camping · travel

Camping Adventure 3: Lake Guntersville and Beyond

We got back from a 4-night stay at Lake Guntersville Alabama State Park about 4 hours ago. Coming back is always the most exhausting part of the trip. Not only do you have to dump, prep for travel, hitch up, and double-check that you didn’t leave anything behind, you have to do it all in a fairly short window. No taking a couple of days to pack like you do before leaving home. So I’m sore, tired, and still have to clean the camper, do the laundry, and make sure we’re ready for our next adventure.

Slow Moving Vehicle
Slow Moving Vehicle

We’ve already made plans for a week’s stay at Harrison Bay Tennessee State Park. It’s about 15 minutes from there to my mother’s-in-law house (that looks weird, but it is grammatically correct). She has a full house and no beds for company. Our visits up until now have always been long weekends because we had to get a hotel room or stay at a beautiful bed-and-breakfast called The Mayor’s Mansion. Don’t get me wrong. I love B-&-B’s, but they’re not economically feasible for an extended stay. Having the camper allows us to stay the week on the cheap. Most state parks are less than $30 per night and that includes water and electricity. Just one more reason we’re loving the RV life.

I’m still wishing we’d bought a larger truck. The F-150 we got just barely does the job. We have to watch our weight because, at 5,500 lbs. (~2,500 kg), the camper only gives us about 600 lbs. (272 kg.) of wiggle room before we are at the F-150’s maximum towing capacity of 6,100 lbs. (2,767 kg.) There’s no hope of driving with a full water tank for a boondocking adventure. It’s enough of a struggle to just get to the campground dump station when the black and gray tanks are full. When we go to Chattanooga, TN, we plan on shopping for food once we’re there. No since in weighing down the camper with food to haul since we’ll practically be in town.

Mountains are another issue. We did pretty well on Monte Sano Mountain and whatever the name of that mountain east of Guntersville is. The thing that concerns me is we stay in 4th gear at about 2,900 rpm just to do 60 mph (95 kph) on fairly level highways. If the truck ever kicks over to 5th gear, the best we can do is about 55 mph (88 kph). That’s going to take a toll on the engine and I’ll need to get more than the recommended service on the truck. Tackling the Appalachians and the base of Lookout Mountain will be interesting, to say the least, especially since everyone on I-24 drives at eleventy-bazzillion miles per hour (I’m unsure what that is in metric). I think I should get a “slow moving vehicle” triangle for the camper. Not that it would keep the 18-wheelers off our tail. When they pass, they rock your world, literally.

We’re getting better and better at chasing the odd, little happy.

P.S. We shot a couple of videos while at Lake Guntersville. Come by We’re Fixin’ To Camp on Youtube and check them out.


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