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  • Writer's pictureLily Temple

Practice Trip #2 - Placerville, KOA

We just returned from our second "practice" trip prior to leaving for our "Big Long Trip." We went to the Placerville, KOA, which I would give a solid 3.5 stars. The campground was just a tad run-down, and our campsite wasn't ideal--it was a little cramped and at the top of a hill. There was not much space to try out our new outdoor rug or set up chairs, and it was right next to the storage shed for the campground (not especially scenic!). We didn't have any neighbors, which in one sense was nice, but the campout also lacked the community feel we had at the Petaluma KOA (our first "practice" trip). The staff were all kids in their 20's who were relatively friendly, but less than enthusiastic about creating a great camping experience for the people camping. We still had a good time though! The pool was fun, they had a cute little island with bullfrogs and tadpoles, baby geese and turtles, and there was a make-shift train ride for the kids.

Overall, the trip went much more smoothly than the first practice! We were VERY glad to have the extra weight capacity in the dually for starters. The other truck was already slightly over capacity without even being packed. We were hesitant to bite the bullet and switch to a dually at that point because we thought we wouldn't add a TON more weight, but it's safe to say that was incorrect! We definitely had a lot of weight to carry just for the practice trip, let alone for a whole year of living in the rig.

Once at the campsite, Jeff got the rig level and set up very quickly, and seemed to be more confident in setting everything else up and using it (I have literally no idea how the rig works or how to operate 99% of it... insert grimace face). The kids' sleeping arrangements are still not ideal though. Laramie's teeny tiny pack n' play (20"x30"!) fit well in our room, but she seemed to hate it! She woke up all night long and had a hard time falling asleep. She does fit in it, but it's hard to lower her to floor level without waking her up, and the mattress seems about as comfortable as piece of plywood. I ordered her a cushier mattress to try. At 11mos I think she's probably old enough not to suffocate somehow on a softer mattress. The other two kids did ok in their bunks except nap time for Georgia was a disaster! Brooks doesn't really nap anymore, but at home we put him in our bedroom for a "rest" (i.e., parents get a rest!) while Georgia naps in their shared bedroom. In the rig, Laramie needs our bedroom for naps, so we tried to put Brooks down for a rest in his top bunk while Georgia napped on the bottom one. Instead of resting and napping, they played and generally caused a ruckus in the bunk room, and we spent two hours yelling at them to be quiet. No one got any rest! On the last day of the trip we waited for Georgia to fall asleep and then lugged Laramie's pack n' play in the bunk room, and made Brooks rest in the master bedroom. That worked better - but it was kind of a hassle to break down the pack n' play, drag it to the other side of the rig, set it up again, and then do it again after naps. That might be what we have to do until Laramie is big enough to share the bunk room!

Now that we're home we have the challenge of figuring out what to pack for the year, what to donate, and what to store (and where to store it!) so it will be out of my brother Will's way. Just about two more weeks to go!

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