After a whole ordeal of a weekend, we BOTH finally made it to Fort Bragg, CA. We drove 12 hours from Lake Havasu City, AZ, which ended up taking about 15 hours with rest breaks, and finally made it to Fort Bragg by 3am Monday morning. We pulled into our campground but had a hard time backing the truck and trailer into our spot in the dark. We were both exhausted and not in the mood to deal with it, so we ended up driving down to the hospital and parking on the street for the night.
The next morning, I walked across the street to work while Mike took our truck and trailer back to the campground to get set up. We used our first week to rest, get settled in, and mingle with our neighbors.
The first few weeks were an adjustment. We went from living in a dry, hot desert to a cold, rainy northwest California coast. Each climate comes with its own struggles. In Arizona, we had to adjust to the extreme heat. We used dual AC window units to stay cool and used a fan under a makeshift shade to keep the refrigerator running at optimal temperature. Now in Northern California, we had to adapt to our new environment and adjust for the wet cold.
With the colder climate, our first mission was to get warm. Our furnace had never worked right, so we ordered a new one. In the meantime, we just used an electric space heater. We had done our research on space heaters and found that they can potentially be a fire hazard, so we kept an eye on the outlets and shut off all power sources before leaving the camper to stay safe. We got the new furnace a few weeks later, and Mike installed it the same day.
Our second mission was to get hot water. Our water heater stopped working right before we left for vacation in Hawaii, so we ordered a new one of those too. In the meantime, we used the bathhouse at the campground. The first time I walked into the showers, I noticed a quarter machine on the wall. Apparently, it’s common in California to have pay-showers. We found out early on after testing each one that two of four quarter machines weren’t in working order, so we just used those and got free showers… our little secret.
Our third mission was to stay dry. Mike caulked around the windows and seams of the camper to ensure we had no leaks.
Our fourth and final mission was to combat condensation. Campers are notorious for condensation problems. We installed Hypervent under our mattress last year, which worked great. This year, however, we found standing water and mold starting to grow on the plywood under the mattress. After doing a bit more research, there were a few reasons I could guess why we were struggling with it a bit more this year: 1) obviously the climate, it was colder and raining much more frequently than our winter last year, 2) ventilation, we took the fan out of our camper when we moved out of it for a short time and never got around to hanging it back up, 3) ventilation (again), we had too much stuff around the edges of the bed, like extra pillows, blankets, etc., preventing air flow through the mesh of the Hypervent. So we took care of it by buying a bleach cleaning solution to kill off the mold, got our fan back out to dry the area, put all of our extra pillows and blankets in the trailer, and continuously used our dehumidifier every night. So far, this has worked!
Another issue we had was relying on small town electricity. One night, Mike picked me up for work and we were driving back home when we suddenly noticed it was darker than usual. First we noticed all the streetlights were off, the gas stations were closed, and then we pulled into the campground and realized our neighbors Christmas decorations were off. We had guessed someone hit a pole and knocked out all the power to this part of town. We got back to our camper and had no lights, no electricity, and no heat. One thing we have learned along the way was how beneficial a generator can be. After getting a few gallons of gas from the other side of town, we powered up the generator and were up and running again. Back in Havasu, we had upgraded to the Predator 3500 from Harbor Freight while Mike worked there for a few months and got his employee discount. This generator is perfect for our needs as it can power our entire camper, is extra quiet, and will last several hours on a few gallons of gas.
It seems like the repairs will always continue. We currently need to fix a small water leak at the hose connection. But we always find time to have fun too! When we aren’t working on the camper, we are out exploring Fort Bragg and the rest of Northern California!