About a month ago Mike and I made a decision. Against the backdrop of Covid-19 and the girls’ school offering both full-time and remote schooling that would track with their classmates, we purchased an RV and decided to take some trips while teaching the girls remotely. With Harper going into 3rd, Everly into 1st, and Lola into Pre-K, their ages are perfect to take a remote year without them being too tethered to sports and social activities. Our trips so far are local ones within Colorado for under a week, every other week through September. Mike has always worked from home, too so we just have to make sure we have a good WiFi solution (we didn’t this time!) and carve out time for him to get some things done.
After our first trip this week, we learned so much. Here’s a rundown of the first day of our first trip to Estes Park with the highs and lows and a few things we learned along the way.
Here we are in route! My car’s engine is really struggling to tow and often revs really high but we made it. 🥴 Estes Park is about 90 minutes from us so I thought it would be perfect for our first time out. I chose Jellystone because they had full hook ups and people around to help us should we have needed it. It was also known to be family friendly and had great reviews. I’m still learning how to choose spots and have since found apps like RV Parky to help in a more complete way, but for our first time, we were happy.
Our site happened to be one on the end with families across from us and behind us so it was quiet day and night. We knew we’d venture out to RMNP during the day, so this would be just a place to sleep and hang by the RV for meals and at night. There wasn’t a lot of space for the girls to play which was the trade off for the hook ups and a fine one for this 3 night trip. We had a fire ring and table with ample space. When we first arrived, Mike was unhitching and I went around the back of the car to help him while the girls and the dogs stayed cool in the car with the AC watching a movie. Before I knew it, Harper and Everly popped around the corner to see what we were doing. At that same moment, we heard a ‘click’ and knew right away what had happened. Jasper (our Schnauzer) jumped up to look out of the front seat window and stepped on the lock button while Lola was inside sound asleep. The AC was on and we were parked safely in our spot, but we needed to wake up Lola to unlock the car. Mike started off lightly knocking on the windows, then after a few minutes I tried to draw the dogs up to the front seat by calling them up, then I blocked off the back part of the window with a trash bag so they’d move over to the front of the window to see my face and hopefully step on the lock button again. It was a long shot and after several more minutes we went back to
knocking banging on the windows. Mike finally hopped on a back tire and started pounding on the roof. This finally caused Lola to wake up and by this time we were both sweating, Harper and Everly were crying, the dogs were freaking out inside the car, and about 5 families wandered over to watch the complete circus our family brought to town. Lola sleepily opened the door and hopped into Mike’s arms wondering what was going on, totally unfazed. We thanked the small crowd of onlookers who asked if we needed anything and went back to unpacking. We made our entrance as newbies who didn’t know what they were doing, an embarrassing and completely fitting way for us to arrive.
Since we got there in the evening, we just stayed put after getting everything unloaded. After dinner (we bought burritos at a fave place along the way, so no cooking was involved), the girls ate up every second of learning how to light a fire. They gathered kindling and asked questions about how light a fire with minimal smoke. I loved the evening and how cool the air felt so I opened up all of the windows in the RV so I could get some fresh air in there, something I always do at home. About 20 minutes later we all jumped when we heard a noise which turned out to be the smoke alarm in the RV from our campfire. And our neighbor’s campfire. 😕 I didn’t think of that for some reason, but lesson learned and it only happened one additional time after that which I consider to be a success.
We also learned that the camping community is a friendly one. People would ride by in golf carts (you can rent them there), or walk by with their kids and always wave or say hi. This was completely unexpected since camping by definition is something you do to isolate with your own people. I felt very safe and always like if we needed anything we could’ve asked anyone. I didn’t realize how serious people take their RV camping. We saw lots of hummingbird feeders along with hanging flower baskets and actual decor outside of RVs along with personalized signs like ‘Tom and Sheila’s home away from home’. There were so many people who really did just live on the road. I was lucky to remember toilet paper, I can’t imagine being so dread of the game that I’m lugging along bird feeders and decorations.
Having 3 girls 8 and under makes it easy to fill a day. They’re pretty happy doing most anything so for 2 days in a row we took scooters over to Lake Estes for a little ride around. We realized that camping is sort of an anti-vacation, it’s not about the big things like with Disney or an action packed resort, it’s the small moments all strung together that you’ll treasure. My favorite moment from that first day was the girls playing cards together in their jammies. Mike taught them a new game and I taught them how to play Solitaire. Everyone adapted quickly.
Next post I’ll cover Rocky Mountain National Park and the secret to getting in these days (you can’t just walk in anymore), as well as a few things we found were really useful like a flattop grill that uses an independent heating source. We wanted one for the house it was so fun to use! Like a personal hibachi.
We’d love any camping tips you have. Find me HERE on Instagram and drop a comment.♥️