There was no question taking at least a one or two-day pre-trip trip would pay off. It was just a matter of fitting it into our schedule, and prioritizing, as we are eager to hit the road, and head north before (and yes Montana had one today) a winter weather advisory hits.
Common sense won out and hours after we completed work on the key systems and finish out (still some hooks to hang) we went south to spend our very first night in a trailer. The San Mateo campground, a part of San Onofre State Park, just north of San Diego near San Clemente, is a state park only two or so miles from the Pacific Ocean. It was just the ticket for a shakedown cruise. (And we immediately wrote our first review for Campendium!)
Though a single night was expensive, it was very accessible, there were no surprises, it wasn’t crowded, and, if you can blur your eyes a bit and get beyond the brown California landscape, is situated in a lovely spot. We tested all our systems – hooking up to electriciy and water. The hot water heater was the star of our tests (or the hero of the day, as we like to say), and the shower too. The propane had a few glitches – one of which Ben has worked out (getting the second cook-top burner going) and one we still have to fix (getting the fridge to run on propane-this is the current villain).
We had two great meals – the oven worked well, the kitchen is big enough for two people to work in comfortably. The bed (converted from the dinette, with a 3-inch memory foam topper) was super comfortable. Our neighbors were lots of bunny rabbits, some prairie dogs (we think) and a few other campers – including two sets of fellow Airstreamers, who gave us their tips on other California campgrounds to visit.
So what did we learn? Don’t leave home without your bread knife or aluminum foil. That’s all I forgot to pack. Not bad. Another hero: those lights you clip on your ball cap ROCK for hands-free night-time navigation to the campground bathroom (hat tip: Monica N.) Be always grateful one of us knows how to fix things – another couple in the campground had a water leak and were washing dishes etc out basins on their picnic table. We had a leak too, but Ben fixed it! Yes!
So we wrap up about four months in Glendale, the final stage of a restoration that began in December 2013 when Ben met the previous owner at dawn in a rest stop parking lot in Michigan to make the sale- thank you Craigs List, another key player in this restoration. Next post, from the road…