Saturday, August 2, 2008

First Trip

We took our first trip with the caravan recently. One thing I discovered is it is very hard to tow the caravan with a 4 cylinder car. We couldn't go over 55mph on level highway. I believe it is do to the large flat front of the caravan catching too much wind. The situation improved dramatically if a truck or something was in front of us to block the wind. I have ordered a wind deflector from JC Witney to try to move more air over the top of the caravan.

[Update: the wind-deflector from JC Witney worked like a charm. on a test drive on a hilly highway, I was able to maintain speeds of 65 to 70 mph on all but the steeper hills which slow my car when it is not towing a trailer.]

That being said, the caravan towed really well through town.

We got to the campsite around dark. The first thing I tried was to plug the standard 110 extension cord into the power outlet. Guess what, I had a 15 amp plug and they use 30 amp plugs. A trip to Home Depot remedied that problem. Turns out only older campsites have 15 and 20 amp service. The standard for newer campgrounds is 30 to 50 amp service. I plan to order adapters so that I can hook to any service available. [Wal-Mart has RV adapters going from 50 amp to 30 amp and 30 amp to 15 amp. With the two adapters, I can hook to any available RV camp supply]

Other than those problems the trip was a success. I slept on the bed one night and a bench the other. Both slept very well. The air conditioner kept the trailer nice and frosty inside. Note, cover the air conditioner with a plastic bag when traveling as the wind will rotate the fan and cause problems. It took a few minutes for it to start working right when we arrived at the campground. Everyone at the campground was great and all had to come over and check out the caravan. Here are a few pics of the trip.

Lessons learned. We need some heavier duty folding chairs. My son broke three on the trip. Bring citronella candles. It is very nice sitting outside the back door watching TV at night without mosquitoes. Buy perishables locally as needed. Buy a camp stove. I tried cooking bacon in my Dutch oven. It worked but would be easier to just use a stove. Buy a microwave. Nice and quick for snacks or TV dinners. Buy a tent for a porta potty. Trips to the bathroom are a pain if you are parked too far away.


Sasha said...

hi brian, loved your diary of building the gypsy caravan. i'd like to build one of these too. my question is about the wind deflector you mentioned, do you have any pictures of that installed, curious as to where exactly you put it, on the car or on the caravan? and what model number was it? i tried your link but couldn't get it to work.

Patti said...

Thanks for sharing your process Brian, I read the entire blog and took copious notes as I am currently planning my own nomadic home. Did I read that right, 1 yr and approx $1K to build?

winnie said...

Hi Brian, it looks great! You won't lose it in the car park now will you!?! :p x

winnie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amber said...

Question, did you have to lower the door in the plans to get it to open all the way? Also seems the left lantern has to be removed when door is open to keep it from hitting. Now that it's 2014 are there any other changes adjustments you would make? Is it still in use?

CamperTrailers IdealRv said...

Thank you for the wonderful blog. It is indeed informative and useful We are into the same business. For know more about us, please visit Model JaycoStarcraft 16 today.