Our first RV was a new tent trailer in 1991. We were so proud, and anxious for our first big outing to Calaveras Big Trees State Park. We were meeting my sister and her family, who were traveling in their 24 foot travel trailer. We arrived first, and checked out the two sites that were assigned to our families. One was up on a seemingly high knoll, the other on a slope. Thinking that our small lightweight rig would handle the knoll better than the larger trailer, we went about setting up on the knoll. We were about all set up and Ricky Ranger comes and informs us that this site was for the travel trailer, and we were to take the sloping site. So we had to start all over again, we collapsed our tent trailer, hooked up and moved down to the other site.
Once again, we unhooked the trailer and assessed our position. Remembering what the dealer had told us a few days before on how easy it is to move a tent trailer by hand to better position it, we decided that turning it a bit would give us a better view. So, we removed the tire blocks and started to shove our little trailer. Well, it moved all right—right down the slope! It was rolling uncontrollably, dragging me along. It finally stopped—right into the side of our van!! Naturally leaving a nasty dent! Ok, hooked up again—pushed it up the hill, unhooked, and start to set up once again. In the mean time, we now have two cranky, hungry kids and a missing dog. While dealing with all of the above, we notice a 5th wheel pull into the adjacent site. They unhook, and within a few minutes, they have their two lawn chairs set up and are enjoying a cold drink. My husband and I could only look at each other in dismay, and envy. So far our first day with our new rig had been nothing but disaster! We p! romised ourselves—SOMEDAY, that will be us!!!
Now my brother in law shows up with his trailer, and gives us guff for taking the “easy spot”, as he bottomed out on his trailer trying to get it up on the knoll. Finally, we are all set up and sitting around our collective campfire when the neighbor from the 5th wheel comes up to our group asking about refrigerators – my husband looks at him and says “no, but I know you”! It turns out that our neighbor was my husband’s best friend dad from high school back in Oregon. They had a lot of fun reminiscing around the campfire that evening.
Flash forward 10 years-we became the proud owners of a 5th wheel after building 10 years worth of memories with our tent trailer. We can finally pull in, unhook, pull out our chairs and enjoy a cool beverage in minutes. We frequently toast our memory of the Calaveras Big Trees adventure.
Submitted by Margo Wilson of Orangevale, CA as a part of the RV Centennial Celebration “Share Your Favorite RV Memory” contest.
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