Our Camper

We have a new home for the next 5 or 6 months.

We thought about bringing our kayaks and tent equipment but had second thoughts when we read about the prevalence of bears and the potential for stretches of rainy weather.

We spotted a hard-sided popup trailer on the MASS pike several years ago. We found the manufacturer’s WEB site and visited a dealer on CAPE COD. This popup had solid constructions – almost bear proof.

We purchased a 3124KS Trailmanor in November, 2008 from a dealer in Madison, Ohio.

Fred can setup his home office with broadband wireless or WIFI access in the popup or the trailer. Milly has a fairly spacious kitchen – this is very relative. We have a comfortable king size bed to sleep in. We have a sofa and chair with a TV cabinet in the living area. The bathroom is adequate with a tub shower. It has a good heater and air conditioning. We look at it as a vastly upgraded tent!

Setup the Camper is 31 feet long. When collapsed, it is 5 foot high and 24 feet long. Pulling it with a Toyota Highlander is a breeze and we get 15-17 miles a gallon.

We went to pick it up and headed to Florida via the hills of West Virginia and Hilton Head for a month pre-cursor of our planned Alaska Trip.

After what happened the first day, no one would blame us for cancelling all plans. Our friends laughed so much over the email we sent out about that 1st day that we included a copy of it below for your amusement.

Dunfey’s First Day’s experience in new pop Up Trailer – followed by some other emails from 1st trip

1)       We arrived in Madison, Ohio to pickup our new trailer. We stayed the night in the trailer at the RV dealer’s lot so that we could try everything before we left on our trip. We learned a whole lot that night. The electrical outlets stopped working. We had to switch refrig from 120 volt electric to gas. We thought we blew a fuse but check of fuses showed nothing wrong. We had lights but no electric at outlets. We learned quickly that the lights and many other items run on 12 volt.  In the morning, we found out that something fell from the sky in next town (Satellite debris) and the dealership had lost power. The lot had backup lighting. 

2)       The RV Dealership fixed some minor problems and took us on a test drive. Then, we did a test drive. During testing backing up, I backed into a car on dealer’s lot. We spent the rest of the morning with police. There was a minor dent in passenger door but needed to be reported to police since it all occurred on private property. What a start!! 

3)       We headed out very frazzled to Charleston, West Virginia – first destination with trailer on our trip.  I set up my office in the car while Milly drove. I was already late for a business conference call. I made cell phone connection to conference call and set up a “Go To Meeting” so everyone could review the reports we were going to be discussing. I had trouble typing and holding the cell phone. I didn’t have a headphone/microphone for my cell. I also wasn’t with it due to accident and all that went on at the dealership. I was so late that I wasn’t emotionally or physically prepared for meeting where I was the “expert”. It was a disaster! I have recovered and so has customer. 

4)       Then, we discovered that we were going to be late arriving at a State Park Campground in the hills south of Charleston. We also discovered that the State Forrest address didn’t work in our new navigator system. We were up and down the narrow and winding roads leading to the state forest. We got lost 2 or 3 times and revisited these roads more than once. We met some real nice locals who helped us find our way. It seems that the poorly placed signs are hard to see at night. We finally got here about 8 PM. We had to set up our new pop up camper for the first time in the dark with a slight rain falling. Then, we discovered there is no wireless service of any kind in these hills and absolutely no one around. We did figure everything out 1 step at a time. We had supper about 10:30 pm. 

5)       On Sunday morning we discovered we had damaged the trailer coming into campground. We hit something when turning around in a couple’s driveway when we were lost in West Virginia Mountain Hills looking for state park. I thought I hit a tire laying on edge of driveway. Turns out we discovered this morning that I clipped the Valve control off the grey water. We are currently graying America. We also can’t fully close and latch one side of popup since the connections are bent. We can travel okay but don’t know when it will get fixed.  

This morning when we left, there were snow flurries in the West Virginia Mountains as we headed for Columbia, South Carolina. We left via a gravel road winding thru mountain passes. It was beautiful. 

The good news is that the trailer travels really well. Milly can drive it without any problems. We got the gas mileage expected of about 15.5 mpg towing with our new Toyota Highlander.  Our wireless broadband internet connection, for working in car and in campgrounds, worked very well.  

