you go! Ours didn't!)
serving spoon(s)
wire whisk
pot holder(s)
paper towels
ziploc bags
dishwashing liquid
Dobie pad/scrubber
2-cup measuring cup
salt & pepper
coffee filters
trash bags
trash can
tablecloth clamps (for outside)

cutting board
measuring cups
measuring spoons
kitchen towels
ice cube trays
ice cube bin
hand-held mixer

Bathroom and Cleaning
1-ply toilet paper
all-purpose spray cleaner
toilet/tank chemicals
fly swatter

air freshener spray
vacuum cleaner or Dirt Devil

Trailer Use & Upkeep
3-ring binder w/operating manuals & warranties
campground directory
duct tape
leveling blocks
wheel chocks
bungee cords
freshwater hose
graywater hose
spare bulbs & fuses
extra power cord

18 volt (or more) cordless drill
gardener’s knee pads
electric space heater
propane space heater
electric fan(s)
5-gallon water jugs

first aid kit
insect repellant
bath towels
hand towels

sewing kit
travel alarm clock

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Looking Back

All the places I've camped:

Bad Durkheim
Rhein-Main Rod & Gun Club

Circle Pines KOA, Williams
Flagstaff KOA
Mather Campground, Grand Canyon National Park
North Rim Campground, Grand Canyon National Park
Williams/Grand Canyon KOA
Woody Mountain Campground, Flagstaff

Big Bear MWD Campground
Black Rock Campground, Joshua Tree National Park
Boulder Basin Campround, near Idylwild
Camp Pendleton Campground, Oceanside
Dorst Campground, Sequoia National Park
Green Valley Lake Campground, near Running Springs
Heart Bar Campground, near Angelus Oaks
Jumbo Rock Campground, Joshua Tree National Park
Lake Isabella KOA, Weldon
Lassen Pines Campground, near McArthur
Lone Pine Campground, near Lone Pine
Mojave River Forks Campground, near Hesperia
Oh! Ridge Campground, June Lake
Paha Campground, near Bridgeport
Paradise by the Sea RV Resort, Oceanside
Rivernook Campground, Kernville
Ryan Campground, Joshua Tree National Park
San Gorgonio Campground, near Angelus Oaks
Tuolomne Meadows Campground, Yosemite National Park
Upper Stony Creek Campground, near Sequoia NP
Wawona Campground, Yosemite National Park

Alexander Lake Lodge Campground, Grand Mesa
Aspen Glade Campground, near Antonito
Big Blue Wilderness (backpacking)
Bogan Flats Campround, near Redstone
Boyd Lake State Park
Castle Pines RV Campground, Lake City
Colorado National Monument
Difficult Campground, near Aspen
Durango North KOA
Echo Park Campground, Dinosaur NM
Grand Junction KOA
Gunnison KOA
Highlander RV Park, Lake City
Lakeview Campground, Taylor Park
Newcastle KOA
Ouray KOA
Palisades Campground, E. of Creede
Priest Gulch Campground, near Dolores
Steamboat Springs KOA
Sugar Loafin' Campground, Leadville
Vallecito Campground, north of Bayfield
Vallecito Resort, north of Bayfield
Weminuche Wilderness (backpacking)
West Dolores Campground, near Dolores
Winding River Resort Campground, near Grand Lake
Woodlake RV Park, Lake City

Idaho Falls KOA
Monroe Creek Campground, Weiser
Montpelier KOA
Valley View RV Park, Island Park

Dillon KOA
Hardin KOA
Sula Country Store & Campground, Sula
West Yellowstone KOA

New Mexico:
Bloomfield KOA
Carlsbad Caverns NP
Pecos Wilderness (backpacking)

Palo Duro State Park

Beaver KOA
Broken Bow Campground, Escalante
Bryce Canyon NP
Cannonville KOA
Cedar City KOA
Escalante State Park
Fillmore KOA
Flaming Gorge KOA, Manila
Hill Air Force Base FamCamp
Nephi KOA
Oak Creek Campground, north of Boulder
Provo KOA
Warner Lake Campground, near Moab
South Campground, Zion NP

Antelope Flat Campground, Flaming Gorge NRA
Colter Bay Campground, Grand Teton NP
Fremont Lake Campground, near Pinedale
Grant Village Campground, Yellowstone NP
Gros Ventre Campground, Grand Teton NP

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Movin' on up

I call this post "Movin' on up" because we just took delivery of a 2007 Thor Wave 27' travel trailer, a definite move upward from our popup. We've been camping together for 26 years - since before we were married; it's been a dream of mine to keep on camping the rest of my life.

