By Theresa “Resa” Leppert
We recently had an event in July in Maquoketa, IA centered around an RV Maintenance Workshop. Teresa Willis, a Certified RV Inspector Extraordinaire, made the trek up to Iowa to teach us all about RVs, RV Maintenance, electrical systems, lights, hitches, trailer brakes, breakaway cables, AC systems, propane safety….. You name it, she covered it!
Holy cow, it was hot…..
We dealt with record high temps and heat indexes over 100 degrees for much of this event, and it was brutal at times. I was excited to see some folks again – Paula B. came up from MO with her TT, and Karen and her three pups came down from MN in her Class C.
We met some new ladies from all over the Midwest! Beth J. also had a class C. Beth left way before the crack of dawn to come for our workshop, and then was able to stay overnight and join us for our potluck. Lisa M. traveled all the way from Cincinnati, OH with her Tab 320 and her three pups. Jocelyn E. and her pup Jazz pulled her TT over from IL. Kelly M. wasn’t too far away, so she didn’t have too far to pull her cute little 1960 Shasta.
It was so darn hot I didn’t take enough pictures and didn’t even get a group pic at the RV Maintenance workshop, darn it! I’m sorry – will do better next time!
It was nice having y’all come to my hometown!
Quite a few of us arrived and set up on Thursday. I had to pull my trailer SO FAR – a whole 6 blocks! <grin> Maquoketa is my home town, in case you didn’t know. Thursday was pretty darn hot. A few of us went downtown to a free concert in the Greenspace – Nutty Turtle and Lori Gravel. Wonderful concert! My puppy girl, Shiloh, came along with us to the concert. Isn’t she just the cutest? (I know, I’m biased….)
Below is the ONLY pic I got of Paula B. She’s like a photo ninja, so hard to capture! We all took advantage of the food truck down at the concert – Tri-M BBQ. YUM!
Back to the campground after the concert.
We met up with Lisa M. back at the campground after the concert. She was having an issue with her hitch coupler getting bound up. It just would NOT release. We figured it out eventually, though! She was using a leveler on the driver side of her trailer, which tweaked the whole thing just enough to bind up the coupler. Once we figured that out – we were able to get her unhitched! The temps cooled off after the sun went down, thankfully.
Friday, Maquoketa Caves….. What a senseless tragedy.
Friday morning, we planned on a group hike at the Maquoketa Caves State Park. We took off in a caravan of vehicles and headed that way, only to be turned away by a large law enforcement presence, but we did not know why at the time. We honestly thought that maybe there had been a fall or some sort of accident on the hiking trails. The real story, however, was horrifying. I am sure you have seen on the national news about a mass shooting. I am still in shock that such a terrible tragedy happened here in our little community. My heart hurts at the loss of Tyler, Sarah, and Lulu Schmidt, for all those mourning the Schmidt family, and for their son, Arlo. Thank God Arlo survived, but he has a long road of grief ahead of him. If you would like to donate to help Arlo have a more secure future, you can do so through GoFundMe at this link: https://gofund.me/39901c4c
We hiked Prairie Creek instead.
Our group of 4 humans and 7 dogs headed back into town to Prairie Creek park, a Jackson County Conservation park that has wonderful trails and isn’t far from the park we were camping in. It was a nice hike – pretty darn hot, though, and a big more rigorous than we expected.
Friday afternoon, most of us took naps or cooled off in AC as best we could. Poor Lisa M.’s AC was on the fritz, so she definitely had a difficult time that day getting herself and her pups cooled off. Friday evening, we went to a local pub “The Maquoketa Cave” for an air-conditioned dinner and a bit of karaoke afterwards. Teresa W. was nice enough to hang out with me so I could sing a couple songs.
There was a storm coming….
We headed back to the park around 10:30, and I spent some time battening down the hatches, as we were expecting a storm. I had been testing out a couple of my shade options – a tailgater-style awning and my Sportbrella.
I took the umbrella down and bungeed it to the picnic table. The awning was attached to my trailer via the provided hooks and bungees. I took down the poles you see in that pic – and staked the awning directly to the ground with my chairs underneath with heavy-duty stakes.
Yeah, nope, that wasn’t enough. The storm woke me up around 2:30, and that wind was really picking up. My poor potty room tent was not guy-lined – just staked to the ground at the four corners. It was flipping around like some demented flailing tube guy from the local cellular provider store. Then I felt my trailer rocking and looked out the back window to see my awning take off like a sail. I was out of my tent and down that ladder in a hot minute and chased that darn thing down and managed to get the fiberglass poles out of it before it turned inside out and broke everything. I couldn’t find those darn stakes, though. Paula B. found them over on the edge of her site a couple days later. Also got my potty tent collapsed down and both of them folded up and shoved into my trailer under the tarp.
Had to wait it out!
I decided to wait out the storm in my Jeep instead of my RTT – and then noticed that Kelly’s lights were all on two sites over. A quick text assured me she was okay. While her awning was down, it was still attached to the camper and another storm cell was coming, so she and I got that awning taken off lickety split. Finally changed out of those wet clothes into something dry and back to sleep about 4 a.m. – and then another storm came through. I didn’t get much sleep, honestly, as I was worried I wouldn’t get up in time to get everything ready for our 9 a.m. workshop! No worries, though – I was up early enough to make some coffee, run to Walmart, and also to the local bakery for some yummy donuts for all our attendees.
What a great RV Maintenance aworkshop!
It was a great workshop – with lots of info, great stories, some hands-on examples on several trailers, and brutal temps. Thankfully, we had a covered pavilion, so we were at least in the shade – but it was just SO. DARN. HUMID. I called my hubby, Chuck, to come and look at Lisa’s AC. I thought it was short-cycling – meaning that the way it was vented out the side of her trailer, the hot exhaust was being sucked back into the intake, which causes it to blow hot air and not work efficiently. He confirmed my suspicions, and gave Lisa some ideas for a DIY box and diverter to separate the exhaust from the intake. She came up with a great temporary solution using cardboard and duct tape and VOILA! Her AC worked Saturday night! Yeah, baby! So her trip to Iowa to learn all about RV maintenance was a productive trip.
Once Lisa got home, she came up with a GREAT set up to fix her AC problem! Check this out!
We were supposed to have a potluck at the pavilion, but it was just too darn hot. Kelly headed home before dinner due to potential storms coming. Jocelyn was nice enough to host our potluck inside her camper with the AC turned on high! Check out this pic – 7 adults and 4 dogs in her 21 ft trailer! Good food and good conversations. Then we all headed went our separate ways. As the only one without AC, and with a heat index “feels like” 98 degrees at 11 p.m. – I went home to sleep that night. I came back Sunday morning with coffee and finished packing up my trailer. It was a beautiful morning! Cool breezes made packing up less stressful.
All good things must come to an end….
As always, everything must come to an end eventually. Thank you to Teresa Willis, our RV Maintenance Instructor and thank you, ladies, for such a great weekend of camaraderie, learning, storytelling, and all around good fun. I look forward to camping with all of you again in future!
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Theresa “Resa” Leppert
Guide, Iowa & Wisconsin
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Hello from Coeur d’Alene, ID! Thank you for allowing me to read your blog. We sound similar and you sing karaoke! That is one of my favorite things to do. Your adventure sounded like lots of fun! I need to learn some RV maintenance myself.
Wow. What a weekend! You guys had a lot of crazy (and some horrific) things happen. I’m sure you all learned a lot and still had a great time.