Parker County Today July 2017 - Page 72

Continued from page 65 can tent camp, but the negatives to that are too numer- ous to list. So, to launch a trailer-camping hobby, one would think it’s easy, right? After all, you just pick out a nice trailer that appeals to you, then buy it and go. Right? Nope, there are decisions to make before you get to that point. What size trailer? Do you want people to go with you, and sleep in your camper with you? Or, are you like us? We don’t want people sleeping in our trailer. Let me put it this way, try getting up in the middle of the night, then make your way to the bathroom, stepping over people on the way, tripping over everyone, who hears everything you’re doing ... . NO, thanks. We want our privacy. So for us, the original choice was a smaller camper, about 23 feet. But, really, the first decision should be -- what are you going to pull it with? Are you planning on using an exist- ing vehicle, one you already own, or do you need to buy a truck? It all depends on the weight of the trailer. Now, here’s a fun question, do you want a bumper-pull, a fifth wheel or gooseneck? Sounds too complicated. Ha! Welcome to the world of towing a camper. I originally bought a bumper-pull. I already had a half-ton pickup and it met the weight requirements, so I thought I was golden. However, after wrestling with the hitch apparatus a couple of times, I found out I would rather bungee jump off the Empire State Building than hook that thing up. The hitch yoke and stabilizing bars probably weighed in excess of 80 pounds. I’m not sure which was more expensive, camp- ing or my back doctor. Now the fifth wheel or gooseneck is an option; they hook up to the hitch that you have had installed in the bed of your truck. But, there is a drawback here. They are usually heavier trailers, and you will probably need a 3/4 ton truck. More money — 3/4 trucks are more expen- sive and extremely popular. Give this all some serious thought. What suits you best? Next, the most fun aspect of trailer camping is pull- ing the trailer. Actually, pulling is not so bad, just make sure you understand how the trailer brakes work, and that you have your hitch connected correctly. I still can’t help thinking of what would happen if I forgot something in that process, and I forget everything, so I need backup. Speaking of backup, here is the most fun you can have in the whole RV experience — backing your trailer into the camp spot you have selected. First a tip: try to scope out the campgrounds and look at the spots, write down the numbers of ones you like, figure out which way to approach backing into the site. It is just priceless when you try backing your rig into the site the first time, and of course everyone’s watching you. Usually your wife is trying to help guide you in, and you literally wear out your transmission pulling forward to straighten up and trying the approach again, back and forth, back and forth. It can be stressful, so practice somewhere far away from people. Maybe a Denny’s parking lot. Water conservation and holding tanks — this is a pivotal subject. How much water (and the world of camping has great names for water: drinking water, grey water and black water) can your camper tolerate? I refuse to define it here, but suffice it to say, the camper only holds so much for sink water, bathroom use, etc. … So water conservation becomes important. You never let the faucet in the kitchen or bathroom run like you would at home. Only use your bathroom for #1. Wash dishes outside; usually your camper will have an outside hose. You will also have a cute little display to let you know the status of your tanks; live with it! The main point I’m getting to is you and your camping companions must be OK with using the facilities at the campgrounds — bathrooms, showers. And this means that if you must use the bathroom in the middle of the night for something other than #1, you must trudge down to the bathroom buil