Family Camping Trip, July Travel Plans and More

You can imagine how busy it has been around here as our plan is to put the house on the market during the week of July 15th.  Karen and I are heading towards Howell Michigan the same week.

A good time was had by all at our annual family campout, held again at one of Missouri’s wonderful State Parks. Since the early 1970’s there has been a special conservation sales tax in Missouri which helps fund our parks and keeps the user fees low.


This year nearly everyone had an RV so we took five spaces around an inside loop, leaving a large green space between the RVs for play areas, campfires or whatever.


Of interest to Karen and I, was getting used to our water holding tanks. The State Park had electric only so we filled our 70 gallon fresh water and 10 gallon hot water tanks as we entered the park. Our grey tank is 90 gallons and black is a typical 45 gallons. Nearly ran out of fresh water in three days but luckily there was a water hydrant 60 feet away so I was able to add another 35 gallons with no problem.

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Washing dishes outside

Karen did not know our utility bay water included hot water. We washed dishes outside when able to avoid using grey tank space as well as taking showers at the park shower area. Our trip to Michigan includes seven days without water and sewer hookups. However, we will not be spending as much time at the camper as we are visiting family. Someday, maybe or not, I’ll invest in a 30 or 35 gallon Aquatank fresh water bladder and pump where I can haul water in the truck to the camper. Of course, the grey tank capacity is usually the limiting factor.

On our trip to Michigan we will be stopping in Hannibal Missouri for a couple days. It’s the home of Mark Twain. From there we are heading north on Interstate 55 and are trying to find spots for two overnight stays that keep the trip 200 to 300 miles per day. Hard to find a good stop so far on the south side of the Chicago area before we hit I-80.

I finally bit the bullet and paid for a one year subscription to RV Trip Wizard. And we picked up a large text format road atlas at Walmart for $11. I copy all notes into my Google Calendar so there is one place to check after the planning is done. For navigation I’m still depending on my truck’s great GPS and phones.  I also write out a list of roads and turns on a piece of paper as a quick reference. We still have not got the rest stop thing figured out other than typically we (dogs) can go two hours without a break. Over time I’m sure we will get used to pulling the trailer and feel more comfortable with unplanned stops.

Finally went past the 600 miles towed mark. As expected, hauling the beast around is not as stressful as I thought it would be after a few miles, turns and stops.  Even backed-in twice on the first try each time. A friend was right I suppose when he said if I was used to backing a boat trailer, the fifth wheel would not be such a problem.  One thing still on the list is getting Karen out driving the dually truck. That might be something to do while we are in Michigan. Once we leave fulltime we will only have the one vehicle. When Karen is outside the RV as we park she uses a walkie talkie to communicate with me. For now there are only three words she is suppose to use to help keep me less confused. Stop is the most important word. And when she wants me to push the trailer to one side or the other she says driver or passenger which indicates which way to move the trailer. I think she is still getting used to the fact the trailer does not instantly turn. For me, I have her always stand where I can see her and for the most part, watch the direction the tires are heading for an indication of where the trailer will end up. Works for now.

We still want to get some photos posted of our new fifth wheel and I’ve started a list of items the factory support center will need to repair on the trailer. I’ll report back on both topics when I get a chance.

Lastly, my 20 year old pancake style air compressor would not handle the 110 pound pressure requirements on the RV tires. So, reluctantly I spent the money on the highly recommended Viair 12 volt portable.

Viair 400P RVS

Viair just came out with a new series of air compressor – the RVS – which as an improvement allows you to stand up while the tire is airing-up.  Bought it from Technorv.com. Really like shopping there as well as at etrailers.com. Both companies do a great job or narrowing the choices down to a few good models and brands for about every RV related product you can think of. Both also have instructional videos.

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13 thoughts on “Family Camping Trip, July Travel Plans and More

    • Looks like skipping over to Indi would add just 70 miles. We had planned to stay just south of I-80 Saturday night and then a short drive to a second overnight spots on the other side of all the traffic before heading into the Brighton area on Monday where we are staying at the state park.

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    • From the north side of Kansas City we can pickup 36 highway which is mostly divided highway now. We have been through Hannibal often. I talked to Karen and we may very well just keep going east to Indi as we have three days to get to Michigan after the Hannibal stop. Oh to be full time someday, when we can just meander our way along

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Something that may help plan rest stops: I used an app called “USA Rest Stop Locator” on a recent trip from Savannah GA to Aurora CO. It is free and gives locations of rest stops by state with what facilities are included and user reviews.It was very user friendly and mostly accurate. Hope it helps. I really enjoy reading your blog! My husband and I are planning to be full time hopefully in 2 years once our daughter graduates from college!

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    • Thank you for reading along. Two years is not long from now, hope you guys are already preparing.

      I’ll check out the USA Rest Stop Locator. Just learned today RV Trip Wizard has rest stops on it and as of just today, there is supposed to be a way to access the service via a cell phone through the RV Life app. I’m really trying to avoid annual dues for anything, as they add up, but figured it would make the first years trips more manageable to subscribe to a service.

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  2. Yay you’re out in your new home!! Reunion looked fun! How did you go through all that water in 3 days if you’re using CG showers? As much as I hate using paper, we do when we don’t have hookups. You’ll get used to quicker water saving ways to wash dishes and condense the way you cook. Enjoy!!

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    • When I was filling the fresh water tank I let the hose run until the water came out of the overflow. It overflowed for maybe five minutes and got me to wondering if somehow, something caused a large quantity of water to leave the tank. Especially since, even when we may have gotten carried away washing dishes inside, the grey water tank did not fill that much.

      We have a six day electric only trip planned and really are going to watch our water usage as I don’t have a bladder to add any.

      I also have a device to put on the hose to see how much water is being added to the tank and plan to watch that so as to shut it off before it overflows. Not sure if that will help?

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  3. Sounds like your first outing in your home went well, though it surprises me you used as much water as you did. It’s all a learning process. Hope you find RV Trip Wizard useful, I’ve been very pleased with them. If you find yourself anywhere near Shelbyville on your way to Michigan let us know. We are now volunteering for the Lake Shelbyville COE.

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    • I’m thinking we may not have gotten the fresh tank totally full and Karen learned she can’t do dishes the same way always 🙂 We did not fill the grey tank which is another reason I’m thinking we did not get the fresh tank topped off. Got a two week trip coming next week, six days of that in a row are with electric only. Figure we will do some more learning.

      Eventually, I’ve got to figure out a way to add fresh water from a bladder with a pump I suppose.

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