This past summer we hitched up our trusty little Coleman Pop-up camper and headed west for a “Grand Adventure”.
We spent 16 days traveling and visited 3 National Parks with the camper. Our trip started in Smithtown, NY and headed first to Ohio to camp overnight at Barkcamp State Park.
It was a nice park but the facilities were a bit lacking.
Glad we only stayed one night. Then it was up early the next morning to hit the road and make it to Cuba Missouri for our second stop.
We stayed at Meramac Valley Campground for two nights so we could do some sightseeing in St Louis.
Then we were back on the road again. This time another long drive to make it to Amarillo, Texas where we stayed at a very nice state park called Palo Duro Canyon.
After a single night at Palo Duro Canyon we hit the road again to drive to Sedona. I wish we could have stayed another day in Palo Duro, it was such a nice park.
We drove a good 10 hours to get to Sedona and stayed at Rancho Sedona RV Park. It was a very nice RV park and we all loved the amenities.
While we were in Sedona we did some hiking and then stopped at Slide Rock State Park and did some swimming in a VERY COLD river that had cut through the red rocks and made some natural slides. It was the highlight of our stay in Sedona.
From Sedona we got back on the road for a short 3 hour drive up to the Grand Canyon. We stayed inside the park at Mather Campground which was pretty nice. The sites were good and the facilities were clean. It was amazing that we were so close to the actual canyon (5 minute drive) and yet you would have no idea that it was there.
When we arrived at Mather we had enough time to quickly set up camp and then we headed off to take a helicopter tour of the canyon. That was amazing! Everyone had a great time.
Then we spent another two days exploring the Grand Canyon. We had some great weather and took lots of photos.
After our 3 days at the Grand Canyon we packed up and headed up to Zion National Park. While at Zion we hiked the famous Angels Landing Trail. It was a tough 2.5 miles to the top where we stopped for lunch.
We only got a single day at Zion which was a shame, there seemed like so much to do there. Perhaps one day we will get the chance to go back.
From Zion we drove up and over the Continental Divide and into Rocky Mountain National Park where we stayed for two days in Glacier Basin Campground.
It was amazing the sights we saw, the animals and the scenery. I couldn’t get used to the elevation and how it affected everyone. Just the simplest thing would get you short of breath.
While in Colorado we took a quick trip down to Boulder to show the boys where we used to live and just check out Pearl St.
We had a great time seeing all the National Parks and camping in our little camper, but now we had to start heading home. It was a long drive and everyone was tired so we ended up spending our last two nights of the trip in hotels, we would drive as far as we could and then just pull off the highway to find a hotel.
It certainly was a “Grand Adventure”! Everyone will have great memories of the trip and we are already planning our next one!
Well, the boys are home now from their week at Boy Scout Camp Yawgoog in Rhode Island. They had a great time and accomplished a lot while they were there. The troop won Honor Troop of the week this year and Nick was awarded the J. Harold Williams Award for Brotherhood for outstanding expression of Scouting’s ideals.
It was bittersweet since this was Alex’s last year at Summer Camp as a Boy Scout and I was only able to come up and share the last two days with them but I was proud of how both Alex and Nick have become such responsible and mature young men.
So, on our last camping trip our stepper door latch failed and the door popped open while we were driving down the highway. Surprising to say the least! Paula and I grabbed the Gorilla Tape and made some hasty repairs and we made it home without further incident. However, after further inspection we determined that it was time to replace the door latch that the previous owners had installed. It was a garage door t-handle and it really was not working out. To make matters worse it would not lock and it would spin all the way around which is what caused the failure. If you moved the handle to far then the latch bars which are supposed to stick out of the door and engage the body of the camper can fall into the door.
So, after checking out my new favorite site The Popup Princess to see how they did it and then heading on over to Coleman Popup Parts I purchased a new locking handle and the spreader bars. I also picked up a new rivet gun and 3/16″ rivets from Amazon.com.
First I used a 3/16″ drill bit to drill out the original rivets all the way around the door.
This would allow the door skin to separate from the door and grant me access to the latch.
I had to remove the top plate on the door as well. That gave me better access to the interior so I could slide my hand inside and install the new hardware.
