June 23, 2007

New Counter Experiment

I mentioned previously that I didn't like the counter top mod. It was too hard to use the storage underneath so this weekend I tried it as a drop down counter instead. I'm not sure I'm going to like it either, so I didn't bother staining and varnishing the wood yet. We'll try it on our trip to Dogwood next month and we'll decide then. If we don't like it, I think the next trial is a recessed paper towel holder on the right side and a drawer on the left side. Too many more screw holes and the fascia is going to look like pegboard.

June 13, 2007

Bike Rack

So far, most of the campgrounds have been too hilly to enjoy riding the bikes. When we did take the bikes, the storage space in the bed of the truck was compromised. None of the commercial bike racks met my needs of cheap and clear of the Caboose, so I had to make my own. This rack uses a scaffolding of 2x4 lumber to support some off-the-shelf bike stands held on with u-bolts. I'll be testing it out with a drive to the police station for new bicycle licenses.

June 10, 2007

Green Valley Lake

We just spent the last two nights up at Green Valley campground with my mom and one of Andrew's buddies, Joey. The great thing about this camp is that there is a private lake just a few minutes away and for $2 a kid, there is a clean beach with a lifeguard. They get an ankle band that allows them to go in and out all day. It is a great bargain and a great campground.

We checked out all the sites (as usual) and decided that #36 is the best, and if we have companion campers, site 37 too. Site #9 is very good, followed by #15 and finally 14. There are clean flush toilets, but no showers.

My mom pointed out that since Dogwood campground is managed by the same company, after a fifteen-minute drive you could shower at that campground. Mom was a little freaked out when the tree over our campsite started raining bark beetle larvae. I'll admit that it was a little distressing, but just part of the great outdoors.

Joey got to experience one of the rights of passage for a young boy: he learned how to light an Ohio Blue Tip match on his zipper. I'm sure it is something he'll share with his own kids someday.

As usual, we ate like royalty this trip. We stopped at the Spaghetti Factory on the way up, and then had a cheeseburger feast on Saturday. Sherry surprised me with a rating of four-tents for this campground. She said the only thing stopping it from getting a five-tent rating was the lack of showers. She also upgraded the rating of Serrano to five-tents and I would agree it is going to be hard to beat that USFS campground.

June 6, 2007

Front Porch Campers

Last night as I cruised through the automotive section at Walmart, I saw a 12v lighter kit for $3.88 (ever notice how almost everything there has a price that ends in 88?). It came with the suitcase connectors and everything except the 7/8" drill I needed to mount it below the bench door on the dinette. Pretty cool mod for lunch money and about thirty minutes of my time.

While at Wally World, I bought some plastic containers to organize the contents of the Caboose. I've forgotten more than a few items after taking them out to clean, and now I've got a shelf in the garage just for camping gear. Everything comes out, gets washed, placed back into the container, and then loaded back onto the caboose. I'll still forget something on the next trip. There are three boxes for inside the benches, two small boxes for the bottom galley, one for the top galley, plus two medium and one small in the isle cabinet. Everything else gets packed in the truck.

A daily stop on my web surfing is PopUp Portal. There is a post by Randy Rusnak that just really summed up the joys of pop-up camping. "Pop-Up campers are 'Front Porch' kind of campers." He explains, "Our campers don't provide us with any reason to just sit inside them. No big areas, with full kitchens, and separate rooms to get away from each other. Pop-Ups are only really good for sleeping in and maybe a quick meal and/or shelter from a rainstorm. Not big enough to hang out in with all the kids. So, you find yourself sitting outside all the time. Hence 'Front Porch' kind of people."

"Pop-up campers are the ones that say 'Hi' as you walk past. They are sitting under their awnings in the rain, enjoying a cup of coffee watching the rain fall. They don't go inside unless they really have too... We don't have a lot of room, so we don't pack a ton of stuff... I like being the 'Front Porch' kind of camper, and I sure hope I don't lose this mentality when I finally upgrade to a bigger camper." Me too, Randy. Me too.

June 2, 2007

Dollar Mod

I know I said I was done with mods for a while, but this one was too cheap, and too easy not to knock out. Target has these shower organizers on sale for a buck. I bent the top around a pipe and now I have a night stand for my glasses, wallet, and flashlight. I made one for each bunk. They'll fit over the end support hoops and still allow the Sheppard's Crook to connect.

I also picked up one of these trailer dollies at the Harbor Freight yard sale today. I figured that it'd make it much easier to jockey the Caboose around the yard, and it is light enough, I may even take it camping with us.