Northern Spirit Shakedown – Glamping Days 1 through 4

Hi! Did you miss me? Just a little? I’ve missed you, but boy, has this learning experience ever taken up our days. We’ve had long days since picking up the trailer, what with orientation, figuring out how to use our new toy without breaking it, and kitting it out with the bare necessities. As green as we are at this glamping life we really don’t have a foundation to start from, so we’re trying to be as logical and practical as we can.

That’s us with our new Place!

The people at Trailblazer RV are fantastic and so friendly and patient with us. The orientation went smoothly, but it was a lot of information to take in. When we got to the campsite at Diamond Grove RV Campground it took a bit to get the hitch to disconnect, but we did not need to call for assistance. Then we thought we locked ourselves out of the trailer, but just as I connected with someone at Trailblazer Dan pulled the latch the right way and voila! The door was open! I told whoever answered the phone that all it took was to just make the phone call to them to convince the door to cooperate – Murphy’s Law in our world. We’ve had no problems with the door since.

Dan noticed some of the seals on the outside panels appeared to have gaps, so Trailblazer is going to take care of that when we return home.

Plug in the shower???

And the plug in the shower — yes, plug in the shower, I know, why does a shower need a plug??? — would not stay open and the little handle kept popping off when we’d pull it. We didn’t know what kind of plug it was, so we didn’t want to put too much pressure on it (you know, with a lever or something) because we didn’t want to break it. After consulting with Dale at Trailblazer (who also shook his head at the idea of a plug in the shower), he looked into it and confirmed that we could just pull that entire cap right off the drain and problem should be solved. They’ll take a closer look as well while they have the trailer.

As in all (most?) trailers like this one, the bed lifts up on hydraulics to expose storage space underneath. What’s different about our storage space is that the manufacturer has designed bins, drawers, and a seating area in that storage space, including a spot to keep the laundry basket. It’s awesome! I love the smart use of that area. The only problem here is the motion sensor light that was provided in the space. It switches on and off at the slightest movement or shadow, day and night. In other words, all night every night the light would start flashing on and off from under our bed. We mentioned that to Dale as well, and he suggested we could either have it removed entirely or change it from a motion sensor to an on/off switch. I like the latter idea, so they’ll do that for us while they have the trailer as well.

The only other issue is not one we’ll be asking the dealer to look into because it’s not a defect, it’s just an observation and one that I can remedy myself. And this one is odd coming from a Northerner like myself who is used to sleeping through sunlit night skies. The skylights and vent covers in the trailer (as I understand in most trailers) pretty much glow when there’s any external light. So we’ve found that despite having the blinds drawn in the bedroom, the vent cover is what lets us know that dawn has arrived. The easy fix, of course, is to velcro a dark piece of cloth over the vent at night, so I’ll take measurements and make something when we go home to bring back later in June.

Now, we have no point of reference from which to know how much rocking and rolling (without the obvious explanations for such, wink, wink) is normal and how much is because we haven’t applied the stabilizers properly. Whether what we experienced — which wasn’t terrible, but was definitely noticeable, especially when Dan is walking around (you can hear him walking around in our house, and our house is solid) — was normal or not is now moot. Dan being Dan has used 2×4’s to build additional stabilizers at the hitch jack (for the front/back rolling) and for the stabilizer jacks (for the side/side rocking), as well as the wheel chocks between both pairs of wheels. This trailer is barely moving at all now, not even in the gusts of wind we’ve experienced the last couple of nights!

We were warned at the orientation that the oven temperature would not likely match the numbers marked on the oven dial, and my first lighting of the oven proved her correct. We were very glad we took her suggestion to get an oven thermometer. I have to set the dial at the highest setting of 490 to get it to reach 400, and about 432-ish to get to 350 (which is what I needed to bake brownies…). I still couldn’t bake the brownies the first night I turned the oven on and learned about the temperature gauge, though. I’m sure there are those of you out there who have probably guessed why. It turns out there’s ‘stuff’ that needs to burn off in the oven before you should use it the first time. It got really smoky and smelly in the trailer there for a bit…

Our first cooked meal in the trailer.

We did get to use the range sooner than intended. We had planned to roast hot dogs over a fire for our first meal at the trailer, but shortly after purchasing the wood and before Dan could actually start making kindling out of some of it, dark clouds started rolling in, the temperature dropped, and it eventually started to rain. Yeah, we fried those hot dogs in a frying pan with some onions on the range instead. It was actually pretty awesome, and damn, does the gas range ever cook fast! Totally have to get used to adjusting the heat levels down from what I’m used to. We had purchased the ‘camping condiments set’ — ketchup, mustard, relish — to compliment our meal, but decided not to partake of the provided ketchup upon discovering the seal had not properly set at the manufacturing facility. Still trying to find a small bottle of ketchup to replace it.

Adelle, Dan, Paul, Sarah – First visitors!

We had our first visitors at the site Saturday morning, which was pretty exciting I do have to say. My Uncle Paul and Aunt Sarah stopped by and received the grand tour of our new wheels. They’re glamping veterans themselves, so they duly appreciated what we have and offered invaluable advice as well. We had a nice visit and hope to see them again later this week.

After getting some more shopping done that afternoon (it seems never ending!) we finally took some time to ourselves by going to West Edmonton Mall for supper and a show. Bourbon Street has changed its selection of restaurants over the years since we were last there, but we ended up going to Earl’s because the wait wasn’t terribly long and gave us time to go across the hall afterwards to Rick Bronson’s The Comic Strip. I have to mention, the clam chowder at Earl’s was amazing! They tweaked the recipe to really make it their own signature dish with a subtle smoky-sweet taste. Totally worth it, and likely all I’ll be ordering at future visits.

ISMO at The Comic Strip

At The Comic Strip we were entertained by the host (who’s name I now forget, I’m sorry), the opening act named Gulliver Twist, and the main attraction: ISMO. Look him up, he’s a Finnish fella now living in LA giving a solid bit on the oddness of the English language and the varying uses of the word “shit”. It was a good show and I’d recommend seeing him if you get the chance.

Sunday ended up being a fuller day than intended, starting with taking longer than I’d hoped to update our books (i.e. pay some bills) in the morning before managing to get out to another fun event: the Leduc Rodeo and Car Show. Specifically this afternoon we watched some barrel racing, which I thought was a lot of fun, and then took a closer look at the vintage vehicles at the car show.

Carmen on Posse
Julia on Navajo
Cassie on Crimes Times Nine
Ford F100
Check out the plate.

We finally ended the weekend having my Mom and Step-Dad over for supper, which was entirely made on the range/oven. Fried chicken breasts, fried baby potatoes with green onions and spinach, orzo pasta salad, and garlic bread. My mom didn’t know what to do with herself because the kitchen is way too small for more than one person to work in it, lol! We followed up with brownies, which almost turned out except that I didn’t know I had burned the crust until I served it. But the inside and top were still good, so I’ll take it as another learning experience for this oven. Mom and I played a game of Canasta while Dan and Andy watched some local TV.

So that pretty much catches us up here. It’s already Midnight again and I have an early appointment tomorrow, so I’d best let you all go.

Adelle and Dan

2 thoughts on “Northern Spirit Shakedown – Glamping Days 1 through 4

  • That camper looks awesome! Sounds like you’ll have all the kinks worked out in no time. Hope you enjoy all your all your new adventures….John


    • Thanks, John! That was a busy week, but we’re looking forward to the Calgary leg next week. It should be a little more relaxed. Can’t wait to see you then 🙂


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