We have found the trailer quite spacious with lots of storage space. The king size bed is comfortable. The Kitchen is to Milly’s liking. The seating area is quite adequate and serves also as an office, dining area. All of these things are relative.  

After two days at in state park near Columbia, we head for Hilton Head to play Tennis then on to Florida.where we will be at Fr DeSoto in Tampa Area, Naples and Traveler’s Rest so far. We will be at my Sister Cis’s House for Thanksgiving in Winter Haven. Nov 28th on in still being planned. 

Attached are 2 photo’s taken at our first trip stop in West Virginia.

Peace, Fred

From: Fred Dunfey

Sent: Friday, November 21, 2008 7:23 PM
To: alex , kim  , Craig 

Subject: Hi from Fort Desoto Florda


Things have gotten better with no major issues. We do seem to have daily happenings to keep things interesting.

 Today I lost my wallet. We were low on Gas and your Mother didn’t have her bag.

I thought it fell out of my jacket at a Tennis Club in Sarasota. We called and it couldn’t be found.


I was in a complete meltdown. Then, I wondered if maybe it fell out when I reached into back seat to get computer and sure enough, there it was between the seats.

 The Meadows Country Club in Sarasota is a wonderful place to play tennis. We played with Mort and Pauline Shea, who live in Meadows and at Eastman.

 We enjoyed staying with the Cahills at Hilton Head. Tomorrow we head for a State park south east of Naples in Everglades National Forrest ( or Near it.) for a 3 night stay.Then we head for a state park in prairie section (center of state) on our way to my sister Cis’s for Thanksgiving. We will be staying at Travelers Rest where my Father called home for 2-5 days while we take in Cape Canaveral. Our plan route north hasn’t been determined.

 Hope all of you are doing well. Love  Dad and Mom


From: Fred Dunfey�
Sent: Sunday, November 23, 2008 5:22 AM
To: Jim and Ginny
Subject: RE: We are on our way..

We did finally get some warm weather here in Naples area. (Above 70).

We got to play some tennis with fields from Eastman at Meadows Tennis Club in Sarasota. The weather for Tennis was about right, the facility was outstanding.


We are now staying at Collier-Seminole State Park in Everglades’s area.

We didn’t leave heat on last night and it’s a little brisk right now.

We got our Trailer repaired yesterday. It took about an hour, right off highway.

Hope your weather has gotten warmer.

Enjoy your vacation!




From: ginny   

Sent: Thursday, November 20, 2008 12:10 PM

To: Fred Dunfey

Subject: Re: We are on our way..


Hi Guys,

We’re glad you enjoyed your stay here and that you had a chance to visit. It would be great to do it again some time when the weather is a tad warmer!


See, you learned some more things about your trailer to put on the list of things to do! It’s a good thing Milly got you headed out of here a bit on the early side. Maybe you’ll still make it to your destination before dark despite the trailer issues.


Talk to you soon. Travel safely.


Jim & Gin

—- Fred Dunfey wrote:

> Thanks for your hospitality. You both were exceptional hosts. We really

> appreciated it.

> It’s too bad we didn’t plan another day or half day to get our tennis in.

> Hopefully, we will be back here again.


> We did love your place and Hilton Head that we saw.


> Best plans must have room for the unexpected.


> We discovered that the Car Ball hitch was in the storage compartment only

> accessible when Trailer is up.


> Up went the trailer. Put hitch on. Down went the trailer.


> Discovered battery was dead when we tried to use electric tonue jack. (and our hang crank was at dealers in Madison, Ohio!)


> Plugged un car electric. Still wouldn’t work. Had to connect electric at

> site.


> You guessed it . Trailer had to be up. 


> Up the trailer went.


> We connected the car. Went for a walk for 15 minutes to let battery recharge

> a little.


> Down with trailer.


> Finally on our way. Live and Learn.


> Lesson: Don’t leave fridg on battery overnight with camper down!


> Peace and Love, Fred and Milly



From: Fred
Sent: Wednesday, November 26, 2008 8:39 AM
To: Cis
Subject: Fred’s Status – at Travelers Rest




We escaped yesterday out of a bad situation that could have been worse.


