Summer Vacation with ChILL 2019
What a fun whirlwind of first adventures we had in the summer of 2019 with ChILL. It was a two-week adventure of firsts including, our first pull through the mountains with this rig, long days of travel to get to a destination, upgrades at Jackson Center, riding the Creeper Trail, visiting Mayberry, Hilton Head, Savannah, and every type of summer weather.
Our primary mission was to visit Jackson Center Ohio to have solar installed as well as a few upgrades and minor maintenance. Since this would be quite a trek of over 1,000 miles for us, we elected to set aside two weeks for this journey. The first part of our trip was focused on covering the 1,000 miles to Jackson Center in three segments to make our appointment date with Airstream. We pressed through three days of five and six hour driving per day to cover the distance. As we suspected, this is just about our maximum effort in our current circumstances considering the stress of first-time experiences, our dogs patience (they are good travelers) and leaving margin for the unexpected.
The journey to Jackson Center was relatively uneventful in retrospect. At the time there was some level of stress and we worked our way through many first-time learning experiences. For example, we found that the truck and trailer work well together on the road. It is a comfortable ride without sudden surprises. The cruise control worked well going up and down the mountains. There were a few times when going down the mountains that we had to release the cruise and apply the brakes but most of the time the automatic downshifting did the job. Jeannie had her first experience towing with this rig in the mountains and did great. I unfortunately miscalculated and set her up to drive the most difficult point in the downhill portion of the route in the rain, but she managed it like a pro. Overnight stops without unhooking and managing refueling were new as well, though they proved to be manageable.
We saw some interesting sights as part of our experience. Some beautiful, some just plain KOA parking lots. We learned a lot about cooling the Airstream when traveling in the summer. Later in our travels we found that it helped a lot to use the Dyson fan inside while the A/C is running to try to cool things faster. We experienced temperatures over 105 degrees at times that simply overloaded the A/C until evening. Just hooking up the power and water in the direct sun would cause me to overheat. I found that getting back into the truck’s A/C was perhaps a better choice than baking in the trailer while it tried to cool.
With solar installed and maintenance completed, though it took an extra day, we started a more leisurely pace for the return trip. Initially just covering miles to get to the area we wanted to see and experience, we found an unexpected treasure at Camp Creek State Park. Though our GPS took us on a tour of rural West Virginia, we eventually found the State Park. Full hookups, ample space and quiet nature all around. Too bad it was only one night. I am sure we will find our way back at some point.
On to the Creeper Trail, Mayberry (Mt Airy), Hilton Head and Savannah. Each place had a unique charm and provided an experience to remember. The Creeper Trail was more and less than we expected. It was a fun experience, but was more of a mountain bike trail than a Rails-to-Trails experience. It was a rough ride for the dogs in their trailers and overall, I am sure they would not care to repeat that experience. Mayberry was fun and offered a unique perspective on the real and imaginary. Mt Airy was a real place that enjoyed their relationship with Andy Griffith through his youth and celebrity. Mayberry was that great imaginary place that we all wanted to live and to which we wish we could return.
Hilton Head and Savannah lived up to their previous visits. We found it easier to explore both of them because we had been there before. Both offered new experiences on top of the memories of our past visits.
Overall, it was a great trip. A once-in-a-lifetime experience all packed in a two-week period. But then again, every experience is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure, even if we have been there before. Below you will find a link to a brief video slideshow of our experiences. Be sure to note how often we were surrounded by God’s beauty and the smiles on our faces. Beyond the stresses and strains of the moment, it seems we had a great time, the pictures are proof!
Travel Notes: Continue reading