Carter has started writing notes about his thoughts and events of the day before he falls asleep at night. Yesterday he brought me his ramblings from our first night on the road. “Life in the RV is hard,” was the first sentence of his thoughts. I asked him why life was hard and he proceeded to tell me about all the things they are having to learn, and how setting up was a lot of work. He is right.

Our first day was hard, or at least it was a lot of work.

Our plan was to hit the road early Saturday morning, January 18, 2013. Late Friday night found Brady and I trying to finalize the organization of the RV.  We decided a good night sleep was more important and we could organize at our first campsite, after all, we had all the time in the world.

We woke to a very cold morning. Big Mamma (the RV) was NOT toasty warm as we had expected her to be.

The batteries where dead… the kids were not impressed.

We made quick work of closing up the RV, packing the truck, eating donuts and apple juice for breakfast and hit the road at 8:30 am.

It was a short 2 hour drive to our first destination, Turtle Beach Rv Park in Maneteca, CA. It is one of the Thousand Trails Rv Parks were we will be spending most of our time thanks to their annual zone passes. When we arrived at the campsite we were informed that despite having reservations with Thousand Trails, there were no spaces available with power and water for us, but we could “dry camp” on the beach for one night then move to a space with hookups when one became available.


We found a beautiful site next to the water and set about making camp, (or home as we need to start calling it.) It didn’t take long to get everything set up thanks to power slides, awnings and a 6 point leveling system. We had just finished setting up and had sent the boys to the bath house for showers when the camp host came to tell us they had a spot open up and we could move to a location with power. I was tempted to stay put, but Brady pointed out that our batteries needed a good charge and being hooked to shore power for a couple days was probably a good idea. Trina helped us pack back up, then we headed to the new sight.

RV’s have come a long way since the 26′ 1986 tow-behind Brady and I owned years ago.

Setting up the new RV consists of a few basic steps.

Find a fairly level spot.

Back the MAMMOTH 43′ RV into a tight spot while being watched and assisted by a captivated audience of neighboring RV’s who are very anxious to impart their wisdom.  (Have you seen the Long, Long Trailer? If not you need to watch it to truly appreciate this experience.)

Lower front landing gear (with button provided) and release the weight from the truck.

Unhook the truck. Realize you need to move the RV to the right 3 feet, hook back-up to the truck and repeat.

Connect to shore power. Look for the 30/50 amp adaptor, while the captive audience discussed the pros and cons of your specific RV and then run to town to buy a new adaptor when you realize you don’t have one.

Return to your camp sight after dark and tell your husband you will wait in the truck while he finishes getting the RV level.

Husband and sons press button for self leveling system and wait about 1 minute while the 6 jacks are lowered and adjust to level.

Press button inside RV to activate slides and awnings.

Press button to turn on water heater and set thermostat.

At this point we walked into the RV that still wasn’t organized. Totes, bags and boxes were EVERYWHERE and the kids were done being helpful. We shuffled things around, ate peanut butter sandwiches for dinner and sent everyone to bed. Organizing would wait until another day.