We came to Travelers Rest a day early. We are here now.

When we arrived, I was told I could have any empty spot in Golf View. Did I want to wait for a ‘Parker’ or did I want to park my trailer myself. ‘I’ll do it myself ‘, I said confidently.


I pulled into an almost empty Golf View Section, Milly selected a site but there was a reservation or occupied form posted on site post. Milly hopped out to see since most sites seem to have these forms (Actually all outdated but we didn’t know, yet).


I proceeded to start to drive off thru the site to go around again to pick another site without paying attention to Milly. Then, I changed my mind stopped the car and got out.


Oh my God!!, I thought as I looked at the trailer. I had pulled the trailer so the Electrical Post was almost bashing the side of our trailer. It was about to pierce the side window.

There was about an inch room after we pulled the electrical Box shut giving us an extra ¾ inch. I had been about ¼ inch from doing serious damage!


What’s worse, I could figure out what to do, I had to back up or the post was going to rip off one the lights for sure.


Which way to turn the wheels? What could I do?


Then another trailer arrived to take the spot we were stranded on. He rolled down the window and asked if we needed help getting out of his spot.


He looked over the situation and declared no problem.”Just unhook the car and move it side ways , re-hitch it and back it away at a large angle.” Then, he realized that we could do it the way I was positioned. He told me which way to turn my wheels and told me to take it easy backing up.


I did and to Milly’s and my amazement the trailer moved away from the post.


Since I was still a bit dazed, the man volunteered to drive my rig off his site. In doing so, he ran over his sites sewer cap breaking it.


He and his wife are real nice people who are moving in for 4 months.


As Milly said it’s a good thing these angels keep showing up to help us out of Jams.


Today is a new day! It may bring new challenges but we are here and are planning to stay for a while.


See you tomorrow for Thanksgiving for Deliverance!


Peace and Love


 A final note on our first trip:

On our last stop going north  in Fredericksburg, VA we woke up to find the pond in front of us frozen over. We had planned on winterizing the trailer before leaving but now our black water and grey water values were frozen shut and the water line was solid ice. We were now learning about cold weather!

We had to stop at a dump station on the road after the weather warmed up a bit.

You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.


  • Reading about your experience with your new camper made me relive our first days! We bought our camper in May 2003 – only two weeks before we were scheduled to drive from FL to AK. We had never been in a camper, never towed one, never hooked one up or set one up – nothing! Just towing it home after we bought it was a total ordeal. We were scared to death! Then, our first long trip was from FL to PA to visit family. I-95 is the worst interstate to do a virgin drive. We hit torrential downpours, the traffic was horrendous, and we couldn’t wait to make it to our destination.

    The first time we set the camper up and actually used it, it took us about 45 minutes to get everything situated. I’m happy to report that we can set up or break down camp in 15 minutes now. 🙂 And Steve’s gotten really good at backing up to the hitch perfectly the first time. That used to take a while at first.

    Fortunately, the traffic here in AK (and parts of CAN) isn’t too bad. We were wrecks driving through the big cities in the Lower 48. San Francisco was a NIGHTMARE. We were in the wrong lane for one of the tollbooths and nearly ripped our mirrors off the truck! We should have been in the truck lane, and the traffic wouldn’t let us over! I hope you have a better experience.

    We also drove the coast road (northern California) and it was a ‘white-knuckle’ experience for my husband. I was enjoying the sights, but he couldn’t take his eyes off the road as it was narrow and switch-back in places.

    You can read about our adventure across the US and through Canada on the AlCan in my trip blog if you’re interested: http://www.susanstevenson.com/Journal/

    Happy travels! Enjoy your adventure!

  • Jim says:

    Don’t forget:
    The kayaks!!
    Grease for the hitch
    Gaffer’s tape.

    If you’re in Ottawa to look at tulips, there’s anothet thing up there, but it’ws a stretch…the annual migration of icebergs that break from greenland. They usually pass by between Labrador and Newfie in a perdiod late May till late June.
    Who knows, maybe it’as early this year. They float down “Iceberg Alley” between Newfie and Labrador, and also down the other sid, the east side, of Newfie…near the city of St. John’s.

  • Pat Fulton says:

    Maybe you should write a sit-com?


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