With the old handle out it was time to install the new one and the new spreader bars. The handle is secured on by two screws through the door skin and there was a small metal plate on the back as well to help add some strength. Unfortunately I forgot to get some pictures of it while I was working. This is the picture after the new handle and bars were already installed.
Now, when you are putting in the new spreader bar there are two things to make sure you do correctly. First make sure that the bar is lined up correctly with the square post on the handle so that when you turn the handle the bar swings the correct way and either extends or retracts the spreader bars. So how I did it was to turn the handle flat (as if it was closed) and then made sure the spreader bar was fully extended. The second thing to watch out for (I messed this one up!) is that the ends of the spreader bar are bent slightly to allow them to catch the slots on the body. If you put the bar on backwards so those bends are facing down toward the ground then they will never catch the slots when you close the door.
Instead make sure they point up so they are angled correctly when the door closes. See the picture below for the correct installation.
Once the handle is working correctly, you start by putting the top plate back on. This holds the flooring down on the step, and the skin fits into a slot on the top as well. I used a clamp to hold everything in place while I installed the rivets.
Once all the rivets were installed, the door was tested and it worked perfectly! I am so happy with how it came out!
I purchased all the hardware from Coleman Popup Parts they shipped quickly and everything fit perfectly.
We took our pop up camper on a dry run this past weekend and went camping out in the Poconos. It was a great weekend with nice weather and the entire family had a good time. We learned a lot about the camper and how to use it as well. I think both Paula and I have nice long lists of things we want to do to make the camper even better!
We recently acquired a 2001 Coleman Westlake Popup Camper. Paula and I had been talking planning for a trip to the Grand Canyon next summer and when this camper became available we couldn’t pass it up. So, now that we have the camper we can move ahead with our plans to visit the Grand Canyon! The camper needs some work and we’ll be documenting all that we do to it here on our website, in addition to our planning for our trip across country.
This past July Alex and I went on a multi-day canoe trip in the Adirondacks with his Boy Scout Troop, Troop 888 of Smithtown. The trip consisted of a 40 mile paddle spread out over 4 days and on day 2 a 1.5 mile canoe portage to get around a waterfall. The trip started on Long Lake in New York, and ended on Tupper Lake and we camped overnight along the way. There were about 6 boys from the troop and myself and one other adult. We all had a great time and the experience was amazing.
Once again, this past August the Troop went up to Rhode Island to Boy Scout Summer Camp at Camp Yawgoog. This year it was the Centennial Celebration for Yawgoog. They put together a great week of activities and events for the boys. It was also Nick’s first year going to Yawgoog. He had a great time and really got a lot accomplished while he was there. Alex also was the Senior Patrol Leader this year so he got to run the troop while we were up at Yawgoog. I think he did a great job and everyone seemed to have a good time. Here are some pictures from the week.
Alex’s Command Tent
One Rainy Morning – There was one day really early when a thunderstorm came through the camp. It was over by 8am and the rest of the week was sunny and beautiful.
In the end of June Alex, Nick and I went with the Boy Scouts to the White Mountains of NH for a 3 day backpacking trip along the Presidential Range.
Our trip started on Saturday June 26th at the Highland Lodge in Crawford NH. We stayed overnight at the lodge and got an early start on Sunday morning, unfortunately it was raining and would continue to rain for two days. We hiked up the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail to Lakes of the Clouds Hut which is near the top of Mt Washington. It was a tough hike up but we were rewarded with a nice stay at the Lakes of the Clouds Hut and a warm welcome by the Hut Croo. We ate a hearty meal that night and slept well in our bunks. The next day we hiked Crawford Path / AT across Mt Monroe, Mt Franklin, Mt Eisenhower, and Mt Pierce to Mizpah Springs Hut where we stayed on our 3rd and final night. By the time we got to Mizpah Springs Hut everyone was ready to relax and we enjoyed good food and good company. The Hut Croo played a game of Jeopardy with everyone that night and all the boys enjoyed the competition.
Finally, we hiked down the Mizpah Cutoff to the Crawford Path and back to the Highland Center Lodge for our return trip home.
Even though the weather was rainy and the clouds kept us from seeing the spectacular views atop Mt Washington I think everyone had a good time. It was hard work but I am proud of everyone who did the hike and their accomplishments.
Here are a few pictures from the trip.