Our Chalet Truck Camper

Our Chalet Truck Camper

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Dry camping on the Maine coast

Dry camping on the Maine coast

A most excellent, if cold, adventure this past long weekend. TC friends Cathie and Mikeeee T with Miss Della the Basset Hound from near Boston, MA and Toni and Ron from Cape Cod came up Friday night. We celebrated an early Thanksgiving and had a big dinner with a "bit" of wine and spirits. Fortunately our house power breakers and extension cords held for the two TCs in the yard and all slept warm in their own TC beds.

Next morning we had a yard full of TCs, two Lance and a Host. Packed up and hit the road. Stopped at a big craft show in Augusta, had lunch at a boat launch along the Kennebec River, and then stopped a bit in Bath, ME. Our destination was Recompence Campground at Wolfe's Neck Farm in Freeport, ME.

Even though the campground is officially closed, campers can stay at $25 a night with no facilities except a very cold outhouse. We lined up along the point of West Bay after driving through Wolfe's Neck Farm and being the center of attraction for herds of cattle who probably hadn't seen a TC convoy before.

We had two absolutely perfect days of camping. Days were in the high 30s, low 40s for temps, not a drop of rain, bright blue skies but a healthy wind that reminded you it was November, not July. Big flocks of seagulls and small flocks of geese and ducks were in front of the campsites all the time. Incredibly relaxing to sit by a fire and watch the tide come and go, gradually revealing the rock ledges and seaweed beds right at your feet.

We've got to thank Mike again for his help with learning how to properly use the Honda eu2000i generator. This was our first ever dry camp and it was occurring when the night temps were in the 20s. First night I just about froze because I didn't know that the furnace wouldn't drain the batteries overnight so was too conservative on setting the temperature. The extra insulation in the form of Dow Insulation board and space blanket under the bed helped some but there was still what felt like a draft between the mattress and cabinets. That space got stuffed with bath towels around 3AM! The other campers are snoozing away because they have their temps set higher and also have 12volt bed heaters. Guess what we are going to order?

Sunday we trucked over to LL Bean to see the new hunt/fish store and poke around a bit. Freeport can be a mob scene on a sunny holiday weekend so we didn't stay long. We did go down to http://www.grittys.com/ Gritty McDuff's Pub and enjoyed pub food along with locally brewed Christmas Ale, some of which found its way back to the TCs. Maine is blessed with a lot of small micro breweries and this is one of the best.

We returned to Recompence for a much warmer evening. We are thoroughly enjoying the new Host Rainier especially for the floor space. Each evening we hosted (no pun intended) the meal, fitting six adults, a spare small table and extra chairs in for dinner. I'm still learning the convection/microwave unit so heating up food was a bit of a trick on my part.

Only downer so far is that we aren't able to run the generator with the propane furnace going and then start the convection oven. The oven draws 13 amps and will only run for 6-7 seconds and then kick off if the furnace is running. Pretty easy to just turn off the heat for a bit while dinner is cooking. Dometic refrigerator worked perfectly off of propane.

Good company well enjoyed, lots learned about the Host and dry camping. Both the other rigs had full water with hot water heaters going even though the Lances did not have heated basements. Here we are with a heated basement but no water other than Coleman water carriers. We'd already winterized and chose not to drain out the antifreeze, purify and re-antifreeze for a weekend. Worked well but with all we learned, next time we will not hesitate to use the camper in cold weather like it is designed for.

The Host is now unpacked, off the Ford and covered up with the ADCO cover.

We'll keep the area around it snowblown this winter. Never know if we'll get an overwhelming urge to take off but spring isn't that far away. Right??