Colorado, Getting Ready, Where We've Been

The Shakedown Trip – Peregrine Pines Campground

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Loading up our things and moving out of the house.


Our house is moved out, clean, and ready for tenants.

Move-In Week

Our first trip out was a learning experience.

The kids wanted to go to camp with their friends before taking off officially on our roadschooling trip. Ben and I agreed that would be a great idea as that would give us a week for a shakedown trip. It would give us the opportunity to work out any kinks, organize everything in the RV, and hopefully develop a setup and take-down routine that would follow us for the next few years. 

The week before we left for the shakedown trip was move-in week. We cleared out the remaining items from our house and packed the RV full of our belongings. The last couple days were spent cleaning the house, scrubbing tile and bathtubs, polishing the floors and appliances, and painting the walls, trying to get it ready in time for future tenants. It took us until late Saturday night to finish before we crashed for the night, utterly exhausted, in the RV.

Since we were leaving out after church the next morning, that didn’t leave us with much wiggle room to get things ready in the RV.  A quick packing away of clothes, dishes, and other items was haphazard but would work to get them there and we could organize them all later… after all that’s what the trip was about!

Heading Out

Early Sunday morning we packed everything up so that we could take off directly after church. Counters were cleaned off, items stowed away, and everything bundled up or so we thought. We forgot one little item that made a dent… literally. More on that later.

It had been in the 90’s when we left home, but as we hooked up the RV to the truck and pulled out, the heavens opened and it started to pour. The rain didn’t stop for the entire 90 mile trip, through Denver, and down through Monument. Due to the rain, we decided to bypass dropping the kids off at camp first and went to drop off the RV at the campsite before returning to drop off the kids. We pulled into the Visitor Center parking lot at the Air Force Academy to get a pass for my husband to get on base, but because it was the weekend they were apparently closed.

We had been an hour late leaving Sunday morning and we were already late for the drop off at camp. With the base Visitor Center being closed, we started working on contingency plans to park the RV for the night while we waited for morning to roll around. In the meantime, we still had to get the kids to camp and the only way at this point was to take the RV with us.

Driving the RV in the pouring rain on very hilly dirt roads, was not my idea of a fun initiation into the wonderful world of RV’ing. Over the mountains and through the woods, to the kids camp we go!

Getting moved in before taking off for the week.


Ben emptied the tanks before heading out.
Dropping the kids off at camp. They were so excited to finally be there!

Camp Drop Off

We were a little late, but made it in time to check-in and have the kids find their bunks before heading out to dinner that evening.

The ease of drop off and cheery mood of campers was contagious. The beautiful scenery of the pine trees with a mountain back drop was enough to put your mind at ease for blissful week the kids were about to have.

However, things were about to take a turn upon returning to the truck. As I opened the driver’s side door, the smell that permeated out was horrendous and as I looked across to the passenger’s seat, I saw the dog in the process of upchucking feces all over the seat and onto the floor. Horrified and trying to hold it down myself due to the wretched smell, I grabbed him to take him out and placed him on the ground to finish his business. I grabbed the closest paper towels and cleaned up the mess, and threw it in a bag in the middle of the console. Now this is generally where Ben leaves a bag so that he can use it as a trash can while he’s driving, however this time, this was not such a bag. This was apparently a bag of spare parts that were needing to be returned to Home Depot… and were now covered in an unspeakable amount of vile contents.

Once the dog seemed finished, I opened up the back door of the cab to put him back in, there was another patch of repulsive substances waiting for me. I apologize to everyone at camp who heard me scream at this point, but the amount of happy camper euphoria had worn off at this point.

Ben returned at this point, after dropping Jaden off at his dorm. The look on his face said it all. “What is that smell?! Ewwwww!!” Followed up by, “I guess those aren’t going back to Home Depot.” 

Peregrine Pines Campground

Ben called Peregrine Pines Campground, on the Air Force Academy, to find out how to access the base on the weekend. Theoretically, I could get on the base anytime using my VHIC card, but Ben would need a guest pass. Despite the Visitor Center being closed, we were assured we could still enter through the main gate so we went for a second attempt, this time successfully accessing the base.

It was still pouring rain when we checked in at Peregrine Pines Campground. I was dressed in shorts and short sleeve shirt when we had left home that morning, but now it was cold, windy, and wet. We checked in and headed to our campsite, only to miss the turn and getting stuck at a dead end with very little maneuverability to turn around a 40′ fifth wheel. While I am able to drive the RV in the forward direction without concern, backing is another issue.

Ben took the wheel at this point, and I got out of the truck in order to spot him back. With every minute that went by backing and turning, and straightening out again, was another minute of cold shower I was receiving on the back end. Water dripping down my face, hair matted, and clothes soaked through, he eventually was able to pull out of the dead end I had put us in. We backed up till we found the right road to turn into and headed down to our campsite. 

We pulled in and parked the RV in our spot and I proceeded to run inside, grab a coat and try to get warm… and there it was. The dent I spoke of earlier. In our haste to pack the RV and secure items for travel, we had forgotten to secure the new refrigerator in place. It was leaning forward, against the island, with the door dented in against it. The shakedown trip hadn’t failed to shake around and tumble down the new fridge. Mission accomplished! 

Leveling the RV was not without its problems either. We tried to get set up as soon as we arrived, but Autolevel was not cooperating with us. After detaching from the truck, and trying to Autolevel, it raised the wheels off the ground, supporting the RV on only the leveling jacks. We overrode the system and lowered both the back and front jacks down, but couldn’t manually control the middle stabilizers without again raising the tires, so after an hour of playing around with the system, we decided to leave it alone with only four jacks on the ground, come in out of the rain, and take a load off. 

This is after the rain cleared. I didn’t get a picture in the moment.


True to its name, our new fridge was shaken down on the shakedown trip.
The Rest of the Week

The next few days were spent organizing, grocery shopping, doing laundry, going on walks, and getting out and enjoying the campground. This is the peaceful view from our campsite.

The Amenities

Just a few spots over is the laundry and bathroom facility. The BX and commissary were helpful to pick up a few supplies while we there. Despite a bit of train noise just beyond the laundry facility, it was a very peaceful, relaxing place to camp for the week. More on Peregrine Pines Campground…

The Dog

Little pup got to feeling better rather quickly and enjoyed his time as well, barking, and walking with tail wagging high and getting lots of compliments from neighbors.


Teardown and Heading Back

We packed up the night before so that we would have just a few things to teardown before getting hitched up and heading out. It still took us about 2 hours to get everything ready to go, but we didn’t feel rushed and took our time going through our checklist.

We picked up the kids from camp, met friends and family, and headed out.

Despite everything going wrong the first day, it turned out to be a great shakedown trip. 

Here’s to more adventures that lie ahead of us!

Getting moved in before taking off for the week.