A Week in the Bus (Allegany State Park trip – Part II)

(Continued from Part I)

After arriving around midnight at the campsite, we set up the basics, and got to bed. My wife and I ran into a bit of a problem with our bed situation, as the air mattress we had been using had developed a leak that I couldn’t patch, and the replacement we brought was a king-sized one that wouldn’t fit in the back area. Luckily, with just the three of us in the bus, we could share the bottom bunk, while our son took the top bunk.

We had a nice site near the top of the hill on our loop. For the Red House camping area, the A loop and B loop had their own bathroom facilities, while the C and D shared a bathroom, I think with the E loop. There were abundant water taps, and fairly nice stone rings for firepits, though no grates. We realized that we’d been spoiled, as the fire pits and rings at Sprague Brook and Evangola had attached and adjustable grates to cook on.

Luckily, the camp store was literally down the hill and across the road from our site, and they had a nice round grating that I could perch on stones in our firepit and make a cooking surface. They also sold a 30amp to 15amp plug adapter, which I found I needed, as the 15amp power plug on the power tree was a GFCI outlet that kept tripping when I plugged into it (which of course was happening after midnight in the light rain.)  

30 Amp RV Male to Female 5-15R Adapter (6736T) (Misc.)

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Ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) plugs are great, except when it's wet and dark and your system trips them!
Ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) plugs are great, except when it’s wet and dark and your system trips them!

I was totally perplexed as to what was tripping the outlet, as the system worked fine on my garage’s 15amp breaker, so after going through everything and eventually unplugging a number of non-essential systems including the plug from the inverter (even though the breaker for the inverter’s power feed was off), I finally got us basic power for lights and the fridge. After spending part of the morning tearing apart the main power in plug and the breaker box, I found that it seemed that the GFCI was being tripped by the ground of the plug of the inverter.

As the ‘main’ of the box is just a regular breaker, I had wired in the plug end of a 12 gauge extension cord into an unused breaker in the box, with the understanding that in order to power the system with the inverter, I would first turn off the main, then turn on the inverter breaker, and to go back to land power, the inverter breaker would go off first, then the main would go on. But as the inverter was set to take a grounded plug, but only connected to the 12VDC positive and negative, it seemed that the GFCI ‘saw’ the system with a return/ground fault in the 110AC system. Once I put the adapter in and plugged into the 30amp outlet, there was no issue, and all worked the way it was supposed to.

We finally got to use the stove, and it preformed admirably. While most of our cooking was done over the wood fire, the burners of the stove did a nice job with popcorn, and the oven did a great job with flatbread pizzas (and a 12” round fits easily). However, I’ve found that I need some small receptacle for spent matches, though I’m realizing that all those ashtrays that have fallen into disuse should provide for something both suitable and attractive.

The troubleshooting/improving never stops …


(More on the park in Part III)

Review: Glamping with MaryJane

So, my wife got a copy of “Glamping with MaryJane” out of the library, because we had heard that Glamping (Glamour Camping) was a term that was applied to people who went above and beyond when it came to camping, as opposed to minimalists. In going with our (kind of) Steampunk/Erie Canalboat sort of Victorian theme, we thought it would fit with us, as I’m happy to have fancy lamps, a set of silver plate for meals, and lots of elaborate items and woodwork. I read through it, and thought a review here would be appropriate.

First, let me say that the book is pretty. There are really lovely pictures of things, from campers to food. But there’s not as much substance as I would have expected from a book this size.

We do get a background on MaryJane Butters, and her ‘her-story’ with camping parents, living rough while working for the Forest Service, and how she’s set up her own wall-tent B&B.

But what I would want out of the book is the practical information on how-to. She devotes four pages to a photo spread of tearing down her vintage camper, and showing the damage that she encountered (the scheduled re-build didn’t get done before the manuscript deadline, but working on my own project I know how easily that happens,) which is the same amount of pages that she devotes to Insurance (what kinds there are and whether you need any), though that section also has a full-page image with a single paragraph of text, and another with no text instead of information (and neither are pictures that conjure up ‘insurance’ to me).

She does have some neat plans for folding chairs & cots, and for building a massive wall tent structure (including concrete pillars), and some recipes that you can make while Glamping (though her ‘Budget Mix’ is just her own brand of biscuit mix). She also has some decorating and theme ‘flavoring’ ideas, such draping old necklaces over your lamp to make it more elegant, or using a particular theme (such as Old West/Cowgirl, or Rosie the Riviter) as a unifying motif.

The thing that got me, though, was that Glamping, is (in MaryJane’s concept) apparently only a thing women can do. This is evident in little indications throughout the text (with the differences between how men and women change the oil in their cars – his involves much beer and much mess, hers involves a mechanic, a cup of coffee, and a nail file), but becomes blatant when she calls glamping ‘girl camping’ and repeatedly that men ‘don’t get it.’

But, if you want to try your hand at ‘Glamping’, want a pretty book to look though, or want some Glamping recipies or rustic plans, then check it out.

Glamping with MaryJane: Glamour + Camping (Hardcover)

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