Our first camping trips were in tents-we started at Garmisch, Germany, and found a few other places such as the Rhein-Main Air Base Rod and Gun Club. (Situated at the eastern edge of Frankfurt International Airport, we dealt with the low-flying jets that came in for landings every few minutes. Sleep could be had in the wee hours of the morning, before the early flights started up.) After we married and had children, the camping trips continued, and it wasn't until around 1995 or so that we bought our first popup. It was an old Coleman, and it lasted one year, I think. we traded it in for a '79 Grasshopper, a rare rear-entry trailer similar to a very small toy-hauler. I can't believe that all four of us slept in that thing! Theresa and me on the bed, once we dismantled the dinette, Kenny on the narrow bench sofa, and Don on the floor. One summer later, we traded it in for a brand new Coleman, one of the larger ones. Don decided after one year that it was too big, so it was traded in for a smaller Venture. That Venture has been hauled to Montana, Wyoming, Utah, New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, and Nevada, as well as all over California.

Last week, at the beginning of our Thanksgiving break, Don and I decided it would be nice to go look for a fifth wheel or trailer that we could tow with our F150. I had resisted looking at newer trailers, because I hate looking if I can't buy. It makes me depressed and envious! But for some reason, Don felt the time had come, and without any argument from me, we drove down to Banning Discount RV Center.

Tim Perkins was our saleperson, and after we told him of our wishes and showed him the truck, he took us around the lot and educated us on why we didn't have enough power for a fifth wheel, but did have enough for a good-sized travel trailer. The third one he showed us was the one I fell in love with.

We knew that we needed to do some more shopping, to make sure we'd made the right choice, so we visited several other dealerships. Nowhere did we see a trailer that was as nice, as light, and as affordable. The only one that came close was a Rockwood, but it didn't have as much kitchen storage space, and cost several thousand dollars more. Another one at a very large dealership in Colton that was fairly comparable in features cost $28,800. The Thor Wave was on sale - $15,995. We drove back to Banning and made the deal, and took delivery two days later.

When you step into the door of the Wave (the door closest to the rear of the trailer), you step in to a rear kitchen. Not many trailers come with a rear kitchen, and that feature became one of my favorites. The door closest to the front opens into the bedroom, which has a queen-sized bed, two closets, and two large cabinets, plus access to the large pass-through storage area underneath the bed.

My kitchen has all the comforts of a great kitchen: 3-burner stove, microwave, oven, refrigerator, freezer, 2-basin sink, 10 drawers (!), and tons of cabinets and shelves. Our "living room" has a dinette that makes into a bed if we have guests, a sofa that makes into a bed, more cabinets, and a place for a tv. The tv can work off the antenna that came with the trailer, or we can hook into cable tv if a campground has it.

The hallway between the living room and the bedroom has more drawers and cabinets, plus a large closet in which to hang clothes. This is also where the bathroom is–with a toilet, sink, and a roomy bathtub/shower. There's even a medicine cabinet, and more drawers and storage. (I'll never fill up all the storage!)

We're taking the Wave out on a shakedown trip this coming weekend. We were able to get sites at Lake Perris State Park - a very large campground in Moreno Valley, about 15 miles from Yucaipa, where we have it parked in a friend's back yard. Lake Perris is a place we've camped before several times, and during the winter it's wonderful. It's much quieter than in the summer, and much cooler, too. I'll be close to March Air Base and the commissary/BX in case there's something I forgot to get, and Don will be able to fish the lake all weekend.

I'll be sure to post photos!