Prior to bringing Annie home, we spent two days at the dealer putting her through her paces. While this was very valuable – it gave us time to put most of the equipment to use, ask questions and get a few minor things fixed – it is much different than being out on the road, hitching and unhitching, leveling, setting up and closing up at each stop.
For her inaugural run, we concluded that a quick trip to Ohio to see my sister and her husband was the perfect test. We would head slightly south, hopefully find some warmer weather, put Annie through her paces on a real trip, and connect with family.
The warmer part did not work out exactly as planned. After some seasonable weather before we left, temperatures plummeted – by the time we made it to central Ohio, the highs were just barely making it to the freezing mark, with lows in the teens. The trailer did handle that well, and we were comfortable inside, but we did not bring heavy winter coats and did not spend much time outside. For our trip home, seasonable (that is, above freezing) weather finally moved back in.
Our itinerary ended up being: Home – Camp Timber Lake (Huntington, IN) – Alum Creek State Park (Delaware, OH) – Camp Timber Lake – Home. I had originally thought we might stay somewhere else on the way back, but we liked Camp Timber Lake well enough that we decided to stay there both coming and going. See our separate posts on Camp Timber Lake and Alum Creek State Park.
We had two mishaps on our trip. On the first day, we opened one of the slide-outs, only to hear a loud crack and have the slide rock violently back and forth as it continued extending. We looked closely at the slide, but did not see any issues … it was fully extended and sealed appropriately. It was not until a little later that we realized that the pull-out desk had slid open during travel and the slide caught (and destroyed) one of the desk handles as it was opening. It is a testament to the heavy duty construction of the slide-outs that – as far as we can tell – there was basically no damage to the slide despite snapping a fairly solid handle.
The other issue came on our second day of travel. We were now religiously checking that everything was still closed before extending the slides. Oma found no doors open after our travels, but did find the television leaning against the slide-outs. Turns out that for some reason the manufacturer created a home-grown attachment for our TV and attached it with a few self-tapping screws. The screws were clearly not up to the job, and the top screws had snapped off. Fortunately, the bottom screws held and the TV appears to still be working okay. I considered getting a proper mounting plate, but the home-grown mount they devised should be okay with quarter-inch bolts replacing the wimpy screws. That’s a cheap, quick and easy fix.
The only other issue was a bit of mystery water in the utility bay (about four large soaking paper towels worth). I saw no obvious leaks. It is possible that it was condensation that accumulated during the cold weather, but I’m not convinced yet. Something we’ll have to keep an eye on.
Beyond those issues, the trip was a great success. We had a wonderful time with family in Ohio, our litter box solution is working well, the cat seems totally good at home now in Annie and the dog is adjusting. We identified some things we needed but did not have, like a couple of small rugs and a modest list of other things. All of which we can now take care of before we start the long trip.