I don’t know about you but I was ready for spring to get here weeks ago, so I planned my first camp out for this weekend no matter what the weather was like. Well it was cold and or windy most of the weekend, however I enjoyed myself immensely (and I like to think my family did too!)
For our first camp out of the year, we went to Watkins Mill State Park and Historic Site. We’ve camped here before, and always like to come back for the wooded campsites and the well kempt walking trails and historic sites. Most of the campsites are gravel (there are a few concrete), with both 30 and 50 amp electrical sites available; sewer is not available, but the dump site is easily accessible. All of the campsites have ample trees and several have trees on two or three sides so you have a very private area if you wish.
I think the biggest draw to Watkins Mill is the lake and walking and biking trails. The trail around the lake is accessible from the campsites and is a 3.75 miles trail for walking and biking. Even though there was a chill in the air there were plenty of people and pets enjoying them. The trail is paved all the way around; there are streams and bridges, some rough patches, but otherwise smooth. There are some shorter trails near the Mt. Vernon Church and the Franklin School as well as near the visitors’ center, leading out to the mill. All the trails are pet friendly except for the one leading to the mill.
The area around the mill itself is accessed through the Visitor Center. Inside the center are examples of fabrics made inside the mill, findings from archeological digs in the area, the history of the mill and other odds and ends related to Watkins Mill and the family who ran it.
From the visitors center you can catch a tour of the house and mill (for a fee) or you can take yourself on a tour (which was my option). The trails leading to the house and mill are pea gravel, and to get to the house you cross a tree lined lawn that simply takes you back in time. You can see a historical outdoor kitchen, chickens and turkeys, bee hives, as well as an heirloom garden. All of the plants in the garden were available in the 19th century, so there are some varieties that aren’t seen very often anymore. I must admit, the garden is my favorite part, and I wish that is what my garden looked like. A little further down is the mill, with original equipment and a barn showing common farming machinery from the time period. Oh and sheep, because you can’t have a woolen mill without sheep.
This Saturday (April 20th) they are hosting Spring on the Farm (I apparently went a week too early, stinks for me, great for you). You will be able to enjoy sheep shearing, a livestock display, heirloom garden planting, toy making, woodstove cooking, rag doll making, blacksmithing and more. The event is free of charge and both the Franklin School and Mt. Vernon Church will be open (normally you can only look in the windows).
Weekends from May 25th – August 11th Watkins Mill hosts a Living History Program with costumed interpreters presenting period activities of the late 19th century: gardening, woodstove cooking, laundry, weaving and children’s games.
I always seem to camp at Watkins Mill in the early spring or late fall – I think this year I need to make it again when they are in season.
For more information on Watkins Mill State Park and Historic Site:
I plan on visiting several different local campsites this year, where is your favorite place to camp nearby?
While it is recommended that you do a complete and thorough dewinterization before departing on your first trip, we realize that many people don't have the time to do it all at once. Gary Bunzer
has compiled a list of things you DON'T want to skip.
House and Chassis Batteries
Topping the “must do” list is to charge the house and chassis batteries. Before they can be charged, however, they must be reinstalled if they were removed when the motorhome was winterized.
Check the electrolyte level in flooded batteries, and make sure all connections are clean and tight. Charge the batteries and confirm that all 12-volt-DC devices are ready by operating each one.
RV Propane System
A second item, which may require a service appointment but is vitally important, is to have the propane system and regulator tested by a certified RV service technician. Aside from the fact that this system is required to operate many of the motorhome’s appliances, a leaking or malfunctioning propane system is a safety hazard that must be discovered and repaired prior to operation.
RV Fresh Water System
Third, prepare the fresh water system. For those who winterized the motorhome in the fall using the wet method (adding RV antifreeze to the system), drain and flush the antifreeze from the system and rotate the water heater’s bypass valve to return this appliance to the system.
Next, chlorinate the entire fresh water system using 1/4-cup of liquid household bleach mixed in a gallon of water for every 15 gallons of tank capacity. Pour the chlorine-water solution into the fresh water tank; pump it through all the water lines and fixtures; let it sit for four hours; drain it; and flush until satisfied with the odor and taste.
RV Tire Inspection
Finally, Gary advises that all tires should be cleaned, inspected for damage, and inflated to the correct tire pressures determined by the weight each tire is supporting. This requires that the motorhome be weighed at each tire position using a certified scale.
Each tire should then be inflated to the correct pressures using the tire manufacturer’s weight chart. Traveling on tires that are not inflated to the proper pressures will promote premature tire wear and, more importantly, will affect the handling of the vehicle and could lead to a tire blowout.
RV Doctor Gary Bunzer will be among those conducting seminars during FMCA’s 88th Family Reunion and Motorhome Showcase event, set to take place June 19-22, 2013, in Gillette Wyoming. Be sure and mark your calendar!
For more information on TIRE CARE, please click on this link!
Hope this has been helpful. If you would like to schedule a service appointment, please call 816-587-1500 and ask for Dexter.