Tuesday, March 17, 2020

...Switching from boat stories to camper! First stop: Huntsville, AL

We spent the Fall at home in Michigan -  After the holidays with church and family, it was time to switch gears to our camper...Let me back up just a bit, though.  Last April (2019), we left Key West with our truck camper.  We had been camping in an older Jayco 5th wheel that we left in storage on the base for the past 3 years.  While we loved it, the storage area we had been using was eliminated.  Also, the number of camping spaces on Trumbo was to be greatly diminished – we weren’t sure that we would be able to get a space there in 2020.  Therefore, we had decided that we would try going to Arizona instead.  Having no storage spot for the 5th wheel, and it not being particularly road worthy, we were able to sell it to someone in Key West.
I knew (not so much Dan) that I was pretty tired of traveling and living in a truck camper.  We had decided to keep our eyes peeled for a small 5th wheel, either on the way home or after we got there.  What we ended up finding and buying, a 31 foot tow behind, was not at all what we wanted. But, the price was affordable, the unit was a newer one, and there was lots of room inside. We should have waited, because right from the beginning we did not like that trailer!  We got it home to Michigan, where the tanks promptly froze…Dan had to use a heat gun in the 20 degree temps to thaw the tanks enough to drain – he said “NEVER AGAIN!”  We took it on one 2 week trip to Florida in November – that experience just solidified our opinion of the camper.
Flash forward to January – Dan had been looking on line for a smaller 5th wheel and had located several. He got me involved in searching.  My interests (and therefore my search parameters) are different than Dan’s.  Right away, I found a 2017 Puma 25 ft. 5th wheel with the kitchen in the rear.  In looking at the floor plan, we both decided that we may have found the ONE!  And, it was only about 10 miles from our house.  The next day, we drove there, checked it out, loved it, and negotiated a trade and purchase deal that we could accept.  We delayed our planned departure date for a couple of days to allow time to move out of the old camper and into the new one.  This one is everything we wanted – lots of cabinets and counter space and pantry for the cook.  Plenty of hanging locker space and other storage for everything we needed to take.  The under space is enclosed and, when the heater is running, the tanks get enough heat to keep them from freezing!  Yay!
NOW, I’m back to the beginning of our January 2020 trip.  We left on January 17, Friday morning – that night, the home folks got several inches of blowing snow.  We missed that bullet! 
As we traveled south, we expected that the weather would get progressively warmer, as had been our experience for the past 9 years.  Not so this year.  First night, we were on an Army base outside Indianapolis.  Freezing cold temps – we got in after dark, didn’t even unhook the camper.  Stayed inside and warm.
Next day, we got as far as Huntsville, Alabama, at the Space Museum RV Park.  Once again, FREEZING!!  We thoroughly enjoyed exploring the Space Museum.  My youngest grandson, Isaac, age 10, is very interested in attending Space Camp there, so I took lots of pictures, asked lots of questions – I got excited for him!
We enjoyed seeing the displays in the museum and walking through a mockup of the International Space Station.  We saw where the Space Camp kids sleep and eat.  Their rocket launching site was right at the campground.  Interesting to see that in all the trees surrounding the launch site were remnants of the balloons from their rockets.  I would love to see the actual launching of their rockets – the camp kids must be so excited!
From Huntsville, our next stop is New Orleans – SURELY it will be warm there!
Here are a few pictures from Huntsville.

cool programs for Space Camp

nice program, send postcard to the ISS

quite a few current astronauts started in the Space Camp

cafeteria for Space Camp

pictures from the ISS

mockup of the ISS with Space Camp kids doing a repair

entrance for Space Camp sleeping quarters

cool building for Space Camp dorm

note balloons in trees surrounding rocket launch site 

launch their rockets from behind this screen

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