We went out for four days last weekend to one of the parks around 2 hours from our house and had a blast. As this was our first real shakedown trip, we thought we'd share the experience.
Towing: Too easy. The T@b pulled right along with the Tacoma no problems at all. All state highways in around the 65 mph range and less. Rolling hill country with no "real" mountains. The smaller narrow country roads made me very happy not to be pulling a behemoth around as they have no shoulders and some pretty steep drops right off the road.
Set up was a breeze and probably took us less time than all the multiple tent set up we used to do when we would take the kids camping.
We were definitely loving the Visor XL, it was a sunny weekend with only a light rain on our last morning packing up to leave. I had done the "90 degree door opening" mod that I found on this forum (thanks!) and it worked as expected. I also added a small noodle on top of the door so the visor would not rub on the top of the door frame in a breeze. (picture on down a little).
This little 2' x 4' table off the tongue was an excellent cooking/prep spot. Ran a propane line splitter off the main tank to run the our old Coleman stove. (Salmon on the prep tray, yum!) The little folding laundry thing in the lower left corner was excellent to hold trash bags. It folds flat and sits on top of our bed while traveling.
You can see the noodle on top of the door on this one. The L.L. Bean thing is a triangular tarp that sits over the picnic table or cooking area, we never set it up as the weather was beautiful all weekend.
No self respecting "Hawaii boy" travels without a rice cooker! This little Black and Decker 1.5 cup cooker rocked and was just the right amount for the wife and I.
We certainly had a lot of fun and were constantly cracking ourselves up as we have been tent camping for the past 30 years and would forget we had things like running water and electricity. We kept running to the Gott cooler to get water and were boiling coffee on the camp stove. Finally we made a cheater run to Wal-Mart and bought a 5 cup coffee maker that stows well in the camper and is set up on the sink so that it's the first button to hit in the morning. (We are both coffee addicts and it gave us a full mug each to start.)
Other notes of interest:
Don't let your wife open all the windows while you're setting up outside. I hit my head on every window during this process.
A noodle on the storage cabinet above my head while sleeping saved me a bunch of other lumps.
Do some advanced yoga prior to trying to get in and out of the bathroom in the middle of the night. Especially after multiple adult beverages after dinner.
Loved the lit up door handle, just enough light to get around in the dark but not bother other campers.
We were certainly the smallest camper at the campground, and thus the main attraction. I don't think there was a camper under 30' in the area all weekend. Everyone would slow down to about 2 mph while driving by and gawk. A few people came over to say Hi, and if I had 50 cents for every time I heard the word "cute", I could start paying for some of the accessories I've purchased!
We also didn't get the memo about decorating your campsite, the Halloween decorations were quite elaborate. Apparently there was a community based group out there that all knew each other and were sponsoring a trick or treat area for kids. One entire end of the campground was lit up with stuff, fog machines and all. They were a great bunch of folks.
Overall it was a hoot. We've pretty much got the camper packed the way we want and just have to grab a few things out of the camp closet, top off the "food box" and throw them in the bed of the truck. That was the intent when we bought the T@b, quick and easy. Hopefully we can sneak in another trip before winter sets in, but if not we are definitely looking forward to lots more camping in the spring.
Until next time-