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October 07, 2009

Flexibility, Part One

October 4, 2009
I think one of the keys to success in the RV lifestyle is your ability to stay flexible. Sometimes things don't work out the way you planned and the ability to stay flexible and "go with the flow" is the gage on which you'll be happy or unhappy in any given situation.

When we pulled into Beachside State Park outside of Waldport on Sunday, I was hoping for a sunny site near the ocean with electric and water hook-ups. It was a self registration set up, where you pick out any site that isn't already reserved, stake out that site and then register after. We were told that there were only two unreserved sites left that could accommodate us for the two nights we wanted to stay. Mom and dad got one right by the bathroom that would accommodate their 30' motorhome and I drove around to the other site, only to find someone had just pulled into it. So I drove back around to where mom and dad were parked and pulled into a site next door without any hookups. I figured it would give me a chance to find out how well "Ellie" does dry camping. It was also $5.00 per night less expensive than elec/water hook up.

My site, in fact most of the park, was shaded, which translates into cooler temperatures. That's nice in the summer, but when you're dry camping in October and the night temperatures are in the 30's, it's cold! But I did find out how well "Ellie" lives up to the task of keeping me comfortable while dry camping.

First of all, I have a solar panel on my roof, which charges my batteries. It's a struggle keeping a full charge when you don't have a lot of sun but it did a good job regardless. Second, I have a catalytic heater which uses propane to heat the motorhome. During those really cool mornings when I couldn't turn on the furnace or space heater, it was really nice to be able to heat the motorhome with my "alternate" heating source. Lastly, I have a generator on my motorhome so I could crank that up (after quiet hours) and be quite comfortable. I think every now and then I should dry camp, just to give my alternate energy sources a chance to perform!

I did discover that I needed additional covers for my bed if the weather was cold and I was without heat. Luckily, mom and dad had a small down comforter that I was able to use. Cooper didn't fare any better on the cold floor. After listening to him whine for awhile, I finally allowed him on the bed with me and he settled down to sleep. He even snored! That comforter made all the difference - thank you mom and dad!

I found I could make coffee, a much needed necessity for me in cold weather, by heating water on the stove and using my small French Press coffee maker. It did a great job at making a strong cup or two in the morning!  It might have been hard to get out of bed in the chilly mornings, but I still had ways to make my RV living quite enjoyable. Cooper and I spent most of the day on the beach, where the sun was shining and the warmth of it inviting and enjoyable. Being able to be flexible was a key to success in camping at Beachside State Park. I was able to learn new things about my motorhome. I found that "Ellie" performed exceptionally well dry camping. I believe it turned out to be even a better experience than if I'd been "hooked up."

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