I hope everyone is enjoying their summer so far! Before I get into our less-disastrous but still slightly dramatic second trip, here's a little peek into some non-bus trips of the summer.
I (Sarah) went to Chicago for a little weekend trip to X-Fest--a convention dedicated solely to The X-Files. It was a perfect weekend of meeting and mingling with some of the show's actors/contributors and having an absolute blast with my fandom friends. It was truly a dream of a weekend.
Wendy and I also took a trip back to San Diego where we got to spend time with friends and the amazing views.
Now for our second bus trip to Lake End. We scheduled four nights in a different campsite than our first one. The campground was not very crowded, which was nice and peaceful. The drive over was a tad nerve-wracking after the last debacle, but we made it without issue. We still don't have a generator so the ride was a *tad* warm and of course the dogs insisted on touching me the entire time.
Our campsite was a pull-through site that doesn't require backing up. It was a long site and we initially pulled up far enough to not have our neighbor's sewer hookup right in our faces, but our electrical cord wasn't long enough. We decided to just set up our camp toward the front of the bus instead, but that meant we wouldn't have the side of the bus to block rain from getting on the table. We improvised and put up a tarp on one side of our tent to protect the table. We also added a fourth set of doggy fences to give us a ton more room in our set-up.
There are a few new upgrades on the bus. Wendy added a little shelf in the bedroom for the blu ray player to sit on that folds up and stays in place with a small bungee cord. We found these cute little puppy butt hooks at Ikea in San Diego. They are perfect for hanging up the dogs' leashes and harnesses. Last time, we had them out on the table or shoved in the cabinet. We use them at least twice a day, so I figured it would be easier if they were readily available and also out of the way. Wendy added two extra drawer catches to the big kitchen drawer and it *still* flew out while driving, so we just attached a bungee cord to the gate hook on the side of the cabinet and on a cabinet door handle. Voila.
For most of the trip, we just relaxed. It was wonderful! I read a book that was hilarious--The Tent, the Bucket, and Me. It's about the disastrous camping trips that Emma Kennedy took with her family in England in the 70's. We took the dogs on lots of walks and stayed in the shade as much as possible.
It was quite hot so we brought a little pool for the doggies and I packed popsicles in the freezer. Our big orange fan helps a lot. We used the giant sink to bathe Zuri Ann this time when she walked through the mud. The giant sink is really one of my favorite bus features.
Our friends, Tammy and Gretchen, camped in the site next to us for the last two nights. They brought a pool that we all cooled off in.
On our last full day, Wendy happened to glance under the bus and noticed the gray water tank was leaking. It turns out it hadn't been draining through the hose we had set up. It likely hadn't drained at all our first trip either. It explains why the last couple bus rides were very bumpy--all that extra water weight we were carrying! Wendy drilled into another spot on the tank where it's possible to attach a bigger 1.5 inch hose. We had to drain the incredibly foul-smelling gray water into a bucket and the small pool and dump it into the sewer drain. Luckily, Tammy and Gretchen were there with a vehicle to take Wendy to the hardware store for a new pipe, but the store didn't have a hose like we needed. We ended up just showering in the bath house that night.
With the gray water tank fully drained, our drive home was a lot less rough. With cloudy skies and the threat of rain, our ride home was also a lot cooler. Once we were home, Wendy was able to find the hose she needed and rigged up a new system that should work this time.
The bus also got its first bath! It was surprisingly dirty and took a good bit of energy from both of us to get it clean. We still didn't clean the roof, just as far up the sides as we could reach. Hehe
This week we went to renew the Louisiana inspection tag that is required on all vehicles. For school buses and other gigantic vehicles, a commercial tag is needed and must be renewed yearly. There are only a handful of places that issue commercial tags, and Wolfpack Mechanics in Schriever is one of them. The guys remembered our bus from last year when it was gutted and had only the unfinished cabinets and some framing up. They were very impressed with the finished product! Super nice people. We passed inspection and even got a quote for six new tires. We plan to get those before our Thanksgiving trip.
On our way home from the shop, I was driving and turned at a 4-way stop. As I was turning, an 18-wheeler also at the intersection honked his horn. We found that odd and Wendy walked to the back of the bus to see that the side door had come open (again... this is the third time!) so she held it shut until I could pull over and help her get it closed. So we pull over and close it and are driving along and I said, "Well, at least the TV didn't fly off the bed!" I swear to you not two seconds after I said that I got to another intersection and look in the mirror and see the woman in the car behind us emphatically signaling me to stop. She gets out of her car WITH OUR TV and hands it to me through the window. *face palm* It was so embarrassing. The TV looked semi-unscathed, but when Wendy plugged it in, you could see the screen inside was shattered. At least we can salvage the bracket off the back of it.
One of these days, we will have an uneventful trip and I. Cannot. Wait.