Pop-Up: Shake-Down or Our First Trip

Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean. — John Muir


For our first trip we decided to stay close to home just in case we needed to run back and pick something up. We chose Jordan Lake State Park since it is only 35 minutes from home. The site we selected was the Crosswinds Campground in Loop B. As with all sites in the NC State Parks system it was clean, well kept and had plenty of separation from the adjacent sites; though the bath house was a bit distant.

We had been tinkering on the PUP for 2-3 weeks and I had tried to foresee all that we would need. So we loaded up and left out on Friday afternoon for the campground. I was surprised how well the camper towed behind the Xterra. I’ve pulled may trailers over the years, ones that towed well and ones that bounced around like they were kites. Let me backup a bit…

I left work at 12:15pm to finish packing and head to the campground. I was on the interstate when my little commuter car cut off due to a mysterious electrical issue. I was still 40 minutes from home when this happened. This is why I have AAA though. I called T to let her know then called AAA. They dispatched a wrecker at 12:40. An hour later the wrecker arrived and I had them tow the car the 5 miles to my in-laws. T and the kids met me there so that I could resume my trip home to finish packing. The kids stayed with the in-laws since they were coming to meet us at the campground for dinner anyway. T and I went home, finished packing, hooked up the camper and were on the road by 5:15pm.



We arrived at the campsite 10 minutes after my in-laws and the kids. I backed in and we started setting up. When we went to pop the top we realized that the awning was missing. Hmm… The gimp strip that holds the awning bag to the aluminum channel on the roof was still attached to the camper. The stitching had completely failed. T and her father decided to go look for the awning on the toll portion of the interstate. My son and I started setting up the camper and getting settled in. When the search team returned they had the awning stuffed in the car. It had torn off and slid down the interstate at 70mph. The bag and awning both suffered irreparable road rash.



Even with the rough start to the trip we ended up having a fantastic time. We ate well, swam in the lake, hung out on the beach and generally relaxed. I was relieved to find that I slept well too. Sunday arrived and we lingered through the morning but had to be home just after lunch. The drive home was uneventful. We declared the weekend a success and were sold on the PUP.


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