A week has already past since our “Sheila & Puck” shake down. You will be asking “What shake down?”.
The Shake down was getting the Rig repainted and restocked with all the tents, sun shades, tables, chairs, cook ware (electric and gas), cutlery, bedding, water canisters, porta-potty, fire extinguisher and cooking gas, then to go onto a campsite for a three days (two nights) and basically try everything out, do repairs where needed etc…
Well I can tell you – by the time I had everything together, which took me three days, it looked like we were moving out for a year! I am sure some of you can relate to this.
The dogs were super excited:
Shea (the Wheaten) who has been on many rig travels was almost glued to my ankles all the days of preparation until she finally sat in her spot on the back seat of the Camper “Sheila”
Ben ( the Westie-Poo) who hates driving in cars actually got so excited about going away he jumped up to his spot without a second thought. He has only been on a few rig trips with us as I got him as a rescue about two years after I had Shea.
Baxter (the Chorkie) has never been on a Sheila& Puck trip or Camping before, it’s his first at 1 year old, loves driving anyway and gets excited by any prospect of going somewhere wanted to sit with the big ones – that is until the engine was turned on and he then wanted to sit on my lap where he can get the window wind blowing over his face.
Of course all three have there safety leads on.
Every inch of both Sheila and puck were full by the time everyone was loaded up the food coolers ( We hadn’t switched the fridge freezers in Sheila and Puck on before leaving), clothes, tools, lanterns gas and hand crank one, oven grill, toaster, kettle, iPot, laptops and mobile phones to test the tethering, washing and cleaning stuff were in and the dog beds, toys, leads, tie ups, dehydrated dog food, bowls, towels and emergency kit – I was worried about the weight. It turned out to be okay with the towing. However this is not how one is supposed to travel. Next time it’s the necessary to kit out Sheila and Puck with the two basic tents.
When we got to the Campsite, we were absolutely delighted to have a sunny and only slightly breezy day with our pitch under some beautiful trees and only two neighbors in sight. Our normal experience is rain, cold or ridiculous winds, which makes setting up a tent rather difficult. Not the least because a) we are not the youngest and b) not the most experienced in erecting tents.
We managed to position Sheila, Puck and the drive away tent in a leisurely 2 hours, then I took the dogs for a walk around the adjacent lake where Shea had a swim and the other two chased some ducks and rabbits. Then it called for a rest at the pick-nick table with some cold snacks/ sandwiches and cool drinks. Later we cooked rump steak (on the gas hob in Sheila)with pepper sauce and wholegrain pasta (in the iPot). Dessert was strawberry trifle. The dogs got stuck into their rehydrated vegetables and egg with lamb kibble. By the time everything was dish washed and tidied up, dogs taken for a walk, bed made for us in the Puck and beds made for the dogs in Sheila, we were all well ready to go to sleep. It was only 9 pm but we didn’t give a toss.
The dogs were very well behaved and Baxter was taking everything up like a sponge and going along with everything on offer with no problems at all.
During the night it got a lot cooler than I expected, so I got the dogs out of the camper at about 3 am and let them sleep in the caravan (which is only a 2 birth double) on the bed as the only space available. It was cramped but warm. The next morning I got the heater out for the following night.
The next day was even more beautiful than the first, so we decided to do some shake down cleaning and tiding, but not all that we had planned, and enjoy some of the day. It still took half a day and with walks and cooking it was already 3 pm until we sat down for a rest.
It was very hot by then, but under the trees it was relaxing with a soft breeze, just enough to feel some movement on your face. The dogs were tied up and lying stretched out long snoozing in the shade, whilst we were having refrigerated cans of coke, listening to itunes lists of music on the lap top. In the evening after everyone was fed and watered and walked I got out my mobile phone to test the tethering – YIPEE it worked (so much for my confidence in modern computing and mobile technology). I checked the emails form the past two days and made an online order and nothing went pear shaped!
Late in the night our tenting boy neighbours decided to make a log fire (they had been out fishing all day) so we all enjoyed the night with the smell of wood burning and the glow of a warm fire (we went to bed around 10 pm the boys 2 am). I heard a noise and the dogs barking at 4 am which made me jump out of bed and the caravan to see what was happening. I couldn’t see anything – once again I brought the dogs into the caravan to get a couple of hours more sleep.
In the next day the mystery of the barking was solved, earlier that morning I had noticed a muffin had gone missing out of the bag in the tent. I accused my husband of having the midnight munchies – he said it was me, to which I replied if it had I would have been greedy and eaten both and got rid of the evidence.
The boys came over in the afternoon telling us a Magpie had raided their shopping bags of all the sweet things during the night/ early hours- So that was the thief!
Well all good things also have to end this was our last day so we packed up everything very leisurely, as we had to be out the campsite by noon. We were told by the guardian there was a school of kids arriving that day. After getting everything together we decided to stay a little longer at the lake, so drove to a nice spot where we could watch some sailing should the resident sailing club have anyone sailing that day, parked the rig pulled out just the chairs and table, set up a cuppa and had fried some bacon for sandwiches and enjoyed another 3 hours of sun, when it then stared to drizzle, so we packed up and drove home – just in time for some dinner and the news on telly.
All in all the shake down was a complete success!
bare with me as I am having video software challenges at the moment.
A sneak peak ( not a flattering picture at all – don’t know what I was thinking- but real)