Grand Adventure

This past summer we hitched up our trusty little Coleman Pop-up camper and headed west for a “Grand Adventure”.

All loaded and ready to go / Google Photos

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.

First stop – Barkcamp State Park, OH / Google Photos

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.

Dinner at Meramac Valley Campground / Google Photos
Tour of the Budweiser Factory / Google Photos
St Louis Arch selfie / Google Photos

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.

Stopping for dinner before Palo Duro Canyon State Park / Google Photos
Cadillac Ranch / Google Photos

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.

Camping in Sedona / Google Photos

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.

We finally made it to the Grand Canyon! / Google Photos

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.

Taking off! / Google Photos
Flying high! / Google Photos
Views from the helicopter / Google Photos
Our helicopter / Google Photos

Then we spent another two days exploring the Grand Canyon. We had some great weather and took lots of photos.

Grand Canyon Selfie! / Google Photos
Family shot at the Grand Canyon / Google Photos
Family shot at the Grand Canyon / Google Photos
Relaxing at the campsite / Google Photos
Sunset at the Grand Canyon / Google Photos
Sunset at the Grand Canyon / Google 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.

Zion National Park – Angels Landing Trail / Google Photos
Zion National Park – Angels Landing Trail / Google Photos

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.

Rocky Mountain – Red Fox / Google Photos
Our campsite at RMNP / Google Photos
Hiking at Rocky Mountain National Park / Google Photos
Rocky Mountain – Elk / Google Photos
Highest Elevation – Rocky Mountain National Park / Google Photos

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!

Popup Camper Stepper Door Fix

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.