Saturday, May 22, 2010

Bear Creek Lake Park

[EF24-70mm f/2.8L USM - f/2.8, ISO400, 1/4000, hand held, 5/15/2010]

My first overnight stay in Ellie was on May 15th. Mostly it went pretty well (several mundane details covered in the prior post (and some more here...))

Sites are not assigned when you pay (and are not reservable) at Bear Creek Lake Park. You drive around until you find something you like. Because I'm anti-social, I wanted something on the edge - so I took the first spot I saw on the edge that didn't have anyone next to them. It didn't look too hard to back in to either, and after 5 to 10 attempts, I got it close to where one might think I was aiming. Leveling it took 2 level lynks, but since the ground was moist, the level links just sank in. Instead, I used 2x6 and put 1 level link on top. I had a little bit of an issue with the tire pushing the board/link out of the way, so it took a few attempts to get that just right. Leveling fore/aft, lowering the stabilizing jacks, and plugging in the electric supply was easy and didn't take long. Followed by pulling out the awning and dropping the welcome mat, and I was all set up. Time for a beer. Too bad I didn't pack any. :(

My limited use of the systems and living space for the evening met the expectations of this trailer newbie with the exception of two points.

One, with the Bambi layout, there isn't much room to open the door and get into the bathroom with the bed right there. But at night, when some blankets hang over the edge of the bed and bunch up where the door opens, there is even less space. Irritatingly less space when you are half asleep and 'gotta go'. In my sleep stupor, I didn't know why the door opening felt half as wide as it did during the day, with the latch and door handle snagging my shirt and shorts. It happened again in the morning, and this time I figured it out and moved the covers so the door would open further. I just need to remember this at night, so it doesn't feel like the door has come alive and is trying to bite me in half.

Two, I have no idea how cold it got outside, or how cold the interior aluminum skin got, but I do know that the furnace was set to keep the interior at about 62 degrees (plus of minus 2 degrees - confirmed with a thermometer). The issue I had was that the aluminum skin was 'radiating' cold at me, in the same way that sitting too close to a big camp fire radiates too much heat, my arms felt felt the exact same way (except cold, instead of hot). I found this interesting, since you can't really 'radiate' cold. Cold is just the absence of heat, and you can't radiate the absence of something. I suppose it felt that way because the walls were not radiating the normal room temperature, so my normal heat loss on that side of my arm was not being replaced. Also, something I ate didn't entirely agree with me and I get sensitive to minor temperature changes when I don't feel well. We'll see if it is any better on the trip to RMNP at the end of the month.

Speaking of not feeling well... In the early ours of the morning, I had an urgent need to 'use the facilities'. Other than the aforementioned issue of getting into the bathroom, I was happy that it was close by. Although it would not have been an issue to have stayed in a tent and trekked to a public facility - it wasn't that urgent. Still, score a significant fraction of a point for having a handy, private restroom.

So... I used the facilities, therefore I am in for an education on using the dump station. First, I have to figure out what equipment my rig has for dumping. I open up the storage tube that holds the dump tube/hose. I'm confused. It's just a flexible tube about 2 inches in diameter, about 3 feet long and expandable to over twice as long. There is no connector at either end of the tube. How's that supposed to work? The only thing I can see that doing is making a mess. So I look around some more, and I find 2 orange 'Rhino' connectors, and figure out how to put them on the ends of the tube. Expand the ends of the tube, so that the wire in the tube matches the threads on the connectors. Screwing them on is the opposite direction of screwing in a screw. I made sure I snugged it as far as I could reasonably tighten it - I didn't want it popping off while 'stuff' was flowing. The rest was easy - connect to the trailer, and the other end down the dump hole. Open black valve, wait, close black valve, open gray valve, wait, close gray valve. Disconnect, rinse, stow, done.

One thing that I will do differently next time - I was using these thin green dump station gloves (they look the same as the thin food prep gloves, except they are green). When I was done, there were two holes in the gloves - insufficient protection had it been a messy episode. I'll upgrade to a set of dish-washing gloves for future dump station experiences.

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