1st Camping Trip = Success

So we finally ventured out with our new RV to beautiful Bledsoe Creek State Park in Gallatin, Tennessee. I have to say I was quite impressed with how smoothly our first adventure went for a couple of newbies!

The only real incident we had was not having a long enough water hose to set up the RV the exact way we would have preferred, but we made due. Oh…and that’s including having to dump our black tank for the very first time because we didn’t have a sewer hook-up at the site. It was quite an experience to say the least. And the valuable lesson learned from that is we’ll be keeping some Vicks VapoRub handy to put under our noses during such “dumps”…a little trick we heard about from a friend of ours that’s a police officer!

You can read more about this great state park by visiting our Reviews Page.

One item to make note of about this campground, however, is the abundance of deer. They’re definitely comfortable with people being around because they will get closer to you than any deer I’ve ever encountered…so close that they literally scared the dookie right out of our poor pooch, Stella!

Bledsoe Creek State Park Deer

And if you’re interested in art, I created this illustration that would look absolutely fantastic hanging on your wall!


So visit our Etsy store, Carbon Vintagery, for more unique prints, illustrations and handmade goods!

Carbon Vintagery Etsy Shop


Step 3: Learning about your RV

The old saying of “Practice Makes Perfect” is so true when it comes to RVing! One thing we knew before ever purchasing our own RV is that everyone has their own way of setting up and taking down their campsites. There are always plenty of fellow campers offering tips and tricks for how to do anything and everything, but you’ll eventually find your own way of handling every situation that arises.

When we purchased Lois (our RV) our dealer (Phil Simpson with Bankston Motor Homes of Nashville) offered to come out to a local campground and show us everything we’d need to know to get started as well as 1 night’s stay at the campground. I don’t know if other dealers offer this same service, but we found it extremely helpful!

Phil ensured we knew how to hookup and unhook everything as well as hooking the RV up to the truck for safely towing. Here’s a picture of how Lois looked once she was ready to hit the road:

RV TowingRV Towing Hookup

We then drove down the highway and back to the campsite to learn all about setting her up.

Full RV Hookup

One thing everyone recommends having is a water pressure regulator which is the gold piece between the 90 degree elbow and the white water hose in the above picture. You’ll find the water pressure coming out of the spigot is different at all campgrounds so this maintains a constant pressure when using the water inside your RV.

Featured Items & Where to Buy

So we got the basics down with Phil and we ended up learning a whole lot more on our first camping trip, which we’ll feature in our next post!

Stay tuned for our next blog post: Our 1st Camping Trip

Step 2: Purchase the RV

Once we determined which RV we liked best, we decided to make the purchase. We weren’t initially partial to new versus used, but after much consideration and finding an amazing deal with everything we wanted, we opted for new.

What led us to decide on the ForestRiver Surveyor SP-220 were all of the amenities it had including:

  • One slide allows for more floor space, which is great for dogs!
  • Ample storage for a smaller sized travel trailer.
  • Queen size bed with revolving TV to allow for viewing almost anywhere.
  • Relatively light weight, which makes for easier towing.ForestRiverSurveyor_Lois

So narrowing down the RV to purchase was a relatively easy process for us. The key is to list things that are absolute necessities versus those that would be nice amenities. If you can find an RV that meets all of your criteria…all the better!

We secured financing through our financial institution as we knew we could get a decent interest rate with our long-standing relationship at our local bank. A lot of dealers can also provide financing and depending on your credit situation this may be a better option.

Below are some additional expenses that you may not think about when looking to buy an RV, so please be sure to take these into consideration when making your purchase decision.

  • Storage: We had to determine where we would store our RV since we live in a neighborhood and our HOA regulation stipulate RVs cannot be stored on repestive properties. We found a secure storage place a few miles away from our house that runs $75-$85/month for an outdoor uncovered space.
  • Insurance: Insurance for a travel trailer is a relatively low, but necessary, expense. I would assume insuring a Motorhome may be more expensive than a travel trailer, but am not positive.
  • Registration: Every state has different regulations when it comes to vehicle registration, but our travel trailer must be registered with tags affixed to the vehicle. The cost for this varies depending on where you life.
  • Additional Items: As with a house, you have specific items you’ll need to stay in your RV such as bed linens, kitchenware, etc. You can go however big or small with the purchase of these items or simply take things from home. We elected to buy most items specifically for the RV as moving them back and forth for every trip could become quite a hassle.

Our Purchase Experience

I have to say that our experience with Bankston Motor Homes in Nashville was nothing short of FANTASTIC! Phil & Judy Simpson run this dealership and customer service is their utmost priority. We never placed a phone call to them that didn’t get immediately answered and they have been camping for 30+ years so their experience affords their customers with great tips and recommendations.

Bankston Motor HomesI can say that, as with purchasing a vehicle, the experience you have during the purchase will leave a lasting impression. Be sure to check out my next post as it will feature a special guest, Mr. Phil Simpson with Bankston Motor Homes of Nashville

So stay tuned for my next post: Step 3: Learning about your RV